However, players aren't always just looking for the cash. They like attention. They want to feel wanted, and they want to feel like they are going to be an important part of their new team.
Last year, new Jets head coach Rex Ryan won linebacker Bart Scott over for a number of reasons. The two worked together in Baltimore, where Ryan was the defensive coordinator. The Jets had a lot of money to offer Scott. Oh, and Ryan showed up at Scott's house shortly after midnight on the first day of free agency.
It's a strategy not lost on Lions coach Jim Schwartz, who will stop at nothing to improve his team.
Reports have Schwartz showing up at former Titan Kyle Vanden Bosch's house early Friday morning to recruit him. The stories are similar, even though we don't yet know how this one will end.
Vanden Bosch worked with Schwartz for four years in Tennessee, where Schwartz was the defensive coordinator before taking on this massive rebuild in Detroit.
Indeed, Ryan may have carved out a new path toward free agent success with the wooing of Scott a year ago, as chronicled by Sports Illustrated's Peter King.
Free agency began Friday morning, a second after midnight, and Scott's agent, Harold Lewis, told him he might be getting a call or two in the wee hours of the morning. At 12:15, at the same time he heard his dogs barking wildly outside his Owings Mills, Md., home, Scott's cell phone rang. "Man, come get these damn dogs!" Jets secondary coach Dennis Thurman said into the phone.There is a certain humor attached to this, too. There aren't many times in life where it's permissable to knock on a random person's door at the stroke of midnight. Usually, such knocks end in calls to the police.
Thurman was outside in the driveway with two other unannounced visitors -- Rex Ryan and defensive coordinator Mike Pettine. Scott knew them from their days on the Baltimore Ravens' coaching staff, and he absolutely could not believe they were sitting in his driveway, about to get attacked by his security dogs if they ventured out of the car. After Scott secured the dogs ("I'm just glad Mater and McQueen didn't take a bite out of those guys," Scott said Sunday night. "I'd have had to spend a chunk of my signing bonus for stitches.") Ryan walked into the house, looked at Scott and said: "We want you. We're here for you. We're not leaving without you.'' There was a plane coming at 8 in the morning to take Scott to the Jets' facility in Florham Park, N.J., and Ryan told him he had to be on it.
"Talk about taking it back old-school!" Scott said. "I was getting recruited! They were recruiting me big-time! Can you see the precedent they're setting? Remember Jerry McGuire? You're going to have players asking their coaches now, 'Why don't we have that kind of relationship?'"
It's college-like, really, to picture a head coach recruiting in the player's living room, talking up the player and how badly the coach's team wants this guy. It probably energizes the player to hear all these wonderful things, and to think about how badly this team must want him around.
Of course, King noted at the time that the Jets still had to outbid Baltimore for Scott's services. So perhaps the personal touch will mean nothing to Vanden Bosch. Of course, it might matter in the end that Schwartz was there, and yet there was no sign of Jack Del Rio or Andy Reid in the bushes, and Lovie Smith was apparently occupied in Charlotte.
It could mean that Vanden Bosch is more inclined to take the Lions' money and the familiarity he would get out of working with Schwartz.