Lets take a look at some of the early Free Agent signings, I’m not going to show them all, since who cares about the 4th string tight end right? I’ll try and update a bit as we go on, and just the actual signings, no rumors, ok?
Signed Benjamin Watson TE (Saints)
Watson was a decent tight end, and was a serviceable replacement for Jimmy Graham in New Orleans, he’s going to miss Drew Brees, but this is a good insurance policy for Crockett Gillmore and Lord knows Joe Flacco is going to need all the weapons he can get.
Resigned OG Richie Incognito
Incognito has been on best behavior since coming to Buffalo, and is among the best of the second-tier guards in the game. He’s on a good contract for both sides.
Resigned S George Iloka
Iloka is 26 years old, and one of the best free agents on the board, and was without a doubt going to get rich on day 1. This is a solid deal for the Bengals, and I bet in 3 years Iloka is going to be looking to redo this deal, with it being so front-loaded.
Re-signed CB Adam Jones
Jones was all over ESPN and saying he wants to play another 6 years, and this deal means that he will be a Bengal for half of it. Jones is going to move to nickel back, something that I see becoming more and more valuable in the NFL and is also an above average punt-returner.
Re-signed LB Vincent Rey
A rotation player, Rey is going to have to move to a full-time starter with Emmanuel Lamur signing with the Vikings. Rey was highly effective when he was on the field, so this was also a good move for both sides. This might weaken the Bengals special teams, as I would take him out of there to save his energy.
Well, they kept Johnny Manziel, but lost (wait for it) Center Alex Mack – who tried to leave before, but got matched, one of the better centers in the NFL, Tackle Mitchell Schwartz who got overpaid, but if you watched the Super Bowl, might be worth it, and WR Travis Benjamin, the best drug-free talent on offense the Browns have, who is going to LOVE Phillip Rivers. But wait! There’s more! FS Tashaun Gipson who was just a Pro-Bowler in 2014. Oh, the Browns added nobody. Were the Browns offices closed?
Well, I said Denver was going to have a rough free agency period, and it’s just starting. So far they have lost the QB they have been grooming, and Malik Jackson, who is going to steal money for the next two years. I wonder if Jim has gotten his Trevor Siemian jersey yet, cause that the only QB on the roster. I’ll talk about Mark Sanchez when we get to the Season Previews.
Sign G Jeff Allen (Chiefs)
Allen can be very good, and works well as a run-blocker, the problem is, they made a movie about him starring Samuel L Jackson, and it wasn’t Snakes on a Plane. If he is on the field, he’s very good. But that is a HUGE IF.
Sign RB Lamar Miller (Dolphins)
Ok, I said on my day 1 breakdown I didn’t get it, but apparently the Texans are moving on from Foster, and a 100% Miller is better than a hurt Foster.
Sign QB Brock Osweiler (Broncos)
I’m going to talk about the Osweiler deal on the NFL RT on Monday, but let’s just say, I’m a fan.
Re-sign TE Dwayne Allen
Ok, so they let Luck’s former teammate Coby Fleener go, and keep the guy who caught 16 more passes than I did last year. Plus it averages over 7M? Uh, I don’t get it, and he missed most of 2013 with double hip surgery.
Sign CB Prince Amukamara (Giants)
First Round Bust for the Giants, but when he does play, he’s pretty good. Its a one-year prove it deal, and well worth the risk for both sides. I really wished my Panthers would have picked him up, as even as a nickel back, he’s worth it, when on the field.
Sign S Tashaun Gipson (Browns)
It’s not often you sign someone from the Browns with the term “Former Pro-Bowler” attached to him, but there is one here. Gipson is 26, and had some problems last year, but I think he’s going to rebound in 2016. He’s a bit of an overpay, but not as much as the Jaguars normally have to do, that’s a win.
Sign RB Chris Ivory (Jets)
I like this one as a change of pace back, Ivory excelled in at role in New Orleans, and while not a 20 carry a game back in New York, was a good forward bruiser with a solid attitude. Again, a bit of an overpay at 6M per, but still not a horrible deal.
Sign DE Malik Jackson (Broncos)
Top Free Agent on the board, and its an expensive addition, with 90 Million. I have two problems here, one he’s moving to End, and he’s not around the rest of that dominating defense. The Jaguars are improving, but thats not an all-time line around him anymore, he’s going to have to be the MAN.
Chiefs re-sign LB Tamba Hali
He’s 32, so this is also his last deal, but unless the Broncos do something impressive behind center, they need to keep the defense together to make a strong push for the post-season, Hali does that and more. Unlike Johnson, Hali has a much shorter lifespan in the NFL, but worth bringing back.
Re-sign DE Jaye Howard
Got better as the season went along, and could very well get better in the future. Howard was a player they had to keep to try and keep the defense strong to make a run at Denver.
Re-sign LB Derrick Johnson
This should be his last contract, taking him until he’s 36, but its a nice capper for a player that is still chugging along. I look to the Chiefs to being in a replacement if not next month, then next year.
Sign OT Mitchell Schwartz (Browns)
Instant starter, and just write him in with pen for the length of the deal. Great deal by the Chiefs that will pay off.
Sign S Isa Abdul-Quddus (Lions)
He’s 27, but has been a rotation player and a standout special teams player. Not sure if he’s a starter, but worth a shot.
Sign DE Mario Williams
The Prize of the Free Agent class not that long ago, there are a on of questions surrounding Super Mario now, but at 8M a year, worth it, if he pans out, its a steal at 31. He’s going back to the 4-3 and hopefully can pair with another disappointing Free Agent Prize, Ndamukong Suh, and make them both better.
Sign RB Matt Forte (Bears)
One of the better all-around backs for years, but at 30 is really starting to wind down, and who knows how effective he can be in a new system? The good thing is he’s used to the big city, used to the cold, and won’t be looked at to do everything anymore, he’s going to pair with the resigned Bilal Powell.
Re-sign RB Bilal Powell
Powell has been brought back to the Jets, and while he may not be the answer at running back, he can watch and learn from a player with a similar skillset who has been a borderline Hall of Famer doing it. Could be an interesting combo back here.
Sign WR Chris Hogan (Bills)
4 million per on a three year deal. He’s 6’1 but is familiar with the AFC East, having played with Buffalo and Miami.
Sign LB Bruce Irvin (Seahawks)
Former first round bust, he’s due for a change of scenery and try and resurrect his career, but he’s only 28. For some reason the Raiders gave him 4 years and 37 million. I’m sure the Raiders will find a spot for him somewhere on the line, but I’m not a fan of the contract, but someone has to fill Justin Tuck’s shoes. Irvin does have speed, but should have gotten more than the 22 sacks in 4 years Irvin totaled.
Sign OG Kelechi Osemele (Ravens)
The Raiders went out and got the best offensive lineman available, and dropped 60M on him over 5 years. I’m not sure you really want him at Tackle, even though he played it last year. I’d be a little troubled by his back history. But the Raiders want someone to keep Carr upright, they got the best guy out there to help.
Sign CB Sean Smith (Chiefs)
I love this dude, this is a need position for the Raiders, and also nails a division rival that I’m sure will make Al Davis smile somewhere. He’s only 29, but HUGE for a corner at 6’4. This deal is a bit expensive at a 10M a year average, but corners get more expensive every year.
Re-sign OL Ramon Foster
This deal makes sure the offensive line stays the same, and Foster can play anywhere on the line. This is most likely his last contract at 31, but Big Ben is going to be happy.
Sign TE Ladarius Green (Chargers)
Heath Miller retired, ao his is an obvious need spot. Green is a huge target at 6’6, 240, but even with learning behind a Hall of Famer in Antonio Gates, never caught more than 37 passes in a season, even with Phillip Rivers at QB. Another red-flag is Gates is 35, and the Chargers didn’t exactly bend over backwards to resign him.
Re-sign LT Joe Barksdale
The Chargers have some real problems on the offensive line, but Barksdale is the one guy that they can depend on. I’m kind of surprised he didn’t move on given the demand of his position and his age, San Diego does have its attractions, I suppose. Great re-signing.
Sign WR Travis Benjamin (Browns)
Talk about a guy who will be a happy camper. He only runs the go route well, and he goes from the Browns to Phillip Rivers. Benjamin made the most of his contract year, with 68 catches and 5 TDs. He’s an upgrade as a returner as well.
Re-sign TE Antonio Gates
How can Gates keep being the safety valve for Phillip Rivers at 35? Oh wait, he did pop for performance enhancing drugs. Still he’s a Hall of Fame candidate who is still going to be productive, but he’s obviously slowing down, even with the “help”.
Sign DT Brandon Mebane (Seahawks)
The Chargers need help up front, and while Mebane isn’t the long term answer, he’s going to start day 1, and that’s not something a lot of players in that front seven can say. Hopefully he can bounce back from a down year in Seattle.
Sign C Ben Jones (Texans)
He’s a leader on the line, and steady, something a young QB will love. He’s not a punishing blocker, but there are worse in the NFL, and even with the 4 year deal, I look to see the Titans to use him more as a center-coach more than an active lineman as the years go on, as he’s got great technique.
Sign WR Rishard Matthews (Dolphins)
This is going to be an interesting signing, as he’s a good route runner and works his rear off, but has a problem getting open. The Titans need some people that can catch the ball though, and help build Marcus Mariotta’s confidence on third down.
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