Tag Archives: NFL Free Agency
(Editors Note: Sorry for the lack of posting recently, I was away on vacation. Expect a regular dose of content going forward.)
My New York Jets have become the butt of many jokes recently, and rightfully so. Things got so bad this season that Fireman Ed, their unofficial cheerleader, stepped down. The season culminated with the the firing of General Manager Mike Tannebaum, the so called “cap expert” who left the Jets in a salary cap nightmare.
To replace Tannebaum, the Jets brought in unheralded John Idzik, former VP of football administration for the Seattle Seahawks. Idzik was and is facing a massive challenge ahead of him, and while his biggest and defining move (fair or unfair) has yet to be made (Darrelle Revis), he has done well in his first few months on the job,
Coming into the the offseason the Jets were nearly $20 million over the salary cap, but after some roster cuts and contract restructuring, they were able to create $15 million of cap space. Granted, that wasn’t enough to bring back valuable veterans like LaRon Landry and Mike DeVito, but given the circumstances the Jets have done well for themselves.
Idzik waited for the initial free agency frenzy to pass before targeting second and third tier free agents are signing them to short, inexpensive deals. They were able to provide some competition for Mark Sanchez by signing David Garrard for 1 year and just over $1 million. Then they added a quality change of pace back with potential to be more in Mike Goodson on a reasonable deal.
Turning to the trenches, they nabbed Willie Colon to replace the departed Brandon Moore and signed Antonio Garay to replace DeVito as a rotational defensive lineman.
Then in perhaps Idzik’s best move so far they signed Antwan Barnes, formerly of the Chargers, to a 3-year $4 million deal. Barnes has never been a full-time player, yet had 11 sacks two years ago, which is more than any Jet has posted since 2004. At worst he instantly adds a burst to perhaps the league’s worst pass rush and at best, could start at outside linebacker for the next couple of seasons.
The Jets still have plenty of needs (tight end, safety, more pass rushers), and by no means are these moves going to put them among the contenders in the AFC, but they are setting themselves up to be competitive in 2014 and beyond, which for any Jets fan is all you could ask for after last season.
After 132 excruciating days, the NFL Lockout is over. Today, the NFLPA agreed to a the CBA that was voted on by the owners last week, effectively ending the NFL Lockout.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith held a joint press conference in Washington earlier today, announcing the new 10-year agreement. “It’s been a long time coming,” Goodell said. “Football is back and that’s the good news.”
I have to apologize for the lack of activity over the past few months, but I didn’t want to write posts about the lawsuits, the 8th Circuit Courts, mediators, and DeMaurice Smith’s hats. I could go on about the absurdness of the NFL Lockout, but I’ll save that for another time.
The NFL Is back and it’s time to celebrate. I assembled a bunch of links to get you educated on the new NFL CBA and what is going to happen in the coming days, plus celebrate the return of the NFL. (Come back everyday for new and fresh material. I’ll keep you up to date on the frenzy that is about to take place starting tomorrow.)
This is a good article that sums up the new NFL CBA in a nutshell.
This is a handy calendar outlining the key dates and events for the abridged NFL offseason.
The Evolution of the Touchdown Dance:
Find out when your favorite team kicks off training camp.
Great gesture by Indianapolis Colts center Jeff Saturday, individually thanking New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft.
In case you wanted to relive the NFL Lockout, a timeline of how we got here.
Don’t forget that Madden NFL 12 is coming out soon:
And finally … ARE YOU READY FOR SOME FOOTBALL??????????
All the big name free agents get all the hype and the talk, but they don’t always make the biggest impact. Sometimes it’s the forgotten guy who didn’t break the bank who winds up paying the greatest dividends. Keeping that in mind, here are some of the guys that are candidates for this year:
Steelers Trade for Byron Leftwich
Leftwich returns to the Steelers after one lackluster season with the Buccaneers. Though, he was hardly the only one to blame for the Bucs misfortune. He should start the season for the Steelers with Big Ben suspended for the first six games of the regular season.
He preformed well for the Steelers in 2008 when called upon and I would expect the same type of performance this season. He has weapons around him that will help him succeed, unlike in Tampa.
Titans Sign Will Witherspoon
The Eagles traded for Witherspoon during the season last year, but strangely decided to cut him in the offseason. The Eagles loss is the Titans gain.
He should start at one of the linebacker spots. He will be especially crucial after the Titans lost fellow-starting linebacker Gerald McRath to a four game suspension.
Jets Sign Brodney Pool
Lost in the shadow of the other big name moves the Jets made this offseason, Pool might have the greatest impact of them all. Pool was off to a great season last year (4 interceptions in 11 games) playing in Rex’s brother Rob’s defensive system before missing the last five games of the regular season.
He has the talent (was a second round pick in ’05), but injury concerns scared off team this offseason. However, it appears they were overblown. He has impressed coaches in the offseason and is a perfect fit for Rex Ryan’s defense. The Jets might have finally found their playmaker at safety, a role that Kerry Rhodes couldn’t fulfill.
Dolphins Sign Richie Incognito
The talent has always been there with Incognito, he just hasn’t been able to keep his head on straight. The Rams cut bait with them after he committed too many personal foul penalties and got into a verbal confrontation with coach Steve Spagnuolo. He was also voted the NFL ‘s dirtiest player last year in a poll by Sporting News.
Now, that may deter teams from Incognito and rightfully so, but the man still has talent and he fits in with the power scheme the Dolphins want to run. The Dolphins only signed him to a one year prove it deal so he will be on his best behavior or he will be out of town.
Jaguars Trade for Kirk Morrison
After the Raiders selected Rolando McClain in the first round of April’s draft, they had no need for Kirk Morrison anymore. So they dealt him to the Jaguars for a low draft pick.
With Morrison, the Jaguars are getting a tackling machine, who has amassed at least 100 tackles in all five of his seasons. He should help shore up a linebacking core that struggled last season.
Eagles Trade for Ernie Sims
To replace the aforementioned Witherspoon, the Eagles traded for Ernie Sims, surrendering a fifth round pick. Sims had fell out of favor with the Lions coaching staff this past season, but still has great potential.
He is a former top ten overall pick who looked like he was headed for greatness early in his career and has been compared to Derrick Brooks. The Eagles will hope he can regain his form.
Saints Sign Alex Brown
The Saints were hindered by the “final four” rules, so they couldn’t make a big splash in free agency. Alex Borwn might not be a flashy player, but he is a solid signing for the defending champs.
After releasing Charles Grant, the Saints had a glaring need at defensive end and Brown should help to plug the hole. He isn’t a spectacular pass rusher, but get his fair share of sacks and can hold his own against the run.
We’re only five days into free agency, but already there has been tons of action.
The lack of a new CBA has had no effect on the opening wave of free agency.
Players were quickly scooped up by teams right after midnight of this past Friday.
There has been many surprises thus far, but the one that sticks out the most is the frugal approach taken by the Washington Redskins.
In an uncapped year many expected the Redskins to throw big money at the top free agents, but rather they have kept a low profile and have not signed any new free agents and actually cut a handful of overpriced veterans.
Perhaps the new regime in Washington may work out after all.
Anyway, here is a look at the top winners and losers of free agency thus far:
It’s not often you hear Lions and winners together, but I have to give the Lions some props for what they’ve done so far. Sure they overpaid for Kyle Vanden Bosch and Nate Burelson, but that’s the only way they were going to come to Detroit. When you have been as bad as the Lions have been you need to overspend once in a while.
They also added defensive tackle Corey Williams via trade from Cleveland and corner Chris Houston via trade from Atlanta, both at low prices. With Vanden Bosch and Williams, the Lions suddenly have a good defensive line and if they add Ndamukong Suh or Gerald McCoy it will be even better.
Burelson may not be an elite reciever, but he is a good number two target. He’s certainly better than Bryant Johnson and Dennis Northcutt. His presence will also benefit Calvin Johnson as he won’t be getting double and triple teamed nearly as much.
While I’m not in love with all the moves the Bears made it’s hard to say the Bears aren’t a much better football team than they were last week at this time.
With no draft picks in the first two rounds the Bears had to make a splash in free agency. Also add in the fact that this is a make or break year from the coaching staff and front office and it’s hard to fault the Bears.
Today marks the eve of NFL free agency.
Usually, the first day of free agency is a frenzy with countless players changing teams.
However, this year will be quieter than those of years past.
The reason being the lack of a new collective bargaining agreement.
This requires players to have six years of service in the league in order to be a unrestricted free agent instead of the usual three or four.
The result is that around 200 players that would have been unrestricted free agents are now restricted free agents, which has left the free agency rather bare.
Still, there are some big names on the market and without a salary cap there will be teams willing to pay top dollar.
Top Unrestricted Free Agents:
Julius Peppers, DE
The prize of this year’s free agent class, Peppers will command a huge contract on the open market. Though his effort can be questioned at times, there is no denying his ability to get the opposing quarterback (81 sacks in 8 years).
Signs with: Bears
Karlos Dansby, LB
After being franchised two years in a row, Dansby was too rich for Arizona’s blood and should have no problem landing a big pay day in free agency. He is versatile enough to play in either a 3-4 or 4-3 scheme.
Signs with: Dolphins
Dunta Robinson, CB
Robinson’s production has never quite matched his talent, but as the top corner in an ultra thin corner market the man will overpaid. I wouldn’t give $20 million guaranteed to a corner that didn’t have an interception last season.
Signs with: Redskins
Thomas Jones, RB
Jones ran for over 1,400 yards last season and has five 1,000 yard seasons in a row, yet he was released by the Jets in order to clear the way for Shonn Greene. The key number with Jones is 32, his age before the start of next season.
The free agency class this year will be rather bare compared to that of season’s past.
This is because of 2010 being an uncapped year, which requires that players need six years of service instead of four to qualify for unrestricted free agency.
This has prevented players such as Brandon Marshall, DeMeco Ryans, Braylon Edwards, Elvis Dumervil, Shawne Merriman, and a host of other players from being unrestricted free agents.
With few big name free agents on the market teams will have to get creative to fill their needs.
This brings up the possibility of the poison pill being brought back.
Back in 2006 the Minnesota Vikings signed Steve Hutchinson to a seven year $49 contract with $16 guaranteed. While that seems fair, they also included a clause that would have guaranteed his entire contract if he was the highest paid lineman on his team. At that time, the Seahawks had Walter Jones, whose salary was higher and thus could not sign Hutchinson without guaranteeing his entire contract.
The Seahawks file a grievance, but the arbitrator ruled in favor of the Vikings.
The Seahawks got back at the Vikings by signing Nate Burelson to an offer sheet including a stipulation that would have guaranteed his entire contract if he played five or more games in the state of Minnesota in one season.
Now, since that off season no team has attempted to sign someone with a poison pill included, but that may change very soon.
If some team tries to get cute and offers a low tender to one of their restricted free agents don’t be surprised if a team employs the poison pill to ensure they sign him.
Even if they are tendered with a first and third rounder, some team may be willing to pay the price. It wouldn’t be out of the question to see a team like Miami, Baltimore, or any receiver needy team go after a wide receiver like Marshall, Vincent Jackson, or Miles Austin.
Remember it was not even two years ago when the Cowboys traded a first, third, and sixth round pick for Roy Williams and these receivers are actually established number one targets.
Yesterday I looked at the best acquisitions of the NFL off season which you can see here. Today I’m looking at the worst moves that teams made in the off season.
5. Redskins resign DeAngelo Hall to 6yrs $54million contract
The Redskins signed Hall to a monster contract that includes $24 million of guaranteed money after signing him during the season. This is the second monster contract in the past two off seasons. He signed a 7yrs $72 million contract with Oakland last year but was cut after only eight games. If Al Davis cut him after only eight games after giving him that kind of you have to know something is wrong.
After signing Hall the Redskins then cut veteran corner Shaun Springs because they couldn’t afford both of them. While Springs may be olden that Hall he is still the better cover corner of the two but instead of making the better football decision the Redskins went with the flash and flare of Hall. The Redskins are Hall’s third team and in five seasons. He was run out of both Atlanta and Oakland and we could soon be adding Washington to the list.
The NFL off-season is filled with countless trades and free agent pickups with some good and some bad. Today I’ll take a look at the best moves of the off season.
5. T.J. Houshmandzadeh, WR, Seattle Seahawks, 5yrs $40 million
The Seahawks were decimated by injuries last year especially at the wide receiver position. Every receiver they were putting in got hurt and they were forced to sign receivers off the street in the middle of the season. Their leading receiver was Bobby Engram who caught only 47 passes for 489 yards.
Over the past five seasons Houshmandzadeh has averaged 89 receptions and over 100 yards. Housh will give the Seahawks a true number one receiver which they have been lacking for years. In his time in Cincinnati Housh improved every year and eventually became a better receiver than his teammate Chad Johnson who got much more media attention. Seattle runs a west coast offense which features a lot of short quick passes which should fit Housh well being a possession receiver. With a healthy Matt Hasselbeck at quarterback and Housh at wide receiver Seattle could make a return to the playoff where they were only two years ago.