2011 NFL Free Agency: What moves were made before Friday
Free Agents cannot sign until Friday, but here is a list and some analysis of the oral agreements that have reportedly been reached. Today is an important day as well since it is the first day teams can officially cut players. I think I underestimated how many players would be cut, we’ll see. Below: FA signings, trades, and Top 10 FAs available.
Santonio Holmes: New York Jets (5yr/50M). The Jets did the right thing in prioritizing the re-signing of Santonio Holmes. Holmes has exceeded everyone’s expectations after graduating Ohio State. He is a polished route runner with great hands and can eat your zone alive. In his second season in NY, I expect Sanchez to have a much better feel for him and for Holmes to have a monster season. He makes big plays routinely, including at least two game winners last year.
DeAngelo Williams: Carolina Panthers (5yr/43M). Like others I’m surprised they “ponied” up to pay DeAngelo with so many other holes and the productivity that Mike Goodson showed in his limited opportunity last year. Cam will now have a solid 3 headed monster to lean on, kinda like he did at Auburn.
Ike Taylor: Pittsburgh Steelers (4 years). Very important that they lock up their number one corner, especially after their other corners where picked apart in the Super Bowl.
Charles Johnson: Panthers (6yr/78M ). Rising stud at DE was the number one priority for the Panthers and they took care of business immediately. I first noticed him in the preseason game on ESPN last year and he followed that up with a season that was nothing short of spectacular. He was the ray of hope for Panthers fans in the decent from bye week playoff team to one win team in 2010.
Santana Moss: Washington Redskins (3yr/15M). Never thought he would leave, has been productive for like the last ten years.
Quincy Black: re-signed with the Buccaneers (5yr-29M). A telling sign that could confirm what many have thought, that Barrett Ruud has played his last game as a Buc. Although they have plenty of cash available, the Bucs next priority should be the offensive line.
Eric Weddle: San Diego Chargers (5yr/40M). Signed a huge contract to remain a Charger and people are still talking about the numbers. Either way, he was one of the top safeties available and secondary is hugely important in the NFL these days. After having spent their top three picks in the Draft on D and signing Weddle, if they can lock up Burnett and Cesaire their defense will be a top on in Fantasy and reality.
Marshall Yanda: Baltimore Ravens (5yr/32M). A big signing because their offensive line started to fall apart at the end of last season and Flacco does not play well when pressured.
Ray McDonald stays with the 49ers on a 5yr/20M deal.
Matt Hasselbeck: signed with Titans (3 years). I like this move for this season with a new regime as well as for grooming the future, Jake Locker. For the present, Hasselbeck gives the Titans the opportunity to function as a team. Their WRs & TEs, sans Britt, are completely unexperienced and their OL struggled last year. Hasselbeck can take the knocks and also run the offense competently to give these young players game experience. When it comes to the future, Hasselbeck is the ideal mentor for a leader like Locker who needs to learn more about footwork and playing quarterback. Locker has a strong arm, good mobility, and a fighting attitude, which is usually enough for a rookie QB to start but rookie QBs should never start 16 games in my opinion. Bradford was going to sit, but Feeley got hurt in the preseason. The best way to bring a rookie qB along, is to let them watch and learn under a veteran at first, but that’s a post for another time.
Sidney Rice: Seattle Seahawks (5yr/41M). Mr. Allen, the Seahawks owner and very rich man has no problem spending money, but this will turn out to be a good investment if Rice can stay healthy. He’ll be paired with the possesion receiving Mike Williams and reportedly Golden Tate who coach Pete Carroll has already proclaimed as a breakout player in 2011. Williams losses his sleeper value in Fantasy Football, as rice with take targets and those TDs some hoped would more than double. I feel this move makes them a passing team.
Quintin Mikell: St. Louis Rams (4yr/28M). Although 31 years old, Mikell just played his best season and replaces the departed Atogwe who was a pro bowler. Spags knows Mikell from his time with the Eagles and he should be useful in Week 1 when the Rams host the Eagles. He’s a good all around player who does well in coverage and will stick his nose in there in run support.
Paul Posluszny: Jacksonville Jaguars (6yr/45M). The 26 year old will start in the middle in the 4-3 next to one of the most underrated linebackers in the NFL during the last three years, Daryl Smith. Typical Jacksonville move.
Jason Babin: Philadelphia Eagles (5 years). In an expected move, the resurrected Jason Babin signed with the Eagles to reunite with DL coach Jim Washburn who guided him to an outstanding season in 2010. It’s funny because Babin was an Eagle two seasons ago and worked his way up the depth chart to play a lot by the end of the season. But, because he was 30 years old he was let go by the Eagles because rarely do they sign FAs who are 30 or older, yet here they are signing him to a five year deal at the age of 31.
Josh Wilson (3yr/13.5M): Washington Redskins. Short move from Baltimore to Washington. A fan of Wilson’s as I lauded the Ravens for acquiring him last year when they were in need. Skins lose Rodgers, but Wilson might be a better replacement.
Bruce Gradkowski: signed with the Bengals (2 years). Should start from the jump and will make them play better than they should. Has worked with new offensive coordinator Jay Gruden before, thus the transition even in a locked out offseason should be smooth.
Steve Breaston to the Chiefs on 5 year deal. Heard this was coming but a 5 year deal…wow. Insurance in case Bowe leaves next year, I suppose.
Robert Gallery to the Seahawks on 3 year deal. As expected goes to Seattle to reunite with Cable.
Albert Haynesworth: New England Patriots (owed 5M). Looks like the Patriots could have found their pass rusher, focusing on the inside instead of the outside. Albert, when motivated, is one of the fiercest players in all of football but will be headed back to the 3-4. Although, I don’t think he was signed to play the nose, something he refused to do last year, more likely play some DE. Maybe the Patriots will use a 2 man line at times with Haynesworth and Wilfork. Either way, Patriots got him for a 5th round pick (in 2013) and the combination of Vince and Albert is an interior linemen’s nightmare. Pass rush revitalized? Look for them to add an OLB, maybe Roth later on.
Donovan McNabb: Minnestoa Vikings. It’s funny to analyze the court of public opinion. From Philadelphia, I know a lot about McNabb and the Eagles. Last offseason I one of the first throwing McNabb under the bus while the talking heads at NFL Network couldn’t stop talking about him, what a bad move the Eagles made, and how Donovan was going to succeed. He know how that worked out. Now, everyone thinks he is terrible and incompetent….this is when I buy back my Donovan McNabb stock. Although losing Rice, he gains the best RB he has ever played with, a stud slot receiver, and two TEs. While it would be better if they had a deep threat, he’ll do better than people think. Ponder tweeted yesterday that he’s excited to learn from McNabb.
- Kevin Kolb: Arizona Cardinals for D. Rodgers-Cromartie and a draft pick
- Kyle Orton: Miami Dolphins for a draft pick (3rd-5th poss).