We’re here around the clock and will continue to sprinkle PFF flavor on all of the important happenings as they happen, so bookmark it and keep the auto-refresh working all day. You can also catch up on our analysis from earlier in free agency here: Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, Day 5, Day 6, Day 7, Day 8 and Day 9.
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22:25 SIGNING! The Jets aren’t the only team to sign a quarterback, and then add a new quarterback soon after. This one shouldn’t cause as much drama, as the San Francisco 49ers have added Josh Johnson to a two year deal according to Eric Branch. Johnson had spent the last four years in Tampa Bay where he started a few games in 2009, and then one last year. His one start looked fine, with an Accuracy Percentage of 73.9% along with at touchdown and an interception. He will likely battle Colin Kaepernick for the backup job, and help keep the pressure on Alex Smith.
21:21 SIGNING! While there are plenty of rumors of former Colts players going to the Broncos, all we have seen are other players joining Manning so far. This time Adam Schefter is reporting Tracy Porter has agreed to a one year contract to go to Denver. Porter had a bit of a down year as he allowed 71.3% of balls thrown his way to be caught, but he also had seven passes defended. Even if he doesn’t improve all that much for 2012, he still could be an upgrade over Andre Goodman who allowed nine touchdowns during the 2011 season. As for the Saints, Patrick Robinson played 74.2% of snaps last year and will be a full time starter. 2011 3rd round pick Johnny Patrick might see a bigger role with the defense due to the loss of Porter.
21:00 SIGNING! The St. Louis Rams have added some depth on their offensive line with Quinn Ojinnaka. In three starts at right tackle with the Indianapolis Colts last year he allowed just one sack, one hit and three pressures, but did not fair as well in the run game. He spent 2010 with the Patriots as a tackle, and had a handful of starts with the Atlanta Falcons in 2009 at right guard. This move is probably just to add depth behind Harvey Dahl and Jason Smith on the right side of the line. While the Colts as a unit didn’t play well in 2011, Ojinnaka becomes the sixth Colt not named Manning to find a new team for 2012 showing that people around the league think there was at least some talent on the roster.
20:15 SIGNING! The 49ers have added two wide receivers in free agency already, but that didn’t stop them from bringing back their return specialist Ted Ginn to a one year contract. He saw the second most snaps of the 49ers wide receivers in 2011 with 392, and wanted to be on a team where he can play a bigger role on offense. It looks like most teams saw him as just a special teams star, and with Mario Manningham and Randy Moss now on the roster, Ginn will likely be limited to special teams. He had the fourth highest kick return average for consistent return men with 27.6 yards per return, and had the fifth most punt return yards with 466.
20:08 SIGNING! The Cincinnati Bengals are giving CB Adam “Pacman” Jones another chance to make the roster, as they’ve signed him to a contract. Thanks to injuries he was inserted into the starting lineup in Week 11 and remained a starter until the Wild Card loss. In the Bengals four home games he allowed an average of 21.5 receiving yards per game, but on the road he allowed between 40 and 46 yards each game. His four passes defended helped him have a positive overall coverage rating on the year. It will be harder for him to see the field in 2012 as Nate Clements should be healthy, and Cincinnati added Jason Allen to the depth chart.
18:17 SIGNING! Adam Caplan is at it again, this time breaking the news that the Patriots have signed FB/LB Spencer Larsen. Since coming into the league Larsen has bounced between offense and defense but played last year as FB in the Denver offense. He actually graded well enough as a receiver and with the ball in his hands rushing, but he was extremely poor as a blocker, earning a -10.6 grade on just 163 run blocking snaps. This is the kind of move that will likely be lauded because it’s the Patriots, but we’re not sure we can see the upside.
17:36: Jason Cole of Yahoo! is reporting that the Jets are trying to do right by QB Drew Stanton and trade him after promising him the backup QB job before they made a move for Tim Tebow. Stanton hasn’t exactly looked like he was ready to set the world on fire, but the Jets made a point of guaranteeing him the backup spot, so it’s only fair they try and get him that elsewhere after they went after Tebow.
17:29 RE-SIGNING! Along with Everette Brown, the Lions also added TE Will Heller and LB Ashlee Palmer. Both players were with the team in 2011. Palmer played only 42 snaps on defense but was a core special teams player. Heller was the third TE behind Pettigrew and Scheffler, playing 280 snaps, largely as a blocker. Heller is a little mis-cast in that role, struggling at times as a run blocker, but is a valuable member of the squad.
17:20 The Kansas City Chiefs have announced that they RFA Jovan Belcher has signed his tender. Belcher was the Chiefs only RFA, and gives the Chiefs a pair of returning ILBs. Belcher may not be the best linebacker in coverage, but he comes down hill well and is a pretty strong run defender. He is a good player for the Chiefs to keep in-house and see if they can coax some improved play from.
17:03 Adam Caplan is reporting that the Lions have agreed terms with DE Everette Brown. The former Panther and Charger signed a one-year deal in Detroit and is now on his third team at the age of 24. Brown once cost the Panthers a future first round pick, but his lack of production saw them cut ties and he managed just 21 snaps last season for the Chargers. The Lions have a very deep rotation on the defensive line and Brown will be fighting just to make the roster and see snaps.
15:57 According to Chris Russell of ESPN Radio in Washington DC the Panthers have just signed a deal with former Colts G Mike Pollak. Registering just short of 600 snaps in 2011 Pollak struggled slightly as a run blocker, as most guards did this year, this year but was solid in pass protection. This year marked the only season in the last four that Pollak has graded above 0.0 for his full season, his worst season coming in 2008 with a -15.1 overall grade skewed by some terrible games in his first starts that season. Pollak is the second interior offensive lineman the Panthers have added this off-season after Geoff Hangartner was re-signed.
15:19 Aaron Wilson reports that former Ravens CB Chris Carr will visit with the Chiefs and Vikings and also has visits scheduled with two other, unidentified, teams. Carr was limited to 191 snaps in Baltimore this season with the emergence of some young corners but still graded marginally positive in coverage. Carr was a +6.3 in coverage and on his slot snaps that season, the position he will likely play on his next stop, he allowed a passer rating of 44.1 on the 50 passes aimed into his coverage, the best in the league amongst corners with at least 20 targets in slot coverage.
15:17 We passed on a report from Manish Mehta at 10:01 about Drew Stanton‘s hope to move on from New York after the Jets traded for Tim Tebow. It would seem that as with the Broncos and Tebow the Jets are moving fast on this front. Mehta reported that Stanton would prefer a release but the Associated Press reports that the Jets are shopping Stanton in a trade where at the absolute best they would receive a late round draft pick, potentially a conditional one.
14:42 According to the Boston Globe retirement is currently looking like a likely option for Matt Light this off-season leaving the Patriots with a choice of which young tackle, Sebastian Vollmer or Nate Solder, to switch over to the left side. Vollmer is the lower draft selection of the two but impressed at left tackle during his rookie season in 2009. During five starts at left tackle that season he accrued an overall grade of +14.0, a grade that would stack up against any five game stretch from a left tackle in the last four seasons. During that spell (vs. TEN, at TB, vs. MIA, at IND, vs. NYJ) he only conceded one hit and six pressures, grading negatively only once in the road game with the Colts. If Light does call it a day Vollmer would ensure they still have solid play at left tackle. Solder is somewhat unproven having only played 90 snaps at left tackle this season, including the majority of the Week 16 game against the Dolphins where he received a pass protection grade of -0.5.
14:36 According to Howard Balzer the St Louis Rams are also hosting a visit today from former 49ers G Chilo Rachal who was benched after 35 snaps of Week 3 against the Bengals. From Week 11 of the 2009 season through the entire 2010 season Rachal was one of the better guards in the league, fulfilling the promise he showed after leaving USC as an underclassman. For whatever reason Rachal did not click with the new coaching staff in San Francisco but a change of scenery could bring about a change of fortune and a return to his ’09/’10 form.
13:51 RE-SIGNING! The Patriots continue to make moves and have brought back one of their own with WR Deion Branch coming back on a one year deal according to Adam Schefter. Branch graded precisely average at 0.0 for the entire season as a receiver and the Patriots move to bring in Brandon Lloyd was, seemingly, entirely because Branch doesn’t offer enough of a threat on the outside. Branch had two 100 yard games last season but only topped 70 yards on three other occasions. Lloyd’s presence should limit Branch’s opportunities but he is at least a safe pair of hands (only three drops last year) and his understanding with Brady may see him get on the field in some situations.
13:42 Teams tend to pick up players from within their own division, you see those opponents more often than any others. The Lions are taking the first step towards just such a signing by having former Chicago CB Corey Graham in for a visit. Graham is a special teams stud but also impressed on limited snaps on defense. Graham has recorded 37 special teams tackles in the last two seasons, his 24 special teams tackles in 2010 was 3 more than any other player in the league. This season on only 11 targets in coverage Graham collected three interceptions. Graham’s most redeeming feature as a player is his special teams play but when called upon to play defense he has a grade of +4.2 over the last four seasons on 1,051 snaps.
13:24 The Broncos are serious about tight ends and after having been linked with two receiving tight ends, Dallas Clark and Jacob Tamme, as well as a blocking tight end, Matthew Mulligan, they are now hosting a visit with an all rounder. Former Texan Joel Dreessen went to college in state at Colorado State and is now deep into his free agent tour which has also included trips to Cincinnati and New Orleans. Dreessen got off to a slow start in 2011 but from Week 7 onwards he only graded negatively for two games. He isn’t a game breaking receiver but is a safe pair of hands who can make plays when teams forget about him and as a run blocker he graded above +1.0 seven times in 2011.
11:51 SIGNING! The stagnant market at running back started to move yesterday with the signing of BenJarvus Green-Ellis in Cincinnati and has continued to gain momentum today with former Raider Michael Bush joining the Chicago Bears on a four year deal. This adds the power back to the Bears backfield to go with the versatile Matt Forte as well as providing some insurance should Forte choose to go down the path of an extended holdout. Bush’s 19 broken tackles as a runner last season saw him rank just inside the top 30 league wide last season.
11:45 The Rams brought in one former New Orleans Saint this off-season and have now lost Gregg Williams for at least one season. Jim Thomas of the St Louis Post-Dispatch reports that they are bringing in another in the shape of free agent LB JoLonn Dunbar. One of many linebackers to struggle this season in New Orleans Dunbar had another dreadful season grading -26.3 overall grading negatively in every single facet of the game. Dunbar only had one game graded above +1.0 overall all season, Week 2 against the Bears, it would be interesting to see what Dunbar could do outside of the Saints’ linebacker unfriendly scheme.
11:22 SIGNING & RELEASES! The Buccaneers have taken to twitter to update us on their latest roster news and whilst they don’t carry the same dollar value as their roster moves of a week ago we will update you on them nevertheless. Leaving Tampa Bay are a pair of defensive ends, Tim Crowder and Nick Reed. Reed played only 20 snaps with the Bucs last week after starting the season in Chicago and across the two teams recorded only one hit and one pressure on 68 pass rushes. Crowder had a much reduced role in 2011 and didn’t play after Week 12 but did appear to find his niche in a very limited role. Crowder recorded a season grade of +3.8 overall and +4.4 as a run defender, both his best of the last four seasons. Joining the Buccaneers today is T Jamon Meredith, most recently of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Meredith hasn’t recorded an offensive snap at tackle since Week 2 of the 2010 season as a member of the Buffalo Bills. His last snaps on offense came for the Giants in Week 13 of that same season as an extra tackle.
10:55 The fallout in Denver doesn’t just relate to the signing of Peyton Manning. Somewhat lost in the big news of the week is that the Broncos lost Brodrick Bunkley to the Saints on a five year deal this week. According to Evan Silva the Broncos’ reaction is to enter contract negotiations with the fellow free agent DT Marcus Thomas. With the loss of Bunkley the Broncos no longer have their dominant and disruptive run defending defensive tackle, the Broncos will hope that Thomas can step up and fill this role. Playing in excess of 500 snaps during the regular season, 61 more than Bunkley, Thomas graded out at +9.7 as a run defender. That is far short of Bunkley’s +28.4 but was still good enough for tenth in the league and his 25 stops were close to the top ten league wide amongst defensive tackles as well. Thomas’ overall grade is hurt by his complete inability to rush the passer but if given Bunkley’s role in the defense as a two down run defender he could yet flourish as a budget re-signing for Denver.
10:01 The Tim Tebow trade was fallout from the Peyton Manning acquisition in Denver. Manish Mehta of the NY Daily News reports that there could be some, admittedly less glamorous, fallout from the Tebow trade. The Jets signed Drew Stanton to be the backup to Mark Sanchez on the understanding that they wouldn’t sign another QB. They just did and Stanton, quite understandably, wants out to a team he has a chance to be a #2 with. Mehta reports that Stanton would prefer a release but would also be amenable to a trade.
09:54 With the line that the Bills were putting together this season it is understandable that Aaron Schobel might have been tempted to come out of retirement to play opposite Mario Williams and alongside the DT pairing of Kyle Williams and Marcel Dareus. However Schobel has confirmed to the Buffalo News that he will be staying retired and not returning to the NFL this year. We graded Schobel positively in both 2009 and 2008, grading positively in each season as both a run defender and pass rusher.
09:49 Aaron Wilson reports that free agent RB Kregg Lumpkin will visit with the Seahawks across today and tomorrow. The Seahawks have Justin Forsett available who is a better player than Lumpkin but is deserving of more playing time than perhaps Seattle can offer him. Lumpkin played largely in multiple receiver sets for the Bucs last season but was poor in pass protection. Along with Reggie Bush he was our worst graded blocking tailback last season having conceded three sacks, three hits and ten pressures last season.
09:36 The Miami Herald reports that the Dolphins passed on QB Matt Flynn because they were not convinced that he would beat out current starter Matt Moore. This could be one of two things, either the Dolphins are covering for being snubbed again this off-season or they are fully aware that they have potential at the QB position in the shape of Moore. Recently our very own Khaled Elsayed looked into the Dolphins’ potential move for Alex Smith stating that they were better served sticking with Moore. Having swung out on Peyton Manning that could well be the case for every other veteran QB on the market this off-season. Will Moore repay that faith?
09:16 BOUNTY-GATE UPDATE! The latest from Adam Schefter on the Saints’ punishments for “Bounty-Gate” refers to the punishments for players which will reportedly be focused on Jonathan Vilma, Will Smith and Scott Fujita. This punishment will apparently not be quick in coming but it would seem these three are being cast as the on field leaders of the Bounty program.
08:53 A report emerging from Matt Barrows potentially sheds some light on why the Steelers decision to only tender Mike Wallace as a restricted free agent, rather than a franchise player, could turn out to be such a shrewd move. Reports suggest that Wallace is in search of more money than Larry Fitzgerald received from the Cardinals last season. Fitzgerald received $128.5 million from the Cardinals last season in total contract value and if Wallace is after such a ludicrous amount of money then the Steelers attitude could be that they don’t think any team will pay him that much money. If Wallace isn’t willing to compromise then the Steelers would, and should, be confident that they wouldn’t lose him even as a restricted free agent. This doesn’t help the Steelers long term if these are Wallace’s contract demands but it should at least ensure that Wallace receives no serious interest for the rest of free agency and explains why it has been so quiet on the Mike Wallace front thus far in free agency.
08:33 Aaron Wilson reports that Tom Brady has re-structured his contract with the Patriots to create more than $7 million of cap space for the Patriots. There are no big contract free agents left on the board so this isn’t creating space for one free agent but gives the Patriots more flexibility with cap management and potential extensions this season. Another slow start to a day of free agency sees this as the biggest news so far today.
04:20 We got ourselves an early nights sleep yesterday but we’re back and better than ever. So let’s catch up on what news we missed from yesterday yeah? Well Tim Tebow finally secured his trade to the New York Jets, meaning this piece by Sam Monson has relevance. The Seattle Seahawks have brought in offensive lineman Frank Omiyale, a tackle so bad that he got benched by the Chicago Bears. And Andre Caldwell is the latest player to join with the Denver Broncos. Caldwell was our fifth lowest ranked receiver in the league in 2011 as he struggled to make plays, averaging a pitiful 8.6 yards per catch. Caught up? Now let’s see what happens today.