2014 Free Agency Live Blog, Day 2
Day 2 of free agency is here and we'll provide blow-by-blow analysis as the teams and players agree on free agent deals.
2014 Free Agency Live Blog, Day 2
Day 1 was all we had hoped for and it seems to rolling on through the night and right into Day 2, so, with coffee on to help us through the night, here we go.
As the news of signings come in, we’ll be with you around the clock to share our unique stats and the grades that have helped a number of NFL teams with their preparation for free agency (as well as other things).
And, in addition to this Live Reaction Blog, keep on top of all the moves with our Free Agent Tracker, our updating list of Top 75 free agents and the massively popular Deal Grader that offers an easy-to-follow comparison of free agent signings… and, of course, follow us on Twitter at: @PFF.
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To see what we had to say about the action on Day 1, click here.
Refresh the page every 15-20 minutes for updates…
Head over to our Day 3 Free Agency Reaction Blog landing spot to get all the reaction to all the news right here
23.45: SIGNING! Rich Cimini reports that the Jets have signed WR Eric Decker to a 5-year, $36.25 million deal with $15 million guaranteed. Our No. 2 free agent wide receiver, Decker has cashed in on his big season that saw him catch 87 passes for 1288 yards, 11 touchdowns and a +11.6 receiving grade that ranked 16th among wide receivers. The big question with Decker is the two extreme differences in quarterbacks with which he’s played throughout his career. He caught passes from the inconsistent and inaccurate Tim Tebow in his first two seasons, before making the jump to future Hall of Famer Peyton Manning who helped vault him into his current contract. Given the two extremes, it’s tough to gauge just how much Decker has improved during his four years in the league and how much of it is owed to Manning. The answer is likely somewhere in between, but Decker will have plenty of chances to to prove his worth as the go-to receiver in New York.
23.30: It appears the race for our No. 5 free agent offensive tackle Anthony Collins will come down to the Panthers, Buccaneers, or perhaps a return to the Bengals. The Panthers are in dire need of offensive line help after seemingly their entire starting unit either retired or has at least considered the option. Tampa Bay already has two solid tackles in Donald Penn and Demar Dotson, but Penn is rumored to be released if a deal is reached with Collins.
As for the Bengals, Collins filled in admirably at left tackle last season, grading at +16.0 on 592 snaps. His emergence allowed for a smooth transition by former left tackle Andrew Whitworth to left guard where he played at a Pro Bowl level. Bringing Collins back could go a long way toward keeping the offensive line as one of Cincinnati’s strengths headed into 2014.
22.55: Just a reminder, we are looking for new additions to the PFF team. You can click here for more information on how to apply.
SIGNING! RE-SIGNING!: Adam Schefter is now reporting that after his contract was voided by the Raiders, Rodger Saffold has agreed to return to the Rams on a 5-year contract. What a crazy whirlwind of an evening, but Saffold’s return to St. Louis likely puts him back at right guard where he played well for a six-game stretch that saw him grade at +9.4 overall.
22.25: In a crazy turn of events, OT Rodger Saffold has failed his physical, voiding his potential contract with the Oakland Raiders. The deal was in place for 5 years and $42.5 million, but it now leaves Oakland with a hole at either left tackle or guard (depending on where they planned on playing Saffold), but Saffold must re-group and find another suitor, most likely for a lot less money.
21.45 TRIPLE SIGNING! Not to be outdone by the Jets, the Arizona Cardinals official twitter account has confirmed the signings of three players. First up is the re-signing of outside linebacker Marcus Bernard on a one year deal and, while he did only play sparingly last year, he did have two “green” graded outings as a pass rusher. They’ve also added interior offensive lineman Ted Larsen from Tampa Bay, who struggled in 2013 but does have experience at both center and guard. Finally they’ve brought in running back Jonathan Dwyer on a one year deal and, despite playing just 15 snaps in 2013, he did average a solid 2.8 Yards After Contact per Carry for the Steelers in 2012.
21.20 SIGNING! A little later than we’d planned due to some site issues, but the New York Jets own twitter account has confirmed that they’ve signed right tackle Breno Giacomini. While the timing on the announcement, right after the Revis news broke, will raise a few eyebrows, the Jets were in need of a new right tackle after Austin Howard signed with the Oakland Raiders yesterday. Giacomini’s career is filled with lots of good games and lots of poor games so the Jets will be hoping they can get the best out of him in 2014.
20.35 SIGNING! And it’s the big one. Adam Schefter reports that the New England Patriots have agreed a one year, $12m deal with cornerback Darrelle Revis. A year after leaving the New York Jets he’s back in the AFC East and coming off a season where he managed to finish as our highest graded cornerback in his comeback year from that knee injury. They’re paying more than the Broncos are paying for their own former CB Aqib Talib this year, but they’ve added one of the best players in the game as they look to go two steps further in 2014.
20.25 SIGNING! After the confusion on the deal earlier in the day, Jim Wyatt has now confirmed that Al Woods has signed in Tennessee. It’s a two year, $5m deal for the former Pittsburgh Steelers defensive lineman who had a grade of +2.6 on 108 snaps against the run in the regular season and a whopping +7.5 grade against the run in preseason.
19.25: RE-SIGNING! Earlier today, ace run defender Matt Shaughnessy visited with the Patriots. It obviously didn’t go that well in so much as the former Raider has re-signed with Arizona per Kent Somers. You know what you’re going to get with Shaughnessy where he offers little pass rush, but is extremely active around the line of scrimmage, proving a nuisance for tackles and tight ends to keep contained. He ended last year with a +7.6 run defender grade and -12.4 pass rush effort.
19.20: RE-SIGNING! The Jets boast one of the more fearsome three man fronts and they’re not too shabby with their depth either. Key defensive end backup Leger Douzable has re-signed for another year per Pro Football Talk. His 242 snaps saw him pick up a +3.6 grade in his first year with Gang Green after he missed the entire 2012 season despite some strong work in Jacksonville in 2011. It’s a solid move for the Jets who are taking a slow and steady approach to free agency.
19.15: VISIT! One from earlier. The Chiefs snapped up Joe Mays and it means Akeem Jordan may need to find a new home. He’s visiting with a Titans team that is low on inside linebacker talent and, given how much the Chiefs use their dime package, could offer him more playing time than he had last year. In 2013 he earned a +4.5 grade on 483 snaps as a base defender.
18.45: Clearly all the agents are sitting down for a bit of food after a taxing 24 hours. Nobody has signed since Keith Rivers returned to the AFC with the Bills. Is the market re-setting itself as teams react to their moves in the first 24 hours? Or the teams just trolling us? In any case waste away some time with the PFF Premium Package that numerous NFL teams are using to help them with their personnel decisions.
18.30: SIGNING! The Bills have been busy today haven’t they? One time first round pick and most recently former Giant Keith Rivers has signed a two-year deal for $5m according to James Walker. Rivers has never quite grown into an every down role (or the player he was drafted to be) but his work in the run game is that of a person you can count on in a teams base package. He’s earned a +3.9 grade in this regard over the past two years with 8 special teams tackles over the period.
18.20: VISIT! Sometimes two plus two does equal four. Albert Breer is reporting that there seems little chance of Chris Clemons leaving Jacksonville without signing a deal. The team tried Jason Babin last year in the role but while he did a serviceable job wasn’t really built for it the way Clemons was. His play in the postseason makes him an exciting get for the Jaguars as Gus Bradley tries to create the kind of defense they have in Seattle.
18.00: RELEASE Per Jim Wyatt’s tweet, the Titans have let David Stewart go. The 31-year-old right tackle represented a $6.4m cap savings for the Titans that was too much to ignore. Is this the end of the road for the eight year veteran who was our 35th ranked right tackle after playing in 12 games. Stewart stills hold up (for the most part) in pass protection, but isn’t the run blocker he once was with injuries appearing to have taken their toll. The former fourth round pick was a top tier right tackle in his prime.
17.45: RE-SIGNING! Per his exclamation on Twitter, Mike Neal is staying in Green Bay for two more years. Seeing his snap totals rise year on year, Neal put up a -12.6 overall grade on a career-high 751 snaps in 2013, the majority of which spent lined up as the team’s LOLB. The 290-something-pounder might not be a perfect fit for the role, but his 46 total pressures (5 sacks, 4 hits, 37 hurries) last year were apparently enough to convince the Packers he was a good keep.
17.30: VISIT! Captain Munnerlyn is stopping in to see the Vikings, presumably with an eye toward the team’s slot CB role. Munnerlyn spent 406 snaps in slot coverage — the second-highest total in the league — and surrendered an 81.7 passer rating with no TDs on his record. Minnesota’s Robinson-Blanton-Sherels combo of slot work gave up passer ratings of 127.2, 121.0, and 119.3, and five TDs.
17.15: RE-SIGNING! The Seahawks may have said goodbye to Golden Tate and Chris Clemons earlier today but they’re bringing back a lot of the band that helped them win the Super Bowl. The next man re-signed is Tony McDaniel (per Schefter) who is coming off a career year as a starter in the Seahawks base defensive package. The former 2006 undrafted free agent ended his year with a healthy +13.7 run defense grade and will partner up again with the ever excellent Brandon Mebane to form a formidable duo fronting up the Seahawks defense. It’s not rocket science but when you have a great team keeping players is preferable to adding them.
17.00: SIGNING! The Giants really are serious about making over their offensive line aren’t they? They’ve brought in J.D. Walton per Mike Klis, the former Broncos center who has struggled for playing time since a serious injury he picked up in week 4 of the 2012 season. It was a shame because after two horrible years to start his career he looked like he’d taken a leap forward (+5.1 on 256 snaps) with Peyton Manning behind him. Since then he’s yet to see the field so carries little risk to the Giants if it doesn’t work out. Pure, if somewhat limited, upside.
16.55: SIGNING! The Chiefs have lost three offensive linemen over the past 24 hours but they’re adding some numbers in the form of Jeff Linkenbach. This comes from his agent and it appears a good landing spot for the 2010 undrafted free agent. He managed 408 snaps across three positions for the Colts last year which makes his -7.5 grade a little harder to get a grip on. The ideal scenario for the Chiefs likely involves having Linkenbach act as both depth and a sixth linemen (as they were not afraid to use this year).
16.50: SIGNING! This one comes from Adam Caplan who is having himself a nice news breaking free agency. He reports that Joe Mays has signed a two-year, $6m deal with the Chiefs. Mays managed 563 snaps this year as a two down linebacker, earning a +1.1 grade for his work in the game. That’s in keeping with a career that has seen him excel coming downhill but struggle on his heels. He figures to replace Akeem Jordan as the base downs partner in crime with Derrick Johnson.
16.45: VISIT! Per Jason La Canfora Emmanuel Sanders is travelling the country today. He’s in Florida with the Jaguars right now and will pop down the road to Tampa to see the Buccaneers later on (assuming he doesn’t fall for the Gus Bradley charm that so many have). Sanders is coming off a year where he had a real chance to make a name for himself as the Steelers number two but while he graded solidly (+1.5) didn’t make the kind of impression he needed to. He does bring impressive moves after the catch where he forced 15 missed tackles, good for fourth out of all wide receivers.
16.35: VISIT! Best to reserve judgment? Per Ryan O’Halloran Jacksonville will be hosting former first round pick Ziggy Hood. Hmm. Perhaps a move to a different scheme might make better use out of him, but few players in the NFL have spent the past three years playing as much as Hood without making any real positive impact. As far as our unique signature stats go he’s finished (amongst 3-4 defensive ends) sixth from bottom (2013), third from bottom (2012) and sixth from bottom (2011) in pass rushing productivity while amassing a -11.6 run defense grade over that period. Coach him up.
16.30: RELEASE! The Browns aren’t wasting time. Per Adam Caplan they’ve ditched their second quarterback within an hour and this time Jason Campbell has been told to hit the road. Campbell had his chance last year when injuries pushed him to a starting spot but he flopped, playing some maddening football that earned him a -10.8 grade. He had particular struggles on his deep ball where he connected with just 9-of-34 attempts. Unless the team thinks Brian Hoyer is the answer it’s shaping up for the team to take a quarterback with their number one pick.
16.15: Phew. It’s been a hectic hour or so and something tells us things aren’t done for the evening. But as we catch our breath have a look at our Top 75 Free Agents as of this morning and get in touch with @PFF to let us know where you think the players who have been cut today should be slotted in.
16.00: RE-SIGNING! They often say the best business you can do is bringing back one of your own. The Ravens are adhering to that model and bringing back Jacoby Jones on a four-year deal according to the team website. The dynamic kick returner was given a chance to be the teams number two after they traded away Anquan Boldin but just wasn’t up to the job and ended up in a job share that saw undrafted free agent Marlon Brown feature on 248 more snaps (though he did miss four games). If the team upgrade their receiver position he might even see a decrease on those snaps numbers, instead focusing more on returning where he was our seventh ranked one on the year.
15.50: RELEASE! Revis isn’t the only one getting canned though these guys won’t find such lucrative markets. Cleveland have had enough of Branden Weeden and the Patriots aren’t feeling Isaac Sopoaga can bring much to their defense. We don’t know what we can tell you about Weeden that your eyes won’t have already told you. He’s earned a -36.8 grade over one and a half years and showed the kind of pocket presence that kills your own pass protection. As for Sopoaga he was one of the weaker signings in free agency last year but struggled to get on the field with the Eagles before they traded him to New England. He had 363 snaps all told in 2013 and earned a -5.6 grade against the run. This might be it for him.
15.45: RELEASE! He was our number four ranked coverage corner last year. He’s perhaps had the greatest season of any cornerback in the modern era. And he’s just been released. Multiple reports cite that Darrelle Revis has been ditched by the Buccaneers who just couldn’t afford to take the hit on his $16m per year contract. It means the Bucs spent a first round for a year rental of Revis and that the former Jet now finds himself back on the market with a host of teams interested. Things are going to get very interest as the extremely savy Revis finds his next cash machine NFL team. His 2009 where he graded at+33.2 in coverage grade remains the benchmark of shutdown corner play.
15.35: SIGNING! A big deal for the Lions. They have desperately needed someone to lessen the load on the broad shoulders of Calvin Johnson and now they have that man. Super Bowl winner Golden Tate has signed a five-year deal per the team website. Tate has dropped a ridiculous seven passes in four years while he led wide receivers by forcing 21 missed tackles after the catch. He’s not a field stretcher but he’s a unique talent that fits perfectly into that offense. With him, Megatron and their double trouble at the running back spot how could you not be excited to see how Detroit performs on offense? Especially behind our seventh ranked offensive line from 2013.
15.30: SIGNING! The Chargers tried to find a blocking tight end with John Phillips last year but he might not be the answer with the team bringing in the more versatile David Johnson. He was limited to just 75 snaps this year but go back to 2011 and the man who can line up at tight end or fullback earned a very healthy +8.0 grade for his run blocking then. Having missed so much time the last two years you can file this one into the low risk, possible reward category. The former seventh rounder is just 26 years old.
15.20: RE-SIGNING! After adding to their offensive line yesterday, the Miami Dolphins have re-signed Randy Starks to a 2 year, $12m deal reports Jason La Canfora. Having lost Paul Soliai to Atlanta yesterday, it was important for Miami to keep Starks who, despite his advancing years, finished last season as our seventh highest graded defensive tackle, and above +13.0 both against the run and as a pass rusher. Though Starks has been around in the NFL for seemingly ever he’s actually just 30 years of age and shows no signs of slowing down. He’s scored a +50.7 grade over the last three years though it remains to be seen how he’ll be used alongside Earl Mitchell rather than Paul Soliai.
15.05: SIGNING! After releasing DeMarcus Ware, Calvin Watkins reports that the Dallas Cowboys have added defensive end Jeremy Mincey in an attempt to bolster their pass rush with the sort of low budget signing needed when you’re struggling against the salary cap. Mincey played for both the Jacksonville Jaguars and Denver Broncos in 2013, and finished the year with a grade of +5.3 on 352 snaps. His success as a pass rusher was sporadic, with three green graded games in that regard. Amazing to think that this time a couple of years ago Mincey was one of those cashing in on a decent sized deal that he never lived up to in Jacksonville.
14.55: The numbers are finally available for the Geoff Schwartz deal and the Giants look to have done very well here. A four year, $16.8m deal with $6.2m is somewhat of a steal for our top available guard in Free Agency, but it also gives Schwartz some security after a series of short term deals. It’s a big get for the Giants especially given the money some teams have been paying to guards over the past 24 hours.
14.40: Hold the phone on two previously reported deals. Reports are that the Al Woods deal is not done, and that the player wants to visit elsewhere. Meanwhile Ian Rapoport reports that the New York Giants have put the O’Brien Schofield deal on hold, pending concerns about his knee.
14.15: SIGNING! The agent of Josh McCown has come out and said his player will be signing with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. No details on the deal as of yet except it’s a 2-year deal but McCown is likely to be competing for a starting job with streaky rookie Mike Glennon. It will provide an interesting challenge for the journeyman former Bear who is coming off a career year where he earned a +16.6 grade. Is he a product of a system or has he just finally got it? Time will tell.
14.10: SIGNING! Courtesy of Ed Bouchette who reports the Tennessee Titans have signed a favorite of Steve Palazzolo in versatile lineman Al Woods. The former Steeler filled in for 223 snaps last year as backup nose tackle who started two games and earned a +2.6 run defense grade. He’ll be a strong addition even if it’s just in a backup role as the Titans reshape their defense.
14.00: SIGNING! The deal of the day is done and it’s a big one. Adam Schefter reports that DeMarcus Ware has signed a three-year deal with the Denver Broncos. It includes $20m guaranteed and $30m in total. Not bad money if you can get it. The Broncos are in win now mode and are doing whatever it takes to get back to the Super Bowl. Ware was our eighth ranked 4-3 defensive end despite playing less than 700 snaps, showing the kind of all round game we’ve come to expect from him. Pairing him and Von Miller together almost seems unfair. Who’d be a tackle in the AFC West?
13.55: RE-SIGNING! Courtesy of Aditi Kinkhabwala the Giants are bringing Jon Beason. No deal details as of yet but it’s important get because the Giants lack anything resembling linebacker depth right now. Still it’s not all smiles as Beason has a checkered injury history and was something of a liability in coverage. His usefulness to the Giants goes beyond his play to a degree with the middle linebacker role for the G-Men being extremely important from an intangible perspective and so continuity in this case is key. He scored a -16.0 coverage grade so don’t be surprised if teams go after him.
13.45: VISIT! The Green Bay Packers were going to be big players in free agency this year. Or so we were led to believe. Maybe they still will and Ted Thompson just didn’t realize it all kicked off yesterday. With these tampering periods it can all get awfully confusing. In any case they’ve got, per Tom Silverstein, Owen Daniels in for a visit. It would be impossible to speculate as to what kind of condition Daniels is, a man who has dealt with severe knee injuries and missed an awful lot of time these past three years. But it can’t hurt to kick the tyres and see what kind of shape he’s in because he’s an excellent receiving tight end. He played just 362 snaps last year and earned a +3.0 grade for his work as a receiver.
13.40: SIGNING! Aaron Wilson, an underrated news breaker, reports that the Cowboys have added to their defensive tackle ranks by signing Terrell McClain to a three-year deal. McClain spent time at both nose and end last year so he should provide depth for the Cowboys at both their 1-tech and 3-tech defensive tackle positions. Since being a major bust when selected by Carolina (you can blame some of that on the Panthers throwing him into a starting spot long before he was ready) he’s slowly gone about rebuilding his reputation. He earned a -0.8 grade on 182 snaps as the chief backup to Earl Mitchell. He’ll compete for a spot in camp.
13.35: SIGNING! Packers fans how do you feel about this? M.D. Jennings has signed a one-year deal with the Bears (which the team reported). This kind of move to a rival can normally create a range of emotions but something tells us the Pack won’t be too bothered after the -6.4 rating Jennings got for them last year, that included a late season job share. There aren’t many starting safeties who gave up five touchdowns and didn’t deflect or an intercept a ball of their own.
13.30: VISIT! Ian Rapoport has sources you know. And one of those sources (Michelle Beisner) tells us that the underrated Golden Tate is in the Lions facility right now. That would be some pick up for a team looking for a number two to Calvin Johnson. Tate isn’t going to stretch the field like Johnson are command the attention he does but he’s about as sure handed receiver as there is in the league, and he forced for missed tackles than any other receiver this year.
13.15: Well this is a shame. Steve Smith has arguably been the face of the Panthers franchise and it’s most dynamic player. Even last year he was still clearly the top receiver on the team with a healthy +9.7 grade. But there is no room for sentimentality in this business and Carolina have to make some tough decisions given the cap shape they’re in. According to the agent of Smith that means there is no way he’ll be back with the team next year. A physical receiver, there will be a market for him but it opens up a lot of questions about the Panthers offense. They’ve seen three (with potentially a fourth to follow) offensive linemen retire and they’re extremely short on talent and numbers at the wide receiver spot. Has 2013 masked that this is a team that desperately needs to transition away from some of the massive contracts signed by the previous General Manager?
13.00: VISIT! Sorry Rams fans. Just confirming what Adam Caplan has said in that Shelley Smith is visiting with a Giants team intent on rebuilding their offensive line. Smith is one of those bargain free agents who impressed in limited action last year when forced to fill in. hIS +12.3 run blocking grade was especially fun to watch, though his habit of surrendering pressure (two sacks, four hits and 12 hurries) might scare other suitors off the former sixth round pick.
12.45: SIGNING! Some saw Bruce Campbell as one of the bargains of free agency. That “bargain” is going to end up in Washington on a one-year deal. The once highly touted linemen suffered one of the worst draft day falls in recent memory and has since done … well very little in the NFL. He was firmly on the Panthers roster bubble before he landed on injured reserve, with just 64 career snaps to his name. It remains to be seen what Washington has in store for him.
12.15: RELEASE! With a -7.7 grade in 2013 you might think Chris Clemons is done. But it’s important to remember he was working his way back from a January ACL tear and finished the season extremely strong. His NFC Conference Championship efforts combined with his Super Bowl play earned him a +9.7 grade alone. So now the Seahawks have released expect a market to develop for him with the Jaguars the obvious candidate to pick him up. There’s some juice left in his tank.
12.00: VISIT! There are some good guards in the league, but in general this isn’t perhaps what you’d call a golden age at the spot. So take some pity on the Rams who have cut their most experienced guard, lost his replacement and the other starter within 24 hours of free agency opening, and are now watching their chief backup attract some interest. Thus we get their desperation, even if it means they’re turning to the perennially overrated Davin Joseph, hosting the former Buc for a visit per Jeremy Fowler. Joseph has a fantastic resume but his play on the field has never matched up to that and he’s coming off one of his weaker seasons where he was our lowest ranked right guard. That Rams offensive line is taking a hit.
11.55: We really liked Alex Carrington after something of a breakout 2012. Unfortunately he broke down early into his 2013 season that was set to lay the foundation for a big contract for him. Well now the vultures are circling, seeing a potential bargain in the versatile defensive lineman. Those vultures? According to Ian Rapoport it’s the Rams and perhaps more interesting the Browns. Cleveland are of course now coached by the man who managed the Bills defense last year who will be plenty familiar with Carrington and how he might fit into his scheme. Cleveland aren’t short on defensive line talent, but none of them have the kind of position flexibility as Carrington so it would make a lot of sense. Carrington had a +8.7 grade in 2012.
11.45: RE-SIGNING! By their standards the Steelers are going wild in free agency. They’ve spent big on a safety and are re-signing one of their to a three-year contract. That man is Cody Wallace who after a rough start filling in at center started showing some promise. He played 294 snaps and though his -2.6 grade isn’t great, it should be noted that -5.2 of that came in his first career start. Amazing to think Wallace was a fourth round pick of the 49ers who bounced around the league for a while before the Steelers run out of bodies to put in at center.
11.30: EXTENSION! Say weren’t the Saints going to cut Pierre Thomas at some point? Well according to Lamont Thomas that’s not the case. Instead they’ve added two years onto his deal for the incredibly talented (if somewhat breakable) running back. The saddest thing about Thomas is that he can’t carry a heavier workload because whether he is catching balls out of the backfield or running between the tackles, he always seems to get more yards than the defense is giving him. He has a remarkable +47.0 grade over the past three years.
11.20: SIGNING! The Eagles are rebuilding their special teams unit apparently. In comes Bryan Braman who managed 99 defensive snaps in three years with the Texans as an undrafted free agent. Unfortunately his -9.5 special teams grade means he doesn’t get the “ST Ace” designation, with seven missed tackles not helping his cause.
11.10: VISIT! It’s long been mooted that Ben Tate would visit a Cleveland team in desperate need of a running back. Well Ian Rapoport is tweeting that we can expect that meet up to happen soon. Tate admirably played hurt last year but it didn’t do him any favors as he struggled to make much headway despite filling in for Arian Foster. No doubt that has impacted on his value but with the Browns devoid of any option at the spot it looks like an ideal landing spot for him. Though he finished our 11th lowest ranked back, his pure rushing grade (+4.6) was equal to that of Matt Forte. This seems like a match made in heaven.
11.00: SIGNING! The Bills are bringing back one of their own per Mike Garafolo. That man is kicker Dan Carpenter and it’s on a four year deal worth a max of $9.9m with $2m guaranteed. The moment of truth now, how did he grade? He was our eighth ranked field goal kicker and plenty solid on his kickoffs. This deal was a no brainer.
10.45: SIGNING! The deal grader is not going to be kind on this one. The Bills may have low expectations at guard after the Colin Brown Debacle, but it’s perplexing that they’d think Chris Williams is the answer. The former first round pick was a bust in Chicago and not much better in St Louis where he would finish our 74th (out of 81) ranked guard. The deal is reported to be with $5.5m guaranteed over four years with a max value of $13.5 (as reported by Adam Schefter) but it’s hard to see that ever representing good value.
10.35: VISIT! It was a pretty quiet Tuesday for the Patriots. As they can do at times they let everyone else get excited while they sat, waited and now get to have a pick around what’s left. That means a visit for versatile edge defender Matt Shaughnessy. There is one thing Shaughnessy does very well (run defense) and one thing he does not (pass rush) but it would be an interesting pickup for New England because a) he can play in any front as he proved with Arizona this year, and b) he can spell the massively overworked duo of Rob Ninkovich and Chandler Jones, keeping them fresher in key pass rushing situations. Shaughnessy a +30.8 run defense grade since entering the league.
10.15: RUMOR! Jason LaCanfora is reporting this morning that the Dolphins are nearing a deal to re-sign DT Randy Starks, our No.-1 free agent defensive tackle. Though he’s getting up there in age, Starks has been a very productive player in multiple schemes and he’s coming off a strong +28.8 overall effort that ranked seventh among defensive tackles. His +13.0 pass rush grade came in eighth, while his +15.3 grade against the run ranked fifth, so his well-rounded game should be a big asset for the Dolphins. The only questions surround the length of the deal and how much more Starks has left in the tank as he heads into his 11th season in the league.
9.55: For more information on the Day-1 signings, check out Sam Monson’s take on Jairus Byrd and BenStockwell’s look at “Subset Scouting” and how it applies to top free agent defensive ends Michael Bennett and Michael Johnson.
9.50: Interested in working for PFF? We’ve started our hiring process for the 2014 season.
09.20: SIGNING! It appears that the Jaguars are signing former Buccaneers linebacker Dekoda Watson, Sports Talk Florida reports. Watson finished at +5.2 overall on his 263 snaps in 2013. He played primarily as a role player, though he showed well in his only start in Week 16 grading at +2.0 against the 49ers. He’s been a solid special teamer in the past, but declined a bit in 2013, finishing with a -0.5 overall grade, notching six tackles and three misses. He plays of five of six special teams units, lining up at R3 (contain) in kickoff coverage.
08.55: After a quiet first day, the Jets are doing some work today, reportedly visiting with WR Eric Decker and RT Breno Giacomini. Decker is our No. 2 free agent wide receiver while Giacomini is a servicable right tackle, finishing at -0.2 last season after a -11.6 effort in 2012. The Jets have major needs at both positions as they try to surround second-year quarterback Geno Smith with playmakers while looking to replace departed right tackle Austin Howard.
08.25: SIGNING! According to Adam Caplan, the Eagles have signed former Seahawks special teamer Chris Maragos to a 3-year/$4 million deal with $1 million guaranteed. He played on five of six special teams units in Seattle, with only the field goal unit devoid of his services. On the punt team, Maragos served as the personal protector and he generally lined up as the R5 (force player) in kickoff coverage. He was also a part of Seattle’s front wall on kickoff returns. For the season, Maragos graded -3.5 for his special teams work, notching five tackles while missing two.
07.00: More visits and now it’s time for the Raiders to make their play for AFC West dominance. They’re not likely contenders in the DeMarcus Ware sweepstakes, but they are bringing in both Justin Tuck and Lamarr Woodley for visits. Woodley has endured an incredibly frustrating three years, always showing his talent but struggling to stay on the field long enough to resemble the force he was in 2010. He remains one of the most productive pass rushers, but the fragility question marks are big. As for Tuck he turned it on down the stretch but at this point in his career he’s more of a complementary end. Very good against the run and with the hustle to chase down sacks, hits and hurries but not as explosive as he once was. Both however would represent astronomical upgrades for Oakland. But then they’re not the only ones right?
06.30: One of the things to keep an eye out today? What happens to DeMarcus Ware. He’s got a visit lined up with the Denver Broncos while rumors suggest 15 teams have expressed an interest. You’d almost think his agent linked that to gain even more leverage. Ware played hurt last year and missed time yet was still able to finish the year our 8th ranked defensive end. He’s still got it and he’ll be a big get wherever he ends up.
06.00: Wakey wakey. We drifted off for a couple of hours there but we’re back now. Lots of deals (worth a reported $1billion in total money) were made yesterday but don’t think that means there’s no money left today. An increase in the cap and a wave of excellent second tier options means today might be even busier. Our servers are bracing themselves.
04.30: VISIT! Things have quietened down in the last few hours, but Ian Rapoport is reporting that cornerback Tracy Porter is visiting the New York Giants. Porter struggled in the second half of 2013, grading out at -13.9 over the final eight games of the season, but he did have some good games early in the year for the Oakland Raiders, and recorded six pass breakups in the first eight games.
03.00: Update – 31 of our 32 team-by-team free agent pages have been updated since all of the craziness began. The one that hasn’t? Green Bay.
02.30: SIGNING! Per a late-night Twitter mention from his agent, Cleveland has added a cornerback – no, not that cornerback – they brought in slot man Isaiah Trufant from the Jets. Trufant has amassed just 216 total snaps in his four years in the league, including 72 in 2013 that saw him come away with a -1.9 coverage grade. All nine of the targets he saw in the slot last season were completed for 77 yards and a passer rating against of 102.3. FWIW, Buster Skrine spent nearly 400 snaps in coverage as the Browns’ primary slot guy in 2013.
01.30: Of the Top 75 free agents we had listed to start Day 1, 28 found new homes already — a ton left to target on Day 2 and beyond.
00.30: SIGNING! The Raiders have landed their second OL piece, agreeing to terms with Austin Howard formerly of the Jets on a five-year, $30m deal. Howard, a two-year starter at right tackle, followed a fairly solid 2012 (outside of that one game against Miami and Cameron Wake) with a decent first half in 2013 where he posted an overall grade of+8.2 through Week 8. Tailing off late in the year, primarily due to some sketchy performances as a run blocker, Howard will likely slot in on Oakland’s right side, replacing last year’s stopgap, Tony Pashos.
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