Whew… no telling what’s coming each day during the frenzy — we jumped right from Thursday’s Welker-Amendola (Welkendola?) shuffle to Friday’s faulty faxing and Saturday may begin with an RFA being courted away.
As always, we’ll have the blog manned around the clock (well it’s the weekend, so probably a bit more infrequently than you’ve come to expect) to update with PFF notes and comments on each bit of free agent news, but between flurries make sure you stop in to the past days’ entries to get our takes on all of the moves to date:
You can also catch up to us on Twitter, and browse our exhaustive Free Agent Tracker that comes complete with 2012 PFF player grades and snap counts. And, if you want more detail than that, then you really need to get yourself a PFF Premium Subscription.
Day 5 time!
(Updates will be hourly today.)
Day 5 Recap With the free agency news slowing to a lull, we’re signing off for the night. It’s been a crazy five days and there is still much more to come as the team-building portion of the NFL calendar marches on. There’s not better way to recap free agency than with the links to the daily blogs at the top of the page. We’ve already written more than 30,000 words of analysis to this point. If you’ve seen us tossing around PFF grades throughout the week and you need more information about our grading, check out our “Why Subscribe?” page. Also be sure to check out PFF’s first ever Google Hangout featuring our founder Neil Hornsby and top analyst Sam Monson. We’ll continue to keep you up-to-date with the latest free agency news and analysis as it unfolds, so be sure to check in with us throughout the day.
23:00 Update It’s been a quiet night here in Day 5, but our Free Agency Deal Grader is a nice recap of many of the major moves from throughout the week. In other news, Mary Kay Cabot reports that TE Kellen Davis is visiting the Browns along with CB Brent Grimes. Davis ranked 58th out of the top 62 tight ends last season grading at -8.8. The poor grade stemmed largely from his eight dropped passes on only 27 catchable balls, the second highest percentage at the position at 29.6 percent.
BONUS PICKED UP! Aaron Wilson reports that Ravens picked up the $5 million option bonus in the second year of CB Ladarius Webb’s $50 million contract. Webb played only 383 snaps last season while grading at +3.5. He is one of the better slot cornerbacks in the league as he ranked fourth in 2011 surrendering only 0.88 Yards/Cover Snap.
SIGNING! The Giants have found their new tight end as Mike Garafolo reports that they’ve signed former Raider Brandon Myers. It’s hard to ignore Myers’ league worst run block grade of -20.4, but he caught 79 of his 101 targets for 806 yards and four touchdowns. It’s going to be a big change for the Giants who may have become accustomed to TE Martellus Bennett’s (+3.1) strong run blocking, but his departure to the Bears left the Giants forced to make a move in a light market for tight ends.
SIGNING! The Jets have re-signed kicker Nick Folk to a one-year deal according to the team’s twitter account. Folk was our No. 34 ranked kicker last season at +8.0. Though he wasn’t terribly proficient at kicking the ball into the end zone on kickoffs, his average start position at the 21.6 yard line ranked in the middle of the pack and he hit only 78 percent of his field goals to rank 28th in the NFL.
VISIT! Brent Grimes is reportedly visiting the Browns according to Alex Marvez. Grimes played only 52 snaps last season before tearing his ACL, but he ranked as our No. 3 cornerback in 2011 at +17.2. He only allowed 45 percent of the passes thrown his way for a QB Rating of 62.9 while getting his hands on 12 of his 56 targets. Given the current cornerback market and Grimes coming back from injury, he could be a steal for a team at a very cheap price.
SIGNING! After losing Dashon Goldson the 49ers need some help at their free safety spot. One of the guys likely to have a crack at the job is Craig Dahl who they just inked on a three-year deal. Dahl was our 78th (out of 88) ranked safety, but while he struggled to make many plays, he didn’t give up a lot of big plays. Indeed in coverage he only gave up 0.48 yards into his primary coverage, 20th best of all safeties. We don’t expect him walking into the starting job, but if nothing else he’ll contribute on special teams where he had 26 tackles over the past three years.
RELEASE! Not a player this time, but an agent. In a move that will come as a surprise to nobody Elvis Dumervil has parted ways with Marty Magid. It’s prompted a lot of jokes on twitter. A lot. Too many. Avoid twitter. Unless it’s us. We’re still cool.
SIGNING! This one comes from Adam Schefter who reports that the Packers have re-signed Robert Francois. Francois was limited to a purely special teams role in 2012 where he made nine tackles, but did log 169 snaps back in 2011 and was a starter in two games. He made 14 tackles but missed four. He’s looking for the chance to start but will likely have to settle for a depth role with the Packers bringing back Desmond Bishop, A.J. Hawk and D.J. Smith.
RUMOR! After all the drama surrounding Elvis Dumervil, it’s important to remember he’s going to want to play football somewhere next year. Where? Well Aaron Wilson reports that the Ravens are expressing some serious interest in Dumervil. The now former Bronco had the 14th highest pass rushing productivity score of all 4-3 defensive ends but struggles mightily in the run game.
RELEASE! This one has seemed on the cards for a few days as the Patriots re-tool their receiver group. Brandon Lloyd is no longer a Patriot and instantly becomes the best free agent receiver on the market. It just didn’t work out for him as hoped in New England but Lloyd was still an important part of the Patriots offense. He picked up 911 yards and four touchdowns while earning a +12.9 grade on the year. Like we say. Top receiver on the market
VISIT! We answered a question earlier from someone wondering where the market for the services of Bernard Pollard where. Well we’ve got an update now courtest of Aaron Wilson who revealed the former Raider visited with the Titans yesterday. After signing George Wilson is seems an odd move, with Wilson playing well for the Bills before becoming a cap casualty. Pollard, fame for taking out Patriots, earned our seventh highest grade of all safeties against the run, though the five penalties he was flagged for are indicative of a player who walks a very fine line.
SIGNING! We know which teams are working hard at the weekend. We saw the Patriots make some moves earlier and now we’re seeing it from the Giants. After already announcing the signing of Louis Murphy, they’re also bringing in Dan Connor on a one-year deal per Pro Football Talk. Connor has never built upon the talent he flashed in 2010 when he earned a ridiculous +12.7 grade o njust 261 snaps. He’s talented and should provide an early downs upgrade on what the Giants had last year.
VISIT! Not content with making that move the Giants are bringing in tight end Brandon Myers for a visit. (per New York Daily News). Myers was our second lowest ranked tight end in the league last year, in large part thanks to his horrible blocking (-20.4). He did earn a positive grade for his receiving, where he turned 101 targets into 806 yards and four touchdowns. He’d be a big dropoff from Martellus Bennett if he’s being considered an every down option.
VISIT! Not much as happened in the past hour since we were treated to three deals. Pro Football Talk is reporting that John Abraham also visited with the Dolphins. Abraham was the Falcons lone reliable pass rusher in 2012, and would likely benefit from playing opposite an end like Cameron Wake. He had some problems generating pressure against the better tackles in the league, but still finished the year with the sixth highest pass rushing productivity score of all 4-3 defensive ends. Though you should really read the timeline of Jeff Darlington on twitter if you want to be confused by this situation.
SIGNING! This is a much bigger deal and it comes from Adam Schefter. He’s reporting that the Patriots have re-signed Aqib Talib to a one-year deal, giving Talib a chance to prove he’s worth the numbers he’d want long term. Talib is long on talent but there’s reason why the Bucs got frustrated with him. Off the field indiscretions and on the field off games made him expendable. Still he’s proven capable of matching up with a team’s top receiver, even if he did give up a touchdown or first down on 7.8% of his coverage snaps (second highest of any cornerback in the league).
SIGNING! They’ve lost some depth at wide receiver and the Giants have responded to that by signing Louis Murphy to a one-year deal according to Pro Football Talk. The Panthers traded for Murphy last year but he just didn’t develop the kind of chemistry with Cam Newton they had hoped, and it led him averaging the second lowest yards per route run in the league. The Giants are not going to want to rely on Murphy if they can help it.
SIGNING! We’ve only gone and had a deal. Albert Breer reports that the Patriots are bringing back Niko Koutouvides on a one-year deal. Nothing more than a special teamer, he made two special teams tackles last year and even made nine snaps on defense. Don’t be looking for him to challenge for defensive playing time. He got 46 snaps in 2011 for the Patriots and didn’t look the part.
Another hour passes, and yet still we await some news. If memory serves there was some movement on the first Saturday of Free Agency last year, and with a lot of good value guys still on the market we’re optimistic going forward.
No news is good news right? From last night we learnt that Frank Omiyale will visit with the Panthers according to Adam Caplan. Omiyale didn’t embarrass himself in his 119 snaps with the Seahawks last year but if you go back to his time in Chicago you’ll see that was more the exception than the rule. He turned 1,392 snaps over 2010 and 2011 into a -30.4 grade. Ouch.
The hourly update is that … there is no update. It’s very quiet but we want you to know we’re still here. Primed for the next bout of fax-induced fun.
From Adam Schefter it appears as if those earlier reports of Emmanuel Sanders being signed to an offer sheet are a little bit premature. The Patriots are mulling it over currently as they revamp their wide receiver group. Sanders can operate outside and in the slot and played 740 snaps for the Steelers last year. He turned that into 624 yards with just one touchdown but did fumble two balls and drop three others.
If you’re up this early and looking for news you’re out of luck. If you’re looking for some interesting pieces? Well then you need only look at this comparison of Wes Welker and Danny Amendola by the numbers.
RUMOR! Some news you may have already heard and it’s more sensible news from the Raiders. Yes you read that right. According to Calvin Watkins Oakland is interested in Kevin Burnett. Burnett was a victim of the Dolphins wanted to get younger and more explosive at the linebacker spot, but was our fourth graded 4-3 outside linebacker last year and shouldn’t struggle for finding teams interested in his services.
Just what exactly can we expect now that the sun is up on Saturday? Stay with us today, check back every hour or so and we’ll analyze all the developments.
2.00 Not sure where we’re at with this one yet, but the Patriots may have signed restricted free agent WR Emmanuel Sanders to an offer sheet. Dale Lolley of the Observer-Reporter mentions Sanders leaving without an offer, but Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has Sanders not only with an offer, but says he’s signed it already. There’s certainly smoke — and may well be fire — as New England once again looks to add to their WR corps.
1.00 The linebacker overhaul in Oakland may continue as Calvin Watkins of ESPNDallas.com is reporting that they are interested in former Dolphins LB Kevin Burnett and a “deal is possible.” The Raiders have already signed LBs Nick Roach and Kaluka Maiava, so adding Burnett to the mix would complete the new look in Oakland. Burnett graded at +11.9 with the Dolphins last season, including +6.9 against the run and he even garnered Second-Team as a 4-3 outside linebacker on our All-Pro Team.