The Live Blog lives another day! We’ll finish the week with one more hour-by-hour offering of PFF reactions. You surely know the drill by now — check back often to keep up with our thoughts on the deals as they come in.
As always, we’ll have the blog manned around the clock. Look for updates with PFF notes and comments on each bit of free agent news, but make sure you’re caught up on what’s gone before by clicking on the past days’ entries for our takes:
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.
Here we go… Day 11!
(Updates will be hourly today.)
While the PFF team took their Friday night off, there were a few moves over the last several hours that we need to catch you up on.
SIGNING! To begin with, the Panthers brought back defensive tackle Dwan Edwards. Over the last several seasons the Panthers haven’t gotten much production out of the position, so Carolina added veterans Dwan and Ron Edwards, which didn’t help all that much. While Dwan Edwards managed six sacks, he didn’t come up with much more pressure and had a -6.5 rating in the run game. The move is an insurance policy at the position.
SIGNING! The Bengals brought back Dennis Roland at offensive tackle. For most of last season he served as a sixth offensive linemen, graded out average in run blocking, only allowed one pressure, but had two penalties which was his big problem. Even if Andre Smith doesn’t return to Cincinnati, Roland would likely still be a backup, but he remains a good option as a sixth lineman and someone they can use in case of injury.
SIGNING! After much speculation, the Texans added punter Shane Lechler. According to Adam Schefter, the terms of the deal were three years for 5.5 million dollars. That much money still makes Lechler one of the higher paid punters. Only 24 of his punts were inside the 20 which was amongst the bottom ten punters in the league, while a league high nine of his punts were touched back. He can still kick a fair distance with 47.1 yards on average, but with an offense like the Texans, more often then not you need a punter to pin the other team near their goalline more often then when you need someone to kick as far as they can.
SIGNING! The Cleveland Browns announced they have signed cornerback Chris Owens from the Falcons. Owens is a slot corner who struggled during his opportunities early on, and saw Robert McClain take his slot duties this year. However what we have seen recently out of Owens on a limited sample is a big step up from what he was doing earlier in his career. Over the last 35 times he has been targeted going back to the Falcons/Giants 2011 playoff game, he has seven passes defended, no touchdowns allowed, and has allowed a low 9.6 yards per catch on a low 57.1% catch rate. With how the roster stands now, either he or Buster Skrine will be the starter, while the other will be in the nickel defense only with either one taking the slot role.
We continue to hear a lot of talk and little action regarding the pass rushers available. Adam Schefter reports that the Falcons hope to sign Osi Umenyiora by the end of the weekend, while Pro Football Talk reports the Dolphins have joined the Broncos and Ravens in fighting over Elvis Dumervil. It wouldn’t be at all surprising to see one pass rusher signing with a team, and then the dominoes falling with other pass rushers finally reaching deals with other teams.
SIGNING! Moving on quickly after their ugly public breakup, the Bears have agreed to terms with 30-year-old former Bronco linebacker DJ Williams — according to the Chicago Tribune’s Dan Pompei — to help fill the void left by the departures of Brian Urlacher and Nick Roach. Reported to be a one-year deal, Williams will likely be dropped into Urlacher’s old spot in the middle. An OLB to start, Williams has spent time on the inside in Denver’s 3-4 and in the middle when they switched to a 4-3. Following an extended suspension, Williams played just 162 snaps in 2012, but was on the field for 1000+ in each of the three seasons prior, posting run D grades of -11.0, -6.9, and -9.7 from 2009 to 2011. It’ll be interesting to see how he performs with the added weight of replacing a franchise hero as well as what kind of long-term answer Chicago hunts for.
RUMOR! In a recent tweet, Ian Rapoport mentioned the 49ers as a team that the Bears may have to contend with to bring back defensive end Israel Idonije. Perhaps not a name that comes to mind when thinking on potential 3-4 DE fits, but Idonije put in some very good play in 2012 (playing 68% of Chicago’s defensive snaps with nearly two-thirds of his snaps against the pass), settling in among the Top 15 4-3 DEs by our grading overall (+14.4), as a pass rusher (+8.7), and in run D (+7.4) and also performed well in 250+ snaps spent at DT. The hint that San Francisco may be interested furthers the idea that they’re exploring rotational options to slot in with Ray McDonald and Justin Smith who have been among the 3-4 DE league leaders for snaps logged the past couple of years.
SIGNING! Pro Football Talk reports that the Browns have agreed to terms with former Bears tight end Kellen Davis, last year’s 58th ranked tight end at -8.8 overall. Despite being targeted only 44 times on the season, Davis tied for sixth in the league with eight drops or 29.6 percent of his catchable passes.
SIGNING! According to Aaron Wilson, the Chiefs have re-signed outside linebacker Edgar Jones. He saw the field for only 47 snaps last season, 30 of which came in Week 1, and graded at -2.8 overall. He made his biggest impact on special teams where he tied for the team lead with seven tackles though he committed five penalties.
Perhaps the biggest news this morning is Ed Reed’s introductory press conference with the Texans. As we pointed out on Twitter, his PFF grades have been on the decline since 2008, but the Texans are hoping he has enough left in the tank to shore up their secondary.
It’s been an exciting 10-plus days of free agency to this point. Keep up with all of the moves with our Free Agency Tracker that updates each team’s transactions as they happen. You can also find our previous blogs and commentary all in one place here in Free Agency Central.
You know business is picking up when the most interesting story out there is that the Redskins are expecting to sign Rex Grossman to continue in his role as the teams’ third quarterback. Even with RG3 battling his way back from significant injuries it’s hard to see Grossman seeing any of the field. It’s something of a surprise more of a market hasn’t developed for him as a backup quarterback mind you given some of the security blankets teams have opted for this year.
Nothing much going on outside of so some news from late last night courtesy of Adam Schefter. The Chargers snapped up former Cardinals and Patriots offensive linemen Rich Ohrnberger on a one-year deal. Before injury ended his season he’d handled himself well in 295 snaps for the Cardinals, playing across the interior positions of the line and adding some push to their run game.
It’s early in the morning but be sure to keep checking back the rest of the day. This is the last day we’re going to be running our free agent blog so soak it up while you can.
RUMOR! Jason La Canfora reports that San Diego are hoping to re-sign Vaughn Martin, but rather inexplicably they face stiff competition from Philadelphia, Detroit, New Orleans and New England. We say inexplicably because outside of the occasional game here or there, Martin has constantly graded as one of the worst 3-4 defensive ends in the league. His -12.8 grade from last year was the second lowest of all his peers.
Late start this morning but nothing much happening overnight anyway, so we’re on track. While we wait for the GMs and agents to wake up, here are the links to the free agent list in the PFF FA Tracker — lots of talent waiting for the next round of contracts to start falling… got your eye on anyone?
Free agent lists by position:
Free agent lists by team: