2013 Free Agency Live Blog: Day 10
A pair of long time defensive standouts made news yesterday — will today’s news be dominated by more big names or will we see the lesser-knowns inking value deals? As things draw out, you can’t help but note the determined approach teams are taking to spending this time around. With an alluring, deep draft chock-full of mid-round youthful talent (and the rookie wage scale) right around the corner, the market for vets hasn’t quite been what players might have expected.
Regardless of the years and dollars, though, the free agents will find homes and, 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.
Check in with us throughout the day for Day 10 highlights and PFF thoughts on each new deal.
(Updates will be hourly today.)
Just in before the buzzer that concludes Day 10, the 49ers have announced the re-signing of safety Darcel McBath according to Pro Football Talk. He only saw the field for 36 snaps last season, but he notched three tackles and four assists on special teams. He’ll back up newly-acquired free safety Craig Dahl.
According to Pro Football Talk, Arrelious Benn has received a contract extension from his new employers, the Philadelphia Eagles. Benn signed with Philadelphia last week and the one-year extension will keep him there through 2014. He graded at -0.8 on only 79 snaps for the Buccaneers last season.
In other news, are you interested in joining the PFF team? Take a look at the qualifications and send us an email if you think you’re a good fit.
SIGNING! According to Jenna Laine, the Bengals have added quarterback Josh Johnson to the roster on a two year deal. Johnson will likely replace Bruce Gradkowski as the backup of Andy Dalton. As a rookie with the Buccaneers in 2009, Johnson started four games early on but only averaged 5.5 yards per pass attempt. He hasn’t been given much of a chance since his rookie campaign with just 52 pass attempts. He last played with the Browns last year where he was given one snap in the closing game. He has a reputation as a runner, but with such little action in the last three seasons he is a bit of a mystery.
SIGNING! According to Michael Gehlken, the Chargers have signed guard Rich Ohrnberger. During mid-season, Ohrnberger started two games at right guard and later another two at center. In that short time he looked decent in run blocking, but allowed nine pressures on his 208 pass blocks which is a little high for a center/guard. While the Chargers are a little thin on their offensive line, chances are this is a move to add depth more than anything.
According to CSN Baltimore, the Ravens are attempting to bring back Bryant McKinnie. They have spent most of the off-season letting their free agents go, but as teams aren’t spending nearly as much money as they were a week ago, Baltimore can likely bring back their left tackle at a rate more suitable to them. The Ravens moved around their offensive line for the playoffs which meant McKinnie became a starter for them, and outside of Michael Oher’s run blocking the move worked out very well for them. They have already lost Matt Birk to retirement, so keeping 4/5 of the offensive line looks a lot better than 3/5.
All is quite on the free agent front as sports fans turn their attention to March Madness. For those still wanting to get their free agent fix, I would suggest Sam’s Five Great Free Agent Moves, and hope that next hour things get more interesting.
SIGNING! Per Adam Schefter, the Carolina Panthers have agreed to a one-year deal with punt returner Ted Ginn. The +1.3 punt return grade Ginn logged last season wasn’t spectacular, but compared to the mixed bag the Panthers fielded in the role, he brings some stability. Ginn can also help fill-out the roster as a depth receiver.
SIGNING! The Green Bay Packers have brought back linebacker Brad Jones according to news from Tom Silverstein. Jones stepped into the starting line-up after a pair of season-ending injuries hit the Packer LB corps and, 687 snaps later, finished as our 10th-rated inside linebacker. The strength of Jones’ game was his work in run defense with a Top-10 grade and a Top-20 Run Stop Percentage on the year. With Desmond Bishop and DJ Smith set to return for 2013, Jones’ role going forward is likely once again as a reserve although a good insurance policy as the inside linebackers in case someone doesn’t fully recover.
What? No FA news breaking this hour? How about a rumor from a bit earlier that has the Chiefs shopping Franchise-tagged left tackle Branden Albert while his potential replacement sits atop the team’s draft board. Obvious speculation has the Dolphins as a match since their pursuit of Jake Long fell short. For what it’s worth, since Long’s dominant 2010 season Albert’s PFF pass-blocking grades have outdone him by a healthy margin — Albert finished as our 11th-ranked pass blocking tackle in 2012 (Long: 35th) and was 6th in 2011 (Long: 21st).
And while we’re talking tackles, Raider LT Jared Veldheer is on Twitter right now holding a Q&A session if you are inclined to take part. Asked his opinion on the game’s best left tackle, his answer: Joe Thomas (our top tackle in 2011 and 6th overall in 2012).
Otherwise, today’s deal-signing slow-down is encouraging conversations to turn to next month’s draft… and there’s apparently some tournament getting underway that is distracting people as well. Never fear, we’ll keep on keepin’ watch while you jump over to the PFF Fantasy side and check out some of the QB numbers Mike Clay is tossing around — interesting stuff.
It’s pretty quiet at the moment. But how about you fill the void by looking at which tight ends caught the most combined first downs and touchdowns, converted their targets into chain movers and touchdowns, and had the highest percentage of routes get past the marker or into the endzone.
SIGNING! With not much of a market developing for his services, Will Herring has returned to New Orleans on a one-year deal. The former Seahawk was on the field for 106 snaps but rarely was he able to make a positive impact. With the Saints switching to a 3-4 defense it’s hard to see Herring having more than a special teams role waiting for him. He made 11 special teams tackles over the past two years with the Saints.
SIGNING! Another interesting move by the Cardinals who have snapped up Frostee Rucker. The former Brown didn’t live up to expectations in Cleveland but has proven a solid run defender during his time in the NFL. That’s a similar profile to recently signed Cardinal Matt Shaughnessy and makes you wonder what kind of shift we could see in the Cardinals defense up coming.
VISIT! A quiet hour after being treated to three early morning signings. The Titans hosted Ropati Pitoitua to a visit yesterday according to Adam Caplan. He was forced into heavy action in 2012 after Glenn Dorsey went down and responded by earning a -4.8 grade on his 505 snaps. Still there some highspots (both his games against Oakland) to convince you there might be more to come from him.
SIGNING! The Titans are continuing to revamp their secondary and in particular their safety unit. They already brought in George Wilson, and now they’ve added Bernard Pollard to the mix per Josina Anderson. It’s a one-year deal for the former Raven and longtime nemesis of New England and it will be interesting to see how he and Wilson fit into a secondary that returns the maddenly inconsistent Michael Griffin. Wilson was our seventh ranked overall last year while Pollard was seventh ranked against the run. Griffin? He had the third lowest rating of all safeties, helped in large part by missing 22 tackles.
SIGNING! The Bears parted ways with blocking specialist Matt Spaeth, but fear not those who secretly crave the need for a tight end who can block, because the Bears have added one. That man is Steve Manieri according to Jeff Dickerson, and it’s a two-year deal. He’s a former collegiate offensive tackle and will offer very little in the passing game. But as his +5.3 blocking grade from last year will show, he’ll be good value in that respect and provide a nice complement to Martellus Bennett.
SIGNING! This one comes courtesy of the twitter account of Adam Jones. He lets us all know that he’s signed a three-year deal to stay in Cincinnati, one that is truly earned after an excellent 2012. Despite being limited to nickel duty as the teams right cornerback he still played well enough to finish 11th overall in our cornerback rankings, with just 54.5% of the balls into his coverage being completed. Real nice move by the Bengals who are heading into the 2013 season with hardly any of their key contributors on defense playing football elsewhere.
VISIT! John McClain is reporting that former Raiders punter Shane Lechler is visiting with the Texans today. It makes a lot of sense for Lechler who lives in Houston is the offseason apparently even if he is coming off something of a down year by his high standards. He only finished 14th in our punter rankings, way below the Donnie Jones for example (1st) who of course was the Texans punter last year.
VISIT! The Seahawks have been busy adding to their defensive end ranks this season, but have they neglected the defensive interior spots with Alan Branch visiting with other teams? As if to rectify that potential problem they’re bringing in Tony McDaniel for a visit according to Adam Schefter. McDaniel is a long way removed from his impressive 2010 campaign and has put forth two campaigns as a Miami reserve that combined totalled a -12.9 rating.
VISIT! Per Adam Schefter the former Bears tight end Kellen Davis will visit with the Cleveland Browns today. Davis incurred the wrath of the Chicago faithful for a plethora of drops which led to him having the second highest drop rate of catchable passes in the NFL. A willing blocker he can contribute in that phase of the game, but he’s not the difference maker the Browns need from the tight end spot.
In news that will surprise nobody, Chris Johnson isn’t exactly best pleased with the signing of Shonn Greene as you can see in this article from Jim Wyatt. Rather than moaning about a possible two-back system perhaps Johnson should be focused on improving on the -9.3 grade he earned last year.
Good morning football world. As we get ready for another busy day of news start off the day by letting Sam Monson explain to you Five Great Free Agent Moves.
Day 10 begins. While we stare at feeds, scan Twitter, and bump around the internet in search of late-night morsels of free agent news, it would be a good time for you to have a look over the Performance Based Values series we put up recently. Check in on the most overvalued and undervalued players in 2012 and see how those numbers are stacking up to the deals coming out of free agency now.