2015 Free Agency Live Blog, Day 3
Revis-to-New York got done on Day 1 and Suh-to-Miami became official on Day 2, what will Day 3 bring? Perhaps DeMarco Murray finds a new home, regardless we’ll be right here along with you as we watch it unfold and share that unique PFF insight into player performance and fit with new teams. Sharing our player grades, signature stats and other numbers you can’t find anywhere else, the PFF team will keep this blog rolling around the clock.
(We’ll be updating every 15 minutes so keep coming back to see our take on the developments of free agency’s third day.)
Whew… That’s it for Day 3, click on over to the Day 4 post to keep on keeping up with the unique PFF insight to all of the fee agency happenings.
23:30 RUMOR! Nothing is official yet, but Todd Archer is reporting that linebacker Jasper Brinkley is set to sign a two-year deal with the Cowboys. Brinkley helped improve the Vikings’ run defense last season and his +7.7 run defense grade ranked seventh among inside linebackers. However, he often struggles in coverage and will likely be at most a two-down linebacker for the Cowboys. Brinkley is an interesting choice considering Rolando McClain is still available after his career year and Sean Lee should be returning from injury.
23:15 SIGNING! The New York Jets are not finished filling out their secondary. Per Ian Rapoport, Marcus Gilchrist will sign a four-year deal with the Jets tomorrow. Gilchrist has played well enough against the run during his career, but hasn’t been as reliable in coverage. In his four seasons, he has never graded higher than –4.2 in pass defense while never grading below 0.0 versus the run.
22.25 It looks like the numbers are in for TE Jordan Cameron in Miami. Per Adam Schefter, Cameron’s deal is the same his earlier reported deal with the Browns: $15m over two years. Espn’s Ben Goessling also provided an interesting note about Minnesota’s potential willingness to move receiver Cordarrelle Patterson. Patterson saw a drop in production after a solid rookie season, catching 33 passes and finishing at -3.5 overall, while on kick returns he went from +14.3 to just +1.4 in 2014.
21:45 VISIT! Shelley Smith has left Seattle without a deal and is now headed to Denver for a visit with the Broncos. Smith has been a better run blocker than pass protector throughout his career, so Seattle may be a better fit. However, Denver’s quick passing attack may mitigate some of the pressure he might allow. If so, his signing could potentially provide the Broncos with a better run blocking option at guard than they had last season.
21:30 RUMOR! It is has been mostly quiet on the Greg Hardy front so far this free agency, but Jordan Schultz is reporting that the Oakland Raiders may be in discussions with the former Panther. With DeMarco Murray signing earlier today, Hardy is now our top player available on our Top 75 Free Agents list. Off the field issues aside, Hardy was our second-ranked 4-3 defensive end in 2013 and his 82 pressures that season were fourth-most among all defenders in the league, regardless of position. Oakland could certainly benefit from his help on the edge.
21:10 SIGNING! The Jordan Cameron saga has come to an end, with the Dolphins confirming that the tight end has sign with the Miami. Cameron’s concussion history is a concern, but he has shown to be a talented receiver when healthy. Cameron had the edge over Charles Clay in Yards Per Route Run (1.93 to 1.56) and Yards per Reception (17.7 to 10.4) last season, but on the other side, Clay has been a better blocker.
After losing Cameron, Cleveland is likely back in the market for a tight end. Unfortunately for the Browns, most of our top free agent tight ends have found homes. However, the Cameron signing could possibly leave the door open for Clay to sign elsewhere.
21:00 SIGNING! With it looking like Nick Fairley will not be back in Detroit, the Lions have signed former Saints’ defensive tackle Tyrunn Walker. Walker played a career-high 306 snaps last season and graded positively in both run defense and a pass rusher. Despite the low snap count, his +5.0 pass rush grade ranked 18th out of 81 interior defensive linemen. The Lions have little depth at the position now and Walker may see an increased role with Detroit.
20:45 RE-SIGNING! It’s not official yet, but it is being reported that Chykie Brown will be re-signing with the New York Giants. Brown joined the Giants midway through the season after he was let go by Baltimore. He played a career-high 516 snaps in total last year, with 375 coming with New York. He struggled at times as quarterbacks had a 110.7 QB Rating when targeting Brown, which ranked 88th out of 108 qualifying cornerbacks.
20:20 SIGNING! According to Jim Thomas, the Rams have signed linebacker Akeem Ayers to a two-year contract. The former second-round pick had his best season in 2013 with a +11.1 overall grade that ranked fourth among 4-3 outside linebackers. The Patriots traded for Ayers mid-way through last season and he initially saw a significant amount of snaps, but his playing time dwindled down the stretch. He was used increasingly as a pass rusher as he rushed on 85 percent of pass snaps last year and finished with the tenth-highest Pass Rushing Productivity among 3-4 Outside Linebackers in 2014.
19:55 RUMOR! It was reported earlier today that Jordan Cameron would be returning to Cleveland on a two-year deal, but after a quick turn of events Charles Robinson is now reporting that Cameron is instead finalizing a contract with the Miami Dolphins. We will continue to to keep an eye out for developing news out of Miami, which could also affect whether Charles Clay stays or ends up with another team.
19:30 SIGNING! Per Josina Anderson, former Broncos’ defensive tackle Terrance Knighton is headed to D.C on a one-year deal. Although the contract is short, Washington is getting great value at $4 million and makes it seem curious as to why he did not receive a better offer elsewhere. Knighton has amassed a +41.7 overall grade over the last two seasons including the playoffs, playing well against the run and as a pass rusher. After signing Stephen Paea earlier in the week, Washington has now added the fourth-ranked defensive tackle in pass rush grades (Paea) and the ninth-best in run defense (Knighton) from 2014.
19:12 SIGNING! The big move of the day has finally happened as the Philadelphia Eagles have confirmed that DeMarco Murray has put pen to paper on a five year deal worth up to $42m and with $21m in guarantees. Murray is arguably a better fit than LeSean McCoy for what Chip Kelly wants from his running backs, and on 2014 form at least, gives the team a potential upgrade. The league’s leading rusher, Murray averaged 6.5 YPC on runs outside the left tackle in 2014 (76 carries, 492 yards), a more than useful trait for a back who will now be running behind Jason Peters, the best run blocking left tackle in the league last season. This move will help appease some of the fan unrest over the recent talent drain in Philadelphia, though Kelly doesn’t give the impression of a man who is overly bothered by negative reactions to his decisions. It also guarantees (fitness permitting) two NFC East showdowns per year with the Dallas Cowboys, the team that let him walk; adding yet another juicy storyline to the NFL season.
19:02 RUMOR! Few in the media are more in touch with the business of the NFL than Andrew Brandt, and he is reporting that the Eagles are looking to rework or extend Sam Bradford‘s deal to relieve the cap hit. Bradford is entering the final year of his exorbitant rookie contract which carries a cap figure just shy of $13m. As Brandt also reports, Bradford holds the advantage in any negotiation. There is little obvious reason that Bradford should accept a deal that reduces his income significantly, or just spreads that figure across two seasons rather than one. So to lower the cap hit in 2015 the Eagles would likely have to offer a multi-year deal that effectively ties them to Bradford for up to three seasons, a risky show of faith for a player with Bradford’s injury record.
18:52 In the chaos of free agency it’s easy to lose track of events. Fortunately the PFF Free Agency Tracker has you covered with up to date lists of signings for each team, as well as comprehensive by-position lists, it’s a one stop shop for all your free agency needs. You can also check out our most recent PFF Shorts, looking at recent events in Arizona, Philadelphia and Indianapolis.
18:25 SIGNING! The Patriots signed former Dolphins backup linebacker Jonathan Freeny a little earlier, as reported by Dov Kleiman. Don’t expect to see Freeny take the field often as part of the defense, he saw just 107 snaps as a linebacker in three seasons in Miami. Instead look for him to make an impact on special teams, where he impressed as our 17th ranked player in kick coverage in 2014.
18:14 SIGNING! According to NFL insider Ian Rapoport, Jordan Cameron has inked a two year, $15m deal to stay in Cleveland. With few talented receiving tight ends on a the market, and a TE draft class that has left many observers underwhelmed, there was always going to be a market for Cameron. He led all tight ends in 2014 with 17.7 yards/reception, and had the third-highest Yards per Route Run among tight ends (1.93) He’s not much of a run blocker, he consistently ranks among the league’s worst tight ends in that regard, but that’s not what why they want him to stay in Cleveland. When fit, he is the teams most consistent target in the passing game; bringing him back is a wise move.
18:03 SIGNING! The Atlanta Falcons have signed LB O’Brien Schofield, as reported by Aaron Wilson. A former Seahawk and Cardinal, Schofield becomes the Falcons’ fifth defensive addition, joining Justin Durant, Brooks Reed, Adrian Clayborn and Phillip Adams. Schofield has experience as a rush linebacker or a 4-3 end and will slip right into the pass rush rotation in Atlanta. He had limited opportunities to rush the passer in 2014, recording one sack and ten total pressures on 70 pass rush snaps for an encouraging 11.1 Pass Rushing Productivity score.
17:52 RUMOR! ESPN Wisconsin’s Jason Wilde reports mutual interest between the Packers and corner Tramon Williams, which could see him back at Lambeau for a tenth straight season. Williams appeared to regress a little in 2014 allowing eight touchdowns and a 64.3% completion rate when targeted. But he is durable and had been consistently impressive across the four previous seasons.
17:28 SIGNING! As reported by Dov Kleiman, the Denver Broncos have added DT Vance Walker on a two year $5m deal. Walker is coming off a solid season with the Chiefs where he was a run stuffing end in a three-man front. The role won’t change much but he has sizeable boots to fill if he is to replace Terrance Knighton for the Broncos
17:19 RELEASE! As per Aaron Wilson, the Indianapolis Colts have cut running backs Trent Richardson and Michael Hill. The Colts decision to trade a first round pick for Richardson has been an unmitigated disaster. In his two seasons he’s accumulated just 977 rushing yards at just 3.1 yards per attempt. The writing was on the wall when Richardson found himself a healthy scratch for the playoffs, and the former first rounder may be waiting for some time before garnering any interest. Hill spent part of last season on the team’s practice squad and had been re-signed after the season, he has 23 career carries, all of which came in 2013.
16:59 SIGNING! Now it’s official, Ryan Mathews is an Eagle, signing a three year deal $11.5m deal. The former Charger may be injury-prone, missing 20 games in his five year career, but he is a more than capable runner. Despite playing in just six games in 2014 he still forced 15 missed tackles on 74 carries for a 53.4 Elusive Rating and averaged an impressive 2.8 yards/carry after contact, starting caliber traits.
16:46 The latest news out of Philadelphia suggests that the team really are going to have a loaded backfield in 2015. Both Ian Rapoport and Adam Schefter have Ryan Mathews ready to sign his deal, and presumably join DeMarco Murray in a drastically reconfigured Eagles ground attack
16:40 VISIT! The cornerback market has taken a few hits so far in free agency, largely thanks to the Jets, but things are quieting down. There has been little news about either Chris Culliver or Rashean Mathis, and Tramon Williams would appear to have lost out in New Orleans after the Brandon Browner signing. But one player who has been active is former Cowboy Sterling Moore, who has been visiting with the Buccaneers.
16:22 RELEASE! As reported by Darren Urban,the Arizona Cardinals have parted ways with long-time center Lyle Sendlein. It doesn’t come as much of a surprise as the Cardinals added his likely replacement yesterday in A.Q. Shipley. The 30 year old Sendlein is coming off an awful 2014 season, he struggled both in pass protection and run blocking on his way to a -29.1 overall grade. It was a marked contrast to the previous five seasons when Sendlein had been a solid performer for the Cardinals, recording a cumulative +19 grade.
16:06 The San Francisco 49ers have confirmed the release of WR Stevie Johnson, as well as new deals for backup QB Blaine Gabbert (two years) and TE Garrett Celek (one year). Johnson started well enough for the 49ers, with a +8.1 receiver rating in the first six games, however he finished his sole season there with 35 receptions for 435 yards and three touchdowns. Johnson is unlikely to have wait for long to find a new home, he is just two years removed from his third straight 1,000+ yard season in Buffalo, and there is always a place for a receiver who make plays like this against Richard Sherman. Gabbert saw the field for just 9 snaps in 2014 and will continue to backup Colin Kaepernick. While Celek will continue to provide depth as a TE who has graded positively as a run blocker in all three of his seasons in the Bay Area.
15:50 We’ve hit a lull while the NFL world waits for the DeMarco Murray deal to be made official. Making this a perfect time to reflect on the signings so far with our Deal Grader, where Darrelle Revis to the Jets still leads the way. We also have some short podcasts looking at recent events in Arizona, Philadelphia and Indianapolis.
15:15 SIGNING! A new free safety in Houston as the Texans agree to a deal with Rahim Moore. The ever reliable Adam Schefter brings us the scoop as Houston inks a deal with a player who missed the end of the 2013 season but rebounded nicely in 2014 patrolling the deep areas for the Denver Broncos. Unfortunately Moore is most well known for allowing Jacoby Jones to get in behind him for a decisive score in the 2012 playoffs but his play for the duration of his career deserves a better reputation than he has as a result. Accustomed to playing extremely deep in the Broncos scheme we may get to see him play a little closer to the line for the Texans as they seek to replace Kendrick Lewis which will allow us to get a little better read on what sort of playmaking ability Moore has at free safety.
15:00 SIGNING! The corners continue to fly off the board and the Jets have acquired their third in as many days of this free agent period. Re-joining Darrelle Revis in green is Antonio Cromartie according to Adam Schefter. The Jets re-unite their starting corner pairing from 2010-2012 after Cromartie had a strong first half to the season in Arizona a year ago under new Jets head coach Todd Bowles. The end of the season was not as strong for Cromartie who let up more than 50% of his yards last season in the Cardinals’ final six games but through Week 12 Cromartie was right there with Revis in our top five corners by coverage grade. With Skrine likely taking nickel duties the question is where this deal leaves Dee Milliner?
14:50 SIGNINGS! The Falcons take to Twitter to beat the newshounds to announce the signings of defensive end Adrian Clayborn and cornerback Phillip Adams. After an impressive rookie season as a pass rusher Clayborn failed to really develop with division rival Tampa Bay. In 2011 he earned a +13.7 pass rushing grade (50 total pressures) but since then has played only one full season and in that full season he couldn’t match that performance, earning a -13.6 pass rush grade to go with a negative run defense grade (in spite of an improved second half of the season) in 2013. Adams joins from a stint in New York with the Jets and after impressing in limited snaps with the Raiders in 2012 has not been able to continue those performances with more extended playing time. Tackling has been a real problem for Adams the last two year with 15 missed tackles since the start of 2013 on 663 snaps.
14:45 SIGNING! It’s a good week to be a former Seahawks cornerback with Brandon Browner the latest to cash in with a new deal according to Adam Schefter. The Saints have acquired Browner, most recently of the Patriots, on a three-year deal as they look to improve the standard of play across from Keenan Lewis. Browner’s size and length seem a natural fit for Rob Ryan’s defense but if this move is to be a success then Browner will have to cut down his penalty count from a year ago. In spite of playing only 731 snaps including the post-season Browner was flagged a league high 19 times, when he kept his coverage clean he broke up seven passes to go along with one interception, surrendering just two touchdowns.
14:40 RUMOR! Apparently Chip Kelly and the Eagles may not be done wheeling and dealing with widespread reports that they are allowing left guard Evan Mathis to pursue a trade. Entering the final two years of his deal the Eagles are perhaps mulling a cheaper option than Mathis though barring a sudden decline they will struggle to find a player of Mathis’ ability. Even in an injury shortened season in 2014 Mathis finished the year as our #2 graded guard behind only Marshal Yanda of the Ravens. Acquiring a veteran is always a delicate balance of salary cap impact against performance but on the latter point Mathis would offer a clear upgrade for most teams in the league.
14:25 RE-SIGNING! The running back market seems to have been lukewarm this free agency period but a couple of dominoes seem set to fall back to back with Adam Schefter reporting that Justin Forsett has agreed terms with the Ravens to return to Baltimore. Forsett was a driving force in the resurrection of the Ravens’ ground attack this season, thriving in a three down role and blending perfectly with Gary Kubiak’s zone scheme. Though Kubiak is gone Forsett will look to build on his 2014 campaign under new offensive coordinator Marc Trestman. Forsett earned our sixth highest grade for a running back last season combining consistent work on the ground with excellent pass protection, surrendering only 11 pressures on 142 snaps in pass protection.
14:00 RELEASE! In a move widely expected after they handed a $55 million contract to Jeremy Maclin the Kansas City Chiefs have now officially cut ties with Dwayne Bowe according to Adam Schefter. Part of a receiving corps that caught no touchdown passes a year ago Bower earned a marginally negative receiving grade for the second year in a row but at the right price point could still have something to offer a number of teams. Bowe’s last 1,000 yard season came in 2011 when he earned a +10.0 receiving grade which was ninth in the league that year. Though rarely a dynamic deep threat in his career Bowe has doubtless suffered from the Chiefs unwillingness to put the ball down the field with Alex Smith at quarterback, targeted only 12 times on targets of 20+ yards in the last two seasons Bowe has just three catches for 65 yards since the start of 2013.
13:45 SIGNING! The Raiders have spent some more money per Adam Schefter with the re-signing of Nate Allen. Allen was much maligned during his time in Philadelphia with his 2012 season not fondly remembered. But he has got better and whilst he is still capable of moments that make you smack your head on a table he was an above average safety last year. Raider Nation will just be hopeful that he doesn’t get beat for five touchdowns like he did as an Eagle last year. He was our 28th ranked safety overall last year.
13:30 TRADE! The Chiefs desperately needed some offensive line help and the Saints desperately needed cap room. The middle ground solution? A trade of Ben Grubbs. The former Raven had one of his worst years in 2014 as the Saints struggled, earning a -0.2 grade. Still it’s telling that he considers that a bad grade when most Chiefs linemen last year would have killed to get close to that. His previous two years in New Orleans were far more impressive, averaging a +18.6 grade and proving well worth the money invested in him. He’s a great get for a Chiefs team that we were worried had put all their eggs in the Paul Fanaika basket. He represents a big upgrade but his loss is likely to be felt in New Orleans who continue to try and fight their way out of cap hell.
13:15 RE-SIGNING! The Bucs have been busy today and per Greg Auman they’ve re-signed fullback Jorvoskie Lane. The undrafted free agent was one of the stars of the 2012 version of Hard Knocks before settling into a lead blocker role for the Miami Dolphins. Unfortunately for him the team took a significant step away from using a traditional full back and weren’t impressed with his offseason efforts despite a solid first year. After spending 2013 out of the league the Bucs brought him in, and while he missed time suspended and then injured he did break the 100 snap mark and clearly did enough for the team to bring him back for a bigger look. He might be entering the last chance saloon so he will likely need to do a little more on special teams where he featured 52 times in 2014.
13:00 SIGNING! The quarterback merry-go-round saw Brian Hoyer bolt for Houston, and now the Browns have backfilled with the signing of Thad Lewis. Lewis was actually with the Browns in 2012 where he started their Week 17 outing against Pittsburgh but didn’t catch on, instead finding himself in Detroit for preseason and Buffalo for the regular season. Stepping in for EJ Manuel he earned a -3.7 grade on 361 snaps before stinking in up in the 2014 preseason with a -6.5 grade. With Josh McCown on the roster and Johnny Manziel bound to be back at some point, the odds of Lewis making the final 53 are quite long at this stage.
12:35 RE-SIGNING! The Jets brought in James Carpenter but they haven’t closed the door on Willie Colon. In fact they’ve re-signed the penalty machine per Brian Costello. Colon was one of the more underrated players during his time in Pittsburgh and a fantastic run blocker in the early part of his switch to guard. But it seems age is catching up with him with his -16.3 run blocking grade last year (to go with the obligatory 14 penalties – making it 26 in two years with the Jets). He’ll need to play a lot better if he’s going to compete for a starting spot.
12:30 News from Chicago where Rick Stroud reports the Bears are working on a three year deal with Mason Foster. It’s not the most exciting of moves given just how bad Foster has been since being drafted by the Bucs, though it’s further indication of how the Bears are transforming their defense. Foster has a grade of -18.3 since his terrible sophomore year, cementing his status as a below average starting linebacker. He misses too many tackles for our liking (one in every 4.1 attempts over the past two years) but here’s hoping landing in a new scheme may bring about a change in fortunes.
12:00 Per John McClain the Texans look set to sign former Broncos deep safety Rahim Moore. Moore is the kind of safety you don’t associate with big plays, whether he’s making them or giving them up. Given the breakdowns the Houston secondary had last year that represents an attractive upgrade. Since being a second round pick in 2011 Moore has nine interceptions and eight pass break ups.
11:30 RELEASE! This might help explain the Jared Odrick signing a little more and see what role the Jags have in store for him. Jacksonville, according to Ryan O’Halloran, have released five-tech defensive end Red Bryant. Bryant immediately becomes one of the more intriguing options on the market with his excellence in defending the run. His +12.8 mark was the third highest of all 4-3 defensive ends. Just don’t expect him to generate much pressure with just seven quarterback disruptions during the entire 2014 season.
11:25 SIGNING! Courtesy of Mike Jones the Cowboys are adding to their offensive backfield with the signing of Jed Collins. The former Saint burst onto the scene with a hugely impressive 2011 season that saw him log his first offensive snaps and finish with the second highest run blocking score of all fullbacks. He’s never quite replicated that but has always graded well, including his 2014 season in Detroit. Last year the Cowboys had Tyler Clutts lead blocking and his -5.3 grade was the fifth lowest of all full backs. This should result in an upgrade for Dallas.
11:00 VISIT! Home is where the heart is. Or in the case of Michael Johnson is might just be where Mike Zimmer is after his release from the Bucs. He’s got his first visit lined up with Minnesota per Adam Schefter in a scheme he knows all too well after excelling there in Cincinnati. Johnson had injuries but just didn’t adapt to life in Tampa Bay, though e wasn’t helped by an inflated contract that was a little generous to a player who has never been a premier pass rusher. He is more than capable at getting after the pass rusher but developed into a better edge setter, regularly impressing in the run game such as in 2013 where he had the second highest grade of all 4-3 defensive ends in that regard. Minnesota had Everson Griffen locked in but may be looking to upgrade on Brian Robison who didn’t take like a duck to water to a new defense.
10:45 Per Ian Raporport the Saints are making an offer of $5m per year for Brandon Browner. Or as Ben Stockwell points out $263,159.89 per penalty. Browner is a physical, tone setting cornerback but he draws penalties like there’s a clearance sale going on for yellow flags. Last year he played in nine games and got flagged 15 times. For those doing a math that would equal 26.6 flags over a full season. Including the postseason he now has been flagged for 48 penalties in his career. You most certainly take the rough with the smooth in his case.
10:35 SIGNING! Buffalo are padding out their roster a little now, bringing in former Ravens backup Tyrod Taylor. This appears an odd move for Taylor who looks set for a demotion given that he’s about to go from being one injury away from a starting job to now two (behind Matt Cassell and EJ Manuel). Taylor has 128 career snaps and will likely have to hold off Jeff Tuel and any other free agents/ rookies the Bills pick up to warrant a roster spot.
10:30 RE-SIGNINGS! Two via Aaron Wilson and they’re both in Buffalo. The first one is on defense and that is Jairus Wynn. The former Packer struggled in Green Bay, Tennessee and San Diego before landing in Buffalo, where despite struggling in preseason he stepped up his game as a rotational lineman to finish with a career best -0.4 grade. That’s solid for a backup who is there to spell the stars of the show. The second re-signing is one that has a greater impact on special teams with ace gunner Marcus Easley signing on for 4-years and up to $7m. Easley was our top ranked gunner in the league last year, ahead of notables such as Matt Slater and Omar Bolden. He’s been a beast in this regard for a while. He may not contribute an awful lot on offense (64 snaps the past two years) but when you’re as good a special teamer as him, you earn yourself a roster spot.
10:15 Aaron Wilson reports the Ravens have some interest in recently released Scott Chandler. They lost Owen Daniels to the Broncos, have Crockett Gilmore as more of a blocking specialist and are likely nervy about counting on Dennis Pitta for an entire season given his recent injury history (average of just 165 snaps the past two seasons, never more than 661 in a season). Chandler is something of a fading force as a receiver where injuries seem to have slowed the former Hawkeye down, but given how the Ravens coped with Daniels last year perhaps they have the magic formula for squeezing a bit of life out of players on the decline. Ideally he wouldn’t be set for a featured role.
10:00 VISIT! It may be decision day for Justin Blalock. The rock solid guard is not a flashy guy who will be dishing out pancakes like IHOP but has earned a positive grade in each of the last five seasons. He’s going to visit with the Lions today after earlier taking some time in with the Rams. Both teams could use some help at guard and Blalock would represent an upgrade. So the question for him is where does he want to go (which probably involves a question to both teams as to who is prepared to pay more money). Blalock was a day one starter in Atlanta who missed just three games during his entire eight years there.
09:45 One signing that is approaching finalization is the Buccaneers acquisition of Henry Melton, which Rick Stroud reports as coming close to fruition. Melton finished last season on injured reserve but rebounded nicely with the Cowboys after losing most of his 2013 season in Chicago to injury. His +15.8 pass rushing grade in the regular season was sixth most among defensive tackles as a sub package player for the Cowboys and if he is to continue that role with the Buccaneers then that would give Tampa Bay an absolutely terrifying sub package pass rush from the inside if they were to pair Melton with Gerald McCoy.
09:40 An update to the below news as well comes from Geoff Mosher who states that Ryan Mathews has not yet signed his deal with the Eagles that was rumored to be a done deal yesterday. It could be that Mathews will be left playing a waiting game for Murray to decide on his destination before he either signs on with Philadelphia or moves on elsewhere for a visit.
09:30 Day 3 of free agency seems to be rumbling into life with news that one of the few “Marquee Free Agents” is en route to Philadelphia with the intent to sign a contract with the Eagles. According to Adam Schefter that free agent is DeMarco Murray, a player who might have hoped to have signed already but clearly his market has not been quite as he had anticipated. Teams like the Jaguars, Raiders and Cowboys have been linked to Murray but indications of any real progress with discussions has been thin on the ground with teams clearly reticent to put big money into a running back let alone one coming off a 400 carry season. Having bid farewell to LeSean McCoy and his contract it could be that the Eagles are the greatest beneficiaries of the league wide devaluation of the running back position if they can snag Murray.
05:30 The morning crew at PFF Towers are waking up to a quiet couple of hours, but what will Day Three bring us? As you’ll see from our Top 75 Free Agents, there are still several talented free agents out there for teams to pick up, with running back DeMarco Murray heading the remaining group. Will today be the day he signs? And what about the top defensive players like Nick Fairley and Derrick Morgan? When they sign, we’ll be qucik to let you know how we think they fit on their new teams.
03:00 It’s late and not a lot is happening news-wise at the moment, so what better time to have a click around the site? One piece you’d be sorry to miss is our Deal Grader — analyzing the impact and value of each deal. We’re adding more to it everyday as the details come clear so stop in and see how your team has done so far.
02:15 Visit!… still. Jermaine Gresham has reportedly been in Oakland for a while now, but no deal has come of it yet. With Mychal Rivera and recent addition Lee Smith already aboard, Gresham would be a third in the mix for Bill Musgrave’s new Raider offense. Not standing out in any one facet of play last season after settling near the foot of the position’s overall grades in each of the past two, the former Bengal can at least boast the league-low drop rate among 2014 tight ends of 1.59 (one drop on 63 catchabale balls).
01:30 With Buffalo parting ways with Scott Chandler and Lee Smith signing in Oakland, the Bills are now in the market for a new tight end and seem to be pursuing a couple options. Ian Rapoport reported earlier that the Bills are in preparations to sign Charles Clay to an offer sheet after the Dolphins used the transition tag on Clay. Now it sounds like they may also be interested in Anthony Fasano and could bring him in for a visit, per Mike Garafolo. With potential money aside, Clay would be the better option at this point if they are looking for just one player. Clay earned positive grades as a receiver and a blocker last season while the soon-to-be 31-year-old Fasano struggled as a run blocker last year and was passed up by Travis Kelce as the primary receiving threat at the position.
01:00 VISIT! The Bears signed safety Antrel Rolle just hours ago, but are still meeting with former Chiefs’ safety Ron Parker in an attempt to strengthen the back end of the defense. Parker became the starter for his final season in Kansas City and we saw a mixed bag of results. He played well in coverage at times, but was largely inconsistent week-to-week. Over an eight game stretch he graded at +1.8 or higher in coverage four times and lower than -1.8 three times. Parker’s biggest issue was his 22 missed tackles.
00:30 VISIT! After meeting with the Buccaneers and leaving Tampa without a deal, center Stefen Wisniewski is on his way to Seattle for a Thursday visit, per Mike Garafolo. Center naturally became a position of need for the Seahawks after dealing Max Unger to the Saints for Jimmy Graham. Largely due to two poor outings versus Denver, Wisniewski finished 2014 with the lowest overall grade of his career. Still, he continues to be very reliable in pass protection and has ranked among the Top 5 centers in Pass Blocking Efficiency each of the last three years.
00:15 Start Day 3 off right with a click around to check out our Top 75 remaining free agents list, the PFF Free Agent Tracker (with 2014 grades and snap counts for every free agent), and of course a read back through yesterday’s news.