Free Agency Reactions: Day 7
A quiet Sunday saw the Giants and Buccaneers the most active players on Day 6 of Free Agency, but now with the weekend over will teams get back to the business of finding bargains?
To see some ofour other Free Agent tool features and keep on top of the action, we’d recomend 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. For the early reactions from the first few days of free agency, you’ve just got to click: Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4 | Day 5 | Day 6
Check back in every hour or two for updates and, if you can’t wait but want more info, well then you should grab yourself a PFF Premium membership for $26.99 to get all the grades, stats and snap counts out there.
23.15 Dinner! OK, so nothing of substance here, but reports from Brandon George and Clarence Hill from the Dallas beat have both Jared Allen and Henry Melton out to dinner with Cowboy brass (seperately) tonight. Having cleared cap space — though still not far up from the league’s lowest in that regard — the team is looking for something of a rebound after saying goodbye to Demarcus Ware and watching Jason Hatcher latch on with Washington last week.
22.00 SIGNING! The upcoming visit James Starks had set with Pittsburgh has been called off and he’s opted to stay with the Packers per an Adam Schefter tweet that was confirmed soon after by Jason La Canfora. Starks, as we outlined in an earlier mention: recently highlighted in our Free Agent Bargains piece, was given a limited workload to show his wares, but impressed on his 224 snaps in 2013, posting a 5.5 yards per carry average and 3.0 yards per carry after contact. Apparently content with his role in Green Bay, Starks returns to the scene of past back-up opportunities to give the Pack a strong 1-2 with last year’s outstanding rookie Eddie Lacy.
20.00: SIGNING! Oakland’s signing spree marches on as they bring back a onetime Raider in guard Kevin Boothe per the team’s twitter account. The 30-year-old Boothe has spent the past seven seasons with the Giants, enjoying a notable 2012 that saw him finish among the league’s Top 10 left guards as a run blocker. Oakland is collecting players with winning experience as they try and set a new tone and Boothe brings more of it, though at this point his position flexibility more so than any other on-field trait is the attraction.
18.10: VISIT! You know what we were thinking to ourselves? Free Agency has been going on a while and we haven’t heard anything about Marshall Newhouse. We are odd people, though, so we’ll understand if we’re the only people thinking that. In any case, our thoughts, and to some degree our prayers, have been answered because “The Newhouse” is jetting (or perhaps taking a train, this remains unconfirmed) to Cincinnati to visit with the Bengals. Having already hosted Vlad Ducasse, management is clearly testing offensive line coach Paul Alexander to see just how good he is. Newhouse was benched before the 2013 season yet still logged 261 snaps where he earned a quite horrible -9.2 grade with his pass protection — something that left Packers fans banging their heads against table.
18.00: RE-SIGNING! You may have lost out in the DRC sweepstakes but fear not Cardinals fan for Bryan McCann, yes that Bryan McCann, is back with the team on a likely short term deal. He managed a crazy zero defensive snaps last year but was more active on special teams where he earned a -2.0 grade and made two special teams tackles. We last saw McCann on defense in Miami when, in 2012, he earned a +1.3 grade on 143 snaps after allowing just 10-of-19 balls into his coverage to be complete. He’ll return to fight for a job in training camp and preseason.
17.55 RE-SIGNING! Spare a thought for Spencer Paysinger. He probably expected his re-signing to a one-year deal to be big news. For Giants fans to line the streets in celebration of the return of a man who managed 707 snaps that. Instead they’re all goo-goo eyed about DRC getting a big deal and he’s something of an afterthought. A shame really since the former undrafted free agent has proved a solid contributor for the team, getting his big chance last year and finishing with a respectable -1.7 grade while only finishing with one fewer tackle than Jon Beason (and six more assists) in 34 fewer defensive snaps. He’ll return to compete for a starting job though may find himself limited to a role in one of the Giants’ sub package defenses. Failing that he’s always a good bet to contribute on special teams where his seven tackles were third on the team this year after leading the unit with 16 last year.
17.45 SIGNING! Reaching back to his Packer days once again, Raider GM Reggie McKenzie has added James Jones to the Oakland receiving corps per Adam Schefter’s tweet citing an ESPN source. Passes Jones’ way led to passer ratings of 133.9 and 125.2 in 2011 and 2012, respectively, but fell off in 2013 (93.8) as the QB position in Green Bay saw a Rodgers-to-Flynn shift for part of the year. In Oakland, he’ll join the likes of Rod Streater, Denarius Moore and Andre Holmes in catching throws from a QB to be named later.
17.25: RE-SIGNING! In need of help on the back end, bringing back Brandon Meriweather might not have been ‘Plan A’ for Washington, but with free agent options dwindling, they’ve agreed to do so on a one-year, $1m per NBC’s Dianna Russini. Meriweather did show signs in the second half of his 2013 run with the Redskins, logging a +6.3 overall grade from Week 12 on, but the season as a whole was not as pleasant as his -9.9 joined three other Washington safeties (Doughty, Rambo, Biggers) in the lower ranks, slotting in from No. 73 to No. 80 on the list of 86 qualifiers for the year.
17.10: SIGNING! And there’s the DRC news that’s been coming after a couple days of NYJ vs. NYG dancing: Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and the Giants have agreed on a five-year, $39m deal according to Adam Schefter. Bringing in Walter Thurmond and re-signing Trumaine McBride earlier, the Giants have now added a prized piece to their CB puzzle (all in addition to holdover Prince Amukamara). DRC’s 2013 was the best of the bunch, posting a +11.0 coverage grade while allowing just 44.1% of targets his way to be completed and just 0.96 yards per the 472 snaps he spent in coverage — only Revis, Sherman, Keenan Lewis, and Joe Haden bettered that mark on more snaps. DRC was atop our board of remaining free agents out there.
16.05: SIGNING! It’s certainly getting busier. Aaron Wilson has let us know that former Viking Letroy Guion is staying in the NFC North but joining the Green Bay Packers. Turncoat. Just 27 years of age, Guion will be entering his seventh season since being a fifth round pick in 2008. After a quiet first tow years he quietly caught the eye with 272 snaps in 2009 that saw him respond with a +5.6 grade. Unfortunately the team then shoehorned him in as the replacement for Pat Williams, a role he clearly wasn’t up to and he rarely consistently delivered for Minnesota. Green Bay, who are by their standards being extremely aggressive in free agency, will be hoping to get the best out of him.
16.00: SIGNING! A fresh signing courtesy of Adam Schefter. The Cowboys, in limbo over the status of Kyle Orton, have hedged their bets with a former first round talent. Sound exciting? It’s probably not quite so exciting to find out that man is Brandon Weeden. The Browns first overall selection in 2012 didn’t last more than two seasons with the team who had seen enough to know he wasn’t cut out for starting, posting an outrageously bad -36.8 grade in that time. Still the Cowboys are doomed if Tony Romo goes down anyway, so why not take a flier on a former first rounder making the most of new scenery.
15.15: RE-SIGNING! And another one. This time it’s the Panthers bringing back linebacker Jason Williams. He last saw snaps on defense in 2012 and even then it was only 11 as the former third round pick continued to underwhelm. Drafted by Dallas in the third round he managed just 14 snaps before the team said goodbye during the 2010 season, where he latched on in Carolina and made himself a special teams stalwart. He’ll face some stiff competition to make the team, especially given that linebacker may be one of the Panthers deepest positions.
15.05: RE-SIGNING! Teams are fully in “what they know” mode so re-signings are coming through. One of those is Chargers wide receiver Seyi Ajirotutu who has signed a one-year deal. The long time Charger was only on the field for 73 offensive snaps this year, down 2 on what he managed in 2012 and way below his career best in 2010 (257). He’s spent three of his four years in San Diego and while he’s unlikely to make much of an impression on the receiver depth chart he’s not shy about getting stuck in on special teams as his 14 tackles would suggest.
14.30: A blast from the past, at least for Bears fans, as Israel Idonije is visiting with the team. Idonije spent last year with division rivals the Lions where he was less productive than we’ve been accustomed to him being in his 347 snaps. Still his time in Chicago was a different story altogether with his consistent production and positional versatility rendering him an extremely useful player. Even with the recent signings the team have made on the defensive line he’d be a strong addition in the short term even if he does turn 35 during the season.
13.00: RE-SIGNING! Like a bad smell that won’t go away Guy Whimper is back in Pittsburgh, re-signed on a one-year deal according. Whimper is an experienced veteran, but the kind you don’t really want to see on the field, not even in a limited role. He was forced into significant action on five occasions for the Steelers last year and the end result was a -6.0 grade on 270 snaps. So it could be worse but with the team not short on young tackles, the only way he sees an increase on that is if they’re injured or are so bad he’s the best of a bad bunch.
11.30: RE-SIGNING! All about the re-signings today. Seattle has given kicker Steven Hauschka a three-year deal worth up to $9.1m according to Ian Rapoport after a fantastic year where he was our seventh ranked field goal kicker. He missed just two on the year and went 3-from-3 from 50 yards or more. That makes it just five misses over the past two and solidifies the kicking spot for the team given he’s an excellent kick off man as well.
10.05: RE-SIGNING! It’s all kicking off now. Adam Schefter reports the Eagles have re-signed safety Nate Allen to a one-year deal. Yay for him. Allen started off his career strong in the NFL but it went downhill from there, not helped by injuries impacting him. The former second round pick missed just 98 defensive snaps in 2013 on his way to a -2.7 grade, a big improvement on his 2012 horror show of a season that picked up a woeful -13.6 one. His generally solid play last season makes this a very useful pickup but he’ll still need to raise his game to ensure a starting spot with the team signing Malcolm Jenkins.
10.00: RE-SIGNING! The Saints have secured themselves a right tackle for next year and it’s one of their own. The team announced they’ve brought back Zach Strief for five years. Strief was our top ranked right tackle in 2013 thanks largely down to his fantastic pass blocking where he allowed just 33 combined sacks, hits and hurries all year long, helping him to a pass blocking efficiency score that was seventh best of all tackles. Drew Brees is a very happy man right now.
09.00: Still a quiet morning, with the only real news coming from Peter King that the Broncos exercised the 2014 option on Wes Welker. Hardly surprising. Welker had a big first year in Denver and will likely be counting on for an even bigger role given the loss of Eric Decker. The league’s most consistent slot receiver since his first year in New England, he finished behind only Kendall Wright with 688 slot yards.
06.00: One from yesterday and it’s that former Saints wide receiver Lance Moore is scheduled to visit with the Steelers on Tuesday per Jason La Canfora. Moore is coming off a down year by his standards but has always been an extremely productive receiver, especially when the Saints used him in the slot. Despite being their second option in this regard he would finish fourth in the NFL in 2012 with 2.46 yards per slot route run, sixth in 2011 and eighth in 2010. Getting him would be a nice addition following the loss of Emmanuel Sanders and Jerricho Cotchery still on free agency.
04.00: Give it time people. We’d expect a busier Day 7 than the sleepy Sunday we saw yesterday. Stay tuned with updates from our good selves every couple of hours or so and see where it takes us.
02.00: It’s the early hours of Day 7 and as the remaining free agents, their agents, and GMs around the league have drifted off to sleep, we’re here to offer a cure for your late-night clicking. How about this quick trip through the teams as a place to start? Check out what each team has landed and lost through the first few days of free agency (snipped from our Free Agency Tracker page that holds even more to keep you clicking through the night):
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