Neil's NFL Daily: April 15, 2013
After Antoine Winfield signed with the Seahawks on Friday, tumbleweed rolled across the NFL weekend until late Sunday afternoon when the news broke that Pittsburgh had matched New England’s offer to Emmanuel Sanders. With little behind him on the Steelers’ depth chart (unless you think Plaxico Burress and Jerricho Cotchery have much left in the tank) the front office decided that one year of him at $2.5M was preferential to a late third-round pick, particularly if they could broker something more long-term in the next 10 months. It’s possible we’ll never know if this was the right option, but the potential PR disaster of watching him catch 80 Tom Brady passes, while the pick they got in exchange bombed, might have tipped the balance.
Monday, April 15th
Antoine Winfield Signing Gives Seahawks Secondary Boost
It’s real easy to get excited when your team is signing loads of quality players (and Brady Quinn) but, when history tells us nearly all free agency spending sprees have ended in disaster, why am I so positive about this one?
Well, other than the trade for Percy Harvin, nearly every other move has had either ‘bargain’ or ‘low-risk’ stamped all over it (and for the purposes of clarity, I am excluding picking up Quinn from this list) and fits a clearly designed plan. It’s not as if the Seahawks have been just randomly buying up good players — they have a plan and have obtained excellent scheme fits at sensible prices.That plan extends from the ability to stretch a defense both vertically and horizontally with Harvin, to a defensive package that possibly has Bruce Irvin, Michael Bennett, Cliff Avril and Chris Clemons rushing together.
Now, add to that upgrading the weakest link in the secondary with Winfield, one of the best players at that position in the league, for only $3m ($1m Guaranteed) and you have a team continuing to get better. It’s not even as if present the incumbent, Marcus Trufant, was bad — in his 252 slot coverage snaps the 92.6 rating of QBs throwing into his coverage was broadly mid-table, and he gave up only one touchdown without making a pick. However, against Winfield (in 422 slot coverage plays) quarterback’s ratings reached only 73.6 and he made two interceptions without allowing a TD.
All that’s before you add in the fact he still plays the run about twice as well as any other CB, as Sam details in this article.
Anyway, for Vikings fans getting a little despondent about the one-way traffic heading west, surely you have short memories? Are you forgetting pillaging the Seahawks for ‘uber’ tight end, John Carlson? A player whose cap number in 2013 equates to more than all three of Seattle’s top corners combined.
Akeem Jordan Signs with Kansas City
I’m normally highly dismissive of moves that see players from a coach’s old team join them in new surroundings, but this one seems to make a bit more sense than just a need for familiarity. Since Jovan Belcher’s death the Chiefs have failed to adequately fill his role on the field. Initially they looked to Brandon Siler as a replacement two-down run defender, but he struggled with missed tackles and became an UFA.
It’s not that Jordan is likely to light things up, but in that first defender off the field role he could well be a value-for-money player who won’t make too many errors. He’s a sure tackler when he gets there (rated =eighth in tackling efficiency among 4-3 ‘backers) but he doesn’t make as many stops as you’d like (rated =37th out of 44). The fact that number is identical to Mychal Kendricks’ suggests that might be as much to do with the Eagles old scheme as the players, but maybe now 2013 will provide an answer.
I get questions nearly every day, either directly or on twitter (@PFF_Neil), and I felt this was a good forum to share the answers. Any questions I get that can be better answered without a character restriction I’ll respond to here.
Chris Ivory — RFA
Do you think Chris Ivory is worth a 2nd round pick? – @MetsJetsNYR
There are a number of ‘smaller name’ players who are universally admired in PFF towers, and Chris Ivory is on that list. After his first game in 2010 we’ve never graded him ‘in the red’ for anything and during that time he’s amassed a rather gaudy +14.4 rushing grade in only 249 attempts. He’s not shown much as a receiver to date, but on the few times he’s been asked to pass block he’s measured up well.
The issue is that as he is hidden in that packed Saints backfield, and is blessed with a very good run-blocking O-line, it’s far too difficult to extrapolate his performance into continued production. In essence, it’s very high risk but without a similarly commensurate reward — a realistic best-case scenario puts him as a Top 15 back, but likely no more.
So, a good player for sure, but worth a No. 2? No, not even close, and particularly not for the Jets who, with Mike Goodson now in the ranks (a personal favourite of mine), have far bigger issues to address at that type of value.
This series has been going over a week now and here are links to the previous eight issues:
Wednesday – Nnamdi Asomugha, a myth? And Carson Palmer’s underlying weakness in 2012
Thursday – Daryl Washington’s suspension, and why the Cardinal’s O-Line may be better than you think
Friday – Why Right Tackle is not the place to be from a salary perspective, and Jason Hanson’s retirement
Monday – 49ers excel in O-Line Cap Management, and things to like about Rolando McClain
Tuesday – The Mike Jenkins story, and are the Patriots losing their FA mojo?
Wednesday – Oakland’s Defensive Reformation, and why Seattle should have looked at Tebow instead of Quinn
Thursday – A defense of Kevin Kolb, and how will Emmanuel Sanders fit in New England?
Friday – Why Jason Smith to the Saints may work, and teams who don’t play nickel
Follow Neil on Twitter: @PFF_Neil