Neil's NFL Daily: May 8, 2013
On a day when it felt all anyone wanted to talk about was why Jamal Charles wasn’t on our Top 101 list (I thought the answer was immediately obvious to anyone not looking solely at rushing yardage, but I’ll let my colleagues expand on that in our Top 101 Mailbag later this week) I didn’t spot a single signing of note.
What I did notice, though, is a whole host of good unsigned players who can still do a job for teams. Obviously, the price needs to be right for both parties, but over the next few days I’ll consider a few players I feel could make a big difference to teams with deficiencies at certain positions.
Wednesday, May 8
Still Out There – Part 1
The following are two players I like who are currently free agents and have gas left in the tank. I’ll give a brief description of each, some teams that should be interested and, in my opinion, what would be a reasonable asking price.
Ahmad Bradshaw, HB
Clearly the only real issue with Bradshaw is health because when he is on the field he’s a superb player. He excels at every single facet of play and in particular is as good a pass-protecting back as there is. He was kept in to block a huge 170 times by the Giants last year in an attempt to again prop up their O-line deficiencies. That said, he’s also not only a good runner but an excellent receiver as well – not dropping a single pass and breaking nine tackles on only 23 receptions.
A screw in your foot is not going to win you many supporters, but if the deal is right, Bradshaw would be a clear upgrade for a number of teams even if his role was only limited to back-up or third downs.
Best Fits- Miami and St. Louis
I still have concerns about the running back situation at both these teams. The Dolphins will likely open with Daniel Thomas as the starter — although, overall, I prefer Lamar Miller — and none have any skill in pass protection which may be something to consider if Jonathan Martin doesn’t improve at left tackle. Also color me one of the least-impressed people by Daryl Richardson’s 300+ snaps last year. Of course he showed flashes, but highlights don’t win games and if he can’t step up from his three fumbles and poor work in the passing game what’s to say Isaiah Pead, after his totally lackluster rookie year, can?
The $2.5M given to Rashard Mendehall, a player who also has had injury issues, seems fair.
Karlos Dansby, ILB
2012 wasn’t Dansby’s best year and was marginally disappointing given the tear on which he finished the 2011 season. Much of that may have been as a result of playing with a torn bicep but he still played 98% of snaps, was an integral part of every defensive package the Dolphins ran, and was one of the top run-defending inside linebackers around, finishing sixth in Run Stop Percentage . He has experience in both 4-3 and 3-4 schemes and, although his coverage ability looks on the wane (QB rating of 102 into his zone), it’s still acceptable and far better than many current starters. If there is a weakness, he’s not a particularly effective blitzer (only 11 QB disruptions from 126 pass rushes) and this may be a significant part of the reason he didn’t fit in Miami anymore as his replacement (Dannell Ellerbe) excels in that regard.
Best Fits – N.Y. Giants and Arizona
At the moment, the Giants look as if they may be starting the season with Dan Conner as their MLB. When Antonio Pierce bowed out in 2009 it looked like Jonathan Goff would be the “Heir Apparent” but injury left them with the smart-but-physically-limited Chase Blackburn. Somebody with football savvy needs to get this defense lined up right and given they are a group that doesn’t blitz their MLB too much, Dansby is a great fit. Meanwhile, Arizona has lost Daryl Washington for four games and may well be looking at playing a quarter of their season with Jasper Brinkley (no experience in 3-4) and a rookie at ILB. Dansby returning to the Cardinals makes a lot of sense for all concerned.
The Packers re-upped A.J.Hawk for $3.5M APY and Dansby’s a significantly better player than him and $4-million, two-down Joe Mays. A one-year deal for between $4-5M may not be on the table, but he’s certainly worth that.
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