NFL Free Agency 2011 – PFF Reaction Blog – Day 10: 8/5/11

| 5 years ago

NFL Free Agency 2011 – PFF Reaction Blog – Day 10: 8/5/11


NFL Free Agency is here, so how better to react to breaking news with the Pro Football Focus Free Agency blog. Every deal and some of the rumors that come through, our team will be responding to. Letting you know what they think and what it means and we’ll have this station manned at all times!
.

.Keep yourself up to date with the latest player movement using our Free Agent Tracker.
.
Be sure to follow our twitter feed @Profootbalfocus for constant reaction tweets.
.

.
.

And so that is it for the first PFF Free Agency blog.  We’ll bring the concept back as and when it suits, but for now we’d just like to thank everyone who kept checking back in what was a very fun process for us.

.

21.57 SIGNING! Sorry for the delay in signings, but here are the rest from the day. We’ll start off with Malcolm Floyd and his return to the Chargers. He was one of the better receivers in the league in terms of receiving rating, mostly due to a few big games.  He only caught half the passes thrown his way, but had a huge 19.4 yards per catch.

.

14:28  SIGNING! In a weird move the Bengals have brought Bo Scaife in.  I say weird move, because Scaife isn’t a strong run blocker, and they already have Jermaine Gresham.  Sciafe had our fifth lowest ranking of all tight ends in our grading last year.

.

14:25  SIGNING! The Saints have moved to replace Jonathan Goodwin, and done so with Olin Kreutz.  While the former Bear was our second lowest ranked center last year, he did have a positive pass blocking grade.  Combined with Jahri Evans and Carl Nicks, they should provide Drew Brees plenty of room to step up into the pocket.

.

14:15  SIGNING! The Patriots are attacking their edge rush problems by bringing in Mark Anderson.  Though Anderson doesn’t project to start with his lack of experience playing with his hand up (although 20.66% of his snaps last year with the Texans were as a linebacker), he can bring some pass rush.  Last year he picked up 20 combined quarterback disruptions on 189 pass rushes.

.

14:12  SIGNING! This is going to be a big blow for the Giants.  After losing Zach Miller, the Raiders have responded by paying Kevin Boss $16m over four years.  Boss is coming off a below par year, but it should be remembered he was our second ranked tight end in 2009.  He’s a capable receiver and talented blocker when healthy.

.

10:34  EXTENSION! The Jaguars moved to lock down one of the best young tight ends in the league.  They’ve secured the services of Marcedes Lewis for another five years at around $7m per year.  Lewis was our second ranked TE last year, after finishing fourth in 2009.  What makes Lewis so special is that he’s more than just a threat catching the ball, but one of the better blocking tight ends.

.

07:20  EXTENSION! The Steelers have moved to prevent one of their own hitting the market next year.  Outside linebacker Lamarr Woodley has signed a contract extension, according to his twitter feed.  Woodley has been the fourth most productive pass rusher over the past three years.  Adam Schefter reports that it’s a six year deal for $61m.

.

07:01 Good morning football fans.  The blog is still alive, even if it is moving down the page.  Some rumors to pay attention to; Bo Scaife is visiting with the Bengals and Rams, while Olin Kreutz is being looked at as a stop gap for the Ravens and Saints.  Scaife had a chance to really establish himself as a premier tight end with Alge Crumpler moving on, but had a tough year when asked to do more blocking.  Meanwhile Kreutz was our second lowest ranked center for what he did on the field.  Neither man made my list of what’s left out there on offense.

.

02:57 It’s a new day and we’re less than a week away from some pre season goodness.  Excited yet?

.

21.20 Just a heads up, the PFF Free Agent Tracker is up to date again!

.

20.55 SIGNING! The 49ers have added Braylon Edwards, one of the few top free agents remaining. He had a +3.4 receiving rating last year, which was better then anyone the 49ers had, so he will likely join the starting lineup either opposite Michael Crabtree, or replacing him given his foot injuries. With that, nine free agents remain, and they have three more hours to do it for the free agent contest.

.

18.50 SIGNING! The Panthers have had a strong offseason, and it got better with the signing of wide receiver Legedu Naane. He had the second most snaps of all Chargers receivers, and although he didn’t look great for most of the season, he ended strong. In those games he caught eight of 14 balls thrown his way for 138 yards. He should be able to win a starting job.

.

18.41 SIGNING! In a very busy day for the remaining restricted free agents, the Atlanta Falcons now have Brent Grimes back. He is one of the better corner backs in the league, and is best remembered by me for his game against the Seattle Seahawks. In that game he was thrown at eight times, deflected four of the passes, intercepted one of them, and allowed one to be caught.

.

17:11  SIGNING! Normally when a player tweets he’s off to join a team you take him at face value.  It doesn’t get much more from the horses mouth than that.  Only Donte Whitner has upset a fair few people by turning his back on an apparently two year deal with Cincinnati to live the good life in San Francisco.  That explains why Taylor Mays has been offered up for trade.  Whitner is an in the box type safety who gives up plays in coverage.  Maybe he figures the superior talent on the 49ers defense may prevent his weaknesses being as exposed as they were last year.

.

16:54  RELEASE! I don’t agree with the move, but it’s been announced by Jason LaCanfora that the Jets have released Jerricho Cotchery.  Some team is going to get one very underrated receiver for less than he’s worth.

.

16:40  SIGNING! In a move that isn’t awfully surprising the Giants have resigned Rocky Bernard.  Bernard isn’t the kind of player who can handle a starters load, but he gives them a valuable body in a rotation low on experience.  He ended last year with a +7.1 rating on 324 snaps.

.

16:37  SIGNING! Kendrick Lewis and Eric Berry probably aren’t worry about their jobs if they’ve watched Sabby Piscitelli.  In any case he’s signed for Kansas City.  Given his ability to miss tackles and take bad angles, his role should be limtied to special teams.

.

16:32  SIGNING! The Titans have responded to the injury of Ryan Mouton by bringing in versatile defensive back Jordan Babineaux.  While he lacks the talent to play at a consistently high level, he brings with him some playmaking to go along with being able to play the slot and at safety.

.

14:35 Just when I think the Bucs haven’t spent their money poorly enough this off season, twitter draftrobot (what a weird name for a parent to give a child) points on a quest to find out how much money they paid Jeremy Trueblood.  After finding the information it turns out it’s a two deal year deal for $10m.   There are not enough exclamation marks in the word to convey the shock of that.  Trueblood was so bad he was benched last year, and yet is rewarded with a deal like that?  I know Bucs fans have said the strategy is to build through the draft, but do they need to overpay to do it?  Trueblood has one good year in 2008.  One good year.  Since then he’s been atrocious.

.

14:27  SIGNING! John Clayton has tweeted to let everyone that Donte Whitner tweeted to let everyone know he’s joined with the Bengals.  It’s a logical move, and while Whitner’s tackle count flatters him (to people who value tackle counts), he’s a decent enough safety when he’s not being victimized in coverage (just the six touchdowns given up last year).

.

13:54  SIGNING! Its just his restricted tender, but Cliff Avril has signed it with Detroit.  Avril is in line for a massive contract if he can replicate his 2010 season, where he generated more pressure on a per snap basis than anyone else on third and fourth downs.

.

13:32  SIGNING! The Rams have brought back defensive tackle Gary Gibson.  Gibson started last year (playing 605 snaps) and played reasonably well so the move isn’t too surprising.  Still, given that the Rams have brought in bodies at the defensive tackle spot it’s no given Gibson makes the final roster.

.

13:27 I won’t lie.  I find it surprising that the Jets are prepared to release Jerricho Cotchery if Derrick Mason is brought in.  While Mason is a fine player, Cotchery hasn’t been too bad himself.  Sure, last year he didn’t have a great year.  But go back to 2009 when Cotchery was our eighth ranked receiver and you’ll see a player who just made things happen when he got the chance.  If New York do release him yo have to feel a lot of teams will be looking at a weapon like Cotchery.

.

08:19 So Derrick Mason is visiting with the Jets.  That’s bound to create some intrigue.  While Mason isn’t getting any younger, he’s still one of the most productive receivers in the league.  A combination of Santonio Holmes and Mason, with Jerricho Cotchery supporting is amongst the best in the league.  For what it’s worth, Mason had a +8.8 grade from us last year, good enough for 11th in the league.  It may be a game for the young, but Mason can still get it done.

.

06:37  INJURY!  The Cowboys pursued Nnamdi Asomugha and missing out on him hurts doubly with the news Terence Newman is going to be out for four to six weeks.  At 32 and coming off a poor season (finishing 86th in our 2010 cornerback rankings) the cornerback position is looking like a concern for Dallas heading into the season.

.

06:34  SIGNING! The Cowboys added to their safety ranks by bringing in Abram Elam.  The former Brown fits into the system that Rob Ryan uses but lacks the kind of top end talent for Cowboys fans to get overly excited.  Elam was 61st in our safety rankings last year.

.

05:04  SIGNING! The Redskins are bringing back Rocky McIntosh on a one year deal.  Given how bad a fit McIntosh appears for the 3-4 defense, and how poorly he played last year(our lowest ranked ILB), it’s something of a surprise to see him back in Washington.

.

02:15 What’s up night owls? Rick here, had to jump in because we can’t let the day finish without a quick response to the Tamba Hali extension (we’ve given him so much ink this past year, it just wouldn’t be right). Hali netted a huge deal (5 years / $60 million) that was nearly on par with the gigantic sum Charles Johnson hauled in, though one year shorter and with a bit more guaranteed. Worth each penny of it, Hali has featured prominently in every look we’ve dedicated to pass rushers this offseason – 2010 Pass Rushing Productivity, 3rd & 4th Downs, Three Year PRP, and Three Year Grades. This was a deal that needed to get done, and with the relatively lackluster free agency period the Chiefs have had to date, locking Hali up long term serves as their highlight. Now, if they could only land a threat to play opposite him.

.

23.55 That looks like it for the free agency signings for the night. Nathan Jahnke signing out.

.

23.28 SIGNING! Yesterday, I mentioned how the Ravens lost two of their starting defensive backs in the Letting Them Walk article. The Ravens made an attempt to improve the secondary by adding Bernard Pollard. On the surface, the signing doesn’t look good with his -1.1 run defense and -6.3 pass coverage ratings last year with Houston, but a lot of his problems in coverage came in the first three weeks, and then he was average. He also played better in the last six weeks against the run then he did the first nine.

.

22.02 SIGNING! The Jaguars waived wide receiver Nate Hughes recently, and today he was picked up the the Lions. In only 190 snaps in 2010, he managed a -5.3 receiving rating, hence the Jaguars waiving him. He joins the Lions group of misfit receivers trying to play alongside Calvin Johnson.

.

21.09 SIGNING! The Vikings have brought back Ryan Cook who was the starting right guard for the last six weeks of the season. For the most part he was average, although he had trouble with the Lions defensive front allowing five pressures.

.

19.38 The Free Agent Tracker is yet again up to date. None of the ten free agents remaining in our top 51 have signed anywhere, so the lead in the Free Agent contest is still 20 correct with ten players possible to go. The contest ends tomorrow at midnight. Like all day, any more signings today and we will keep you informed here.

.

19.22 By the way, this is now Nathan Jahnke bringing you the live blog notices for the rest of the evening. So far it looks like Khaled Elsayed and Sam Monson did a great job of giving you all the moves of the day, as I’m already most of the way through checking and Green-Ellis was the only one I found that they missed to this point.

.

19:19 SIGNING! The Patriots made another move, bringing back restricted free agent BenJarvus Green-Ellis. While few people know it with how well the Patriots pass the ball, Green-Ellis paired with Danny Woodhead make one of the best running tandems in the league, both with rush ratings above 7.6 in 2010. The difference between the two is Green-Ellis isn’t good at pass protection, with six overall pressures allowed in 27 tries. Woodhead is also the better receiver. The only big name restricted free agents that remain are Brandon Carr of the Chiefs and Cliff Avril of the Lions.

.

18:35  SIGNING! The Jets have made a nice little move in resigning Brodney Pool.  Given the money both Danieal Manning and Michael Huff got, it’s surprising more teams didn’t go after Pool.  An excellent cover safety he does make plays, and is incredibly reliable when on the field.  He didn’t allow a single TD all year while managing to pick off one ball, and break up another eight.

.

18:32  SIGNING! The Chargers have gone after another receiver who likes to stretch the field.  The only problem is Laurent Robinson is more than a little bit injury prone (averaging just 327.33 snaps the past three years).  What’s worse is how much he struggled last year, finishing the season our fourth lowest ranked receiver on the year.  If he plays like that again (presuming he makes it to the field), then even Philip Rivers won’t be able to overcome that.

.

18:28  SIGNING! The Titans have added depth to their defensive backfield by signing Frank Walker.  The former Viking allowed just 47.8% of passes thrown at him to be completed last year and played well when in Baltimore.  He’s not the youngest guy out there, but he’s shown enough to suggest he could be of more use to plenty of teams than a fourth choice corner.

.

18:26  SIGNING! The 49ers have downgraded at another position.  They did need to replace David Baas, but the only player left was Jonathan Goodwin.  After a good 2009, Goodwin saw his play decline massively in 2010 to the point where he was our 23rd ranked center.  He’ll at least have the benefit of playing with two of the more powerful guards in the league in Mike Iupati and Chilo Rachal.

.

18:23  SIGNINGS! The Eagles are at it again.  They’ve brought in Derek Landri and Anthony Hargrove.  What do both men have?  A good burst off the snap.  It’s exactly what Philadelphia seems to want from their defensive linemen, and while it’s unlikely both make the roster, it does speak volume for what the Eagles want to do.  Get up field and in the QBs face.

.

17:17  SIGNING! This could be one that signals the end for Thomas Jones.  Le’ron McClain has joined the Chiefs, and you wonder if he’s going to be used a full back, or the thunder to Jamaal Charles’ lightening.  McClain is more a versatile weapon than punishing lead blocker and he does add something to the Chiefs offense.

.

17:14  SIGNING! We discussed it earlier, and now its official that the Rams have brought in Cadillac Williams to spell Steven Jackson, and more than likely relieve him of third down duties.  Williams reputation as one of the better pass blocking backs is a tad overblown, but he’s a big upgrade on Jackson in this regard.

.

17:09  SIGNING! The Patriots have brought in offensive linemen Chris Morris and Jonathan Compas.  Morris was our 33rd ranked center in 2009, while Compas managed 14 snaps in 2009.  We wouldn’t expect either man to contribute to a line largely returning the guys who ranked third in 2010.

.

16:24  SIGNING! The Giants have kept their quota of Andrews up, by bringing in Stacy Andrews.  Andrews went from being inconsistent in Cincinnati (2008) to just consistently playing poor in Philadelphia (when he got on the field) and in Seattle.  It’s hard to see him providing anything more than depth, even given the moves the Giants have made to their offensive line this off season.

.

16:22  SIGNING! Washington has brought back Kedric Golston on a one year deal.  Given the moves Washington made it’s hard to see Golston getting anywhere near the 458 snaps he got last year, especially given how poorly he performed.  He earned a -10.1 grade, good (or bad) enough to be our fifth lowest ranked 3-4 end from 2010.

.

16:19  SIGNING! The Seahawks have moved to replace Olindo Mare but bringing in Jeff Reed to battle Brandon Coutu for the kicker spot.  Reed wasn’t exactly super accurate last year, and is one of those players who benefits from the new kick off rules.

.

16:14  SIGNING! The Saints have added some depth depth at the offensive tackle position by picking up Alex Barron on a one year deal.  As strange as it may be to believe for people that have seen Barron play before, he isn’t that much worse than what the Saints already have on the roster.  Though that’s more an indictment of Jermon Bushrod and Jon Stinchcomb.  Barron has flashed a certain level of ability in his time in the NFL, but not nearly as much as he’s flashed a love of giving up penalties.

.

11:40  SIGNING! The Raiders wanted to bring in Jared Gaither, but due to health concerns they’re stuck with Stephon Heyer.  The former Redskin had a -13.5 rating on just 451 snaps last year, after a -19.0 grade in 2009.  He’s not the missing link of an offensive line that ranked 27th last year.  They’ve also resigned Samson Satele and brought in Justin Smiley as they look to rectify this.

.

11:32  SIGNING! The Lions have resigned former first round pick Bobby Carpenter.  He played 254 snaps last year (82 for Miami) and wasn’t overly impressive.  He figures to provide depth given the signings of Justin Durant and Stephen Tulloch.

.

11:28 The Rams look like they’re close to finding their third down back for the forthcoming season.  Chris Mortenson reports they’re close to finalizing a deal with Cadillac Williams.  The former Buc doesn’t appear to have much left after serious injuries derailed his once extremely promising career.  He was an above average pass protector last year, so will represent an upgrade in that regard.

.

11:23  SIGNING! Well we took ourselves a little break.  In that time Lawrence Vickers has signed with the Texans to replace Vonta Leach.  Vickers is extremely physical, but playing full back is more than that.  Hence why he had the second lowest grade of all full backs last year.

.

06:10 It’s a new day and while there isn’t as much happening, we’ll still be reacting to what it is going down.  In the meantime check out Sam Monson talking about the hybrid defenses in the NFL and Khaled Elsayed’s look at which AFC Teams have had the best free agent periods.

.

02:30 SIGNING! Matt Maiocco just let it be known that the San Francisco 49ers have signed cornerback Carlos Rogers. With Nate Clements leaving town and no other major CB options still on the board, San Francisco pulled the trigger on Rogers as the guy they hope will fill a gaping hole in the D. He’ll at least bring some experience, but finishing as the 75th CB in our 2010 coverage ratings, Rogers slotted just above his new SF corner-mate Shawntae Spencer (77th) – not exactly looking like a dynamic duo.

.

01:10 Finally sitting down to get some PFF work in and finish off this last full day of 24/7 blog coverage. From here on, the plan is to bring comments on the major moves, but manning the post around the clock will have to give way to our next endeavors. I tip my cap to the incredible work Khaled Elsayed, Sam Monson, and Nathan Jahnke have put in over the past week – literally covering every minute of free agency with PFF-style reactions. As well, a VERY big Thank You to all of the readers that have followed along – both those that have been with us for a while and those that have just found us. The preseason is in sight and soon it’ll be GO TIME as our staff kicks into gear and starts pumping out the game data and grades you come here for. Be sure to be around for it, it’s a very exciting time. Between now and then, you can expect tons more content to hit the page as we ramp up for the 2011 NFL season. And, for you fantasy players, the PFF Fantasy team will have you prepped and ready to roll come draft day, so be sure to keep up to date with their offerings.

.

23.57 It looks like we are a week into free agency, and things are really starting to die down. Like we’ve said, there are a few big names left. The trend of less and less moves happening a day will continue until we’ve reached a normal pace, but there are still moves to be had. If anything happens in the next few hours, Rick Drummond will be here to give you the news. This is Nathan Jahnke, enjoy the rest of your evenings!

.

22.48 The Free Agent tracker has been updated once again, this time with all the moves of the day based on the NFL.com’s transactions. Let’s hope there is at least one more move to talk about tonight!

.

22.33 SIGNING! While the Bengals let PFF favorite Evan Mathis go, Max Jean-Gilles has been brought in to join the Bengals line. It’s not surprising that with all the players the Eagles are bringing in that they can’t bring a number of people back. For the Bengals, this move doesn’t really help make up for a terrible free agency so far. Last year Jean-Gilles had somewhat negative run and pass block ratings.

.

22.17 SIGNING! And the last of the moves made today that weren’t talked about, Rex Grossman to no ones surprise is back in Washington. In fact, Mike Shanahan has so much confidence in Grossman that it’s a one year contract. To be fair, he did end the season strong against the Giants, where he had 7.6 yards per attempt, two touchdowns and an interception.

.

22.13 SIGNING! Joining the list of former Packers such as Na’il Diggs and Paris Lenon to have played for the Rams is Brady Poppinga. In 2010 Poppinga had some playing time when Clay Matthews was hurt, and had a +2.7 run defense rating in 105 snaps. Typical of a Packers linebacker last year, he too got hurt and missed the rest of the season. The Packers decided to stay young at linebacker, while Poppinga will probably get a backup role in St. Louis.

.

22.07 SIGNING! If you are one of the 4% of people here who care when I tell you punter news, then there is a chance you’ll be part of the 0.01% who cares when I have some long snapper news for you. The Steelers agreed to terms with their long snapper Greg Warren. He had one special teams tackle in week 4 against the Ravens, but the tackle wasn’t good enough to get a +0.5 score from us.

.

21.58 SIGNING! When the Arizona Cardinals don’t want you back, that’s typically not a good sign. However defensive tackle Gabe Watson used his “Get out of the desert free” card, and landed in New York to join the Giants. He barely played in 2010, and on 155 snaps had a -6.2 rating. However in 2008 he was above average in the run, and 2009 he was great in it. He will need to transition from a 3-4 nose tackle to a 4-3 defensive tackle.

.

21.54 UN-RETIREMENT! Brett… scared you for a second there, didn’t I? Although Olin Kreutz didn’t actually retire, he considered it, but now has decided he wants to play for the right team. His run blocking skills won’t get him there, but his pass blocking skills are still solid, and will probably land him a starting job somewhere.

.

21.46 SIGNING! This one is a recent one, even though Josh McDaniels is no longer with the Broncos, their desire to bring in former Patriots remains. To help their struggling defensive line is Ty Warren, who missed the 2010 season but was a solid run stopper in 2009 with a +10.7 rating there. The Broncos most desperately need help in the pass rush department which Warren won’t be able to help in, but he is still an upgrade when it comes to stopping the run.

.

21.40 Earlier I mentioned that the Patriots had a visit with one of our ten best remaining free agents Matt Roth. They set up a meeting with another one; this time Raheem Brock. With them not signing a 3-4 LB in Roth, and bringing in a 4-3 DE like Brock, it looks like the talks of the Patriots returning more to a 4-3 could be very true.

.

21.36 SIGNINGS! When the Saints let go of Jeremy Shockey, it showed the trust they had in Jimmy Graham (and for good reason)! The Saints now have the backup positions better figured out, with the re-signing of both Tory Humphrey and Dave Thomas. Humphrey was the third tight end last year, unless you count Zach Strief. Thomas missed the 2010 season, but in 2009 proved to be a great option for Brees and his offense, with a +6.3 receiving rating. If he is healthy, he and Graham could make for a strong receiving duo.

.

21.24 SIGNING! With the Eagles now stacked at corner back, it’s no surprise that Dimitri Patterson isn’t returning to the team. Instead he will be taking his play to Cleveland. From Week 13 to the wild card round, he had an overall rating of -14.5, with a -3.0 rating or worse in four of those six games. He was playing above average football before that point, so it will be interesting to see if he can rebound.

.

21.19 SIGNING! A tight end forgotten by most, Desmond Clark has been re-signed by the Bears. He was a starter in 2008, on and off in 2009, and then in 2010 played in 16 snaps in the first three weeks, and then didn’t play again until the conference championship game where he had a snap. At the age of 34, coming off two seasons where he had injuries, and not the greatest play prior to that, it will be somewhat of a surprise if he makes the roster.

.

21.10 SIGNING! As I began going through and finding what our guys missed, center Casey Rabach who was recently cut by the Redskins has winded up in Baltimore. He began his journey in the NFL in 2001 with the Ravens, where he played four years and was a starter in 2004. He spent the last six years in Washington where he only missed one start. He showed some signs of playing well late in the 2009 season, but early on in 2009, as well as 2008 and 2010 he didn’t look worthy of being a starter. It’s possible this move will push Marshal Yanda back out to right tackle, although he is much better suited to play right guard.

.

21.06 SIGNING! The Dream Team just doesn’t stop. This time they picked up safety Jarrad Page who last played for the Patriots. In the previous two years he was a backup, without much significant to note from him. In 2008 he was a starter for the Chiefs, where he had six straight games with a negative overall rating followed by five straight with positive ones. However the negative ones were more significant then the positive, which resulted in a -4.8 run defense rating and a -5.1 coverage rating.

.

20.40 The Free Agency Tracker is up to date once again! With the quantity of players who have been signed now, you can get a much better sense of teams that have gained and lost a lot in free agency so far.

.

20.25 SIGNING! Outside of Robert Mathis and Dwight Freeney, the Colts defensive line has been a mess these past three years. They made another attempt to fix that with the signing of Tommie Harris who had been cut by the Bears. While he isn’t the player he once was, he still looks to be better then anything the Colts currently have and could very well end up as the starter.

.

20.20 Speaking of the ten free agents remaining from Khaled’s original 51, most people predicted Matt Roth would go to the Patriots. He apparently worked out with the team today, although there was no deal made that we know of.

.

20.11 A Free Agent contest update, Manny Lawson, Zach Miller and Aubrayo Franklin all signed today. No one got any of those moves right, so the leader is still at 20 correct picks. Now 10 men remain. They are Andre Carter, Braylon Edwards, Jared Gaither, Kevin Boss, Malcolm Floyd, Matt Roth, Raheem Brock, Shaun Ellis, Steve Smith and Stylez White. These players have tonight, all of tomorrow, and all of Thursday to sign in order for it to count for the contest. With 2-3 of the players on the list signing a day, we could see most of them signed by the end of this.

.

19.57 SIGNING! The only action the Cowboys have seen in free agency is bringing back their own men, and they did it again with safety Gerald Sensabaugh. This move continues to deplete my All-Available Team from two days ago. The Cowboys secondary has had a bad reputation (for good reason), but Sensabaugh is clearly the best player with positive ratings in run defense, pass rush, pass coverage and penalties. Even with Sensabaugh, the Cowboys might be the worst secondary in the NFL in 2011.

.

19.40 SIGNING! The Dream Team seems to have a never ending source of money to bring in new free agents. I know that’s not true, but I’m sure to many fans that is the feel. This time they took from the Broncos right tackle Ryan Harris (edit: Not David… that was last post). Last year he had two starts early on, and then started the second half of the season. Outside of allowing five pressures against the Titans and four against the Texans, he put up a solid season which resulted in a positive pass block rating. I hope he is ready to block for the triple reverse where Ronnie Brown gets the snap, hands it to Vince Young who is on one side at wide receiver, who throws it across the field to Michael Vick who lines up on the other side at wide receiver, who throws the ball deep to DeSean Jackson. I’m only partially kidding there.

.

19.32 SIGNING! After the Jets were one of four teams mentioned in the Letting Them Walk article, they made a move to try not making the list again next year. They signed David Harris to a four year contract extension. In 2010 he had eight straight games with a positive run stop rating. However he also had three games with overall ratings below 2.5, which really dropped his overall rating down to 0.9. It was a similar story in 2009, so if he could just not have those terrible games, he would be considered one of the better inside linebackers by us.

.

19.26 SIGNING! One of the Falcons running backs signed elsewhere, and it was Jerious Norwood to the St. Louis Rams to back up Steven Jackson. Injuries decimated his previous two seasons, but his play in 2008 as a backup was somewhat impressive. He had 5.2 yards per carry, with 3.4 of them coming after contact. He also had 11 players miss tackles on him, and wasn’t bad at blocking ether. Who knows how much those injuries have hurt his play though.

.

19.22 Sorry for the delay, there are some moves to report, so Nathan Jahnke is here for the night to give them to you! Expect many posts over the next little bit of time, so stay with us and I’ll be giving a lot of info over a short period of time.

.

17.22 SIGNING! The Seahawks have reached an agreement with former Raiders TE Zach Miller.  Miller is a much better and complete player than John Carlson, who has never really played up to his athleticism and natural talent.  There’s a reasonable chance that the Seahawks try and move Carlson if they can get anything back in a trade (to Oakland maybe, since they now need a TE!), but if they don’t it does present them with some interesting options for multiple-TE sets.

.

16.57 SIGNING! The Eagles aren’t content with winning free agency, they’re planning on lapping the field.  They’ve reached an agreement with running back Ronnie Brown. Brown provides a strong inside presence for the Eagles and he is excellent at avoiding clutter in close quarters.  As Mr Doug Farrar also points out – Ronnie Brown, Vince Young, Vick – Wildcat 2.0?

.

16.51 SIGNING! According to Adam Schefter the New Orleans Saints just reached an agreement with Aubrayo Franklin on a one year deal.  That couldn’t raise more questions.  How was the best and only real legitimate 3-4 NT stud not in more demand? Why are the Saints chasing a 3-4 NT with Ellis on board and Shaun Rogers (a 1-gap player at his best) also signed? Why the heck did San Francisco not jump all over the deal if that was the asking price, they need him back.

.

15.46 RELEASE! Seems Mr Zobel was right on the money, only without managing to find a trade partner the Vikings have elected to cut Bryant McKinnie.  He reportedly showed up to camp well out of shape and overweight, with rumblings of 400lbs being mooted (as they tend to be with every large lineman said to be overweight, so who knows..).  McKinnie has always been an underachiever and appeared to play lazy, but he remains a consistently above average player at one of the hardest positions in football to fill.  The Vikings may find out pretty quickly just how much worse things can get than having Bryant McKinnie as your left tackle, and certainly none of the options they appear to have in-house would be anything other than a downgrade.

.

12:46 From Shawn Zobel, the Vikings have initiated trade talks in regards to Bryant McKinnie.  McKinnie has talent, but there appears some weight issues for our 12th ranked left tackle from last year.  In any case, does that now mean Charlie Johnson will be starting at left tackle?  If so we could get a real tangible indicator of how good Peyton Manning is at avoiding sacks, when we see how many Johnson gives up in Minnesota.

.

12:24  SIGNING! Jason LaCanfora reports Michael Clayton is back with the New York Giants.  The former Buc got on the field for 66 snaps in the last five weeks of the season catching two of the four balls thrown his way.  Prior to that he had amongst the lowest grades we’ve given out to a receiver over 2008 and 2009 combined.

.

12:18  SIGNING! The Colts are loading up on first round busts.  Ernie Sims is in their house.  Sims has never mastered some of the finer points of player in the NFL like coverage for example.  Without laying into him too much, he’s probably (position for position) the worst starter we’ve graded over the past three years.  In 2010 he was our third lowest ranked 4-3 OLB and the worst for the two years previous.  Colts fans, it’s nice you’ve signed a free agent, but try not to get too excited.

.

12:15 Nothing is going on.  But Jerious Norwood is visiting St Louis.  Norwood has game changing ability, but to a change a game you kind of need to be in the game.  He’s brittle and won’t offer much help as a third down back as he’s not exactly a stud with his blitz pick up.

.

11:35 Texans GM Rick Smith has confirmed Lawrence Vickers is in town for a visit.  As Bart Scott confirmed, Vickers is one of the most physical and punishing lead blockers in the NFL.  Still, that alone doesn’t make someone great and Vickers has far too many off games for our liking.  He was our second lowest ranked full back last year.

.

11:14 Ravens fans of a nervous nature may want to look away.  Our top ranked regular season center from last year, Matt Birk, is apparently having some troubles with his knees.  As such they may have to plan for life without him.  That plan is Casey Rabach according to John Clayton.  That means dropping him a guy who has been the closest thing to Nick Mangold over the past three years, to our 29th ranked center.  Problematic.

.

11:11 It was interesting when the Vikings went after Jermon Bushrod and then Charlie Johnson.  Well now its all starting to make sense.  Bryant McKinnie has apparently showed up to camp so badly out of shape that he may be cut.  That would be a big blow to the Vikings, because Johnson is a proven liability at left tackle, while McKinnie was our 11th ranked left tackle last year.  But if he’s not in shape, then he’s not in shape.  Not what the Vikings needed.

.

10:31 If you haven’t read a piece we did on quarterbacks under pressure, have a read now.  It doesn’t paint the greatest picture of Kevin Kolb who doesn’t do a great job getting rid of the ball.  Why is this relevant now?  Well at the moment his starting tackles are pencilled into be Levi Brown and Brandon Keith.  Are you following me here?  Two tackles who give up a ton of pressure plus a quarterback who struggles under pressure?  Hmm …

10:28 Some chatter suggesting that Ryan Harris will return to the Broncos on a one year deal.  It will be a good move for both teams, giving Denver a guy at right tackle with starting experience, and providing Harris a chance to show he can play a full season without getting hurt.  Harris isn’t exactly a stud tackle, but he is serviceable.  If he plays to his talent level he could be in line for a team in need overpaying him next year given the sparsity of serviceable tackles about.

.

10:24  SIGNING! The Seahawks have found themselves a guy who fits the type of hybrid defense they could run more this year.  Jimmy Wilkerson as signed a one year deal after a season with the Saints where he played 344 snaps (223 coming as a left defensive end).  He didn’t have the greatest year, and has never followed through on a pretty impressive 2008.

.

09:31  SIGNING! We have a signing, and it’s like our Christmas’ have come all at once.  Sure the Steelers are only picking up a second tight end in John Gilmore but it means the day is under way.  Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette broke the news, and it can be considered an upgrade on what Pittsburgh had.  While Matt Spaeth was our 52nd ranked tight end last year, Gilmore finished 31st.

.

09:28 Are we nearly there yet?  And by there I mean the end of free agency.  Somehow the most talked about thing on twitter right now is that Shayne Graham is in Redskins camp.  Kicker battle!  Graham was accurate last year for the Pats and is benefited by the new kick off rules.  His competition with Graham Gano looks set to come down to whether Redskins want accuracy, or distance from their kicker.  Anyways, let’s get it on!

.

08.02 Well the morning is still slow, but we do bring good news, as ProFootballTalk is reporting that 11 teams still have $20m+ worth of salary cap space.  With several of the top 51 available free agents still on the market, we should still see some reasonable moves coming.  We are far from done yet!

.

05:52 Incredibly some of my top 51 free agents still remain available.  Just waiting to make a team better.  Have a look at who they are.

.

05:03 You get the feeling things are starting to calm down after one of the most hectic free agencies you’re ever likely to see.  With that in mind I’m going to work on writing a piece grading the teams performance over these past seven days.  My editor doesn’t know it yet, but that will be going live tomorrow.

.

04:33 Nothing going on right now.  So while there’s dead time, let us know what you want to see on the site.  If there are any articles you think we should be doing, fire over an email to [email protected] and we’ll do our best to give you our unique analysis on that topic.  We can but try.

.

04:19 Possible signing.  It’s hard to find out anything more about it, but yesterday ESPN reported the Bears signed up Anthony Hargrove.  Far from confirmed, Hargrove fits the mould of a Bears defensive end, with his bigger than average size.  He’s a heart warming story given his journey to where he is, and is a more proven commodity than Vernon Gholston so could quite conceivably stick.  It is telling that though that with him on the roster, New Orleans made a number of attempts to upgrade their defensive tackle position.

.

04:05 If you saw Peter King’s MMQB, he referenced an article that was in the works from us lovely chaps at Pro Football Focus.  Well the whole thing is out right now, and clicking here, you can see it all.

.

03:08 So according to Ralp Vacchiano of the New York Daily News, five teams are interested in Osi Umenyiora.  Those teams are Seattle, Baltimore, Denver, San Diego and St Louis.  I could think of better fits for Umenyiora, but the one that most interests me out of them are the Rams.  There’s the coach connection, and you know Spagnulo will try to replicate something similar to what he had with the Rams in terms of how he rotates personnel.  Given how the Baltimore scheme works, it’s interesting what they’d do with excellent outside linebacker, but lackluster pass rusher Jarret Johnson.  Interesting to watch how this pans out.

.

02:41 Morning insomniacs and people in crazy time zones.  Nothing much going on so I’ll throw in my thoughts on the Manny Lawson move.  Firstly it’s hard to see where he fits in.  They brought in Thomas Howard and already had good players like Keith Rivers and Rey Mauluaga.  Even seeing a third down pass rusher role (like the one Kamerion Wimbley had) seems a tad hard to imagine with Carlos Dunlap and Michael Johnson featuring prominently from that spot.  I’ll be honest, it’s not a move I saw the Bengals making, but they must have a plan for him.

.

02:30 I’m getting nothing done here except bring down the expectations of this blog. It’s with that in mind that I’ll now step aside and hand it over to the well-rested and super-enthusiastic Khaled Elsayed who’s ready to add his insight on through the morning.

.

01:40 Yeah, I’m still here, but it seems the Lawson deal was the capper for the evening. I’ll be keeping an eye, but have a desk full of work that needs to get done, so updates may be sparse. Should Zach Miller announce his SEA/OAK decision soon (doubtful tonight, despite dining with the Seattle gang and Coach Cable this evening) we’ll chat about it, but hard to guess what else is on the horizon.

.

01:00 SIGNING! Hey all, Rick here hopping on for a bit until the morning crew gets in, and right off the bat, we’ve got news to start Day 7. Manny Lawson has been signed to a 1yr/$3m deal by the Cincinnati Bengals. Underutilized in San Francisco’s 3-4, Lawson’s ability to get to the quarterback wasn’t fully exploited. Not clear the role he’ll play in Cincy, but will likely head to the strongside to fit in with Rey Maualuga (sliding to the middle this year) and also newly-acquired Thomas Howard on the weakside. Capable in multiple facets of LB play, Lawson finished in our Top 10 for 3-4 outside linebackers in each of the past three seasons, which led to him being included in our three-year bests at the position. Was also named a pass rusher to watch earlier this offseason. New town, new scheme, and a new start. Nice grab Cincinnati.

.
.
.

.
.
.

  • jshalk123

    Aren’t you forgetting about a former 1st round pick that cinci used to play the WLB spot? Keith Rivers?

    • Rick Drummond

      Ha, thanks j, blew right past that one.

  • uppercut

    Perhaps a Wimbley-esque role where Lawson plays LB downs 1 & 2 then rushes the passer from a DE spot on down 3?

    • Rick Drummond

      “Wimbley-esque”. Like it.

  • http://www.profootballfocus.com Khaled Elsayed

    You read my mind!

  • regulator

    Who do you guys think will start on NO’s line? Ellis hasn’t been playing well the last two years according to your rankings.

  • http://www.profootballfocus.com Khaled Elsayed

    A lot invested in Ellis, but if they’re running same system as last year Franklin needs to start + rotate Rogers/ Ellis as up field type tackle. If production sees through Rogers can’t be left off field. Ellis/ Rogers inside in nickel seems likely.

    Saints, as ever, make good signings. Franklin limits exposure of Vilmas weaknesses.