2014 NFL Free Agency Thread

I’ll kick this off. Looks like the Buccaneers have poached my Bengals DE Michael Johnson, signing him to a lucrative deal that the Bengals, having already locked up Carlos Dunlap and extended Geno Atkins, just could not afford. Plus they drafted his replacement in Margus Hunt in the last draft.

RNATB is somewhere in the Tampa/Orlando area celebrating!


The one I was most worried about, your least favorite team, Eugene Monroe signed 5 yrs with the Ravens, solidifying that left guard position that has been a bane for the team since Jonathan Ogden retired years ago.

Left tackle, not guard. Monroe and RG Yanda are solid, but the Ravens still need a center (Gradkowski’s not up to the position) and right tackle (assuming Oher walks in free agency). Osemele’s had a decent rookie year at left guard in 2012, but he had back surgery halfway through last season. The line looked terrible with Yanda and Monroe last year, so those other spots are pretty damn important. I think they’ll be in the market for a free agent WR too, but I’m not sure it’s a good idea to pay a premium price for a skill player until they get the line shored up.

On the other side of the ball, they lost DE Arthur Jones to Indy, and they need a free safety if they’re going to move Elam to strong safety. Ihedgibo’s more of a strong safety (and a free agent to boot), but there aren’t a lot of free agent safeties left after a quick and overpaid run today. Chris Clemons is probably the best of the unsigned guys, and there’s always the potential to convert a veteran CB (Champ Bailey’s available) to FS.

And Rolando McClain is trying to unretire. I’ll take him for $700,000 a year, but I wouldn’t expect too much out of him.

My Saints have cap issues. At the moment, I think they are about $6 million under, but that is with Graham tagged as a TE. If he files a grievance and gets WR money, then they are really in a bind. Not much room for free agents and signing the draft class…

And Cleveland, good old Cleveland, overpaid for a 33 year old linebacker coming off a career year. Good times!

Apparently more room than I thought. Saints just signed Jairus Byrd for 6 years/$54 million with $28 million guaranteed. Nice upgrade at safety.

Rumors are that the Saints have not actually released Sproles, and are seeing “heavy interest” in a potential trade…

Also, the Eagles have signed former Saint Malcolm Jenkins.

LaMarr Woodley is still out there…

Jared Allen, DeMarcus Ware, Julius Peppers…all FA’s.

Not sure I’d want any of them, but Ware would be my first choice for the Bengals if I had to pick one…all are on the downside of their careers and all of them have question marks due to age, behavior, whatever.

Boy, the Broncos are going full-on 2000 Redskins. Talib, Ward, now Ware? Have to at least give them credit for fully committing to it.

Not that I fault them; Peyton’s probably only got another year left in him, so if there’s ever a time to go for broke, this is it.

Thus far my 49ers have resigned kicker Phil Dawson and CB Eric Wright; lost SS Donte Whitner and signed Antoine Bathea to replace him; traded late round picks for a backup QB and a backup swing tackle (B. Gabbert & J. Martin)

I like the moves, but like when he was drafted, I don’t think highly of Gabbert, even as a backup aquired for a garbage draft pick. No worse than Colt McCoy I suppose.

I wonder if they’ll make a splash at WR with someone with speed.

Last year, I have the Bucs grief for trading their first round pick, a conditional fourth rounder for Darrelle Revis and then paying him a total of $16 million a year ($5 million more than the second highest paid CB).

Sounds like the current GM agrees with me, because the Bucs released him today. So they gave up a first rounder, a fourth rounder, and $16 million for one year of Revis. I guess it’s not surprise that Mark Dominick doesn’t have a job in Tampa anymore.

In other “holy crap we can’t pay him that much” news, the Bears released Julius Peppers today. Oddly enough, no one else wanted to pay him his $18 million a year the Bears would have owed him, so their trade offers went unheeded.

If Dominick would have just made Revis the highest paid corner at $12 million or at most $13 million the Bucs would likely have gotten a few times willing to trade for him.

I haven’t been around much this off-season, much to my disappointment and chagrin, but I feel the need to weigh in on the Bears briefly before bed. Lots of comings and goings.

First, the Bucs signed Josh McCown to be Lovie’s quarterback. I have mixed feelings. Really going to miss him in Chicago. He was great when called upon and he was by all accounts an asset in Halas Hall. He really clicked with Trestman and seemed in some ways to unlock Cutler a bit.

That said, McCown is making $5M a year and is going to be given a chance to start (assuming Glennon doesn’t go off in camp, not impossible). No way the Bears had any business paying a backup that kind of money and frankly McCown deserved a start. I’ll be pulling for him, we’ll see if Lovie fucks him up like he does to most QBs.

We’ll have to wait and see if the Bears exodus to Tampa continues with Tillman, Hester or others.

Sticking with goings…bye bye Peppers. Cutting him was one year too late, something I said this time last year. He’s not a terrible player and I bet he gets $5-7M to play somewhere this year, but at that price it was an easy decision. I know **Hamlet **will rag on it, but everyone knew when that deal was signed that it was essentially a 4 year deal, those chickens came home to roost. He was a worthwhile asset until he wasn’t.

The Bears replaced him with Lamarr Houston, a guy I hardly ever saw with the Raiders. All I really know is what the scouting reports say, but he sounds like he’s a good fit and a nice, versatile addition who’s young and still improving. That said, he’s overpaid at $7M per year. But that’s what happens on the first day of FA, better to not be left out in the cold I guess. He doesn’t have Peppers-like upside but should stabilize the front 4.

The Bears resigned Jordan Palmer to be the backup QB. A pretty unexciting move, but Palmer was pretty impressive in light preseason duty last year. Granted I said that about Haine too, so big grain off salt. Trestman has at least earned a little trust on this one, with Cutler’s new deal you knew they weren’t paying much for a backup. I bet we draft a QB in the fourth or fifth round which I’m all in favor of.

The Bears missed out on Michael Bennett. I’m okay with that, I felt like Bennett was a little over hyped. He seemed like a bit of a one year wonder and was a little too much of a specialist to justify that $8.5M he was offered. Not sure Houston is better, and the Bennett brothers would have been great theater, but I think Houston has a much higher mean than Bennett at $1.5M cheaper.

The other Bears signings, frankly, elicit a “meh” from me. Basically a bunch of depth guys. If we have Mundy and MD Jennings starting at the Safety spots all next season we’re still gonna suck on the back end. Both guys are probably an upgrade from Wright, and are certainly better than Steltz butt they are just a couple guys. Hoping we get a rookie in here who can be a difference maker. Really would have loved to land Byrd, best guy out there by a mile. I’m sorta hoping that DeCoud could be a guy we get cheap once the rush settles down.

The Bears grabbed Jordan Senn to be the new Special Teams ace. I’m a big fan off stud teamers, but the defense is so bad that adding a guy like this feels like a luxury if he’s making more than the minimum.

The rest of the Bears moves where basically resigning their own guys and I can’t complain too much about the decisions. Cutler was a no-brainer. He’s making way too much, but so is every starting QB on his second or third contract not named Manning or Brady. He’s making what the market dictates, part of me wonders what life would have been like with McCown starting and making $5M a year while we groomed a rookie, but it’s tough to argue that we’d be closer to a title taking that gamble.

They re-upped Tim Jennings. He’s making more than he’s worth too, but as one of the only bright spots on defense it’s a reasonable move. We’ll see what the rest of the CB market looks like but I betting we’re in line on Jennings. I worry about him going against teams #1 if Tillman leaves though.

We kept Ratliff, which is smart and cheap, and Nate Collins. I think both guys if healthy will be good for our DT rotation. We also kept DJ Williams who Emery must like. He makes a lot of sense on paper, but I have far less trust in him staying on the field than those other two.

The 2 big players left to watch are Melton and Tillman. I’d like both guys back at the right price, but I wouldn’t get in a bidding war for either. My hunch is that Tillman is back and Melton is gone, but the Lovie factor looms large in the wake of the Revis departure.

My grade so far, a lukewarm C+, but with tight cap space and a crapload of guys yet to resign that’s probably a solid days work.

So, after taking a big step forward and winning the NFC South, the Panthers are feeling the effects of the ridiculously stupid contracts Marty Hurney doled out before losing his job. Dave Gettelman did an admirable job last year in bringing in some 1-year guys to fill gaps, but this year will be tougher.

They franchised Greg Hardy, which was the right move IMO. Keeping the front 7 intact was good. But Jordan Gross retired, shifting their immediate needs at WR and secondary to the O line.

Then, the already weak WR corp took a huge hit when the team decided (incorrectly, IMO) that it was time for Steve Smith to go. WTF? Yes, he’ll be 35 when the season starts, and he has a pretty big cap number. But they have NO ONE behind him that’s even close to a #1 guy. By all accounts it was a personality dispute with Gettleman that got them to this point, and the GM certainly has not handled the situation well. For all his flaws, Smith is the heart of this team and still their best receiver. On top of that, the other guys that started last year, Lafell and Ginn, are both FAs and getting looks elsewhere. They could very possibly lose all three. Hakeem Nicks is in the mix as a replacement, and maybe coming back to his hometown will rejuvenate him, but they are cap challenged and won’t be able to sign many FAs.

But hey, they did re-sign their kicker…

The Ravens could probably get LOLBs and LEs from the rest of the AFC North to chip in on keeping Oher in Baltimore. :smiley:

Revis kept on saying he wouldn’t settle for anything less than the $16 million, preventing the Bucs from finding a trading partner. Then, as soon as the released him, he took the 1 year deal at $12 million that the Patriots offered. So, it sounds like he wanted to make sure he ended up with a contender.

Revis certainly knows how to play the system. At 28, he will already have pocketd $80 mil in gtd cash, with has to be a record for a non-QB (on an AAV basis). While the Patriots retain the franchise-tag rights, going forward, Revis probably reasons that if he turns out to be the difference in getting the Pats back to SB champion, then he make even more money going forward… even if he has to hold out because of a franchise-tag.

Revis, at CB, is a great replacement for Talib going to Denver. Talib’s presence made a huge difference in the Pat’s secondary, but his chronic hip-injury kept him out of the last two AFC title games.

I think it was you who pointed out that, the way his contract was structured, it was actually a one year deal, with the Bears having the option of cutting him loose without paying all of the additional “guaranteed money” of the contract. Times change, I guess.

Peppers is like Revis to me. You can be one of the best players at your position and still be overpaid. Good call by the Bears to cut him loose now.

I think these sums up my general feelings about the Bears handling of free agency/salaries: they overpay way too often. It’s great to have a stud DE, but making him the highest paid defensive player in the NFL for 8 sacks may not be the best idea. Nor paying Cutler elite QB money.

On the plus side, the Bears don’t seem to miss a whole lot in the players they pay huge money to. Brandon Marshall is paid top 10 WR money, and is a top 10 WR. Peppers had more than a few great games in there. Sure there are misses (Marion Barber, Chester Taylor, Orlando Pace, Frank Omilaye), but by and large they aren’t killing themselves by grabbing busts in free agency. But stuff like paying Devin Hester WR#1 money and ignoring clear needs on offense to build the defense leaves me shaking my head.

My favorite signing so far of this free agency is by the Bucs, who replaced Darelle Revis (at $16 million a year guaranteed) with Alterranum Verner (4-year, $26.5m with $14m guaranteed). There is no contest, Revis is the better cornerback, but I’d take Verner at $6.5 over Revis at double that anyday. Verner was one of “my guys” back in the 2010 draft, and although he has struggled a bit with the long NFL season, he’s still a very good CB and a tremendous value for the Bucs.

Darren Sproles to Philly for a 2014 5th round pick. If he’s got anything left in the tank, whooo-wee, that Philly offense is going to be something next year.