Monday, August 1, 2011

NFL Free Agency Day 4 Recap

Look, Flozell Adams with a big handful of jersey. Isn't that a surprise...
By the early hours of Friday, most of the top free agents have been scooped up and overpaid. Thankfully, there's plenty more money to go around and plenty of desperate teams to metaphorically douse it in gasoline and light it on fire.

In case you missed my previous recaps, here they are:

Day 1
Day 2
Day 3

I've got a lot of catching up to do from the weekend, so let's get started with Friday's happenings:

Carolina gives LB Jon Beason a giant extension

Seems like we've been talking about Carolina more in the last week than we did all last season, doesn't it? I've been very skeptical of Carolina's free spending offseason, and this extension makes me question Marty Hurney's strategy even more. Nobody's questioning whether Beason is worth the money, because he most certainly is. Beason has started every game in his four year career, has made 3 Pro Bowls, has been selected as a first team All-Pro, and is the unquestioned leader of this defense. On top of that, he's only 26 years old. Based on that, a 5YR $50MIL contract isn't all that crazy. So why am I skeptical? Well, how about because Beason wasn't even a free agent! To my knowledge, there were no indications of a Beason holdout, so why jump the gun and commit so soon? Last season, Beason's tackles dropped below 100 for the first time in his career, and his overall effectiveness diminished significantly from his previous two seasons. It's likely just a flukey rough stretch amidst a wreck of a season, but why not hold on for one more season to be sure? Honestly, I'd feel much better about this contract if they hadn't foolishly extended Thomas Davis. Now, Carolina could be in line for serious cap complications down the road.

CB Eric Wright signs with Detroit

An extremely under the radar signing, but one that could pay dividends for Detroit. Remember, this is the same team that hit big on highly touted underachievers Chris Houston and Alphonso Smith. Since I live in Central Ohio, I'm "privileged" to have a front row seat to the Mistake by the Lake and I can personally attest to just how brutal Eric Wright's play was last season. Even Cam Newton could throw on this guy! Obscured by his 2010 ineptitude, however, are very solid 2008 and 2009 campaigns. In those two seasons, Wright totaled 7 INT's, 118 tackles, 27 passes defensed, and a 15 Approximate Value. Those aren't Pro Bowl numbers or anything, but at only 26 years old, it's not a stretch to think he'll return to form. Detroit badly needed help in the secondary, and Wright could very well prove to be a steal for them.

G Davin Joseph re-signs with Tampa Bay

7YR $ Apparently this is what Tampa Bay was saving their money for. Only a 24 career AV in 5 seasons. AV isn't a perfect stat or anything, but it definitely helps tell a story. The story here...Bucs pay way too much for an interior lineman who's not even one of the best at his position.

Steelers release T Flozell Adams

This has been quite a ride for overly spiteful Cowboys me! Do you think Flozell bought a bunch of yellow flags and hangs them on his wall to commemorate every penalty he receives, ala Willie 'Mays' Hayes? In my mind he did...

WR Michael Jenkins signs with Minnesota

"Hey Donovan, we're real sorry about losing Sidney Rice just after trading for you. We know last year was rough for you since all you had to throw to was old Santana Moss and a couple hot dog vendors. On the bright side, you'll still have Percy least, until his head literally explodes. Look, we really do feel bad, so we want to make it up to you. How does Michael Jenkins sound?! Hey, he was a first round pick before! Don't worry, it'll work out great!"

Somewhere, Prince is curled up in the corner, staring blankly at the wall, softly muttering the names "Cris Carter" and "Randy Moss" over and over.

S Danieal Manning signs with Houston

Manning is a solid safety, and he comes at a reasonable price. He doesn't make a lot of big plays, but he's good in coverage and he fills a major need for Houston's leaky secondary. With the additions of Joseph and Manning, the Texans have gone a long way towards fixing one of the worst secondaries in the NFL. While that doesn't necessarily make them the second coming of The Steel Curtain, it makes them a respectable unit and gives them a fighting chance in the AFC South. That having been said, I'll be curious to see how Houston manages to underachieve this year and I will once again assume they win only 8 games.

DE Ray Edwards signs with Atlanta

There are two aspects of this signing that greatly surprise me. One, I'm surprised Edwards ended up in Atlanta. Detroit, Cleveland, and Tampa Bay were often mentioned as potential Edwards destinations. Tampa Bay in particular had tons of cap space and their lack of movement in the first three days made me think they had to be targeting someone from the remaining crop of players. Two, I'm surprised Edwards signed for so cheap. Prior to the beginning of free agency, reports had Edwards being involved in a massive bidding war for his services. After Charles Johnson's mammoth deal, it only made sense that a young pass rusher like Ray Edwards would command big money as well. Yet, the Falcons only had to dish out $11MIL guaranteed to lock up the 26 year old pass rush specialist. Given their lack of good edge rushers, landing Edwards is a huge deal for them. I've been on record as saying he's overrated, but he should be able to give them more than enough production to warrant the modest deal he received.

DE Marcus Spears re-signs with Dallas

5YR $19.2MIL=8 career sacks? I really hope only $10 of this contract is guaranteed...

P Steve Weatherford signs with New York Giants...

...and is immediately shown a tape of the DeSean Jackson return.

LB Stewart Bradley signs with Arizona

Bradley is a talented player who struggled with injuries last season. I'm not certain of the contract details, but I doubt Arizona paid too much for him. At 27, Bradley could end up being a nice longterm find for Arizona. He's not going to be Ray Lewis, but he's solid all around. What I don't understand is why Philadelphia was so willing to part with him for the chance to sign everyone elses players. Given the shortened offseason, it would have made more sense to bring Bradley back on a short deal.

QB Cam Newton signs with Carolina

I'm loving the new rookie wage scale! A good portion of this years draft class has been locked up, and there has been no talk of any holdouts. The 4YR $22MIL deal Newton received is a breath of fresh air after rookie contracts had gotten way out of hand. With the salary cap back in place, it was important to eliminate cap killing situations like JaMarcus Russell. After all, the draft is about building your team's future, not crippling it. Thanks to the wage scale, you can expect draft picks to once again be valued like gold.

CB Nnamdi Asomugha signs with Philadelphia

Where do I even begin with this? The Nnamdi sweepstakes was nothing short of mysterious and exciting. During the waning hours of his courtship, reports had it down to the Jets and Cowboys. Believe me when I tell you I checked Twitter every two minutes (while painting) to see what would happen. Then, at the last moment, Philly swooped in and snatched him up. In retrospect, this shouldn't be surprising. Even as my excitement built over the possibility of Nnamdi to Dallas, I remained skeptical of how involved we actually were. Fact is, we didn't have the cap space to do it. Caught in a similar situation, neither did the Jets. With those two teams essentially out of the running, and with the Texans having already signed their man in Johnathan Joseph, the Eagles were the last team standing.

As a matter of full disclosure, let me first say that my analysis is definitely tainted by hatred and bitterness. Philly is a big rival of the Cowboys and I'm bitter that Dallas didn't end up with Nnamdi...even if we never really had a chance. That having been said, I can say with complete honesty that I think the Eagles made a big mistake in signing him. After stealing Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, the Eagles were set with him and Asante Samuel at the starting CB spots. Sure, Asomugha is better than both of them, but throwing $60MIL to a 30 year old CB is already dodgy enough before considering that it's not even a position of need. Overall, these types of big money free agent signings rarely turn out well. After 8 seasons, the end could come quick for Nnamdi. As I said before, free agency is NOT the way to build your team. Throughout the last decade, Philadelphia has built the right way, but they clearly lost their minds this offseason. They may reap a reward this season or the next, but these signings will eventually come back to haunt them. With so much money going Nnamdi's way, I'd imagine they'll eventually regret this signing as well.

One last thought: I can't remember who, but prior to the free agent bonanza, I heard one expert talk about how Nnamdi might not fit in well with Philly's system. I've remembered that comment over the last week and I'll be interested to see if there's any truth to it. Not necessarily making any point, just saying it's an interesting thing to watch.

T Jared Gaither signs with Oakland

After missing all of 2010 with a back injury, Gaither became expendable in Baltimore. Now, Oakland will take a chance on the mammoth 25 year old. Prior to last season, Gaither had performed capably in 2008 and 2009 as Baltimore's LT. At 6-9 350lbs, Gaither is a mountain of a man and he should help clear room on the left side for Darren McFadden. After losing Nnamdi, there seems to be little hope for Oakland in taking the next step towards contending for the playoffs, but Raider fans should feel happy over the Jared Gaither signing. They badly needed to improve their OL, and there's a lot of upside with this signing.

WR Mike Sims-Walker signs with St. Louis

This could turn out to be the most underrated signing of the offseason. Sims-Walker has shown definite flashes of the type of player he can be, but what can a man really do with David Garrard throwing to him? In St Louis however, he'll have the opportunity to be "the man" for QB Sam Bradford and OC Josh McDaniels. Sims-Walker must feel like he hit the lottery!


  1. Philly is going all-in this off-season because when Michael Vick gets broken in half the first game of the season, they are going to need all the help they can get to win a championship after they sign Brett Favre to guide them.

  2. That actually makes a lot of sense, especially if you throw in the part where Vince Young tries to OD on Tylenol.