You may not have noticed, but free agency has flipped the NFL on its head this year. Numerous talented players are changing scenery and a lot of mainstays are moving to new teams for the first time in their careers. The frequency of transactions have made it hard to keep up with all the player movement as exciting signings are have been made left and right as teams try to upgrade their teams and fill holes left by departing players. Free agency is a dangerous game. An NFL player never has more leverage than when he is a free agent, as it’s the only time they get to choose where to play, and so they usually have multiple teams competing against each other for their services. Because of this teams are more likely to hand out huge contracts which the player either lives up to or he doesn’t. Today we’re going to take a look at who I believe to be the missing ingredient to their respective team’s sauce, and who’s preparing to run off on the plug.
Signing of the year – Ndamukong Suh DT (1 year, $14 Million) – LA Rams
THE RAMS ARE CHEATING!! RESTART THE GAME NOW!! This Rams defense has officially reached must watch status every game this year. They have the potential to be the best defense we’ve ever seen take the field. They just added Ndamukong Suh to a defensive line that was already home to the best player in the NFL in Aaron Donald. Imagine being the center on your favorite team. You walk up to the line and see Thanos himself on your right side. He’s not even acknowledging you his eyes are just locked on the quarterback. You know it’s going to require a triple team to stop this man, but you can’t ask for any help because Omar from The Wire is on your left, smiling at you and whistling. Please pray for all interior linemen, quarterbacks, and running backs on the Ram’s schedule cause this defensive line deadass might catch a body this year.
Tyrann Mathieu FS/CB (1 year, $7 Million) – Houston Texans
How did this happen? Mathieu was one of the hottest commodities on the free agent market. I expected him to sign a huge multi-year deal but instead he signed a 1 year deal for far less than he’s worth. He has an injury riddled past that may have contributed to this but his level of play when healthy is just too high for this to have been the best deal available to him. My best guess is that Mathieu didn’t like the offers he was getting and is taking a short deal to show out and receive bigger offers next year. Whatever the reason I’m sure Houston is excited to lock him up and most likely have him in their long term plans. The Honey Badger is a ballhawking turnover machine with a highly sought after skillset as he can play safety, corner, nickelback, and even linebacker at times. He’s the queen on the chessboard and is guaranteed to take this defense to the next level.
Haloti Ngata NT (1 year, $3 Million) – Philadelphia Eagles
Philadelphia’s front office has been on a hot streak when it comes to personnel decisions and they aren’t done yet. A huge hole opened up on their defensive line when starting defensive tackle Beau Allen was lost to the Buccaneers in free agency. The key to the success they had last year was their rush defense. They only allowed 89.7 YPG, good for fourth in the league. Losing a young space eater like Beau would have been a big blow if not for this shrewd signing by the Eagles. Haloti Ngata isn’t in his prime anymore but he has shown that he can still be a disruptive force on the line. He got off to a good start in Detroit last year recording 2 sacks and a pass deflection in the first five games. Unfortunately, his season came to an end in week five when he tore his bicep. He’s had plenty of time to heal from his injury and is expected to begin the season at full health. At 34 years old, this is likely Haloti’s last year. He’s sure to be extremely motivated, so as long as he can stay healthy, the Eagles are going to be even harder to run on this year.
Allen Robinson WR (3 years, $42 Million) – Chicago Bears
The Bears found their franchise quarterback last year and they went out and got him a legitimate #1 receiver. The Mitchell Trubisky to Allen Robinson connection is going to last a long time. Robinson can beat defenders in a multitude of ways. He’s a great route runner and deep threat, but he can also make those tough catches in tight spaces or in the red zone. Now that he has an actual NFL-level quarterback to feed him the ball, expect to see one of the better receiving performances in the league from him this year.
Muhammad Wilkerson DE (1 year, $5 Million) – Green Bay Packers
The Packers aren’t normally this active in free agency but seem to be switching up how they do things this year. It’s about time as they have been getting smacked in the playoffs the last few times they actually made it. This team needs more talent around Aaron Rodgers and they got a huge steal here. Muhammad Wilkerson is a freak of nature who’s had to play for the bum ass Jets his entire career. There is some risk here as there have been questions about his motivation at times and several team infractions that led to his falling out with New York. Now that he’s on a contender he can put all that behind him. It’s hard to believe but this man is only 28 years old. With a pass rush including Clay Matthews and Mike Daniels, the Packers are looking to take off some poor quarterback’s head this year.
Jordy Nelson WR (2 years, $15 Million) – Oakland Raiders
Jordy Nelson’s release from the Packers was a huge shock to me. He’s had his injury problems in the past but every time he went out that offense took a hit. The Packers opted to give the bag to the younger Davante Adams which allowed the Raiders to scoop up Jordy to replace Michael Crabtree. I like this move for the Raiders as I consider Nelson to be a better player than Michael Crabtree. Crabtree enjoyed a great year last year but a lot of his damage is done making tough catches in traffic. That’s a good skill to have but Jordy is much better at creating separation from defenders, allowing clearer throwing windows for Derek Carr, and is a much better deep threat. I’m expecting a lot of production from the Raiders passing game this year. The best two corners in this division, Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib, have been traded to the LA Rams. All of this has to be music to Derek Carr’s ears.
Josh Sitton OG (2 years, $18 Million) – Miami Dolphins
This is the smartest signing I’ve seen the Dolphins make in my lifetime. This offensive line needed help badly, and with numerous high draft picks already invested on offensive lineman, they couldn’t waste anymore high draft picks chasing a stud. Josh Sitton is top flight security of the world when it comes to pass protection so this will do a lot in relieving pressure coming from the middle of the pocket. They recently cut starting center Maurkice Pouncey so they had to be desparate to find some talent. It seems they are rebuilding this offensive line from scratch and Josh Sitton is a very solid starting block. Check him out in the gif below. Seattle ends up getting to Aaron Rodgers from the outside but notice how number 71 and the rest of the interior linemen stopped the pressure up the middle and stayed blocking until the whistle. The Dolphins could really use that type of attitude on the line.
Teddy Bridgewater QB (1 year, $5 Million) – New York Jets
I like how the Jets are handling their quarterback situation this year. With the signing of Bridgewater they now have two starting caliber quarterbacks plus the #3 pick in the draft. The best part about this signing is that Bridgewater is still so young he can very well be the quarterback of the future. He’s coming back from a nasty knee injury but given that his game was not predicated on athleticism, he should return just fine. If it was up to me, that #3 pick wouldn’t even be spent on a quarterback. Josh McCown is a good insurance policy for Bridgewater and this team needs talent all over its roster, not just quarterback.
Sheldon Richardson DE/DT (1 year, $8 Million) – Minnesota Vikings
The Vikings defense chewed up offenses and spit them out last year in route to the NFL championship game. They ended getting blasted by the Eagles when that defense finally broke down and suddenly forgot they were supposed to keep the Eagles out the endzone. Whatever the reason for the breakdown, Sheldon Richardson is a signing that will go a long way in making sure it doesn’t happen again. He can line up anywhere on the defensive line and cause chaos up front. He shouldn’t see many double teams this year as the rest of that defensive line are all studs in their own right.
Austin Seferian-Jenkins TE/WR (2 years, $10 Million) – Jacksonville Jaguars
The Jaguars lost their top two receiving threats this offseason so it was important that they reload fast. They can pick a receiver early to pair with Marquise Lee but they needed more weapons than that. Austin Sefarian-Jenkins is a TE/WR hybrid who was the #1 option for the Jets last year and produced really good numbers. He should be able to step right in and be a solid option for Blake Bortles. The best thing about this signing is that Austin is still young and has plenty of room to improve. The Jaguars may have just gotten a star in the making.
Stick up Kids
King Finesser – Blake Bortles QB (3 years, $54 Million) – Jaguars
LMAOOOOO. It’s crazy how the NFL works man. No matter how bad a quarterback is, if his team makes it far in the playoffs it’s a given that he will be bought back next year or thrown a bag by some other poor team. That’s the case here. Blake Bortles is the sole reason the Jaguars weren’t playing in the super bowl. Quite simply, Blake is one of the five worst quarterbacks in the league he just happens to play on a team with blue chip talent at every other posisiton. The Jaguars would have been much better off using this money to keep Allen Robinson or Allen Hurns and selling high on Blake Bortles. I’m sure they could have got a second or first round pick from some dumb team and replaced him with a more competent quarterback.
Albert Wilson WR (3 years, $21 Million) Danny Amendola WR (2 years, $12 Million) – Miami Dolphins
We got a two for one here. The Dolphins have been talking in the media like they want to be contender but their actions are showing the complete opposite. This team is tanking for a high draft pick. They traded Jarvis Landry, their best receiver in years, and replaced him with two guys who will never put up half of Landry’s numbers. Danny Amendola is a walking piece of aluminum foil and Albert Wilson has not done a single significant thing in the league besides make a team. He’s a special team player at best.
William Gay CB – New York Giants
Every year I’m genuinely surprised and confused when William Gay gets signed. He’s been washed and terrible in coverage for years. I can see why the Steelers hung on to him for so long seeing as their secondary is filled with guys who run like they’re wearing cement shoes, but Gay is a stone’s throw from retirement. Something will have gone terribly wrong if he sees the field for the Giants this year.
Jonathan Stewart RB (2 years, $6.9 Million) – Giants
Jonathan Stewart is coming off his worst year ever in terms of yards per carry. If he starts for the Giants this year he and Eli Manning will combine for the second oldest backfield in the league. Hopefully, the Giants plan on drafting a running back and using Stewart sparingly to give the rookie some rest but even that is a bad idea. It didn’t work out last year when the Panthers tried that as they would have done better just leaving Christian McCaffrey out on the field. I can see this being Jonathan Stewart’s last stop as he’s clearly lost too much of a step at 31 years old to be a productive back.
Sam Bradford QB (1 year, $20 Million) – Cardinals
I understand Cardinals were desperate for a quarterback after the retirement of Carson Palmer but $20 mil for Sam Bradford just ain’t it bruh. Bradford is all but guaranteed to get hurt this year as he’s been known to suffer concussions because of overly tightened chin straps. This is money that could have been best used elsewhere like, I don’t know, resigning Tyran Mathieu? Just a thought.
John Brown WR (1 year, $5 Million) – Ravens
I’m a huge fan of John Brown. He’s one of the fastest receivers in the league and has sure hands. The problem is he’s the Sam Bradford of wide receivers. I don’t want to talk about his health issues outside of football as he can’t help that, but on the field he’s suffered numerous concussions and hamstring injuries. I still believe he can revitalize his career but Baltimore is putting themselves in a bad spot. This addition adds to their stable of injury prone receivers and it’s not that far-fetched to think we may see an incident similar to the one the Giants had last year when their top three receivers all went down with injuries. Joe Flacco’s arm strength paired with Brown’s speed has the potential to create some fireworks but the risk here is just too great to look at this signing optimistically.
Tom Savage QB (1 year, $1.5 Million) – Saints
Another name to add to the list of quarterbacks signed before Kaepernick even though they are nowhere near as talented. Tom Savage lost his job last year to rookie Deshaun Watson even though Savage had all the backing from the coaches to start the season. This man was so bad he forced himself to the bench. There isn’t a soul on Earth that believes Tom is the successor to Drew Brees, or a viable backup, so the Saints basically signed an expensive practice squad player. The closest he should come to seeing time on the field this year is ironing Drew’s game socks.
Jimmy Graham TE/WR (3 years, $30 Million) – Packers
Jimmy Graham was all but invisible in Seattle and nowhere near the player he was in New Orleans. He put up 10 touchdowns last year but nearly 50% of those came in just two games. The rest of his season was pretty pedestrian. The issues were a mix of Seattle’s scheme not being a good fit and Graham being a declining player. This is the third straight year Green Bay has attempted to make a splash by signing a new receiving tight end. The first two were disasters and nothing tells me that this signing will be any different.
Eric Ebron TE/WR (2 years, $15 Million) – Colts
Eric Ebron is just not a good player. He’s as fast and athletic as tight ends come but he has two egg beaters for hands. He can’t be relied on to catch the ball, and when you consider that Jack Doyle will be the starting tight end the Colts are basically overpaying for a #2 tight end that can’t catch or block. The Colts front office is one of the worst in the league and this is further proof of that. It’s no secret that Ebron has been horrible since entering the league yet here they are, signing a bum while letting talented players like Donte Moncreif walk in free agency.
Kirk Cousins QB (3 years, $86 Million) – Minnesota Vikings
Kirk Cousins is 4-19 in his career against winning teams. Let that sink in. His entire career has consisted of him beating up on sorry teams and losing nearly every game that actually matters. I’m happy he was able to secure the first fully guaranteed contract in NFL history but this contract is going to kill this Vikings team. Kirk Cousins is not that good and it’s already too late to correct this mistake. They are going to begin to lose their best players in a few years because they won’t be able to afford them. The smart thing to do would have been to resign Case Keenum or Teddy Bridgewater for cheaper and searched for a quarterback in the draft in the coming years.