A little more than a week ago, NFL free agency began, causing a flurry of transactions. These have slowed down compared to last week, but a lot is still going on. A few of the major transactions are discussed here while the rest are listed below––where other major ones are highlighted in red.
In a rare big free agency deal for the Packers, they signed the 34-year old Peppers after he was cut by a division rival, the Chicago Bears.
Cut by the Bears last week, he wasted little time in finding a new team to play for, signing a three-year deal with the Packers. This three-year contract has a base value of $26 million with only the signing bonus ($7.5 million) guaranteed. Another $4 million is available in incentives. His cap hit for this season is $3.5 million.
If he plays poorly this season, this deal can very well become just a one-year contract as the Packers would save $7 million in cap space (with $5 million in dead money) by cutting him.
For the Bears, he was expendable after they signed defensive end Lamarr Houston to a five-year deal on the first day of free agency.
Last season Peppers recorded 7.0 sacks along with 45 tackles, two forced fumbles and one interception. Pro Football Focus graded him as the 36th best 4-3 defensive end (out of 52) in the NFL last season.
With the Packers, his scheme fit is a bit of an unknown right now. He has spent his entire career as a 4-3 defense end, but will now play in a 3-4 defense. At 287 pounds, he is too big to play outside linebacker for the Packers, but his skill set doesn’t seem right for defensive end. Likely, he will spend most of his playing time during sub-packages where Green Bay will play with four down lineman. This would allow him to play in his natural 4-3 defensive end position.
The price seems a bit too much for him, but with only $7.5 million guaranteed, there is very little risk in this signing. He could easily be cut next season. Therefore, this is a decent signing for the Packers. There are certainly some question marks, but he has talent and the Packers needed a pass rusher.
Continuing their strong offseason, the Giants signed Rodgers-Cromartie to a five-year deal taking the best remaining cornerback off the market.
This five-year deal is worth $35 million with $13.98 million guaranteed and a $10 million signing bonus. The cap hit for this season is $2.73 million. Next season he has a $1 million roster bonus that is due on the fifth day of the season.
Last offseason he signed a one-year “prove it” deal with the Denver Broncos worth just over $2 million. He has now turned this contract into a $7 million per season payday.
Playing with the Broncos last season he had 31 tackles, three interceptions and 14 passes defended. Pro Football Focus graded him as the fifth best cornerback (out of 110). When looking at pass coverage, he ranked fourth
Prior to playing with the Broncos he played for the Arizona Cardinals and Philadelphia Eagles. The Cardinals traded him to the Eagles as part of the ill-fated Kevin Kolb trade.
For the Giants, this move bolsters their secondary as they try and bounce back from a disappointing season that saw them finish 7-9. However, there is potential for this move to backfire on them though as Rodgers-Cromartie had sub-par seasons in 2010, 2011 and 2012.
The Cowboys made their first major signing of free agency by signing Melton to a one-year deal that has the potential to become a four-year contract.
A complicated contract, it is a one-year deal worth $5 million. However, if he is on the Cowboys’ roster on the first league day of the 2015 season, then a three-year extension worth $24 million with $9 million guaranteed is given to him.
The reason that a deal structured in this sort of way was negotiated is because he is coming off a torn ACL. Partway through the Chicago Bears’ week three game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, he tore his ACL. He was playing last season on the franchise tag so this injury is especially tough.
In 2012 he recorded 44 tackles, six sacks and two forced fumbles. In 2011 he had 24 tackles and seven sacks.
According to Pro Football Focus, he was tied for the seventh best defensive tackle in the NFL (out of 85) in 2012. This grade comes from his pass rushing prowess which was the seventh best as well. In 2011 he was the 16th best defensive tackle (out of 88), again making his mark rushing the passer where he had the sixth best grade.
For the Cowboys, he is a perfect fit for their defense. He is the prototypical, pass rushing three-technique defensive tackle in a 4-3 defense. In Dallas, he reunites with his former defensive line coach and defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli who is now the Cowboys defensive coordinator. This is a smart signing by the Cowboys. If Melton returns to his old form then they can exercise that option and keep him for three years at $8 million per season. If not, then it is just a one-year contract and no harm was done.
Free agent CB Chris Carr has announced his retirement.
The Arizona Cardinals sign CB Bryan McCann.
The Arizona Cardinals cut RB Alfonso Smith.
The Arizona Cardinals sign CB Antonio Cromartie to a one-year deal.
The Atlanta Falcons sign CB Javier Arenas.
The Atlanta Falcons re-sign DT Peria Jerry.
The Atlanta Falcons sign WR Devin Hester to a three-year deal.
The Baltimore Ravens re-sign LB Daryl Smith to a four-year deal.
The Baltimore Ravens sign WR Steve Smith to a three-year deal.
The Buffalo Bills sign RB Anthony Dixon to a three-year deal.
The Buffalo Bills sign LB Brandon Spikes to a one-year deal.
The Carolina Panthers sign TE Mike McNeill.
The Carolina Panthers sign S Roman Harper to a two-year deal.
The Carolina Panthers re-sign LB Jason Williams.
The Carolina Panthers re-sign CB James Dockery.
The Carolina Panthers sign WR Jerricho Cotchery to a five-year deal.
The Chicago Bears re-sign CB Charles Tillman to a one-year deal.
The Chicago Bears sign DE Israel Idonije to a one-year deal.
The Chicago Bears sign S Craig Steltz.
The Chicago Bears sign S Danny McCray.
The Chicago Bears cut WR Earl Bennett.
The Chicago Bears re-sign CB Sherrick McManis.
The Cincinnati Bengals claim LB Dontay Moch off waivers.
The Cincinnati Bengals sign LB Vincent Rey to a two-year contract extension.
The Cincinnati Bengals re-sign S Taylor Mays.
The Cincinnati Bengals sign QB Jason Campbell to a one-year deal.
The Cleveland Browns sign RB Ben Tate to a two-year deal.
The Cleveland Browns sign restricted free agent WR Andrew Hawkins after the Cincinnati Bengals don’t match his offer sheet.
The Dallas Cowboys sign QB Brandon Weeden to a two-year deal.
The Denver Broncos sign WR Emmanuel Sanders to a three-year deal.
The Detroit Lions sign FB Jed Collins.
The Green Bay Packers re-sign DT B.J. Raji to a one-year deal.
The Green Bay Packers sign DT Letroy Guion.
The Green Bay Packers re-sign RB James Starks to a two-year deal.
The Houston Texans sign DT Jerrell Powe.
The Houston Texans sign sign QB Ryan Fitzpatrick to a two-year deal.
The Indianapolis Colts sign K Carson Wiggs.
The Indianapolis Colts waive G Zach Allen.
The Indianapolis Colts sign WR Hakeem Nicks to a one-year deal.
The Jacksonville Jaguars sign WR Tandon Doss to a two-year deal.
The Kansas City Chiefs sign DT Vance Walker to a three-year deal.
The Kansas City Chiefs sign DL Cory Grissom.
The Miami Dolphins sign CB Cortland Finnegan to a two-year deal.
The Miami Dolphins sign G Shelley Smith to a two-year deal.
The Minnesota Vikings re-sign WR Jerome Simpson.
The Minnesota Vikings re-sign G Charlie Johnson to a two-year deal.
The Minnesota Vikings sign DT Tom Johnson.
The Minnesota Vikings sign DE Corey Wootton.
The New England Patriots re-sign WR Julian Edelman to a four-year deal.
The New England Patriots sign WR Brandon LaFell to a three-year deal.
The New England Patriots sign LS Charley Hughlett.
The New England Patriots sign CB Brandon Browner to a three-year deal.
The New Orleans Saints re-sign OT Zach Strief to a five-year deal.
The New Orleans Saints sign FB Erik Lorig to a four-year deal.
The New Orleans Saints re-sign WR Joe Morgan.
The New York Giants sign CB Walter Thurmond to a one-year deal.
The New York Giants sign S Quintin Demps.
The New York Giants sign LB Spencer Paysinger.
The New York Giants sign KR Trindon Holliday.
The New York Giants sign WR Mario Manningham to a one-year deal.
The New York Jets re-sign LB Calvin Pace to a two-year deal.
The New York Jets re-sign G Willie Colon.
The Oakland Raiders sign CB Tarell Brown to a one-year deal.
The Oakland Raiders sign DE Antonio Smith to a two-year deal.
The Oakland Raiders sign S Usama Young.
The Oakland Raiders sign WR James Jones to a three-year deal.
The Oakland Raiders sign G Kevin Boothe to a two-year deal.
The Oakland Raiders sign OT Donald Penn to a two-year deal.
The Oakland Raiders re-sign S Charles Woodson to a one-year deal.
The Philadelphia Eagles sign RB Darren Sproles to a two-year contract extension.
The Philadelphia Eagles release WR Joe Anderson.
The Philadelphia Eagles re-sign S Nate Allen.
The Pittsburgh Steelers sign DT Cam Thomas to a two-year deal.
The Pittsburgh Steelers re-sign OT Guy Whimper.
The San Diego Chargers re-sign WR Seyi Ajirotutu.
The San Francisco 49ers sign CB Chris Cook.
The San Francisco 49ers sign FB Bruce Miller to a three-year contract extension.
The Seattle Seahawks re-sign K Steven Hauschka to a three-year deal.
The Seattle Seahawks sign OL Steve Schilling.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers sign C Evan Dietrich-Smith to a four-year deal.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers sign G Oniel Cousins.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers sign LB Dane Fletcher.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers sign LS Jeremy Cain.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers sign CB Mike Jenkins.
The Tennessee Titans release QB Ryan Fitzpatrick.
The Tennessee Titans sign OT Michael Oher to a four-year deal.
The Tennessee Titans re-sign DT Antonio Johnson to a two-year deal.
The Tennessee Titans release K Rob Bironas.
The Tennessee Titans sign WR Marc Mariani.
The Tennessee Titans sign LB Wesley Woodyard to a four-year deal.
The Washington Redskins release C Will Montgomery.
The Washington Redskins sign K Jake Rogers.
The Washington Redskins re-sign S Brandon Meriweather.
The Washington Redskins sign LB Akeem Jordan.