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NFL Schedule Breakdown: 4 Teams With a Favorable Schedule

April 24, 2014 in NFL Observations, NFL Predictions

While we've known who would face who and where those games would be since the end of last season, the release of the NFL schedule shows the breakdown of how those match-ups occur. Will a team have to go on the road for 2-3 straight weeks? Will they have a bye or extended week before a big match-up? When does a team's bye occur? These are the types of considerations that can make a team's schedule tougher or easier regardless of opponent and that is really what is going to determine if a schedule is favorable or not on paper. As always, what looks favorable in April can easily change once the season gets going. That being said, here are 4 teams that appear to have a favorable schedule heading into the season:

 

1. Indianapolis Colts:

-From a strength of schedule standpoint the Colts have one of the easier schedules. In addition to their six games against their division (three teams that went a combined 13-35 last year), the Colts get the AFC North and NFC East divisions, who each only had one team over .500 last year. As a first place team the Colts draw the Broncos and Patriots, but it could be far worse, if they had to match-up with different divisions.

Though the Colts have two big games against the Broncos and Patriots, they have those games at good times in their season. The Broncos game (which is on the road) is opening weekend, so they will have all summer to get ready for that game and come up with a game plan to shut down Peyton Manning. The Patriots game (which is at home), is Week 11 after the Colts bye, giving them some extra time to heal up and prepare for the Patriots. Now both Denver and the Patriots have the same advantages of extra time, but from the Colts perspective getting the extra preparation time for those two games, is more than they could hope for.

The Colts schedule also is favorable in how it ends up. In the final six weeks after the Patriots game the Colts face only one team that was .500 or better last year, and that is the Dallas Cowboys who were 8-8. Other than that, the Colts face a number of teams who figure to be in rebuilding mode this season. That could obviously change, and one or two of those games might be more challenging, but right now it looks like the Colts will have a very easy schedule the last six weeks as they look to jockey for playoff positioning. Now this does mean that the beginning of the Colts schedule is a bit more challenging, but it shouldn't be too much so that they can't survive. it.

2. New Orleans Saints:

-The NFC South should be more competitive this year as the Falcons figure to be a safe bet to rebound and the Buccaneers have had a very active offseason and figure to be better this year. The Saints though should be the favorite in the division as the Panthers have had a lot of turnover in free agency and the Saints have added some key pieces. New Orleans also benefits from a good schedule.overall.

The Saints start out with back-to-back games on the road, but it is against the Falcons and the Browns. Though Atlanta figures to be better this year, they might not be ready week 1 to play at the Saints level. Getting that road game out of the way early is huge for New Orleans. The Browns could be starting a rookie quarterback week 2, making that a pretty favorable match-up as well. If the Saints can win those two games to start, then they will have a big Home vs Road advantage as they will have 8 of their remaining 14 games at home. In fact the Saints have 4 of their road games in the first 6 games, but none of them are against a team that went better than 8-8 last year (in fact none of their first 6 games are a team with a winning record last season). New Orleans could get off to a great start and then have 6 home games remaining on their schedule.

This really helps them during a tough part of their schedule when they face four playoff teams in weeks 8-11, but only one of them is on the road. Given how good of a home team the Saints are, this is a big advantage for them to have the meat of their schedule line-up like this. While the Saints might not need it, they also face the Falcons and Buccaneers the final two weeks of the season, so if the Saints are in a must win situation they have a favorable match-up.

3. Washington Redskins:

-The Redskins don't have the easiest schedule with the NFC West on the slate this year, but they did get a favorable breakdown to their schedule. The Redskins start off with the Texans and Jaguars back-to-back, giving them their best chance to get off to a strong start and build some momentum. Now those games might not be a walk in the park as the Redskins themselves are rebuilding, but Washington could end up facing off with a pair of rookie quarterbacks.

Though the Redskins have some tough match-ups with the Eagles and Cardinals on the road and the Seahawks at home in their first 10 games, the rest of that early schedule is pretty easy relatively speaking. Of the remaining 7 games, only the Cowboys (8-8) finished with 8 or more wins. The Redskins might not be an early favorite to rack up the wins, but if they do have things fall in to place and can make a run it will be because of the start of this schedule. If the Redskins are in playoff contention at the end of the season, they have their final two games against the Eagles and Cowboys at home, giving them an advantage if that ends up being a must win situation.

4. Miami Dolphins:

-Though many people will think of the controversy that surrounded the Dolphins last season or remember how Miami blew their shot at the playoffs by losing their final two games, people forget how good the Dolphins were last season. Heading into the final two weeks of the season Miami was 8-6, and only had two losses by more 4 points and both of those were games on the road. Miami was in just about every game and had they not been steeped in controversy they might have had an 11-12 win season. They are a sneaky team to watch this year, and their schedule could be a favorable factor for them this year.

The Dolphins do face the Patriots week 1, but it's at home and Miami will have all offseason to prepare for the game. They also have a bye (coming off a London game) before their Week 6 home match-up versus the Packers. In fact the four match-ups versus playoff teams in the first half of their season all come at home, giving the Dolphins a great chance to steal some of these games. The 2nd half of Miami's season figures to be a bit tougher, but the Dolphins have home contests in three of the last four weeks, including the final two games of the season.

This is a schedule the Dolphins can definitely do some damage against, and they could potentially make a run at a division title.

NFL Weekly Transaction Tracker

April 18, 2014 in 2014-free-agency, NFL Personnel

This week's two major transactions are continuations of two moves that happened last week: an offer sheet was matched and a released player has found a new home. These two are discussed in depth below and as always the rest of the moves are down below with some of the more significant ones highlighted in red.

Cleveland Browns re-sign C Alex Mack

Last week the Jacksonville Jaguars extended a five-year offer sheet to Mack, giving the Browns five days to decide whether to match or not. It took just a few hours for Cleveland to decide to match the offer.

A five-year contract worth $42 million––an average of $8.4 million per season––it makes him the highest paid center in the league by a few hundred thousand dollars per season. The deal includes $26 million in guaranteed money. This comes from his base salaries in the first three seasons. There is also a no-trade clause. Most importantly, after two years he can opt out of his contract and enter free agency. If he exercises this clause he can't be franchise tagged.

Alex Mack

Courtesy of ICON SMI

This offseason the Browns placed the rarely used transition tag on him. This gave him a one-year contract worth just over $10 million. Any team could sign him to an offer sheet and the Browns would have five days to match the offer or let him sign with that team. If he did leave the team, the Browns would have received no draft pick compensation.

Since the Browns drafted him with the 21st overall pick in the 2009 NFL Draft, he has started all 80 games that Cleveland has played.

This past season Pro Football Focus graded him as the fourth best center in the league and was within one decent game of the leader. Every year he has graded in the top 10 and his best finish was this season.

Center is an underrated position on the offensive line and a great one can do wonders for an offense. Mack is one of the best centers in the NFL and his departure would have left a gaping hole in the Browns' offensive line––which is one of the better in the league.

With the Browns' quarterback position in a mess, they are expected to draft one earlier in May. Having Mack around to help the rookie will make life much easier on the rookie. The center, along with the quarterback, makes pre-snap reads on the line-of-scrimmage and having Mack around will help the rookie quarterback. That and Mack is also great at in both pass and run blocking.

Overall, the Browns made the right decision to match the Jaguars' offer sheet for Mack. While the contract may be big, so is his performance and impact on the team.

New York Jets sign RB Chris Johnson

Last week the Tennessee Titans released Johnson due to a high cap hit and declining production on the field. This week he is signed with the New York Jets.

After visiting with the Jets earlier in the week, he decided that New York was the right spot for him as he signed a two-year deal worth $8 million with another $1 million available in incentives. There is $3 million in guaranteed money and all of it comes from the signing bonus.

Drafted by the Titans with the 24th overall pick in the 2008 NFL Draft out of East Carolina, he was the starter for Tennessee in each of his six years with the team.

At the 2008 NFL Combine he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.24 seconds, a combine record that still stands today.

In just his second season in the league he ran for 2,006 yards. This is the sixth-best single season rushing performance in NFL history and only the seventh player to go over 2,000 yards in a season.

That year he also set the NFL record for most yards from scrimmage in a single season with 2,509. With 2,006 yards rushing, 503 yards came from catches.

Thanks to this performance and good seasons in 2008 and 2010, he signed a four-year contract extension worth $53.5 million before the start of the 2011 season.

While he has rushed for over 1,000 yards in all six of his seasons, his performance has declined over the last few seasons and he averaged 3.9 yards per carry last season. His explosiveness that made him so good before has declined and he is no longer the same running back.

For the Jets this move makes sense. Their offense was in dire need of playmakers and they have addressed that by signing quarterback Michael Vick, wide receiver Eric Decker and now Johnson. With the addition of Johnson, the Jets will have a good one-two punch at running back with Chris Ivory––who has a career average of 4.9 yards per carry––backing Johnson up. Vick and Johnson will combine to create an explosive tandem in the backfield for New York.

Other Moves:

The Atlanta Falcons waive CB Saeed Lee.
The Atlanta Falcons waive TE Adam Nissley.
The Carolina Panthers sign DE Alex Hall.
The Carolina Panthers cut WR R.J. Webb.
The Chicago Bears waive DE Cheta Ozougwu.
The Cincinnati Bengals sign P T.J. Conley.
The Cleveland Browns sign FB Chris Pressley.
The Detroit Lions claim DE Kourtnei Brown off waivers.
The Detroit Lions re-sign CB Rashean Mathis to a one-year deal.
The Green Bay Packers release WR Sederrik Cunningham.
The Green Bay Packers re-sign QB Matt Flynn.
The Houston Texans sign DT Ricardo Mathews.
The Indianapolis Colts sign FB Stephen Campbell.
The Indianapolis Colts sign FB Cameron White.
The Jacksonville Jaguars release LB Russell Allen.
The Jacksonville Jaguars release DE Will Pericak.
The Jacksonville Jaguars release DE D’Aundre Reed.
The Jacksonville Jaguars release WR Jabin Sambrano.
The Minnesota Vikings sign S Kurt Coleman.
The Minnesota Vikings sign TE Allen Reisner.
The Minnesota Vikings claim LB Terrell Manning off waivers.
The New York Giants sign QB Josh Freeman to a one-year deal.
The Pittsburgh Steelers sign P Adam Podlesh.
The San Diego Chargers release LB Terrell Manning.
The San Francisco 49ers waive WR Brandon Carswell.
The San Francisco 49ers sign WR Brandon Lloyd to a one-year deal.
The Seattle Seahawks re-sign WR Sidney Rice to a one-year deal.

NFL Weekly Transaction Tracker

April 11, 2014 in 2014-free-agency, NFL Personnel

A relatively quiet week in free agency, only one major transaction occurred, and that was a release. That is talked in depth below and as always the rest of the moves are down below with some of the more significant ones highlighted in red.

Tennessee Titans release RB Chris Johnson

In a move that had been expected for weeks, the Titans released their starting running back of the last few years.

With a $10 million cap hit and limited production over the last few years, this move has been expected since the start of free agency.

Chris Johnson

Courtesy of ICON SMI

Drafted by the Titans with the 24th overall pick in the 2008 NFL Draft out of East Carolina, he was the starter for Tennessee in each of his six years with the team.

At the 2008 NFL Combine he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.24 seconds, a combine record that still stands today.

In just his second season in the league he ran for 2,006 yards. This is the sixth-best single season rushing performance in NFL history and only the seventh player to go over 2,000 yards in a season.

That year he also set the NFL record for most yards from scrimmage in a single season with 2,509. With 2,006 yards rushing, 503 yards came from catches.

Thanks to this performance and good seasons in 2008 and 2010, he signed a four-year contract extension worth $53.5 million before the start of the 2011 season.

While he has rushed for over 1,000 yards in all six of his seasons, his performance has declined over the last few seasons and he averaged 3.9 yards per carry last season. His explosiveness that made him so good before has declined and he is no longer the same running back.

Before releasing him, the Titans attempted to trade him, but were unsuccessful.

By releasing him the Titans made the right move as his contract severely outweighed his performance.

Other Moves:

Free agent DE Marcus Spears has announced his retirement.
The Arizona Cardinals cut LB Dan Giordano.
The Arizona Cardinals cut WR LaRon Byrd.
The Atlanta Falcons sign CB Josh Wilson to a one-year deal.
The Atlanta Falcons sign S Dwight Lowery.
The Baltimore Ravens sign RB Justin Forsett.
The Baltimore Ravens re-sign DT Terrence Cody.
The Buffalo Bills sign DE Jarius Wynn.
The Buffalo Bills sign P Jake Dombrowski.
The Buffalo Bills trade a sixth-round pick to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for WR Mike Williams.
The Buffalo Bills waive DE Kourtnei Brown.
The Carolina Panthers sign WR Jason Avant to a one-year deal.
The Carolina Panthers sign DT Colin Cole.
The Carolina Panthers sign TE Ed Dickson.
The Carolina Panthers sign S Thomas DeCoud to a two-year deal.
The Chicago Bears sign C Brian de la Puente to a one-year deal. 
The Chicago Bears sign LS Chad Rempel.
The Chicago Bears claim WR Josh Bellamy off waivers.
The Chicago Bears sign TE Matthew Mulligan.
The Cincinnati Bengals re-sign WR Dane Sanzenbacher.
The Cincinnati Bengals sign DE Sam Montgomery.
The Cleveland Browns sign WR Nate Burleson.
The Cleveland Browns re-sign LB Craig Robertson.
The Detroit Lions sign CB Cassius Vaughn.
The Detroit Lions re-sign WR Jeremy Ross.
The Jacksonville Jaguars re-sign OT Austin Pasztor.
The Houston Texans sign RB Andre Brown.
The Miami Dolphins sign WR Damian Williams.
The Minnesota Vikings re-sign RB Matt Asiata.
The Minnesota Vikings sign WR Lestar Jean.
The New England Patriots release S Adrian Wilson,
The New Orleans Saints sign CB Champ Bailey.
The New Orleans Saints match the Atlanta Falcons two-year offer sheet for RFA S Rafael Bush.
The New York Giants sign TE Kellen Davis.
The New York Giants sign WR Travis Harvey.
The New York Jets sign LB Garrett McIntyre.
The Oakland Raiders sign P Daniel Zychlinski.
The St. Louis Rams sign P Bobby Cowan.
The San Diego Chargers waive DT Byron Jerideau.
The San Diego Chargers re-sign G Rich Ohrnberger to a one-year deal.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers sign S Major Wright.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers sign WR Lavelle Hawkins.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers cut DE Marvin Booker.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers cut LS Patrick Scales.
The Tennessee Titans release DE Adewale Ojomo.
The Washington Redskins re-sign OLB Rob Jackson.
The Washington Redskins release WR Josh Bellamy,
The Washington Redskins release LB Josh Hull.
The Washington Redskins release CB Ryan Mouton.
The Washington Redskins sign P Blake Clingan.
The Washington Redskins sign S Akeem Davis.

NFL Weekly Transaction Tracker

April 4, 2014 in 2014-free-agency, NFL Personnel

This week of free agency saw one major signing and a few other less important ones. The two biggest both included the wide receiver position. These two are talked about in depth below and as always the rest of the moves are down below with some of the more significant ones highlighted in red.

Philadelphia Eagles release and Washington Redskins sign WR DeSean Jackson

In the major NFL news of the week, the Eagles decided to release Jackson and he was soon snatched up by the another NFC East team, in the Redskins.

First, the release. By cutting Jackson the Eagles saved $6.5 million in cap space, but that wasn't the main reason that they parted ways with him. Yes the money saved and the fact that Jeremy Maclin and Riley Cooper have both been re-signed this offseason made the move seem a little more reasonable, but the main reason was due to Jackson's attitude and his reported gang connections.

DeSean Jackson

Courtesy of ICON SMI

According to an article posted on NJ.com, the 27-year old Jackson has ties with the Crips––one of the biggest and most famous gangs in the United States. This along with his reported me-first attitude where enough for the Eagles to release him despite him recording or tying career-highs in catches, yards and touchdowns last season.

Prior to releasing him the Eagles tried to execute a trade, but they found limited interest.

Once he hit the open market, there was interest from numerous teams, but the Redskins were able to secure his first visit and they didn't let him leave town.

It is a four-year deal worth $32 million––exactly $8 million per season––with $16 million guaranteed and a signing bonus of $5 million. If he is on the Redskins' roster five days after the Super Bowl for the 2016 season, his contract will void making him a free agent. His cap hit this season is a reasonable $4.25 million.

Last season with the Eagles he had 82 catches, 1,332 yards and nine touchdowns. With him moving to a new team in the same division, he is the first player in NFL history to do this after posting 80-plus catches and 1,200-plus yards in the previous season.

Possessing excellent speed––he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.35 seconds at the NFL Combine in 2008––he is one of the best deep threats in the NFL. While he doesn't provide much else in terms of being a receiver, he does this very well and is one of the most explosive receivers in the NFL. Any given Sunday he can go out and have an outstanding performance, but follow it up with a bad one the next week. For example in week 15 last year he had 10 catches for 195 yards and one touchdown. In week 16 he had only 4 catches for 29 yards and in week 17 he had three catches for 28 yards.

He also is a dynamic punt returner. While his punt returns have declined every year since his rookie season except last year when he was coming off a one-punt return season––kind of hard to decline from that––he still has the ability to go back and return punts. Since he is making so much money and will be an integral part of the Redskins' offense, it is unlikely that he sees much time as a returner. However, he could go back and return a few in certain situations when the Redskins are looking for a spark or need a big return at the end of a game. This is how the Eagles used him over the past few years.

For the Redskins, signing a player of Jackson's caliber is a great move. Another receiver was needed in their offense and quarterback Robert Griffin III throws a great deep ball so there is no doubt that he would fit into their offense. The guaranteed money in the contract looks to be too much though. With a player who has reported character concerns, giving that much guaranteed money doesn't seem like a good idea. But then again, Redskins' owner Dan Snyder has shown over the years that he isn't afraid to dole out the big bucks in free agency.

St. Louis Rams sign WR Kenny Britt

In the other wide receiver news this week, the Rams added the 25-year old Britt on a one-year deal.

This one-year deal has a base value of $1.4 million with $500,000 million guaranteed. There is another $1.5 million available in incentives though so the maximum value of the deal is $2.9 million.

This is the typical "prove it" deal. Only one season long, there is no long-term commitment from the team and the player gets to hit free agency again next season. There is also a considerable amount of money available in incentives. These two things show that it is a "prove it" deal.

Last season with the Tennessee Titans, he caught 11 passes for 96 yards and zero touchdowns. By this, his fifth season in Tennessee, he had grown out of favor with the coaching staff. Like Jackson above, Britt is reported to have attitude problems. Combine that with knee problems and there was little playing time for him.

His best statistical season came in 2010––his second year with the Titans after they drafted him with the 30th overall pick in 2009. He caught 42 passes for 775 yards and nine touchdowns in 12 games, seven of them starts. At this point in his career, it looked like he was a rising star in the league.

However, he tore his ACL and MCL in week three of the following season and off-the-field issues caught up with him, eventually resulting in a suspension. Since that knee injury he hasn't been the same player.

Joining the Rams, he is reunited with Jeff Fisher who was the head coach of the Titans when they drafted Britt. This is yet another example of Fisher bringing former Titans to the Rams via free agency.

For the Rams this deal makes sense. There is no long-term commitment and Britt is one of the biggest boom-or-bust players in the league. This signing could end up being irrelevant or it could end up being a steal.

Other Moves:

The Arizona Cardinals sign CB LeQuan Lewis.
The Arizona Cardinals sign CB Eddie Whitley.
The Atlanta Falcons re-sign CB Robert McClain.
The Baltimore Ravens sign sign TE Owen Daniels to a one-year deal.
The Chicago Bears re-sign OL Eben Britton.
The Cincinnati Bengals S Danieal Manning to a one-year deal.
The Denver Broncos re-sign OT Winston Justice.
The Denver Broncos sign C Will Montgomery.
The Detroit Lions sign QB Dan Orlovsky.
The Detroit Lions sign OT J.B. Shugarts.
The Green Bay Packers re-sign FB John Kuhn to a one-year deal.
The Houston Texans sign S Chris Clemons to a two-year deal.
The Houston Texans release S Danieal Manning.
The Houston Texans re-sign CB Elbert Mack.
The Miami Dolphins sign WR Kevin Cone.
The Miami Dolphins sign OT Jason Fox.
The Miami Dolphins sign WR Mike Rios.
The Miami Dolphins sign QB Jordan Rodgers.
The New England Patriots re-sign C Ryan Wendell to a two-year deal.
The New England Patriots sign S Patrick Chung.
The New Orleans re-sign OLB Parys Haralson.
The New Orleans Saints sign S Marcus Ball.
The New York Giants sign CB Zack Bowman.
The New York Giants re-sign DT Mike Patterson.
The New York Giants sign OT Charles Brown.
The New York Giants sign DE Robert Ayers to a two-year deal.
The New York Jets sign CB Jeremy Reeves.
The New York Jets re-sign LB Nick Bellore.
The New York Jets sign WR Jacoby Ford.
The New York Jets sign CB Dimitri Patterson.
The Oakland Raiders sign RB Maurice Jones-Drew to a three-year deal.
The Oakland Raiders re-sign DT Pat Sims.
The Oakland Raiders sign DE C.J. Wilson.
The Oakland Raiders sign CB Carlos Rogers to a one-year deal.
The Oakland Raiders release G Mike Brisiel.
The Philadelphia Eagles sign OL Andrew Gardner.
The Pittsburgh Steelers sign LeGarrette Blount to a two-year deal.
The Pittsburgh Steelers sign CB Brice McCain.
The Pittsburgh Steelers sign WR Darrius Heyward-Bey to a one-year deal.
The Seattle Seahawks sign LS Jorgen Hus.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers sign FB Jorvorskie Lane.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers sign FB Josh Baker.
The Tennessee Titans re-sign OL Chris Spencer.
The Tennessee Titans sign OL Eric Olsen.
The Washington Redskins sign OL Mike McGlynn.
The Washington Redskins sign QB Colt McCoy.
The Washington Redskins sign S Ryan Clark to a one-year deal.

NFL Weekly Transaction Tracker

March 28, 2014 in 2014-free-agency, NFL Personnel

By Staff Writer Matt Pearce:

As time passes, the free agent market thins out and less quality players are left on the market. This week saw the best free agent left come of the market and head to a surprise team in the NFC North. As always the rest of the moves are down below with some of the more significant ones highlighted in red.

Chicago Bears sign DE Jared Allen

Last week it was initially reported that Allen had signed with the Seattle Seahawks, but that turned out to be false. Now he is heading to Chicago after playing for their NFC North rival, the Minnesota Vikings.

It is a four-year deal worth $32 million with $15.5 million guaranteed. After three years, the contract can void. At this point he will have earned $24 million. It is on par with the contracts that other veteran pass rushers Julius Peppers and Demarcus Ware signed.

Jared Allen

Courtesy of ICON SMI

With the Vikings last season Allen––who will be 32 on April 3––recorded 52 tackles, 11.5 sacks and forced two fumbles. According to Pro Football Focus, he was the 34th best 4-3 defensive end last season out of 52. In 2012 he graded as the 25th best out of 62.

Prior to playing for the Vikings he played for the Kansas City Chiefs who drafted him in the fourth round of the 2004 NFL Draft. Playing four seasons with the Chiefs, he recorded 43 sacks including 15.5 in 2007––which was his final season in Kansas City.

During the 2008 offseason, Kansas City placed their franchise tag on him, but soon traded him to Minnesota for a first-round pick, two third-round picks and the teams swapped sixth-round picks. After the trade, the Vikings signed him to a massive six-year contract worth around $74 million.

This trade payed off for the Vikings as their new star pass rusher recorded 85.5 sacks in six seasons and was in double digits every year. His best season came in 2011 where he had 22 sacks, which is tied for second best all-time, just 0.5 away from tying the record owned by Michael Strahan.

For the Bears, this signing signals that they believe they are a legitimate Super Bowl contender this season. Allen is the third starting-caliber defensive end that they have signed this offseason, with the others being Lamarr Houston and Willie Young. Allen's best year's are behind him and his play is declining, but he still can provide pass rushing ability.

New York Jets sign QB Michael Vick

Moving to the offensive side of the ball, the Jets added Vick to their roster to compete with Geno Smith who will be entering his second year in the league.

For Vick it is just a one-year deal worth $4 million with $2 million guaranteed. This $2 million comes as a signing bonus and the other non-guarnteed money is $2 million in the form of base salary.

Last season he started six games for the Philadelphia Eagles while dealing with injuries and eventually lost his job to Nick Foles. Due to this, it was a forgone conclusion that Vick would leave via free agency this offseason.

Drafted by the Atlanta Falcons with the first overall pick in the 2001 NFL Draft, his NFL career has been full of ups and downs.

The good includes being named to the Pro Bowl four times (2002, 2004, 2005 and 2010), being named the 2010 NFL Comeback Player of the Year, leading the NFL in all-time rushing yards for a quarterback (5,857 yards) and leading the Falcons to the NFC Championship Game in 2004 against the Eagles where the Falcons lost 24-10.

The bad includes breaking his leg in 2003 and only playing in five games and––of course––his conviction in 2007 in being part of a dog fighting ring with some of his friends. This led to him serving 23 months in a federal prison with another three years of probation after that. While in prison he missed the 2007 and 2008 seasons. In 2009 he saw little playing time as well.

After serving his prison sentence he signed with the Eagles and played five seasons with them.

For the Jets, he will compete with Smith for the starting job. It seems likely at he moment that Vick will win the job while Smith learns as the backup. Smith's performance as a rookie last year was inconstant and the Jets were known to be looking for someone to push him. Expect Vick to win the starting job, but Smith will remain the future quarterback for Rex Ryan and the Jets.

Other Moves:

The Atlanta Falcons release FB Bradie Ewing.
The Baltimore Ravens sign S Darian Stewart.
The Baltimore Ravens trade a 2015 fifth-round pick to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for C Jeremy Zuttah.
The Carolina Panthers sign WR Tiquan Underwood.
The Carolina Panthers sign CB Antoine Cason to a one-year deal.
The Carolina Panthers sign QB Joe Webb.
The Cincinnati Bengals sign OT Marshall Newhouse.
Cincinnati Bengals QB Greg McElroy has announced his retirement.
The Cincinnati Bengals sign CB R.J. Stanford.
The Cincinnati Bengals sign DT Domata Peko to a two-year contract extension.
The Cleveland Browns sign OL Paul McQuistan.
The Detroit Lions sign S James Ihedigbo to a two-year deal.
The Houston Texans sign S Kendrick Lewis to a one-year deal.
The Houston Texans trade QB Matt Schuab to the Oakland Raiders for a sixth-round pick.
The Jacksonville Jaguars claim FB Bradie Ewing off waivers.
The Kansas City Chiefs cut DL Brandon Moore.
The Kansas City Chiefs sign CB Chris Owens.
The Miami Dolphins sign RB Knowshon Moreno to a one-year deal.
The Minnesota Vikings sign OL Vlad Ducasse.
The New England Patriots re-sign DT Vince Wilfork to a three-year deal.
The New Orleans Saints re-sign QB Luke McCown.
The New York Giants sign sign G John Jerry to a one-year deal.
The New York Jets release QB Mark Sanchez.
The Philadelphia Eagles sign QB Mark Sanchez.
The Pittsburgh Steelers sign TE Michael Palmer.
The Pittsburgh Steelers sign WR Lance Moore to a two-year deal.
The Pittsburgh Steelers sign LB Arthur Moats to a one-year deal.
The St. Louis Rams sign CB Greg Reid.
The St. Louis Rams sign LB Etienne Sabino.
The St. Louis Rams sign DL Alex Carrington to a one-year deal.
The St. Louis Rams sign QB Shaun Hill.
The San Francisco 49ers re-sign WR Kassim Osgood.
The San Francisco 49ers re-sign CB Perrish Cox.
The Seattle Seahawks sign CB Phillip Adams.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers sign WR Louis Murphy.
The Tennessee Titans sign DE Shaun Phillips to a two-year deal.
The Washington Redskins claim DE Brandon Moore off waivers.
The Washington Redskins re-sign CB E.J. Biggers.

NFL Weekly Transaction Tracker

March 21, 2014 in 2014-free-agency, NFL Personnel

By Staff Writer Matt Pearce:

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.

Green Bay Packers sign DE Julius Peppers

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.

Julius Peppers

Courtesy of ICON SMI

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.

New York Giants sign CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie

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.

Dallas Cowboys sign DT Henry Melton

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.

Other Moves:

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.

The Jaguars are having a better offseason than people think

March 18, 2014 in 2014-free-agency, NFL

One of the worst franchises in recent years has been the Jacksonville Jaguars as they haven't had a winning season since 2007 and have posted at least 11 losses in four of the six years since.  In recent years they made numerous free agent and draft mistakes that set their franchise back and have typically left them in the cellar of the AFC South. They entered free agency with plenty of cap room and were expected to be big players to fix their team and get back into contention. It hasn't been the offseason that many people were hoping for and it has led to some people to question it, but when you look at it closely it is a better offseason than people think.

Some are calling them "Seattle East" after head coach Gus Bradley has brought in some of his former Seahawks to the team. Others are saying the Jaguars have overpaid and haven't focused much on offense. Both claims are true, but right now I think the Jaguars have done a nice job setting a foundation for this franchise.

On defense in addition to re-signing DE Jason Babin and CB Will Blackmon, the Jaguars signed LB Dakoda Watson, DE Chris Clemons, DE/DT Red Bryant and DE/DT Ziggy Hood. While it sounds like they have over saturated the defensive line it's a really smart move for the Jaguars. Gus Bradley's defense relies on a strong front 7 and a defensive line that can rotate based on match-ups. That is what the Seahawks did with his defense and improved upon it last year with some of their free agent signings. This keeps the line fresh and ensures that you can always match up regardless of what the other teams strengths are. While this could lessen the need of a guy like Jadeveon Clowney in the draft I don't think it eliminates him as a possibility.

While some would have probably liked to see the Jaguars improve the 32nd ranked (points) offense more with some big signings, the fact is fixing the defense was probably more important. Unless you have an elite QB like Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Drew Brees or Aaron Rodgers you can't rely on your offense alone to carry you (and even those teams typically have their best success with decent defenses). The Jaguars aren't going to have that regardless of whether they draft a QB with the 3rd overall pick or not. Having a good quality defense will make an offenses job that much easier. For as good as Russell Wilson is in Seattle, the Seahawks don't win the SB without that defense. Now the Jaguars aren't there yet, but this offseason moves them a lot closer and could give them a top 20 defense (if not higher).

On  the offensive side of the ball the Jaguars haven't added a lot of guys, but they did make two key signings so far. First they brought in guard Zane Beadles, who was considered the top guard on the market. Beadles should help improve both the pass and run blocking something that was a major liability last year and really ground the offense to a halt. The Jaguars line is still in shambles, but with Beadles and last year's 2nd overall pick OT Luke Joeckel, there are at least building blocks to fill in around. The Jaguars other big signing was RB Toby Gerhart. Maurice Jones-Drew is gone, so the RB spot was pretty open. Jordan Todman and Denard Robinson are there, but neither is a guy you want to rely on. Gerhart has been buried behind Adrian Peterson these last four years, but he came into the league as a big back who had some feature potential. While he's not Marshawn Lynch, there are similarities in the sense that he's more of a power back who can help control the clock. The impact won't be the same, but Gerhart ensures that a young quarterback won't have to throw the ball 30 times a game to try to win. The Jaguars now have a decent run option for next season, which is nice.

Going forward the Jaguars are still in a good position, they are still about $25 million under the cap and have plenty of future cap room. I'd expect them to add a few pieces at some bargain prices before the draft, but to also keep some cap room to roll over for next year. Jacksonville still needs to have a strong draft and somehow find that quarterback of the future, but they are in a nice place going forward. They might not be competing with the Colts any time soon, but they could rise to number two in the division sooner than expected.

NFL Weekly Transaction Tracker

March 14, 2014 in 2014-free-agency, NFL Personnel

By Staff Writer Matt Pearce:

Tuesday, the NFL's free agency period started which means teams made numerous moves over the last few days. A few of the major ones are discussed here while the rest are listed below––where other major ones are highlighted in red.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers release and New England Patriots sign CB Darrelle Revis

Up first is Revis, who when he was released by the Buccaneers became the number one free agent on the market and the Patriots quickly signed him.

Darrelle Revis

Courtesy of ICON SMI

Just one year after trading a first and fourth round pick to the New York Jets for him, the Buccaneers released him. This happened for a few reasons. One, he is a man coverage cornerback and the Buccaneers new coach Lovie Smith runs a zone defense. This means that Revis wouldn't be used to the best of his abilities. Another reason for this move is that he was being paid $16 million each season. That is a ton of money to pay for a cornerback who is better off in a different scheme. Lastly, if he was on the Buccaneers roster at 4 p.m. ET Wednesday, their fourth round pick that they sent to New York would have turned into a third round pick.

With New England, he signed an interesting deal. It is a one-year deal worth $12 million. However, there is a team option for the 2015 season at $20 million. With the cap number being so high, it is highly unlikely that this team option is exercised. What this means though is that the Patriots can't place their franchise tag on him at the end of the season, ensuring that he would hit the open market again next season.

For the Patriots, this move makes tons of sense. After watching the Denver Broncos sign a few key free agents––including former Patriots' cornerback Aqib Talib––the Patriots strike back by signing arguably the best cornerback in football. Since it is only a one-year deal, Revis could potentially only be a Patriot for one season. However, if he does leave next offseason, the Patriots are essentially guaranteed a third-round compensatory pick. Overall, this signing is perfect for New England and is a complete Bill Belichick move.

Seattle Seahawks re-sign DE Michael Bennett

Next is Bennett, who decided to stay with the Seahawks after receiving interest from the Chicago Bears where his brother Martellus plays.

A four-year deal, Bennett receives $28.5 million with $16  guaranteed and a signing bonus of $8 million. This is an average of just over $7 million per season.

For the Seahawks, this is a smart re-signing. The locked up one of the best pass rushers on the market for a relatively cheap price. (He turned down more money from the Bears.) Last season he had 8.5 sacks playing defensive end and lining up at defensive tackle in sub-packages. This allows them to keep one of their better players from their Super Bowl-winning team. Their defense absolutely dominated offenses at times and he was a major reason for this.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers sign DE Michael Johnson

One of the other top defensive ends on the market was Johnson, a former Cincinnati Bengal who has left to join the Buccaneers.

His contract is a five-year deal worth $43.75 with $24 million guaranteed. This is an average of $8.75 million per season. He gets more money than Bennett, but players always receive a bit more money on the open market than they do if they re-sign with their old team.

With the hiring of Smith as their new head coach, Tampa Bay committed to a more defensive approach and this is the first result of that. Johnson is a better run defender than pass rusher, but he has shown flashes of pass-rushing ability. In 2012 he had 11.5 sacks, but this past season this dropped all the way down to 3.5 sacks. Smith knowns how to get the best out of defensive players though, so Johnson should succeed with the Buccaneers.

Dallas Cowboys release and Denver Broncos sign DE DeMarcus Ware

In a surprise move, the Cowboys released their best pass rusher in a move precipitated by the salary cap. Unsurprisingly, he was quickly signed by a playoff contender.

Cutting him saved the Cowboys $7.4 million in cap room for a team that had less than $1 million available. With the Broncos, he signed a three-year deal worth $30 million with $20 million guaranteed.

For the Cowboys, this move makes a little, but not a lot of sense. Yes they needed cap room, but they got rid of their best defensive player in doing so. He is only 31-years old and is still one of the better pass rushers in the league.

For the Broncos, this move continues their offseason spending spree on the defensive side of the ball. They are going all-in to try and win a Super Bowl in the next two seasons while Peyton Manning is still playing. Ware improves their pass rush greatly, but in a few seasons, they are going to have salary cap troubles.

Chicago Bears sign DE Lamarr Houston

The last of the top pass rushers on the market was Houston, a former Oakland Raider.

Signing a five-year deal worth $35 million with $15 million guaranteed, the Bears turned to him after failing to sign Bennett.

A versatile defensive lineman, he can play defensive end but also move inside to defensive tackle at times. He is a better run defender than a pass rusher, but he is an impact defensive lineman. The value of the contract is fair so this is a good deal both ways. This move allowed the Bears to release Julius Peppers, an aging defensive lineman who had a high cap hit.

Miami Dolphins sign OT Branden Albert

On the offensive side of the ball, the Dolphins filled a hole on their offensive line by signing Albert, a former Kansas City Chief.

A five-year deal worth $46 million with $25 million guaranteed, the contract averages $9.2 million per year.

Last season, Miami tried to trade for him before the draft, but this proved unsuccessful. This is a major contract for a left tackle who isn’t elite. He is good, but has never been great. Considering the second and third best left tackles on the market got $7.5 million and $7 million per season, the Dolphins overpaid. Albert is also older than those other two left tackles. In the end though, the Dolphins needed to sign a left tackle as their offensive line needs to be rebuilt.

New Orleans Saints sign S Jairus Byrd

Back to the defensive side of the ball, the Saints made a surprise move to take the best safety off the market.

Despite a lack of cap space–less than $2 million after this signing–New Orleans gave Byrd a six-year deal worth $54 million with $26.3 million guaranteed.

While this move gives the Saints very little cap space to work with, they now have one of–if not the best–safety combination in the league. Byrd is one of the best free safeties in the league and strong safety Kenny Vaccaro had a very promising rookie season. In Rob Ryan’s aggressive defense, these two will be relied on to make splash plays.

Other Moves:

Free Agent RB Rashard Mendenhall has announced his retirement.
The Arizona Cardinals sign TE John Carlson to a two-year deal.
The Arizona Cardinals release G Daryn Colledge.
The Arizona Cardinals re-sign K Jay Feely.
The Arizona Cardinals sign OT Jared Veldheer to a five-year deal.
The Arizona Cardinals sign TE Jake Ballard.
The Arizona Cardinals sign DE Frostee Rucker.
The Arizona Cardinals re-sign OLB Matt Shaughnessy.
The Arizona Cardinals sign RB Jonathan Dwyer.
The Arizona Cardinals sign OL Ted Larsen.
The Arizona Cardinals re-sign LB Marcus Benard.
The Arizona Cardinals cut LB Dontay Moch.
The Arizona Cardinals sign WR Ted Ginn Jr. to a three-year deal.
The Atlanta Falcons re-sign OL Mike Johnson.
The Atlanta Falcons re-sign DT Jonathan Babineaux to a three-year deal.
The Atlanta Falcons re-sign C Joe Hawley.
The Atlanta Falcons release S Thomas DeCoud.
The Atlanta Falcons sign G Jon Asamoah to a five-year deal.
The Atlanta Falcons sign DT Paul Soliai to a five-year deal.
The Atlanta Falcons sign DE Tyson Jackson to a five-year deal.
The Baltimore Ravens re-sign LB Albert McClellan.
The Baltimore Ravens re-sign LT Eugene Monroe to a five-year deal.
The Baltimore Ravens re-sign WR Jacoby Jones to a four-year deal.
The Baltimore Ravens re-sign S Jeromy Miles.
The Buffalo Bills re-sign TE Mike Caussin.
The Buffalo Bills release QB Kevin Kolb.
The Buffalo Bills re-sign K Dan Carpenter.
The Buffalo Bills sign G Chris Williams to a four-year deal.
The Buffalo Bills sign CB Corey Graham to a four-year deal.
The Buffalo Bills sign LB Keith Rivers.
The Buffalo Bills re-sign TE Scott Chandler to a two-year deal.
The Carolina Panthers re-sign FB Richie Brockel.
The Carolina Panthers re-sign OL Garry Williams.
Carolina Panthers OL Geoff Hangartner has announced his retirement.
The Carolina Panthers re-sign CB James Dockery.
The Carolina Panthers cut WR Steve Smith.
The Carolina Panthers re-sign QB Derek Anderson.
The Chicago Bears re-sign DT Nate Collins.
The Chicago Bears re-sign QB Jordan Palmer.
The Chicago Bears cut TE Dante Rosario.
The Chicago Bears release RB Michael Bush.
The Chicago Bears re-sign LB D.J. Williams.
The Chicago Bears sign LB Jordan Senn.
The Chicago Bears sign S Ryan Mundy.
The Chicago Bears release DE Julius Peppers.
The Chicago Bears sign S M.D. Jennings.
The Chicago Bears sign DE Willie Young to a three-year deal.
The Chicago Bears sign WR Domenik Hixon.
The Chicago Bears re-sign TE Dante Rosario.
The Cincinnati Bengals re-sign WR Brandon Tate.
The Cincinnati Bengals release C Kyle Cook.
The Cincinnati Bengals re-sign S Taylor Mays.
The Cincinnati Bengals release LB James Harrison.
The Cleveland Browns sign LB Karlos Dansby to a four-year deal.
The Cleveland Browns sign S Donte Whitner to a four-year deal.
The Cleveland Browns sign CB Isaiah Trufant.
The Cleveland Browns release QB Brandon Weeden.
The Cleveland Browns release QB Jason Campbell.
The Cleveland Browns sign TE Jim Dray.
The Dallas Cowboys release WR Miles Austin.
The Dallas Cowboys sign DT Terrell McClain.
The Dallas Cowboys sign DE Jeremy Mincey.
The Dallas Cowboys sign LB Will Herring.
Denver Broncos G Chris Kuper has announced his retirement.
The Denver Broncos re-sign WR Andre Caldwell.
The Denver Broncos sign S T.J. Ward to a four-year deal.
The Denver Broncos sign CB Aqib Talib to a six-year deal.
The Detroit Lions re-sign CB Chris Greenwood.
The Detroit Lions re-sign RB Joique Bell to a three-year deal.
The Detroit Lions re-sign WR Kevin Ogletree.
The Detroit Lions sign WR Golden Tate to a five-year deal.
The Detroit Lions sign DL Vaughn Martin.
The Detroit Lions sign DL Darryl Tapp.
The Detroit Lions re-sign TE Brandon Pettigrew to a four-year deal.
The Green Bay Packers re-sign CB Sam Shields to a four-year deal.
The Green Bay Packers re-sign OLB Mike Neal to a two-year deal.
The Green Bay Packers re-sign TE Andrew Quarless.
The Houston Texans release CB Brice McCain.
The Houston Texans release TE Owen Daniels.
The Houston Texans re-sign TE Garrett Graham.
The Indianapolis Colts re-sign P Pat McAfee to a five-year deal.
The Indianapolis Colts re-sign LB Justin Hickman.
The Indianapolis Colts re-sign DT Fili Moala.
The Indianapolis Colts re-sign K Adam Vinatieri to a two-year deal.
The Indianapolis Colts sign DE Arthur Jones to a five-year deal.
The Indianapolis Colts re-sign S Sergio Brown.
The Indianapolis Colts re-sign CB Vontae Davis to a four-year deal.
The Indianapolis Colts re-sign RB Ahmad Bradshaw.
The Indianapolis Colts sign C Phil Costa.
The Jacksonville Jaguars re-sign QB Chad Henne to a two-year deal.
The Jacksonville Jaguars sign DE Red Bryant to a four-year deal.
The Jacksonville Jaguars release RB Justin Forsett.
The Jacksonville Jaguars sign G Zane Beadles to a five-year deal.
The Jacksonville Jaguars trade QB Blaine Gabbert to the San Francisco 49ers for a sixth round pick.
The Jacksonville Jaguars re-sign CB Will Blackmon.
The Jacksonville Jaguars sign LB Dekoda Watson.
The Jacksonville Jaguars sign RB Toby Gerhart to a three-year deal.
The Jacksonville Jaguars sign DE Chris Clemons to a four-year deal.
The Jacksonville Jaguars sign DT Ziggy Hood.
The Jacksonville Jaguars re-sign DE Jason Babin.
The Kansas City Chiefs re-sign LB Frank Zombo.
The Kansas City Chiefs re-sign S Husain Abdullah.
The Kansas City Chiefs sign LB Joe Mays.
The Kansas City Chiefs sign OT Jeff Linkenbach.
The Miami Dolphins release CB Dimitri Patterson.
The Miami Dolphins sign S Louis Delmas to a one-year deal.
The Miami Dolphins sign DT Earl Mitchell to a four-year deal.
The Miami Dolphins trade OT Jonathan Martin to the San Francisco 49ers for a conditional 2015 seventh round pick.
The Miami Dolphins sign DT Randy Starks to a two-year deal.
The Minnesota Vikings re-sign CB Marcus Sherels.
The Minnesota Vikings re-sign QB Matt Cassel.
The Minnesota Vikings re-sign DE Everson Griffen to a five-year deal.
The Minnesota Vikings sign LB Jasper Brinkley.
The Minnesota Vikings re-sign LB Larry Dean.
The Minnesota Vikings sign DT Linval Joseph to a five-year deal.
The Minnesota Vikings re-sign C Joe Berger.
The Minnesota Vikings re-sign DT Fred Evans.
The Minnesota Vikings sign CB Captain Munnerlyn to a three-year deal.
The Minnesota Vikings sign CB Derek Cox.
The New England Patriots re-sign LS Danny Aiken.
The New England Patriots re-sign TE Michael Hoomanawanui.
The New England Patriots cut WR T.J. Moe.
The New England Patriots cut DL Cory Grissom.
The New England Patriots cut RB Sam McGuffie.
The New England Patriots cut LB Taylor Reed.
The New England Patriots cut OT Elvis Fisher.
The New England Patriots cut RB Quentin Hines.
The New England Patriots release DT Isaac Sopoaga.
The New England Patriots cut OT Markus Zusevics.
The New Orleans Saints cut WR Lance Moore.
The New Orleans Saints re-sign RB Pierre Thomas to a two-year contract extension.
The New Orleans Saints trade RB Darren Sproles to the Philadelphia Eagles for a fifth-round pick.
The New Orleans Saints sign LB Ramon Humber.
The New York Giants re-sign LB Mark Herzlich.
The New York Giants re-sign CB Trumaine McBride.
The New York Giants release C David Bass.
The New York Giants re-sign RB Peyton Hillis.
The New York Giants re-sign QB Curtis Painter.
The New York Giants re-sign S Stevie Brown.
The New York Giants sign RB Rashad Jennings to a four-year deal.
The New York Giants sign G Geoff Schwartz to a four-year deal.
The New York Giants cut LB Marcus Dowtin.
The New York Giants re-sign K Josh Brown.
The New York Giants re-sign LB Jon Beason to a three-year deal.
The New York Giants sign C J.D. Walton.
The New York Giants re-sign FB Henry Hynoski.
The New York Giants sign LB Jameel McClain.
The New York Jets re-sign TE Jeff Cumberland to a three-year deal.
The New York Jets release CB Antonio Cromartie.
The New York Jets cut WR Santonio Holmes.
The New York Jets re-sign K Nick Folk to a four-year deal.
The New York Jets sign OT Breno Giacomini.
The New York Jets re-sign DT Leger Douzable.
The New York Jets sign WR Eric Decker to a five-year deal.
The Oakland Raiders re-sign S Brandian Ross.
The Oakland Raiders re-sign RB Darren McFadden to a one-year deal.
The Oakland Raiders sign OT Austin Howard to a five-year deal.
The Oakland Raiders sign DE Justin Tuck to a two-year deal.
The Oakland Raiders sign LB LaMarr Woodley to a two-year deal.

The Philadelphia Eagles re-sign P Donnie Jones.
The Philadelphia Eagles sign S Malcom Jenkins to a three-year deal.
The Philadelphia Eagles release S Pat Chung.
The Philadelphia Eagles sign S Chris Maragos.
The Philadelphia Eagles sign LB Bryan Braman.
The Philadelphia Eagles sign CB Nolan Carroll.
The Pittsburgh Steelers release LB LaMarr Woodley.
The Pittsburgh Steelers sign S Mike Mitchell to a five-year deal.
The Pittsburgh Steelers re-sign LS Greg Warren.
The Pittsburgh Steelers re-sign C Cody Wallace.
The St. Louis Rams cut G Harvey Dahl.
The St. Louis Rams cut CB Cortland Finnegan.
The St. Louis Rams re-sign OT Rodger Saffold to a five-year deal.
The St. Louis Rams re-sign LB Jo-Lonn Dunbar.
The San Diego Chargers re-sign S Darrell Stuckey.
The San Diego Chargers re-sign G Chad Rinehart to a two-year deal.
The San Diego Chargers sign RB Donald Brown to a three-year deal.
The San Diego Chargers sign TE David Johnson.
The San Diego Chargers sign LB Kavell Conner.
The San Diego Chargers sign QB Kellen Clemens.
The San Diego Chargers sign LB Reggie Walker.
The San Diego Chargers sign CB Brandon Ghee.
The San Diego Chargers re-sign CB Richard Marshall.
The San Francisco 49ers release CB Carlos Rogers.
The San Francisco 49ers re-sign K Phil Dawson.
The San Francisco 49ers sign S Antoine Bethea to a four-year deal.
The San Francisco 49ers re-sign CB Eric Wright.
The Seattle Seahawks re-sign S Jeron Johnson.
The Seattle Seahawks re-sign C Lemuel Jeanpierre.
The Seattle Seahawks re-sign TE Anthony McCoy.
The Seattle Seahawks release DE Chris Clemons.
The Seattle Seahawks sign WR Taylor Price.
The Seattle Seahawks re-sign DT Tony McDaniel to a two-year deal.
The Seattle Seahawks re-sign QB Tarvaris Jackson.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers re-sign LB Jonathan Casillas.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers release G Davin Joseph.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers sign TE Brandon Myers.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers sign DT Clinton McDonald to a four-year deal.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers cut K Lawrence Tynes.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers re-sign OT Jamon Meredith.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers sign CB Alterraun Verner to a four-year deal.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers sign QB Josh McCown to a two-year deal.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers sign OT Anthony Collins to a five-year deal.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers release OT Donald Penn.
The Tennessee Titans sign WR Dexter McCluster to a three-year deal.
The Tennessee Titans cut WR Kevin Walter.
The Tennessee Titans sign RB Leon Washington.
The Tennessee Titans release OT David Stewart.
The Tennessee Titans sign DT Al Woods.
The Tennessee Titans sign QB Charlie Whitehurst.
The Washington Redskins re-sign LB Perry Riley.
The Washington Redskins sign WR Andre Roberts to a four-year deal.
The Washington Redskins re-sign WR Santana Moss.
The Washington Redskins sign G Shawn Lauvao to a four-year deal.
The Washington Redskins sign LB Adam Hayward.
The Washington Redskins sign CB Tracy Porter.
The Washington Redskins sign LB Darryl Sharpton.
The Washington Redskins sign DE Clifton Geathers.
The Washington Redskins sign DT Jason Hatcher to a four-year deal.

NFL Free Agency Recap

March 13, 2014 in 2014-free-agency

1- The biggest name on the free agent front was available and then gone very quickly on Wednesday.      revis

Darrelle Revis was cut by the Buccaneers and then quickly found a new team in the New England Patriots.  I don't think this is any kind of surprise that Revis would be interested in the Pats or the Pats being interested in Revis.  New England lost Aqib Talib the night before to now rival Denver and had an easy chance to make up for that adding Revis.  Only surprise may be that he settled for a one year/ $12 million deal with New England.

But I am not.  It puts him on a true contender unlike he has been the past two seasons.  Revis has already made over $80 million in his career and is still at an age and expected level to get another huge deal in 12 months.  I see this to be very similar to when Deion Sanders left Atlanta for the San Francisco 49ers for a year.  He won a title and hit free agency again.  Then signed a huge deal with the Cowboys and won another.  If Revis plays Revis-like he will get another huge deal and his signing puts the Patriots like always in the AFC title picture.

 

2- Quarterbacks have been quiet so far on the market but then again there wasn't much out there anyway.  One guy who signed was Josh McCown with the Tampa Buccaneers.

It is no surprise that McCown signed with Tampa Bay but it was surprise to many that Lovie Smith has already called him his #1 guy.  McCown was very good last year filling in for Cutler in Chicago but I think that after one season of Mike Glennon in Tampa you also had to come out optimistic.  Maybe Lovie thinks he is ready to win now and the veteran like McCown gives him a better shot?  Tampa is spending again like they are planning to be in the mix but is McCown really the quick answer?

It is not like they are adding a veteran who has won a lot of games like Matt Schaub or Mike Vick in this league.  This time last year McCown was a forgotten guy but maybe Lovie thinks he has the second coming of Rich Gannon?  I remember a similar situation here in DC when Joe Gibbs came in.  He inherited a second year QB in Patrick Ramsey who showed some promise as a rookie and everyone thought it would be a great match.  But Gibbs pushed Ramsey aside and went out and got a veteran in Mark Brunell.  Actually traded a 3rd rounder unlike Lovie who just signed McCown.  Brunell came in and struggled, Ramsey took over and looked to be the starter until the next season back to Brunell.  Washington made the playoffs once with Brunell but neither really benefitted the team overall.  I am interested to see what happens in Tampa but we do know at least they have a solid #2.

 

3- The most talked about team this week has been the Denver Broncos.  The AFC champs are truly going for it next season and have not settled on the roster that got them smoked in the Super Bowl.

Their record setting offense will add back injured Ryan Clady but lost Eric Decker to the Jets.  Even with all the big money moves to be discussed I wouldn't be surprised if they added another receiver and a back still.  With the weapons they have Decker doesn't seem to be a huge loss but we won't know that until September.

On the other side of the ball they were far from quiet throwing out huge money deals for TJ Ward, Aqib Talib and finally Demarcus Ware.  The secondary was a major concern coming into the off-season with Chris Harris coming off an ACL and Champ Bailey's release so enter Ward and Talib.  I think it was kind of a surprise they added one of these guys but to get both had to be a major shock for the rest of the AFC.  We know Talib's past so there is a risk involved there but I don't think John Elway and Peyton Manning are that concerned and our 100% focus on winning a Lombardi in the next couple seasons.  Then they added Demarcus Ware to the mix.  No big deal just a potential future hall of famer to pair with Von Miller once he returns from injury.  Ware struggled last season compared to his usual output under the horrible Kiffin/Marinelli defense.  I think this will be a good change and expect Ware to do what he has done in the past.

 

4- The other team that is easy to discuss is Cleveland.

They lost Ward to Denver and earlier in the month let D'qwell Jackson go to Indy.  Instead opting for the pair of Donte Witner and Karlos Dansby.  I think they got better overall with the swap but they also got older as well.  That would be my only concern here for the Browns.  After over a year of craziness they still have some talent around at key positions.  It would have been crazy if they were willing to pay Revis his full deal and made that trade to pair him with Joe Haden.  They passed but the secondary is not their main issue for 2014.

Although they will look to add a running back potentially Ben Tate in the next few days, their main concern is at quarterback.  Why?  Because they just dropped their top two in Jason Campbell and Brandon Weeden.  Leaving them with only Brian Hoyer off an ACL as their only QB with experience.  Maybe they are waiting on Schaub to be released or kick the tires on Vick but it looks like a lock they will spend another #1 pick on one in the draft.  Plenty of time to decide for the Browns on Johnny Football, Bortles, Teddy Bridge or Little Carr.

 

5- Small tidbits to end this thing:

A- I think football players still get screwed in free agency.  A lot is made of all the guaranteed money they are getting this week but in retrospect to a sport like baseball it is crazy.  Brett Gardner of the Yankees recently for over $50 million guaranteed for 4 years?  Brett Gardner that is.  Decent player but a better contract than any NFL free agent?  Gardner is no better than the Golden Tate in reality at what they do and he got four times the guaranteed money is less years.  Crazy stuff to me.

B- The Roger Saffold/Raiders fiasco is worth noting.  Easily the worst contract of the first day was what the Raiders gave Saffold.  Way overpaying for a tackle that will probably end up a guard.  But the Raiders needed help and had the cap room to do it.  Now the deal is off and Saffold is a Ram.  I don't think it’s a horrible thing the contract got voided.  Real issue is the Raiders lost their left tackle Jared Veldheer already to the Cards and other tackles have already moved on.  Why didn't they franchise Veldheer with the room they had?  Very questionable once again in Oakland.

C- Running backs are once again getting screwed on the open market.  I am convinced no running back will ever get a mega-deal again after Adrian Peterson did.  Chris Johnson got one but that is done.  MJD and Knowshon Moreno are now proven backs who will probably settle for decent deals in the end.  It will take a monster like Peterson still in his mid 20s to break the bank as a running back in free agency I think.

Maybe they should change running backs to count only 50% of their actual cap number towards the salary cap.  So teams will pay these guys without having a huge cap burden.  I remember it started when Edgerrin James couldn't find a big free agent deal and has only gotten worse for these guys.  I expect someone to steal this idea and hear it on Mike and Mike and Pro Football Talk in the next few weeks.

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Free Agency Off to a Fast Start…For Some

March 12, 2014 in 2014-free-agency

NFL FREE AGENCY RECAP VIDEO:

 



If you are a free agent Offensive tackle, offensive guard, Defensive end, Defensive tackle, Cornerback or Safety, chances are you've already found a home in the first 24 hours of free agency. Most of the top tier guys, and even some of the 2nd and 3rd tier guys in these groups signed within the first 24 hours to by and large good sized long term deals. If you played another position you are probably still on the market and for some there stay there could take awhile.

On some level this is nothing new for NFL Free Agency, as we typically see a very active first 24 hours, followed by a steady market for the first week and then it becomes more sparse. What's different this year is perhaps more that the market seems to be more position centric, and different positions are being targeted than usual. Typically in free agency we see most of the big names move in that first day regardless of position, but probably a greater focus to some of the more hyped positions. Quarterbacks, wide receivers, tight ends, running backs, typically have gone quickly in free agency, even if they were 2nd tier guys. Yes there wasn't a top QB on the market, but the only one to move so far is Josh McCown to the Buccaneers. You still have Mike Vick, Shaun Hill, and Josh Freeman who are considered in the stopgap/top back-up category. Running back and tight end has seen a couple guys move, but most of the big names and the market overall has been quiet. Wide receiver is probably the biggest  surprise. Though there may not have been a Mike Wallace or Vincent Jackson on the market this year, there are a number of quality number 2 and number 3 receivers. So far only three guys have changed teams (Andre Roberts, Dexter McCluster and Golden Tate). That is surprising considering just how many teams need receivers and how many quality options there are. Sure only a few guys are going to land big deals, but even the secondary market is moving pretty slow compared to other positions.

Another interesting thing is how the offensive line market is moving. It was pretty deep group with a number of very good starters and other guys with upside. Those players at tackle and guard were all signed in the first couple hours of free agency, but the center market has been barely looked at. Even if some teams may be wary about rushing into a deal with Alex Mack given the transition tag, Evan Dietrich-Smith and Brian De La Puerte are both under 30 quality starters that haven't garnered much attention so far. They are on par or better than a number of the guards that have been signed already, yet we hear nothing about them. Perhaps teams are just holding out hope for Alex Mack, but those are two good starters who could be a big upgrade on a number of teams. Given that center is typically considered the 2nd most important position behind LT, you would think the market would be hotter at this spot.

Another interesting early trend is the heavy focus on the defensive side of the ball. The only offensive positions moving quickly are those that protect against the defense, while by in large the defensive positions are enjoying a much hotter market. Even the "cold market" positions on defense like outside and inside linebackers, are moving faster than the "cold market" positions on offense. While some of it is just a reflection of the talent that is on the market, some of it is probably tied to the success of the Seattle Seahawks this past year. The Seahawks were the best team in the NFL despite suffering a myriad of injuries among their offensive line and wide receivers. They still had offensive talent, but it was well below their defensive talent. We are seeing pass rushers and defensive backs (the primary strengths of Seattle) move quite quickly on the market. A great example of a team being influenced by the Seahawks approach was their opponent in the Super Bowl. The Denver Broncos are letting WR Eric Decker, G Zane Beadles (already signed with Jacksonville) and RB Knowshon Moreno walk this offseason (among others), and directing all their cap room to bringing in big time defensive talent. Denver has already locked up defensive end DeMarcus Ware, safety T.J. Ward and cornerback Aqib Talib in the first 24 hours. The Broncos likely aren't done yet upgrading their defense just yet and figure to add one or two cheaper starters.

It will be interesting to see how the market shapes up over the next couple of days and if any other positions start to really get a lot of attention, or if the current trends continue throughout the week. The first day of free agency was interesting and filled with a lot of big names, but there are still plenty of starters and quality contributors out there, and now the bargain shopping begins as budgets start to tighten.