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.
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.
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.