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
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.
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.
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.