NFL Free Agency: Observations and analysis part 2
By: Cian Fahey | Published Wednesday, August 24, 2011, 2:45 PM | Updated Friday, September 9, 2011, 10:28 PM
Holmes heads home.
Santonio Holmes' arrival back with the Jets in New York was a major victory for Rex Ryan and Mike Tannenbaum. Holmes was the best receiver available and was paid as such with a $50 million contract for five years. He will be the focal point of the Jets passing attack during that time which will hopefully—for the Jets at least—develop enough to take advantage of his talents.
A knock on effect of that has been that Braylon Edwards looks set to leave New York. Edwards is certainly replaceable but had looked good as part of that offense. The Jets had a very good group of receivers that complemented each other well. They will need to find a replacement for Edwards and should be able to although a bigger deal elsewhere may be scuppering that plan...Has someone finally made a big play on Nnamdi?..a franchise rather than a receiver.
The New York Jets surprisingly became the frontrunners to sign Nnamdi Asomugha today. Asomugha would obviously have to take a pay cut but I doubt if it is that significant. Mark Sanchez has already come out and said that he is willing to take less money to better the team.
I don't believe the potential Asomugha arrival will be anything for Patriots fans to worry about, check back to the sports central blog tomorrow when I will explain why in detail.Building around Beck.
The Washington Redskins made some under-the-radar but strong moves on the second day of free agency. The Skins need for offensive talent was obvious and they didn't sign any names that will overwhelm you but they did create a nice group of receivers to catch passes for the projected first time starter John Beck.
The team traded for Jabarr Gaffney from the Denver Broncos who was productive in Denver last year. They gave up defensive end Jeremy Jarmon who was made expendable by the acquisition of Barry Cofield. Gaffney is a solid receiver who will give you what you expect week in and week out.
Donte Stallworth was an intriguing pickup for the Skins. Stallworth was a star for the Eagles and Patriots before missing a year through suspension. Stallworth always struggles with injuries but was severely underused last season. He will be a good burner for the group.
Anthony Armstrong is already with the team and could take a step up this coming season but Brandon Stokley has also been added as insurance.Big day for receivers but what about the big receivers?
Plaxico Burress has apparently held meetings with both the Pittsburgh Steelers and New York Giants. There has been talk that there is a lot of interest in the former Super Bowl winner but this appears to me like two old franchises giving him a courtesy call to try to drum up interest. Likelihood is nobody wants Plax, at least not for anything more than the minimum.Big receiver? Named Rice? Playing in Seattle? It's not who you're thinking but it is better than that.
Jerry Rice may actually take offense to that even if he is 48. Sidney Rice at this stage in his career—although I wouldn't bet my house on it—is a better receiver than Jerry Rice is during his retirement.
Sidney signed with the Seattle Seahawks for five years and $41 million. Rice gives the team a receiver that they haven't had since...I want to say Deion Branch but that would be generous...okay the best receiver they have had for a very long time. He may not be totally proven—having only been productive for one season—but the talent is obviously there. Longevity is the only question mark over Rice's head and the quarterback situation in Seattle could hamper him.
Outside of the quarterback position however, Seattle have put together an offense capable of winning the NFC West. What this does do is give the quarterback in Seattle with the biggest arm a boost in trying to win the starting job. Rice loves the deep ball, maybe an ex Vikings hook up with Tarvaris Jackson will give him the edge.Kyle Pennington?
Kyle Orton looks set to be joining the Miami Dolphins in a trade from the Broncos. Orton reminds me a lot of Chad Pennington who was a former starter for Tony Sparano. Orton is reliable, composed in the pocket, looks after the football and has very good accuracy. His one major flaw is one that Pennington shared, he lacks arm strength.
However Orton's influence in managing the game as part of that Miami offense could give them a chance at making a deep playoff run. The Dolphins defense looks stellar and should be one of the best in the league under Mike Nolan. The offense should be a run first unit that focuses on managing the game. However with Brandon Marshall and Davone Bess outside, the team has the ability to put up big numbers with a smart quarterback such as Orton.A smart Daniel Snyder move...no really!
Josh Wilson was picked up by the Redskins. This is a fantastic signing for the 'Skins. With the better pass rushing in the front seven, a smart corner like Wilson could excel. Wilson isn't overwhelmingly big but played very well in Baltimore after being traded from Seattle. He is a reliable player that can come in and start from day one to great effect.Good day to be a receiver.
The Arizona Cardinals really took a hit with the loss of Steve Breaston to the Chiefs. The Chiefs however maximized the potential of their offense. Breaston is linking up with former coach Todd Haley but more importantly is the perfect complement to Dwayne Bowe. Matt Cassell now has no excuses to not put up big numbers in Kansas City.
Especially as youngsters Tony Moeaki and rookie receiver Jonathan Baldwin are also there with Jamaal Charles and Dexter McCluster coming out of the backfield.Gore holding out.
Really surprised about the Frank Gore holdout news that broke today. I'm not sure why he's holding out but Gore isn't in the greatest of negotiating positions. He's coming off an injury while the offense is probably going to be passing more with Jim Harbaugh at the helm.
Couple that with the fact that there won't be that much demand for a veteran running back who's taken a beating in today's trade market and Gore would be better off going to work!Gradkowski back to the AFC North.
Bruce Gradkowski is a Pittsburgh native who once played for the Cleveland Browns. Today he signed a two year deal with the Cincinnati Bengals. Gradkowski is good enough to be the starter in Cincinnati if the Bengals want to develop Andy Dalton.
That is presuming that Carson Palmer doesn't return, and I doubt he does! Gradkowski is a good option at quarterback and could take advantage of AJ Green, Jerome Simpson and Jermaine Gresham's collective talent.Saints got mo(o)re lances for the offense. (sorry couldn't resist)
The Saints re-signed Lance Moore to keep intact the best receiving corp in the league. Moore was an important piece because he is unlike the other receivers on the roster as he is a specialist possession receiver who predominantly works from the slot. Moore was probably a guy that a lot of teams were looking at, re-signing him is big news for Drew Brees.Kevin Kolb not gone yet...
Adam Schefter tweeted that the Eagles are expected to trade Kevin Kolb to the Cardinals for a draft pick and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie before the end of the week. This is an enigmatic trade to me. Kolb is so unproven that I don't really know what I'd willingly give up for him. The Cardinals are desperate for a quarterback so he does have value.
However while I don't rate Rodgers-Cromartie as highly as many others do, he would be a very good second corner across from Patrick Peterson. By breaking up that pair it somewhat devalues the Peterson pick because their secondary is no longer the formidable group it looked to be beforehand. The fact that there is also a draft pick—which I presume is at least a third rounder—makes this trade very risky. Personally I don't pull the trigger.Jake Delhomme...yup that's it.
Jake Delhomme was cut by the Browns. That man has been stealing a living the past year...from two franchises....at once!Seattle sought out Gallery.
Robert Gallery has re-joined his former Head Coach Tom Cable in Seattle. Gallery should love playing in Seattle blocking for Marshawn Lynch and Justin Forsett. He will get a lot of chances to maul his opposition because of the uncertainty at the quarterback position.Two obvious moves.
The Chargers re-signed Eric Weddle. That was vital for the team. They got him at a great price too considering how talented he is at a young age: 5 years $40 million.
Carolina re-signed DeAngelo Williams to a big deal for $43 million and five years. This seems like a lot for a team that is stacked at running back but the Panthers have made a point of re-signing their own talent.Speaking of which.
The Panthers re-signed Thomas Davis—despite him not being a free agent—and James Anderson to five year deals. This was important for the Panthers who have a talented bunch of linebackers to go with Jon Beason.
The Panthers were the most active team today adding Olindo Mare, Ron Edwards and Ben Hartsock. Edwards stands out in particular because of his talent and the need but each of these guys are just contributors on a team that is looking to return to mediocrity.Giants replace O'Hara.
The New York Giants brought in David Baas from the 49ers to be their new starting center. I'm not sure I like the move but it should come at a low cost and the health status of O'Hara is at this point unknown to me. Solidifying the Giants pass protection overall will be big and I'm still anticipating one more addition.
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