Tuesday Free-Agent Extravaganza!Posted: March 12, 2013
The free-agent opening came and went with a boom today.
If you haven’t heard about some of these moves, you’ve likely either been in a coma or forgotten how the internet works.
Between rumors and signings, there are some big moves to address as to teams’ draft strategies.
The signings, rumors & player movements:
- WR Mike Wallace – Dolphins – five years, $65 million ($30 million guaranteed)
You can scratch off receiver from the list of needs for Miami–between Brian Hartline and Wallace the Dolphins have two viable starters. Those Cordarrelle Patterson predictions at number 12 may need to be re-considered.
- OG Andy Levitre – Titans – five years, $39 million
The Titans just added a 26-year-old top-of-the-line guard in Levitre, so it’s unlikely they’ll still be looking at guard at number 10.
- Bills released QB Ryan Fitzpatrick
Unless the Bills decide that they’re going to dive into the poor free-agent quarterback, it looks like quarterback just became the highest priority–it wouldn’t be surprising if Buffalo trades up to ensure they get West Virgina QB Geno Smith prior to the Cardinals in the top-ten. Another quarterback to keep an eye on is Syracuse’s Ryan Nassib in the early second-round, as current Bills head coach Doug Marrone was Nassib’s head coach at Syracuse.
- OLB Paul Kruger – Browns – five years, $41 million
And another projection is spoiled, as it is unlikely Cleveland will still look for a pass-rusher after shelling out for Kruger.
- OT Jermon Bushrod – Bears – five years, unconfirmed money
The Bears just picked up a big piece for the offense in Bushrod, as he can immediately slot in on Jay Cutler’s blindside. Bushrod didn’t grade out favorably in Pro Football Focus’ rankings, but it’s unlikely he’ll remain a backup to either J’Marcus Webb or Gabe Carimi.
- MLB Dannell Ellerbe – Dolphins – five years, $35 million & release of MLB Karlos Dansby
Although originally thought to be an addition to shore up an aging linebacker corps for future seasons, Miami promptly proved that wrong by releasing starting middle linebacker Karlos Dansby. Ellerbe is very capable and young, but it will be tough to upgrade on the solid Dansby–who will likely spend little time on the open market.
- OLB Erik Walden – Colts – four years, $16 million
Walden will slot in opposite Robert Mathis as starting outside ‘backers in Indy’s 3-4 scheme. The Colts also brought in ex-Falcons end Lawrence Sidbury to make the transition to 3-4 linebacker as a backup and possible replacement for the aging Mathis in the future.
- OG Louis Vazquez – Broncos – four years, $23.5 million
While Denver may have had a very solid offensive line in 2012, Elway & co. made it a priority to provide stability at guard–starter Chris Kuper has missed extensive time in the past two seasons. Vazquez is a talented veteran who provides an immediate upgrade in talent and durability.
- OT Gosder Cherilus – Colts – five years, unconfirmed money & OG Donald Thomas – unknown terms
And the Colts’ offensive line overhaul begins! With an atrocious unit over past seasons, Indianapolis should benefit from Cherilus’ durability and high level of play at tackle. Indy also picked up ex-Patriots guard Donald Thomas as an upgrade on the interior of the line.
- TE Delanie Walker – Titans – four years, $17.5 million
The addition of Walker makes up for the loss of Jared Cook at tight end, although Walker’s price was much lower. Tight end remains a non-need for Tennessee in the draft.
- CB Greg Toler – Colts – unknown terms
To say Indianapolis has been active today is an understatement. Toler will step into a starting role immediately and presents an upgrade over every Colts corner on the roster.
- TE Jared Cook Jr. – Rams – five years, unconfirmed money
The Rams pick up a capable, if unproven, receiver in Cook that could replace the loss of slot receiver Danny Amendola in free-agency. Cook is still young at 26 and has fantastic speed for a tight end. Expect Lance Kendrick’s playing time to decrease tremendously.
- DE Mike DeVito – Chiefs – three years, $12.6 million
Incumbent end Glenn Dorsey hit free-agency after Kansas City decided not to shell out, and it seems they’ve replaced him on only the first day of free-agency. DeVito is what you look for in a 3-4 run-stopping end, and at 29 has plenty of gas left in the tank.
- DE/DT Chris Canty – Ravens – three years, $8 million ($2.8 million guaranteed)
Canty will slot into the Ravens line as a 3-4 end after playing years with New York as a tackle. In a defense with a rebuilding linebacker corps, Canty offers a cheap run-stopping end that pairs with Arthur Jones and Haloti Ngata as a very solid defensive line.
- Raiders released S Michael Huff, WR Darrius Heyward-Bey and DE Dave Tollefson
The story of Heyward-Bey is well-documented, a speedster with drop problems that would shame any player. He’ll likely get a shot elsewhere, but for nowhere close to the multi-million deal he had remaining with the Raiders. Tollefson is a free-agent bust from last offseason and Huff is a mere cap casualty–he’ll have little trouble latching on elsewhere as a flexible corner/safety.
- FB/TE James Casey – Eagles – three years, $14.5 million
Casey took on more of an offensive role after Joel Dreessen departed in free-agency last year. At 28, Casey has the size and abilities to play both fullback and tight end for Philly. Michael Vick has another toy to play with in Chip Kelly’s new offense.
- CB Bradley Fletcher – Eagles – unknown terms
Fletcher is a talented young man-press corner that had a falling out in St. Louis last season. He’ll be part of the revamping of Philly’s defensive backfield this offseason.
- OLB Phillip Wheeler – Dolphins – five years, $26 million
This is an interesting one–Miami already has three starters in outside ‘backers Koa Misi and Kevin Burnett and inside ‘backer Dannell Ellerbe (recently signed). Wheeler isn’t backup-level talent, so there may be more moves going on in Miami soon–most likely veteran Burnett is on the way out.
- DT Issac Sopoaga – Eagles – three years, $12 million ($5 million guaranteed)
The Eagles continue to make a splash in free-agency. Sopoaga is cheap, but effective, and should be the anchor of Philly’s new 3-4 defense at nose tackle.
- S Pat Chung – Eagles – two years, unconfirmed money
And Philly is at it again. Chung played at Oregon when Chip Kelly was there (albeit as the offensive coordinator). At 25 and and decently sized, Chung is an upgrade for the Eagles.
- LB Jason Phillips – Eagles – unknown terms
No, this isn’t a mistake…it’s another Eagles signing. Phillips could make a role for himself on the rebuilding defense if he stays healthy. Kelly favors quick linebackers, so Phillips has an edge there.