Posts Tagged ‘free agents’

List of NFL Free Agent Wheelings and Dealings

March 8th, 2010 by Adam Markowitz (Bankroll Sports Columnist) | Posted in General Handicapping, NFL Football   Comments Off on List of NFL Free Agent Wheelings and Dealings
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Arizona Cardinals: Lost out on S Antrel Rolle, LB Karlos Dansby, S Kerry Rhodes, and WR Anquan Boldin, which will seriously hamper any chances of defending their NFC West crown.
Atlanta Falcons: Signed CB Dunta Robinson to shore up a secondary that ranked 28th against the pass last season (241.9 yards per game).
Baltimore Ravens: Traded for WR Anquan Boldin, which gives QB Joe Flacco a consistent target to throw to, but also lost top WR from a year ago, Derrick Mason.
Buffalo Bills: Still no word on what’s going on with WR Terrell Owens, but aside from that, things have been relatively quiet in Buffalo.
Carolina Panthers: Finally cut ties with QB Jake Delhomme, possibly setting up Michael Vick’s grand return as a starting quarterback in the NFL.
Chicago Bears: Signed RB Chester Taylor, TE Brandon Manumaleuna, and DE Julius Peppers on the first day of the signing period, but still need to replace T Orlando Pace on the offensive line.
Cincinnati Bengals: Released WR Laveranues Coles and let S Roy Williams, DT Tank Johnson, and RB Larry Johnson become free agents.
Cleveland Browns: Signed LB Scott Fujita and resigned KR Joshua Cribbs to ensure that they have one of the most explosive special teams units in the NFL in 2010.
Dallas Cowboys: All has been quiet in “Big D,” save the fact that K Shaun Suisham was allowed to become a free agent.
Denver Broncos: Teams are trying to tender offers for WR Brandon Marshall, which could largely hurt QB Kyle Orton’s growth on a team that struggled down the stretch.
Detroit Lions: Signed DE Kyle Vanden Bosch and WR Nate Burleson, and though many recognize the Vanden Bosch signing as a great one for a poor defensive line, it’s questionable that Burleson earned $5M/year.
Green Bay Packers: Need to find a replacement for DE/LB Aaron Kampman.
Houston Texans: Working towards resigning WR Kevin Walter, but secondary help is still needed to replace the departed DB Dunta Robinson.
Indianapolis Colts: Resigned LB Gary Brackett, but have stayed relatively quiet in free agency otherwise.
Jacksonville Jaguars: Signed DE/LB Aaron Kampman to try to bulk up a defense which ranked 24th in the NFL at 23.8 points allowed per game.
Kansas City Chiefs: Resigned both LB Mike Vrabel and WR Terrance Copper.
Miami Dolphins: Cut ties with LB Akin Ayodele, QB Chad Pennington, DT Jason Ferguson, and LB Joey Porter, but did start rebuilding by signing LB Karlos Dansby.
Minnesota Vikings: Needs to find a replacement as RB Adrian Peterson’s backup, as RB Chester Taylor left via free agency.
New England Patriots: Resigned LB Tully Banta-Cain, G Stephen Neal, and DT Vince Wilfork to sure up the defending AFC East champs for another run in ’10.
New Orleans Saints: Still haven’t come to terms with S Darren Sharper, and have already lost LB Scott Fujita and backup QB Mark Brunell via free agency.
New York Giants: Signed S Antrel Rolle as perhaps the best DB on the open market, which will only help a defense which ranked 30th in the NFL in points allowed last season (26.7 per game).
New York Jets: Cut DB Lito Sheppard, but did trade for DB Antonio Cromartie, giving them the best tandem of corners in football (Cromartie and DB Darrelle Revis).
Oakland Raiders: Designed DE Richard Seymour as the team’s franchise player and released RB Justin Fargas, opening the door for more playing time for RB Darren McFadden.
Philadelphia Eagles: Still in dispute whether Donovan McNabb or Kevin Kolb will be the quarterback next season. Resigned RB Leonard Weaver, but cut both LB Will Witherspoon and RB Brian Westbrook.
Pittsburgh Steelers: Had to deal with a major off-the-field hassle, as QB Ben Roethlisberger was accused of his second assault. S Ryan Clark, RB Willie Parker, and backup QB Charlie Batch are all free agents.
San Diego Chargers: Traded the disgruntled DB Antonio Cromartie, and cut ties with RB LaDainian Tomlinson, but surprised many by bringing back RB Darren Sproles.
San Francisco 49ers: Signed QB David Carr to compete with Alex Smith and Shaun Hill for the starting quarterback job.
Seattle Seahawks: Lost DB Ken Lucas and WR Nate Burleson to free agency.
St. Louis Rams: Signed QB AJ Feeley to compete as a temporary starting quarterback for the signal-caller that will inevitably be drafted either this year or next year.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Allowed S Will Allen, S Jermaine Phillips, and WR Antonio Bryant to declare free agency.
Tennessee Titans: Will miss DE Kyle Vanden Bosch up front, but also lost TE Alge Crumpler, LB Keith Bulluck, DE Jevon Kearse, DB Nick Harper, and C Kevin Mawae.
Washington Redskins: Have stayed surprisingly quiet, but did sign G Artis Hicks to shore up a questionable and aging offensive line.

A Tip of the “Cap” to the Chicago Bears

March 5th, 2010 by Adam Markowitz (Bankroll Sports Columnist) | Posted in NFL Football   1 Comment »

The Monsters of the Midway just got a heck of a lot scarier.

Last season, the Chicago Bears opened up their wallets and made the trade that was supposed to put their franchise over the top. After years of watching Kyle Orton, Rex Grossman, et al struggle to complete passes, they dealt Orton and a slew of draft picks to the Denver Broncos to acquire Jay Cutler.

After the oddsmakers jumped all over the place and named the Bears amongst the favorites to go the Super Bowl in the wide open NFC, all they managed to do was go 7-9 and suffer crushing defeat after crushing defeat.

Oh look, Cutler just threw another interception while I was writing that paragraph.

The fact that the Vanderbilt product, who made a cool $22M last season, threw 27 touchdown passes last season was completely irrelevant to Chicago fans. It was the 26 interceptions that really stood out.

Heck, Sexy Rexy could’ve done that.

In all seriousness though, Cutler’s turnover problems were just one of the many freakish things that happened to the Bears in 2009. LB Brian Urlacher suffered a season-ending injury in the first week of the season. RB Matt Forte had a miserable sophomore slump, rushing for just 929 yards and four scores. WR/DB/KR/PR/Popcorn Salesman Devin Hester didn’t score a single special teams touchdown.

If nothing else changed for Chicago from 2009, don’t you think that the 2010 edition of this team would be significantly better?
Last year, the Bears spent a shade over $120M in salaries, which was just $7M shy of the roughly $127M cap. The only significant number that is coming off of the cap from last year to this year was that of Orlando Pace, who made a shade over $5M in 2009.

But thanks to the fact that this will be an uncapped season, it was essentially open season for the Bears to become free agent head hunters.

That’s when the wallet was opened.

Today was the first day of the free agency period, and Chicago wasted no time spending a cool $84.5M in the blink of an eye.
The newest members of the team including former Carolina Panthers DE Julius Peppers and former Minnesota Vikings RB Chester Taylor. In an otherwise largely mediocre free agent class, these two signings were incredible.

In Peppers, the Bears are getting one of the most feared pass rushers in the NFL. He racked up 81 sacks with the Panthers before not getting resigned in the offseason, and now he’ll get to team up with one of the best DTs in the league in Tommy Harris as well as one of the best linebacking corps that the league has to offer as well.

There’s a certain #4 right now sitting in on a farm somewhere in Mississippi that has to be looking at that and wondering if he really wants to face that front seven twice this year…

The signing of Taylor will go underappreciated, yet it is quite possibly the more relevant signing. Even though Chicago ranked 17th in total defense and 21st in points allowed in 2009, we knew that the Bears would already be a more dangerous team defensively in ’10 thanks to the return of Urlacher.

What we weren’t so sure of is how good this running game could be. Many think that Forte’s miserable rushing average (3.6 yards per carry) was a large reason for the downfall of Cutler last year.

Chicago knew that it didn’t need a home run hitter as a running back. It just needed someone to lighten the load off of Cutler’s shoulders just a bit.

Taylor’s numbers haven’t been all that impressive for the Vikings since Purple Jesus came to town, but he has still been the epitome of consistency. If Minnesota needed a guy to step in and start, Taylor was available. A good blocker? Check. A third down back? Does 42 catches last season suffice?

For a team that ranked 29th in the NFL in rushing (93.2 yards per game), Taylor should be a perfect fit from a divisional rival.
It’s pretty clear that losing is no longer any option for the Chicago Bears.

For the second straight season, they have gone out and made one of the biggest splashes of the offseason. For the second straight season, they’ll be a favorite in the NFC. For the second straight season, expectations will be incredibly high.

But if for the second straight season, the Bears don’t reach the playoffs and march towards the Super Bowl, HC Lovie Smith is going to have lots of explaining to do.

After all, at least right now, he’s got the best team that money can buy.