March 10, 2015

The NFL free-agency period begins with a slew of major moves: Including the New Orleans Saints trading TE Jimmy Graham to Seattle, the Eagles and Rams swapping quarterbacks and...

posted by Ufez Jones to football at 07:49 PM - 34 comments

- The Chiefs, who didn't have a single TD reception by a wide receiver last season are set to sign Jeremy Maclin
- The Lions acquire Haloti Ngata to replace Ndamukong Suh
- Buffalo lands LeSean McCoy
- Indy is expected to sign Frank Gore and (reportedly) Andre Johnson
- Arizona is reportedly signing LaMarr Woodley and Mike Iupati
- and the 49ers, new head coach in tow, seem to be reeling after losing a giant chunk of their team.

posted by Ufez Jones at 07:50 PM on March 10

I'm sure I've missed some things here too. Feel free to add to the list.

posted by Ufez Jones at 07:51 PM on March 10

Revis Island rejoins the J-E-T-S Jets Jets Jets

posted by Ufez Jones at 09:33 PM on March 10

The Eagles traded Nick Foles to the St. Louis Rams on Tuesday in a perplexing move that brought former No. 1 overall pick Sam Bradford to Philadelphia after two major knee injuries and also required the Eagles to surrender their 2016 second-round pick.

posted by grum@work at 12:04 AM on March 11

I wasn't sure before, but now I think that Chip Kelly is just trying to blow up the Eagles as an exit strategy so he can go back to college ball. I didn't think anything else in the pros would come along that would remind me of what went on with Pitino and the Celtics, but Kelly is getting close.

Miami, Tennessee, Stanford, Texas A&M, South Carolina if/when Spurrier is done -- there are some intriguing big time collegiate possibilities that might beckon the Chipster after the 2015 season. South Carolina is now seen as darn near a top tier job thanks to the ol' Coach. And visors are always in season.

And if Kelly is super determined to get back to the Pac and defy all odds, there's the virtual Witness Protection program at Washington State.

posted by beaverboard at 01:29 AM on March 11

If Bradford doesn't work out they always have Sanchize.

posted by Mr Bismarck at 07:37 AM on March 11

If I were Bradford and Philly still played its home games at the Vet, I'd consult my medical advisors, then just go ahead and retire.

The booing has probably already started at the cheesesteak joints along 9th St. I don't worry about Bradford in games, I worry about him walking around Philadelphia without his OL.

posted by beaverboard at 07:58 AM on March 11

Revis Island rejoins the J-E-T-S Jets Jets Jets

Trying to find my "In Bill We Trust" tank top but in the short-term this hurts. I felt the Pats were the prohibitive favorites to represent the AFC in the Superbowl next year with Revis but without him and with the division getting harder it feels less likely. That said, the Pats' cap is fairly tight and they have a number of young players they want to extend next year so long-term this is probably the right move. But right now it feels like ensuring more years of 10+ wins at the cost of another possible championship now.

posted by yerfatma at 08:37 AM on March 11

The Revis money remains silly - but I don't understand hardballing Browner. There isn't much left on the market even as a #2 corner and the Pats have a lot of small guys in their secondary. He's been on the last two Superbowl winners and is surely going to get more money than he was cut for.

The other piece I think they're going to miss is Vereen - occasionally, when Edelman was covered, passes all over the field to Vereen were what sustained drives.

posted by dfleming at 09:22 AM on March 11

I love the Jimmy Graham trade for Seattle. Russell Wilson's mobility and Graham's ability to create matchup problems will be a nightmare for defenses.

Philly giving up a second-round pick as part of the Sam Bradford deal is a jaw dropper. That city has a lot of high bridges. Fans must be forming long lines today to jump off them. I don't think I'd trade a second round pick for Bradford straight up, and he's got a contract one million less than Tom Brady! Chip Kelly must have a bigger plan afoot.

posted by rcade at 10:28 AM on March 11

and the 49ers, new head coach in tow, seem to be reeling after losing a giant chunk of their team

49ers need to bank on the draft for players. Any decent player they have on the roster will be bailing on the ownership/organizational clusterfuck on the dawn of their free agency.

posted by cixelsyd at 10:48 AM on March 11

As a Niner fan I'm just in ConfusionLand. One of my co-workers was on Andrew Luck's O line and had a cup of coffee with the 49ers and yesterday at lunch he just had no explanation for the team's moves. Only that we won't be challenging the Seahawks for the division title but the Rams for the cellar.

posted by billsaysthis at 10:51 AM on March 11

The Niners are reminding me of what it was like when Jerry Jones ran the Cowboys with such a tight grip that they always hired second-rate coaches and team execs. Nobody with better options wanted to work in that environment.

posted by rcade at 11:04 AM on March 11

The Revis money remains silly - but I don't understand hardballing Browner.

I assumed letting Browner shop around was because they were resigning Revis and either didn't want to pay for Browner or wanted him to be happy with a lower figure would let the market prove it. Now I'm more confused, mainly because $14 million per year for Revis doesn't seem crazy to me. That said, they may feel like it's a lot to shell out for a guy who will be 33 at the end of the deal and won't be worth the cap constraint after the first year or two. That's what I'm trying to tell myself anyway.

The other piece I think they're going to miss is Vereen

Vereen was an excellent weapon for them, but I don't think he's particularly hard to replace and paying $4 million per year for a third-down back seems like a wild overpay in the current market. A bunch of names have been thrown out as replacements from Roy Helu to Percy Harvin and every H back* between. If Helu shows up with four working limbs at $1-2 million per year that seems like a good replacement. I'm not sold on Harvin at all. Ignoring his injury history and diva tendencies, 3rd down back involves a lot of blitz pickup and who knows how good he is at that?

Or maybe the Pats didn't play James White at all last year to reserve the secret super-powered back they're going to unleash in 2015. A boy can dream.

I know Vereen isn't a H back. You can tell by the name on his jersey.

posted by yerfatma at 12:04 PM on March 11

we won't be challenging the Seahawks for the division title but the Rams for the cellar

Won't be a challenge at all. Rams will beat the 49ers twice this season and be 3 games up by the end of the 2015 season.

Rams might even make the playoffs. They've been a pretty solid team for 3 years and the only real major fault they had was depending on a "franchise" QB made of thin porcelain.

posted by cixelsyd at 12:51 PM on March 11

Gorton Fisherman alert: Ryan Fitzpatrick headed to the Jets.

Seasoned by Bill O'Brien and reuniting with Chan Gailey to humble the AFC East.

First Cassel, now this. Belichick is really wishing he'd kept Revis and Browner. And added a couple of Chicago Boyz acrobats to give post help deep.

Little known fact: Fitzpatrick was President of the US in the late 1870's.

posted by beaverboard at 12:56 PM on March 11

I assumed letting Browner shop around was because they were resigning Revis . . .

I actually looked at it the opposite way: The Pats probably knew over the weekend that Revis was gone and so they let Browner shop around because they felt that *without* Revis, Browner suddenly has far less value.

In other words, without an elite cornerback on the other side to cover, Browner's faults (slow, prone to penalties) are magnified.

Given "the Patriot way" it's unlikely we'll ever know for sure. On that note, I also remain confused why they couldn't spend the additional $5 mil for Revis, especially with no backup plan. Right now their secondary is looking really shaky again.

posted by jeremias at 01:46 PM on March 11

Jason Worilds Retires! He was set to be the #1or 2 LB free agent.

posted by Debo270 at 01:57 PM on March 11

Now I'm more confused, mainly because $14 million per year for Revis doesn't seem crazy to me. That said, they may feel like it's a lot to shell out for a guy who will be 33 at the end of the deal and won't be worth the cap constraint after the first year or two.

That's my thought - it's a fine annual rate, however the third year guarantee is a big gamble. Not a lot of corners can maintain elite level skill AND elite health into their 30s. If he's Revis Island for 42-48 games in that time, it's a great deal, but I think with the cap situation in NE and the guys they need to keep, it reduces the flex they'll have in setting those deals up in years 2 and 3.

The Pats a season ago had, more or less, this secondary minus Malcolm Butler's one-off heroics. They were prone the big play, particularly against tall, elite receivers. Browner's a #2 for sure, but he's a guy whose physicality at the line can at least match up and slow 'em down. If you look at who's left on the board - Cromartie, Tramon Williams, Chris Culliver, Pat Robinson - none of them give you either #1 coverage or help you in size matchups, with the exception or Cromartie who's near a deal with the Jets, and is older and will (in theory) be more expensive than Browner.

posted by dfleming at 02:29 PM on March 11

It was fun listening to this week's Grantland NFL podcast, as the Jimmy Graham and Sam Bradford trades were announced while they were taping.

This led Mays to say "I'm glad the thing I wrote today had a shelf life of 38 minutes."

posted by Mr Bismarck at 10:25 AM on March 12

Murray seems like an upgrade for them, and it's even better if it ends up as a downgrade for Dallas.

posted by rcade at 02:58 PM on March 12

With Murray's signing, I guess the Smith guy is going to have to back off a bit. Maybe he'll have to warn Limbaugh that the team is up to its old tricks and is signing high profile black players again.

posted by beaverboard at 04:41 PM on March 12

Murray made Romo look like a serviceable QB and Dallas a playoff team. Guess the Cowboys plan to revert to old ways ... sling 40 to 45 passes a game and hope for more TDs than Ints. And the Eagles brutal run defense gets a boost by only having to face Murray in practice ..

posted by cixelsyd at 04:59 PM on March 12

I don't understand the Murray signing in light of the Mathews signing -- seems like a lot of money to be tied up in a position that probably does not warrant it and this coming on the heels of everyone assuming that Kelly understood the fungible nature of running backs when he traded McCoy.

posted by holden at 06:03 PM on March 12

This is why I admire how Belichick has handled RB over the years. Once again, this year he had a stable of guys none of whom were marquee players and any of whom could go out and produce whenever needed. It got to the point where talking heads were yakking: "their opponent doesn't know who to prepare for!". As though any one of the interchangable parts was a top tier back that would keep a DC up all night watching film in a cold sweat.

Including Jonas Gray, the low mileage secret weapon who people were waiting to see burst out of the barn and put on another freak show - if the Pats ever decided to give him the ball again. His power train is still under warranty and his next major scheduled service isn't for another 12,000 miles. Maybe they have him penciled in as the 2016 feature back and want to keep him fresh.

Hard to know what in the world Kelly is thinking. I was pleased that he wasn't Spurrier 2.0 when he came into the league (even those who wish Dan Snyder nothing but ill ever want to see that again). Now it looks like Kelly's tearing down the playhouse room by room.

posted by beaverboard at 08:37 PM on March 12

I don't understand the Murray signing in light of the Mathews signing -- seems like a lot of money to be tied up in a position that probably does not warrant it and this coming on the heels of everyone assuming that Kelly understood the fungible nature of running backs when he traded McCoy.

And they upgraded the QB salary something fierce in swapping Foles for Bradford. I guess maybe they're going to dangle Sam out there to get up in the draft, but I can't imagine they're going to get more for him than they would have for Foles. Even if they wind up getting Mariota, I don't understand exactly what they're doing to get there.

posted by Ufez Jones at 09:06 PM on March 12

I assumed letting Browner shop around was because they were resigning Revis . . .

Now Browner has gone to New Orleans for 3 years at $18 million. There's some guaranteed money there too, but I can't recall what it was. Supposedly the Saints wanted him so they could better cope with some of the tall receivers in the NFC South.

posted by Howard_T at 01:37 AM on March 13

Romo's always been a serviceable quarterback. Last year's run-first offense made him look like an elite one. 69.9 completion percentage!

posted by rcade at 08:14 AM on March 13

I guess maybe they're going to dangle Sam out there to get up in the draft ...

Kelly has flat-out said the Eagles are not trading up to get Mariota.

posted by rcade at 08:16 AM on March 13

Now Browner has gone to New Orleans

Mike Reiss and a couple other people are saying the reason they let Browner shop around is because he wasn't useful to them if Revis left as they felt they couldn't play the press coverage he and Revis did without Revis. So I guess they felt tremors under Revis Island early on.

posted by yerfatma at 08:28 AM on March 13

Revis now has a ring so he can go home to Woody. Whar there ain't gonna be no gold.

Being with the Pats was like playing one and done hoops for Calipari and then being drafted by the Knicks.

posted by beaverboard at 09:16 AM on March 13

Kelly has flat-out said the Eagles are not trading up to get Mariota.

He referred to Bradford as a big strong QB. Coach must have been stirring his coffee with the wrong popsicle stick when he said that. Well, the kid is tall enough anyway.

But Kelly was correct in calling him accurate. Bradford can fit the ball like a fiend when he has half an opportunity to do so. Maybe Sam can succeed at tempo getting short throws out in a hurry if the opposing front seven is also trying to account for Murray.

posted by beaverboard at 09:38 AM on March 13

I think if Bradford's healthy and the offensive line gets filled out well, he'll be a pretty good compliment to a strong, multi-headed running game. Ertz and Sproles in a play-action, ball-control scheme will help limit how often he's dropping back deep in the pocket and getting killed, which has been his career to date.

If Bradford was the guy they've wanted for months, though, it makes zero sense to me to re-up with Sanchez and not to chase one of the more game-manager type veterans on the market. Sure, he knows the system (despite the fact 50% of the playmakers are gone), but he's not going to plug-and-play into an accuracy and tempo based system if Bradford goes down.

posted by dfleming at 12:04 PM on March 13

You're not logged in. Please log in or register.