Saturday, March 12, 2016

NFL Weekend: Free Agent Shop 'Til You Drop

...The 2016 NFL free agency scene had some teams throwing cash around like sailors on leave. The New York Giants spent a whopping $204.5 million to rebuild a sagging defense. Miami hit the "gotta wonder what they're thinking" button when they signed Mario Williams, C.J. Anderson, Jermon Bushrod, Isa Abdul-Quddus, and swapped first round pick in the 2016 NFL draft with Philadelphia to acquire Bryon Maxwell and Kiko Alonzo. The evil schadenfreude in me wants to be the fly on the wall when Ndamukong Suh knocks heads with the mercurial Mario Williams...

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Speaking of "Butts", the Denver Broncos sent a conditional 7th round draft pick to Philadelphia for quarterback Mark Sanchez...



Yes, this monkey is going to be on Sanchez's back forever. If he should somehow blossom into the greatest quarterback in NFL history - and make into the Hall of Fame - at his induction ceremony they'll play this infamous moment over and over again. No doubt Baby Got Back - "I like Big Butts" - will be playing in the background... Denver fans have to be reeling, as they transition from Peyton Manning to having one of the biggest "fill in the blank" questions ever at quarterback for 2016. They'll be going cold turkey after riding the high of having one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time, to one who gave us a Thanksgiving Day football game that'll be etched into our minds forever...



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Quite a few NFL teams have stayed quiet during the free agent maelstrom so far. Baltimore, Green Bay, New England, Los Angeles, and Indianapolis have concentrated on re-signing some of their players. The Rams took a hit in their secondary, losing Janoris Jenkins and Rodney McLeod - the latter being the more damaging loss for Los Angeles. The secondary for the Rams was just starting to peek out from behind a dismal decade of terrible pass coverage; especially at the safety position.
New England did add a wide receiver. Buffalo's Paul Hogan will join the Patriots after impressing head coach Bill Belichick with his football savvy.
So now a quarterback/wide receiver "Barbershop Quartet" will see if they can sing for Bill Belichick in 2016. Sunscreen dependent, I think this may become a very interesting group to watch this season...

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Green Bay needs to re-sign James Jones, who was one of the best stories to follow in 2015. His 890 receiving yards, 8 touchdown on 50 receptions came after his being ignored by teams during free agency. After Jordy Nelson went down, it still took the Packers weeks to bring back one of Aaron Rodgers' favorite targets. He's sitting in the unemployment line right now, but only teams with an elite quarterback need come calling. Jones won't wow anyone with his speed, but he seems to find a way to make the best quarterbacks better...

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The best free agent signing by a team thus far? My vote goes to the Pittsburgh Steelers inking tight end Ladarius GreenWith the retirement of Heath Miller, Green was a flat out bargain: 4 years/$20 million. An example of pre-determined and focused free agent shopping, the Steelers never wavered in who they wanted. Green played in the shadow of future Hall of Fame tight end Antonio Gates, who re-signed with San Diego after an injury marred 2015 season. Now he'll join one of the best aerial attacks in the NFL. I give this signing a solid gold: A+
The worst free agent so far? I know this is just my opinion, but the money paid by the New York Giants for the Rams' Janoris Jenkins is down right absurd. I'll eat my words if he somehow avoids getting regularly burned long in 2016, but I really think that won't happen. Defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo needs shutdown corner backs. Jenkins has the ability to do just that, but it's his tendency to sprinkle in ill-timed gambles that'll have Giants fans cringing. His own comments at a Giants presser should set off warning flags, when he said he needed to "stop being lazy at the end of games..." Now that's what you want to hear after signing away $62.5 million, right...? I give this signing a: C-

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Have a great weekend! Follow me on Twitter: @thenovelroad