Moves I like:
Cowboys sign Dan Connor – This one just makes too much sense. The Cowboys identified a player that’s a perfect fit for their current situation on defense, and brought him in on a two-year deal. Terms are currently undisclosed, which typically means it a very reasonable deal.
Cowboys sign Kyle Orton – 69 career starts, 35-34 record. If Romo gets knocked out for the season, the Cowboys are done, but if you need Orton to hold down the fort for a 3 or 4 games, he can win you some games. Orton is instantly one of the best backup QB’s in the NFL that could probably still be a starter in this league, although obviously not an ideal one.
Cowboys let Laurent Robinson walk – Jerry Jones HATES when productive players leave the compound, but this time he showed good restraint in not trying to one-up the Jaguars, who signed Robinson to a laughable 5 year deal worth $32.5 million.
Giants re-sign Terrell Thomas – The Giants were able to get Thomas to sign a “prove it” contract before free agency kicked off at 4pm on Tuesday. I think he probably could have gotten a better deal on the open market, but he’ll stay in the fold for the Giants for another year at least, possibly more if he proves he can still play after his ACL tear.
Giants re-sign David Carr – Eli Manning never misses any games, so it’s not like backup QB is all that critical, and the Giants were able to re-sign Carr for less than $1 million.
Giants franchise tag Steve Weatherford – Great season, enormous upgrade over… you know.
Redskins re-sign Adam Carriker – Key piece on a good 3-4 D Line, he turns 28 in May (should be entering his prime), and the numbers are reasonable (4 years, $20 million).
Redskins franchise tag Fred Davis – Davis is one of the more underrated players in the league, in my opinion.
Eagles lock up Trent Cole and Todd Herremans long term – As I tried to explain when these deals were initially done, but ESPN NFC East blogger Dan Graziano did so more eloquently (Dan is killing it the past 3 days, just FYI):
It’s no coincidence that the two players who got extensions in Philadelphia this week were two guys whose contracts were set to expire at the end of 2013. That’s the scary year, you see, for free agency, because the new TV deals are all set to begin in the 2014 league year, and because of that the salary cap (which is tied to revenues) is expected to skyrocket that year and in the years that follow. So if you have a cornerstone player whose contract runs through 2013, it’s a pretty smart idea to get him signed now. Because the market that opens two years from this week has a chance to be a lot loonier and a lot more expensive than the one with which we’re dealing today.
Eagles sign DeSean Jackson long term – After 2 years of uncertainty about DeSean’s future, there’s finally a resolution, and it appears as though the Eagles got themselves a very team-friendly deal, as broken down here by McNabborKolb’s Brian Solomon.
Eagles trade Winston Justice – They were going to cut him anyway, but were able to move up 15 spots in the 6th round by dealing him to Indianapolis. Woooo!
Moves I like, but only if expectations are realistic:
Giants sign Martellus Bennett – Martellus Bennett is not a #1 TE. The Giants love to put in an extra OT and play max protect in the passing game, and I love the fit if they utilize Bennett as an actual TE as the extra blocker in the jumbo set (as opposed to an extra OT). That way it forces the defense to at least respect that Bennett could be going out into a pattern, whereas they know that Stacy Andrews isn’t going anywhere. But in the last 3 years, Bennett hasn’t shown so much as a hint that he can be a guy that can be counted on to be a halfway decent weapon in the passing game. If that’s the plan the Giants have for him, it could be ugly.
Cowboys sign Mackenzy Bernadeau – As I read up more on Bernadeau (I should be upfront that I know very little about the guy), it appears as though he didn’t play well as a starter in Carolina when he had his opportunities. What worries me for the Cowboys is the money they gave him (4 years, $11 million). Is Jerry Jones paying a backup guard almost $3 million per season? Consider me skeptical. If Bernadeau is viewed as depth, I’m fine with it, since they don’t even have good interior line starters, much less depth. But if this is the answer at one of the guard spots in 2012… Oof.
Eagles sign Mike Gibson – OK, so this hasn’t officially been announced by the team yet, but it was reported that Gibson signed with Philly. With Evan Mathis visiting the Ravens, the Eagles may need to replace him at LG. Mike Gibson is a nice fit for Howard Mudd’s scheme and would be a nice backup but I sure hope he isn’t the answer, should Mathis leave.
Redskins sign Josh Morgan – Morgan is known as a player that has some nice skill, but hasn’t quite completely put it together yet. If the Skins are expecting Morgan to give them serious production as a 2, they’ll probably find that Morgan isn’t that guy, at least not in 2012. But if they see him initially as a role player that can potentially grow into more, I’m on board.
Cowboys sign Brodney Pool – The Cowboys go from one average former Cleveland Brown (Abe Elam) that played under Rob Ryan to the next. Without any compelling safeties on the market, options were limited, and the Cowboys fill the hole with a JAG (“Just a guy”).
Cowboys sign Lawrence Vickers – The Cowboys were evidently turned off by Tony Fiametta in talking about a long term deal, and they wound up deciding not to even tender Fiametta, a restricted free agent. They moved swiftly to bring in Vickers, who is purely a lead blocker. This is neither an upgrade nor a downgrade, in my opinion.
Cowboys sign Brandon Carr – Carr will be a monumental upgrade over Terence Newman, so I don’t totally blame them for wildly overpaying for Carr (5 years, $51 million), although just about anything would have been a significant upgrade over Newman. They had a gaping hole at CB, and Carr fills that need. But $10 million/season is a hell of a lot of money for a good player, although not really a difference maker.
Giants sign Chris Horton – In Horton’s rookie season, he was a pleasant surprise as a rookie 7th round pick that made 76 tackles and had 3 picks. In 2010 Horton went down with an ankle injury, and never really found his way back into the mix at safety. He’ll serve as depth for the Giants, who like to run a lot of 3-safety sets.
Moves I didn’t like:
Redskins sign Brandon Meriweather – In the last seven months, Meriweather has been cut from one team and had another show zero interest in bringing him back for a second season. Although talented, Meriweather has red flags galore, running the gamut from a shooting, to kicking opposing players in an onfield brawl at Miami, to repeated fines for helmet-to-helmet hits, to other bizarre associations with seedy types. Meriweather signed for 2 years $6 million, which isn’t all that much less than what they would have had to have paid Oshiomogho Atogwe this season. I wouldn’t want this guy anywhere near my roster. The Redskins are trying to strike it rich here, but I just don’t see it.
Redskins sign Pierre Garcon – The word I keep repeatedly hearing about Garcon is “potential.” I’m all for “potential.” “Potential” and I are friends. I’m just not into paying “potential” “#1 receiver money” ($42.5 million over 5 years), in the hope that said player might become a “#1 receiver,” especially when this year’s draft class is going to be one of the deepest in recent memory at the wide receiver position. Ridiculous overpay.
Cowboys use franchise tag on Anthony Spencer – I’ve already beaten the crap out of this dead horse.