Been a while. Here is my thoughts on the free agent moves so far this season. Trades are at the bottom of the page. Also, please comment on the post and follow the blog using your gmail. Enjoy!
Free Agency 2013
* indicates resign
QB Dennis Dixon- Eagles- Grade: A-
This move makes sense on two levels. First, Dixon makes sense in Kelly’s offense considering Kelly coached Dixon at Oregon. Dixon could be the starter and has the potential to be an RG3 like player (although, probably more like an RG2.) Secondly, though, the signing of Dixon puts pressure on Vick to perform, which I think was the ultimate goal of this signing. Many would consider Dixon a younger (but worse) version of Vick. For a relatively small contract, the only downsides are that Dixon hasn’t shown that much in the NFL and could make Vick under confident. The latter would be a big problem.
SS George Wilson- Titans- A-
The 32 year-old safety signed also a relatively small contract (2 years, 4 mil) that could be a nice short term fix for the Titans. Wilson is a pretty solid player who has been a rather stable part of the Bills uneven defense. The titans have a lot of offensive needs so securing a safety position with a solid veteran was a good call. I will say, though, that considering the secondary problems with the Titans last year, it would have been nice to see them get a bigger upgrade than a declining veteran.
*OT William Beatty- Giants- B
The Giants had to resign Beatty, considering he was one of the few players who was consistent last season for them. But for 5 years and 38.75 mil, I think they overpaid. Beatty committed 11 penalties last year and was very pedestrian in run blocking. His pass blocking is what earned him this contract (only 3 sacks surrendered) but, to me, it does not warrant this kind of money for an above average right tackle. Also, this free agency and draft classes are deep in the tackle positions so this move seems like a waste.
*QB Joe Flacco- Ravens- B
Did Joe Flacco deserve to be the highest paid player in the NFL? No. Could the ravens have done anything differently? No. Enough said.
*WR Dwayne Bowe- Chiefs- C+
Bowe got a massive contract (5 years, 56 mil, 24 guaranteed) for someone who has completely relied on natural talent to make it in the NFL. He has character and work ethic issues but was “good enough” on the offseason issues to pass the test. The main reason for the C+ (as opposed to a B) is because of his hands- Bowe lead the league in drops last year and even though he had shaky QB play, great players make great plays and get great money. Unfortunately for Chiefs fans, Bowe only got the last one. I am considering moving this down to a C, but the guy does have some real natural talent and the stat sheet shows it.
*WR Brian Hartline- Dolphins- B-
Skeptics of Hartline will point to his one touchdown last year for a supposed #1 receiver as a reason this deal deserves an F. Yes, Hartline did get a 5 year, 37 mil contract but only 12.5 is guaranteed. Keep in mind that Mike Wallace/Greg Jennings/both will in Miami next year so Hartline will be able to move back into his role as a slot receiver next year. And, Hartline posted a solid 74 receptions and over 1,000 yards meaning that he was used often. I don’t think this contract is ridiculous, but I cannot disagree with the doubters: this is a below average move.
*QB Matt Moore- Dolphins- B+
Matt Moore may be the top free agent QB in this class (which says a lot.) Having a solid backup for Tannehill is important and Moore, who was there last year, seems like the right guy. Some may say that a 2 yr, 8 mil contract was a bit much for a backup but I think every penny is worth it to lock down a borderline starter as a solid veteran on your team. That being said, I’m surprised Moore accepted this offer considering the weak class, which is why I downgraded this move. Maybe there is something we don’t know but the fact that Moore reached for the money and low playing time is interesting.
*CB Leodis McKelvin- Bills- C-
4 years, 20 mil for a guy that is a below average starter with great speed is an example of something that is starting to define the thought process in the NFL. Yes, McKelvin has the tools to be a great player and certainly is a great punt returner. But he has been a bad corner, especially in zone. The only reason why I don’t fail this move is because of the tricks that he can offer. But, those can easily be found for a guy with far less money.
*FS William Moore- Falcons- A
The only downside to this move is that Moore is injured often, but that is a minimal risk considering he has only missed 8 games over the past 3 years (so only 17% of games.) When he plays, he is one of the best. Moore’s price tag may say 5 yr, 30 mil but only 14 of that is guaranteed which also means, if injury does become a factor, they can cut him with relatively little repercussion. Moore is needed stability for a secondary that may be losing some key players (Grimes, Robinson.) The Falcons needed to lock him down and they did.
DT Cullen Jenkins- Giants- B
3 yrs, 8 mil for a guy who, at one point, was a hot commodity in free agency seems like a bargain in theory. Jenkins’ play has declined as he has gotten older (though he is only 32)
and his comments to the media often create negative buzz in the locker room. Plus, it seems like the Giants always draft a defensive lineman so adding another is a waste of money. Jenkins may have a few good years left in him, but I would be surprised if he played consistently enough (and given the depth of the Giants, if at all) to consider this move an above average deal.
Chiefs- QB Alex Smith- A-
49ers- 2013 2nd round pick, 2014 conditional mid rounder- A
The Chiefs are brilliant. Looking at this poor draft class, it is clear that Smith is at least better than any of the 2nd round prospects available if not also better than most of the 1st round picks. Smith has played masterfully in Harbaugh’s offense so that confidence level and grown ability will certainly translate into an easy to understand Andy Reid offense. As for the argument about drafting a QB, I don’t really think the Chiefs apply. They are only 2 years removed from being a playoff team with a relatively similar group of players. And, with the 1st overall pick, the Chiefs can now draft the best player available instead of being forced to draft Geno Smith who could end up being a bust. Smith could also end up being a bust in KC, which is why the grade isn’t an A. The 49ers do technically win the trade though because of their very brilliant move. Trading a backup QB for the 1st pick in the second round is a no brainer and the conditional mid round pick makes things better. Collin Kaepernick is clearly the guy in SF.
Seahawks- WR Percy Harvin- B+
Vikings- 2013 1st, 7th, 2014 mid rounder- B+
The Seahawks found their playmaker. Harvin is arguable the most explosive playmaker in the NFL so this move certainly has appeal. The Seahawks apparently felt they were one player away from being a contender, and at 24 Harvin is certainly a long-term interest. Health and attitude issues are a concern though as is the value of Harvin: is he worth all of that? My answer is a tentative yes because, when Harvin is explosive, he can make this offense just as good as this defense. The Vikings get the same grade mostly because of what the lack of Harvin means. Yes, the Vikings get a prized 1st rounder, but they lose a player who was the optimal fit in their offense. Both teams took a similar risk.
49ers- WR Anquan Boldin- B
Ravens- 2013 6th round pick- B-
Maybe Boldin plays lights out in 2013 and I end up regretting this grade. Probably not, though, because Boldin is 33 and we have already seen him sacrifice his body for the Super bowl. What has he got to gain by playing a few more years on a team that doesn’t pass it all that often? Furthermore, Boldin’s attitude issues aren’t going away and his motivation slowly is. But, I still think he has a few more spectacular plays in him to make this an average move. The Ravens lose their disgruntled wideout, but only get a 6th in return. I guess that is better than cutting the guy, but c’mon! The Ravens could have done a better job in marketing Boldin.