WR Mike Wallace- Dolphins- B+
Mike Wallace is a dangerous wide receiver who is a legitimate #1 threat in the NFL. He is a speedster who is also tall enough to grab balls over his head. Many that call him a one trick pony did not watch many Steelers games over the past few years. Yes, Wallace specializes as a deep threat but he can catch a curl or a slant pretty well too. But there are a few reasons why this move is a far cry from perfect. First, Wallace is inconsistent. He will explode one game and be gone for the next three. The Dolphins need him to show up every week due to their lack of talent elsewhere. Second, Wallace dropped the second most passes last year, which feeds into the inconsistency argument above. His locker room presence can also negatively affect the locker room and was probably one of the two main reasons that he was not franchised by the Steelers. The other reason was $- Wallace signed a 5 year, $65 mil contract with $30 mil guaranteed. That’s a lot of money to pay for a guy with the negatives listed above. In the end, I still think the positives outweigh the negatives, which is why this move gets a B+. I wouldn’t be surprised if Wallace flunks in South Beach, though.
LB Paul Kruger- Browns- A
This grade may be modified depending on the guaranteed $, but let’s assume the deal is a 5 year, $41 mil with $20 mil guaranteed (as it is projected to be.) Kruger was the defensive MVP for the Ravens last year but Ray Lewis overshadowed Kruger’s outstanding performance (especially in the Super Bowl.) Kruger had 13.5 sacks last year and was dominant in the playoffs. The Browns have needs almost everywhere so getting one of the top three free agents available was smart. The Browns are moving to a 3-4, so they need a rush linebacker. Why not get one of the best? Some will complain that Kruger’s inexperience and big contract are reasons to be wary of this deal. Kruger may not have the amount of starts that other guys have, but being apart of the Ravens’ organization has certainly prepared him to step into Cleveland and make a big impact. The contract is big, true, but it is not massive. And, if the deal ends up being $20 mil guaranteed, then cutting him after a few seasons if he doesn’t work wont hurt the cap as badly. I don’t know is Kruger will be a pro bowler, or even if this deal will work out. I do know, though, that Kruger was probably the most important player for Cleveland to get this off-season. The money is well worth it for a Super Bowl starter who just turned 27 and is entering his prime.
G Andy Levitre- Titans- A
This grade also depends on the guaranteed $ but lets assume it is a 6 year, $46.8 mil with $24 mil guaranteed. Many would call Levitre the top player in the market and a top 3 guard in the league. The Titans have struggled with their offensive line, so locking up at least two guards was a must this offseason. One of them being Levitre is a big deal. For those that have wondered why Chris Johnson has struggled over the past two seasons, watch the tape. The Titans cannot block anyone. Levitre was a “break the bank” type player, so that’s why the Titans offered him such a massive deal. Also, if one is going to break the bank for a player, guard may be the safest position. Yes, a lot of players do go easy after getting big bucks, but that is less so for guards. And, like Kruger, the contract isn’t enormous so cutting Levitre in a few years will not kill the Titans. This move was a no brainer but of ultimate importance for the Titans.