Saints Free Agency 2016

Coby Fleener, TE: 5 years, $36 million

Grade: B

Fleener

This is reportedly a back-loaded contract, which I’m not a fan of.

However, the Saints are clearly attempting to still make a run with the couple of years Brees has left, so the deal makes sense.

Fleener is a smart guy, and should pick up the complicated Saints offense quickly. The Saints just turned Ben Watson into a highly productive tight end at 35 so I expect Fleener should be able to produce similar numbers and for a longer amount of time.

A little over 7 mil is a lot. But it’s likely the going rate for top tight ends in a starved market. Fleener is almost certain to live up to the contract due to the way Brees and Payton use tight ends.

 

 

Re-Sign Luke McCown, QB: 2 year, $3 million

Grade: A+

I like this one a lot. McCown played well in place of an injured Brees against an excellent Panthers defense early in the season.

He shows a very good understanding of Payton’s complicated system and often identified the right target and threw it accurately.

At $1.5 million a year, the Saints are getting their ideal backup. Sounds good to me.

 

 

Senio Kelemete, OL: 2 years, $2.7 million

Grade: B-

Kelemete earned this contract with his versatility. He can start on any spot on the line, he even filled in as a left tackle for a game.

Still, he wasn’t consistent enough to earn the full-time job at left guard. He was outplayed by Tim Lelito for that spot and is somewhat of a liability as a pass blocker.

This contract may be a bit rich for his skill-level.

 

 

Travaris Cadet, RB: 1 year, $660,000

Grade: A+

In his second go-around with the Saints, Cadet really came into his own, playing especially well as a receiver out of the backfield.

He offered an excellent change of pace for the Saints, playing the role C.J. Spiller was expected to play for less than one quarter the price.

He figures to do more of the same in the coming season, and there’s no risk either way.

 

 

Kyle Wilson, DB: 1 year, $840,000, $80,000 guaranteed

Grade: A+

Wilson was actually one of the most consistent members of the Saints secondary. He was a bit overly aggressive and wracked up some untimely penalties, but showed solid mirroring skills.

He’s also feisty in run support and offers position versatility as a fill-in safety, saving the Saints a roster spot. This is a fantastic deal, and he’ll remain the Saints secret for at least another season.

 

 

Re-Sign Kai Forbath: 1 year, unknown amount

Grade: B

This literally can’t be for more than the vet. minimum. If it is, I’ll be stunned.

As it stands, Forbath was decent for the Saints last year in relief of the disastrous Zack Hocker. The kicking competition in camp should be interesting.

If Scobee’s back to full health, Forbath has no shot, but there’s no risk, so I like it.

 

 

Josh Scobee, K: 1 year, veteran minimum

Grade: A-

Scobee

There is no risk in signing Scobee, who had a very solid career with the Jags before stinking it up in Pittsburgh.

Word is he was dealing with a hip issue and that could have contributed to his poor performance.

Obviously Saints are hoping he returns to form, and if he does they’re set at kicker for years. If not? Dump him for no money down.

Jets Free Agency 2016

Jarvis Jenkins, DE: 3 years, $6 million

Grade: C-

Jenkins

Jenkins has been a disappointment since he came into the league. He’s got all of the physical tools to dominate but can’t put it together.

He’s 28 now so he probably won’t get much better, and right now he’s just an ok backup.

I question the Jets for signing a guy like that for 3 years, especially when it’s above the veteran minimum.

 

 

Re-Sign Zach Sudfeld, TE: no contract details

Grade: TBD

 

 

Re-Sign Bilal Powell, RB: 3 years, $11.25 million, $6 million

Grade: B

Powell is an excellent receiving back who can also provide some between the tackle runs.

Basically, he’s a poor man’s Darren Sproles. He doesn’t have near the skill-set Sproles has, and so paying him almost $4 million per year seems a little silly to me.

Maybe I’m being unfair since the Jets have been Gods of the running back market so far. This one is solid, not great.

 

 

Khiry Robinson, RB: 1 year, $1.175 million

Grade: A+

Robinson

In a market for running backs that’s seen mediocre players like C.J. Anderson getting paid $4 million, it blows my mind to see a contract like this.

I’ve seen quite a bit of Robinson, and he has a punishing running style, reminds me of  a poor man’s Chris Ivory. That fits since he’s helping replace Ivory for the Jets, and for significantly less.

This is a coup for the Jets who have refueled their running back corps very well.

 

 

Matt Forte, RB: 3 years, $12 million, $8 million

Grade: A

Forte

What’s kind of tough to grade about this is the running back market is clearly different this season than it was last offseason.

Last offseason, premium running back numbers (Mark Ingram, C.J. Spiller) received $4 million a year. Those two guys in this market would probably get 5-6 mil.

My main point here is Forte is still an excellent all-around back who should still be a viable starter through the life of his deal and the Jets are getting him for less than the current going rate.

So it’s a win.

Bears Free Agency 2016

Akiem Hicks, DE: 2 years, $10 million

Grade: B

Hicks

A deal like this is surprising for a guy that’s always been “on the cusp” but never really lived up to expectations in New Orleans.

Traded to New England mid-season for TE Michael Hoomanawanui, Hicks found his footing in the stretch run and started to play like the inside dominator he was always billed to be, so perhaps the Bears could be getting a steal.

The pickup makes sense when you consider that current Bears GM Ryan Pace was formerly Director of player personnel with the Saints. He’s familiar with Hicks’ abilities. I question Hicks’ effort and motor more than anything. There’s no doubting he can be dominant when he wants to be.

Because of this, I neither love, nor hate the deal, but the upside boosts the  value a bit. He doesn’t have any real injury history or character concerns either. It’s a worthy risk.

 

 

Jerrell Freeman, ILB: 3 years, $12 million, $6 million guaranteed

Grade: A+

Freeman

The Bears clearly have made it a point to improve this dismal area of their defense. Now instead of toting out Christian Jones and Jon Bostic, they boast an incredibly talent rich and versatile duo in Freeman and Trevathan.

Freeman is excellent in coverage and pretty good against the run. Trevathan is obviously the younger and more well-rounded player, but this contract is structured accordingly.

Being 31 now, Freeman will be 34 at the end of this contract, since he’s probably at the end of his prime, the Bears should expect him to regress, but at least this year, they should get quality starter snaps from him on a consistent basis. It will help having such a talented running mate.

At just $4 million per season, Freeman will be a steal this year, and the value of the contract should even out accordingly if Freeman begins to decline. I love this deal.

 

 

Re-Sign Alshon Jeffery, WR: 1 year, $14.6 million, fully guaranteed (franchise tag)

Grade: B+

Jeffery was the top available receiver in free agency and a top 15 receiver in this league.

He’s tall, fast and has dinner plates for hands. He’s right among the best jump-ball specialists in the NFL, so putting the tag on him is likely a short-term solution.

I fully expect the Bears to lock him up long-term and pair him with physical freak Kevin White to form one of the great young receiving duos in the league for years to come.

 

 

Re-Sign Marc Mariani, WR: 1 year, unknown amount

Grade: TBD

 

 

Re-Sign Mitch Unrein, DE: 2 years, unknown amount

Grade: TBD

 

 

Re-Sign Sherrick McManis, CB: 2 years, $2.85 million, $600,000 guaranteed

McManis is mainly a special teams contributor, but he does it so well, it doesn’t really matter. He’s a solid tackler and packs a wallop for a man his size.

He also excels in zone coverage but can’t handle man-to-man duties on a regular basis due to his below-average athleticism.

I don’t love spending nearly $1.5 mil per year for a guy that could potentially be a liability on defense, but he can perhaps still improve in the secondary, being only 28 years old.

 

 

Bobby Massie, OT: 3 years, $18 million

Grade: BAALKE AND TORREY SMITH IN A CLOSET GRADE

Massie

Massie has been fairly dreadful for most of his time as a pro, he’s been mostly below average, even on the right side of the line, which is where tackles who can’t pass block go.

The problem is Massie doesn’t offer much in the run block either. He certainly doesn’t have starter qualities. Still, he has some utility as a swing tackle.

I have some qualms with paying $6  million per year to a swing tackle. That’s the kind of idiotic move a guy who thinks Torrey Smith can be a WR1 would make… oh yeah. So this is definitely a Baalke (F) grade.

 

 

Danny Trevathan, LB: 4 years, $28 million

Grade: A+

Trevathan

For a player with a complete skill set like Trevathan (he can cover, run-stuff and rush the passer on occasion) I would have expected somewhere in the realm of $10 million a year.

This deal is absolutely fantastic for the Bears as Trevathan is just entering his prime and has gotten better every year he’s been in the league.

Reuniting with coach John Fox just sweetens the deal. Top marks to the Bears for this move.

 

 

Re-Sign Tracy Porter, CB: 3 years, $16.5 million

Grade: C+

This is an understandable deal considering Porter actually became a viable starter last year. At times, he was the best player in the Bears secondary.

There’s some concern though that this was an anomaly, but staying in the same defense is the best thing that could have happened for Porter.

A little over 5 mil per year might seem steep, but consider that a player who played at a similar level last year in Janoris Jenkins is getting paid significantly more, and this isn’t all that bad at all.

 

 

Re-Sign Jacquizz Rodgers, RB: 1 year, $760,000

Grade: A

Rodgers has shown the ability to be a fairly versatile rotational back. He flashes electric play-making ability with his short-area quickness.

Still, he’s never going to be a starter due to his diminutive frame. But at next to nothing, he’s more than worthy of a roster spot.

 

 

Re-Sign Nick Becton, OT: 1 year, $675,000

Grade: B+

Becton is 26 years old and didn’t play a down in 2015 but has ideal size for the position.

He was a former top high school recruit and possesses impressive athleticism to go with solid lateral movement.

It is generally believed that he’s capable of stepping in and providing quality snaps if the need arises, so signing him at the vet. minimum is a solid deal.

Chiefs Free Agency 2016

Rod Streater, WR: 1 year, $4.8 million

Grade: B-

Streater

In a market where guys who haven’t proven a thing are getting paid fringe-starter money, we have this strange deal.

For one, it’s a one-year pact so it seems the Chiefs want to kick the tires on this guy and see if he can put his impressive skill-set together, recapturing the magic of a 60-catch 2013 season. On the other hand though, they’re paying him almost $5 million on what seems to be little more than a hunch.

While I think that’s a little too much, the Chiefs have already done a great job keeping their fearsome defense together, so they should certainly be investing in improving their offense, which held them back in the playoffs.

Streater may or may not be the answer, I believe he could potentially unseat Albert Wilson as a slot guy. If that ends up being the case, this is a steal. If not though, he plays maybe 15 snaps a game for $5 million. So it’s a bit of a head-scratcher.

 

 

Re-Sign Jamell Fleming, CB: no contract details

Grade: TBD

 

 

Justin Tuggle, OLB: no contract details

Grade: TBD

Tuggle

Alvin Bailey, OT: no contract details

Grade: TBD

 

 

Bailey

 

 

Re-Sign Frank Zombo, OLB: 3 year, $3.6 million

Grade: B

Zombo is decent depth in the edge rotation for the Chiefs who clearly wanted to keep the entire gang together.

Can’t say I blame them since I think the Chiefs are developing into one of the greatest young defenses in the league.

While Zombo didn’t play particularly well last year, he likely won’t regress too much since he’s only 29 and playing limited snaps.

 

 

Re-Sign Tamba Hali, DE: 3 years, $22 million, $12 million

Grade: B

This isn’t quite the hometown discount the Chiefs had been getting, but it’s still pretty good for a guy that hasn’t really slowed down yet.

Hali still offers very impactful starter snaps and he’ll be part of a highly talented rotation in Kansas City, that considered, a little over 7 mil per year is a fair bargain for his skill set.

Still, the main concern is his age, he could regress at any moment.

 

 

Re-Sign Jaye Howard, DE: 2 years, $12 million

Grade: A

This is a deal I can get behind. Howard was probably one of the best young defensive ends on the market.

He has pass-rush ability and is stout against the run. He is just entering his prime, and should only get better.

I question the Chiefs for not giving him a longer-term deal since his value will most likely rise over the life of this relatively short contract.

 

 

Re-Sign Derrick Johnson, LB: 3 years, $21 million

Grade: A-

Talk about a hometown discount. Johnson is the heart and soul of that defense and played brilliantly last season.

He should have a couple elite years left, and at 7 mil per year, the Chiefs aren’t breaking the bank. Compare this to the Irvin contract and you start to see why it’s such great value.

Should be interesting to see what Trevathan gets since he’s the other elite linebacker on the market.

 

 

Mitchell Schwartz, OT: 5 years, $33 million, $15 million guaranteed

Grade: B

Schwartz

Schwartz was one of the top right tackles in the NFL last year.

This was, however, one year removed from being a complete liability on the Browns offensive line. There’s always the question of a player playing for a contract.

But there is the possibility, especially considering he’s still young, that he’s turned a corner and about to enter his prime. If that’s the case, less than $7 million per year is a very solid price to pay. Still, there’s a bit of risk here so I don’t love it.

 

 

Jonathan Massaquoi, DE: no contract details

Grade: TBD

Massaquoi

 

 

Efe Obada, DE: no contract details

Grade: TBD

Obada

Cardinals Free Agency 2016

Jermaine Gresham, TE: 1 year, unknown amount

Grade: TBD

 

 

Re-Sign Josh Mauro, NT: 1 year, $600,000

Grade: A-

Mauro’s skill-set was better utilized in 2015 as a nose tackle. He has difficulty block-shedding but does a solid job tackling and hits hard.

He even picked up a sack in 4 starts last year. Mauro is a payer on the upswing at just 25 so this is a very solid signing by the Cardinals.

 

 

Re-Sign Ifeanyi Momah, TE: 1 year, minimum exclusive rights tender

Grade: B

There’s really not much to say here. Momah is 6’7 and over 250 lbs, so he could potentially grow into something.

He’s a former Eagles receiver that bulked up to play the position and looked good a couple years ago at the veteran combine.

Certainly worth rostering and there’s no risk. I like it.

 

 

Re-Sign Drew Stanton, QB: 2 years, $6.5 million

Grade: B+

Stanton was a decent option running Arians’ offense when he needed to in the 2014 season.

He’s not, by any means, anything special but he’s just about at the right price at 3.25 mil per year here.

This is a solid re-signing and allows the Cardinals to allocate their resources elsewhere.

 

 

Tyvon Branch, S: 2 years, $10 million, $5 million

Grade: A

Branch

I loved Tyvon Branch’s level of play for the Chiefs when he was on the field last season.

He’s a fringe starter that was stuck behind some really solid safeties in Kansas City. He should add some juice to the Cardinals safety corps.

The Cardinals defense loves its play-makers.

Bills Free Agency 2016

Re-Sign Richie Incognito, G: 3 years, $15.75 million

Grade: B-

As you might be able to tell, I don’t like paying old guys.

Incognito is 33 so it kind of baffles me that the Bills think he’ll play out this contract  at a $5 mil/year playing level.

He was however, according to Pro Football Focus, the best available pure guard based on 1097 snaps last season.

He should continue a high level of play next year, so if the guaranteed number is low and front loaded, I could potentially like this contract a lot more.

 

 

Re-Sign Cordy Glenn, LT: 1 year, $13.7 million, fully guaranteed (franchise tag)

Grade: B+

Glenn is among the top left tackles in the league and just 26 years old. I’d be surprised if the Bills don’t work out a long-term deal before too long.

He should be a cornerstone of their offense for years to come, protecting QB Tyrod Taylor, or whoever comes next.

As far as franchise tag deals go, the one for left tackles is pretty extreme, and I’d like it better if the Bills work out a longer deal to spread out the cap hit.

Panthers Free Agency 2016

Gino Gradkowski, C: no contract details

Grade: TBD

Gradkowski

 

 

Joe Webb, QB: 2 years, $1.86 million

Grade: B+

Webb has starter experience, in the playoffs even. He’s an ideal backup behind Cam Newton, as they are similar players in terms of skill-set.

Webb offers solid accuracy and good power, to go with above-average mobility. He’s also apparently a very hard worker and strong locker room presence.

 

 

Re-Sign Mike Tolbert, RB: 2 years, $3.3 million

Grade: A+

Tolbert continues to be one of the great bargains in the NFL with this contract.

While he’s primarily a full back, he’s also a capable receiver out of the backfield to go with impressive running and blocking skills.

A full skill-set like that should warrant far more money than the just-over 1.5 mil per year he’s earning.

 

 

Re-Sign Charles Johnson: 1 year, $5 million

Grade: A+

This is the premiere move of the off-season so far and it will be hard to beat.

Johnson is still an above-average starting 4-3 end and came on strong, showing flashes of his 2013 form during the 2015 playoffs.

The Panthers get a player that could return to form for a major cut rate. Incredible. As if that defense wasn’t good enough already.

 

 

Re-Sign Stephen Hill, WR: 1 year, $600,000

Grade: B+

Hill has always been an intriguing player that was simply over-drafted and has never been able to put it together.

He has excellent height-weight-speed combination that teams covet at the receiver position, so he’s a worthy camp body.

In his fifth season in the NFL though, you have to start doubting if he’ll ever put it all together.

Panthers receiver’s coach Ricky Proehl said Hill was a great kid and a hard worker that checked his ego at the door, so maybe with the right mind-set, the ultra-talented 25-year-old can finally make his mark.