NFL Free Agent Tracker and Grades

I will be updating the list of prominent free agent signings as information comes available and as time permits. 

Brandon Marshall, WR Signed by New York Giants
2 year $12 million
Brandon Marshall comes to New York following a down year where he did not eclipse 1,000 yards. Marshall is a good receiver who has put up numbers that place him near the top. One number that stands out is zero, for the zero playoff games he has played in. He is chasing post season at this point. He is replacing an ineffective Victor Cruz at a lesser price. One thing to cause concern is his “locker room problems”. Marshall is a vocal guy. OBJ is a vocal guy. Eli Manning does not seem to be a vocal guy. It will be interesting to see how OBJ and Marshall get along. Hopefully, Marshall can take some of the media pressure off OBJ while giving Manning a reliable possession receiver.

Grade B-

Chandler Jones, EDGE Resigned by Arizona Cardinals
5 year $83 million 53 million guaranteed
Chandler Jones came over in the trade from New England on the premise he would be willing to sign long term. This deal was important to get done for Arizona to create cap room to fill other holes. Jones has been productive with 23.5 sacks over the last two seasons. He is 27 years old and looks like more production is to come. He should be one of the highest paid pass rushers and is deserving of the numbers he will get. Arizona made a great move locking him up.

Update: 

Grade B+ (no contract details)

Patrick Dimarco, FB Signed by Buffalo Bills
4 year $8.5 million
Dimarco comes from Atlanta where his talents were on display. As everyone knows fullback is at the bottom of the totem pole. I find it hard to grade fullbacks but I like this move. It locks up a good player at a low cost with an anticipated guarantee around 4-5 million. He helped make holes for Freeman and Coleman. I believe McCoy is a better running back and I believe this move will be beneficial for Buffalo.

Grade B+

Jermaine Gresham, TE Resigned by Arizona Cardinals
4 year $28 million
Gresham has 55 catches over two years with the Cards. This seems like a vast overpay. This draft classes is loaded with athletic tight ends. Most of these prospects are receiving tight ends, but a decent blocking tight end can be picked up for a lot less than 7 million a year. Cardinals usually make smart moves. This does not reflect being a smart move

Grade D+

Kyle Juszczyk, FB Signed by San Francisco 49ers
4 year $21 million
As I stated above, fullbacks are not a hot commodity. However, Juszczyk offers more than just a battering ram. He is a proven receiving threat out of the backfield. I believe the new regime will be able to utilize his skill set to the fullest. This signing also makes me think he was just picking the largest payday which is completely fine. End of the day these players are in it for the money so hats off to Kyle for looking out for him and his family’s future.

Grade B

Mike Tolbert, FB Signed by Buffalo Bills
1 year $1 million
Sort of a confusing signing. Buffalo already hired a new fullback. The good news is Tolbert is also a seasoned running back. He can spell McCoy and help in that short yardage aspect. This is a low risk medium reward. They are not on the hook for much money.

Grade B

Kenny Stills, WR Resigned by Miami Dolphins
4 years, $32M; $20M guaranteed
Kenny Stills’ numbers do not reflect his contract. He did find the end zone 9 times, but the year before he only scored 3 times. TDs fluctuate a bunch from year to year. He seems to be a one trick pony that does not do that one trick too well. At this point he is at best a WR3 being paid as a high upside WR2.

Grade D

Brian Hoyer, QB Signed by 49ers
2 year $12 million
The going rate for backup QBs is 3-4 million. Hoyer is the top free agent signal caller at this point. He easily might even exceed the value he is given. He is the stopgap guy the 49ers need to help a young roster start to improve. He will not be a distraction and can bring some stability for the time being while the 49ers figure out their long term QB plans

Grade A

Andrew Whitworth, OT Signed by Los Angeles Rams
3 year $36 million, $15 million guaranteed
Whitworth is a proven entity in the NFL at this point. It seems surprising he is willing to go from a team chasing postseason every year to one of the worse franchises in that regard. He will definitely be an upgrade to what the Rams had. The biggest thing that holds back a good grade is the fact that Whitworth is 35 years old.

Grade C+

Torrey Smith, WR Signed by Eagles
3 year $15 million
Torrey Smith seems to be a fading talent. At first this move seemed interesting and had some purpose, but after the other moves the Eagles have made this seems kind of like a head scratcher. He got his Superbowl, chased money, and quit on his team so that does not bode well for the future.

Grade C

Robert Woods, WR Signed by Los Angeles Rams
5 year $39 million
I had the opportunity to be around Robert Woods this entire preseason. I got to work him with. He is a great guy. His numbers do not stand out, but I have seen the work ethic and abilities he has. I think this is a solid signing by the Rams who desperately needed WR help. They paid the going rate for a WR2 to plug into the WR1 spot.

Grade B+

Mike Glennon, QB Signed by Chicago Bears
3 year $45 million
Welcome to tank mode Chicago fans! The only way the Bears would have contended is if they stuck with Cutler, gotten Romo/Cousins/Tyrod, or gotten lucky in the draft. They are simply giving Glennon a handout. I have no idea how he brings more to the table than Hoyer.

Grade F

Terrell McClain, DT Signed by Washington Redskins
4 year $21 million
What is the deal with the Redskins and former Dallas linemen. First Bowen, then Hatcher, followed by Oline coach Callahan, now McClain. When McClain is healthy he is a disruptive running stuff player with some upside as a pass rusher. His problem is he has not stayed healthy. He has given the Cowboys in three years one good year and two trips to IR. If he can stay healthy this would be a decent value. Since he is over 30 it is going to be tough for him to live out the guaranteed money in this contract let alone the life of it.

Grade C-

Quinton Demps, S Signed by Chicago Bears
3 year $13.5 million
Demps turns 32 this year. He has mostly been a reserve player great on special teams units. He has proved recently he is a capable starter. The Bears really needed some secondary help and he provides a veteran presence. This is not a bunch of money being tied up like some other safety contracts being tossed out this year.

Grade B

Ron Leary, G Signed by Denver Broncos
4 year $35 million, 20 million guaranteed
Denver needed to upgrade their offensive line. They grab a guy who originally was regarded as a 3rd rounder to drop because of a knee condition. He got screwed in Dallas and waited patiently. I do wonder though, if he was a beneficiary of playing on the great offensive line in Dallas. I am sure Denver did their homework and do not think that. They had to pay premium with the draft class really lacking in offensive line talent. This could also be a move to pry Romo away from the Texans.

Grade B

Joel Bitoni, G Extended by Cleveland Browns
5 year $51 million, 23 million guaranteed
Bitoni has established himself as one of the top three guards in the NFL. More money is being tossed at the middle of the pocket. This is a good move for the Browns who have lost so many other young good players in recent years. Bitoni is expected to see the end of this contracts and a position where the value is seemingly set to continue its increase.

Grade A

Calais Campbell, DE/DT Signed by Jacksonville Jaguars
4 year $60 million, 30 million guaranteed
Campbell has been a productive player. His age is getting up to where a contract like this seems to look foolish. If Campbell can continue his past production two years than this signing works. Jacksonville continues to add proven older players and paying based off past production.

Grade C+

Kevin Zeitler, G Signed by Cleveland Browns
5 year $60 million, 31.5 million guaranteed
Browns made another solid move here. Browns are looking to follow the Dallas blueprint on what upgrading the interior oline can do for a team transitioning to a young QB. As I stated before this is great by locking up a player at a position that seems to be increasing greatly in value.

Grade A-

TRADE Brock Osweiler, 2018 2nd Round Pick, 2017 6th Round Pick for 2017 4th Round Pick
This is an amazing move by the Browns. They are taking from the NBA here and utilizing their enormous cap space. They are also going to lower his cap hit and trade him. This opens Brock’s value even more to some teams with QB issues. I cannot get over how intelligent and opportunistic move this is. This is going to allow the Texans to make a run at Romo with a trade or FA signing. 

Grade A for Browns

Grade C for Texans (because they signed Brock in the first place) A if they land Romo because of this

Ashlon Jeffery, WR Signed by Philadelphia Eagles
1 year $14 million
This is essentially a cheaper franchise tag option. The Eagles need WR help for Wentz. Jeffery, when healthy which is a big if, is a top NFL receiver. This allows the Eagles to either reap the benefits and either resign or get a nice comp pick while having no long term risk with his contract.

Grade A-

A.J. Bouye, CB Signed by Jacksonville Jaguars
5 year $67.5 million
Bouye is a one year wonder from a division rival. If he continues his growth than the money works. If he reverts to form than the Jags look dumb as hell yet again. There is huge risk with this contract if Bouye does not work out. I also think the Texans saw something and help drive up his price with the local media saying how they were scrambling to counter the offer. Good for the Texans if my hypothesis is correct

Grade C+

Luke Joeckel, G/T Signed by Seattle Seahawks
1 year $8 million
Seattle’s line is terrible. I do not see this upgrade the line. Yes, he was a first round tackle. He has just been bad, really really bad. Unless this contract is very low in guaranteed money this is a waste of the cap space Seattle needs to really upgrade the oline.

Grade D+

Nick Fairley, DT Resigned by New Orleans Saints
4 year $30 million
There is a reason Fairley has been on 1 year prove it deals for two years. He is not motivated when money is not on the table. Made the Saints have gotten through to him. If his past is any indication, than Fairley will continue to be a lazy player only utilizing his skills when payday is coming up.

Grade D+

D.J. Swearinger, S Signed by Washington Redskins
3 year $13.5 million
Swearinger is only 26 years old. He played well in Arizona. There seems to be little room for regression and even if that happens the Redskins do not have a huge contract to burn. Washington needs secondary help and this signing allows them to get a quality player at a low risk.

Grade B

Russell Okung, OT Signed by San Diego Chargers
4 years $53 million, 25 guaranteed
Okung has not stayed healthy. This is a big guarantee for someone who has proven they cannot stay on the field. Okung is a very talented tackle. I just cannot fathom how the Chargers can justify 25 million to a player who might play 10 games for you.

Grade D+

Barkevious Mingo, DE Signed by Indianapolis Colts
1 year $2.5 million
I love these signings. Buy low on a previously top talent. The reward is huge and the risk is next to none. At 2.5 million, Mingo is taking up 1.4 % of the cap. If they can get 5 sacks than this deal is great.

Grade A-

C.J. Tretter, C Signed by Cleveland Browns
3 year $16.5 million
Joe Thomas has to be smiling by now. He just got 2 new faces and their best lineman locked up for the foreseeable future. Tretter is a good center. He can really give the Browns something to work with at the oline. One problem is Tretter has some injury history. The Browns fell apart once injuries starting hitting them on the oline last year. Hopefully with this addition, along with the others they can sustain an injury while still playing at a high level on the offensive line.

Grade B+

Landry Jones, QB Resigned by Pittsburgh Steelers
2 year $4.4 million
The Steelers are going to go as far as Big Ben takes them. This is nothing more than a cheap option to play in the 2-3 games Big Ben will miss due to injury. Jones does not offer much upside, but he knows the system and the Steelers know what they have in him. Hopefully he can take another step and become a viable backup in the NFL

Grade C+

DeSean Jackson, WR Signed by Tampa Bay Buccaneers
3 year $35 million, 20 million guaranteed
Over the course of his life in the NFL Jackson has always been a deep threat. He just turned 30 and as we know speed diminishes over time. He is mostly one dimensional and his age is impacting the one thing he does well, run fast. I think this move will help Mr. Winston elevate his game to the next level.

Grade B-

Stephon Gilmore, CB Signed by New England Patriots
5 year $65 million, 40 million guaranteed
Gilmore has had an up and down NFL experience. Two years ago it looked like the Bills would be fools to not lock him up. This last year caused the Bills to think twice about extending him. The Patriots did not blink. This move also allows them to pay less than what it will take for Butler next year. Butler now becomes expendable and will just add to BB’s legacy and interesting moves on top tier players.

Grade B+

Brandon Williams, DT Resigned by Baltimore Ravens
5 year $54 million, 27.5 million guaranteed
Williams is a pro bowl DT that is extremely stout against the run. The Ravens are masters of comp picks and rarely sign other players, electing to sign their own proven guys. This is a great move as it locks up an important position for them while not paying extraordinary money for someone of a lesser talent.

Grade B+

Micah Hyde, Dback Signed by Buffalo Bills
5 year $30 million, 14 million guaranteed
Hyde was the Packers defense last year. He was their best player on a poor excuse for an NFL defense. Hyde will have help this year. He has a primed bounce back season coming from Ronald Darby, pass rushers in Hughes, Dareus, and Lawson, and a young athletic linebacker in Reggie Ragland. The Bills elected Hyde of Gilmore and at half the cost with roughly the same impact maybe more. Hyde can play all over the secondary so it is yet to be seem where Hyde will play for the Bills.

Grade B+

Dre Kirkpatrick, CB Resigned by Cincinnati Bengals
5 years $52 Million
The Bengals managed to hold on to one of their top three free agents. Kirkpatrick had his best year in his contract year. He is a highly skilled and talented player. It looks like he finally but it together after slowly getting footing as a NFL cornerback. It was important for the Bengals to keep Kirkpatrick to get back into the playoffs

Grade B

Chris Baker, DT Signed by Tampa Bay Buccaneers
3 year $15.75 million, 9 million guaranteed
Baker is a stout run defender and offers upside as a pass rusher. He consistently does his job against the run and adds the bonus of creating enough pressure throughout the season up the middle. This contract is perfect. Other players are getting gold bars tossed at them for being subpar (tight ends). This is a great value for the Bucs for what Baker brings to the table.

Grade A

Reshad Jones, S Resigned by Miami Dolphins
5 year $60 million, 35 million guaranteed
Jones is a top safety in the NFL. His injury last year showed the Dolphins how much he meant to the defense. Even though Jones is 29, good safeties usually play past 30 well. Great signing by the Dolphins to lock up a key to their secondary.

Grade A

Logan Ryan, CB Signed by Tennessee Titans
3 year $30 million
The Titans had a huge hole in the secondary and most mocks have them double dipping at DB in the first round. This allows them to draft more BPA but still having an emphasis on DB. Ryan was a great player for the Patriots and really allowed them to run different defenses week to week.

Grade A

John Simon, EDGE Signed by Indianapolis Colts
3 year $13.5 million
The Colts need a bunch of help at pass rusher. Simon will not magically get them 15 sacks alone. He will provide a good rotational player with upside of 5 or so sacks. I like this signing for a decent rotational pass rusher.

Grade B+

Stefen Wisniewski, Interior Oline Resigned by Philadelphia Eagles
3 year $ 9 million
Stefen can play all three interior line positions. He has shown his value as reserve player. This contract might suggest he is on the fast track to replace someone on the Eagles line. This move gives them flexibility and at the worst case a good backup.

Grade B+

Nick Perry, EDGE Resigned by Green Bay Packers
5 year $60 million
Perry is a one year wonder. He finally got numbers since Clay Matthews was so hurt. He is regarded as a bust and with one year of decent production, which he should have had by now, this is a terrible signing. Green Bay made a mistake in free agency finally.

Grade D

Larry Warford, G Signed by New Orleans Saints
4 year $34 million, 17 million guaranteed
With the weak draft class of interior lineman and the need to keep the pocket from collapsing, the Saints grabbed a good guard to help get the most out of Brees’ last few years. They had a huge hole up front and Warford is a great guard.

Grade A

Pierre Garcon, WR Signed by San Francisco 49ers
5 year $47.5 million, 17 million guaranteed
Right now the 49ers have very lacking options on offense. They grabbed a 31 year old receiver. Garcon is an elite route runner but as time progresses his agility that has kept him in the NFL will decline. They can absorb the implications of cutting him sooner as well.

Grade B-

John Cyprien, S Signed by Tennessee Titans
4 year $25 Million
Cyprien was one of the top safeties on the market. Titans are completely overhauling their secondary. This allows them to go after whoever they want in the draft. They still might take a DB but pass rusher remains a big area needed of improvement. Cyprien gives them the back end defender they need to get going in the playoffs.

Grade A

D.J. Hayden, CB Signed by Detroit Lions
1 year $5.25 million
This contract is a max value of 5.25 million. This means he has a bunch of incentives to hit to get that. This is really probably a 2-3 million dollar deal. Detroit needed more bodies in the secondary to have a shot at the NFC North. This is a limited risk signing. Do not forget Hayden was the 12th pick so that talent is there.

Grade A

Terrelle Pryor, WR Signed by Washington Redskins
1 year $8 million
Looks like the Browns were smart not to tag him. Pryor is a good receiver who should continue to grow at the position. He switched from QB to WR and has shown his athleticism. Washington needed a WR with both starters leaving and giving Vernon Davis about 14 million too much.

Grade A

Lawrence Timmons, LB Signed by Dolphins
2 year $12 million, $11 million guaranteed
This move is dumb. Timmons is a very poor linebacker. Lets give an old diminishing linebacker 11 million dollars to miss tackles and maybe not even get on the field.

Grade F

TRADE Brandin Cooks to New England for 1st round and 3rd round picks
All I am going to say is why do people trade with New England

Patriots Grade A

Saints Grade C

Charles Johnson, WR Signed by Carolina Panthers
1 year $2.2 million
Charles Johnson showed promise his rookie year. He has taken a back seat since then. Carolina made a decent move here. Hopefully the change of scenery will benefit Johnson.

Grade B

Jabaal Sheard, EDGE Signed by Indianapolis Colts
3 year $25.5 million, 12.75 million guaranteed
Here is a prime example of playing a B player A player money. Sheard got benched last year. The year before he got 8 sacks. This last year he got 5 sacks. At best he is a good situational rusher. 8 million a year for your situational guy?

Grade C-

Terrance Williams, WR Resigned by Dallas Cowboys
4 year $17 million, 9.5 guaranteed
This is a great move. The talk was how Dallas would have to go receiver in the top three rounds. Now they can just keep getting the UDFA they love so much. Williams never had amazing number two numbers but for the last three years Dallas elected to go with a run first offense. That dips into his numbers. Also, there is this guy named Jason Witten who commands 80 touches. Williams is a dependable, great blocking, receiver. In a market saturated with WR2 getting almost WR1 money this is a great deal

Grade A

Marty Bennett, TE Signed by Green Bay Packers
3 year $21 million
Marty B is a good tight end. The market has been outrageous and the Packers got him locked up for seemingly cheap compared to the others. Marty gives the Packers a tight end they can rely on to make plays.

Grade A-

 

 

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