Free Agency Tracker 2016 Re-Signings

DENVER BRONCOS

C.J. Anderson, RB: 4 years, $18 million (matched offer sheet)

Grade: BAALKE BEATS DAN SNYDER GRADE

I gave the Dolphins a Baalke for signing Anderson, I give Elway’s decision, not only to match the offer, but to have failed to place a tender (potentially losing a second round draft pick in the process).

The other thing to consider is that if Elway had placed the tender, he’d be paying Anderson a little over 2 mil, instead of twice that, per year. I’ve already voiced my disdain for Anderson as a player.

Here’s a recap: He sucks until everyone else breaks down at the end of the season. He won’t be helping whoever plays QB for the Broncos too much early on. The Dolphins have been terrible free agent spenders the last couple of years, channeling their best Dan Snyder impressions.

Baalke, acting through possession of Elway, I imagine, has bested them for the services of the mediocre running back, and lost millions of dollars or potentially a second round pick in the process. There’s a lot of hilarity here.

 

 

OAKLAND RAIDERS

Andre Holmes, WR: 1 year, $3 million, $1 million

Grade: B

This is a somewhat questionable move. Holmes has shown the potential to be a solid option, but hasn’t ever quite done it on a consistent basis.

The Raiders already retained Seth Roberts at a much cheaper price, and he outplayed Holmes. This signing indicates that they hope Holmes wins the job. It makes sense considering his imposing physical skill-set.

If he doesn’t though, the Raiders will either eat the million or let Holmes ride the bench for 3 mil. It’s a risky move, and probably a bit over market value.

 

 

Korey Toomer, LB: ERFA Tender

Grade: B-

Somewhat undersized for his position, Toomer is an athlete at the second level of the defense, and a solid special teams contributor due to that athleticism.

He has not made a meaningful impact yet on defense, but logged a few snaps with the starters last season, the first of his career.

It’s always good to keep your special teams guys, but if you’re the Raiders, you have to hope this guy can give a little more to the defense.

 

 

Gabe Holmes, TE: ERFA Tender

Grade: B

Holmes has a nice height-weight speed combination, and was a UDFA in the 2015 draft.

He’s worth a roster spot, as one of those basketball-players-turned-tight-ends that everybody seems so crazy about these days.

 

 

Shelby Harris, DE: ERFA Tender

Grade: B+

Harris is a guy that slipped in the 2014 draft due to character concerns and tweener traits, but shows a good skill-set and long-arms to help him keep distance from opposing lineman.

He’s played in just seven career games since then, and hasn’t shown much. He did come on strong against the Packers in week 15 with 5 tackles, so there’s intriguing potential here.

 

 

Denico Autry, DE: ERFA Tender

Grade: A

Autry is a big man, officially listed 6’5, 270 lbs. A UDFA out of Mississippi State, Autry has improved every year he’s been in the league.

Last year, in 14 games, he logged 3 sacks and a safety to go with 22 total tackles. He’s got versatility as both a solid pass-rusher and run-stopper.

There’s a lot to like about this young man, so keeping him in the fold is a great thing for the Raiders.

 

 

Seth Roberts, WR: 1 year, $525,000 (ERFA Tender)

Grade: A+

Roberts exploded onto the scene in 2015, becoming a favorite target of QB Derek Carr early on. He beat out Brice Butler, Josh Harper and others in a crowded receiver competition to win the fourth receiver job.

Still later in the season, Roberts gained the third receiver job as he continued to be more and more a part of the game plan. He shows excellent route running and hands to go with play-making ability on contested catches.

Keeping this guy on can only help the Raiders, and in a market where everybody and their mother is getting overpaid, this is highway robbery.

 

 

ARIZONA CARDINALS

Red Bryant, DT: 1 year, $965,000

Grade: A

Bryant is a couple of years removed now from his glory days on the dominant 2013 Seattle defense, still he’s solid against the run.

He’s not much of a viable pass rusher anymore but his big body eats up blocks and he’s a smart player that provides depth and rotational options.

At the minimum, he’s a steal so this is a great signing for the Cardinals.

 

 

Jermaine Gresham, TE: 1 year, $3.5 million

Grade: A

Gresham isn’t too far removed from looking like a top-15 tight end in this league. He’s always been under-valued, possessing the skill-set of both a solid blocker and receiver.

The Cardinals didn’t use him much as a receiver last year, but that could have also been due to them running a lot of four wide sets.

Gresham is still just 28 and I don’t expect him to regress this year, so this is all-around an excellent signing for the Cardinals.

 

 

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.

 

 

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.

 

 

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.

 

 

DETROIT LIONS

Tim Wright, TE: 1 year, unknown amount

Grade: TBD

 

 

Don Muhlbach, LS: no contract details

Grade: TBD

 

 

Dan Orlovsky, QB: no contract details

Grade: TBD

 

 

Crezdon Butler, CB: no contract details

Grade: TBD

 

 

Tahir Whitehead, OLB: 2 years, $8 million

Grade: A+

Wow. Talk about a hometown discount. Whitehead has a skill-set that is incredibly coveted in the modern NFL (he can actually cover tight ends).

He’s also a solid tackler and a young, ascending player. I loved the Trevathan deal. I think this might be better.

 

 

Haloti Ngata, DT: 2 years, $12 million, $6 million guaranteed

Grade: B-

The Lions cupboard is bare at defensive tackle after the roster was gutted a couple years ago so keeping Ngata makes sense.

It’s surprising that they had to pay him this much to stay though, his market must have been hot.

Six mil per year to an aging vet who is regressing is a little much, though the Lions did not totally fail since it’s a short contract.

 

 

Corey Fuller, WR: 1 year, $600,000

Fuller has solid physical tools and inconsistent hands to go along with plus athleticism. He’s a typical reserve receiver and an ideal special teams contributor.

GM Martin Mayhew remains high on his potential as a receiver so signing him here makes sense. There’s nothing special here, but he’s an interesting developmental prospect. He must develop more consistent hands.

 

 

Tyrunn Walker, DT: 1 year, $800,000

Grade: A+

Walker is the type of potential player that typically gets slightly overpaid once he hits the open market.

The Lions were very smart to retain him before that happened and thus got far under market value for him.

He’s a solid all-around player who hasn’t quite reached his potential yet. He’s fast and shows pass-rush ability from his spot on the line, offering quality depth in the Lions thin D-line rotation.

 

 

PHILADELPHIA EAGLES

Nolan Carrol, CB: 1 year, $2.36 million

Grade: A

Carrol was definitely the Eagles best corner last year, and perhaps their best player in the secondary behind Malcolm Jenkins. He’s stout in coverage and can play at an above-average level for a CB2.

He shouldn’t regress through this year, so he provides a quality option at starter at a very modest price. This is excellent value, and he should fit right in to Schwartz’ scheme.

 

 

Sam Bradford, QB: 2 years, $36 million

Grade: B+

Bradford could potentially be a top 10 quarterback in this league, he showed flashes of that last year and his skill-set suggests it undoubtedly. He’s never fully put it together, but two years hopefully in the same scheme should help Bradford find his footing in the league and show all that talent on the field.

It’s fairly likely Bradford will take that next step, so long as he remains healthy, and even if he doesn’t, inferior players like Andy Dalton and Ryan Tannehill are already getting paid more on longer contracts.

Overall, I’d be surprised if the Eagles end up regretting this, it’s a great situation for a new head coach to walk into, having Sam Bradford in place as the starting quarterback, and it allows the Eagles the flexibility in the draft to fill their needs at the right time and get maximum value from their picks.

 

 

Vinny Curry, DE: 5 years, $47.25 million, $23 million guaranteed

Grade: B+

Curry could potentially become a special player in Schwartz’ defense, in the mold of Mario Williams. He’s a big man who does great work against the run. He has the power and ability to push the pocket, but hasn’t shown elite bend around the edge, which limits his pass-rush potential a little bit.

Likely, the peak for Curry is a player in the mold of Cam Jordan, which would be fantastic at this price considering Jordan just signed a 12 mil per year contract.

Curry should just be entering his prime at 28, so this contract should span the length of his peak years, he may fall off in the last two years or so, but the Eagles will have the flexibility of opting out by then without too much issue.

 

 

Lane Johnson, OT: 5 years, $63 million, $35.5 million guaranteed

Grade: B+

Johnson is a physical freak who hasn’t quite put it all together yet. Despite that, he’s one of the best starting right tackles in the league and has the athleticism to get to the second level of a defense.

He may never have the pass-blocking skills to be dominant on the left, but he’s a premium player on the right and should continue to be through the entire length of this contract.

This deal is likely right at market value and it’s always better to spend money retaining your own good players versus dipping into the expensive free agency pool, so the grade gets a little boost.

 

 

Zach Ertz, TE: 5 years, $42.5 million, $20 million guaranteed

Grade: B

Ertz could potentially become a top-3 tight end. He has that ability and has flashed it. The Eagles must have reason to believe he actually will make the jump.

Either way, he’s still very young, so by the end of this contract, he may still be in his prime. He’s an ascending player at this time, so paying him a little under 9 mil a year should pay off in the long run.

There’s a possibility he earns that as early as next year. Ertz is a stand-out receiver with all of the physical tools to be an absolute match-up nightmare and has been at times in his career. He needs to be more consistent with his hands, but blocks well and runs solid routes.

I expect this contract to work out in the Eagles favor and Ertz could end up being a bargain. But there is always the possibility that Ertz doesn’t reach his potential and continues playing at his current level (about 6 mil per year).

 

 

Brent Celek, TE: 3 years, $13 million, $6 million guaranteed

Grade: A-

Celek is still among the best blocking tight ends in the league. I can’t imagine him diminishing in that regard much as long as he keeps up his conditioning.

He’s also still a pretty good receiver for his age and hasn’t regressed much yet. Even if he does fall off a bit, he should still be worth the 4 mil per year and 6 mil total guaranteed.

Keeping him in the fold gives the Eagles probably the best 1-2 punch at tight end in the league. Now they just have to build their receiving corps.

 

 

MINNESOTA VIKINGS

Matt Asiata, RB: 1 year, unknown amount

Grade: TBD

 

 

Terrence Newman, CB: 1 year, $3 million

Grade: A-

He and Mike Zimmer must be in love. Every good season Newman has had as a pro has come under Zimmer, back to their time together in Dallas.

Newman will eventually revert into dirt, and that could happen this season, but it’s worth noting that he’s still playing at a higher level than his current pay grade.

As long as the Vikings keep bringing him back on one-year deals, it’s beneficial for both sides since it gives them the flexibility to decide whether or not one more rodeo might be in the cards. This is a very good deal.

 

 

Rhett Ellison, TE: no contract details

Grade: TBD

 

 

Mike Harris, OT: 1 year, $9 million

Harris was the Vikings best lineman last year, far more competent than fat Phil Loadholt or cement feet Matt Kalil.

I imagine they’re banking on Clemmings developing and just need a fill-in. That in mind, this is a solid deal with no risk.

 

 

Kenrick Ellis, DT: 1 year, $810,000

Grade: A

An absolutely massive human being, Ellis is a non-factor in the pass rush but solid in run support as a reserve defensive lineman.

He has starter experience so getting him at this cheap rate is an excellent move.

 

 

Audie Cole, ILB: 1 year, $840,000

Grade: B+

Described as a special teams guru, Cole is tall for a linebacker at 6’5, with a full 250 lb frame. He’s played in 41 games since his career began in 2012

He’ll continue to play well on special teams, but likely won’t contribute much as a reserve linebacker so he’ll need to maintain a high level of play to not get beat out for a younger option.

 

 

Adam Thielen, WR: 1 year, $600,000

Grade: A-

Thielen is a solid special teams guy who has played in all 32 games of his pro careeer.

He can offer some decent snaps at receiver and scored a touchdown in 2014, but he doesn’t offer much there. His value is on special teams.

A dirt cheap contract like this is perfect for a camp body.

 

 

Carter Bykowski, OT: 1 year, $600,000

Grade: B+

A seventh round pick out of Iowa State in 2013, Bykowski has never played in an NFL game.

He’s 25, with a 6’7 313 lb frame and started every game for Iowa State as a senior at left tackle. He had 18 starts in his college career.

He’s coming off an injury, so the Vikings must see something in practice, and there’s very little investment here. He’s likely just a camp body.

 

 

Andrew Sendejo, S: 4 years, $16 million, $6.9 million guaranteed

Grade: BAALKE MARCUS LATTIMORE DEBACLE GRADE

He’s a good special teams guy and ok depth in the secondary, but when he was forced to play due to a ridiculous string of injuries, he did not play well.

He certainly didn’t earn his way into a 4 year, 4 mil per year extension. The guaranteed money is a bit too high as well.

Overall, this one leaves me scratching my head, the Vikings must think he’s going to take a step he hasn’t yet in this league. I am not of that opinion. This is an egregious Baalke (F) Grade.

 

 

CHICAGO BEARS

Rob Housler, TE: 1 year, $760,000

Grade: A-

Housler is a very big tight end who typically shines more as a receiver than a blocker. He had somewhat lofty expectations in Arizona that were never really met.

He’s shown flashes of the physically dominant player his measurables would suggest, so he’s worth rostering, if only as a camp body. Solid move by the Bears to retain him at the minimum. Good depth behind Miller.

 

 

Zach Miller, TE: 2 years, $6 million

Grade: A+

Now this is the stuff winning free agency is made of. Miller just had arguably his best season as a pro.

He’s always had breakout potential and finally put everything together, absolutely stealing the spotlight from the oft-injured and under-performing Martellus Bennett.

He’s 31 so he may have just peaked, but I don’t expect major regression  over the next two years, which means this deal is the perfect amount of time. It also happens to be way under his market value.

Compare this to the Fleener contract and you start to see the bargain they’re getting. Often it’s a bad thing when a team wins free agency, but the Bears are doing it right. Other than the Massie deal, that is. Baalke must’ve been guest GM for a day for that signing.

 

 

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.

 

 

Marc Mariani, WR: 1 year, unknown amount

Grade: TBD

 

 

Mitch Unrein, DE: 2 years, unknown amount

Grade: TBD

 

 

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

Grade: B+

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.

 

 

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.

 

 

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

 

.

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.

 

 

HOUSTON TEXANS

Chris Clark, RT: 2 years, $6 million, $1 million guaranteed

Grade: B

Despite not playing terribly well in 2015 on limited snaps, Clark boasts an all-around skill-set as an excellent swing tackle.

He’s a fringe-starter, who can probably play about half a team’s starter snaps without too much issue. More than that will likely start to reveal some of his weaknesses.

At 3 mil per year, the price is just about right for Clark, who figures to bounce back after a down year, being just 30 years old. He’s not likely to begin serious regression before this contract is up.

 

 

Eddie Pleasant, S: 2 years, $2.15 million

Grade: A

Pleasant is an adequate reserve safety whose a hard hitter and solid tackler. He can also hold up in both zone and man, despite lacking overwhelming athleticism.

The price is just about right for a guy like Pleasant whose playing at the top of a fairly low ceiling.

 

 

Nick Novak, K: 1 year, $965,000

Grade: A+

Novak wasn’t good enough to hold onto the Chargers starting job for 2015, but was good enough to garner interest from a few teams before settling with the Texans.

He had an excellent year kicking in 2015, nailing 18 of 21 field goals but missed his second and third extra points of his career this year as well. He still has the leg to kick from beyond 50, but is known more for his accuracy.

Locking him up for another year for the vet. minimum is an awesome bargain.

 

 

Shane Lechler, P: 1 year, $1.8 million

Grade: C+

Lechler is getting older, having been in the league 16 years now.

He was always known for having a rocket leg and solid accuracy to go with it. In recent years, both of those attributes have dipped a bit, but he’s still a viable option as a starter and better than most available options.

Still, paying almost $2 million for him feels a bit egregious.

 

 

CLEVELAND BROWNS

Raheem Mostert, RB: 1 year, $525,000

Grade: B+

Mostert is a speedster, and primarily a kick returner. He had a few returns over 50 yards in his first season as a pro but had difficulty sticking on a roster.

Mostert should compete to be the primary kick returner for the Browns in 2016. He’ll need to show he can offer something as a reserve running back to win a spot.

 

 

Jamie Meder, DT: 1 year, $525,000

Grade: A

Meder is just 24 years old, and has an intriguing skill-set, he even had a sack in 2015 to go with his 33 tackles, that’s without starting a single game.

As a reserve, he was impressive, and certainly showed enough to warrant a camp invite and opportunity to earn his way to more snaps.

 

 

Tank Carder, ILB: 2 years, $2.5 million

Grade: B-

Carder is a stand-out on special teams, but has never made much of an impact as a reserve linebacker.

The Browns are paying him to be an ace on special teams, and there’s no reason to expect he’ll lose that ability at just 27 years old, so this contract isn’t bad or anything. Just a little much for a guy who hasn’t really done anything on defense.

 

 

INDIANAPOLIS COLTS

Dwayne Allen, TE: 4 years, $29.4 million, $16 million guaranteed

Grade: BAALKE BIRTHDAY CARROT CAKE GRADE

Yikes, this is a serious over-payment for potential. Allen was dreadful at times last season.

While he had a great 2014 season and has an impressive skill-set, some serious issues in his game (inconsistent hands, poor route-running) cropped up last year amidst a full-team collapse.

The Colts had better hope he suddenly fixes everything because they just bet over $7 million per year that he does. And the guaranteed money being over 50% of the contract is just icing on this awful cake. This is an easy Baalke (F) grade.

 

 

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

Nate Ebner, DB: 2 years, unknown amount

Grade: TBD

 

 

TENNESSEE TITANS

Al Woods, NT: 3 years, $10.5 million, $3.5 million guaranteed

Grade: B-

Woods has certainly come a long way from being a massive draft disappointment for the New Orleans Saints.

These days, he’s a solid depth and rotational piece with a well-rounded skill-set and the physical tools to dominate on occasion.

Those occasions are not quite consistent enough to warrant the pay here, unfortunately. Over 3 mil a year for a rotational piece is just a bit too much. Still, I like the deal since there are so few good 3-4 nose tackles out there.

 

 

Antonio Andrews, RB: 1 year, $600k

Grade: A

Andrews was a pleasant surprise when David Cobb went down with injury.

While he was far from dominant, he was good enough to start in a couple games and proved he’s worthy of an NFL roster spot.

Signing him for this small amount is a really solid move.

 

 

SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS

Phil Dawson, K: 1 year, $3.1 million

Grade: C-

That’s a lot to pay for a kicker, especially one who’s getting older and has dwindling leg strength.

Some teams really value continuity at the position and perhaps the Niners didn’t want to test a dicey free agent crop of kickers or dip into the highly talented draft pool for a long-term solution.

Either way, they have more pressing needs so spending 3 mil this year on a kicker doesn’t make too much sense. How about some money to find someone to replace the departed Alex Boone?

 

 

Ray-Ray Armstrong, LB: 1 year, unknown amount

Grade: TBD

 

 

MIAMI DOLPHINS

Matt Moore, QB: 2 years, $3.5 million

This is probably just as good as the McCown contract. The Dolphins and Saints really know how to work their backup quarterback situation. Matt Moore has, for years, been among the most reliable backup quarterbacks in the league.

He’s a fantastic option if he has to come in off the bench and can run the offense to a competent level for a couple of weeks should Tannehill go down.

 

 

James Michael-Johnson, LB: 1 year, $760,000

Grade: B+

He’s got a well-rounded skill-set but has never been able to put it all together to consistently break into the starting lineup.

He’s got the demeanor to be strong on special teams, so it makes sense that a team take a chance on the potential. He was unfortunately lost for the season last year due to an undisclosed injury, so his medical will have to be monitored. This signing is all up-side, so I like it.

 

 

Jacques McClendon, G: no contract details

Grade: TBD

 

 

Christion Jones, WR: 1 year, $450,000

Grade: B-

A UDFA out of Alabama last year, Jones hurt his hamstring in training camp and was waived with an injury designation.

He must have shown enough in camp to earn a second shot with the Dolphins bringing him back.

He was a special teams ace and solid contributor at receiver for the Tide in college, but has a slight frame for the NFL.

 

 

SAN DIEGO CHARGERS

Chris Hairston, OT: 2 years, unknown amount

Grade: TBD

 

 

Joe Barksdale, OT: 4 years, $23.5 million

Grade: B+

Nearly $6 million per season might season a little steep, but Barksdale is the best tackle the Chargers have and earned it with his play in 2015.

Barksdale has been under-appreciated at every stop of his career, despite showing a versatile skill-set as a starting NFL tackle.

The Chargers were the ones to finally pay him what he’s earned and it’s good to see.

 

 

Kenny Wiggins, OG: 1 year, $600,000

Grade: B-

Wiggins has an average skill-set for a guard, with better run-blocking than pass-blocking.

Neither particularly stand out, but he’s young so there’s time for him to develop his array of skills he brings to the table.

 

 

Damion Squire, NT: 1 year, unknown amount

Grade: TBD

 

 

Dontrelle Inman, WR: 1 year, $600,000

Grade: A+

Inman is an absolute bargain at this salary. He’s a big bodied, tall man who can go up and make contested catches.

He has reliable hands to go with some solid route running and really came on strong last season as an option in a thin receiving corps for Philip Rivers and the Chargers.

He’s expected to compete for the number 3 job this season.

 

 

Antonio Gates, TE: 2 years, $12 million

Grade: B-

The only other really old tight end besides Watson to have an excellent season, Gates is proving to be an ageless wonder.

But you have to wonder (see what I did there?) what the Chargers were thinking letting Ladarius Green go, who was paid less to go play for the Steelers.

Of course that contract baffles me regardless, so maybe I should just stop thinking about it before I get an aneurysm.

 

 

Kellen Clemens, QB: 2 years, $3 million

Grade: B

Clemens has some starter experience and a high football IQ. His traits suggest he could play adequately if called upon to start, but isn’t an ideal number 2.

The Chargers are paying the perfect amount, I just don’t love Clemens as a direct backup.

 

 

 

NEW YORK JETS

Kellen Davis, TE: 1 year, $965,000

Grade: B+

Davis is decent depth, but he’s aging. He’s a smart guy that’s now been in a few different offensive systems so he’s probably an ideal third tight end.

Appropriately, he’s being paid about that rate. He’s a stronger blocker than a receiver and doesn’t offer much versatility, but you need guys like that to fill out your roster, especially considering the Jets want to be a power-run offense.

 

 

Zach Sudfeld, TE: no contract details

Grade: TBD

 

 

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.

 

 

GREEN BAY PACKERS

Lane Taylor, G: 2 years, $4.15 million, $600,000 guaranteed

Grade: B

Taylor performed adequately as a deep injury fill-in for the injury-ravaged Packers line.

Taylor is a known commodity who has shown he can provide quality snaps as a starter when called upon, so signing him to a 2 year deal makes sense.

It’s over 2 mil a year though, which is a little much, but the guaranteed is next to nothing, so there’s really nothing at all wrong with this contract.

 

 

Vince Kowalski, OT: no contract details

Grade: TBD

 

 

Nick Perry, OLB: 1 year, $5 million

Grade: C

This signing is puzzling. Of course, Ted Thompson is staying in-house during free agency.

I just have to wonder why they’re paying so much for potential here with Perry, he’s never really played up to his billing.

Not sure why the Packers expect things to be different this season.

 

 

WASHINGTON REDSKINS

Junior Galette, OLB: 1 year, $4.1 million

Grade: C+

Galette is an absolute punk-ass. To say he’s an awful teammate is an understatement, and he can hardly be qualified as a man, boy is more appropriate.

Character issues aside, Galette is a hell of a football player. He can rush the passer as well as anyone in this league and is solid against the run, despite what most evaluators seem to believe. In his best season as a pro in 2013, he was actually outstanding setting the edge in the run game.

If Galette gets his head screwed on straight and grows up a bit, he has a shot to be something special again. He’s still young and the only risk the Redskins are taking here is absolutely poisoning their locker room with his toxic presence.

 

 

Josh LeRibeus, C: no contract details

Grade: TBD

 

 

Tress Way, P: 5 years, unknown amount

Grade: TBD

 

 

Logan Paulsen, TE: 1 year, unknown amount

Grade: TBD

 

 

Duke Ihenacho, S: 1 year, $1.67 million

Grade: A

Ihenacho started 14 games and played fairly well for the Broncos back in 2013. He’s a classic in-the-box safety with a fairly small frame.

He still provides solid snaps when on the field, but has been unable to win a starting job since that breakout season. He’s ideal depth and is a bargain at this price tag.

 

 

Mason Foster, LB: 2 year, $2.5 million, $350,000 guaranteed

Grade: A

Foster is, at this point, a very undervalued reserve linebacker who has starter experience and can still play extensive snaps when called upon.

Adequate against both the run and the pass, Foster is also a solid special teams contributor. He’s the ideal backup, and getting paid the perfect amount for that role.

I love this signing.

 

 

Kedric Golston, DE: 1 year, $1 million

Grade: B+

He’s an old veteran who’s always been a solid rotational piece that excels against the run.

So long as he still has something left in the tank, it makes sense to resign him for the vet. minimum, which the Skins have. He may also offer some wisdom to the youngsters.

 

 

Colt McCoy, QB: 3 years, $9 million

Grade: B+

McCoy is an adequate backup quarterback who can provide solid snaps off the bench.

If he has to start, the Redskins are in trouble, but for just $3 million a year, they’re doing pretty well, as long as they invest that money they’re saving wisely elsewhere.

 

 

Kirk Cousins, QB: 1 year, $19.95 million, fully guaranteed (franchise tag)

Grade: A

Cousins was a solid starting QB in the league last year. While paying him for one year like he’s an elite player may seem painful, it’s better than the two alternatives: letting him walk or buying him long-term.

Cousins has had one good season and must prove it consistently in order to be rewarded with a lucrative long-term deal.

The Redskins brass showed a lot of poise and intelligence not getting suckered in after one successful season, so I love it.

 

 

PITTSBURGH STEELERS

William Gay, CB: 3 years, $7.5 million

Grade: A

Gay was far and away the best and most consistent of the Steelers corners.

He was a stabilizing force on a defense in flux. He’s well worth just about 2 and a half mil a year. This is definitely a hometown discount.

He may not be a legitimate corner one, but the Steelers needed to keep him.

 

 

Ramon Foster, G: 3 years, $9.6 million, $2.8 million guaranteed

Grade: A+

This is incredible value for Foster, who graded out as the fifth best available guard in the NFL in 1234 graded snaps.

I’m honestly baffled by this contract, as Foster took a massive hometown discount and would have entered a market where similar players were getting 7 million a year.

Foster is an excellent pass blocker whose solid in the run game as well. This is a missed opportunity for Foster that the Steelers will benefit from greatly.

 

 

Robert Golden, S: 3 years, $4.95 million

Grade: A

This is a solid re-signing for the Steelers. Golden is good depth at safety and played pretty well. He’s good in run support and adequate in coverage and just 25 years old.

At a little over 1.5 mil a year, this is actually somewhat of a bargain, especially when you look at the Sendejo contract. Man, that made me laugh.

 

 

Darrius Heyward-Bey, WR: 3 years, $3.8 million, $400k guaranteed

Grade: B

Bey has never come close to living up to his dubious first round selection. He’s always had inconsistent hands.

He’s matured in other areas, and provided some solid snaps for the Steelers last year. Roethlisberger seemed to have some chemistry with him, and he has the skill-set Pittsburgh covets from its receivers.

Being a fourth option, he should probably be paid a bit less, but this isn’t terrible. Plus, the guaranteed money is basically nothing so there’s no real risk.

 

 

ATLANTA FALCONS

 

Damian Parms, S: no contract details

Grade: TBD

Charles Godfrey, DB: 1 year, $965,000

Grade: B+

Godfrey was pretty a couple years ago. He was pretty bad last year. Still, you could do a lot worse at the backup safety position, in terms of pay and experience.

In his prime, Godfrey was a hard-hitter and a ball hawk roving the Carolina secondary. He’s lost a step but still has the instincts and understanding of the game to be effective as long as he’s not called on too much.

I like this signing a lot for depth purposes.

 

 

Bryce Harris, OT: 1 year, $820,000, $60,000 guaranteed

Grade: D

This is 820k more than Harris deserves. A liability in both the run and pass game, Harris can’t be relied upon to provide any sort of insurance if a starter goes down.

You can find a player of his ability pretty much anywhere in the league, and probably for slightly less. The Falcons had to have better options.

Still, it’s not like the Falcons are paying any extra to keep him. So it’s not quite a Baalke.

 

 

Adrian Clayborn, DE: 2 years, $9 million

Grade: C-

I don’t like it. Clayborn is the definition of boring.

He’s average, and sometimes below average and is not even close to a viable starter. He is not worth much more than the veteran minimum.

There was buzz that a few teams were interested and I never understood it. I could only imagine the laughable contracts the other teams might have offered him.

 

 

SEATTLE SEAHAWKS

Jon Ryan, P: 4 years, $10 million, $2.4 million

Grade: C-

Oh Seahawks, what are you doing?

It’s like they want to have no cap space ever. There’s never a reason to pay a decent punter like Ryan more than maybe 2 mil a year. This is a long-term $2.5 mil per year contract and it’s kind of inexplicable.

I guess I’ll chalk it up to arrogance within the organization again. But it’s looking more and more like stupidity.

 

 

Jermaine Kearse, WR: 3 years, $13.5 million

Grade: B-

I’m surprised the Seahawks weren’t able to sign him for less, but Kearse has come up big in big moments.

He’s also a willing blocker who runs good routes and has good hands. He’s clearly the type of player they want in the room.

You’d just prefer it at less than $4 million per year.

 

 

Jeremy Lane, CB: 4 years, $23 million, $11 million

Grade: D

This is too much money, especially for a guy that hasn’t really proven anything. He’s an all right fill-in option at Nickel getting paid like a fringe starter.

I didn’t like the Rubin resigning, I don’t like this one.

 

 

Athyba Rubin, DT: 3 years, $12 million

Grade: C-

Rubin was all right for the Seahawks last year and probably isn’t ever going to reach his potential.

Paying him $4 million a year represents a little bit of arrogance from the Seahawks as they believe their scheme can work with inferior players since they’re essentially replacing Mebane with Rubin.

I don’t think that’s going to work out too well.

 

 

KANSAS CITY CHIEFS

Jamell Fleming, CB: no contract details

Grade: TBD

 

 

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.

 

 

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.

 

 

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.

 

 

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.

 

 

NEW ORLEANS SAINTS

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.

 

 

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.

 

 

JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS

Marcedes Lewis: 3 years, $12 million

Grade: C-

I would hate paying Lewis $4 million a year if another team was doing it.

Since he’s staying home though, I only mostly dislike it. There were better options on the market, but the Jags bought high last year on Julius Thomas and don’t want to blow all their money in one place.

Lewis is apparently good in the locker room and the community too, which never hurts a player’s value.

 

 

 

LOS ANGELES RAMS

Cory Harkey, FB: no contract details

Grade: TBD

 

 

Eugene Sims, DE: 3 years, $10 million, $3.75 million guaranteed

Grade: B

Sims played decently as a rotational guy in 9 starts last season in which he picked up 1.5 sacks and was strong setting the edge against the run.

He uses his big frame to keep out of the framework of opposing lineman in order to make plays in the run game, but wasn’t able to use that same length to great effect as a pass-rusher.

Ultimately, he’s not much more than a solid rotational guy, but scheme continuity is important, so I like this signing pretty well. This signing became important with the departure of Chris Long.

 

 

Tim Barnes, C: 2 years, $5.5 million

Grade: D

It’s laughable that this guy got more than the veteran minimum.

He’s 28 so he should be in the midst of his prime, but he just came off a terrible season and has never been much more than an ok backup.

This is kind of a baffling move.

 

 

Brian Quick, WR: 1 year, $3.75 million, $1.5 million guaranteed

Grade: A

A one year deal on a receiver with a solid height-weight-speed combo sounds like a slam dunk to me.

Not much more to say here. No risk, potentially high reward if Quick ever puts it together.

 

 

William Hayes, DE: 3 years, $23 million

Grade: B-

Hayes may become a viable starter, the Rams are betting on it.

You’d have to hope that a team resigning their player would get a deal under the market value. Unfortunately, this is well-over.

Over 7 mil a year for a guy they aren’t totally sure can handle a full starting load is a lot to risk, and Hayes likely won’t play up to the contract.

 

 

Mark Barron, OLB: 5 years, $45 million

Grade: EVEN BAALKE WOULD BALK AT THIS

Barron was an ok starter at linebacker for the Rams after being an awful safety throughout his career.

He didn’t suddenly gain the coverage abilities he had lacked throughout his career and is little more than a hard-hitter with solid instincts. In no way at all is he worth 9 mil per year.

Maybe 3 mil per year. This is unreal. I would have given a Baalke (F) grade, to any deal over $5 mil a year.

 

 

 

TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS

Chris Conte, S: 1 year, unknown amount

Grade: TBD

 

 

Doug Martin, RB: 5 years, $35.75 million, $15 million guaranteed

Grade: BAALKE JIM TOMSULA FETISH GRADE

Shoutout to Walter Football for the inspiration, the Baalke (F) Grade is derived from Walt’s Millen.

As you all know by now, Baalke sucks. I have to wonder if he had to possess Jason Licht’s body to make this deal.

Doug Martin has has two good seasons: his rookie season and last season. You have to wonder why that is.

Regardless of that, no running back ever is worth $7 million. Besides that, the Bucs could have simply drafted Ezekiel Elliott at 9 to replace Martin. Elliott might even be a better back. This is a pathetic move.

 

 

Keith Tandy, S: 2 years, $1.85 million

Grade: A-

Tandy is a strong reserve at safety and a good special teams player to boot. He’s just 27 too so he should be entering his prime.

In a market where backup safeties like Sendejo are getting ridiculous contracts, this is a very agreeable number.

 

 

CINCINNATI BENGALS

Vincent Rey, LB: 3 years, $11.5 million

Grade: D+

Rey is a decent rotational linebacker for the Bengals who had a down year.

He’s 28, so he probably won’t be getting much better but last year may have been an anomaly. Rey has some solid seasons under his belt and is sticking in the same defense.

Regardless though, paying nearly $4 million a year is a little ridiculous for “just a guy” as he is. So I can’t say I’m a fan of this. No hometown discounts in Cincinnati it seems.

 

 

Adam Jones, CB: 3 years, $20 million

Grade: D

Jones will undoubtedly regress before this contract is up. He’s been up and down his entire career.

I can’t fathom why the Bengals could give him over $6 million per season. The numbers are awful.

I understand keeping a tough, competitive veteran who could show the young guys the ropes, but that sort of role could be filled for 2-3 mil a year. This is pretty egregious.

 

 

Eric Winston, OT: 1 year, $1.09 million

Grade: A

Winston is a rock-solid swing tackle who likely won’t be counted on by the Bengals to provide starter snaps.

In an absolutely absurd market where backups are getting paid near starter money, this is an excellent signing.

 

 

George Iloka, S: 5 years, $30 million

Grade: A

An ascending player, Iloka will likely only get better as the contract goes along.

I’m always a fan of paying your good young players since there’s no questions about scheme or locker room fit.

Besides that, this is right about where the market value should be for an above-average starting safety, and in fact could be considered a minor steal.

Overall, one of the most complete rosters in the NFL stays strong here.

 

 

T.J. Johnson,C: 1 year, $600,000

Grade: A

An ideal candidate as a reserve offensive lineman, Johnson has starter experience at the college level and high football IQ to go with very good size.

He hasn’t  had to start in the NFL yet, but would likely be able to fill in for a game without much issue. This is a very good depth signing for the Bengals.

 

 

Brandon Tate, WR: 1 year, $760,000

Grade: A

Primarily a punt-returner, Tate can also offer solid blocking and decent receiving skills as a reserve, he’s exactly the type of guy to fill out your roster with as a WR5 or 6.

Getting him for the vet. minimum here is a solid job by the Bengals who avoided re-signing their much flashier and higher-priced free agent receivers.

 

 

DALLAS COWBOYS

Charles Brown, OT: no contract details

Grade: TBD

 

 

James Hanna, TE: 3 years, $8.25 million, $3.25 million

Grade: C-

The Cowboys really like this guy, but I can’t really understand why. He’s an all right receiver and an all right blocker.

I don’t see why they’d pay much more than the vet. minimum for him, he’s a third tight end, nothing more.

At almost 3 mil a year, that’s a strange place for the Cowboys to place their resources.

 

 

Mo Claiborne, CB: 1 year, $3 million

Grade: B

Claiborne was a special player in college. Those skills just have not translated to the pro game, where he’s struggled both to stay healthy and to play well when healthy.

Cowboys fans especially will remember Claiborne for giving up a long touchdown in Austin Davis’ first start with the Rams in 2014. He graded out poorly again this year, leaving questions as to whether he’ll ever really turn the corner.

Still, he’s 26 and hasn’t yet had a complete season. I think he needs a change of scenery, but maybe something will click here, and if so they Cowboys would obviously be getting a bargain at 3 mil a year.

 

 

Kyle Wilber, OLB: 2 years, $5.25 million

Grade: C-

Wilber is still young, but it’s not likely he’ll ever be anything more than just a decent backup.

I don’t understand this contract. It’s heavily incentivized so it’s not the worst thing ever, but it doesn’t make much sense why they’d pay a guy when they could get similar production off the street for the vet. minimum.

 

 

Josh Thomas, CB: no contract details

Grade: TBD

 

 

Rolando McClain: 1 year, $5 million

Grade: A

I’m tempted to give this a higher grade, but my main issue is the Cowboys are once again gambling that only they value McClain.

That seems insane to me, as he’s developed into a premiere run-stuffing linebacker, with enough range and instincts to hold up in coverage. His skill-set should be majorly coveted.

His off-field issues don’t seem to affect his on-field effort or character and his injury concerns are only minor.

The Cowboys need to lock him up long-term, soon, while he’s still cheap.

 

 

NEW YORK GIANTS

Jason Pierre-Paul: 1 year, $10.5 million

Grade: B+

I’m not as big a fan of JPP as most, and the fireworks incident has me majorly concerned with his long-term viability.

But I love a one-year contract, and I’m sure it’s incentivized out the yin-yang. Pierre-Paul is a solid run defender with pass rush ability, and so is a plug-and-play 4-3 end who flashes dominance.

However, I think 10.5 million is just a bit too much to pay for a guy who may never be the same. I felt a similar way about the Hardy contract last year. It’s not perfect just because it’s one year.

 

 

CAROLINA PANTHERS

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.

 

 

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.

 

 

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.

 

 

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.

 

 

BUFFALO BILLS

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.

 

 

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.

 

 

BALTIMORE RAVENS

Morgan Cox, LS: 5 years, 5.6 million, $700,000 guaranteed

Grade: B-

This is an interesting contract. You rarely see such a cheap long-term deal.

Cox didn’t have any particular issues as a long snapper for the Ravens in 2015, but he’s taking up a  roster spot without offering any positional versatility at all.

Because of this, I don’t love it.

 

 

Justin Tucker, K: 1 year, $4.5 million

Grade: B

Tucker is the rare kicker worth paying. He’s rock solid in just about any game situation and consistently hits at or near 85% of his field goals, season in and season out.

The Ravens would be wise to invest in him long-term.

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