This offseason has been nothing short of outstanding! It has exceeded expectations and already we have seen a lot of major names change places. The 2020 season is going to be vastly different than this past year. Some players seem to be in a perfect fit where they landed and others seem to have signed wherever the money was. Day three of free agency saw some big names sign with new teams. Here are grades for every transaction.
Andrew Whitworth re-signs with the Los Angeles Rams for 3 years $30 million: A
The Rams would have been in a lot of trouble if Whitworth had signed elsewhere or retired. Their offense fell apart last season and is started with the offensive line. Bringing back Whitworth and Austin Blythe is huge for the Rams who are trying to show that they are still legitimate contenders in the NFC. It was surprising to see Whitworth sign a long term contract that would end when he is age 41. This will likely be his last NFL contract.
Kai Forbath re-signs with the Dallas Cowboys for 1 year $1.2 million: B+
Dallas has been having trouble finding reliable kicker help after cutting the former most accurate kicker in NFL History Dan Bailey for Brett Maher. Maher was solid for a while, but at the end of the day, he lost Dallas games and wasn’t reliable enough. Forbath has played for numerous teams and seems to be Dallas’ best option right now. He is 10 for 10 on field-goal attempts and has not missed an extra point since joining the team.
Devon Kennard signs with the Arizona Cardinals for 3 years $20 million: A-
Devon Kennard is not elite by any means. He isn’t even that versatile as a linebacker. But one thing he can do is rush the passer well. A team can expect Kennard to get at team between five-eight sacks a season. Kennard has never played with an edge rusher the quality of Chandler Jones. This could result in better production since there will be more focus on Jones by the offense.
Bruce Irvin signs with the Seattle Seahawks: B+
The Seattle Seahawks have struggled to replace Bruce Irvin since he signed with the Oakland Raiders in 2016. They have brought in the likes of Barkeviovs Mingo and Mychal Kendricks in recent years to replace that hybrid linebacker defensive end role and the results have varied. What better way to replace Irvin’s role than bringing him back. He had a career-high 8.5 sacks in Carolina this past season. Having drafted Bruce Irvin in the first round in 2012, Pete Carroll and the Seattle Seahawks now how to utilize him in their defense.
Anthony Brown re-signs with the Dallas Cowboys for 3 years $15.5 Million: A-
Having someone who can cover receivers in the middle of the field is more important than ever. The Cowboys have started Brown as their slot corner since the second half of his rookie season. Though they lost Byron Jones to the Dolphins it was important for Dallas to keep Brown to cover receivers on the inside while lining Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis on the outside. None of those three are the cornerback that Jones was, but they are young and talented enough to hold down the fort and not allow opposing quarterbacks to pass all over Dallas’ defense.
Nate Orchard re-signs with the Washington Redskins for 1 year: B
Nate Orchard has not lived up to his second-round draft selection having only six career sacks. However, the Redskins and Ron Rivera should be able to find him a nice role for him in their defense.
Beau Allen signs with the New England Patriots for 2 years $8 million: B-
In 2018 the Tampa Bay Buccaneers signed Beau Allen to be the team’s nose tackle after being a very nice rotation piece for the 2017 Super Bowl Champion Philadelphia Eagles. Allen did not play great in Tampa and once again hit the market. This is a typical Patriots signing. Allen is a player who has played well at times but underachieved as of late. The Patriots sign these players for cheap and get the most value out of them. Allen’s job will likely be to replace Danny Shelton who signed with the Detroit Lions.
Michael Pierce signs with the Minnesota Vikings for 3 years $27 million: A
The Minnesota Vikings are going through a lot of major roster changes. Their team is getting older and need to retool to stay Super Bowl contenders. The Vikings found a younger player in Michael Pierce to fill the void left at defensive tackle. He should be able to fill the void left by Linval Joseph perfectly. Pierce is a run-stuffing nose tackle that will be one of the young faces of Mike Zimmer’s defense next season.
Rodney Gunter signs with the Jacksonville Jaguars for 3 years $18 million: B-
Rodney Gunter is not a huge name by any means, but he a serviceable defensive tackle. Gunter had a career-high 4.5 sacks in 2018 and three in 13 games in 2019. The last time the Jaguars signed a defensive lineman for Arizona, Calais Campbell won Defensive Player of the Year in his first season in Duval. That is extremely unlikely to happen with Gunter. He is a younger defensive tackle that just checks off a positional need by the team.
B.J. Goodson signs with the Cleveland Browns for 1 year $2.4 million: B-
B.J. Goodson has been an average linebacker during his career. He can start for a team, but that isn’t the best-case scenario. That is exactly what the Browns are doing with him. They have brought him in because of their hole at the position because of Joe Schobert’s departure. But he shouldn’t be the starter. Look for the Browns to address linebacker early in the draft.
Cedric Ogbuehi signs with the Seattle Seahawks for 1 year $3.3 million: B-
The Seattle Seahawks have a need for a starter at right tackle. They’ve had former Texas A&M Aggie Germain Ifedi at the position for the past couple of seasons. Ifedi has been deemed a bust, as he has had a lot of issues with penalties over recent years. So the Seahawks tried to replace Ifedi with his former teammate at Texas A&M and another first-round bust Cedric Ogbuehi. Ogbuehi cannot beat out his competition for a starting job. That is what he will have to do in Seattle. They will likely draft a right tackle to compete with Ogbuehi and Jamarco Jones next season.
John Miller signs with the Carolina Panthers for 1 year $4 million: B
The Carolina Panthers have a need at guard after trading away Trai Turner and letting Greg Van Roten hit free agency. Miller was a serviceable starter for the Bengals last season despite the fact that they released him afterward. That is exactly what he should be for the Panthers next season.
Desmond Trufant signs with the Detroit Lions for 2 years $21 million: A-
Desmond Trufant was one of the league’s best young cornerbacks in 2015. But since then his development has stayed stagnant and he has dealt with injuries. Trufant was been a capable number one cornerback for the Falcons, but was released due to his salary cap hit. This was a great scoop for the Lions because they were likely going to have to move Darius Slay at some point this offseason, because of the relationship between him and the team. Truant should be able to fit into the team’s number one cornerback slot with ease. If the Lions draft Jeffery Okudah third overall to put with Trufant we can see an elite cornerback paring in Detroit next season.
J.D. McKissic signs with the Washington Redskins for 2 years $3.3 million: C+
For those of you who do not know who J.D. McKissic is, he is a versatile offensive weapon who is labeled as a running back but could play wide receiver. So it makes sense for Ron Rivera to bring in a player like McKissic who can be defined as an extremely poor man’s version of Christian McCaffrey. McCaffrey is much more talented, but they share similar versatility traits. It is just hard to see how the Redskins can keep any kind of consistency on offense or have a role with McKissic with Adrian Peterson, Derius Guice and Bryce Love fighting for snaps and all expected for have a role in the offense next season.
Karl Joseph signs with the Cleveland Browns for 1 year $2.5 million: A
The upside to this signing is amazing for the Browns. Karl Joseph has played well for the Raiders but after injuries and Jon Gruden keeping him off the field, he was in need of a fresh start. Enter the Cleveland Browns who are in desperate need of starters at safety. Joseph has the ability to rewrite his career in Cleveland and show why he was a highly regarded first-round selection a few years ago.
Joe Looney resigns with the Dallas Cowboys for 1 year $2.25 million: A
Joe Looney has become a fan favorite in Dallas so it is nice to see them retain him. Looney stepped up big time in Dallas when Travis Frederick sat out the entire season due to his diagnosis of Guillain-Barre syndrome. He is a nice backup guard option considering he could be a starter for most teams. Since Travis Frederick announced his retirement this signing is that much more important. Looney will now compete with last year’s third-round pick Connor McGovern for Frederick’s starting position on the offensive line.
Mercedes Lewis resigns with the Green Bay Packers for 1 year $2.25 million: B
Mercedes Lewis is not the tight end he was remembered for being in Jacksonville. But he is still a valuable blocker. The Packers still have a void at tight end, but Lewis is still a nice piece to have in a run-heavy offense.
Cameron Fleming signs with the New York Giants for 1 year $4 million: B+
The New York Giants have had a bottom-ranked offensive line for some time now. They have made improvements over recent years, but they still need help. Recently they just hired Jason Garrett as their offensive coordinator and Marc Colombo as their offensive line coach. Both Garrett and Colombo were huge parts of building the Dallas Cowboys elite offensive line. Fleming has spent the past two seasons in Dallas as their swing tackle. Fleming signed with the Giants because of the familiarity with the offensive scheme. He could be the Giants swing tackle or if they don’t address the tackle position early in the draft he can be their starting right tackle. There has been speculation that the Giants are comfortable with Fleming at right tackle and might spend the fourth overall pick elsewhere.
A’Shawn Robinson signs with the Los Angeles Rams for 2 years $17 million: B+
The Rams are in the process of trying to rebuild what they had back in 2018-19 during their Super Bowl run with resources that are available to them. A’Shawn Robinson was brought in to fill a huge void that wasn’t addressed on this Rams defense last year. That void was the one left by Ndamukong Suh. Suh hasn’t filled stat sheets up in a couple of seasons but he is a space-eater. His ability to stop the run and eat gaps have freed up lanes for other defenders to get after the quarterback. That is the exact player that A’Shawn Robinson had been in Detroit. He doesn’t wow on the stat sheets but he is great for the players around him. The Rams just have to temper their expectations with Robinson because he is nowhere near the talent or doesn’t have the upside that Ndamukong Suh had with the team.
The first half of the article can be found here