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Grading Day 4 of Free Agency

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 four of free agency saw some big names sign with new teams. Here are grades for every transaction.

The Denver Broncos trade Andy Janovich to the Cleveland Browns for 2021 7th round pick. Broncos: B, Browns: A

After hiring Pat Shurmur as their offensive coordinator it was very likely that the Broncos were going to get rid of Andy Janovich. Shurmur doesn’t use fullbacks that often in his offense and Janovich is slated to make almost $2 million a year over the next three years. The Broncos got off his contract with some compensation. Kevin Stefanski uses fullbacks in his running game so rather than scout and draft a fullback or sign a veteran the Browns trade an extremely late pick for one of the better fullbacks in the league.

Darius Slay Trade
Philadelphia addresses a nagging need by trading for the best cornerback available through free agency or trade                                                                     (Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports)

The Detroit Lions trade Darius Slay to the Philadelphia Eagles for a 3rd & 5th round pick. The Eagles also extended Slay for 3 years $50 Million. Lions: B-, Eagles: A

The Philadelphia Eagles seemed like the most logical location for Darius Slay. They are a contending team with cap room to extend him and a huge need for an upgrade at the position. After the Lions signed Desmond Trufant it was only a matter of time before the Lions traded Slay. Regardless of them signing Trufant, it is unfortunate that the Lions had to end their relationship with a homegrown talent and one of their best defensive players like this. The relationship between the two parties was toxic and as we see the two depart we’ll see if it had to do more with Slay or the way the Lions regime treats their players. The Lions felt pressure to trade Slay and that is why they traded him for two mid-round picks. This is a steal for the Eagles. The Eagles did make Slay the highest-paid corner in the league on a per-year basis. His play should reflect that he deserves that kind of contract. The Eagles gave up to mid-round picks for a top-10 cornerback in the league, that sounds like a steal.

Logan Thomas signs with the Washington Redskins for 2 years $6.1 million: B-

After letting go of Jordan Reed the Washington Redskins need to find a new starter at tight end. Someone who can block well and catch short passes in the red zone. Logan Thomas is valuable because of his versatility being a former quarterback. But he is not the answer for the Redskins at tight end.

Nate Ebner signs with the New York Giants for 1 year $2 million: A-

The New York Giants new head coach Joe Judge was the New England Patriots special teams coordinator so it isn’t surprising to see him sign some of his former teams special team free agents. Ebner was a valuable piece to the Patriots special teams unit that could likely be a captain for the Giants next season.

Jayron Kearse signs with the Detroit Lions for 1 year $2.75 million: B

The Detroit Lions don’t really have a plan for what they are going to do at safety. Duron Harmon, Will Harris and Tracy Walker at the position. Two of those three will likely be the starters. Kearse is some added depth that could compete for one of the starting spots.

Minnesota Vikings' cornerbacks
Mackensie Alexander joins his former teammate Trae Waynes in Cincinnati’s secondary                                        Photo from vikings.com

Mackensie Alexander signs with the Cincinnati Bengals for 1 year $4 million: B+

Mackensie Alexander is the second cornerback from Mike Zimmer’s Minnesota Vikings to join his former team the Cincinnati Bengals. Alexander has been the team’s starting nickel back for a couple of seasons now. With the Vikings looking to make major changes along their defense, it was possible Alexander would be a part of that. Alexander joins a secondary with names like Trae Waynes, Dre Kirkpatrick and William Jackson that seems to be coming together nicely.

Adrian Colbert resigns with the Miami Dolphins for 1 year $1.75 million: B

Colbert showed some promise after a few spot starts for the 49ers his rookie year, but after that it never solified. Colbert started at safety towards the end of the year for the Dolphins. They will likely address safety early in the draft, so Colbert is a solid back up and insurance option incase they draft someone who isn’t ready yet.

Bryant Mitchell resigns with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for 1 year $610,000: B

The Buccaneers seem to like Bryant Mitchell to have locked him up this early in free agency. He is no lock to make the roster, but he could fight to be the team’s number 4 or 5 receiver.

Andrew Billings
New Cleveland Browns defensive tackle Andrew Billings tackling Philip Lindsay
Courtesy of Jeff Haynes — The Associated Press

Andrew Billings signs with the Cleveland Browns for 1 year $3.5 million: A-

Andrew Billings was a highly regarded prospect coming out of college. Not many expected him to fall to the fourth round. After missing his rookie year with an injury Billings worked his way next into the starting lineup. As a pure nose tackle he does not wow the stat sheet, but his size makes him extremely effective against the run. His massive frame is extremely valuable to a team trying to stop the run. Billings joins an extremely talented defensive line and will be rotating with Sheldon Richardson and Larry Ogunjobi.

Tom Compton signs with the San Fransisco 49ers for 1 year $3 million: B

The 49ers have a need at guard after cutting Mike Person. Tom Compton is a journeyman guard, but played in Kyle Shanahan’s offense during their Super Bowl run with the Falcons a few years back. Compton will be listed as a starting guard and will likely have to compete with a rookie for the position.

De’Vondre Campbell signs with the Arizona Cardinals for 1 year $8.5 million: A

De’Vondre Campbell is one of the most underrated linebackers in the league. Despite being a fourth-round pick Campbell has been a starter for the Falcons since entering the league. His speed and coverage ability is extremely valuable. The Arizona Cardinals seem to have swung and missed when they drafted Haasan Reddick in the first round in 2017. They signed Jordan Hicks who then got benched by Joe Walker. Campbell fills the void next to Jordan Hicks that they have. Now the Cardinals have two young up and coming linebackers in the middle of their defense. De’Vondre Campbell will be extremely valuable when covering tight ends. Covering tight ends has been something the Cardinals are known for struggling against. They have let up the most yards and touchdowns to tight ends for the past couple of seasons now.

Dan Bailey
The Vikings resign former All-Pro Kicker Dan Bailey Courtesy of athlonsports.com

Dan Bailey resigns with the Minnesota Vikings 3 years $10 Million: B+

After getting hurt with the Cowboys in 2017 Dan Bailey has not been the elite kicker he was once known as. But he is still one of the best kickers in the league where there are not a lot of solid kickers who become available. This is a bargain for what Dan Bailey’s best has been. He might be coming off his worst season statistically, but he is still one of the top kickers in the league. At this pace, Bailey could still likely be a Hall of Famer.

Keith Kirkwood signs with the Carolina Panthers: B+

Keith Kirkwood isn’t going to wow anybody or even crack the starting lineup, but this is an underrated signing for the Panthers. Keith Kirkwood played with now Panthers starting quarterback Teddy Bridgewater in New Orleans and likely practiced a lot of second-team reps together every week for the past two years. They were also both coached by Joe Brady in New Orleans. Kirkwood knows the offense already and has chemistry with Teddy Bridgewater so he can help integrate people into this new system.

Will Redmond re-signs with the Green Bay Packers: B

Will Redmond never developed into a starter and is playing on his third team, but he is quality secondary depth player. He had four starts last season. He didn’t play fantastic but he is a good backup for the Packers to keep in the building.

Cornelius Lucas signs with the Washington Redskins for 2 years $5.3 million: B

The Washington Redskins are doing everything in their power to keep Trent Williams in the building or trade him for a high-value draft pick. It seems very unlikely at the moment. If the Redskins do not move Williams and keeps him they will need someone to play for Williams if he sits out. Cornelius Lucas is a backup tackle that could see starting reps next season. Signing Lucas is a safe way to prepare for the worst without committing to someone else at left tackle.

Adrian Philips signs with the New England Patriots for 2 years $6 million: B+

Adrian Philips could be a great addition to the New England Patriots. Philips is an extremely valuable back up safety and can fill the void of Duran Harmon. He is also a great special teams player. Philips is a former All-Pro and Pro Bowler because of his special teams play. He can fill the void left by Nate Ebner in that regard too. Philips’ ability to play well on defense and special teams can be utilized well by the Patriots who seem to do well with players with special skill sets.

Redskins announce Colt McCoy as their Week 5 Starter
Colt McCoy is a nice veteran back up to put behind Daniel Jones Image Courtesy of UPI.

Colt McCoy signs with the New York Giants for 1 year $1.5 million: B+

Former college football star Colt McCoy has made a career being a great backup quarterback. He will never be a team’s full-time starter again, but he is great in a pinch. Having been around the league, Colt McCoy can also help develop Daniel Jones and help him grow through time spent together in the quarterback room.

JoJo Natson signs with the Cleveland Browns for 1 year $1 Million: B

JoJo Natson is a solid kick and punt returner. He will likely do both for the Browns considering they do not have anyone who does it particularly well besides stars Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry who should not be risking injuries on special teams.

Stefen Wisniewski
Stefen Wisniewski celebrating a touchdown during the Super Bowl                                                           (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

Stefen Wisniewski signs with the Pittsburgh Steelers for 2 years $2.85 million: A

Stefen Wisniewski has won his second Super Bowl in a three-year window. He has been brought in by teams as a backup but has come up clutch and filled in for starting interior offensive lineman extremely well. After the retirement of Ramon Foster, the Steelers have a huge hole for a starting interior offensive lineman. Wisniewski can fill that void even at his age. He is inexpensive and will fix the problem now while the Steelers look for a long term option.

HaHa Clinton-Dix signs with the Dallas Cowboys for 1 year $4 Million: A-

Dallas has been relying on lower draft picks and undrafted free agents to fill their void at safety since they moved Byron Jones to cornerback. The Cowboys couldn’t reel in Earl Thomas and went with Jeff Heath and Xavier Woods as their starters. Woods has played well despite being a day three pick but Heath signed with the Raiders. This gives the Cowboys a gap at their starting safety position. HaHa Clinton-Dix has not been the same player he was when he was an All-Pro in 2016. But he is still a starting level safety He is the most talented safety Dallas has had back there in a while. Though he is not one of the league’s elite, his upside is huge and he could be the Cowboys starting safety for next season.

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