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Grading Day Two of Free Agency Part 1

Drew Brees announces Retirement

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. The second day of free agency did not disappoint as big-name free agents waited till the second day to sign. Here are grades for every transaction.

Drew Brees re-signs with the New Orleans Saints for 2 years $50 million: A

This deal had to get done because the Saints seem to be inches away from a Super Bowl appearance. The Saints need Brees healthy and in the building in order to keep their Super Bowl window open.

Nate Sudfeld re-signs with the Philadelphia Eagles for 1 year $2 million: C+

Nate Sudfeld could be considered a veteran back up at this point in his career, but the Eagles need a better no. 2 quarterback behind Carson Wentz who has had a history on injuries since entering the league.

New Arizona Cardinals nose tackle Jordan Philips had a career high 9.5 sacks last season

Jordan Philips signs with the Arizona Cardinals for 3 years $30 million: A-

The Cardinals weren’t getting much production from their defensive line over the last few years. Philips is a very good run stuffer and showed last season he can get after the quarterback. He is a step in the right direction for the Cardinals to rebuild their defense.

Emmanuel Ogbah signs with the Miami Dolphins for 2 years $15 million: B+

After adding Shaq Lawson, the Dolphins added another edge rusher. Ogbah had his best season this past year. He led the team in sacks through 10 games with 5.5 before getting hurt. He is another nice addition to the talented defensive unit Miami is building up.

Chase Daniel signs with the Detroit Lions for 3 years $13.05 million: C

The Lions’ season spiraled after Matt Stafford got hurt after eight games. David Blough was able to carry the offense in his short window as a starter last year. He deserves another chance to be the team’s back up because Chase Daniel is not much of an upgrade at this point in his career.

Robert Quinn
Robert Quinn showed that he is still one of the better sack artists in the league this past season and got paid as such

Robert Quinn signs with the Chicago Bears for 5 years $70 million: A

This signing caught people off guard because it was believed that the Bears would have a quiet offseason due to low cap space. Quinn had 11.5 sacks this past season for Dallas opposite Demarcus Lawerence, that number should go up now that he is playing with Khalil Mack. The Bears are going to have to rely on their defense to win games, with their offense in limbo. So why not make it the best money could buy.

Cory Littleton signs with the Las Vegas Raiders for 3 years $36 million: A

After signing Nick Kwiatkoski on the first day, the Raiders double down at linebacker and sign Littleton. They doubled down and signed two of the best linebackers on the market. Littleton has come into his own the past couple of years. He is a former All-Pro due to his ability to cover and his high tackle numbers. The Raiders have now squashed the biggest need on their roster.

Ronald Blair re-signs with the San Fransisco 49ers for 1 year $2.3 million: B-

Blair likely isn’t going to be a huge impact signing for the 49ers, but he great depth to have on a deep defensive line. For a team that just made it to the Super Bowl it is important to keep pieces like Blair in house.

Kamu Grugier-Hill signs with the Miami Dolphins for 1 year $1 million: B

Kamu Grugier-Hill might not be a household name to most, but he was a captain for the Philadelphia Eagles this past year. Grugier-Hill was also drafted by Brian Flores’ former team the New England Patriots. He is great depth to have on this Dolphins roster and a fantastic special teams player. He can also be a leader in a locker room that doesn’t seem to have a veteran leader yet.

Surprisingly Jordan Howard was the first running back that hit the market to find a new team.

Jordan Howard signs with the Miami Dolphins for 2 years $10 million: B+

The Dolphins needed to address the running back position one way or another this offseason. After relying on a dysfunctional committee, Ryan Fitzpatrick led the team in rushing with 243 rushing yards. This is a fair deal for a talented running back who is signing his second contract. Howard has the 3rd most rushing yards in the league since being drafted in 2016. Don’t be surprised if the Dolphins pair him up with a high draft pick. Howard has always played in a committee whether it was in Chicago or Philadelphia.

Joe Schobert signs with the Jacksonville Jaguars for 5 years $53.75 Million: B

Joe Schobert was deemed the best inside linebacker to hit the market and surprisingly signs with a team who looks like they’re beginning a rebuild. Schobert has had over 100 tackles in the past three seasons and even led the league in tackles in 2017. It is just hard to understand why a team that is looking to rebuild would take on a long term contract like this.

Kevin Pierre-Lewis signs with the Washington Redskins for 1 year $3.45 Million: B

The Redskins signing Kevin Pierre-Lewis is a good signing for a team that hasn’t had stability at middle linebacker in a few years. At worst he is a backup or a special teams contributor.

Vic Beasley
It is fair to say that Vic Beasley has not been the same player since leading the league in sacks in 2016                                                                              (Photo Credit: CBS Sports)

Vic Beasley signs with the Tennessee Titans for 1 year $9.5 million: A

This is a great spot for Beasley to be for what might be his last shot at playing for an NFL roster. Since having 15.5 sacks in 2016, Beasley has had 18 sacks in three years total. His stock was so low last year that no one would even trade a sixth-round pick for Beasley at the deadline. In Tennessee, Vic Beasley joins an established defense in need of an edge rusher. If Beasley can buy into what Tennessee is trying to do he can be a major part of their defense in 2020. He could possibly earn himself a bigger payday next offseason. Beasley is going to have to lay it all on the line if he wants to be on a roster next season and Mike Vrabel is the guy who can get it out of him.

Philip Rivers signs with the Indianapolis Colts for 1 year $25 million: B+

Jacoby Brissett did the best he could in a very uncomfortable position last year. He became the Colts starting quarterback after Andrew Luck announced his retirement during the preseason. This wasn’t Brissett’s first time as a long term starter either so he was ready for the job. Unfortunately, if the Colts want to take advantage of their young talented roster they are going to need an upgrade at the position or someone with a higher ceiling. Enter Philip Rivers who threw for 4,615 yards last season and 21touchdowns last year during a down year. Those would be career highs for Jacoby Brissett. The Philip Rivers-Los Angeles Chargers’ marriage, unfortunately, had to end. But in Indianapolis Rivers will have a better offensive line, solid weapons, and a good running game. It also helps that Rivers should be familiar with the offense being that Colts head coach Frank Reich and offensive coordinator Nick Sirianni had both been Philip Rivers quarterback coach at some point during his career. The Colts are going for it this year and believe with Philip Rivers running the offense that they could be a threat to teams in the AFC.

Jason Witten
Former Monday Night football analyst Jason Witten signs with the team coached by another former Monday Night Football analyst Jon Gruden.

Jason Witten signs with the Las Vegas Raiders for 1 year $4.75 million: B-

Out of all of the players who spent a majority of their career with one team and then signed with a new one this offseason. I think this one is the weirdest. After 16 years with the Dallas Cowboys, Jason Witten signs with the Las Vegas Raiders. The connection and fit are weird, but understandable when looked at like this. When Witten is on the field he will be the smartest player on offense. He is also still a great blocker which will help Josh Jacobs and their running game. But now soon to be 38-year-old Jason Witten will be splitting time with Darren Waller and promising second-year player Foster Moreau.

Bryan Bulaga signs with the Los Angeles Chargers for 3 years $30 million: A

This is exactly the type of signing the Chargers needed to make in order to contend next year. The Chargers desperately need to upgrade the tackle positions especially after trading away Russell Okung. Bulaga plays the right tackle position so he won’t replace Okung, but he is a significant upgrade over what they had at the position. Whoever the Chargers starting quarterback is next season will now be protected by one of the best right tackles in football.

Maliek Collins signs with the Las Vegas Raiders for 1 year $6 million: B

Maliek Collins has been discretely very good for the Dallas Cowboys since picking him in the third round of that 2016 NFL Draft class. But he was not good enough to warrant getting re-signed. The Cowboys could have elected to pay Collins this much, but decided to look elsewhere for their need at defensive tackle. Collins is one of the better defensive tackles in the league when it comes to putting pressure on the quarterback and joins a team with a deep rotation at defensive tackle.

Safety Rodney McLeod was a priority for the Philadelphia Eagles to keep in the building.      (Winslow Townson/AP Images for Panini)

Rodney McLeod re-signs with the Philadelphia Eagles for 2 years $20 Million: B+

The same day that the Eagles cut ties with Malcolm Jenkins, the Eagles keep his running mate Rodney McLeod in the building. By no means is McLeod elite, but he a very good capable starting safety in the NFL. It was important for the Eagles to keep him around because he is an important piece to their secondary that needs to be retooled.


The second half of this article can be found here

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