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. Free agency saw some big names sign with new teams. Here are grades for the larger transactions between days 5-7 of Free Agency.
Todd Gurley signs with the Atlanta Falcons for 1 year $6 million: A-
The Falcons released Devonta Freeman, because he has not played up to his contract and they need the cap space. Many thought that the Falcons would address the running back position early in the draft. Instead the Falcons took a chance on Todd Gurley who was considered one of the best running backs in the league up until this past season. Gurley will only be 26 next season, but is dealing with an arthritic knee. The biggest question surrounding Gurley is, what happened this past season. Is Gurley’s knee bad to the point where he needs to be on the snap-count that he was on last season or did the Rams overreact and try to rely on Jared Goff’s arm? This will be answered this season when Gurley is introduced to a new offense with more firepower than what he was play with is Los Angeles.
Joe Haeg signs with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for 1 year $2.3 million: B-
Joe Haeg has been a reserve right tackle for the past few seasons after the Colts drafted Braden Smith. So far the Buccaneers have not replaced long-time right tackle, Demar Dotson. Haeg could be the starter for the Buccaneers next season, but they should try to bring in a better option via free agency or the draft to compete with him.
Danny Vitale signs with the New England Patriots for 1 year $1.3 million: B+
The Patriots lost James Develin after two games last season and their running game looked very different without him. Since the Patriots will be relying on the run game a lot more it is important to have insurance for a piece like Develin. Danny Vitale is a good blocker, but is also a threat in the passing game. The two fullbacks can rotate and split snaps.
Andrew Sendejo signs with the Cleveland Browns for 1 year $2.3 million: A-
The longtime Minnesota Viking signed with the Philadelphia Eagles last season and was cut midseason. Not too long later he ended up back with the Minnesota Vikings to end the season. At this point in his career Sendejo is a low-end starter or a high end back up. The Browns needed to restart at the safety position. Sendejo joins Karl Joseph as two safeties signed to prove it contracts that have the potential to be an extremely solid safety duo.
Andrus Peat re-signs with the New Orleans Saints for 5 years $57.5 million: A
Since the Saints were extremely low in available salary, it was expected for Andrus Peat to likely sign elsewhere for a large contract. Instead the Saints how a way to get a very fair deal done with Peat. This means the Saints will be rolling out with the same offense as last season and will have a chance to keep the ball rolling and build upon last year. The Saints can potentially get over the hump and reach the Super Bowl next season.
Eric Ebron signs with the Pittsburgh Steelers for 2 years $12 million: C+
This deal just doesn’t make sense for both parties. The only upsides for Ebron are the fact that he is getting a deal that is longer than a year and that he will be catching balls from one of the more established quarterbacks in the league. But It was confusing to see the Steelers make this kind of deal with Ebron when they already have Vance McDonald on the roster. The Steelers’ offense is missing a wow factor or exciting offensive player, Ebron isn’t that. He is great in the red zone, but that is it. The Steelers spent too much of their small amount of salary cap on a position that is not considered a need and a player that doesn’t make the team that much better.
Baltimore Ravens trade Chris Wormley & 2021 7th round pick to the Pittsburgh Steelers for 2021 5th round pick. Ravens: B, Steelers: B
Chris Wormley has been a valuable defensive line starter for the Baltimore Ravens for a few seasons now. After adding Calais Campbell and Michael Brockers (before the agreement fell apart) there was no need for the Ravens to not try to move Wormley considering he would have been considered a very good backup. The Steelers lost Javon Hargrave and have a need to fill the void he left. Wormley could be a candidate to fill that slot.
Melvin Gordon signs with the Denver Broncos for 2 years $16 million: B+
Melvin Gordon was considered one of the league’s elite running backs before this past season. Gordon is a threat in the passing and running game. He also is always a threat to score in the red zone. The Chargers showed this past season that they don’t need Gordon. Austin Ekeler is is just dangerous. Gordon held out for a contract and it backfired. Gordon got off to a slow start when he did play and he ended up getting a deal smaller than what the Chargers originally offered him before he held out. Denver got a great weapon for Drew Lock. It is now up to Pat Shurmur to split up the carries between Melvin Gordon and already established back Philip Lindsay and former third-round pick Royce Freeman.
Pharoh Cooper signs with the Carolina Panthers for 1 year $1.2 million: B
Pharoh Cooper is originally from Carolina so it isn’t surprising to see him end up with the Panthers. Cooper was a Pro Bowl and All-Pro returner in 2017. The Panthers are going to use Cooper in the same capacity as their kick and punt returner.
Emmanuel Sanders signs with the New Orleans Saints for 2 years $17 million: A
Emmanuel Sanders was a big-ticket item to teams who are looking to contend as soon as next season. At this point in his career, Sanders is a weapon a contender would add because of what he brings to an offense and his leadership in the locker room. Sanders has been to three Super Bowls. He can play in the slot and outside. Sean Payton and Drew Brees should take full advantage of what Sanders brings to the Saints. He could be the missing link between the Saints and a Super Bowl.
Jatavis Brown signs with the Philadelphia Eagles for 1 year $1 million: A
Though Brown has never been a full-time starter for the Chargers, he has potential to be a team’s starting linebacker in a 4-3 defense. The Eagles have below-average starters at the linebacker spot, especially after cutting Nigel Bradham. Brown could be one of the teams starting linebackers come next season.
Artie Burns signs with the Chicago Bears for 1 year $1 million: B+
The Bears have a discrete need at cornerback after cutting Prince Amukamara. Artie Burns was a former first-round pick that never quite got his footing right in Pittsburgh. Chicago is taking a chance on Burns and seeing if they could get the most out him and have him reach the potential he had as a former first-round pick.
Nelson Agholor signs with the Las Vegas Raiders for 1 year $1 million: B+
Nelson Agholor may never play to his selection in the first round, but he is still a valuable receiver. Agholor is a deep threat who can stretch the field as a slot receiver. Jon Gruden loves to collect fast receivers and Agholor is the latest toy he’s adding to his offense.
Will Parks signs with the Philadelphia Eagles for 1 year $1.5 million: A-
After parting ways with Malcolm Jenkins the Eagles have a need at safety. Will Parks has shown promise during his limited time of the field has shown that he could be a low-end starter. The Eagles will likely draft a safety to compete with Parks for the starting free safety position. Parks gives the Eagles someone at the position to fill the void temporarily.
Nick Vannett signs with the Denver Broncos for 2 years $5.7 million: B
Nick Vannett was been buried on the Seahawks depth chart for a few seasons now. Then he was traded to Pittsburgh to replace the then injured Vance McDonald. Vannett is a very good blocker along with a pass catcher. He joins a very talented tight end group headed by Noah Fant in Denver.
Mike Remmers signs with the Kansas City Chiefs for 1 year $1.3 million: B+
Mike Remmers was the Giants’ starting right tackle last season. The Chiefs have one of the best right tackles in football Mitchell Schwartz, so he won’t be replacing him. Remmers will be the Chiefs swing offensive lineman. He has the versatility to play guard and tackle which is valuable for a Chiefs offensive line who is one injury away from becoming bellow average.
Greg Van Roten signs with the New York Jets for 3 years $10.5 million: A
The New York Jets needed to revamp their entire offensive line. Greg Van Roten is a huge upgrade over what the Jets had on the interior. He is a very solid guard and alongside his new teammates should give Sam Darnold more time in the pocket and give Le’Veon Bell bigger running lanes.
D.J. Swearinger resigns with the New Orleans Saints for 1 year $1.1 million: B+
D.J. Swearinger is a great veteran back up to have behind Malcolm Jenkins and Marcus Williams. He is also a great leader in the locker room and could possibly be voted captain of a defense filled with high-end talent.
Brett Hundley signs with the Arizona Cardinals for 1 year $1 million: B
Brett Hundley is a solid option to be a team’s back up. He is on his third team in Arizona, he has been there since last year. He is reliable enough to fill in for Kyler Murray if something were to happen to him.
Pierre Desir signs with the New York Jets for 1 year: A-
Pierre Desir has been the Colts’ starting number one corner for a few seasons now. They let him go to try and update the position. The Jets have been in desperate need of a true number one cornerback for a few seasons now. Desir fills that need for the Jets. The Jets now have two proven veteran corners in Brian Poole and Pierre Desir to try and hold down the cornerback position.
Brian Hoyer signs with the New England Patriots for 1 year $1 million: B
Brian Hoyer has had a very good career as a backup quarterback. Since coming into the league undrafted he has played for eight different teams in 12 years. Hoyer knows the offense in New England having been there before and should be a valuable bridge or back up quarterback to Jarrett Stidham next season.
Brandon Copeland signs with the New England Patriots for 1 year $1 million: B
Brandon Copeland is an edge-rushing linebacker who Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots could find a role for in their elite defense. At best Copeland is a solid contributor to the defense and at worst he is a back up who plays special teams or he doesn’t make the team.
Chance Warmack signs with the Seattle Seahawks for 1 year $1 million: B+
Chance Warmack is not the talent that many thought he was being a top 10 draft pick out of Alabama in 2013. But Warmack could be a reliable back up or low-end starter at this point in his career. After sitting out a year, Warmack returns with the Seattle Seahawks where he could have a role in this offense. Seattle is trying to add and retool their offensive line and will likely have a competition at all positions except left tackle.
Laquon Treadwell signs with the Atlanta Falcons for year $910,000: B+
It was surprising to see Laquon Treadwell flop the way he did after being a highly regarded wide receiver prospect. He never played well enough to crack the Vikings’ starting lineup full time. This led to the Vikings not picking up his fifth-year option. The Falcons need a slot receiver after trading away Mohamed Sanu. Treadwell could be the teams starting slot receiver and has a chance to rewrite the narrative on his career. If not he may never play in the NFL again.
Barkevious Mingo signs with the Chicago Bears for 1 year $1.2 million: B
Barkevious Mingo is a situation pass rusher at this point of his career. Chicago has one of the best pair of edge rushers in the league in Khail Mack and Robert Quinn, so Mingo will be their back up. Mingo is expected to back them up and play on special teams for the Bears.