NFL Free Agency: Catching Up On A Busy Weekend Of Signings and Trades

March 1, 2009 at 10:09 pm 1 comment

matt-cassel-2

Well it didn’t take long for the free agent signings to take off. After just three days on the open market players have me questioning about loyalty, intelligence, and character. Here’s a quick rundown on the recent signings…

  1. Patriots Trade Cassel and Vrabel to Chiefs for 2nd Rounder – The Cassel trade is receiving a ton of buzz, as it should. Cassel comes in from a high school football field, fills in for All-Pro Tom Brady, and leads a team to an 11-5 record…not too bad. I would have preferred the Chiefs to stick with Tyler Thigpen under new head coach Todd Haley but Cassel should work out fine. Vrabel is an aging linebacker that was on a team trying to get younger at the position. He’ll be a solid contributor to the Chiefs. I think the Chiefs really make out well here and I wouldn’t be surprised to see them have a good season next year. Grade for the Chiefs : A-
  2. Eagles Trade Lito Sheppard to Jets for 5th Rounder – Lito Sheppard can play. He wanted out of Philly and the front office knew that. He’s going to come into New York and start immediately. With a new defensive-minded coach in New York (Rex Ryan), Sheppard should do very well in the new system. Not to mention, the Jets gave up nothing! Grade for the Jets : A+
  3. Brian Dawkins Signs with the Denver Broncos – This was a ‘shocker’ to me. I love Brian Dawkins but, after 13 seasons with Philly, I’m head-scratching about his move to the Rockies. The Broncos are a good team, Denver is beautiful, but are they closer to a Super Bowl than Philly? It seems like he can play forever, but what is Brain Dawkins really bringing to the table for the Broncos? I’m not completely sold on the move that brings in a guy who is older than the head coach for multiple years. Grade for the Broncos : C+
  4. Keith Brooking Signs with Dallas – The Cowgirls needed a linebacker and they got a good one in Keith Brooking. I think this takes Dallas off the list as a potential home for Ray Lewis, but you never really know with Jerry Jones. The only thing I worry about with Dallas is the direction in terms of front office. Wade Phillips is useless, Jerry is a nut, Jason Garrett seems to have lost his touch, and the defensive coordinator is up in the air. All the while, it’s a solid pickup for Dallas. Grade for Dallas : B
  5. Fred Taylor Signs with New England – This is probably my favorite signing thus far. It’s almost as if everyone is a “Fred Taylor Hater” and that’s why he is continuously snubbed for being…great. Now he gets to go to a solid team with great coaches and a good shot at a Super Bowl next season. The Pats have shown what they can do with aging running backs, Fred will be no different. This move may actually get me rooting for New England…shhh. Grade for New England : A
  6. Redskins Sign Derrick Dockery – The Redskins needed help on the offensive line…a lot of it. Dockery returns to D.C. and adds some decent experience but it’s not going to completely fix the problem. But however you look at it, the Redskins needed this. Unlike the Albert Haynesworth signing, the Skins will get what they pay for with Dockery. Grade for the Skins : B-
  7. Denver Signs Correll Buckhalter and J.J. Arrington – Let’s all remember that Shanahan is no longer the coach in Denver (it still doesn’t sound right) and that may effect a WHOLE LOT. Denver is known for getting the absolute most out of their running backs, but that may all change with McDaniels at the reigns. If the running style stays the same, Buckhalter will shine. He can do it all, somewhat like Brian Westbrook, and he’ll be the main guy for the first time in his career. Arrington never broke through in Arizona but, again, Denver can pull 1,000 yards out of anybody. Grade for Denver : A-
  8. Cleveland Trades Kellen Winslow to Tampa Bay for picks – Other than character issues, Winslow is a great player. He wasn’t happy and he had some injury issues, all of which hampered him throughout the years. An attitude adjustment, a change of scenery, and a new coach could be exactly what Winslow needs. Grade for Tampa Bay : B-
  9. Detroit Trades Jon Kitna to Dallas for Anthony Henry – Once again, the Detroit Lions get the better end of Dallas. After taking a ton of draft picks from the Cowboys last season, Detroit goes and dumps an aging and overpaid quarterback on them. The move will save the Lions somewhere around $4 million in cap space and they get a decent player in return. I think that the departure of both Kitna and Dan Orlovsky frees up some space for Matt Stafford in April, unless they’re really comfortable with Culpepper. Grade for Detroit :  B+
  10. Houston Signs Antonio Smith – He played on a Super Bowl team last year and he can obviously draw some attention on the line. He’ll line up opposite Mario Williams and he should be able to DO WORK in that position. This is a smart move by the Houston front office. Smith is a versatile guy that can play in any defensive scheme. Grade for Houston : B+

And that’s just the first few days of free agency. Big names are still up in the air as to where they’ll end up. Does Derrick Brooks retire or go contribute somewhere else? Does Ray Lewis stay put in Baltimore? Can the Cardinals come to terms with Kurt Warner and his “fair market value”? Why is Kurt Warner visiting the 49er’s? Is anyone in the market for Jeff Garcia? Where does Houshmandzadeh end up? Will Marvin Harrison hang it up? And this, folks, is why I enjoy watching athletes sign contracts for millions of dollars while I scrape up my change to try and buy a game ticket.

Note: I did not include signings or trades that I wrote about prior to this post (i.e. Culpepper, Haynesworth, Asomugha, Rosenfels) but you can find those articles by typing ‘NFL’ in the search bar near the top of the site.

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