Here's my analysis on the Redskins/Giants game...all of my picks are free at www.blackboxsports.net ... I might post my Denver play later as well, but it's up on the site if you're interested. Good luck to all the gamblohrs in here!
The Giants have put up quite a few points this season, but have had a relatively easy schedule thus far, at least in terms of defenses they’ve played. In fact, the highest ranked defense they’ve played recently was the Patriots (7th), who held them to 26 pts. That said, the Redskins don’t qualify as having a good, or even average defense themselves, as they currently rank 31st in our Power Rankings, with a pitiful power rating of 20 (out of a 100). They can’t stop the run at all, allowing 4.8 YPC this season (t-2nd last), and also have a hard time against the pass, allowing 7.7 YPA this season. They also can’t get to the QB, and are allowing a 109 QBR and a whopping 6.4 YPP (yards per play) over the last 6 weeks….they’re just pitiful. While the Giants probably won’t be able to take advantage on the ground, Eli and company will certainly take advantage aerially.
On the other side, the Redskins do have some hope. The Giants rank in the middle of the pack at stopping the run, which will be important in this game as the Redskins try to control the clock with Matt Jones and Alfred Morris. If they can keep Cousins in manageable down and distances, I like their chances of putting up a ton of points themselves. The Giants D, despite being ranked 23rd in our Power Rankings, are allowing 6.6 YPP over the last 6 weeks (worse than the Redskins) and, despite JPP playing a lot better than expected off an amputated finger, still struggle to get any pressure on the QB (I’m not buying the Patriots game – Brady has been under duress all season).
This game is shaping up to be a back and forth affair, so I like taking the home team with the free FG. I also like the situational angles here, as the Redskins are coming off a blow-out defeat to the Panthers, while the Giants are coming off a very tight loss to the undefeated Pats, and are also off a bye, which explains why this spread is moving in the direction of the Giants. The whole point of the Model is to cut thru all the noise, public bias, media hype and other crap that can move a line, so I’m not surprised it’s saying the Redskins are undervalued right now. The standard method for recommending units likes the Skins for 2 units (see above in the Statistical Model section), and so does the new method. I’m sticking with 2 units on the Redskins.
LINE MOVEMENT: This line has dropped to 2.5, indicating the professional bettors are all over the Redskins. I still like the skins for 2 units, even at 2.5, but I'm going to hold out and see if 3 pops back up again. We're not risking much by doing this, since the worst case scenario is the line moves down to 2, which isn't a big deal.
OVER-UNDER: I don't normally play over-unders, but for whatever reason I'm trying it this week for a few games. This total doesn't make sense to me - 47? Both teams can put up 30+, and a 28-24 final would actually be on the low side to me. I'm going with 1 unit on the Over.
FINAL BET: This line has dropped to +2..I'm locking this in for 2 units.
INJURY UPDATES: I don't normally post all the injuries, but considering a lot of people are scared to take the Redskins, I decided to give an update. The Giants have 2 key injuries on their Offensive Line - G Justin Pugh and C Weston Richburg (who is having a stellar season). Center is so important, so the latter is really going to hurt.
I'll list the good and bad moves made in free agency on this page. I'll also break down any significant trades. Follow me @walterfootball for updates.
Updated for 10/18/11
2011 NFL Free Agency: Oct. 18 Updates
Raiders acquire QB Carson Palmer from Bengals for 2012 1st, 2013 1st/2nd picks
Wow. What a trade for the Bengals. They just acquired a 2012 first-round pick, and a 2013 second-round selection (could be a first if the Raiders win a playoff game) for a player they're not even using right now. If the Bengals nail their draft choices, they're going to have a really strong team in a couple of years.
As for the Raiders, they no longer have a single draft choice in the first four rounds, though they'll probably get a bottom third back for Nnamdi Asomugha. I understand why they had to make the trade - they couldn't go with Kyle Boller - but not having any draft picks will royally screw them in the long haul.
Besides, there's no guarantee that Palmer is still any good. Save for two games at the end, he played like crap last year. He's still a major upgrade over Boller, but I'm not sure Oakland can go deep into the playoffs with him.
There's no question that Cincinnati won this trade.
2011 NFL Free Agency: Oct. 17 Updates
Rams acquire WR Brandon Lloyd from Broncos for a conditional 5th/6th-round pick
And the Broncos continue to prove that they have no idea what they are doing. Seriously, trading the NFL's leader in receiving yards last year for what could be a fifth-round pick based on receptions? What the hell is the point in that?
Denver should have kept Lloyd. Tim Tebow and Lloyd had a great rapport at the end of last season. Instead, dealing Lloyd only hurts Tebow's development because it's never good to rob a young quarterback of his best offensive weapon.
I'm always skeptical of teams trading for receivers during the season because that has a high failure rate, but the Rams are getting a great bargain. Besides, Lloyd is very familiar with Josh McDaniels' offense, so he should fit right in. Sam Bradford has to be a happy man right now.
2011 NFL Free Agency: Aug. 21 Updates
Cardinals re-sign WR Larry Fitzgerald (8 years, $120M; $47M guaranteed): A Grade
I'd normally frown upon this type of money given to a receiver, but it's a great move for the Cardinals, who are absolutely nothing without Larry Fitzgerald. He's their franchise player, and he deserves every penny of that $47 million guaranteed. Arizona could not risk losing him.
2011 NFL Free Agency: Aug. 13 Updates
Ravens acquire WR Lee Evans from Bills for 4th-round pick
The Ravens are really grasping at straws with this trade. At 30 years old, Lee Evans has lost a step. He no longer has his speed and should be considered a mediocre No. 2 receiver at best. Making matters worse, he's going to have to learn a brand new offense in one month before the regular season begins. The track record of non-elite wideouts changing teams is dubious, so it'll be a shock if Evans contributes much in 2011.
As for the Bills, they did a good job getting something for Evans. They probably won't make the playoffs in the next two years, so why not secure a mid-round selection for a declining receiver?
Patriots re-sign G Logan Mankins (6 years, $51M; $30M guaranteed): A- Grade
The Patriots did a great job to lock up their best offensive lineman, Logan Mankins, to a 6-year deal worth $51 million with $31 million guaranteed. This is a ton of money for a guard, but Mankins is arguably the top player at his position in the NFL, and New England's offensive line isn't the same without him. Tom Brady has to be a happy man right now.
2011 NFL Free Agency: Aug. 12 Updates
Chiefs sign OT Jared Gaither: B+ Grade
I'm assuming this is a cheap or incentive-laden contract. If so, why not? The Chiefs are not taking a risk by signing Jared Gaither. There's a good chance that Gaither may never be able to play football again because of his back, but if he makes a miraculous recovery, Kansas City will be able to use him as an upgrade at either tackle position, depending on how well he heals.
Jaguars sign DE Matt Roth (1 year, $3 million): B Grade
Jacksonville really needed to upgrade its pass rush, and Matt Roth was the best option on the market. Roth projects poorly in the 4-3, as he's been at his best in his career when playing the 3-4. Still, the Jaguars didn't really have much of a choice.
2011 NFL Free Agency: Aug. 11 Updates
Eagles sign WR Steve Smith (1 year, $4M; $2M guaranteed): C- Grade
I really don't get the point of this signing, outside of maybe pissing off the Giants. Steve Smith is coming off a nasty knee injury, and probably won't be able to play until Halloween at the earliest. Even if he comes back a little earlier, where is he going to play? At far less than 100 percent - Smith proclaimed his status to be as much - he's not an upgrade over solid slot receiver Jason Avant. The Eagles have said that this signing is in no part Jeremy Maclin insurance, but it has to be. I don't get why they'd pay Smith at least $2 million otherwise.
2011 NFL Free Agency: Aug. 9 Updates
Ravens sign RB Ricky Williams (2 years): B Grade
The Ravens needed a power running back to complement, and Ricky Williams was one of the top players available on the market. Williams rushed for 4.2 yards per carry last year, so he could still have something left in the tank. Then again, he is 34, so his skills could completely erode.
2011 NFL Free Agency: Aug. 8 Updates
Patriots sign DE Andre Carter (1 year): TBA Grade
It's funny how things work in the NFL. The Redskins had two tremendous 4-3 defensive players in Albert Haynesworth and Andre Carter last year, yet they foolishly insisted on switching to the 3-4. Haynesworth and Carter consequently struggled. So, here come the Patriots, who get both for cheap (presuming Carter didn't sign a big deal). Instead of sticking with the 3-4, New England is going to play to its new strengths and run the 4-3. One franchise keeps on winning, while the other has sucked for more than a decade. I wonder why that is...
Patriots sign DE/DT Shaun Ellis (1 year, $4 million): B+ Grade
The Patriots are doing what they do best - buying low on talented players. Shaun Ellis just turned 34, but there are two reasons why this move is great. First, Ellis terrorized Tom Brady in New England's playoff loss, which is an indication that he still has something left in the tank. If so, he'll help his new team rush the passer. Second, the Patriots are taking away a core player from the Jets. If they had Ellis on their side back in January, they would have defeated New York, so this signing helps swing the balance in the AFC East back in New England's favor.
UPDATE: This contract was for $4 million, so this move isn't as good as I initially thought.
Falcons re-sign RB Jason Snelling (1 year): A Grade
The Falcons almost had to do this. Michael Turner led the NFL in carries for the second time in three years, so it's almost a guarantee that he'll miss some action in 2011. Jason Snelling provides Atlanta with some much-needed insurance; thanks to the shortened offseason, Jacquizz Rodgers is not ready to handle most of the workload in the event of a Turner injury.
Texans sign FB Lawrence Vickers (2 years, $3 million): C- Grade
Forum mod Injured Reserve reminded me yesterday that I didn't grade this signing. This grade is a combination of the actual acquisition and Houston allowing Vonta Leach to defect for Baltimore. Vickers is a mediocre blocker, but he was the Texans' best option after Leach, one of the top fullbacks in the game, signed a 3-year, $11 million deal with the Ravens.
2011 NFL Free Agency: Aug. 7 Updates
Jets sign WR Derrick Mason (1 year): B- Grade
The Jets aren't risking anything here with this cheap, 1-year deal, but I'm not sure Derrick Mason will help the Jets at all. Mason is 37 and could be finished, so asking him to learn a new system this late in his career could be pretty futile. Mason will most likely regret not re-signing with Baltimore.
Packers re-sign WR James Jones (3 years, $9.4 million): B+ Grade
James Jones' contract has been revealed: three years, $9.4 million.
I'm not particularly fond of Jones; he drops too many passes and has never lived up to his potential. But Aaron Rodgers really wanted him back, so you can't fault Ted Thompson for listening to his Super Bowl MVP quarterback. As said with Malcom Floyd below, keeping your talent is the name of the game this offseason, and this contract isn't expensive at all.
2011 NFL Free Agency: Aug. 6 Updates
Chargers re-sign WR Malcom Floyd (2 years, $5 million): A Grade
The name of the game in this shortened offseason is retaining all of your talent. That's what the Chargers were able to do when they re-signed Malcom Floyd to a ridiculously cheap 2-year, $5 million deal. In an offseason in which Sidney Rice was paid $41 million, I can't believe Floyd's contract is so small.
Saints sign C Olin Kreutz (1 year): A Grade
The Saints desperately needed help at center in the wake of Jonathan Goodwin leaving for San Francisco. Olin Kreutz is old (34), but he'll definitely be an upgrade over Matt Tennant. New Orleans presumably is getting Kreutz cheap, so this is a good signing.
Raiders sign TE Kevin Boss (4 years, $16 million): B Grade
This is a decent signing. Kevin Boss is definitely not the pass-catcher Zach Miller was, but he'll replace Miller as an end-zone target, and he'll give the Raiders a strong blocking presence at the tight end position.
49ers sign WR Braylon Edwards (1 year, $1 million): A+ Grade
This is a really good, low-risk deal for the 49ers, who are getting a borderline No. 1 receiver for just $3.5 million. You better believe that Braylon Edwards will be out to prove himself after getting no offers that matched his desired price range this offseason.
UPDATE: Braylon Edwards' contract is actually a 1-year, $1 million signing with the other $2.5 million coming to him only if he catches 90 balls and makes the Pro Bowl. What a great deal.
Steelers re-sign DE/OLB LaMarr Woodley (6 years, $61.5 million): A Grade
As with yesterday's Tamba Hali contract, LaMarr Woodley is worth every penny of this deal. He's one of the fiercest pass-rushers in the game.
Jaguars re-sign TE Marcedes Lewis (5 years, $35M; $18M guaranteed): C Grade
For a one-year wonder tight end? Really? The Jaguars have overspent for mediocre talents all offseason, so this contract doesn't surprise me. Don't get me wrong; Lewis was not mediocre last season, but he hasn't done anything besides catch those 10 touchdowns in 2010. As I wrote in my 2011 NFL Free Agent Rankings, "Be careful, Jags."
Jets re-sign ILB David Harris (4 years, $36M; $29.5M guaranteed): A- Grade
That's a lot of guaranteed money for an inside linebacker, but David Harris is worth it. He's a stud who is extremely vital to the success of Rex Ryan's defense.
Chiefs sign FB Le'Ron McClain (1 year): A Grade
The Chiefs signed former Ravens fullback Le'Ron McClain, whose solid blocking will help offset the loss of Charlie Weis for Jamaal Charles. This is a cheap, no-risk deal that will definitely pay dividends. Nice move, Kansas City.
2011 NFL Free Agency: Aug. 5 Updates
49ers sign SS Donte Whitner (3 years, $11.75 million): B Grade
Donte Whitner initially agreed to terms with the Bengals, but changed his mind and signed with San Francisco.
The 49ers needed help at strong safety, and Donte Whitner is definitely an upgrade over Taylor Mays. Even so, Whitner isn't very good, so 49er fans shouldn't get excited or anything. Still, this is a quality signing because Whitner is still young (26).
Chiefs re-sign DE/OLB Tamba Hali (5 years, $60M; $35M guaranteed): A Grade
He's worth every penny. Tamba Hali is one of the top pass-rushers in the NFL, and the Chiefs did well to lock him up.
Fun fact: I sat next to Hali in the History of Sports Journalism, and two rows behind him in Women's Studies back at Penn State. There were plenty of hot chicks in the latter class, so believe me, I definitely studied some women in there. I'll have some fun stories about this in my upcoming book.
Buccaneers sign P Michael Koenen (6 years, $19.5M; $6.5M guaranteed): MILLEN ON MILLEN MAN SEX Grade
Tampa signed Michael Koenen to this ridiculous deal about a week ago, but this is by request. This must be one of the worst contracts in NFL history. No punter deserves this sort of money; let alone a pretty pedestrian one in Michael Koenen. And yes, you read that right. Millen on Millen man sex. That's 200-percent USDA Man.
2011 NFL Free Agency: Aug. 4 Updates
Raiders re-sign S Michael Huff (4 years, $32 million): D Grade
Michael Huff was great last year, but giving a massive contract like this to a guy with a dubious history of lethargy issues could be a terrible mistake. The sad thing is this isn't even close to being as bad as some of the other contracts Al Davis has given out.
Cowboys sign S Abram Elam (1 year): B Grade
Abram Elam isn't a bad safety, but I certainly wouldn't feel comfortable starting him. Still, the Cowboys are getting him cheap, and Elam is very familiar with Rob Ryan's scheme, having played for him in Cleveland.
49ers sign C Jonathan Goodwin (3 years, $10.9 million): B Grade
Jonathan Goodwin is 32, but he can still get the job done as a decent starting center. The 49ers really needed help at the position after losing David Baas last week. This is the right price for someone like Goodwin.
49ers sign CB Carlos Rogers (1 year): A- Grade
Even though Carlos Rogers is a slight downgrade from Nate Clements, this is a really good signing for San Francisco. The team is buying very low on Rogers; he's a talented cornerback who struggled last year because of injuries. That's why the market wasn't as strong for him this offseason.
2011 NFL Free Agency: Aug. 3 Updates
Broncos sign DT Ty Warren (2 years, $10 million): B Grade
The Broncos really need help at defensive tackle, and Ty Warren was the best free agent available at the position. Warren is coming off hip surgery, but Denver isn't risking much here. If Warren doesn't pan out, it won't really matter all that much.
Colts sign DT Tommie Harris (1 year): B Grade
This makes sense. The Colts aren't risking anything with Tommie Harris, who fits their defense perfectly. Harris is no longer the same player he once was thanks to injuries, but maybe he can be a solid rotational lineman for Indianapolis.
Eagles sign OT Ryan Harris (1 year): A Grade
Aside from landing Nnamdi Asomugha, this could end up being Philadelphia's best move this offseason. Ryan Harris is a starting-caliber right tackle in the NFL, who happens to fit Howard Mudd's blocking scheme to a tee. I only ranked Harris at 2.5 stars in my 2011 NFL Free Agent Rankings, but that's because he's missed 10 games in the past two seasons. If Harris can stay healthy, he'll be a huge upgrade over Winston Justice on the offensive front.
Seahawks sign TE Zach Miller (5 years, $34M; $17M guaranteed): C+ Grade
Zach Miller goes from a mediocre quarterback in Jason Campbell to a crappy one in Tarvaris Jackson. This is not a good move for his career, and I'm not sure what the Seahawks are doing by giving a tight end not named Antonio Gates $34 million over five years. The only upside here is that Andrew Luck, Matt Barkley or Landry "Lance" Jones could be throwing to Miller next year. The Seahawks better hope that Miller and Sidney Rice don't take them out of the running for those blue-chip quarterback prospects.
Saints sign NT Aubrayo Franklin (1 year): A+ Grade
What a great signing. Aubrayo Franklin is a massive, talented run-stuffer, who will severely upgrade New Orleans' defense. The 31-year-old Franklin's problem has always been motivation, but this 1-year deal ensures that he will try hard for his new team. The Saints suddenly have a pretty scary front four in Franklin, Sedrick Ellis, Will Smith and Cameron Jordan.
Eagles sign RB Ronnie Brown (1 year): B+ Grade
This is a pretty good, cheap signing in that the Eagles add some insurance to their "Dream Team" in case LeSean McCoy suffers an injury. Ronnie Brown is no longer the player he once was in Miami, but he should be effective if he has to start a few games. He'll keep the No. 2 running back spot warm for either Dion Lewis or Derrick Locke; one of those rookies will take over the job in 2012.
Chiefs sign WR Steve Breaston (5 years, $25M; $9.5M guaranteed): MILLEN ON SHROOMS Grade
This signing was from a few days ago, but details are now known. The Chiefs signed Steve Breaston to a 5-year deal worth $25 million with $9.5 million guaranteed.
Umm... what the hell is this? OK, so if even if there wasn't anything wrong with Breaston, spending $25 million overall and $9.5 million guaranteed on a slot receiver is overly excessive. But Breaston isn't fine; the Cardinals were eagerly willing to let him walk because they know his knees are shot. This is an awful signing.
Jaguars sign SS Dawan Landry (5 years, $27.5M; $10.5M guaranteed): B- Grade
This signing was from a few days ago, but details are now known. The Jaguars signed Dawan Landry to a 5-year deal worth $27.5 million with $10.5 million guaranteed.
Jacksonville continues to overspend for back seven players while ignoring its pass rush. I can't say I agree with this strategy, though unlike Clint Session, Landry is actually talented.
Giants re-sign RB Ahmad Bradshaw (4 years, $18M; $9M guaranteed): A Grade
This signing was from yesterday, but details are now known. The Giants re-signed Ahmad Bradshaw to a 4-year deal worth $18 million with $9 million guaranteed.
Bradshaw has his fumbling issues, but this is a really good deal for the Giants, who lucked out when Bradshaw's market dried up.
Patriots re-sign OT Matt Light (2 years, $12M; $7M guaranteed): B Grade
This signing was from a couple of days ago, but details are now known. The Patriots re-signed Matt Light to a 2-year deal worth $12 million with $7 million guaranteed.
The Patriots overspent, but they couldn't afford to have Nate Solder protecting Tom Brady's blind side in a shortened offseason. Light is a shell of his former self, but he'll keep the seat warm for Solder (or man the right tackle position while Sebastian Vollmer plays at left tackle).
2011 NFL Free Agency: Aug. 2 Updates
Bengals sign OLB Manny Lawson (1 year, $3 million): A- Grade
This signing is really intriguing to me. Manny Lawson is a talented linebacker who has always been stuck in the wrong scheme - he projects better into the 4-3 - so I'm curious to see how he fares in Cincinnati. The Bengals are getting a great deal here.
Panthers sign QB Derek Anderson: C- Grade
I don't see why the Panthers need Derek Anderson on their roster, unless they think he can beat out Jimmy Clausen for the No. 2 spot. That's definitely a possibility, though Anderson would have to be sober for this to happen.
Raiders re-sign OLB Kamerion Wimbley (5 years, $48M; $29M guaranteed): 4 Virgins Grade
"Kamerion... Wimbley... is a... great... playa..."
Sorry, I couldn't resist. I guess in Al Davis' book, Wimbley is worth four unsacrificed virgins. I seriously don't know how to grade this contract. Wimbley is a really good player, but there's no way in Al Davis' lair that he's worth $29 million guaranteed.
Colts sign DE/DT Jamaal Anderson (1 year): C+ Grade
I gave Jamaal Anderson three stars in my 2011 NFL Free Agency Rankings because I thought he'd be a great fit in a 3-4 defense. Apparently, neither Anderson nor his agent reads this Web site because the former Falcon bust agreed to a 1-year deal with Indianapolis. There's no risk here for the Colts, but I don't know if this acquisition is going to pan out.
Broncos acquire DT Brodrick Bunkley from Eagles for 2013 late-round pick
The previous Brodrick Bunkley to Cleveland trade was nullified because Bunkley refused to report to the Browns. Bunkley isn't nearly talented enough to make these sort of demands, but whatever.
This move really makes sense for both sides. The Eagles had no more use for Bunkley in the wake of the Cullen Jenkins signing. Bunkley didn't even play much last year anyway, so at least Philadelphia is getting something for him.
Meanwhile, the Broncos really need defensive line depth because they're changing to the 4-3 this year. Bunkley offers absolutely no pass rush, but he's a decent run defender. A 2013 late-round pick was quite a bargain, considering the Browns ponied up a 2012 fifth-rounder.
Colts re-sign RB Joseph Addai (3 years, $14 million): B Grade
Joseph Addai's contract figures have been revealed - he signed for $14 million over three years. The Colts are overpaying a bit, but they don't really have a choice because of Addai's familiarity with the offense. Donald Brown stinks in pass protection, while Delone Carter is just a rookie. Peyton Manning wanted some of his money to go to Addai, so Bill Polian obliged. Indianapolis fans will be hoping that Addai can stay healthy for once.
Bengals sign CB Nate Clements (2 years, $10.5 million; $6 million guaranteed): C Grade
Contract details available - Nate Clements signed a 2-year deal worth $10.5 million with $6 million guaranteed. The Bengals needed a talented corner to replace Johnathan Joseph, who signed with Houston. Despite his age (31), Clements can still play at a high level. That being said, you have to wonder though what this acquisition means exactly. The Bengals are in rebuilding mode, and it'll take Andy Dalton a couple of years to develop into a quarterback who can lead Cincinnati into the playoffs. By then, however, Clements will be too old. So, in a sense, this signing is somewhat meaningless.
Cardinals sign TE Todd Heap (2 years, $5.5 million): B Grade
Contract details now available - Todd Heap signed a 2-year, $5.5 million deal. This is a decent signing for the Cardinals. They needed some help at tight end, and Todd Heap should be a solid intermediate target for Kevin Kolb - assuming he can stay healthy. That's obviously the only issue here.
Bears sign C Chris Spencer (2 years, $6 million): C- Grade
Contract details have been revealed - Chris Spencer signed a 2-year, $6 million deal. Chicago isn't paying Spencer much, but I'm not a big fan of this signing. The Bears made this move because they were unwilling to give Olin Kreutz $500,000 more than he asked for. Sure, Kreutz is old, but continuity is paramount this year because of the shortened offseason. Chris Spencer isn't a bad center, but as Seahawk fans can attest, he cannot stay healthy. Meanwhile, Bears players are reportedly really pissed that their locker room leader won't be back because of a minor contract dispute. This could get ugly.
2011 NFL Free Agency: Aug. 1 Updates
Jets re-sign CB Antonio Cromartie (4 years, $32 million): C+ Grade
Tthe Jets are fortunate to retain Antonio Cromartie after pursuing Nnamdi Asomugha, but they still overpaid him. Cromartie is earning just $4 million a year less than Nnamdi Asomugha, which just doesn't seem right. Still, New York couldn't go into this season with Kyle Wilson as its No. 2 cornerback and expect to make a Super Bowl run.
Falcons re-sign G Justin Blalock (6 years, $38 million; $16 million guaranteed): C+ Grade
The Falcons re-signed guard Justin Blalock to a 6-year deal worth $38 million. That's more money than right tackle Tyson Clabo received from the team even though Clabo is the better player and mans a more important position. I think the Falcons panicked and wanted to make sure they didn't lose two offensive linemen in the same, shortened offseason. If so, I can't blame them - that's why this grade isn't worse than a C+.
Redskins re-sign OT Jammal Brown (5 years, $27.5 million): B- Grade
The Redskins had to solidify their right tackle position, so they re-signed the oft-injured Jammal Brown to a 5-year deal. Brown's next injury is always right around the corner, but Washington almost had to make this move even though they overpaid to keep him.
Redskins acquire RB Tim Hightower from Cardinals for DE/DT Vonnie Holliday and conditional late-round pick
This is a pretty meaningless trade that won't benefit either team. The only thing of note here is that Mike Shanahan gets to play with another running back to piss off fantasy owners foolish enough to draft any of the mediocre Washington runners.
Bengals re-sign RB Cedric Benson (1 year): B- Grade
I didn't like Cedric Benson much as a free agent because I thought some team might give him a substantial signing bonus. Instead, the lethargic Benson will have to play for yet another contract. This is a good deal for the Bengals, though Benson is very mediocre.
Bills sign ILB Nick Barnett (3 years, $12 million): B Grade
Signing 30-plus free agents doesn't usually pay off, but the Bills aren't exactly breaking the bank here on Nick Barnett. Barnett is still a solid starter in this league, and he'll be an adequate, but temporary replacement for Paul Posluszny.
Ravens sign FB Vonta Leach (3 years, $11 million): A Grade
Vonta Leach is arguably the best fullback in the NFL, so the Ravens have just really bolstered their rushing attack with this signing. Ray Rice has to be thrilled right now.
Saints sign CB Fabian Washington (1 year): B Grade
Fabian Washington is injury-prone - he's missed 12 games the past three seasons - but he plays well when he's actually in the lineup. Washington has a chance to start, so this is a quality, low-risk signing for the Saints.
Jets sign WR Plaxico Burress (1 year, $3 million): C Grade
I'm not sure what the Jets think they're accomplishing with this deal. Plaxico Burress has been out of football for two years, and he was slowing down before he even went to prison. It took Philadelphia's quarterback a year to adjust back to the NFL, and he was five years younger than Burress was in the same position. I don't see Burress doing anything.
Lions sign ILB Stephen Tulloch (1 year, $3.25 million): A+ Grade
Wow. How in seven hells did the Lions land Stephen Tulloch for just a 1-year, $3.25 million deal? Tulloch is one of the top inside linebackers in the NFL, and his presence undoubtedly gives Detroit one of the top five front sevens in football. If Matthew Stafford can stay healthy, the Lions could easily advance deep into the playoffs.
Eagles sign G Evan Mathis: TBA Grade
Evan Mathis is a talented guard, but like fellow signee Cullen Jenkins, he cannot stay healthy. Assuming the Eagles didn't fork over a lot of money, this is a decent, low-risk addition. I'll have a grade posted when contract details are revealed.
2011 NFL Free Agency: July 31 Updates
Bears sign RB Marion Barber (2 years, $5 million): B- Grade
Marion Barber signed a 2-year deal to be Matt Forte's backup in Chicago. Barber is worn down, but he should make for a better No. 2 back than Chester Taylor. He's also a great fit for Mike Martz's offense. The Bears are getting a decent deal here, though there were better running backs available.
Bears sign DT Amobi Okoye (1 year): B+ Grade
I love it. As I wrote regarding the Vernon Gholston signing, if there's one coach who can turn around a top-10 bust's career, it's Rod Marinelli. Amobi Okoye is only 24, so perhaps Marinelli can turn him into the player the Texans thought they were drafting back in 2007.
Titans sign ILB Barrett Ruud (1 year): B Grade
This is a solid signing as a 1-year "prove it" deal. Barrett Ruud had several terrific seasons in Tampa before really struggling in 2010. The Titans are taking a small risk here that really could pay off.
Eagles sign DT Cullen Jenkins (5 years, $25 million): C+ Grade
Cullen Jenkins is 30 years old and injury-prone (17 missed games in the past three seasons). Many other teams would have received a worse grade for giving Jenkins $25 million over five years, but the Eagles are going all in. They're not as concerned about Jenkins' age or injury history.
Rams sign DT Justin Bannan (3 years): TBA Grade
The Rams inked defensive tackle Justin Bannan to a 3-year deal. Analysis will be posted once contract details are known.
Ravens re-sign CB Chris Carr (4 years): TBA Grade
The Ravens re-signed Chris Carr to a 4-year deal. Analysis will be posted once contract details are known.
Cardinals sign CB Richard Marshall (1 year): B Grade
The Cardinals needed cornerback help after trading Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, but Richard Marshall isn't the answer. Marshall really struggled last season. Still though, this is a cheap, 1-year deal. If anything, Marshall provides needed depth.
Bengals sign OLB Thomas Howard (2 years, $6.5 million): B Grade
This signing also happened on Friday, but I'm catching up. This is much like the Deuce Lutui acquisition; Thomas Howard didn't play much last year because he was lost in the shuffle amid a very talented Oakland linebacking corps. However, Howard is definitely worthy of a starting gig, and should be able to overtake Dan Skuta as the first-team strongside linebacker.
Lions sign CB Eric Wright (1 year): B Grade
This signing also happened on Friday, but I'm catching up. It's a really good sign for Detroit fans that Eric Wright took less money to play for the Lions. Wright was once regarded as a very skilled cornerback, but his play really trailed off the past two seasons. Wright's aiming to rehab his image, and he could easily do so behind his new team's dominant pass rush.
Chiefs sign NT Kelly Gregg (1 year): A- Grade
This is a pretty good signing. Turning 35 in November, Kelly Gregg is not the player he once was, but should still be an effective run stopper. He'll offer a cheap upgrade at nose tackle and keep the seat warm for rookie Jerrell Powe.
2011 NFL Free Agency: July 30 Updates
Dolphins sign ILB Kevin Burnett (4 years, $21 million; $9 million guaranteed): C Grade
If I were a Dolphin fan, I wouldn't be too happy that my team just shelled out $9 million guaranteed to Kevin Burnett. Burnett was deemed a huge disappointment until last season, so was he just playing for a contract? It says something that he'd abandon a very good team like the Chargers and sign up with a squad that has no shot at the playoffs this year. Free agents who solely chase money - and that appears what Burnett is doing here - seldom pan out.
Rams sign WR Mike Sims-Walker (1 year): B Grade
I'm not particularly fond of Mike Sims-Walker. He's injury-prone and has a me-first attitude. But this is a pretty decent signing because there's absolutely no risk involved. Who knows, maybe Sims-Walker will develop as Sam Bradford's favorite weapon.
Saints re-sign SS Roman Harper (4 years, $28.5 million): C- Grade
This is a lot of money for a safety who tends to struggle in coverage. Roman Harper works well in Gregg Williams' defensive system, but he wouldn't have received anything close to $28.5 million over four years from anyone else. New Orleans is overpaying.
Bears sign DE Vernon Gholston: B+ Grade
I really like this signing. It may result in nothing, but there's plenty of upside in taking a chance on Vernon Gholston. Gholston, 25, has been a bust as the No. 6 overall pick in the 2008 NFL Draft. However, he was miscast in the 3-4, and could emerge as a solid pass-rusher in the 4-3. Plus, he'll be working with legendary defensive line coach Rod Marinelli. If Marinelli can't turn around Gholston's career, no one can.
Seahawks sign DT Brandon Mebane (5 years, $25 million): A- Grade
The Seahawks had to re-sign Brandon Mebane, their top defensive lineman. Mebane is very talented and young (26), so Seattle is getting quite a bargain in re-signing their defensive tackle for just $25 million over five years.
Eagles sign CB Nnamdi Asomugha (5 years, $60 million; $25 million guaranteed): A Grade
Does anyone find it weird that Nnamdi Asomugha received less money than Charles Johnson despite the fact that he was billed as the No. 1 free agent on the market? The Eagles are getting quite a deal here. The sole issue is that the former Raider is 30 years old, and bringing in free agents who are 30-plus usually doesn't work out. But for a team that wants to win now - as we saw when they drafted a 27-year-old in the first round - it's not that big of a concern.
Cowboys re-sign DE/DT Marcus Spears (5 years, $19.2 million): C+ Grade
This is a bit too expensive for Marcus Spears, but the Cowboys had to bring him back after losing Stephen Bowen to the Redskins. Spears has talent, but struggles with motivational issues.
Cardinals sign ILB Stewart Bradley: TBA Grade
The Cardinals signed inside linebacker Stewart Bradley. I'll have analysis when the contract details are available.
Rams sign G Harvey Dahl (multi-year): TBA Grade
The Rams signed Harvey Dahl to upgrade the right guard position. I'll have analysis once contract details are available.
Falcons sign DE Ray Edwards (5 years, $30 million): A+ Grade
Wow. So, Charles Johnson gets a 6-year, $76 million deal, while Ray Edwards was available for just $30 million over five years? Unlike Johnson, Edwards is not a one-year wonder. There's been speculation about whether or not he could be effective away from Jared Allen - I think he's underrated because of that - but it won't be an issue in Atlanta because he won't be the only potent pass-rusher; Edwards will resume his left end role across from John Abraham.
Giants sign C/G David Baas (5 years, $26 million): C+ Grade
This is a signing from a few days ago, but the contract details are now known. The Sacramento Bee's Matt Barrows is reporting that David Baas signed for five years, $26 million. The Giants are overpaying here; Baas is versatile, but isn't anything more than an average to sub-par starter. However, I can't really blame New York because its offensive line situation was dismal in the wake of the Shaun O'Hara and Rich Seubert cuts.
Dolphins sign QB Matt Moore (2 years): B- Grade
This is a "meh" deal. Matt Moore is a nice veteran backup quarterback, but that's all he should be. If the Dolphins deem Kyle Orton too expensive and feel comfortable having Moore compete with Chad Henne for the starting job, they're going to be drafting in the top five come April.
Broncos sign RB Willis McGahee (4 years, $10 million): A- Grade
This is a pretty good signing. Willis McGahee hasn't carried the ball much over the past several seasons, so he should still have plenty left in the tank. Knowshon Moreno is injury-prone and lazy, so it shouldn't surprise anyone if McGahee eventually supplants Moreno as Denver's starting running back.
Bears sign WR Roy Williams (2 years): B Grade
Roy Williams had the best season of his career under Mike Martz, so that's why I like this signing. Williams is definitely not the same receiver he was in 2006, but because he's familiar with the system - very important during this shortened offseason - he should be able to slide right in and potentially become Jay Cutler's No. 1 receiver.
2011 NFL Free Agency: July 29 Updates
Texans sign SS Danieal Manning (4 years, $20 million; $9 million guaranteed): A- Grade
You've gotta love what the Texans are doing. Danieal Manning is a really underrated safety who offers decent kick-return ability. Getting him for only $20 million over four years is quite a bargain.
Eagles sign QB Vince Young (1 year): A Grade
QB Wonderlic Failure - just kidding - Vince Young was the best quarterback available in free agency, so the Eagles made a solid, low-risk move in signing him as a backup. This is also a great opportunity for Young, who can sit back, mature and learn the West Coast offense.
Buccaneers re-sign G Davin Joseph (7 years, $53 million): D Grade
I'm having trouble processing this. I don't think any guard is worth $53 million over seven years; let alone an average starter at the position. Davin Joseph is a better fit for Tampa's new blocking scheme, but this is an awful amount of money to spend on him. The Buccaneers must have been really concerned that Joseph was going to take less money to play elsewhere.
Saints sign RB Darren Sproles (4 years, $14 million): A- Grade
Darren Sproles has lost some of his speed, but he can still function as a cheap substitute for Reggie Bush - both on offense and in the return game.
Falcons re-sign OT Tyson Clabo (5 years, $25 million; $11.5 million guaranteed): B+ Grade
I thought Tyson Clabo was a bit overrated in the overall market, but he's worth way more to the Falcons than he was to any other team. The Falcons could lose two starting linemen this offseason, and they couldn't afford to let Clabo get away.
Texans sign CB Johnathan Joseph (5 years, $48.75 million; $23.5 million guaranteed): A Grade
The Texans decided against spending a ridiculous amount of money for Nnamdi Asomugha, opting instead for the cheaper route. I actually like this move better because Johnathan Joseph is three years younger and isn't nearly as expensive as Asomugha. Joseph, 27, is a terrific cornerback with shutdown ability.
Panthers acquire TE Greg Olsen from Bears for 3rd-round pick
The Panthers have acquired Greg Olsen from the Bears for a third-round pick. This is a great trade for the Panthers, as they finally provide Cam Newton with a reliable non-running back to work with. Olsen was rotting on Chicago's roster because Mike Martz hates utilizing tight ends. He'll be much more of a factor with the Panthers.
Steelers re-sign OT Willie Colon (5 years, $29 million): A+ Grade
The Steelers show us again why they're one of the smartest and most successful franchises in the NFL. This was a terrific move; Willie Colon is one of the top right tackles in the league, yet Pittsburgh was able to get him for only $29 million over five years. The Steelers had to make this deal in the wake of 400-pound Max Starks' departure.
Patriots acquire WR Chad Ochocinco from Bengals for 2012, 2013 late-round picks
As much as I loved New England's acquisition of Albert Haynesworth, I really don't get this move. Bill Belichick preaches a football-first mentality, yet Chad Ochocinco is anything but football-first. He's a clown whose focus is on cheap reality TV shows like Eating Cereal with the Stars. More importantly, Ochocinco is pretty much done; he's a shell of his former self.
Having said all that, the Patriots are making a minimal risk here, so as much as I'd like to, I can't really bash this move too much. If Ochocinco acts up, he'll be on the first bus out of Foxborough.
By the way, I have to ask: If Mike Brown can trade Ochocinco, why can't he deal Carson Palmer? Care to explain that one, Mike?
Redskins sign G/C Chris Chester (5 years, $20 million): B- Grade
Chris Chester is inconsistent and Daniel Snyder is overpaying a bit, but the Redskins are desperate for offensive line help. Unlike some of Snyder's other moves, this one isn't too bad.
Jaguars sign OLB Clint Session (5 years, $30 million): MILLEN Grade
Umm... what!? Are the Jaguars absolutely insane? Clint Session is a marginal starter in this league. The track history of Colts players contributing elsewhere is pretty bleak. Yet, Jacksonville is giving Session $30 million? Session must have a picture of owner Wayne Weaver whacking off to porn, or something, because I just don't get this. It's a move Matt Millen would be proud of, so I'm giving this the 100-percent USDA Man MILLEN Grade.
Bills sign WR/KR Brad Smith (4 years, $15 million): A- Grade
I absolutely love this signing. Brad Smith is a dynamic return man who will allow the Bills to do some different things on offense. Buffalo is getting Smith really cheap, essentially stealing him from a hated divisional rival.
Cardinals acquire QB Kevin Kolb from Eagles for CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and 2nd-round pick
The Eagles are getting ripped off. There is no way in hell that a promising, potential franchise quarterback is worth only a second-round pick and a cornerback with motivational and tackling issues. Philadelphia should have easily been able to obtain Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and a first-rounder. Rodgers-Cromartie is highly talented, but plays when he wants to play. That being said, the Eagles have gotten the most out of a similar character in Jason Peters, so maybe Andy Reid can work his magic on the former Tennessee State product.
As for the Cardinals, they got their man. Kolb and Larry Fitzgerald have worked out a lot this offseason, so they're familiar with each other. Kolb still has some growing to do, but he could easily develop into the franchise quarterback Arizona has been looking for since Kurt Warner's retirement.
Redskins sign DE/DT Stephen Bowen (5 years, $27.5 million; $12 million guaranteed): C- Grade
It's amazing that after all of these years, Daniel Snyder still hasn't learned that you don't win in the NFL by spending in free agency. The Colts, Packers and Steelers have proven that you need to build through the draft; not spend $27.5 million on players with just 11 career starts. Stephen Bowen played well in 2010, but this is an awful lot of money to pay to an unproven commodity.
Eagles sign DE Jason Babin (5 years, $28 million; $5-6 million guaranteed): B Grade
The Eagles needed a pass-rusher, and Jason Babin was one of the top available defensive ends on the market. Babin is a 31-year-old one-year wonder, so there's no guarantee that he'll perform up to expectations for Philadelphia. However, Babin will be reunited with Tennessee's former defensive line coach Jim Washburn, so it would not be a surprise if he picked up where he left off last season.
Dolphins acquire RB Reggie Bush from Saints for late-round pick
One man's trash is another man's treasure. The Saints had to get rid of Reggie Bush because he was making too much money and was unwilling to take a paycut. The Dolphins are getting a talented, albeit frequently injured pass-catcher who really adds a new element to Miami's offense. The Dolphins' quarterbacking situation is still a major issue, but this acquisition is a step in the right direction.
Patriots acquire DE/DT Albert Haynesworth from Redskins for 2013 5th-rounder
What a great trade for the Patriots. They needed help on the defensive line, and they were able to land a Pro Bowl-caliber player for almost nothing. Sure, Haynesworth is less effective in the 3-4, but he can still perform on a very high level if motivated - and I'm sure he'll be motivated in New England. As for the Redskins, it's good that they were able to acquire something for Haynesworth; there was speculation that they were going to have to cut him.
2011 NFL Free Agency: July 28 Updates
Cowboys re-sign G Kyle Kosier (3 years, $9 million): A+ Grade
The Cowboys had to retain either Kyle Kosier or Leonard Davis after losing two starting offensive linemen early in the week (Davis, Marc Colombo). Kyle Kosier turns 33 in December, but he's still a good starter. He's a steal at $9 million over three years.
Seahawks sign WR Sidney Rice (5 years, $41 million; $18 million guaranteed): C- Grade
Be wary of the free agent chasing money - especially if he's a one-year wonder. Sidney Rice apparently doesn't care about winning, passing over the up-and-coming Rams in favor of the woeful, declining Seahawks. Rice will be a non-factor in 2011 with either Tarvaris Jackson or Charlie Whitehurst throwing the ball.
49ers re-sign DE/DT Ray McDonald (5 years, $20 million): D Grade
In my 49ers offseason needs page, I wrote that they needed an upgrade over free agent Ray McDonald. I guess they don't feel the same way. McDonald's a good pass-rusher, but he has never proven himself as an every-down player, so I don't quite get this deal.
Redskins sign CB Josh Wilson (3 years, $13.5 million; $6 million guaranteed): A+ Grade
I'm usually not a fan of Daniel Snyder's frivolous offseason spending, but I really love this deal. Josh Wilson emerged as a quality starting cornerback last year, so getting him for only $13.5 million over three years is quite a bargain.
Bills re-sign CB Drayton Florence (3 years, $15 million): C- Grade
The Bills haven't reached the playoffs in more than a decade because they continue to misevaluate their own talent. That's the case here with Drayton Florence, who isn't very good. Making matters worse, Florence is 30, so he's bound to decline sometime soon.
Panthers re-sign OLB James Anderson (5 years, $22 million): B Grade
A solid re-signing. James Anderson is a decent starting outside linebacker coming off a career year.
Bengals sign QB Bruce Gradkowski (2 years): B+ Grade
This is a nice move. Bruce "The Polish Point-Shaver" Gradkowski knows Cincinnati's offense, so he can start comfortably until Andy Dalton is ready to play. Note that this does not mean the Bengals will be trading Carson Palmer. As Mike Brown said, Palmer is retired. I actually agree with Brown's principles; if Palmer gets what he's asking for, it could open the floodgates for the other players to ask out of Cincinnati.
Buccaneers re-signed OLB Quincy Black (5 years, $29 million; $11.5 million guaranteed): C+ Grade
The Buccaneers overpaid. Quincy Black is a solid starting linebacker, but $29 million overall and $11.5 million guaranteed is just too much. In Tampa's defense, however, the team was $59 million under the cap prior to this re-signing, so it had a ton of money to spend to get to that 90-percent mark. That's why this grade is a C+, and not a C- or D.
Vikings acquire QB Donovan McNabb from Redskins for 2012 6th-rounder, 2013 conditional 6th-rounder
This is a pretty even trade. The Redskins got something for Donovan McNabb as opposed to just cutting him. The Vikings, meanwhile, now have a veteran quarterback to start until Christian Ponder is ready. Don't pencil Minnesota in as a playoff contender though; McNabb is done. The Vikings are a 6-10 or 7-9 team at best right now.
Seahawks sign G Robert Gallery (3 years): TBA Grade
I'll have analysis of this signing once contract details are available.
Panthers re-sign RB DeAngelo Williams (5 years, $43 million; $21 million guaranteed): D Grade
I can't believe how stupid this re-signing is. The Panthers should have traded DeAngelo Williams during the 2010 season, yet they stubbornly held on to him, perhaps prompting this ridiculous contract. Williams is really talented, but he can't stay healthy. Plus, it's not like running back was a priority for Carolina; Jonathan Stewart is more than capable of starting in this league, while Mike Goodson could have been a solid No. 2 back. The Panthers have other needs and should have spent this money elsewhere.
Chargers re-sign S Eric Weddle (5 years, $40 million; $19 million guaranteed): B- Grade
Eric Weddle is either the third- or fourth-best safety in the NFL. Still - this is a ton of money to pay a safety. I don't hate this move, but I'm surprised to see Weddle earn the most lucrative contract for a safety in league history.
Jets re-sign WR Santonio Holmes (5 years, $50 million; $24 million guaranteed): A+ Grade
Great move by the Jets. If they had to retain only one of their receivers, it had to be Santonio Holmes, who is one of the top players at his position in the NFL. Mark Sanchez has to be thrilled.
Falcons re-sign OLB Stephen Nicholas (5 years, $17.5 million): A- Grade
In an offseason in which the Falcons are expected to lose several players, including a few offensive linemen, they had to retain some of their quality players. Stephen Nicholas did a great job as the team's strongside linebacker last year.
Titans sign QB Matt Hasselbeck (3 years, $21 million): B- Grade
If it wasn't for Matt Hasselbeck's amazing two-game playoff run, he wouldn't have received anything close to this contract. Then again, that could have been a sign that he's finally healthy. If that is the case, then this is a really good signing for the Titans. If not, then they obviously wasted a ton of money on a potentially washed-up quarterback. This is a risky move, but I don't think they had any other choice.
2011 NFL Free Agency: July 27 Updates
Redskins sign NT Barry Cofield (6 years, $36 million; $12.5 million guaranteed): C+ Grade
Barry Cofield will be Washington's new nose tackle. He's a talented player, and unlike many of Daniel Snyder's signings, he's under 30. Cofield has never played in the 3-4 though, so that's a pretty big concern for me. Giving a player $36 million to play in a brand new system is pretty risky.
Cowboys re-sign OT Doug Free (4 years, $32 million; $17 million guaranteed): A+ Grade
The Cowboys were reportedly engaged in a bidding war for Doug Free with the Buccaneers, so I love the fact that they were able to retain arguably the top left tackle in free agency for just $32 million over four years. This was a great re-signing; Dallas couldn't afford to lose Tony Romo's blindside protector.
Steelers re-sign CB Ike Taylor (4 years): TBA Grade
The Steelers re-signed Ike Taylor, but I won't have a grade on this until I find out how much the contract is worth.
Jaguars sign LB Paul Posluszny (6 years, $42 million): C- Grade
As a Penn state fan and alumnus, I love Paul Posluszny, but $42 million over six years is just way too much. Posluszny is a good player, but he's not great. A team like Jacksonville, however, has to overpay a bit to land free agents, so I'm not going to give them a D or an F, or anything. Still though, I'm a bit confused. The Jaguars drafted for the future when they selected Blaine Gabbert with the 10th pick in the 2011 NFL Draft. So why are they spending so much money now if they're in rebuilding mode? Seems a bit wishy-washy to me.
Chargers sign ILB Takeo Spikes (3 years, $9 million): A Grade
I like this move. Takeo Spikes played for defensive coordinator Greg Manusky in San Francisco, so he should be able to step in comfortably as San Diego's new starting inside linebacker. Spikes turns 35 in December, but he comes with a cheap price tag.
49ers re-signed QB Alex Smith (1 year, $5 million): B Grade
Jim Harbaugh likes Alex Smith and apparently thinks he can turn him into a solid quarterback. Colin Kaepernick isn't ready to start anyway, so why not make this low-risk re-signing?
Chargers re-sign OT Jeromey Clary (4 years, $20 million): F Grade
At this point, I'm convinced that Jeromey Clary has naked pictures of general manager A.J. Smith. There's no other explicable reason why the Chargers would give such a terrible right tackle this much money. The Chargers should have found an upgrade for Clary years ago; they've failed to do so, and instead basically lit $20 million on fire.
Rams sign SS Quintin Mikell (4 years, $28 million): C+ Grade
Quintin Mikell is a good player, but there's a reason the Eagles are parting ways with him. He's 30, and his best days are behind him. I'm definitely not a fan of the Rams paying $28 million for him. Sure, he's an upgrade, but the strategy of signing free agents in their 30s usually doesn't pan out.
Ravens re-sign OT/G Marshal Yanda (5 years, $32 million): A Grade
The Ravens absolutely had to re-sign Marshal Yanda, as indicated by their four major roster cuts on Monday. Yanda is a talented, 26-year-old versatile lineman, and Baltimore didn't exactly break the bank to retain him.
Redskins re-sign WR Santana Moss (3 years, $15 million; $6 million guaranteed): A Grade
This is a great re-signing for the Redskins. Santana Moss is 32, but he's familiar with the system. Plus, $15 million ($6 million guaranteed) isn't very much for Moss, who is coming off a 1,100-yard season.
Panthers re-sign DE Charles Johnson (6 years, $76 million; $30 million guaranteed): C- Grade
Charles Johnson was awesome last year. He accumulated 11.5 sacks and was stout against the run. As a 25-year-old, the sky is the limit for him. But I'm not sure if I would have given him $30 million in guarantees. Johnson has only one season as a starter under his belt. Prior to 2010, Johnson started just four games dating back to 2007. The Panthers were way under the cap and couldn't allow another stud defensive end to get away, so I understand why they made this deal. It's just crazy to think that Johnson's contract is just $8 million overall and $12 million guaranteed less than Julius Peppers'.
Seahawks sign QB Tarvaris Jackson (2 years, $8 million): C Grade
I can't wait for this exciting Tarvaris Jackson-Charlie Whitehurst training camp battle! Jackson has physical talent, but he can't grasp the mental aspect of the game; he can't read the blitz, while his pocket presence is non-existent. He could beat out Whitehurst for the starting gig, but that's like Rosie O'Donnell defeating Sally Struthers in a beauty contest. The Seahawks are well on their way to landing Andrew Luck in the 2012 NFL Draft.
*** OLDER RECAPS BELOW COMMENT BOARD ***
2011 NFL Free Agency: March 9 Updates
Raiders re-sign S Hiram Eugene: 4 years, $10.25 million - Bad Move
What a great move. Hiram Eugene started four games in 2009 and played only 28 snaps in 2010, so why not give him $10.25 million? At this point, I'm convinced that Eugene and Stanford Routt are more valuable to Al Davis in other ways. Perhaps they make it easier for Undead Al to sacrifice virgins. That's my best guess.
2011 NFL Free Agency: March 4 Updates
Redskins sign FS O.J. Atogwe: 5 years, $26 million - Bad Move
I'm going to be honest. Daniel Snyder is a f***ing moron. Look, O.J. Atogwe is a really good player. But what the hell are the Redskins going to do with him? He turns 30 in June. Washington is a team in rebuilding mode. When they're finally capable of competing for a playoff spot, Atogwe will be old and ineffective.
This signing makes absolutely no sense. But then again, nothing Snyder ever does makes any sense. It's really amazing that year after year, Snyder continuously makes the mistake over and over again.
Here's a thought, Mr. Snyder: How about you build through the draft instead of overpaying for 30-year-old free agents past their prime? I know, it's a crazy concept. But maybe you should start paying attention to how franchises like the Packers, Steelers and Colts operate. Notice how they're always successful despite never signing any free agents? I guess that's just luck, right?
Chargers sign SS Bob Sanders: 1 year - Good Move
A great move for both sides. Bob Sanders gets to play for a contender. The Chargers, meanwhile, are making a low-risk, high-reward signing. If Sanders doesn't play, no big deal. If he can actually stay healthy for a change, San Diego adds a Pro Bowl talent to its defense.
Vikings re-sign DE Brian Robison: 3 years, $14.1 million; $6.5 million guaranteed - Average Move
This is quite a bit of money for a third-down pass-rusher. However, with absolutely nothing at the defensive end position outside of Jared Allen, the Vikings didn't really have much of a choice.
Also, this re-signing won't really change Minnesota's strategy pertaining to the No. 12 pick in the 2011 NFL Draft. If the Vikings like J.J. Watt or Cameron Jordan enough, they'll take either guy and keep Robison as a rotational player.
Texans re-sign TE Owen Daniels: 4 years, $22 million; $6 million guaranteed - Good Move
Owen Daniels is one of the top tight ends in the NFL. He's coming off an injury, so the Texans are lucky enough to get him at a discounted rate.
Saints re-sign RB Pierre Thomas: 4 years, $12 million - Good Move
Pierre Thomas is injury-prone and has never shown that he's capable of carrying the load. Having said that, bringing him back for four years and only $12 million is highway robbery.
Packers re-sign ILB A.J. Hawk: 5 years, $30-$35 million; $10 million guaranteed - Average Move
A.J. Hawk is a very good player, but he's not worth this much money. The Packers probably had to overpay, however, seeing as how they released him a day earlier. Lowballing Hawk would have just pissed him off enough to sign with someone else.
Panthers sign TE Jeremy Shockey: 1 year - Bad Move
This is a waste of money. Jeremy Shockey is old (31), slow and injury-prone. He's done.
Browns re-sign LB D'Qwell Jackson: 1 year, $4.5 million - Good Move
D'Qwell Jackson is talented but injury-prone, so the Browns are bringing him back for the right price. If Jackson stays healthy, they'll have a skilled weakside linebacker for their new 4-3 defense. If Jackson gets hurt again, well, at least they tried.
Saints sign DT Shaun Rogers: 1 year, $4 million - Average Move
Shaun Rogers, 32 later this month, doesn't have much left in the tank. The Saints really needed defensive tackle help, so depending on what happens with the CBA, this may have been their only chance to secure someone at the position outside of the NFL Draft.
Patriots sign DE/DT Marcus Stroud: 2 years - Average Move
Marcus Stroud is probably done, so he's definitely not the solution to New England's defensive line needs. Having said that, the Patriots need depth up front, so as long as they didn't overpay for Stroud's services, this isn't a bad acquisition.
Raiders re-sign CB Stanford Routt: 3 years, $31.5 million - Bad Move
This might be the worst contract in the NFL right now. I can only imagine how this went down...
Al Davis: Stanford... Routt... is a... free... agent... we must... re-sign... this great... playa...
Zombie Assistant: But Mr. Davis, Stanford Routt isn't a great player. We can re-sign him for let's say, three years, $8 million.
Al Davis: Let's... give him... three yeaz... $31.5... million...
Zombie Assistant: What!? You do know that Routt had 12 penalties last year, right? And what about the fact that he allowed 15 yards per reception? No one's going to give this guy eight figures.
Al Davis: Pete... Rozelle... will screw... me again... I must... make sure... I retain... this great playa... I timed him... yestehday... and he had... a great... 40 time...
Zombie Assistant: Who cares about his 40?
Al Davis: How dare you... question... my scouting... that's it... gargoyle assistant... you're in charge... send zombie assistant... to the dungeon...
Gargoyle Assistant: Yes sir!
Zombie Assistant: Nooooooooooo!!!
Gargoyle Assistant: And while I remove Zombie Assistant, might I add, Mr. Davis, that your stop watch skills are as impeccable as ever.
Al Davis: Thank you... Gargoyle Assistant... perhaps I... should give you... $31.5 million... as well...
Broncos re-sign CB Champ Bailey: 4 years, $43 million ($15 million guaranteed) - Good Move
This re-signing was huge. Had Champ Bailey left, the Broncos would have been in a complete rebuilding mode. The 33-year-old shutdown corner re-signed, however, allowing Denver to keep one of its few blue-chip players on its roster. With Bailey and Perrish Cox at corner, the Broncos can afford to take a defensive tackle instead of Patrick Peterson with the No. 2 pick in the 2011 NFL Draft.
Raiders re-sign DE/DT Richard Seymour: 2 years, $30 million ($22.5 million guaranteed) - Bad Move
The Raiders had to re-sign Richard Seymour; otherwise they'd look really stupid when the Patriots are on the clock with the 17th pick in the 2011 NFL Draft. That being said, $22.5 million guaranteed for a declining 32-year-old is ridiculous. Seymour is known for slacking off at times, so he could coast through next season with all that new money in his bank account.
Eagles sign DE Phillip Hunt: 3 years - Good Move
Phillip Hunt led the CFL with 16 sacks last year. Hunt's probably a better fit for the 3-4, but I like this move. The Eagles need a pass-rusher in the wake of Brandon Graham's injury, and given the uncertainty of the CBA, this could be Philadelphia's only chance to acquire one.