Free Agency so far has been a fascinating spectacle with a myriad of unexpected signings, developments, and rumors. There’s a lot of news to catch up on, but here are the most important takeaways and nuggets of analysis every NFL fan must know:
1.The Good Ol’ “What the hell are you doing?” Reality Check
New York Giants: What the hell are you doing overpaying Janoris Jenkins?
The Giants have been embarrassingly and uncharacteristically desperate over the past several offseasons to add talent in any conceivable way, but this is a new low for them. Janoris Jenkins is not worth any where near 62 million dollars over 5 years (12.5 million per year)! The Giants have struck out in free agency year after year as the franchise has declined, and this comes off as a culmination of frustration and desperation. Look, Jenkins is a fine player, and he is a great addition to a lousy Giants secondary… But he is horrifically overpaid, and contracts like that can suffocate a team. That contract makes Jenkins the seventh highest paid cornerback in the NFL when he rated as the fourteenth best cornerback in the NFL last year according to Pro Football Focus. Jenkins is a good addition to the team, but not at this price.
Atlanta Falcons: What the hell are you doing overpaying Mohamed Sanu?
The Falcons needed a number two wide receiver to complement the dominant Julio Jones after the release of veteran, Roddy White. Sanu can be a decent number two wide receiver in the right system, and at surface level, this is a solid signing… But similarly to the Giants, the contract it took to land Sanu is utter desperation and naivety. Mohamed Sanu is not worth 32.5 million over 5 years (6.5 million annually)! This is a player whose best season was 790 yards and 5 touchdowns! Sanu is a mediocre secondary receiving option, so why in the world are you paying him like a number one receiver (and a good one at that)?! If the Falcons truly want to rebuild the right way in order to ensure a full franchise recovery after years of frustration: they cannot hand out atrocious contracts like these.
Miami Dolphins: Why the hell are you letting Lamar Miller walk?
I will asterisk this rant by saying that Miami has recovered well by signing CJ Anderson to an offer sheet (though we have yet to see if that will go through), but it is still worth saying that the Phins blew it by letting Miller walk. Lamar Miller was criminally underutilized under the past few seasons, but he is now a prime candidate to become a bona fide star. Miller is just 24, has a one thousand yard rushing season under his belt, has developed each year in the league into now being not just a home run threat but able to physically pound it up the middle also, and he is a dual threat player who can catch balls out of the backfield and block. Miller can do it all, and when he finally gets a chance in Houston to get the touches he deserves, he’ll excel. Mark my words, Lamar Miller is going to be a Jamaal Charles/Le’veon Bell type player.
Denver Broncos: Why the hell are you letting Brock Osweiler get away?
John Elway’s hubris showed on this decision. Yes, we have only seen an extremely limited sample size on Osweiler, and yes, he is not worth the contract Houston awarded him… But when you have a potential franchise quarterback (and no other option now that Manning has retired) you must bite the bullet and either sign or franchise Osweiler! Now the Broncos will likely be mired in quarterback hell for the next several years unless Mark Sanchez magically evolves into a capable player. The Broncos should not have let Osweiler get out the door, and they’re going to regret it badly. Also, if you’re going to let Osweiler go, why in the world aren’t you giving Malik Jackson the big contract now that you now can afford? IS THERE SOME UNWRITTEN RULE THAT SUPER BOWL TEAMS MUST BE GUTTED BEFORE THE NEXT SEASON? This is a bad look for Denver.
- Let’s Play Free Agent Matchmaker
Let’s piece together some bargain bin pickups that will make an impact in a big way with their new team:
- Adam Jones CB
The Dolphins cut Brent Grimes and replaced him with the ever mediocre, Byron Maxwell. Maxwell is a solid corner, but Miami needs another talented veteran in the secondary in addition to a draftee. Pacman Jones has shown an interest in coming to South Florida in the past, and he could be a great veteran addition to a broken secondary.
- Anquan Boldin WR
The Greg Jennings experiment was an unmitigated disaster, but luckily, Miami still has an impressive group of young receivers in Jarvis Landry, Devante Parker, and Kenny Stills. These are players who can be a truly formidable collection of talent in the near future, but they could use a good veteran mentor who can also chip in to be a dependable target for Tannehill. Anquan Boldin fits the bill perfectly as he can be a go to third down machine while mentoring the young ones.
- Alfred Morris RB
Darren McFadden did an admirable Demarco Murray impression last year, but he is not the long term solution for the ‘Boys backfield. Morris has been terribly underrated and underused in Washington for the duration of his young career, and he can be a flawless fit in the Cowboys power run scheme. He’s a twenty seven year old power running back perfect for Dallas with three one thousand yard seasons under his belt and a clean bill of health. Bring him in, and watch him dominate behind the immensely talented Cowboys offensive line.
- Ryan Fitzpatrick QB
The Broncos already blew it by letting Osweiler go, but Fitzpatrick could quietly be a perfect fit for the team. Fitzpatrick is a remarkably similar player to Matt Schaub under Kubiak in Houston as a game manager quarterback with decent pocket skills and football IQ but devoid of a deep ball or true arm talent. Kubiak could help Fitz to overachieve similarly to his system with Schaub with the Texans, and in doing so, the Broncos could still salvage passable quarterbacking this season.
Free Agency has been fascinating in the early going this year, stay tuned for more updates.