NFL Free Agency Tracker: Analyzing Every Move Made On Day Two of Legal Tampering Period

Even after a very active first day of free-agency signings and trades on the first day, there should be plenty of activity today, especially with the quarterback market. We already know Tom Brady is leaving the Patriots, but where will he and Phillip Rivers land? Let’s analyze every move (major or minor) made today, Tuesday March 17th.

Seahawks Re-sign TE Luke Willson

lukewillson
Photo Cred: The Seattle Times

Contract Details: One Year 

Grade: B

In a very minor move, the Seahawks have brought back tight end Luke Willson on a one-year contract. Willson, 30, has solidified himself as a decent reserve tight end who can run-block marginally well, and is a good fit since Seattle doesn’t have a lot of quality run blockers at tight ends. Yet, he’s also the fourth tight end on the depth chart, so it’s not a lock he’ll be on the roster.

Bills Sign LB Tyler Matakevich

matakevich
Photo Cred: DK Pittsburgh Sports

Contract Details: Two Years, $9 Million

Grade: C-

A day after signing AJ Klein, the Bills have added more depth to their linebacking corps, signing Tyler Matakevich to a two-year, $9 million contract. Since he’s never played more than 61 snaps in a season, it’s safe to say the 27-year-old Matakevich is mostly just a special teams asset. $4.5 million per year is a lot, however, and honestly, outside of Matthew Slater, I’m not sure teams should be going out of their way to sign special teams players.

Cardinals Sign DT Jordan Phillips

jiordanphillips
Photo Cred: Arizona Sports

Contract Details: Three Years, $30 Million

Grade: F

In what may go down as the worst, or at least one of the worst free-agent signings of the offseason, the Cardinals have agreed to terms with interior defensive lineman Jordan Phillips on a three-year contract worth $30 million. Phillips, 27, had 10 sacks last year, but did so with only 28 pressures, and has had back-to-back seasons with an overall grade from Pro Football Focus below 52. He benefitted from clean-up duty from the pressure the players around him put on the quarterback, and for an Arizona team that needed to be smart with how they went about improving their defense, this is an awful move for them.

Saints Re-sign QB Drew Brees

drewbrees
Photo Cred: Bleacher Report

Contract Details: Two Years, $50 Million

Grade: B+

In the most expected move of the offseason, the Saints have re-signed franchise icon Drew Brees to a two-year, $50 million contract, making certain the 41-year-old retires as a Saint. Essentially, it’s the same deal that Brees signed the last time he was a free agent, as there will likely be no guaranteed money for the second season, with voidable years attached to it- New Orleans is able to spread out his cap hit while also continuing to go year-to-year with him. At some point, I would like to see the Saints stop pushing their financial penalties down the road, especially with them needing to sign some of their young players to extensions. Heck, the case can be made that they should’ve pivoted to Bridgewater, as even though Brees was fantastic last season, his arm strength once again declined severely down the stretch. Yet, $25 million per year is such a below-market cost for a quarterback of his capabilities, and given the situation, they made the most out of it. Now, it’s up to New Orleans to put more talent around him for one more Super Bowl run.

Dolphins Sign EDGE Emmanuel Ogbah

NFL: Kansas City Chiefs at Denver Broncos
Photo Cred: Chiefs Wire

Contract Details: Two Years, $15 Million

Grade: B

Continuing to bolster their edge rush, the Dolphins have signed Emmanuel Ogbah to a two-year, $15 million contract, with no guaranteed money attached to the second year. Ogbah, 26, has never had a pass-rushing grade 62.6 (per Pro Football Focus) in a season, and is more of a run defender, similar to Shaq Lawson, whom they signed yesterday. However, he’s a nice fit in head coach Brian Flores’ scheme since he’ll be able to line up on the edge or on the interior, a skillset that hasn’t been utilized enough by his past defensive coordinators. Ogbah’s an average player with some untapped potential, but since this is pretty much just a one-year contract, I actually understand this from Miami’s perspective. Flores is building his defense the way former Bill Belichick disciples have failed to do.

Lions Sign QB Chase Daniel

chasedaniel
Photo Cred: Detroit Free Press

Contract Details: Three Years, $13.5 Million

Grade: A-

After Matthew Stafford went down with a back injury last season, the Lions didn’t win a single game, since they didn’t have a competent backup quarterback on the roster. They’ve made certain that won’t be the case this year, as they’ve agreed to terms with Chase Daniel on a three-year contract worth $13.5 million. Now 33-years-old, Daniel has always had a reputation as a quality backup quarterback, and when filling in for Mitch Trubisky in each of the past two seasons, he’s held his own. Stafford’s back injury is likely to linger with him for the rest of his career, so to secure a solid backup option behind him is very smart.

Bears Sign EDGE Robert Quinn

quinn
Photo Cred: Inside The Star

Contract Details: Five Years, $70 Million

Grade: D+

In an interesting decision, the Bears have essentially swapped edge rushers, signing Robert Quinn to a five-year contract worth $70 million contract, while also releasing former top-ten pick Leonard Floyd. Quinn, 30, is certainly a more valuable player than Floyd, as although he’s not as strong of a run defender, he’s a much better pass rusher, as he had 57 pressures this season in just 15 games. However, he’s an odd fit in Chicago’s 3-4 defensive scheme, as he’s much better rushing the passer with his hand in the dirt, and if used like the Bears employed Floyd, will likely regress in terms of production. Plus, the Bears should be focused on using the finances to add to their offense or secondary, and although this is a wash considering the money freed up by cutting Floyd, they should’ve used the money somewhere else besides a #2 edge rusher opposite of Khalil Mack. I’m not worried about the contract length, since it only comes with $30 million in guaranteed money, but I don’t see how this moves the needle for them in 2020.

Raiders Sign LB Cory Littleton

Chiefs Rams Football
Photo Cred: Orange County Register

Contract Details: Three Years, $36 Million

Grade: A

The Raiders signed Nick Kwiatkowski yesterday, but didn’t stop them from adding yet another 26-year-old linebacker- they’ve signed Cory Littleton to a three-year contract worth $36 million. In my eyes, this is an absolute home run for the Raiders, as Littleton has established himself as one of the game’s best coverage linebackers, and even improved significantly as a run defender this season. Per Pro Football Focus, he was the 9th most valuable linebacker in the NFL last season, and he’ll pair tremendously with Kwiatkowski- he can be more of the rangy coverage defender, while Kwiatkowski is more of their run defender/blitzer. All of a sudden, Las Vegas goes from having the league’s worst linebacking corps to one of the best, which will be paramount for the growth of their defense.

Texans Re-sign CB Vernon Hargreaves III

hargreaves
Photo Cred: http://www.si.com

Contract Details: One Year

Grade: C

Adding some depth to their secondary, the Texans have brought back nickel corner Vernon Hargreaves III to a one-year contract. Hargreaves III, 24, is a former first-round pick who busted out in Tampa Bay, and although he improved slightly upon being traded to the Texans, was a below-average cornerback. He’s a good run defender, but hopefully, Houston sees him as nothing more than a depth player, and will have that reflected with the overall salary.

49ers Re-sign EDGE Ronald Blair III

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Photo Cred: San Francisco Chronicle

Contract Details: One Year

Grade: B+

Retaining an underrated player, the 49ers have re-signed edge rusher Ronald Blair III to a one-year contract. Though the 27-year-old Blair III struggled in his first three years with the team, he was much better as a rotational edge rusher for them in 2019, earning an overall grade of 77.5 from Pro Football Focus. San Francisco’s pass rush is at its best when they can mix and match with their defensive line, so to that end, it’s nice to see them hold onto Blair III, whom I’m surprised wasn’t a little more coveted on the open market.

Dolphins Sign LB Kamu Grugier-Hill

kamu
Photo Cred: NBC Sports

Contract Details: One Year

Grade: B+

Continuing to add to their defense, the Dolphins have reached an agreement with former Eagles linebacker Kamu Grugier-Hill on a one-year contract. Grugier-Hill, still just 25-years-old, has played around 350 snaps in each of the past two seasons, and to his credit, has been at least an average player in every area. He’s a very nice depth option at linebacker, and given how thin of a roster Miami still has, bringing him in as role player makes a lot of sense.

Eagles Re-sign CB/S Jalen Mills

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Photo Cred: NBC Sports

Contract Details: One Year, $5 Million

Grade: B-

In a very fascinating move with a lot of upside, the Eagles have not only re-signed defensive back Jalen Mills, but they’ve converted him to safety. Mills, 25, has struggled at outside cornerback over the past two seasons, due in large part due to his lack of athleticism. Yet, as a safety, his coverage instincts and aggressiveness could work much better, and his cornerback skills can still be used to cover tight ends- he’s super physical. There’s no way to know how Mills will transition to his new position, but this has been long overdue, and I’m excited to see how it turns out.

Jaguars Sign LB Joe Schobert

schobert
Photo Cred: Yahoo! Sports

Contract Details: Five Years, $53.075 Million

Grade: C+

The Jaguars have spent most of the offseason deconstructing their defense, but perhaps they’ve added a pillar for the next era in Jacksonville- they’ve signed linebacker Joe Schobert to a five-year contract worth $53.075 million. With just a 59.1 overall grade from Pro Football Focus this past season, the 28-year-old Schobert may seem overpaid on the surface, but hopefully in Jacksonville, his skillset can be used better. He’s a solid coverage linebacker with the ability to rush the passer, and if he’s used similar to how the 49ers use Fred Warner, I think he could have success. A five-year contract is lofty give his age, but it only comes with $22.5 million in guaranteed money, so it’s closer to a two-year deal. Yet, at the same time, the Jaguars should not be looking to add to their team, as they’re in a deep rebuild, and I would’ve much rather seen Schobert land with a team that was actually looking to compete next season.

Dolphins Sign RB Jordan Howard

howard
Photo Cred: NBC Sports

Contract Details: Two Years, $10 Million

Grade: C

Going with a cheaper option at running back to try to make certain that Ryan Fitzpatrick won’t be their leading rusher again, the Dolphins have signed another former Eagle. This time, it’s Jordan Howard on a two-year, $10 million contract, and I’m guessing this means they won’t be signing Melvin Gordon III. Howard, 25, has proven himself to be a solid rusher in between the tackles, but due to his lack of receiving ability, he’s more of a RB2 in the modern NFL. The contract isn’t worth much, and hopefully they don’t feel pressure to draft a running back with one of their early picks, though given how poor their offensive line is, I don’t see him having much success.

Redskins Sign LB Kevin Pierre-Louis

pierrelouis
Photo Cred: Chicago Tribune

Contract Details: One Year, $3.45 Million

Grade: B+

The Redskins have made it a priority to build a deeper defense, especially at the linebacker position, and now, they’ve signed Kevin Pierre-Louis to a one-year contract worth $3.45 million. In his six-year career, the 28-year-old year Pierre-Louis has never played 300 snaps in a season, but he’s very athletic, and when he got his chance with Chicago for the final four games of the seasons, he shined with a 91 coverage grade, per Pro Football Focus. Now, that’s a very limited sample size, but the Redskins needed more athleticism at the linebacker position, so to that end, this is a really nice fit.

Titans Sign EDGE Vic Beasley

vicbeasley
Photo Cred: CBS Sports

Contract Details: One Year, $12 Million

Grade: D-

Hoping to improve their pass rush, the Titans have agreed to terms on a one-year, $12 million contract with former Falcons edge rusher Vic Beasley. After posting 65 pressures in 2016, the future appeared to be bright for the 27-year-old Beasley. However, in the three seasons since then, he hasn’t once even eclipsed 40 pressures, and continues to be overvalued because of his 16 sacks in that peak season. I don’t see him as an upgrade at all for the Titans, and although it’s just a one-year deal, $12 million is way too much for a severe bounce-back candidate. Simply put, this is just a waste of money.

Colts Sign QB Phillip Rivers

Oakland Raiders v Los Angeles Chargers
Photo Cred: NBC San Diego

Contract Details: One Year, $25 Million

Grade: A

The long-rumored pairing is finally official; the Colts have signed long-time Chargers quarterback Phillip Rivers to a one-year, $25 million contract. Coming off of a down season in 2019 in which he struggled with turnovers, Rivers, 38, parted ways with the Chargers, and with that, have many worried that he’s declined. However, he was the sixth most valuable quarterback in each of the two seasons prior to that, according to Pro Football Focus, and in Los Angeles, he suffered mightily behind a poor offensive line and baffling play calling. Now, he goes to Indianapolis, who has all the pieces needed to succeed with arguably the league’s best offensive line and an excellent play-caller in head coach Frank Reich. He’s a major upgrade over Jacoby Brissett, but I also believe Reich, who was coached Rivers before, is a great fit for the veteran quarterback- Reich got Andrew Luck to get rid of the ball quicker, and Rivers follows suit and isn’t as careless with the football, then he can still have a lot of success. I’ve loved the idea of Rivers to the Colts from the beginning, and for only one year and $25 million, this was a no-brainer for general manager Chris Ballard.

Raiders Sign TE Jason Witten

jasonwitten
Photo Cred: http://www.si.com

Contract Details: One Year, $4.75 Million

Grade: D

After 15 years with the Cowboys, tight end Jason Witten has finally moved onto a new team, signing a one-year, $4.75 million deal with the Raiders. Now 37-years-old, Witten has been a very limited player over his past two seasons, and after briefly retiring in 2018, continued to look like a shell of himself in 2019. He’s Las Vegas’ third best tight end at best, and outside of him being a nice locker room presence, I don’t understand why they made this move at all.

Chargers Sign OT Bryan Bulaga

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Photo Cred: Packers Wire

Contract Details: Three Years, $30 Million

Grade: A

No matter who is their quarterback in 2020, the Chargers desperately needed to fix their offensive line, and finally, they’ve filled their long-time hole at right tackle. For a pretty modest $30 million over the next three seasons, they’ve brought in Bryan Bulaga, who is immediately their best pass protector by far. In the past six seasons with the Packers, the 31-year-old’s pass-blocking grade (per Pro Football Focus) never dipped below 72, and with a scheme change in 2019, he also had by far his best season as a run blocker. Usually, finding a reliable tackle like him is either super difficult or would force the team to massively overpay, yet for just $10 million per year, Los Angeles has come away with the player who should’ve always been their top non-quarterback target. They still need another tackle, and probably another guard, but it’s safe to say the offensive line will be significantly improved next season.

Eagles Sign S Rodney McLeod

mcleod
Photo Cred: NBC Sports

Contract Details: Two Years, $12 Million

Grade: A-

The Eagles moved Mills to safety today and declined the club option on Malcolm Jenkins, and they’ve finished their safety reshuffling by bringing back Rodney McLeod on a two-year deal worth $12 million. McLeod, 29, has always been an underrated safety, as although he’s not a good run defender, he’s always fabulous in coverage, making him a valuable commodity at the position. Simply put, I don’t understand how Philadelphia got him so cheap, as he’s better than a lot of safeties that have earned more money in previous free agency periods. The Eagles still need to add a cornerback or two, but at least the back-end of their defense appears to be in good hands.

Bengals Sign IDL DJ Reader

djreader
Photo Cred: Texans Wire

Contract Details: Four Years, $53 Million

Grade: C+

The Bengals are usually very conservative in free agency, but they’ve come out of their comfort zone to improve their defense, signing interior defensive lineman DJ Reader to a four-year, $53 million contract. Despite weighing 347 pounds, the 25-year-old Reader is much more than your prototypical run-stuffing nose tackle, as not only is he a stout run defender, he’s proven to be a solid pass-rusher- he was the 8th most valuable interior defensive lineman, according to Pro Football Focus. He’ll immediately replace Andrew Billings at the nose tackle position, and should improve their run defense while fortifying one of the strongest defensive lines in the NFL. Yet, is the gap between Reader and Billings worth this much? The Bengals have far greater needs than interior defensive linemen, as their secondary, linebacking group, and offensive line all need massive overhauls. I’m a huge fan of Reader, but this is a pretty pricey contract, especially for Cincinnati.

Cowboys Re-sign S Darian Thompson

darianthompson
Photo Cred: Blogging The Boys

Contract Details: One Year

Grade: B

Bringing back some much needed safety depth, the Cowboys have retained safety Darian Thompson on a one-year contract. Thompson, 26, has never been able to establish a role in the NFL, but every time he’s played, he’s been an alright safety option, and was able to fill in for Dallas last season when they needed him. He won’t start for them next season, but he’s a nice third or fourth safety for a contending team.

Jaguars Sign CB Darqueze Dennard

dennard
Photo Cred: Cincy Jungle

Contract Details: Three Years, $13.5 Million

Grade: A

In what has to be one of the best value signings of the offseason so far, the Jaguars have signed nickel corner Darqueze Dennard to a three-year, $13.5 million contract. Despite missing seven games due to injury, the 28-year-old Dennard had arguably his best season in coverage last season, and is one of the more consistent slot corners in the NFL. He’s constantly dealt with injuries throughout his career, but only $6 million of this contract is guaranteed, and honestly, I’d rather have him than Kendall Fuller, who signed a four-year, $40 million deal with the Redskins yesterday. This is a nice buy-low signing for the rebuilding Jaguars, who needed a new slot corner, and is the type of signings a team in their situation should be making.

Giants Sign EDGE Kyle Fackrell

fackrell
Photo Cred: Acme Packing Company

Contract Details: One Year, $4.6 Million

Grade: B+

Signing a player who is actually a tremendous scheme fit for what they want to do on defense, the Giants have agreed to terms with former Packers edge defender Kyle Fackrell on a one-year contract worth $4.6 million. After Green Bay brought in three edge rushers last offseason, Fackrell, 28, saw his role diminish, and he struggled as a result. However, he flashed his pass-rushing potential in 2018 with a 69 pass-rushing grade (per Pro Football Focus), and he’s also demonstrated the ability to drop-off in coverage. That’s critical in defensive coordinator Patrick Graham’s scheme, as he needs linebackers who can be hybrid players, similar in the mold of Kyle Van Noy and Jamie Collins. Fackrell isn’t a stellar player, but he should be able to fill that role, and his versatility makes him worth nearly $5 million on a one-year contract.

Redskins Sign LB Thomas Davis

thomasdavis
Photo Cred: Bleacher Report

Contract Details: One Year

Grade: A-

Rather than retiring, veteran linebacker Thomas Davis Sr. has decided to reunite with his old head coach in Ron Rivera, signing a one-year deal with the Redskins. Though his production regressed in 2019 with the Chargers, the 37-year-old Davis Sr. is at least a decent depth linebacker, and likely won’t be asked to start for the Redskins, who have plenty of options at the position. Beyond his production, however, he’s a vocal leader that will help establish the culture that Rivera is trying to build, and it helps that he has plenty of experience being a leader in Rivera’s defensive scheme. The exact financials haven’t been revealed yet, but I’m guessing that it’s not for a lot, and it’s nice to see Davis land in Washington- it was definitely where he’d provide the most value.

Bills Extend S Jordan Poyer

poyer
Photo Cred: WKBW

Contract Details: Two Years, $20.5 Million (Starting in 2021)

Grade: B-

The Bills made their major splash last night when they acquired superstar receiver Stefon Diggs, and now, they’ve locked up one of the leaders of their defense- safety Jordan Poyer was signed to a two-year, $20.5 million extension that will likely keep him Buffalo through 2022. Poyer, 28, has been an excellent and underrated player in head coach Sean McDermott’s defensive scheme, and he’s a great fit alongside Micah Hyde- Hyde is more of the traditional single-high safety while Poyer can play closer to the box. Now, $10.25 million per year for his age 30 and 31 seasons is a lot, especially since he’s at his best near the box, but the Bills also have plenty of future cap space, and I understand why they wanted to maintain continuity with their defense. We’ll see how this particular move pays off, but right now, the Bills have to be ecstatic about their outlook for next season.

Bengals Sign CB Trae Waynes

NFL: Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings
Photo Cred: Bengals Wire

Contract Details: Three Years, $42 Million

Grade: D

The Bengals not only brought in Reader, but now, they’ve made two defensive splash signings- they’ve inked cornerback Trae Waynes to a front loaded three-year, $42 million contract that will pay him $20 million in year one. Ever since he was drafted with the 11th overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, the 27-year-old Waynes has always been expected to be a #1 corner, yet he’s never reached that true potential. Although he’s a strong run defender, which will allow him to fit into the Bengals’ zone-heavy scheme in that regard, he’s never had a coverage grade over 65 in a full season, according to Pro Football Focus. Therefore, making him one of the highest-paid cornerbacks is ludicrous, and although the deal is front-loaded, it doesn’t change the fact that they could’ve found a similarly talented corner at a cheaper price, and then also address some of their other needs. I expected Waynes to have to settle for a one-year, prove-it type of contract, but instead, the Bengals are showing why they usually aren’t active on the free-agent market.

Cowboys Re-sign LB Sean Lee

seanlee
Photo Cred: Bleacher Report

Contract Details: One Year, $4.5 Million

Grade: C

The Cowboys let Witten leave, but they seemingly weren’t ready to do the same with nine-year linebacker Sean Lee- they’ve brought him back on a one-year contract worth $4.5 million. At this point of his career, Lee, 33, is a shell of his former self, as although he was one of the top coverage linebackers as recently as 2017, he’s no longer that type of player. It’s nice to see the veteran linebacker remain in the Dallas organization, but there were better depth linebackers available, and at some point, the Cowboys do need to make decisions that aren’t driven by sentimental reasons.

Raiders Sign S Jeff Heath

heath
Photo Cred: Blogging The Boys

Contract Details: Two Years, $8 Million

Grade: A-

Speaking of the Cowboys, they’ve lost yet another player to the Raiders; Jeff Heath has signed a two-year, $8 million deal with Las Vegas. Dallas has always seemed to be in the market for a safety, yet they’ve stuck with the 28-year-old Heath as their starter, and this past season, he performed well in coverage, and has shown the versatility to play both in the box and as a free safety. Essentially, he’s Karl Joseph, but a better fit, and for $4 million per year, I actually really like this move for the Raiders.

Jets Sign C Connor McGovern

McGovernreal
Photo Cred: 9NEWS.com

Contract Details: Three Years, $27 Million

Grade: B+

Continuing to bolster their offensive line, the Jets have agreed to terms with former Broncos center Connor McGovern on a three-year, $27 million contract. After struggling mightily in 2018, Denver stuck with McGovern in 2019, and he rewarded them by grading out as one of the best interior pass protectors in the NFL. Obviously, you’d hope for a larger sample size before committing to him, but when he’s at his best, he’s one of the better young centers in the NFL, and the Jets badly needed a player at the position. Hopefully, he can anchor an improved offensive line in 2020.

Panthers Re-sign S Tre Boston

treboston
Photo Cred: ESPN.com

Contract Details: Three Years, $18 Million

Grade: A

He’s finally been given a multi-year contract! Despite being one of the most consistent playmakers at his position in the NFL, safety Tre Boston has had to settle for a one-year contract in each of the past three offseasons. Now, the 27-year-old has signed a three-year, $18 million contract with the Panthers to stay in Carolina, where he’s spent four out of six seasons with. With a 90.6 coverage grade this past season, per Pro Football Focus, there’s no doubt that Boston is not only worth $6 million per year, but honestly, he should be closer to the top in terms of highest-paid safeties. Yes, he’s not a good run defender, but does it really matter? Coverage safeties will always be the best prototype at the position, and honestly, I would’ve been fine paying Boston nearly double of this contract.

Patriots Sign WR Damiere Byrd

damierebyrd
Photo Cred: Revenge of the Birds

Contract Details: One Year

Grade: B

The Patriots have responded to the loss of Tom Brady! In all seriousness, they needed to build a deeper receiving corps, so they’ve brought in Damiere Byrd on a one-year contract. Byrd, 27, isn’t a great receiver by any means, by he’s a nice, shifty slot receiver, and fits offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels’ scheme- they can utilize him with screens and in the short passing game. You could do a lot worse for a depth receiver than Byrd, who was a solid WR4/WR5 in Kliff Kingsbury’s offensive scheme in Arizona last season.

Bills Sign EDGE Mario Addison

marioaddison
Photo Cred: ESPN.com

Contract Details: Three Years, $30.475 Million

Grade: B

Adding another veteran rotational pass rusher to the mix, the Bills have come to terms with edge rusher Mario Addison on a three-year, $30.475 million deal, with only $15.25 million in guaranteed money- it’s essentially a one-year contract. The 32-year-old Addison has experience playing under head coach Sean McDermott, and has always been a solid pass rusher- he’s had at least 45 pressures in each of the past four seasons. He’s not going to be a game-changer, but given the amount that some of the other pass rushers are going for, I don’t see this as a poor deal for the Bills by any means, given how they laid out the guaranteed money- they needed pass-rush help, and Addison is a solid #2 pass rusher.

Giants Sign TE Levine Toilolo

toilolo
Photo Cred: Bleacher Report

Contract Details: Two Years, $6.2 Million

Grade: B+

Replacing Rhett Ellison as the new #2 tight end, the Giants have signed Levine Toilolo to a two-year contract worth $6.2 million, with no guaranteed money attached to the second year. Toilolo, 28, is a solid run blocker and comes from a zone-blocking scheme in San Francisco, making him a good fit behind Evan Engram in Jason Garrett’s scheme in New York. He’s probably an upgrade over Ellison, though by no means should he be considered a candidate to start if they trade Engram, which they’ve rumored to be interested in doing.

Bills Sign IDL Vernon Butler

vernonbutler
Photo Cred: Bleacher Report

Contract Details: Two Years, $16 Million

Grade: C-

Signing yet another former Panthers defensive player, the Bills have brought in interior defensive lineman Vernon Butler on a two-year, $16 million contract, with $9.3 million in guaranteed money. A former first-round pick in Carolina, the 25-year-old Butler has not only never played over 440 snaps in his career, but despite having six sacks this season, he’s never had 20 pressures or a Pro Football Focus pass-rushing grade of 62. Sure, he may have some untapped potential, but $8 million is a lot for a interior defensive lineman that has yet to prove himself, and I’m curious as to why the Bills are so focused on spending big on depth players.

Raiders Sign EDGE Carl Nassib

carlnassib
Photo Cred: Bucs Nation

Contract Details: Three Years, $25 Million

Grade: D+

Adding to their defensive line, the Raiders have signed edge rusher Carl Nassib to three-year contract worth $25 million. Nassib, 26, played out of position as a stand-up edge rusher this past season, but previously, had also not been a very productive pass rusher. Now, he’s a decent run defender, but Las Vegas already has players like that currently on the roster, and since $17 million of this contract is guaranteed, they’re paying an awful lot for a rotational run-stopper on their defensive line. They’ve made a lot of strong defensive signings, but this is not one of them.

Seahawks Sign G BJ Finney

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Photo Cred: Behind The Steel Curtain

Contract Details: Two Years, $8 Million 

Grade: A-

Adding some depth on their offensive line, the Seahawks have reached an agreement with former Steelers interior offensive lineman BJ Finney to a two-year, $8 million deal. Though he hasn’t played more than 325 snaps in a season, the 28-year-old Finney has proven to be a pretty strong pass protector, albeit a weak run-blocker. While that wouldn’t seem to fit in Seattle’s run-heavy scheme, one can hope that they’re committed to airing it out more with Russell Wilson in 2020, and honestly, Finney may be better than any of their other interior offensive linemen. This is a nice, underrated small signing by them.

Bills Sign IDL Quinton Jefferson

Minnesota Vikings v Seattle Seahawks
Photo Cred: Broncos Wire

Contract Details: Two Years, $13.5 Million

Grade: C+

Continuing with revamping their defensive line, the Bills have added former Seahawks interior defensive lineman Quinton Jefferson to the mix, inking him to a two-year contract worth $13.5 million. Jefferson, 26, has never been much of a threat of a pass rusher, but in his two years (2018 and 2019) with over 600 snaps, he’s been a solid run defender. Plus, one can argue that he’s been played out of position as a “big edge rusher” in Seattle’s defensive scheme, and assuming he’s moved full-time to the interior, perhaps he can have more success as a pass rusher. I don’t know where he fits, and the contract is a little too much for a middling pass rusher who is a good-not-great run defender, but at least I can understand it more than I can understand some of their other depth signings for their defense.

Panthers Sign QB Teddy Bridgewater

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Photo Cred: CBS Sports

Contract Details: Three Years, $63 Million

Grade: A

On the same day that they announced that they’ve given permission to Cam Newton to seek a trade, the Panthers have found their new quarterback, signing former Saints quarterback Teddy Bridgewater to a three-year, $63 million contract. Notably, with only $33 million in guarantees attached to the deal, this is closer to a two-year, $42 million contract; they can release him and his $26 million cap hit in 2022 and incur just $5 million in dead cap. Still just 27-year-olds, Bridgewater has had quite the career up to this point; after leading the Vikings to the playoffs as a starter, he suffered a gruesome knee injury, only to work his way back to the Jets, and after being traded to New Orleans, re-signed there in the previous offseason. As it turns out, that was the best decision he could make, as he filled in for the injured Drew Brees, and went 5-0 with a Pro Football Focus passing grade of 71.4. He started off slowly during that stretch, but as he continued to get acclimated to the offense, he became more aggressive, and in turn, his production increased- he has more upside that perhaps people realize. Now, he heads to Carolina, which is a perfect fit for him. Not only are Christian McCaffrey, DJ Moore, and Curtis Samuel all underneath targets that fit his style, but he’ll be reunited with new offensive coordinator Joe Brady, who helped him in New Orleans get acclimated to the offense in 2018. Brady’s offense has a lot of Sean Payton principles and requires accuracy, and we know Bridgewater can succeed in this system, and quietly, Carolina could have one of the most underrated offenses in football. Is Bridgewater their quarterback of the future? Well, he is just 27-years-old, and should he pan out, he’ll be on a super team-friendly contract. If not, however, he’s a solid bridge for the next couple seasons, and since they can get out of his contract in 2022, the Panthers can also look for an answer at quarterback through the draft as well. Upon first glance, I couldn’t believe Carolina was committing three years to Bridgewater. However, the contract structure is super favorable for them, and overall, I love this move for them.

 

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