NFL Free Agency Tracker: Analyzing Every Move Made Two Days Into Free Agency (Friday)

For the most part, the NFL landscape has been settled, as only one team (Patriots) appear to still be in the market for a quarterback, while most of the marquee free agents have found new homes. However, with players such as Emmanuel Sanders, Robby Anderson, and Jadeveon Clowney still available, teams still have the opportunity to add high-impact players. Our goal was to recap every move made from last Sunday to this Saturday (one week), and it’s time for day six! Let’s analyze the Bucs signing Tom Brady, and all the other moves that teams make today.

Steelers Sign IOL Stefen Wisniewski

Photo Cred: Bleacher Report

Contract Details: Two Years, $2.8 Million

Grade: A+

In their first notable signing of the offseason, the Steelers have replaced the recently retired Ramon Foster, agreeing to terms with veteran interior offensive lineman Stefen Wisniewski to a two-year, $2.8 million deal. Wisniewski, 30, has had an interest career, as he’s always been a tremendous pass protector, yet never seems to be able to earn a starting job. That said, he’s taken over as a starter on the past two offensive lines (Eagles and Chiefs) he’s been a part of, and thus won two Super Bowls in the past three seasons. In fact, he’s not only an upgrade over Foster, but a case can be made he’s the second best player on a very talented Steelers offensive line, which struggled with interior rushers last season. Heck, if his play drops off, practically none of his contract is guaranteed for next season; not only is he making less than players who have no business being on the field for a contender, but this is as team-friendly of a contract as you can find. Long story short, this has to be one of, if not the best value signing of the offseason so far.

Falcons Sign RB Todd Gurley

Photo Cred: New York Post

Contract Details: One Year, $6 Million

Grade: D+

Not even 24 hours after he was cut by the Rams, running back Todd Gurley has quickly found a new home, signing with the Falcons on a one-year contract worth $6 million. For the 25-year-old, this not only gives him the chance to return to where he played in college (University of Georgia), but an opportunity to prove he’s healthy and still effective, before hitting the market next season. However, for the Falcons, this is quite the risk for a team that is super tight on cap space. Gurley’s not much of a threat in the passing game, and his downhill running style is dependent on a strong offensive line, which Atlanta currently doesn’t have. Plus, no one is even sure about what workload he can, given his knee issues, and last season, there was nothing to suggest that he still has a lot left in the tank. For some teams, this would make sense, though $6 million is still a decent amount for a running back, but I would’ve preferred for Atlanta to acquire a cheaper, pass-catching back to fill their offense. They’ve gone star chasing with their limited resources, and with an average offensive line, no capable cornerbacks, and problems with their defensive front seven, I don’t expect it to pan out for them.

Bucs Sign QB Tom Brady

Photo Cred: CBS Sports

Contract Details: Two Years, $50 Million

Grade: A-

It’s finally official! The Bucs have finally fully come to terms with Tom Brady on a fully guaranteed two-year, $50 million deal, with another $9 million with incentives. The fallout from this agreement has been massive, with many believing that the Bucs will be in the Super Bowl next season, which just happens to be in Tampa. It’s not the greatest fit for the 42-year-old in terms of scheme, but Brady has shown the ability to still be elite at throwing over the intermediate levels of the field, which head coach Bruce Arians loves to target. Also, he’ll go from playing with arguably the league’s worst group of receivers to throwing to the best receiver duo in the league (Mike Evans and Chris Godwin), and although Arians’ offensive style doesn’t fit Brady in terms of holding onto the ball too league, I’m confident he can adjust to create a quicker developing passing attack. Brady had his worst season last year, but it was still better than Jameis Winston, who has in a much better situation, and even better, the former Patriot will cost them nearly the same as what it would’ve taken to bring back Winston. With a young defense a strong offense, there’s a lot to like about the Bucs’ chances in the NFC South. They still could use another receiver, a pass-catching running back, and a couple more defensive pieces, but as far as this singing is concerned, there’s no real for them; Winston was never going to be their long-term answer, so they acquire an upgrade at a cheaper price, and still have the luxury to look for the quarterback of the future (it wasn’t coming in this draft anyways).

Falcons Re-sign S Sharrod Neasman

Photo Cred:

Contract Details: One Year

Grade: B

As mentioned with the Gurley signing, the Falcons are in drastic need of depth in their secondary, so at least they’ve retained safety Sharrod Neasman on a one-year deal. Neasman, 28, is mostly a special teamer, but in his 436 snaps in 2018, was a solid safety, earning a 67.8 overall grade and 67.5 coverage grade from Pro Football Focus. Now, that’s a small sample size, and the fact that he hasn’t been able to crack the field outside of that one year isn’t encouraging, but still, it’s a decent signing that helps them in two areas.

Bucs Sign T/G Joe Haeg

Colts Redskins Football
Photo Cred: Colts

Contract Details: One Year, $2.3 Million

Grade: A

Adding some depth on the offensive line for Tom Brady, the Bucs have inked versatile offensive lineman Joe Haeg to a one-year, $2.3 million contract. During his time with the Colts, the 27-year-old Haeg has lined up at both tackle and guard, though he only played 73 snaps this past season. However, when he’s been previously thrust into action, he’s proven to be a capable player, and for a Bucs team with some questions on their offensive line, this is a wise addition. He’s the perfect sixth offensive lineman for a team given his versatility, and is well worth the $2.3 million.

Browns Sign S Andrew Sendejo

Photo Cred: Star Tribune

Contract Details: One Year, $2.25 Million

Grade: A-

Just a couple days after signing Karl Joseph, the Browns have added another safety. This time, it’s former Viking Andrew Sendejo on a one-year contract worth $2.25 million. Sendejo, 32, was a late-bloomer for Minnesota, breaking out in his sixth season (2017) in the NFL, but since then, he’s been a solid coverage defender. He’s capable of playing both in the box and as a single-high safety, and even can play slot corner in a pinch. In my opinion, he’s a solid fit for defensive coordinator Joe Woods’ scheme, and though the duo of Sendejo and Joseph isn’t fantastic, they can get the job done if needed. I’ve liked what Cleveland has done ever since the first day of free agency, as they’ve really improved their defense by signing impact contributors to one-year deals.

Bears Re-sign S Deon Bush

NFL: Cleveland Browns at Chicago Bears
Photo Cred: Bears

Contract Details: One Year, $1.4 Million

Grade: B+

One day after seeing Haha Clinton-Dix depart for Dallas, the Bears have at least made some sort of response, re-signing safety Deon Bush to a one-year, $1.4 million deal. Now, I’m not actually expecting the 26-year-old Bush to replace Clinton-Dix in the starting lineup next season, but in 219 snaps in 2018, he did have a 75.4 coverage grade from Pro Football Focus, so he’s a decent third safety for them. That’s all there really is to this deal, as he’ll be retained for a cheap $1.4 million, and perhaps, he may have a greater role this season.

Saints Re-sign G Andrus Peat

Photo Cred: Bleacher Report

Contract Details: Five Years, $57.5 Million

Grade: F

In a very surprising move, the Saints have not only re-signed guard Andrus Peat, but have given him a massive five-year, $57.5 million contract. During the first three seasons of his career, the 26-year-old Peat was a really solid player, and looked like a player on the rise. However, in the past two seasons, he doesn’t even rank in the top 100 in terms of Pro Football Focus WAR, and has been a liability versus interior rushers, while he’s also dealt with injuries. New Orleans is very tight on cap space, and appeared to only have one big signing left to add a wide receiver or a cornerback, but now, they’ve wasted their resources on a below-replacement level guard. There have been plenty of poor signings made this offseason, but this ranks right near the worst.

Steelers Sign TE Eric Ebron

Photo Cred: Bleacher Report

Contract Details: Two Years, $12 Million

Grade: A

In an unexpected, but encouraging development, the Steelers have bolstered their offense weaponry, signing tight end Eric Ebron to a two-year, $12 million contract. Last season didn’t go as planned for the 26-year-old from a statistical perspective, as he missed the final five games of the season after undergoing ankle surgery, and he only had three touchdowns. However, he actually graded out better (71.1 overall grade) from Pro Football Focus, and for the first time his career, was solid (67.4 grade) as a run blocker. Even if he’s not a great run blocker and will always struggle with drops, he gives Pittsburgh a dynamic vertical threat and red zone weapon, something they drastically needed. In fact, he might be an even better player than Austin Hooper, whom signed a four-year, $44 million contract with the Browns. At the very least, he’s a better fit for the Steelers, comes at a cheap price, and helps them round out what is quietly one of the best rosters in the NFL.

Steelers Acquire IDL Chris Wormley From Ravens

Baltimore Ravens v New Orleans Saints
Photo Cred: Ravens

Full Trade: Steelers Acquire IDL Chris Wormley, 2021 7th Round Pick In Exchange For 2021 5th Round Pick

Steelers Grade: B

Ravens Grade: B

In a very rare trade between two rivals, the Steelers have traded for Ravens interior defensive lineman Chris Wormley, along with a 2021 7th round pick, sending a 2021 5th round pick to Baltimore. Wormley, 26, will never be much of a pass rusher, but he’s established himself as a solid run defender, and is the same size as the recently departed Javon Hargrave. He won’t be able to replicate Hargrave’s pass-rushing ability, but with Stephon Tuitt and Cameron Heyward on the defensive line, he doesn’t need to be. Meanwhile, Baltimore didn’t have room for him after acquiring Calais Campbell and Michael Brockers, and this is an opportunity for them to shed his $2.133 million cap hit. It’s a win-win for both teams.

Broncos Sign RB Melvin Gordon

Photo Cred: Mile High Report

Contract Details: Two Years, $16 Million

Grade: D-

The running back market appears to finally be moving, as one the same day that Gurley signed with Atlanta, Melvin Gordon has reached an agreement with the Broncos on a two-year deal worth $16 million. Considering that he held out of the Chargers’ first four games last season and turned down a contract worth over $10 million annually, this may still seem like a loss for the 26-year-old Gordon. However, considering that he wasn’t very productive last season, and has really only had one solid season, $13.5 million in guaranteed money is much more than I expected him to get. For Denver, however, this deal makes zero sense. They’re already set with Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman in the backfield, and if they really wanted another option, they aren’t in a position to spend $8 million per year on a running back; Gordon doesn’t make a major impact on the passing game, and won’t move the needle at all. Talented receivers and cornerbacks are still on the open market, yet Denver is investing heavily on a running back that isn’t even an upgrade over what they currently had. In other words, they’re essentially wasting $16 million over the next two seasons, and won’t be getting any sort of surplus value even if he returns to his 2018 form (unlikely anyways).

Texans Sign S Jaylen Watkins

Photo Cred:

Contract Details: Two Years, $3 Million

Grade: C

Continuing to slowly reshuffle their roster, the Texans have signed versatile defensive back Jaylen Watkins to a two-year contract worth $3 million. Watkins, 27, is capable of playing both safety and cornerback, but throughout his career, he’s struggled in run defense and pass coverage, and doesn’t offer much besides his versatility. Obviously, it’s only for $1.5 million annually, but there have been players with more upside signing for a similar amount, and I don’t trust the coaching staff to get the most out of him.

Jaguars Re-sign EDGE Lerentee McCray

Photo Cred: Pro Football Talk- NBC Sports

Contract Details: One Year

Grade: B+

Hoping to retain some defensive line depth after trading Calais Campbell, the Jaguars have re-signed Lerentee McCray to a one-year contract. Considering he’s played 100 or fewer snaps in each of the past three seasons, it’s hard to get a read on the 29-year-old McCray. At times, he’s flashed some pass-rushing potential, but overall, he’s probably an average player all-around. Maybe they could’ve targeted more upside, but McCray knows the defensive scheme and has been a solid player when on the field, and for that reason, this is a solid move by Jacksonville.

Jets Re-sign LB Neville Hewitt

Photo Cred: The Jet Press

Contract Details: One Year, $2 Million

Grade: D-

Speaking of re-signings, the Jets have brought back linebacker Neville Hewitt to a one-year, $2 million deal. Now, unlike McCray, Hewitt did get his chance to play last season (762 snaps), and in that time, has been terrible – 40.4 overall grade, 44.5 run defense grade, and a 36 coverage grade, per Pro Football Focus. In fact, he’s been near that level in terms of production in his other seasons at all, and although it’s for only $2 million, he’s not a player you want to be relying on even as depth. The only positive is that he provides some impact as a pass-rusher (16 pressures), but nevertheless, it doesn’t compensate his inability to defend the run or cover. It’s been a strange offseason for the Jets, to say the least.

Lions Sign CB Tony McRae

Photo Cred:

Contract Details: One Year, $1.5 Million

Grade: C-

Sticking with small depth signings, the Lions have added help in the secondary after trading Darius Slay, signing Tony McRae to one-year deal worth $1.5 million. During his three-year career, the 26-year-old McRae has played just a combined 296 snaps, and in that time, hasn’t been very effective. He does have the ability to play slot corner, which is nice, but it’s a weird fit for Detroit, who already appeared set with Justin Coleman and Jayron Kearse as options to cover in the slot. Once again, it’s hard to criticize this low money signings too much, but you’d prefer if they went to players with more upside; $1.5 million is a little pricey if he’s not capable of making an impact outside of special teams.

Panthers Sign WR Pharoh Cooper

NFL: Cleveland Browns at Arizona Cardinals
Photo Cred: Panthers

Contract Details: One Year

Grade: A

Continuing to add more receiving options for Teddy Bridgewater, the Panthers have agreed to terms with receiver/return man Pharoh Cooper on a one-year contract. After not getting much of a chance in his two first seasons with the Rams, before missing most of 2018 due to injury, the 25-year-old Cooper worked well out of the slot in Kliff Kingsbury’s air-raid offense in Arizona, working well as a solid intermediate threat. Considering how much four wide receiver sets offensive coordinator Joe Brady ran in LSU, it’s worth the shot to take as many chances at the receiver position as possible. Plus, since he has some similar principles to Kingsbury, I expect he’ll find a role for Cooper, who also is one of the better kick returners in the NFL. I’m a huge fan on signing as many receivers as possible, so similar to their other moves, Carolina rightfully receives a solid grade for another smart signing.

Bucs Re-sign LB Kevin Minter

Photo Cred: Pewter Report

Contract Details: One Year, $1.187 Million

Grade: A-

The Bucs have been adamant of building a deep team beyond their starting players, and now, they’ve done so at the linebacker position- they’ve signed linebacker Kevin Minter to a one-year, $1.187 million deal. Minter, 29, has struggled mightily with injuries over the past three seasons, but in 275 snaps last season, was a solid run defender, and also was a decent player in his last healthy season. Obviously, it’s unlikely he stays healthy for a full season, but Tampa Bay is paying him just over $1 million with almost no guaranteed money, making it worth the risk to see if he can be their third linebacker. There’s really no harm with this deal whatsoever.

Patriots Sign S Adrian Phillips

Photo Cred: Los Angeles Times

Contract Details: Two Years, $6 Million

Grade: A-

After trading Duron Harmon to the Lions, the Patriots were in the market for a third safety, considering Harmon played much more than your traditional third safety. They’ve found his replacement, signing former Charger Adrian Phillips to a two-year, $6 million contract. Though he’s never been a standout player, the 27-year-old Phillips has always been reliable in coverage, and has the flexibility to be a traditional safety, slot cornerback, or even line up at linebacker. Assuming he’s healthy, he’s a perfect fit for Bill Belichick’s defense, and I actually expect him to be even better in New England.

Chiefs Sign OT Mike Remmers

Photo Cred: NY Daily News

Contract Details: One Year

Grade: A+

Adding some tackle depth, the Chiefs have brought in tackle Mike Remmers to a one-year contract. Remmers, 30, is a highly scrutinized player for whatever reason, but outside of one rough season in 2018, he’s had a pass-blocking grade above 66 in every season of his career, according to Pro Football Focus. Heck, even though his run-blocking has slightly declined, that’s not that important in the Chiefs’ pass-heavy offense, and he’s been a starter for the last five seasons. He’ll be Kansas City’s swing tackle, but is a major upgrade in that regard than Cam Erving, and will be ready to protect Patrick Mahomes if the team struggles with injuries on the offensive line again.

Jets Re-sign G Alex Lewis

Photo Cred: Newsday

Contract Details: Three Years, $18 Million

Grade: B

In the NFL, since contracts can be structured in so many different ways, it’s important to reserve judgement until the exact structure is laid out. That’s the case with guard Alex Lewis’ new three-year, $18 million extension. On the surface, that seems like an awful lot for the 27-year-old, who is coming off just a 56.1 grade season, per Pro Football Focus. However, he only has a $4 million cap hit for the upcoming season, and with little guaranteed money attached to the final two years, this is essentially a one-year, $4 million deal. All of a sudden, the Jets appear to be getting a solid deal for a capable pass-blocker, albeit one of the worst run blockers in the NFL. Now, this shouldn’t preclude them from searching for his replacement, but $4 million isn’t that much for a depth guard, making the overreactions about this deal fruitless.

Colts Re-sign OT Le’Raven Clark

Photo Cred: Pro Football Talk- NBC Sports

Contract Details: One Year

Grade: B-

After losing Haeg, the Colts have made sure not to lose all their offensive line depth, bringing tackle Le’Raven Clark on a one-year deal. Clark, 26, did not play at all in 2019, but in 2018, was a decent pass protector; he’s also capable of playing both tackle and guard. With Haeg departing, Clark will definitely play a bigger role as the team’s new swing tackle. Based on his 2018 production, he’ll be ready for the task, though still, it’s a little strange that he wasn’t given more of a chance to play in 2019.

Broncos Sign QB Jeff Driskel

Photo Cred: ESPN

Contract Details: Two Years, $5 Million

Grade: D

With the Broncos releasing Joe Flacco, they were in the market for a new backup quarterback for Drew Lock. It appears Denver has settled on their guy, as they’ve agreed to terms with quarterback Jeff Driskel on a two-year, $5 million contract; Driskel is a $1.75 million cap hit this season, and can be released for just a $750K dead cap hit next year. Between the Bengals and Lions, the 26-year-old Driskel has seen legitimate playing time due to quarterback injuries over the past two seasons, and it hasn’t gone well. He’s an athletic player, but his inaccuracy has plagued him, he takes too many sacks, and struggles mightily under pressure. In other words, I wouldn’t feel confident having him start at quarterback at all, and although he’s a cheap player, Denver should’ve tried to do better- Lock isn’t a sure thing, after all. Hopefully, they can draft a player in the middle rounds who can compete with Driskel, similar to Gardner Minshew in Jacksonville.

Texans Sign OL Brent Qvale

Photo Cred: Houston Chronicle

Contract Details: One Year

Grade: B+

The Texans have made a move to add some needed offensive line depth to their roster, signing Brent Qvale to a one-year deal. Qvale, 29, hasn’t seen much action since 2017, but when thrust into action, he’s been reasonably reliable at both guard and tackle. He’s not fantastic, but for a depth offensive lineman, you could do a lot worse- this is one of the rare smart signings by Houston this offseason.

Vikings Re-sign OL Rashod Hill

Photo Cred: Daily Norseman

Contract Details: One Year

Grade: C

The Vikings cut ties with veteran guard Josh Kline, meaning that they’re in need of some help on their offensive line. This obviously isn’t the answer, but in a necessary move, they’ve re-signed tackle Rashod Hill to a one-year contract. The team’s starting right tackle at the beginning of last season, the 28-year-old Hill was quickly replaced by young tackle Brian O’Neill, and has been a slightly below-average pass protector and run blocker. Now, he was better in his limited appearances this season, and as mentioned, offensive tackle depth is always helpful, but still Minnesota has a long ways to go to fixing the offensive line. The issue is, they don’t have the resources to do so.

Saints Sign WR Emmanuel Sanders

Photo Cred: Bleacher Report

Contract Details: Two Years, $16 Million

Grade: A

In an extremely unexpected move, the Saints have managed to add another veteran to their roster, signing receiver Emmanuel Sanders to a two-year contract worth $16 million. The 33-year-old Sanders’ career appeared in jeopardy after tearing his Achilles in 2018, but between the Broncos and 49ers, he was as productive as ever in 2019. In fact,  he’s had an overall grade from Pro Football Focus of 70 or higher in eight of his ten seasons, and also dropped just one of the 72 catchable passes thrown his way last season. In other words, despite being 33-years-old, he’s still the sure-handed, fantastic route runner he’s always been, and is a perfect fit for a team that desperately needed a #2 wide receiver. He’ll likely serve as another intermediate target for Drew Brees, but he’s also capable of being a deep threat, and can play on the outside or in the slot. The contract length was expected, but at $8 million per year, he looks like a bargain; how the Saints, whom are currently in the negatives in terms cap space, managed to sign him is inconceivable, but this is fantastic value.

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