Best Moves of Free Agency

Philadelphia Eagles:
-Trading Kiko Alonso – ILB and Byron Maxwell – CB
-Trading DeMarco Murray – RB
-Trading Mark Sanchez – QB

The Eagles did a great job getting rid of overpaid and underperforming pieces.  Murray was significantly overpaid for his performance and is still not without injury concerns. Kiko Alonso was never a fit in Philly and never needed as they have a wealth of talent at the inside linebacker position with Kendricks and Hicks, making Alonso expendable. Maxwell was a huge bust in free agency and was often beat for big play after big play.  Down the stretch his play improved, but not to the extent to justify his huge contract.  Additionally, after the signing of Chase Daniel, Mark Sanchez was expendable so getting a draft pick for a player they would have cut was a great move.  The Eagles were successful cutting salary by getting rid of players that had no value to them and were on inflated contracts.

Oakland Raiders:
-Signing Bruce Irvin – DE,
-Signing Sean Smith – CB
-Signing Kelechi Osemele – OL

The Raiders made a statement with their free agency signings, they are no longer a team that has to overpay for talent.  Bruce Irvin came to play alongside Khalil Mack and create a pass rushing duo that could compete with the other duos in the AFC West.  The Sean Smith is a much needed piece for the Raiders, in order to sure up their pass defense.  Osemele is a versatile piece of the offensive line, can play multiple positions.  The Raiders are stocking up in order to sure up their deficiencies and make a playoff run.

New York Giants:
-Signing Olivier Vernon – DE
-Signing Jason Pierre-Paul – DE
-Signing Janoris Jenkins – CB

The strength of the Giants when they have made playoff runs has always been their defensive line.  They returned back to this strength with the signing of Olivier Vernon and re-signing of Jason Pierre-Paul on a one year prove-it deal.  JPP and Vernon will be much needed additions to the Giants d-line and should help them secure wins and prevent comebacks.  Jenkins is a high risk/high reward signing, essentially the Giants traded Prince Amukamura who has struggled with injuries for another playmaking zone corner in Jenkins.  Jenkins has been consistent in producing multiple turnovers and returning them for six.  Amukamura has only had one year where he has produced more than one interception (3 INTs in 2014).

Baltimore Ravens:
-Signing Ben Watson – TE
-Signing Eric Weddle – FS
-Signing Mike Wallace – WR

The Ravens team was decimated by injuries last year, but when the offense was healthy they lacked an explosive playmaker on the perimeter.  Mike Wallace is a limited player, but what he does well is stretch the field from the perimeter.  Dennis Pita has continued in his struggle to get healthy and the Ravens want to ensure that Flacco has a security blanket over the middle.  Ben Watson gives Baltimore a reliable target to pair with Maxx Williams (second year tight end).  Weddle has been one of the premier safeties over the last 5 years, now on the back half of his career Weddle will provide leadership for the Ravens defense.  Weddle still has the ability to make plays on the backend of a defense and should be an elite player for the next two years.

Pittsburgh Steelers:
-Signing Ladarius Green – TE
-Signing Ryan Harris – OT

The rich get richer with this signing.  The Steelers added Ladarius Green to one of the most explosive passing attacks in the NFL.  Green adds a more dynamic threat over the middle of the field to replace Heath Miller (retired).  This addition will help reduce the impact of the Martavis Bryant suspension.  Ryan Harris will provide a suitable replacement at the tackle position for those lost in free agency.  The Steelers as always make wise signings in free agency and build through the draft.

Arizona Cardinals:
-Signing Evan Mathis – G
-Signing Tyvon Branch – SS
-Re-signing Jermaine Gresham – TE
-Trade for Chandler Jones – DE

The Cardinals added the missing pieces to make a Super Bowl run.  Tyvon Branch adds much needed depth in the defensive backfield, last year when Matthieu went down due to injury the Cardinals didn’t have anyone to step in.  Branch gives them more depth and a player who can have an immediate impact in sub-packages.  The trade with New England for Chandler Jones answers the most pressing need the team has had for some time now.  They have been desperately looking for a pass rushers, so desperate that they signed Dwight Freeney mid last year.  Jones gives them an elite pass rushing option off the edge.  Trading Jonathan Cooper to acquire him was made significantly less risky when they signed Evan Mathis, providing an immediate upgrade over Cooper and strengthen the interior offensive line and defense pass rush.  The Cardinals were tactful in getting the pieces that they need to make a Super Bowl run and maximize perhaps the final season of Larry Fitzgerald.

Houston Texans:
-Signing Brock Osweiler – QB
-Signing Lamar Millar – RB

The Texans took another shot at the most important position and got their guy.  Though Brock is somewhat unproven, you have to give the Texans credit for taking another shot at who could be a quality starter.  Osweiler could be the missing piece on offense and paired with Lamar Millar creates a completely revamped backfield.  Millar showed last year that he can carry the rock and become a feature back, oddly enough Miami didn’t utilize him well and he was neglected in the offense.  Millar will now have an opportunity to carry the rock in Houston and will likely get 20-25 touches a game.  The Texans greatly improved their offense in free agency and DeAndre Hopkins should be able to continue to progress with a serviceable quarterback and a threat to run the ball in Lamar Millar.

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