Nick Mensio

Free Agency Dose

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NFL Hot Stove, Day 2

Wednesday, March 13, 2013



The Colts weren’t afraid to open up the pocketbook. Indianapolis went out and got a right tackle in Gosder Cherilus on a five-year, $34 million deal. He’s a massive upgrade on Winston Justice, and is a strong pass protector. Offensive guard Donald Thomas was brought in to help the interior of the line. He can play all three spots. … Cornerback Greg Toler was signed to a three-year, $15 million contract. Fellow cornerback Darius Butler re-upped in Indianapolis for two more years. Toler and Vontae Davis will likely handle the outside, while Butler mans the slot. … The Colts also brought in a couple of pass-rushers. Outside linebacker Erik Walden got the surprise deal of the day at four years and $16 million. GM Ryan Grigson added outside linebacker Lawrence Sidbury to the mix, too. It remains to be seen if free agent Cliff Avril is still on the radar. … Free agent safety LaRon Landry set up a visit.

The Cowboys laid low on Tuesday. They don’t have any money to spend, but Dallas was mentioned as having interest in free agent linebackers Brian Urlacher and Chase Blackburn. Urlacher doesn’t make a whole lot of sense with Sean Lee in the middle already, but Blackburn could compete for the strong-side job. The Cowboys were also linked to free agent DeAngelo Hall. They reportedly view him as a free safety. … Franchise player Anthony Spencer signed his tender and will earn $10.627 million in 2013.

The Dolphins were the big spenders of the day. They fired the first shots by signing receiver Mike Wallace to a five-year, $60 million contract that includes $30 million guaranteed. We’re not big on Wallace’s fantasy prospects in Miami, but his addition certainly opens up the offense. … Miami added a pair of linebackers, while also subtracting two. Dannell Ellerbe signed a five-year, $35 million deal, and Philip Wheeler inked a five-year, $26 million contract. It’s not quite certain what spots they’ll play, but middle linebacker Karlos Dansby and strong-side linebacker Kevin Burnett were released to make room. Ellerbe is strong against the run, and Wheeler can do it all. … Free safety Chris Clemons re-upped for one year. … GM Jeff Ireland missed on tight ends Jared Cook and James Casey. … The Fins are likely moving on from free agent left tackle Jake Long, and they appear dead-set on moving Jonathan Martin to the blindside. … The Dolphins are interested in a trio of free agent cornerbacks: Antoine Cason, Captain Munnerlyn, and Chris Houston. They could be searching for two starters.

The Eagles were never expected to go after any big-ticket items in free agency, and they didn’t. Philadelphia did bring in a handful of quality players, though. Outside linebacker Jason Phillips and cornerback Bradley Fletcher signed two-year deals. H-back James Casey, nose tackle Isaac Sopoaga, and safety Pat Chung inked three-year deals. Sopoaga’s is for $12 million. … We really like the signings of Casey, Chung, and Fletcher. Casey is a perfect fit as a “joker” in Chip Kelly’s spread-out offensive attack. Fletcher is a big corner who can play press coverage in DC Billy Davis’ system, and Chung was with Kelly at Oregon. He’s a physical player, and is easily the best safety on the team at the moment. … The Eagles finally released cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha. Fellow cornerback bust Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie will not be re-signed.

The Falcons continued locking up their own players. Left tackle Sam Baker, one of the better free-agent left tackles left on the market at the time, re-upped on a six-year deal. It’s quite the score for a guy that has battled back issues throughout his career. Baker picked the right time to have his best season. … A report leaked that free agent cornerback Brent Grimes was re-signing in Atlanta, but that was later retracted. Grimes is still on the market. … Center Todd McClure announced his retirement. Peter Konz is expected to move to center in 2013. … The Falcons are sniffing around on free agent defensive tackle Richard Seymour. He’d be a good fit. Atlanta needs to get bigger in the middle.

The Giants are another team that is strapped by the cap at the moment. However, they did bring back a familiar face on Tuesday. Cornerback Aaron Ross returns to New York after a one-year stint in Jacksonville. … Running back Ryan Torain was re-signed after being non-tendered as a restricted free agent. … With Martellus Bennett now officially out of the picture, second-year tight end Adrien Robinson might see an increased role. He played very limited snaps as a rookie, but he’s a height/weight/speed specimen.

The Jaguars weren’t linked to a single free agent on Tuesday. They’re not expected to join the fray until the second wave of free agency.

The Jets were pretty active for a team with limited funds. Cornerback Antonio Cromartie and receiver Santonio Holmes restructured their deals to help alleviate some pressure. Nose tackle Sione Pouha was released in a money-saving move. … Gang Green is interested in quite a few second-tier free agents: quarterback Jason Campbell, receivers Braylon Edwards, Mohamed Massaquoi, and Brandon Gibson, and running back Mike Goodson. Gibson is the only one that has scheduled a visit. He’d vault to the No. 2 receiver spot on the depth chart if signed. … The Jets are engaged in Darrelle Revis trade talks, but no deal is imminent. That could change any moment.

The Lions were the pre-free agency darlings. They were being connected to almost every free agent, but they didn’t make any major moves on the opening day. Special teams ace Kassim Osgood re-upped for one year. Kicker Jason Hanson said he’d like to return for another season. He’s a free agent, but the two sides will likely work something out. Detroit extended a second-round tender to restricted free agent defensive end Willie Young. Safety Amari Spievey, a restricted free agent, signed a one-year deal, as well. … The Lions have four free-agent visits lined up. Running back Reggie Bush is already in town, and Detroit has reportedly offered him the full-time running back gig. They’re considered the front-runner. Defensive lineman Jason Jones and safeties Glover Quin and LaRon Landry are also expected to make visits. … Detroit made an offer to free agent receiver Domenik Hixon, but he has tabled it as he searches for a better one.

The Packers remain the favorites for free agent running back Steven Jackson’s services, and there are reports that a deal is close to being done. Jackson would be a massive upgrade on who Green Bay has been trotting out there in recent years. … Free agent running back Peyton Hillis visited on Tuesday. … The Packers extended a second-round tender to restricted free agent cornerback Sam Shields. They failed to tender offers to tight Tom Crabtree and linebackers Frank Zombo and Rob Francois, making them free agents. … Green Bay reportedly made free agent receiver Greg Jennings an offer for $10 million annually. If true, Jennings would be crazy not to take it. Some think Jennings is likely to end up back in Green Bay, and we tend to lean that way, too. Jermichael Finley could then be released in a corresponding move.

The Panthers are another team that is expected to keep quiet during the opening days of free agency. Carolina released linebacker James Anderson to free up a little bit of money, and they re-signed tight end Ben Hartsock. Anderson, 30 in September, was one of ex-GM Marty Hurney’s many busts. Thomas Davis, Jon Beason, and Luke Kuechly will handle linebacker duties. … Carolina failed to tender offers to defensive tackle Andre Neblett and cornerback Nate Ness.


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Nick Mensio is a football writer for Rotoworld.com. The 2014 NFL season marks his third with Rotoworld. He can be found on Twitter at @NickMensio.
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