Nick Mensio

Free Agency Dose

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NFL Hot Stove, Day 4

Friday, March 15, 2013



New York Jets: Free agent receiver Brandon Gibson left his visit without a deal in place, and he is expected to head to Miami for a visit there. The Jets are having a tough time getting anyone to sign with them. They could use about 11 more starters. … Quarterback Kevin Kolb is going to be released by the Cardinals if he doesn’t take a pay cut by the end of the day on Friday, and the Jets are expected to target him if he gets the pink slip. OC Marty Mornhinweg had Kolb while the two were together in Philadelphia. … Quarterback David Garrard was promised the opportunity to be able to compete for the starting job upon his signing of a one-year contract.

Oakland Raiders: The Raiders hosted two free agents on Thursday: defensive tackle Corey Williams and cornerback Terence Newman. Williams left without a contract. He’s essentially the same player as Pat Sims, who was just signed on Wednesday. Newman would be a band-aid solution at one of the cornerback spots. He had a fine season with the Bengals in 2012, but that was mainly because Cincinnati had a top-notch pass rush. Oakland doesn’t have that, and Newman, 35 at the start of the season, would be forced to cover for a longer period of time. He’d likely come cheap, which is all the Raiders really care about.

Philadelphia Eagles: Thursday was another solid day in free agency for the Eagles. They signed three more starters in outside linebacker Connor Barwin, cornerback Cary Williams, and safety Kenny Phillips. Barwin got the biggest deal of the bunch at six years and $36 million with $8 million guaranteed. It looks like a huge deal on paper, but the guaranteed money is low, and that’s all that matters. DC Billy Davis will be tasked with bringing out the 2011 Barwin that had 11.5 sacks, not the 2012 one that posted just three. Williams got a three-year, $17 million contract, and Phillips got a one-year deal. The two will team up with recent signees safety Patrick Chung and cornerback Bradley Fletcher to form an entirely new Eagles secondary. Williams and Fletcher are both tall and can play man coverage. Phillips will play centerfield, and Chung will be the big hitter. … Personally, I love what the Eagles are doing. They’re one of the winners of free agency, so far.

Pittsburgh Steelers: Free agent running back Beanie Wells was in to take a physical on Thursday. The Steelers’ level of interest isn’t quite clear, but he isn’t that much different than Jonathan Dwyer. Both are straight-line plodders who don’t bring anything to the table in the passing game. … Pittsburgh continued its visit with free agent outside linebacker Victor Butler. The Steelers want him badly, and can’t let him get out of town if they want him. The Saints are lurking.

San Diego Chargers: The Chargers did nothing in free agency on Thursday. New cornerback Derek Cox, who signed late on Wednesday night, was introduced to the media, as were offensive tackle King Dunlap and guard Chad Rinehart. … San Diego needs to add a lot of depth this offseason. The Chargers are really only one player deep at most positions.

San Francisco 49ers: Free agents cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha, safety Louis Delmas, and linebacker Dan Skuta were in town visiting on Thursday. If he signed, Asomugha would likely start on the outside opposite one of Tarell Brown or Chris Culliver with Carlos Rogers in the slot. Delmas would fill Dashon Goldson’s shoes at free safety. Skuta actually signed late on Thursday night. He’ll back up both Patrick Willis and Navorro Bowman at inside linebacker, but Skuta’s main focus will be special teams. … Receiver Mario Manningham took a pay cut, slicing his salary from $3.6 million to $1.8 million. Coming off a torn ACL, Manningham likely won’t be ready for training camp and could start the season on the PUP list.

Seattle Seahawks: Once again, the Seahawks were quiet all day before coming out of nowhere to snatch up defensive end Michael Bennett on a one-year, $5 million deal. It’s an extreme bargain for Bennett, who was considered by some to be the top pass rusher on the market. Add Bennett to Wednesday’s signing of defensive end Cliff Avril, and the Seahawks have more than enough talented players to replace Chris Clemons while he recovers from a torn ACL. Bennett can even rush the passer from the interior of the line. Bennett likely could have gotten more money elsewhere, but players want to go to Seattle and play for the Seahawks. You can read more on Bennett in a piece done by Lance Zierlein right here. Veteran pass rushers John Abraham, Dwight Freeney, and Osi Umenyiora are going to have to settle for below-market deals after Bennett and Avril signed for much less than they were expected to as mid-20-year-olds.

St. Louis Rams: For the second straight day, the Rams were meeting with free agent left tackle Jake Long. We’re not quite sure what is taking so long, but reports are that the Rams are waiting to hear back from Long on their initial offer. Long is still shacked up in a St. Louis hotel, albeit a glorious one. The longer he stays in St. Louis, the better the odds that he signs with the Rams. Hopefully, we’ll hear something on Friday morning. … The Rams haven’t ruled out bringing back recently released safety Quintin Mikell. However, there are still plenty of veteran safety options left on the market, and Mikell will likely be a last resort. St. Louis has an offer out to free agent safety Louis Delmas, but he’s in San Francisco. The Rams may have to turn to free agents Kerry Rhodes and Bernard Pollard soon.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: The Bucs made two transactions on Thursday. They released linebacker Quincy Black and signed receiver Kevin Ogletree. Black’s release was a formality. He has nerve damage in his neck and upper arm from a collision on the field last season. Black was due $5.5 million base salaries in each of the next three seasons. He’ll be able to recuperate $1 million due to injury. Ogletree put up one of the biggest fluke games of last season in Week 1 when he caught eight passes for 114 yards and two touchdowns. Fantasy footballers fell in love, and then he ended up catching just 24 passes the rest of the way while being demoted in the process. Ogletree will battle Tiquan Underwood, maybe Arrelious Benn, and likely a rookie for No. 3 receiver duties. … Tampa Bay was said to be interested in quarterback Matt Cassel after he was released by the Chiefs on Thursday. Cassel instead signed with the Vikings. It shows how little the Bucs believe in Josh Freeman at the moment, and they want someone to push him this summer.

Tennessee Titans: The Titans reportedly were the other team to pursue receiver Wes Welker. Tennessee also had interest in receiver Danny Amendola, so they are obviously looking to move on from Nate Washington as their slot man. Washington is said to have fallen out of favor due to effort concerns late last season. (Who wouldn’t have been upset in that offense?). … Chris Johnson remains the feature back even after Shonn Greene’s signing on Wednesday. Linebacker Moise Fokou is expected to compete with Colin McCarthy for the starting middle linebacker job. If both play up to their talent level, McCarthy should win the job with ease. He needs to stay off the trainer’s table. … Return man Darius Reynaud was re-signed to a one-year, $1 million deal. … Tennessee was reportedly talking to cornerback Keenan Lewis, but he never made it out of New Orleans. Defensive end Matt Shaughnessy will make a free-agent visit on Friday. He’s currently in Arizona doing the same thing with the Cardinals. Shaughnessy can play inside and on the edge in the 4-3 defense.

Washington Redskins: Washington signed right tackle Jeremy Trueblood on Thursday. Trueblood was banished from the lineup in Tampa Bay last season, but he’ll likely compete with Tony Pashos for the starting job this season. Neither one can be much worse than Tyler Polumbus was, but neither is much better, either. … Backup linebacker and special teamer Bryan Kehl was re-signed. He made six tackles in five games with the Redskins last season. … The Redskins are still looking to re-sign free agent tight end Fred Davis.



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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