Nick Mensio

Free Agency Dose

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NFL Hot Stove, Weekend Recap

Monday, March 18, 2013



Detroit Lions: The Lions continued their spending spree on Friday. In a minor surprise, Detroit re-signed free safety Louis Delmas to a two-year, $9.465 million contract. If Delmas can stay healthy, he and Glover Quin will make a fine safety tandem. Backup center Dylan Gandy was re-signed to a one-year deal.

Green Bay Packers: The lone signing of the Packers’ offseason up to this point happened on Friday. Backup linebacker Rob Francois was re-signed to a one-year contract. Francois will continue to be a contributor on special teams. … Linebacker A.J. Hawk staved off yet another potential offseason release by taking a pay cut on Friday. He’s expected to face some competition for his starting job next to Desmond Bishop. … Green Bay is reportedly one of two teams to have shown interest in free agent running back Ahmad Bradshaw. The top free agent running back left, Bradshaw would be a tremendous fit with the Packers. Bradshaw is one of the toughest players in the league, and he can pick up a blitz. ... Rumors of free agent running back Peyton Hillis visiting the Packers last week are reportedly not true.

Houston Texans: Free agent safety Ed Reed left his two-day visit with the Texans on Friday without signing a contract, and it’s reportedly 50:50 that he signs with the team. Reed is expected to make a decision sometime this week. It’s quite possible that he brought whatever offer he received from Houston back to Baltimore to give the Ravens a chance to match. … The Texans re-signed backup offensive tackle Andrew Gardner on Friday. He wasn’t tendered an offer as a restricted free agent last week. Gardner appeared in three games last season. The Texans have also expressed interest in re-signing punter Donnie Jones. … Here’s one out of left field. Free agent receiver Chad Johnson says he wants to play for the Texans. Houston is in dire need of some receiver help, but Johnson doesn’t bring much to the table. The Texans will not be signing him. … The Texans are not expected to re-sign free agent kicker Shayne Graham, and 2012 fifth-round pick Randy Bullock will handle kicking duties this season. Bullock missed his entire rookie season after tearing his groin in training camp last summer.

Indianapolis Colts: Owner Jim Irsay made headlines with a couple of tweets on Saturday night. Irsay said the Colts have been working on a deal for the past five days, and he later added that the targeted player is a receiver. It’s unclear if Irsay is talking about a trade or a free-agent signing, but he did rule out restricted free agent Victor Cruz. Some names that have come up are Larry Fitzgerald, Doug Baldwin, and Davone Bess. The Baldwin dots are easy to connect. Baldwin was knocked down a peg to Seattle’s No. 4 receiver after the Percy Harvin acquisition, and Baldwin played under new Colts OC Pep Hamilton while at Stanford when Andrew Luck was the quarterback. A few other possible trade candidates I came up with after just a little bit of thought are Harry Douglas, Miles Austin, Jon Baldwin, Santonio Holmes, Jeremy Maclin, Jason Avant, Robert Meachem, and Nate Washington. The top free-agent options are Brandon Lloyd, Darrius Heyward-Bey, and Julian Edelman. … Indianapolis released safety Tom Zbikowski on Friday. He was made expendable after LaRon Landry’s signing.

Jacksonville Jaguars: The Jaguars signed three players on Friday: running back Justin Forsett, defensive tackle Roy Miller, and defensive back Alan Ball. Forsett will be a nice change-of-pace back to Maurice Jones-Drew, and he can even carry the load in a pinch. Forsett was with coach Gus Bradley and OC Jedd Fisch in Seattle in 2010. Miller signed a two-year deal. He was a key piece on the Bucs’ top-ranked run defense last season. The soon-to-be 26-year-old will likely replace Terrance Knighton in the starting lineup. Ball can play both safety and cornerback, but he isn’t particularly good at either spot. His signing is a pure depth move, and he’ll fight for a job in training camp.

Kansas City Chiefs: Cornerback Sean Smith’s deal, which was initially reported as a three-year, $18 million deal, is worth just $16.5 million. … The Chiefs signed offensive lineman Geoff Schwartz on Friday. He can play both right guard and right tackle. Schwartz started 16 games for the Panthers in 2010. He’ll be a key reserve in Kansas City. … Free agent tight end Les Brown worked out for the Chiefs over the weekend. Brown is best known for his prominent role in HBO’s Hard Knocks series with the Dolphins last summer. He can’t block at all, but he has an intriguing skill-set at 6-foot-4 and 238 pounds.

Miami Dolphins: GM Jeff Ireland added another couple of pieces to the offense with the signings of receiver Brandon Gibson and tight end Dustin Keller. Gibson inked a three-year deal, and Keller signed a one-year, $4.25 million contract. Gibson will likely be the No. 3 or No. 4 receiver in Miami, but he could push slot receiver Davone Bess out of a job. Keller turned down a multi-year offer to try and rehab his value on the one-year deal. He’s an upgrade on Anthony Fasano in the receiving game, but he isn’t nearly the blocker Fasano is. … Left tackle Jake Long spurned the Dolphins and signed a four-year deal with the Rams on Sunday night. The Dolphins were said to be making a charge to re-sign Long, but he picked St. Louis over Miami. Both contract offers were reportedly similar. Look for the Dolphins to turn their attention to free agent right tackle Eric Winston. Second-year tackle Jonathan Martin is now the favorite to start on quarterback Ryan Tannehill’s blind side. That’s a scary thought. … Free agent cornerback Brent Grimes visited the team. He’d be a good get for a team that desperately needs corner help. … The Dolphins may or may not have visited with free agent defensive end John Abraham. He reportedly missed his initial visit, but then booked a flight on his own dime and showed up a day or two later. Free agent defensive end Elvis Dumervil reportedly wants to play for Miami. The Dolphins have yet to contact him, though. Free agent outside linebacker/defensive end Antwan Barnes and the Dolphins have reportedly been in discussions. Barnes has recorded 14 sacks over the last two seasons, mainly as a 3-4 linebacker.

Minnesota Vikings: After a two-day visit with receiver Greg Jennings, the Vikings inked Jennings to a five-year, $47.5 million deal on Friday night. The deal includes $18 million guaranteed. The Vikings put the full-court press on Jennings on Thursday night, and his $9.5 million annual average is seventh-highest in the league among receivers. Jennings, 29, can play all three receiver positions. At this point we’d expect Jennings and Jerome Simpson to be on the outside with Jarius Wright in the slot this season. … Recently released cornerback Antoine Winfield is expected to start making visits this week. The Vikings have been in discussions to bring the veteran back. … Minnesota is reportedly not interested in free agent receiver Brandon Lloyd or restricted free agent receiver Victor Cruz. … Quarterback Matt Cassel was told that there will be no competition for the starting job. Christian Ponder is locked in as the team’s quarterback.

New England Patriots: The Patriots were the busiest team over the weekend. Cornerbacks Kyle Arrington and Aqib Talib were re-signed. Arrington got a four-year, $16 million deal. He’ll return as the Patriots’ slot corner. Talib came back at a bargain rate of one year and $5 million. He reportedly turned down multi-year offers from other teams to return to the Patriots. With Arrington and Talib back under contract, the Patriots have their solid cover corner trio back together, along with second-year man Alfonzo Dennard. It also allows the Patriots to keep Devin McCourty at safety. … New England also made moves with its receiving corps. Receiver Donald Jones signed a three-year contract, and Brandon Lloyd was released after spending just one year with the team. Jones played mostly in the slot with the Bills last season, but he has the ability to play outside. Lloyd was due a $3 million roster bonus this offseason in addition to a $1.9 million base salary. The 31-year-old just didn’t stretch the field, and he doesn’t create yards after the catch. He might have a rough go of it on the open market since he has only had success under Josh McDaniels. Lloyd is easily the top free-agent receiver available, though. … Restricted free agent receiver Emmanuel Sanders visited the Patriots on Friday, but he did not sign an offer sheet. … Safety Adrian Wilson inked a three-year deal with New England. The 33-year-old is mostly an in-the-box safety at this point in his career, but the Patriots hope he can have an impact like Rodney Harrison had. … Offensive tackle Will Svitek signed on Sunday. The 31-year-old missed the entire 2012 season with an arm injury, but he could compete with Marcus Cannon for the starting right tackle job if free agent Sebastian Vollmer isn’t re-signed. Speaking of Vollmer, there’s word that he could re-up on a one-year deal due to his nonexistent market. We should know more about Vollmer this week, especially after Jake Long unclogged the offensive tackle market on Sunday night with his signing in St. Louis. … Free agent defensive ends John Abraham and Dwight Freeney left their visits with the Patriots without deals.

New Orleans Saints: Free agent cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha visited the Saints on Sunday. He has experience with DC Rob Ryan from their Oakland days. If New Orleans signed Asomugha, one of the incumbent cornerbacks Patrick Robinson or Jabari Greer could reportedly be released. … The Saints are reportedly one of the four teams interested in free agent tight end Kellen Davis. He could replace David Thomas as the No. 2 behind Jimmy Graham. … New Orleans re-signed special teams dynamo Courtney Roby on Sunday.

New York Giants: The Giants inked three players to one-year deals over the weekend: receiver Louis Murphy, tight end Brandon Myers, and linebacker Dan Connor. Murphy is a pure depth signing with receivers Ramses Barden and Domenik Hixon being free agents. Murphy has plenty of speed, but he hasn’t turned it into production. Connor will likely battle Mark Herzlich for the middle linebacker job. Connor was miscast as a 3-4 inside linebacker in Dallas, so a return to the 4-3 should do him wonders. Myers is easily the biggest signing. Coming off a career year in Oakland, he’ll try and replace Martellus Bennett’s production. Myers has soft hands, but he doesn’t block at all or stretch the field. He’ll be a fine red-zone option. … Jason Pierre-Paul will reportedly focus on left end next season, while Justin Tuck primarily plays right end. The Giants don’t want the two flip-flopping as much as they have in the past. Pierre-Paul is stout enough against the run to be able to hold down the left side.


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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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