2011 Free Agency Grades


ari 2011 Free Agency Grades Arizona Cardinals

Notable Additions: QB Kevin Kolb, CB Richard Marshall, LB Stewart Bradley, TE Jeff King, G Daryn Colledge, G Lyle Sendlein (re-signed), G Deuce Lutui (re-signed), TE Todd Heap, DT Nick Eason, DT Vonnie Holliday

Notable Losses: CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, QB Derek Anderson, LB Gerald Hayes, RB Tim Hightower, TE Ben Patrick, WR Steve Breaston

Heading into the offseason the objective for the Arizona Cardinals was pretty simple; find a quarterback and add talent where ever they can. That’s exactly what they managed to do in short lived free agency period.

Acquiring Kolb was definitely costly as they gave up a solid player in Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie along with a second-round draft pick. On top of that they had to sign him to a longterm contract so Arizona has basically gone all in on Kevin Kolb. It was their biggest need last season and it will help to keep Larry Fitzgerald with the team following the 2011 season.

The additions of Richard Marhshall and Stewart Bradley should help to bolster their defense but their defensive line is still in pretty bad shape. The addition of Daryn Colledge helps but it’s not going to be a difference maker. Deuce Lutui only returned to the team because he failed a physical after signing with Cincinnati so that’s hardly encouraging going forward. Keeping Kolb upright and creating holes for Beanie Wells and Ryan Williams to run through will be the offenses biggest test in 2011. Todd Heap was good grab for them as Kolb loves looking for his tight end as Brent Celek can attest to.

As for losses, Rodgers-Cromartie hurts because they had a pretty good tandem in place with him and Patrick Peterson but desperate teams make desperate moves. Steve Breaston would have been another solid player to keep so their No. 2 wide receiver spot will be an issue to watch throughout the preseason.

It doesn’t take all that much to compete in the NFC West so overall they’ve at least given themselves a shot.

Grade: B-

ari 2011 Free Agency Grades Atlanta Falcons

Notable Additions: DE Ray Edwards, G Justin Blalock (re-signed), LB Stephen Nicholas (re-signed), LB Mike Peterson (re-signed), OT Tyson Clabo (re-signed), WR Eric Weems (re-signed), RB Jason Snelling (re-signed)

Notable Losses: WR Michael Jenkins, DE Jamaal Anderson, RB Jerious Norwood, G Harvey Dahl

We been pretty hard on the Falcons since they traded for Julio Jones. Our main point was that they were not one wide receiver short of beating the Green Bay Packers during last seasons playoffs. On top of that they had some key players that were set to free agents who needed to be addressed.

The fact that they were able to keep both Justin Blalock and Tyson Clabo was big deal for their offensive line. Re-signing Jason Snelling was a good under-the-radar move that should give them plenty of depth at running back in case Michael Turner gets injured again. Ray Edwards brings a much needed pass rusher to play opposite of John Abraham but the fact that he should up with an disclosed knee injury is a little concerning.

Atlanta losses two players that never lived up to their expectation in Michael Jenkins and Jerious Norwood. Harvey Dahl is by far the biggest loss but you can’t keep everyone especially when you had three of the top offensive line options available on the open market.

Overall the Falcons still have issues at linebacker and in their secondary. Keeping Brent Grimes was easy considering that he was a restricted free agent but they’ll need more help to offset the passing attacks that are dominating the NFL.

Grade: B+

ari 2011 Free Agency Grades Baltimore Ravens

Notable Additions: G Marshal Yanda (re-signed), FB Vonta Leach, CB Chris Carr (re-signed), S Bernard Pollard, RB Ricky Williams

Notable Losses: WR Derrick Mason, RB Willis McGahee, FB Le’Ron McClain, TE Todd Heap, DT Kelly Gregg, CB Fabian Washington, CB Josh Wilson

While the Ravens lost more notable players than they brought in, all of the players that Baltimore replaced aren’t worth losing sleep over. Derrick Mason has been a very productive player for them over the last number of season but there was a pretty noticeable drop off in his ability last season. McGahee is another declining player that wasn’t worth keeping. Le’Ron McClain would normally be missed but when you add on the leagues best fullbacks in Vonta Leach, you’re not exactly concerned.

Yanda was the teams biggest offseason priority so keeping him was a win in itself. Bernard Pollard could be a great addition in the right system and Baltimore has done a great job with their secondary in years past. Williams is a good low risk player that has proven to be very productive despite his age.

Baltimore is getting younger and the moves that they made isn’t going to hurt their chances of competing in the short term but it will be interesting to see how well they come together given their limited offseason.

Grade: B

ari 2011 Free Agency Grades Buffalo Bills


Notable Additions: LB Nick Barnett, CB Drayton Florence (re-signed), WR Brad Smith, QB Tyler Thigpen

Notable Losses: LB Paul Posluszny, S Donte Whitner

Just looking at the players above you’d had to say that it was a rather lackluster free agency for the Buffalo Bills.

Keeping Drayton Florence was a great move that will maintain their depth in the secondary and Nick Barnett is a reasonable secondary option to Paul Posluszny. Chan Gailey has shown plenty of excitement regarding the addition of Brad Smith who’s playing time was limited by the New York Jets offense. Smith will count as the teams third quarterback which is a rule that has been changed for future seasons so you can expect to be involved in more than just the receiving and return games.

It’s really no surprise that Buffalo didn’t keep Donte Whitner as he was rumored to be as far back as the start of last season. Posluszny is a great player but paying him the kind of money that the Jaguars gave him would have been mistake.

Overall the Bills needed to do more if they were going to be competing for the AFC East title. It’s hard to knock them for not over spending on players that in free agency when it’s clear that their team will be built in the draft. If they could have lured Tyson Clabo to sign with the team they would be in much better shape but that leaves them with an offensive that needs a lot of help.

Grade: C-

ari 2011 Free Agency Grades Carolina Panthers

Notable Additions: DE Charles Johnson (re-signed), RB DeAngelo Williams (re-signed), LB James Anderson (re-signed), LB Thomas Davis (re-signed), TE Greg Olsen, DT Ron Edwards, K Olindo Mare, LB Omar Gaither, QB Derek Anderson, TE Ben Hartsock

Notable Losses: QB Matt Moore, TE Dante Rosario

Panthers owner Jerry Richardson took it personal that people considered him to be cheap when it came to the teams roster so he went out and locked all of the teams young talent including players that weren’t free agents like LB Jon Beason.

Keeping Charles Johnson, DeAngelo Williams and James Anderson was very costly but gives them a great nucleus to build off of. Add in the addition of Greg Olsen and the Panthers look like they’ve actually got a shot to compete in one of the leagues toughest divisions. But it all comes down to the quarterback position and there are as many question marks regarding No. 1 pick Cam Newton as there were during the draft. As of now, the Panthers have Jimmy Clausen listed above him on their depth chart while new head coach Ron Rivera has said that Newton has struggled with his consistency.

Losing Matt Moore and Dante Rosario isn’t going to cause anyone to lose sleep so overall they’ve managed to keep their young talent in house which is ultimately what’s going to get them ahead of the Falcons and Saints.

Grade: A-

ari 2011 Free Agency Grades Chicago Bears

Notable Additions: WR Roy Williams, Anthony Adams (re-signed), C Chris Spencer, DE Corey Graham (re-signed), DE Amobi Okoye, RB Marion Barber, LB Brian Iwuh (re-signed), TE Matt Spaeth, LB Vernon Gholston,  P Adam Podlesh

Notable Losses: TE Greg Olsen, DT Tommie Harris, C Olin Kreutz, WR Devin Aromashodu

It’s hard to look the moves that the Bears made and think that they came out of this much better.

The addition of Williams makes sense for Martz’s offense as they have a history together while in Detroit. Getting Okoye was a great move for their defense as he’s proven to be an effective player in 4-3 defensive schemes and comes with a pretty good upside. Other than that, the rest of the players aren’t really anything to get that excited about. Chicago offensive line was terrible last season, which is what happens when you bring in Mike Martz to run your offense, but Chris Spencer will not be enough to dramatically improve their porous o-line. Carimi should also help but Mike Tice’s work is cut for him again in 2011. Gholston was an interesting low cost addition but he’s yet to show the kind of promise that would justify his draft selection. I find it hard to image that Barber will be effective on the teams terrible field considering that he isn’t know for him speed. You’re taking an already slow player and slowing him down further with that surface and then giving him a two-year deal for $6 million when the market for veteran running backs was dead. Strange.

Olsen was expendable considering Martz doesn’t make use of the tight end but it’s always concerning to let a quality player go when his best years could still be ahead of him. Jerry Angelo’s decision to let veteran Olin Kreutz go has already come under plenty of scrutiny from the players but his abilities were starting to decline. It’s still going to look bad if Spencer really struggles in his first year with team.

Grade: C

ari 2011 Free Agency Grades Cincinnati Bengals

Notable Additions: CB Nate Clements, LB Manny Lawson, RB Cedric Benson (re-signed),QB  Bruce Gradkowski, LB Thomas Howard, RB Brian Leonard (re-signed)

Notable Losses: CB Johnathan Joseph,  WR Chad Ochocinco, DE Antwan Odom, G Evan Mathis

Without a doubt the biggest move that was made regarding the players above was the loss of Jonathan Joseph. Cincinnati planned on re-signing and actually thought that they did but choose to leave for the Houston Texans which by all accounts looks like a decent move for him. The Bengals responded by bringing in Nate Clements who is a serviceable player but not in the same class as Joseph.

Keeping Cedric Benson helps their ground game as well as rookie QB Andy Dalton. Bruce Gradkowski is one of the players that doesn’t look good on paper but seems to bring a winning attitude to struggling teams. Manny Lawson could also be a great addition if he ever lives up to his potential. Overall their additions seem pretty logical.

Trading Ochocinco represents a change in direction more than anything. Keeping him would have given the Bengals another option along side of rookie A.J. Green and Jerome Simpson but sending him to New England allows them the opportunity to start from scratch will most likely end up being the best things for both parties.

Cincinnati isn’t going to make huge strides by picking up one big name free agent so they’re going to have to focus on the draft in the coming years if their going to right the ship.

Grade: C

ari 2011 Free Agency Grades Cleveland Browns

Notable Additions: G John Greco, RB Brandon Jackson, S Usama Young

Notable Losses: CB Eric Wright, S Abram Elam

Starting with the positive, John Greco is good addition as he’ll help their interior offensive line along side of Joe Thomas. Colt McCoy needs all the help that he can get and it makes Peyton Hillis even harder to deal with. Brandon Jackson isn’t that bad of a signing either. He proved to be a valuable asset for Green Bay during their Super Bowl run. He’s a great pass catcher and has shown the ability to pickup blitzes so he provides a good alternative to Hillis.

The issue is that the team has much more pressing needs like wide receiver and a solid pass rusher. What do they expect Colt McCoy to do with the ball? Handing it off isn’t going to win them games in this league as teams will be loading the box until the Browns can prove that they can beat them through the air. Cleveland needs building blocks on both sides of the ball so it will be intersting to see what Phil Taylor and Jabaal Sheard can do in their rookie seasons.

Grade: D

ari 2011 Free Agency Grades Dallas Cowboys

Notable Additions: OT Doug Free (re-signed), G Kyle Kosier (re-signed), DE Marcus Spears (re-signed), DE Jason Hatcher (re-signed), S Gerald Sensabaugh (re-signed), S Abram Elam

Notable Losses: WR Roy Williams, RB Marion Barber, OT Leonard Davis, G Marc Colombo

Considering that Dallas started out with very little cash, they did a really good job of even giving themselves a shot at retaining some of their big name free agent players. Had the Cowboys lost Doug Free, their offseason would have been dramatically altered. Cutting players like Williams, Barber and Davis isn’t going to hurt their team in 2011 especially when they were able to keeping players that are going to be big contributors for them in the coming months.

Dallas’s secondary is still an issue. It seemed like they were going to be bring in Nnamdi Asomugha when the Eagles stepped in and ended all of that. Sensabaugh and Elam should help the backend of their secondary but they really need someone to step up at the cornerback position.

Grade: B

ari 2011 Free Agency Grades Denver Broncos

Notable Additions: DT Brodrick Bunkley, DT Jeremy Jarmon, DE Derrick Harvey, RB Willis McGahee, DT Marcus Thomas (re-signed), TE Daniel Fells, TE Donte Rosario, DE Ty Warren

Notable Losses: WR Jabar Gaffney, TE Daniel Graham, S Renaldo Hill, Ronald Fields, OT Ryan Harris

It appeared as though Kyle Orton was going to be playing in Miami early on in the offseason but that deal fell through and he’s since taken over as the teams starting quarterback which consequently prolongs the wait for Tim Tebow.

Denver was smart to address their defensive line as it was by far their biggest weakness from last season. Bunkley and Jarmon could end up being great additions to John Fox’s 4-3 defense. McGahee was a ok move it’s hard to know what you’re getting with him as he’s dealt with plenty of injuries in recent years.

Overall Denver did pretty well with the money that they had but they’re still not ready to make a run in the playoffs. More work is needed.

Grade: C

ari 2011 Free Agency Grades Detroit Lions

Notable Additions: CB Eric Wright, LB Justin Durant, LB Stephen Tulloch, CB Chris Houston (re-signed), QB Drew Stanton (re-signed)

Notable Losses: WR Bryant Johnson

Much was made of the Lions 2011 draft but they still needed a linebacker and a cornerback in the free agent market. Wright gives them another corner along side of Chris Houston and Stephen Tullock was great addition to the middle of their defense.

The recent injuries to Mikel Leshoure and Nick Fairley are definitely concerning but the Lions have since brought in Jerome Harrison and Mike Bell to add depth to their backfield. .

Overall, the team has done a good job of pairing veteran players with their young nucleus which should make them contenders for the NFC North as long they can keep everyone healthy.

Grade: B

ari 2011 Free Agency Grades Green Bay Packers

Notable Additions: WR James Jones (re-signed), K Mason Crosby (re-signed), FB John Kuhn (re-signed)

Notable Losses: LB Nick Barnett, DE Cullen Jenkins, OT Mark Tauscher, C Jason Spitz

Everyone knew that the Packers were not going to be big players in free agency as they’ve consistently focused on drafting and developing players rather than bringing in big name free agents.

Green Bay focused on retaining players that were key to the Super Bowl run like Jones, Kuhn and Crosby but wasn’t going to overpay for some of the other players. They got a pretty good deal on Jones once the market fell through and it even seemed that they’d have a shot at keeping Cullen Jenkins at one point but overall the focus on value.

Jenkins really is the only player that’s going to force the team to make adjustments for the upcoming season. Other than that, the Packers have plenty of talent at middle linebacker which made Barnett expendable and Mark Tauscher is coming to the end of his career.

Not many Super Bowl winners are able to keep their team in place like the Packers have this season. There offseason usually takes place during the season when they lockup young players like: Tramon Williams and Desmond Bishop.

Grade: B

ari 2011 Free Agency Grades Houston Texans

Notable Additions: CB Johnathan Joseph, S Danieal Manning, G Mike Brisiel (re-signed), WR Jacoby Jones(re-signed),QB Matt Leinart (re-signed)

Notable Losses: FB Vonta Leach, DE Amobi Okoye, QB Dan Orlovsky, S Bernard Pollard

The Houston Texans offseason has been centered around the implementation of Wade Phillips 3-4 defense. Houston drafted J.J. Watt and Brooks Reed back in April and began the process of weeding out the players that didn’t fit with the release of Amobi Okoye.

The Texans had one of the leagues worst secondaries in the history of the NFL last season which is why they tossed huge money at Jonathan Joseph to pry him from Cincinnati. Daniel Manning gives them more help at the back end of their defense. Jacoby Jones is a reasonable option at receiver but they could have used an upgrade over him.

Losing Vonta Leach could end up being an issue for them but if your team’s weakness is at fullback, you’re generally in a pretty good position.

This is looking like the year that the Texans could get over the hump and beat out the Colts for the AFC South if they can get their defense up to speed.

Grade: A

ari 2011 Free Agency Grades Indianapolis Colts

Notable Additions: QB Peyton Manning (re-signed), RB Joseph Addai (re-signed), S Melvin Bullitt (re-signed), DE Jamaal Anderson, K Adam Vinatieri (re-signed), DT Antonio Johnson (re-signed), DT  Eric Foster (re-signed), QB Dan Orlovsky, LB Ernie Sims, DT Tommie Harris

Notable Losses: LB Clint Session, OT Charlie Johnson, CB Kelvin Hayden, DT Daniel Muir

Indianapolis’s offseason really began once they re-signed Peyton Manning as his contract was holding up their ability to address some of their own free agents let alone other team needs.

Keeping Joseph Addai was good move as he’s proven to be very effective in the Colts offense when healthy and a favorite of Manning. The Colts interior defensive line was also in need of help so they addressed that with the tandem of Antonio Johnson, Tommie Harris and Eric Foster. Indy definitely went with quantity over quality here but there really wasn’t any great options in their price range. Melvin Bullitt was another decent move as they lost Bob Sanders to the Chargers back in February.

As far as their losses are concerned, Charlie Johnson and Clint Session are likely to missed to some degree but the teams has players available to fill in if they can develop in time to have an impact on the coming season. The Colts made moves but they were some pretty average moves at best.

Grade: C

ari 2011 Free Agency Grades Jacksonville Jaguars

Notable Additions: LB Paul Posluszny, S Dawan Landry, LB Clint Session, C Jason Spitz, TE Mercedes Lewis (franchised)

Notable Losses: G Justin Smiley, DE Derrick Harvey, G Vince Manuwai, LB Justin Durant, LB Clint Ingram, P Adam Podlesh, QB Trent Edwards, WR Mike Sims-Walker

I honestly like the players that the Jaguars brought in but not for the price that it cost them to do so. Then again that’s what happens when you don’t have the pull of the Philadelphia Eagles.

Posluszny is a great fit for the Jaguars who will now have the most solid group of linebackers that they’ve had in some time. Landry immediately upgrades their secondary which was a big issue for them last season. Spitz should help with the loss of Justin Smiley and Vince Manuwai as he can play both center and guard.

Questions still remain at the receiver position where they lost Mike Sims-Walker to the St Louis Rams. As of now they are still without a big receiving option other than Mercedes Lewis. David Garrard needs some weapons other than Maurice Jones-Drew to use so it will be interesting to see anyone can step up and fill that hole.

Grade: C+

ari 2011 Free Agency Grades Kansas City Chiefs

Notable Additions: LB Tamba Hali (franchised), WR Steve Breaston, DT Kelly Gregg, LB Brandon Siler, Wallace Gilberry (re-signed), FB Le’Ron McClain

Notable Losses: G Brian Waters, DT Ron Edwards

Locking up Tamba Hali was a huge move for the teams defense moving forward. Hali has proven to be one of the leagues best pass rushers but you have to wonder how much better he could be if they had a decent option playing opposite of him.

Steve Breaston was a great addition as I’m sure that the Cardinals are missing him already. Kansas City really needs another compliment to Dwayne Bowe and Breaston will given them a good option. Le’ron McClain will hopefully help Jamal Charles out this season as he’s been a great lead blocker for the Ravens for a number of years now.

Adding a defensive tackle like Aubrayo Franklin would have really had a positive impact on the teams interior defense but they choose to go with an aging veteran in Kelly Gregg. There will be some questions about his effectiveness as well as the play of the teams interior defensive line.

Grade: C+

ari 2011 Free Agency Grades Miami Dolphins

Notable Additions: RB Reggie Bush, LB Kevin Burnett, QB Matt Moore, DE Tony McDaniel (re-signed), G Marc Colombo, DE Jason Taylor, DT Ronald Fields

Notable Losses: RB Ronnie Brown, QB Tyler Thigpen, LB Channing Crowder, RB Ricky Williams

It’s hard to talk about the Dolphins offseason without mentioning their quarterback position. Not trading for Kyle Orton leaves them with Chad Henne and the recently signed Matt Moore. So far Moore has been pretty good in practice but we’ll see how that translates when he’s actually playing in preseason games.

Reggie Bush fills their need for a pass catching back to compliment rookie Daniel Thomas. It will be interesting to see if Bush returns to the form that we’ve seen while he was in New Orleans.

Miami continued to focus on the defensive side of the ball with the additions of Kevin Burnett, Jason Taylor and Ronald Fields. Re-signing Tony McDaniel was another good move to keep some continuity on the teams defensive line.

Losing Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams isn’t much of a concern as they’ve gotten younger and more athletic. Much like the Carolina Panthers, the Dolphins season will be contingent the success of the teams quarterback.

Grade: B-

ari 2011 Free Agency Grades Minnesota Vikings

Notable Additions: QB Donovan McNabb, WR Michael Jenkins, OT Charlie Johnson, DT Remi Ayodele, K Ryan Longwell (re-signed), WR Devin Aromashodu

Notable Losses: OT Bryant McKinnie, DT Jimmy Kennedy, S Madieu Williams, WR Sidney Rice, DE Ray Edwards

Minnesota decided to buy Christian Ponder some more time with the trade for Donovan McNabb. Honestly speaking, it’s hard to image that McNabb is going to be a difference maker the way Favre was in his first season with the team. Add in the fact that the teams receiving core lost Sidney Rice and it seems like this is going to be a long season for Adrian Peterson and Vikings fans.

Charlie Johnson was a pretty good addition following the release of Bryant McKinnie and Michael Jenkins and Devin Aromashodu could help the teams passing game but they’ve hardly proven to be impact players so far.

I can see why they allowed Ray Edwards to leave as it’s hard to say that he’s worth the kind of money that Falcons gave him. Edwards had the luxury of playing against single blockers on one of the leagues best defensive lines for a number of years so he’s going to have to prove that he do opposite of John Abraham.

The Vikings still need another receiver and more help on their offensive line before they can feel good about going up against the Bears, Packers and Lions defenses.

Grade: D+

ari 2011 Free Agency Grades New England Patriots

Notable Additions: G Logan Mankins (re-signed), DT Albert Haynesworth, WR Chad Ochocinco, OT Matt Light (re-signed), RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis (re-signed)

Notable Losses: DT Marcus Stroud, LB Tully Banta-Cain, DE Ty Warren, OT Nick Kaczur, TE Alge Crumpler

New England found themselves in a perfect position this year as they sat back and allowed the market to play out while shopping for undervalued assets like Albert Haynesworth and Chad Ochocinco.

The thought of having motivated Haynesworth playing along side of Vince Wilfork is pretty scary in itself and Ochocinco gets a shot at proving that he’s still a big play receiver in the NFL. All that cost the Patriots was a few late round draft picks.

New England addressed their offensive line by re-signing Logan Mankins to a six-year deal and bringing back veteron OT Matt Light. Mankins is obviously the bigger deal but Light gives them depth as Nate Solder may require some time.

Cutting the players that they did doesn’t seem like a huge loss but you still have to wonder where exactly is the pass rush coming from?

Grade: A-

ari 2011 Free Agency Grades New Orleans Saints

Notable Additions: DT Aubrayo Franklin, RB Darren Sproles, WR Lance Moore (re-signed), S Roman Harper(re-signed), LB Clint Ingram, OT Jermon Bushrod (re-signed), LB Scott Shanle (re-signed), OT Zach Strief (re-signed), OT Alex Barron, LB Jo-Lonn Dunbar (re-signed), LB Will Herring, CB Fabian Washington

Notable Losses: RB Reggie Bush, Akin Ayodele

New Orleans continued adding talent to an already solid roster. So far they’ve brought in Aubrayo Franklin and Shaun Rodgers to man the middle of their defense which is a really good upgrade for Gregg Williams defense. Keeping players like Lance Moore, Roman Harper, Jermon Bushrod and Scott Shanle gives them some depth and continuity heading into the 2011 season.

The fact that the Saints traded Reggie Bush isn’t much of a surprise as it was rumored for a number of months that he was going to be one of the first players addressed once free agency was open for business.

It wasn’t that long ago that the Saints were sitting on top of the league and it very well could happen again considering where they currently stand.

Grade: A

ari 2011 Free Agency Grades New York Giants

Notable Additions: RB Ahmad Bradshaw (re-signed), DE Mathias Kiwanuka (re-signed), C David Bass, G Kevin Boothe (re-signed), TE Ben Patrick, Stacy Andrews

Notable Losses: DT Rocky Bernard, C Shaun O’Hara, G Rich Seubert, G Shawn Andrews, TE Kevin Boss

The Giants wound up having a pretty active offseason but not much really came of that activity. Then again they had some restraints because of financial issues but they managed to re-sign Ahmad Bradshaw which was their top priority. Keeping Kiwanuka was an interesting move but it could really pay off big if he can return to his previous form considering that Osi Umenyiora is looking leave following the 2011 season.

New York chose to go in a new direction when it came to their offensive line as they cut Shaun O’Hara, Rich Seubert and Shawn Andrews. The problem is that the players that they chose to sign aren’t big upgrades which leaves them with some questions heading into the upcoming season.

The loss of Kevin Boss will most likely end up being an issue for the teams offense as Eli Manning had begun to look Boss’s way in the last few seasons.

Grade: C-

ari 2011 Free Agency Grades New York Jets

Notable Additions: WR Santonio Holmes (re-signed), CB Antonio Cromartie (re-signed), QB Mark Brunell, WR Plaxico Burress, K Nick Folk (re-signed), OT Wayne Hunter (re-signed), LB David Harris (re-signed)

Notable Losses: WR Braylon Edwards, DE Shaun Ellis, DE Jason Taylor, WR Brad Smith

From the looks of it the New York Jets did pretty well this offseason. They managed to re-sign a number of key players like: Santonio Holmes, Antonio Cromartie, Mark Brunell, Nick Folk, Wayne Hunter  and David Harris but the biggest disappointment may have been on missing out on Nnamdi Asomugha.

The Jets were reported to be active players in the bidding for Nnamdi but ultimately lost out the Eagles. Good thing for the Jets, Antonio Cromartie was still available and willing to return despite the fact that the Jets obviously preferred Asomugha to him.

Keeping Holmes was another big move for Gang Green as we was drawing a lot of interest on the open market. New York new that they were not going to be able to keep all of the wide receiver but figured that they’d have a shot at retain Brad Smith who ultimately left for the Bills.

Burress will be taking the place of Braylon Edwards but has recently suffered a foot injury so we’ll have to wait and see if he can still be a productive wide receiver in the NFL.

Overall the Jets did a pretty good job the loss of Asomugha nearly left them in terrible shape.

Grade: B+

ari 2011 Free Agency Grades Oakland Raiders

Notable Additions: LB Kamerion Wimbley (re-signed), S Michael Huff (re-signed), OT Khalif Barnes (re-signed), DE Jarvis Moss (re-signed), C Samson Satele (re-signed), OT Stephon Heyer, QB Trent Edwards, CB Stanford Routt, TE Kevin Boss

Notable Losses: CB Nnamdi Asomugha, TE Zach Miller, G Robert Gallery

The Oakland Raiders had another typical offseason in which they threw a bunch of money at some of their own players. Wimbley, Huff and Routt all got big deals at different points in the offseason which may have cost them the ability to keep Asomugha and Miller.

Tom Cable did a good job of courting some of his former players to head up north and join him in Seattle. Both Miller and Gallery wound up leaving Oakland for the Seahawks but Miller may have had the biggest impact on the team. Al Davis filled to hole left by Millers departure with Kevin Boss but it’s hard to image that Boss will have as big of an impact on the teams offense as Miller had had in previous years.

Every year the Raiders seem like an intriguing team but their quarterback situation still needs some improving if their going to be competing for the division.

Grade: C

ari 2011 Free Agency Grades Philadelphia Eagles

Notable Additions: CB Nnamdi Asomugha, DE Jason Babin, CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, DE Cullen Jenkins, QB Vince Young, RB Ronnie Brown, OT Ryan Harris, G Evan Mathis, LB Akeem Jordan (re-signed), S Jarrad Page, G Derek Landri, DT Anthony Hargrove, WR Steve Smith

Notable Losses: QB Kevin Kolb, DT Brodrick Bunkley, S Quintin Mikell, FB Leonard Weaver, LB Ernie Sims, G Max Jean-Gilles, Dimitri Patterson, LB Stewart Bradley

You could talk about the 2011 offseason without mentioning the Eagles. In fact the Eagles have been the main story line for the short lived free agency period.

They’ve upgraded their defense significantly with the additions of Nnamdi Asomugha, Jason Babin, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Cullen Jenkins. Last year the teams defense wound up being a liability and that obviously struck a chord with Andy Reid as they’ve brought in quality talent at cornerback and defensive line.

Vince Young was brought to backup Michael Vick which makes sense as Vick could end up being a great mentor for Young who has dealt with some of his own issues in recent years.

Philly also addressed their offensive line with the signings of both Ryan Harris and Evan Mathis. Neither player is a pro bowl talent but should provide Vick and LeSean McCoy the help that they need to get the offense running as well as it can.

The issue that stands out is at linebacker where they allowed Stewart Bradley to leave. As of now it appears that Casey Mathews will be playing in the middle of the teams defense. This is something to monitor during the preseason as it could be the teams glaring weakness.

On top of acquiring plenty of talent, Philadelphia has positioned themselves perfectly for next years draft which is all you can ask and more.

Overall the Eagles have moved all in for the upcoming season which brings about a lot expectations and scrutiny which may or may not end up impacting the teams performance in the upcoming season. At least it will be an interesting story line follow as the season progresses.

Grade: A+

ari 2011 Free Agency Grades Pittsburgh Steelers

Notable Additions: CB Ike Taylor (re-signed), OT Willie Colon (re-signed), OT Jonathan Scott (re-signed), RB Mewelde Moore (re-signed), CB William Gay (re-signed)

Notable Losses: G Max Starks, OT Flozell Adams, WR Antwaan Randle El

Pittsburgh focused on keeping their players rather than bringing in new and younger talent. Considering that the team’s roster is already among the oldest in the league, you would have wonder whether or not these contracts could end up being an issue for them in the coming years.

I can understand wanting to keep players like Ike Taylor and Willie Colon as they would have had to over pay to sign better options but both of them come with some concerns. Taylor is 31 and plays a position that requires plenty of speed and agility while Colon is coming off of an Achilles tendon tear. Both are good players but questions remain.

The good news for the Steelers is that they can afford to target veteran players as they continuously keep for the division crown year in and year out.

Grade: B-

ari 2011 Free Agency Grades San Diego Chargers

Notable Additions: WR Vincent Jackson (franchised), S Eric Weddle (re-signed), LB Takeo Spikes, OT Jeromey Clary (re-signed), LB Antwan Barnes (re-signed), DE Jacques Cesaire (re-signed), LB Travis LaBoy, QB Billy Volek (re-signed),TE Randy McMichael (re-signed), WR Michael Floyd

Notable Losses: LB Brandon Siler, Jyles Tucker, Craig Davis, RB Darren Sproles, LB Kevin Burnett

The San Diego Chargers were another team that was able to keep a good amount of their players despite having plenty of interest from a number of teams. The Chargers were able to keep Vincent Jackson, Eric Weddle, Antwan Barnes and Michael Floyd while only losing a few key players. I really like that they were able to keep both Jackson and Floyd as they create plenty of mismatches for opposing defenses along side of Antonio Gates.

Losing Darren Sproles really wan’t very surprising as he had been generating plenty of interest on the open leading up to free agency. Kevin Burnett is a good player but the Chargers brought in a few linebackers to offset his loss.

San Diego has once again positioned themselves as the best team in the AFC West if only the could get off to a fast start for once instead of playing from behind each season.

Grade: A-

ari 2011 Free Agency Grades San Francisco 49ers

Notable Additions: WR Braylon Edwards, S Donte Whitner, QB Alex Smith (re-signed), Ray McDonald (re-signed), CB Carlos Rogers, CB Madieu Williams, K David Akers, Jonathan Goodwin, S Dashon Goldson

Notable Losses: DT Aubrayo Franklin, CB Nate Clements, LB Manny Lawson, C Eric Heitmann

Things started out very quite for the 49ers who wound up missing out on some of the bigger names in free agency but a much better job as the days went on of finding value in the market.

New head coach Jim Harbaugh made it known that Alex Smith would be returning to the team in 2011 a long time ago so that move was hardly surprising but the additions of Braylon Edwards,  Donte Whitner, Carlos Rogers and Madieu Williams really helped to round out a roster that was beginning to look devoid of talent.

Edwards was a great move simply because they limited the amount of risk they were taking on by signing him to a one-year deal.

Aubrayo Franklin is really the biggest loss for the teams as they have managed to find replacements for the other positions. Allowing Manny Lawson to leave via free agency will put a lot of pressure on rookie LB Aldon Smith who will be responsible for supplying the teams much needed pass rush off of the end.

As we said with the Cardinals, the NFC West is a very winnable division which means that solidifying a few positions could be enough to propel a team into the playoffs despite some obvious shortcomings.

Grade: B

ari 2011 Free Agency Grades Seattle Seahawks

Notable Additions: WR Sidney Rice, DT Brandon Mebane (re-signed), TE Zach Miller, G Robert Gallery, QB Tarvaris Jackson, Alan Branch, LB Leroy Hill (re-signed), Michael Robinson (re-signed), CB Kelly Jennings (re-signed)

Notable Losses: G Stacy Andrews, C Chris Spencer, QB Matt Hasselbeck, LB Lofa Tatupu

You certainly can’t fault that Seattle Seahawks for looking to make a splash during free agency. They’ve managed to bring in quality talent with the signings of Sidney Rice and Zach Miller. Both players will give Tarvaris Jackson some solid options that he can use to move the ball through the air. Add in the upgrade at guard with Robert Gallery along with rookie OT James Carpenter and the teams offensive has some promise moving forward.

The big question however will be the quarterback position which currently consists of Tarvaris Jackson and Charlie Whitehurst. Allowing Matt Hasselbeck to leave wasn’t that bad of an idea considering that they would’ve had to give him a multi-year deal worth a decent amount of money. Instead they can focus on the future which is the opposite of what Hasselbeck brought to the table.

Brandon Mebane was another huge move for Seahawks as he was quite possibly the best available player at the defensive tackle position.

Seattle is looking to build upon last years postseason victory over the Saints and they made enough moves to at least give themselves as a shot at it.

Grade: A-

ari 2011 Free Agency Grades St Louis Rams

Notable Additions: S Quintin Mikell, G Harvey Dahl, WR Mike Sims-Walker, Jacob Bell (re-signed), Zac Diles, Daniel Muir, Justin Bannan, Al Harris, RB Cadillac Williams, RB Jerious Norwood

Notable Losses: G John Greco, TE Daniel Fells, WR Laurent Robinson

The Rams had one of the more quietly good offseasons. They managed to bring in a solid safety in Quintin Mikell and good veteran guard in Harvey Dahl. St Louis addressed their need at wide receiver with Mike Sims-Walker who could end up being a great player for them, especially in Josh McDaniels offense. They have even made good on their promise to given Steven Jackson better backup options by bringing in Cadillac Williams and Jerious Norwood.

St Louis grabbed a few players to round out Steve Spagnuolo’s. Zac Diles, Daniel Muir and Justin Bannan could end up being contributors in the upcoming season.

The Rams have managed to put together a good coaching staff, what appears to be a quality offense and an up and coming defense. If Sam Bradford can take a step up this season they could end up being the team to beat in the NFC West year in and year out.

Grade: A-

ari 2011 Free Agency Grades Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Notable Additions: Quincy Black (re-signed), G Davin Joseph (re-signed), OT Jeremy Trueblood (re-signed), P Michael Koenen

Notable Losses: LB Barrett Ruud

No one had as much money as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers had to spend this offseason but rather than signing a bunch of players or even some star players, they chose to address some young players and sit on the money instead.

Tampa has one of the leagues best young rosters and chose ensure that Davin Joseph and Jeremy Trueblood would be blocking for Josh Freeman for a number of years. The real problem for them is that they chose to not get better while the other teams in the division made plenty of moves to bolster their rosters for the upcoming season. I get the idea of building through the draft and spending their money wisely but this team has a shot to win games in the interim as well as in the future.

Hopefully they’ll start addressing some of their young players or look to make a splash in next years free agent market.

Grade: D+

ari 2011 Free Agency Grades Tennessee Titans

Notable Additions: QB Matt Hasselbeck, LB Barrett Ruud, Jacob Ford (re-signed), Shaun Smith, Leroy Harris (re-signed),TE  Daniel Graham, Dave Ball (re-signed), FB Ahmard Hall (re-signed)

Notable Losses: DE Jason Babin, LB Stephen Tulloch, QB Vince Young, Tony Brown

The Titans are rebuilding but they chose to sign Matt Hasselbeck to bridge the gap to Jake Locker. I guess it makes sense but it’s hard to image that he’s going to be able to make Tennessee relevant in 2011. Barrett Ruud will make make up for the loss of Stephen Tulloch but isn’t guaranteed to be a better option. Tight end Daniel Graham was brought in help block for Chris Johnson which is something that Hall wasn’t all that good at last season.

Once again this is what rebuilding looks like. It’s hard to get inspired by the moves that the Titans made but I guess it’s better than throwing Jake Locker to wolves.

Grade: C-

ari 2011 Free Agency Grades Washington Redskins

Notable Additions: DT Barry Cofield, WR Santana Moss, CB Josh Wilson, DT Stephen Bowen, G Chris Chester, OT Jammal Brown (re-signed), WR Jabar Gaffney, RB Tim Hightower, WR Donte’ Stallworth, QB Kellen Clemens

Notable Losses: DT Albert Haynesworth, QB Donovan McNabb,CB  Carlos Rogers, Casey Rabach, Maake Kemoeatu, DE Phillip Daniels, DT Jeremy Jarmon, DT Vonnie Holliday

The Redskins were very active in the early part of free agency but rebuilding the team realistically wasn’t going to happen in the span of one week. Instead the Redskins focused on their defense which was in need of complete overhaul and that’s basically what they did. Anthony Adams, Stephen Bowen and Barry Cofield should all help to upgrade the terrible defensive line from a year ago. Josh Wilson will hopefully be able to fill in for Carlos Rodgers who they let go.

Mike Shanahan brought in a few players to round out their offense like wide receivers Jabar Gaffney and Donte Stallworth. Washington retain Jammal Brown and added Chris Chester to their interior offensive line so they’ll at least have some protection up front.

As with a number of teams, the quarterback position is the Redskins biggest concern. As of now it appears that it’s down to Rex Grossman and John Beck so it’s hard to be optamistic about there chances of winning the east no matter what Grossman says.

Grade: B


Leave a Reply

Notify of