Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Free Agency: Day 1

Ok so technically it’s morning but I still count this as “later tonight”. So today was eventful with several “signings” taking place even though contracts cannot be signed until Friday night. So without further ado.

Notable Signings

Mark Herzlich, LB New York Giants: The Giants rectified one of the great injustices of the 2011 draft by making Mark Herzlich an NFL linebacker. Herzlich is everything one can ask for in a player, a brave player who survived cancer and shows great playmaking ability and a dogged determination and proven leadership capabilities. This is also a great signing for the Giants because they receive a linebacker who will bring some leadership to their weak linebacking core.

Tarvaris Jackson, QB Seattle Seahawks: Things just got interesting. Tarvaris Jackson endured a couple of years as the Vikings quarterback before Brett Favre came to town and made Jackson “That one guy with the clipboard”. Regardless T-Jack is being reunited with his old Offensive Coordinator, Darrell Bevel, and will be competing with Clipboard Jesus and…

Matt Leinart, QB Seattle Seahawks: And this is where things get very interesting. Bevel has his guy from his old job, but so does Head Coach Pete Carroll. Granted Leinart hasn’t demonstrated the ability, mental make up or leadership capabilities of an NFL QB but I have faith that Carroll believes he can get the old Heisman winner up and running again. Although there is a precedent for Carroll turning trash into treasure. Receiver Mike Williams played for Carroll back in his USC days back when Carson Palmer was still the big man on campus. Williams however was out of the NFL after consistently performing below his potential, being arrogant and struggling with discipline (sound familiar?) This is Leinart’s last best chance and if anyone is going to get the best from Leinart it will be Carroll. It will be an interesting camp battle between Jackson, Clipboard Jesus and USC’s Golden Boy.

Pat Devlin, QB Miami Dolphins: Most of you probably don’t know much about Devlin, in general people tend to remember him because he “played where Joe Flacco went to school”. While Devlin is not the prospect that Flacco was he brings some solid attributes. What I’m curious about is what this means for Miami regarding their QB situation. Is Devlin their project? Or is he their competition for Henne? Does this mean Vince Young is out of the picture? Another interesting camp situation here to keep an eye on.

Jeremiah Masoli, QB San Francisco 49ers: I singled this out as my last notable signing of the say because it caught my attention the most out of a list I saw earlier today. Masoli, former quarterback for the Oregon Ducks and the Ole Miss Rebels is now an NFL QB. I’m intrigued to see how Harbaugh plays this one. The 49ers are a team in search of a quarterback, some say that the teams pick of Colin Kaepernick is the answer, others say that Alex Smith deserves another shot, and still others question whether it might not be worth it to call up Joe Montana (not really). But I didn’t in my wildest dreams see Harbaugh and Co. looking into Masoli’s corner. Whether Masoli makes the roster is obviously up in the air but I’m curious to see what Masoli does with the spotlight on him again.

Cap Casualties and Other Players on the Move

Roy Williams, WR Dallas Cowboys: We all saw this one coming, but there was something about seeing it in print that made it all so real. Roy Williams was not a good fit in Dallas and ultimately was put on notice the minute Dez Bryant showed up and refused to carry Williams’ pads. From that point on his days were numbered and his game changing fumble on Turkey day didn’t help. The Cowboys have space to clear and have cut co many players today that it’s more a list of who the Cowboys cut today than it is a list of who the Cowboys cut today.

Matt Hasselbeck, QB Seattle Seahawks: In an effort to break up the soon to be flood of Dallas players I’ll have to describe being cut in the next couple of minutes I write of Matt Hasselbeck and the end of his era in Seattle. Hasselbeck despite throwing more touchdowns than interceptions last season figures to be coveted this offseason (Tennessee anyone?) as his veteran status can stabilize several quarterback situations this offseason.

Marion Barber, RB Dallas Cowboys: We also saw this coming but the days of Marion the Barbarian and the Dallas backfield are over. Barber should have a good market especially if John Fox strikes out with signing DeAngelo Williams.

Kyle Orton, QB Denver Broncos: And so begins the legend of the Mile High Messiah, the Tim Tebow era has begun in Denver and Orton is on the move. Similar to Matt Hasselbeck, Orton is in high demand beyond the walls of Mile High stadium. Orton could end up any number of places, if one thing is for certain it is that Orton will not be out of work for long.

Leonard Davis, G Dallas Cowboys: The Cowboys have finally gotten serious about improving their offensive line and also about the fact that they needed to get under the cap. So Davis is gone and will find work where a guard is needed. No doubt his three pro bowls in four years will help his case.

Honorable Mention: Marc Colombo, T Dallas Cowboys

Still at Large

Nnamdi Asomugha, CB Oakland Raiders: See the article I published earlier, you’ll find all you need.

Kevin Kolb, QB Philadelphia Eagles: Also dealt with in the article below.

Santonio Holmes, WR New York Jets: This one has been speculated as a battle between the persuasive power of Rex Ryan and the money of Daniel Snyder. Personally I have my money on the Jets to retain Holmes keeping him as Mark Sanchez’s #1 playmaker. While Holmes might be tempted by a monster contract he is also playing for the most well liked coach in the league on a team that has been to back to back AFC championship games. Whereas the Redskins can offer him a year in which he’ll possibly be playing with John Beck as his quarterback…things to think about.

Braylon Edwards, WR New York Jets: One of three wide receivers who the Jets are trying to keep in New York, should Holmes stays then the Redskins may turn to his Watson (I’m not funny, but I try hard) Edwards, in spite of some off field issues and at times shaky hands, has a large frame and a physical styles that would make him a good fit for teams trying to add size at receiver (Redskins, Bears, Chargers etc.)

Plaxico Burress, WR: Speaking of size at receiver, Plaxico Burress is reportedly having a meeting at some point in the near future with his old team the New York Giants. Almost as widely speculated as Kolb or Asomugha, Burress has been talked about with the Giants, Eagles, Bears, Seahawks and Redskins.

Tyson Clabo, T Atlanta Falcons: A solid addition to an offensive line, Clabo could simply re sign with the Falcons but has also been talked about with the Vikings, Seahawks, and Bears.

Ray Edwards, DE Minnesota Vikings: Edwards looks to be on his way out in Minnesota, to pursue life elsewhere and possibly as a featured pass rusher. The most likely landing spot I have for Edwards is the Atlanta Falcons who have been looking to add a pass rusher aside from Jonathan Abraham.

Jonathan Joseph, CB Cincinnati Bengals: Part of one of the league’s best tandems at any position but especially at cornerback, Joseph is a pro bowler at a young age. He’s no Revis but this man can upgrade a secondary. Joseph will probably going to re sign with the Bengals though I’ve also thought that I could see him signing with the Vikings or a team that misses out on the Asomugha sweepstakes.

Sidney Rice, WR Minnesota Vikings: Rice was a star for Brett Favre in his first year with Brett Favre and showed tremendous vision, focus, leaping and playmaking ability. Rice has the assets of a #1, though it remains to be seen how much of Rice’s breakout year was the Favre effect. Rice is being looked at by the Vikings, Seahawks and the Bears as a dark horse.

Kyle Orton, QB Denver Broncos: Detailed above in Players on the Move

Matt Hasselbeck, QB Seattle Seahawks: Same thing as Orton

Cullen Jenkins, DE Green Bay Packers: Jenkins is generally considered to be a fit in almost any 3-4 scheme, I see Jenkins or his brother Kris taking off for DC and piles of money. Possibly both, nothing says franchise like two guys with the same last name (just ask the Williams Wall).

Donovan McNabb, QB Washington Redskins: This one is actually pretty open and shut from where I’m standing. Reports say that the Vikings are prepared to offer a sixth round pick for McNabb and a conditional sixth rounder. Considering how determined the Shanahans seem to be to get rid of him I think this one is wrapped up, but until Friday it just what I think.

Jamarcus Russell, QB: This was a joke.

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