Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Free Agency: Day 2

Couple of big time signings today, Sidney Rice is a Seahawk while Donovan McNabb became a Viking, Steve Breaston left for Kansas City, Matt Hasselbeck didn’t have to wait long for new work. And the Jets got more interesting (didn’t know that was possible) So let’s dive in!

Sidney Rice, WR Seattle Seahawks: I’ll be completely honest, this signing caught me by surprise. I knew that the Seahawks had been looking to add a big bodied receiver as they demonstrated by going after Brandon Marshall (who later signed with the Dolphins) and Vincent Jackson (who is still in San Diego).

So when I heard that the Seahawks were in a bidding war with the Vikings over Rice I expected the Seahawks to strike out again and Rice would be with the Vikes for the long term. And I was wrong. This really causes a problem for the Vikings coming into this season that they’ll have to move quickly to fix.

As could be seen by Brett Favre’s early struggles last season the Vikings don’t function well without Rice. Percy Harvin does not play well at the one and is at his best when he can work out of the slot, Bernard Berrian just did not play well and Visanthe Shiancoe is best as a tight end and only as a tight end. Luckily for the Vikings I have a solution that might not cost them a dime more than they’re currently paying.

At the beginning of the offseason the Vikings quietly signed Devin Aromashodu away from the Bears. The name might tinkle a little bell in the heads of Vikings fans as Aromashodu was the one who ran away with the Vikings’ chance to win in overtime during Favre’s first season. Aromashodu is tall at 6’2 with great speed and good leaping ability, similar to Rice. Had Rice re signed with the Vikings then I would have expected Aromashodu to take over for the ineffective Berrian at the 2 spot. If the Vikings choose not to move to replace Rice I’m just saying that Aromashodu is an option.

On the flipside this is a definite win for Seattle who got a receiver with the frame and ability they were looking for. This also might give Tarvaris Jackson the slightest of edges when he goes against Leinart and Clipboard Jesus as he has worked previously with the teams new No. 1.

Donovan McNabb, QB Minnesota Vikings: Like I said, open and shut, the inevitable has happened. McNabb is coming to Minnesota to compete with Christian Ponder and provide veteran guidance to the Vikings. Unfortunately Minnesota (as I just explained in my traditionally long rant format) just lost it’s top receiver. On the upside Minnesota is still a more pleasant team than Washington for McNabb to be a part of. Whether McNabb or Ponder open the season as the starter will be a closely followed battle in camp, though due to the unstable QB situations around the league that doesn’t mean much.

Matt Hasselbeck, QB Tennessee Titans: The Hasselbeck era in Seattle has ended and Hasselbeck didn’t have to wait long for work, signing on with the Tennessee Titans and providing the calm of a veteran in the wake of Kerry Collins’ surprise retirement. With that handled the Titans can rest easy and allow their rookie QB Jake Locker to learn on the sidelines as opposed to shoving him into the fire from day 1. Expect Hasselbeck to play well with pro bowl running back Chris Johnson by his side.

Steve Breaston, WR Kansas City Chiefs: You remember when you were a kid and you lost your favorite toy in October and you were so upset that you were in a funk for several days? That’s how Chiefs QB Matt Cassel felt after losing his offensive coordinator Charlie Weis to Florida. Cassel seemed to be in a slump shortly following the announcement that Weis was departing to the college football world. So what did the Chiefs do to cheer him up? They brought him some new toys. Cassel flowed well with the team’s top wide out, Dwayne Bowe, last year but seemed to suffer from a dearth of other targets. The Chiefs went out and drafted Jonathan Baldwin who stand 6’4 with tremendous leaping ability. In addition Steve Breaston left from the Cardinals to sign on with the young Chiefs.

Santonio Holmes, WR New York Jets: Holmes, sweet Holmes. Obvious puns aside the Jets got priority one off their offseason wish list by bringing Santonio Holmes to New York for the long haul with a 5 year contract. In the end Holmes was going to head back to the Jets where he has the best chance of winning another Super Bowl and the most motivating coach in the NFL. Side effect: Braylon Edwards is probably too expensive and the Jets are rumored to be dusting off a file entitled Moss, Randy.

DeAngelo Williams, RB Carolina Panthers: This one was really between Carolina and Denver and Carolina won. Carolina won back it’s leading rusher today with a long term contract preserving the tandem of Williams and Jonathan Stewart. John Fox meanwhile is still minus a running back and I predict he’ll take a long look at Marion Barber.

Other Tales of Interest

Orton talking with Dolphins: Things seem to be settling at the quarterback position as Orton seems to have been targeted by the Miami Dolphins who are reportedly in negotiations with the Broncos for a trade. Depending on the deal this could be a win-win for Miami as they get a more steady option at QB to compete with the erratic Chad Henne. The Broncos, depending on what they get in return free up some cap space so they can get those defensive lineman they asked Santa for.

Kolb deal by Friday: The long talked about deal between the Eagles and the Cardinals regarding Eagles’ second stringer Kevin Kolb is a reality. One need only look to the fact that the Eagles briefly had a link on their website where fans could buy Rodgers-Cromartie jerseys…in Eagles green. Yeah, this deal is going to happen sometime before the end of the week.

Nnamdi still looking at options: Apparently I was wrong to count the Jets out of the race for Nnamdi Asomugha. Should the Jets pull off a salary cap miracle and sign Asomugha to the Jets they have officially become the league’s best secondary. There can’t be any question about it with the top two corners in the league making life a living hell for all offensive coordinators required to play against them. A deal like this would instantly become the talk of the league and would have ripples that could reach as far as Houston. If the Jets sign Asomugha they’ll have to release Antonio Cromartie who could be sought after by the Houston Texans or other teams who came in second for Asomugha.

Plaxico sweepstakes narrows to two: Plaxico Burress is scheduled to meet with the Pittsburgh Steelers and the New York Giants tomorrow, leading to speculation that Burress has decided that one of two teams with whom he has a history. Burress is one of the few free agent wide outs still on the market

Redskins: All talk, no splash? The Redskins, expected to be big spenders in free agency have been strangely quiet these past few days. The Redskins have Brandon Stokely and Donte Stallworth yet barely made a peep about Holmes. Are they waiting for Braylon Edwards? Are they still attempting to buy their way into the race for Asomugha? What is going on in DC?
Coming soon
More free agency talk, some college football predictions and can't miss games, similar analysis for the pros and my opinion on what's next for Butch Davis.

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