NFL Free Agency Signings

17 03 2012

The first wave of the NFL free agency period is continuing to make noise throughout the league. Typically the high-priced free agents sign with teams while the lower echelon of players waits for the market to be set by the other contracts.

The free agency dictates the direction teams go in the NFL draft because positions of need or weakness can be addressed in free agency. For example, the Washington Redskins recently traded for the second overall pick in the draft; most likely to pick Robert Griffin III out of Baylor. Since RGIII addresses their quarterback need, they wanted to upgrade their receiver core to help the rookie quarterback. So, they added Pierre Garcon from Indianapolis and Josh Morgan from the San Francisco 49ers.

These acquisitions have changed their draft needs because instead of looking for a wide receiver in the draft, they now can focus on other needs.

Here is some of the recent signings and my take:

Rams Cortland Finnegan (5 years, $50 million):

The Rams were desperate for cornerback help. After losing 11 defensive backs to injured reserve last year, the position was decimated and needed a guaranteed starter to match-up with Larry Fitzgerald and Mike Williams of the Cardinals and Seahawks respectively. I love the signing and it reunited Finnegan with his old coach, Jeff Fisher.

Buccaneers Vincent Jackson (5 years, $55.5 million):

The Buccaneers have tried to surround quarterback Josh Freeman with weapons to supplement his growth. However, Mike Williams and Arrelious Benn both have failed to live-up to their draft positions and Williams character concerns have translated into a poor work-ethic. Vincent Jackson instantly provides Freeman with a true, legitimate number 1 receiver and a deep threat. Here is my only issue: Jackson has never caught more than 68 passes in a season and is one more personal conduct violation from a suspension.

Saints Ben Grubbs (5 year, $36 million)

Ben Grubbs replaces Carl Nicks, a superior guard, and continues the high-level of interior line play for the Saints. Drew Brees is only 6’ feet tall and needs a clean throwing lane to compensate for his lack of height. Grubbs provides this assurance and joins Jahri Evans to form a formidable interior offensive line. Overall, I love this acquisition and helps keep the franchise quarterback healthy and upright.

I will continue to react to the recent signings throughout the week. Be sure to check the updates and see the post free agency mock draft.

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