It’s been one week since Free Agents have been allowed to speak, and agree to terms for the 2019 season, and we’ve seen a lot of big names change locations. Here’s some I like, some I dislike, and some that I don’t understand
Le’Veon Bell, RB, New York Jets
I wrote about this a while ago, when we knew that Bell would not be playing for the Steelers in 2018, but not a lot has changed. Le’Veon might be the best thing that ever happened to Jets Quarterback Sam Darnold, with his ability to not only run the ball, but also catch the ball out of the back field. Anytime his protection breaks down, or he can’t find a receiver open, Bell becomes an option with ability to break free for a big gain. The contract is big, but if it keeps Le’Veon happy, then it is worth every penny.
Earl Thomas, S, Baltimore Ravens
When the Ravens released Pro-Bowler Eric Weddle, a lot of people were surprised, but when the team agreed to terms with All-World Safety Earl Thomas it all made sense. He’s not getting any younger, and he is coming off a pretty serious injury, but he should be a perfect fit in that Ravens secondary. 32 Million in guaranteed money is a good investment for what you could get from the 30 year old, who has plenty of tread left on the tires.
Jason Verrett, CB, San Francisco 49’ers
Now this is the ultimate risk/reward player, but in terms of contract, it could work out extremely well for the Niners. When healthy, Jason Verrett is a Pro Bowl Corner, who is capable of shutting down some of the leagues best Receivers(see his tape on Antonio Brown from 2015). There is the issue. He has only played in 5 games in the last 3 years with various injuries. If he can stay healthy, he’ll be in line for a major raise next off season. If injured again, his time in the NFL may come to an end. At 3.6 million over 1 season, he is worth the risk.
Kwon Alexander, LB, San Francisco 49’ers
I don’t like putting him in the dislikes category, but such is life. When healthy, the guy is a absolute play maker, but he like Verrett has had some injury concerns. In fact, My issue with this signing has little to do with the player, but more about the contract. 4 years, 54 Million is a lot of money, and a big commitment for a guy who’s missed 14 games over the last two seasons. Even if he stays healthy, it’ll be tough to justify the money he was given.
Trent Brown, OT, Oakland Raiders
The Raiders had a lot of cap space, but that didn’t mean they had to make Brown the highest paid Tackle in the league. At 6’8, 380 lbs the guy is an absolute mountain, but Pro Football Focus had him ranked 37th in terms of pass protection among tackles. I’ll give him credit, because he made the switch from RT to LT, and that does show versatility, but I have to wonder about how much of a benefit it was, playing with Tom Brady.
Landon Collins, S, Washington Redskins
Another very good player, but the six year deal worth 84 Million dollars is just too much. He sort of reminds me of Mark Barron, who really flourished playing closer to the line and playing in the box, but I think there’s questions in his coverage. When you look at the deals that Earl Thomas, Eric Weddle, and Tyrann Mathieu signed, I just feel that the money is too much. Perks of being young, I suppose.
Thomas Davis, LB, Los Angeles Chargers
Thomas Davis will go down as one of the best players in Carolina Panthers history, but I don’t entirely get this move from the Chargers. He’ll be 36 years old once the season starts, and you just have to wonder how much he has left in the tank. If he is used in a situational rotation I think he can help on field, but likely the greatest benefit from this signing is that they add a veteran presence to a young linebackers room.
Za’Darius Smith, Edge, Green Bay Packers
One year wonders are tough. They’re even tougher when they change teams. Smith is coming off a career year in which he totaled 8.5 sacks with the Ravens, but before that, he only had 10.5 in 3 season. The Packers needed to go out and address their pass rushers, and with this 4 year deal worth 66 million dollars, they certainly hope that they did.