Just some random thoughts from me on some of the free agent contracts that were signed on Wednesday. I should start by saying that I don't know the ins and outs of every last team around the league. So, I'm probably glossing over a key move or two that seems inconsequential but is probably in fact a great move on some team's part. For instance, it would be hard for me to correctly value the impact of a Mewelde Moore type signing for certain teams other than the Steelers. I was able to do so when Pittsburgh acquired the former Viking in 2008, but that's only because that's what we do as obsessed fans of our favorite team.
My thoughts are....
Moves I Liked:
- The Baltimore Ravens re-upped veteran wide receiver Derrick Mason to a 2-year contract. Not sure of the terms, but they're frankly irrelevant. Mason is in many ways the heart and soul of the Ravens alongside Ray Lewis and bringing him back these next two years will do nothing but keep the organization competitive, familiar and confident that they can make a run at a Super Bowl.
- Good move by the Tennessee Titans acquiring former Philadelphia Eagles linebacker Will Witherspoon. The Titans nabbed him for a very modest price at 3-years, $11 million. Is Witherspoon a bonafide stud in this league? No, not exactly. But he's extremely durable and a very safe bet to yield solid returns on that kind of financial investment. Very nice pickup by Tennessee.
- Not much to say about this one, but nice roll of the dice by the Philadelphia Eagles acquiring former Colts DB Marlin Jackson. The former 1st Round pick has only played in 10 games the past two seasons, including just 3 games in 2009, but Jackson did prove he could play during his first three years in the league. He started 45 games in his first full three seasons in the NFL before succumbing to the injury bug in '08 and '09. He's still just 26 years old though. It's quite possible he strings together some very productive seasons moving forward. Considering the Eagles are only on the hook for one year (and likely not much money at all), you have to like the risk-reward position the Eagles are taking with this move.
Moves I Disliked:
- I don't think this is an awful move, and I swear, I'm not AFC North bashing just for the sake of it. But I really don't see the value in paying Antonio Bryant $28 million over 4 years. I don't know, I mean, the guy has a proven track record of staying on the field for the most part and putting up decent numbers. But he's only really posted one note worthy season ('08 in Tampa). He's also somewhat of a knucklehead from what I can surmise. Guess the signing makes a bit more sense then knowing what we know about Cincinnati. Anyway, I think the Bengals would have been better off paying Terrell Owens for 1 or 2 years then over paying Bryant for 4.
- Kevin Faulk re-signs with the Patriots for one more year. The versatile back has been with the squad since '99. Hey, believe me, I love loyalty in sports, but this move has the potential to hinder the explosiveness of the Pats' offense in 2010. By that I mean, when you have a proven commodity like Faulk - a guy who picks up blocks reliably, catches the ball out of the backfield, doesn't fumble, provides leadership - it becomes easy to feel content with what that type of veteran brings to the table. Yes, those kind of contributions are huge, but it's also important to note in my opinion, that leaning on guys like Faulk limits the big play ability of an offense. Faulk ain't Leon Washington, Darren Sproles ore Reggie Bush. I don't know. I just have seen a Pats offense that's really not all that explosive this past two years. They need more speed on that side of the ball. Bringing back Faulk seems like a subtle trap to me.