Wednesday, July 27, 2011

NFL Player Movement Reactions - 7/27/11

Rather than run two separate threads today, I'm just going to put both the cuts and signings into this one post and just update it throughout the day.  Be sure to check back in throughout the day for reactions and analysis both real life and fantasy.

Yesterday's signing reactions are here and cut reactions are here.  Also have a fantasy football article about the Buccaneers that i posted yesterday here.

Still not blowing all of my time tracking down moves and just drawing most of the news from  They do great work there and I'm going to be using their DVOA advanced stats here in the future, so stop by over there too and check them out.

Anyways,  right onto the moves in no particular order....

Matt Leinart - Resigned with Houston Texans - Starting this off with a bit of an update for yesterdays post.  It was reported that Leinart had gone to Seattle with Pete Carroll, but that turns out to have been wrong.  Rather than join the crowded depth chart in Seattle, Leinart decided to return to Houston to backup Matt Schaub.  It's a good backup job for him.  Schaub has had a few injuries in his career, so Leinart might get a chance to play and if he does it's a great offense of skill position players around him.  He will likely look great throwing to Andre Johnson.

Tyler Thigpen - Quarterback - Signed with Buffalo Bills - This news is just news because it's a quarterback that switched teams who has an outside chance to start.  Thigpen isn't great, but you can't say that Ryan Fitzpatrick really has the job locked down over there.  Look for there to be at least some QB controversy throughout Bills camp.

Ike Taylor - Cornerback - Resigned with Pittsburgh Steelers - This was a pretty expected move.  Taylor was a average to below average corner depended on whose numbers you looked at, and teams have grown wary of signing Pittsburgh free agent defenders.  I can't find contract numbers on it right now to really call it a good or bad signing.

Barry Cofield - Defensive Tackle - Signed with Washington Redskins - Cofield played his first five years with the Giants and was an underrated presence inside.  He was strong against the run and effective at rushing the passer.  The Giants have been observing a best player available draft strategy the last few years though, and ended up drafting DTs in the second round of the last two drafts so they had no reason to sign Cofield at what he deserved to earn.  The Redskins spent well here and will get much more per dollar for Cofield than Albert Haynesworth.

Stephen Nicholas - Linebacker - Resigned with Atlanta Falcons - Nicholas is a solid linebacker who the Falcons are bringing back at a good price. Five years for 17.5 million ends up averaging 3.5 million a year, which is just about right even if he doesn't improve much.  He has only been a starter for a year and a half though, so it wouldn't be a surprise if he continues to improve moving forwards.  If he does this will become a great signing for the Falcons.

Jacoby Jones - Wide Receiver - Resigned with Houston Texans - Jones is a good third receiver who the Texans brought back at a good price.  Just one of those deals that works out for both.  Teams have learned from enough failures that signing third receivers from great offenses to big contracts is not a good idea.  Jones gets more than three million a year, and the Texans get to keep a guy that already knows and works well in their offensive scheme.  His fantasy value is what is was, he's only relevant in deep leagues.

David Baas - Center - Signed with New York Giants - The Giants completed the second half of a solid pair of moves here by signing Baas on Wednesday.  They cut O'Hara yesterday in a cost saving move, and now have upgraded to Baas.  The terms of the deal aren't apparent as of posting, but he makes their line look much more solid heading into 2011.  Now that they have a center, they can just bring in a veteran guard or tackle to compete to start and pick between that player and their two young lineman for a spot to start next to David Diehl.

Matt Hasselbeck - Quarterback - Signed with Tennessee Titans - This was a very good move.  It doesn't really matter how much they are paying him (which isn't available yet), because it's likely a short multi-year deal, and it's always important to have a solid veteran presence around a young quarterback like Jake Locker.  Tennessee has some wiggle room under the cap, and quarterback is still the most important position on the football field.  I don't blame Hasselbeck for wanting out of Seattle.  The moment Pete Carroll got there he was looking for the new guy to play quarterback.  Works out for everyone.

Hasselbeck should be a decent fantasy play again this year as well.  He's talented and there is some skill position talent around him in that offense.  He's going to be one of the better options as a backup fantasy quarterback.  He'll also take some of the pressure off of Chris Johnson and open up space for him.  If Jake Locker was starting, they were going to see non-stop 8-man fronts.

Santonio Holmes - Wide Receiver - Resigned with New York Jets - This is a move that I wouldn't want to make, but I can't really bash the Jets for making the move.  It's a 5 year 50 million dollar contract, which is too much for Holmes in my opinion, but the Jets didn't really have a choice in the matter.  Both of last year's starters were free agents commanding large deals, and they didn't draft a receiver early in the draft.  They had to bring back one of their two starters.  They couldn't go into 2011 with Jerricho Cotchery and Brad Smith (who they'd have to still resign) as their starters.  Knowing that, given the choice between overpaying Holmes and overpaying Braylon Edwards, I'm going to take Holmes every time.  Not a great move by the Jets, but a move that had to be made in the market.  Holmes fantasy value is higher than last year because of his suspension, but hes still just a 'hypotheical upside' guy to me.  Every year he's supposed to have a huge year (like former teammate Braylon) but every year he is right around the thousand yard mark.

David Carr - Quarterback - Released By San Francisco 49ers - Looks like it's going to be another year, another team for David Carr.  He has been bouncing around for a while now from place to place hoping to get a starting job again, but it might be time for him to reevaluate his career.  If he keeps going one and done, even these bad teams won't let him come compete for jobs.  It's time for him to take a multi-year deal as a backup somewhere and move on to the next stage of his career.

Eric Weddle - Safety - Resigned with San Diego Chargers - Weddle has been a good player for a while and would have gotten something similar to this deal on the open market.  Five years for 40 million is three million more than Antrel Rolle got as a free agent going to the Giants last year, so it's fair market value for Weddle.  The surprise is that he got fair market value from San Diego GM A.J. Smith.  Smith is normally a big value guy and likes to resign his players early.  Usually once you hit the market in San Diego, you are gone.  Good move by though, regardless.

DeAngelo Williams - Running Back - Resigned with Carolina Panthers - Five years 43 million is an awful lot for a running back, especially with 21 million of it guaranteed and Jonathan Stewart already on the roster and when the running back will be 33 by the end of the contract.  I understand that the Panthers need to spend money to comply with the CBA's new 99% rule, but I don't know why you would throw that much away at a running back when your team has so many other holes.  Just a bad move here by Carolina.

For fantasy purposes, this sets us back to last year on both his value and Jonathan Stewart's.  Neither is going to have the number one fantasy back potential that would have been possible if Williams went to another team.

Robert Gallery - Guard - Signed with Seattle Seahawks - This is a move many had predicted before it happened.  Tom Cable is now the offensive line coach out in Seattle, so it's no surprise to seem him recruiting some of his old Raider players.  Gallery was a bust at number two overall at tackle, but has been a good guard since moving inside.  Solid move here for Seattle to strengthen their O-line.

Jake Delhomme - Quarterback - Released By Cleveland Browns - No surprise at all here.  Delhomme was making way more money than he should have been, and Colt McCoy had taken over as the starter in Cleveland already.  No reason to count his cap hit against you for another year.

James Anderson - Outside Linebacker - Signed with Carolina Panthers - I didn't want to just bash on Carolina here, so I figured I'd mention the nice move they made locking up Anderson.  Their linebackers were pretty solid last year, and Anderson was one of them.  The five year deal averages out to about 4 million a year, but I'm sure Carolina paid much of that upfront to lock him up.  They also did right by Thomas Davis today, who they had under contract due to him spending the last year on PUP, but still resigned him to a new five year agreement.  Good move by them, as Davis is probably better than Anderson, and rather than have an upset player coming off injury playing out the last year of their contract, they did well by a guy who they'll have for the next five years.

Donovan McNabb - Quarterback - Traded from Washington Redskins to Minnesota Vikings for a 2012 6th round pick and a conditional 2013 6th rounder - This is still conditional on McNabb, as reports are he has agreed to restructure the deal but is having doubts about the Vikings following the news that some in the organization preferred Tyler Thigpen.  Its a bad move if you compare what Washington paid for him to what they got back for him this year, but he is a year older and had a bad year with their offense that hurt his value. Partially their fault.  From Minnesota's perspective, I don't know that McNabb was the best choice here.  McNabb doesn't want to sit on the bench.  If the season gets out of hand or if Christian Ponder just looks amazing in training camp, McNabb is going to cause an issue there when they try to put him on the bench.  He's still a decent player, but Hasselbeck was the ultimate prize here, and they missed out on him.

Fantasy wise, McNabb's value still depends on whether or not Rice comes back.  If they resign Sidney Rice, I could entertain someone's argument's for him being a sleeper this year.  If they don't, he'll be useless in most fantasy leagues.

That's all for now.  Updates coming along throughout the night as more news comes out.


Bruce Gradkowski - Quarterback - Signs with Cincinnati Bengals - This was a smart move by the Bengals.  They picked up Andy Dalton in the draft, but Gradkowski allows them to keep him on the bench for a year or two where he belongs to develop.  It also is a way to put pressure on Carson Palmer to report to camp.  They aren't going all in on Gradkowski here, but by bringing him in it shows they are proceeding as if the "retired" Palmer will be retired.  The ball is in Palmer's court for now.  We'll see if the Bengals blink before camp though.

Drayton Florence - Cornerback - Resigns with Buffalo Bills - It took a while, but Drayton Florence is finally getting paid his real market value.  He was signed to a huge contract in Jacksonville but then cut after just one year.  Then he came to the Bills at a severe discount for two years and performed well.  He now is making the proper amount in current NFL dollars of five million a year for three years.  He's a well proven above average starting corner and will be well worth the three years.

Donte Stallworth, Brandon Stokley, and Jabar Gaffney - Wide Receivers - Acquired by Washington Redskins - Gaffney was acquired via trade while the other two were signed by Washington and it reflects what seems to be a big changeover in personnel this year for Washington.  Stokley and Gaffney are both Mike Shanahan guys, and the addition of Stallworth means Anthony Armstrong will probably be playing special teams for Washington next year instead of starting at receiver.  This tenure in Washington hasn't started well with Shanahan and doesn't look like hes making good decisions.  This is a bunch of retread receivers. At least two of the three roster spots would be better filled with younger players who will also play special teams.

One of these guys is going to become the number two receiver in Washington, but we won't really know who until we get closer to the regular season.  My money is on Gaffney, though none of them would surprise me.

Ray McDonald - Defensive Line - Resigned with San Francisco 49ers - While i realize that playing the 3-4 means you need to rotate linemen to keep them fresh and just three starting spots on the line, four million a year for a backup lineman for five years seems like a little too much for me.  This is the kind of roster spot that would be better filled with a rookie and the money spent elsewhere.  Why tie up 3% of your cap room on a lineman who doesn't start, when you have to pay 22 starters still.  The math on that doesn't work out in your favor.

UPDATE #2 - 2:52 A.M 7/28

Sidney Rice - Wide Receiver - Signed with Seattle Seahawks - 5 years for 41 million is no problem in my book for Sidney Rice.  It's not often you get a chance to sign a 24 year old receiver who already has a thousand yard season on his resume.  You could view him as a risky signing, as he only has had one good season, but if you've seen him play you know the talent is there.  He's the new number one receiver out in Seattle.

Fantasy wise, he's not a number one receiver, and joining Seattle is probably one of the worst places he could have gone for his fantasy value.  Part of the reason for Rice's bad seasons was poor quarterback play in Minnesota, and it's not going to get better for him with Tarvaris Jackson going to Seattle with him.  I'm not drafting Rice unless he ends up ranked in the 20s.

Steve Breaston - Wide Receiver - Signed with Kansas City Chiefs - Breaston to the Chiefs was one of the many moves over the last few days that just made sense.  The Cardinals have been stocking up on young receivers for years now, so they can afford to part with Breaston.  The Chiefs, meanwhile, have been having an awful time at finding a second receiver to go with Dwayne Bowe for a few years, so Breaston should be able to step in and take over that role.  Breaston knows the offense from his time in Arizona when Haley was the offensive coordinator.  He'll be productive from day one even with just training camp.

Breaston's fantasy value will definitely be up this year with him on the way out of the horrible quarterback situation in Arizona.  Matt Cassel is leaps and bounds better than anyone who was throwing him the ball last year.  He actually helps raise Cassel's value as well, as he gives Cassel another receiver to go to when Bowee getting open.  I actually kind of like Breaston as a sleeper, because I wouldn't be surprised if he ends the year as the leading receiver for the Chiefs.

That's a wrap for tonight.

-Fred "Big Derf" Tobin

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