Monday, August 1, 2011

NFL Player Movement Reactions - 7/31/11

Couldn't even get the day off on a Sunday.  I didn't know it was possible to be on football overload.  Right now, that's where I am.  Either way, still going to write about the signings and cuts and trades of the day. Before we get to that you can check out my reactions to Tuesday's player moves here (cuts) and here (signings), Wednesday's player moves here, Thursday's moves here, Friday's moves here and Saturday's moves here.

Right onto the analysis here....
Barrett Ruud - Linebacker - Signed with Tennessee Titans - Ruud was being pushed out the door in Tampa Bay for younger players, and he makes a good signing for Tennessee.  Tennessee had a good run stuffing middle linebacker in Stephen Tulloch that they let walk.  They brought in Ruud instead, a much better pass defender than run stuffer.  Tulloch struggled in pass coverage at times last year, and bringing in Ruud instead should change up the defense's strengths.  He should help the Tennessee defense this season.

Stephen Tulloch - Linebacker - Signed with Detroit Lions -  Speaking of Tulloch, he moved over to the Lions on a one year deal, and I also think this is a good pickup.  Tennessee needed to upgrade their pass defenders at linebacker, but Detroit here really needed to help their run defense.  They were 24th in total rushing yards allowed last year, despite being in plenty of shootouts throughout the season.  Tulloch can rack up tackles all over the place and should have plenty of room to roam behind the best defensive line in the league.

Plaxico Burress - Wide Receiver - Signed with New York Jets - Everyone things this is a big deal, but I don't particularly care.  He's not going to be that good.  He'll be a 34 year old receiver when the season starts who just spent two years in jail.  Somehow, because everyone's last memory of Plaxico is him catching the touchdown pass to win the Super Bowl, people think that he'll help a team...Yet no one is clamoring for their team to sign 34 year old Randy Moss.  It's all about the perception.  The reality is he hasn't played football in over two years.  Three million dollars guaranteed isn't much but it's still too much of a risk for me.  The one positive here is he's not going to be any kind of added headache.  The Jets locker room shoots it's mouth off all it wants, so even if Burress gets out of line, no one will likely notice.

Vonta Leach - Fullback - Signed with Baltimore Ravens - Great move here by Baltimore.  Teams who pick up good fullbacks are never given enough credit for making a good maneuver.  Leach helped lead the way for Arian Foster last year and made the Pro Bowl.  He'll instantly help Ray Rice's value.

Todd Heap - Tight End - Signed with Arizona Cardinals - Heap still seemed to have talent last year playing in Baltimore, and definitely seemed to be more of a salary cap move.  Heap was deemed expendable after the Ravens spend a pair of draft picks on the tight end positions last year.  He should help the Cardinals new quarterback Kevin Kolb adjust to his being a starter.

Nick Barnett - Linebacker - Signed with Buffalo Bills - Barnett is a more than capable starter that should help the Bills more than replace the departed Paul Posluszny.   He's a better pass defender and nearly as good a run defender, assuming he comes back fully healthy from his injury last year.  The Packers let him go because of the players they have developed more than his talent. 

Chris Spencer - Center - Signed with Chicago Bears - This is mostly news because it marks the end of the Olin Kreutz era in Chicago.  Kreutz is a multi-time Pro Bowler, and even though he's fallen off some in the last few years, it's still going to be big shoes for Spencer to fill.  Spencer is a decent player who will get the job done, but he is still a downgrade from the veteran presence Kreutz.

Lofa Tatupu - Linebacker - Released by Seattle Seahawks - Tatupu is a former three time Pro Bowler, but he wasn't as good last year after returning from his 2009 torn pectoral muscle.  I think he still has the potential to be a solid linebacker.  He should pick up a new job soon, as his release was definitely a salary cap maneuver.

Chris Houston - Cornerback - Resigned with Detroit Lions - Houston was a big upgrade at cornerback last year for Detroit and bringing him back was definitely the right move for Detroit.  They failed to catch one of the big cornerback fish on the open market, so they had to make sure Houston returned.

Cedric Benson - Running Back - Resigned with Cincinnati Bengals - This kind of move is exactly why Carson Palmer doesn't want back in with Cinci.  Resigning Benson is exactly the move you make if you are just trying to look like you are trying to win because he was the starter last year.  If they were really trying to win, they would have went out and spent the real money to try and sign an Ahmad Bradshaw, instead of just bringing back Benson.  This doesn't change anything with Benson's fantasy value.  He only has value because he gets all of the work for the Bengals.

Arian Foster - Running Back - Resigned with Houston Texans - This wasn't even really news.  Because he signed with Houston as a undrafted free agent, Foster was designated as a exclusive-rights free agent this year, and meant he was coming back to Houston for basically no money.  He'll make just 565,000 dollars this year, which is not remotely market value for him.  Hopefully, next year when he is a restricted free agent, some team will be willing to shell out some draft picks in order to sign him to a big contract so he'll get paid what he is deserved.

Boom.  Wrapped up for today.

-Fred "Big Derf" Tobin

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