Another day of free agency is in the books, but surprisingly there are still a lot of big names out there on the open market. Some teams made a big splash on the second day of the NFL offseason, but none bigger than the Denver Broncos. The Broncos shocked the NFL world by luring slot receiver Wes Welker away from the New England Patriots, but more on that later.
Free Agency continues Thursday, and if you are looking for the latest signings and player rankings for free agents, check out our FA database.
So who were the big winners and losers from day two of free agency?
1. Denver Broncos
Key acquisitions– WR Wes Welker (Patriots), CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (Eagles), LB Stewart Bradley (Cardinals), DT Terrance Knighton (Jaguars)
I thought the Broncos were going to be relatively quiet this year in free agency, maybe picking up a couple of defensive linemen and maybe a solid cornerback. Well, they shocked the rest of the NFL on Wednesday when in the later portion of the afternoon, they reached an agreement on a two year contract with star slot receiver Wes Welker. You don’t want to get carried away about one free agent signing, but there is not a team in the NFL that I can think of who is going to be able to have the upper hand against an offense that now features Peyton Manning at quarterback and Demaryius Thomas (Pro Bowl), Eric Decker, and now Welker at receiver. Not to mention the Broncos have one of the deeper groups of TEs in the AFC with Joel Dreessen and Jacob Tamme. The Broncos will likely still add another young receiver in the draft with Thomas and Decker’s contract situations, actually all three of their top receivers expire in 2015 or before (Decker expires in 2014). The good news is, the Broncos have positioned themselves with this signing to not only re-sign their young receivers, but to take Welker away from arguably their biggest competition in the AFC.
Oh yeah, the Broncos also made some other moves. The team was able to reach agreements with linebacker Stewart Bradley, defensive tackle Terrance Knighton, and cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. All three will compete for starting jobs at training camp.
Key acquisitions– RB Reggie Bush (Dolphins), DL James Jones (Seahawks), S Glover Quin (Texans), CB Chris Houston (re-signed)
I love the moves the Lions made on Wednesday. Specifically, I love the move to get Reggie Bush at such a reasonable price. Just a day after we saw the Dolphins and Seahawks shell out over $12M per season for Mike Wallace and Percy Harvin respectively, the Lions were able to snag the top playmaker at RB for four years, $16M. To me, that is a huge bargain. Not only that, but they went out and re-signed their top cornerback and got a key player off of the Houston Texans‘ dominant defense in safety Glover Quin. Quin will not only be a big pickup for Detroit, but a huge loss for Houston. James Jones has a chance to be a starter here at defensive end with Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley in the middle. The Lions need only draft another defensive end to now replace Cliff Avril. Really liked the moves I saw from Detroit on Wednesday.
Key acquisitions– WR Percy Harvin, DE Cliff Avril
The Seahawks no longer have a first round pick, but it likely doesn’t matter at this point. They’ve managed to address their top two needs with quality players. While I feel like Percy Harvin was overpaid (reason why Seattle was not a ‘winner’ yesterday), I think he is a potentially devastating pickup for opposing teams and if he was overpaid, the Seahawks got a bargain with Cliff Avril. If Chris Clemons can return at some point this season, they are going to have an exciting group of pass rushers with Avril, Clemons, and last year’s first rounder Bruce Irvin. Avril signed for two years, $15 million, which is a ridiculously low price if you ask me. I thought initially he and Paul Kruger would command at worst $10M per season, but that hasn’t been the case. The Seahawks took advantage of the market, and they got a steal in Avril there.
It’s hard for me to call the Colts a ‘loser’ so far when they’ve addressed so many needs, but I feel like they’ve been the only team who hasn’t been paying attention to the market value of the free agents. They are over-paying for each and every player they bring in. Gosder Cherilus would never have gotten the kind of money he got from Jim Irsay anywhere else, and last night, they finalized a deal with LaRon Landry who has had injury problems galore that ends up being four years, $24M. That’s a lot of dough for a safety, no matter how badly they needed him. I like the Colts’ heart in their moves, and picking up guys who fill needs, but they seem to be overreacting to their playoff season last year, showing they are desperate enough to get back to the playoffs that they will pay anything to do so.
I’m not sure what’s going on with the Rams right now. Free agency usually moves faster than this, but they’ve given huge money to Jared Cook who can be a nice piece of their offense but they vastly over-paid. They also have had Jake Long (OT) in the building for what seems like a full day, and Louis Delmas allegedly came and left without a deal. I’m not quite sure what the Rams are cooking up, but it’s confusing to me. Perhaps tomorrow morning they’ll find themselves in the winner’s column, and I realize these things take time, but Rams fans have to be getting antsy. Not to mention, if they miss on some of these moves, look at what the teams in their division have done.
3. New England Patriots
The Patriots were able to bag Danny Amendola, which is a big move for them (five years, $31M) but they lost Wes Welker, and to their biggest competition in the AFC, no less. The Patriots weren’t willing to shell out an additional $2M to Welker to keep him in New England, and Tom Brady was furious per reports. That’s not a good deal for the Patriots at all.
Wait and See
Key acquisitions– RB Shonn Greene (Jets), DT Sammie Lee Hill (Lions), OG Andy Levitre (Bills), TE Delanie Walker (49ers)
The Titans have made some interesting signings so far, that’s why they’re not a winner or a loser in my book. I think the Andy Levitre and Sammie Lee Hill signings are big winners, but Shonn Greene and Delanie Walker could turn out to be head scratchers. The Titans also swung for the fences offering Wes Welker $15M over two years, which was rejected and he signed in Denver. This isn’t a “loser” situation here, but the Titans are one to monitor.