Dec 8, 2013; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints running back Darren Sproles (43) carries the ball in front of Carolina Panthers outside linebacker Thomas Davis (58) in the first half at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Crystal LoGiudice-USA TODAY Sports

2014 NFL Free Agency: Day Three Blunders and Burglaries

Just three days into the frenzy and 2014 NFL free agency has hatched loads of surprises.  Where were the latest blunders and burglaries committed?

Philadelphia Eagles trade for Darren Sproles – Result:  Burglary

Normally any sort of trade for a 30-year old running back is ill-advised at best but Darren Sproles is a unique case.  He doesn’t have the same sort wear and tear a player of his age does due to the simple way he has played the game.  It is that style the Philadelphia Eagles bought for a fifth-round pick.  The reason it’s such a bargain is it was a pick they sent to New England initially in a previous trade and the fact that Sproles is a perfect fit for the Chip Kelly offense.  Any way the team can find to keep star LeSean McCoy fresher is a bonus.

Detroit Lions sign James Ihedigbo – Result:  Blunder

Priority one for the Detroit Lions coming into the off-season was improving their secondary, both at corner and safety.  Dumping former standout Louis Delmas was part of that process and finding a replacement in 2014 NFL free agency was equally important.  Their though leaves a little to be desired.  Granted, James Ihedigbo is coming off easily the best season of his career with 101 tackles and three interceptions for the Baltimore Ravens.  By the same token though at age 30 it’s unrealistic to expect him to improve or even duplicate that production switching to his fourth different team of his career, especially since the bulk of it was spent playing in a 3-4 scheme.

New York Jets ink Eric Decker – Result:  Burglary

Is he a #1 receiver?  No, but the New York Jets needed somebody reliable for Geno Smith to throw to and they could’ve done a lot worse than Eric Decker.  The former Denver Bronco has good size, proven ability to make tough catches and has different ways to get himself open.  He won’t carry an offense by himself but if he can make plays with Tim Tebow throwing him the ball, Geno Smith should be able to do something with him.

New York Jets grab Breno Giacomini – Result:  Blunder

However, in typical Jets fashion they accompanied a solid signing with a slight head scratcher.  Obviously coming from the defending world champion Seattle Seahawks can make a lot of players look better than they are and that is likely the case for Brent Giacomini.  He was often considered the weak link of the Seahawks offensive line, a good run blocker but often woefully inadequate in pass protection.  He is a poor substitute for Austin Howard.  If the Jets are smart they bring in some competition in the draft.

Washington Redskins land Tracy Porter – Result:  Burglary

Tracy Porter is most famous for his championship-sealing play for the Saints a few years ago but that belied how underrated the cornerback actually is.  He proved that again in 2013 when he made 67 tackles, collected 1.5 sacks and two interceptions while deflecting 12 other passes.  At age 27 his experience and physical peak are meeting and the Washington Redskins were smart to pounce on it.  Porter is not a shutdown guy but he’s reliable, physical and a playmaker who can turn an interception into points.

Chicago Bears haul Willie Young – Result:  Burglary

Stat experts understand that sacks are the typical measuring point for defensive ends in the league but there is so much more that goes into playing the position.  Causing disruption and pressures are almost as important, as is stopping the run.  Willie Young only had three sacks in 2013 as a starter for the Detroit Lions but a deeper look showed a player who constantly found ways to move the quarterback off his spot.  He’s still just 28-years old and not nearly as beat up as most ends his age.  For the Chicago Bears to get him at $3 million per season over three years is a definite smart signing.

Indianapolis Colts sign Phil Costa – Result:  Blunder

D’Qwell Jackson and Arthur Jones were tremendous pickups for the Indianapolis Colts as they remodel their defense.  Yet even they seem destined to make some ponderous decisions.  One popped up on the radar when they signed center Phil Costa.  The former Dallas Cowboy has played in just six games over the past two seasons as he’s dealt with injuries and demotions.  The fact Indianapolis signed him with more proven players like Brian De La Puente and Evan Dietrich-Smith still available is interesting.  Such is 2014 NFL free agency.

Dick's Sporting Goods presents "Hell Week":

Tags: 2014 Nfl Free Agency Chicago Bears Detroit Lions Indianapolis Colts New York Jets Philadelphia Eagles Washington Redskins

  • Ryan

    Agree with everything you wrote. Sucks dc got a good corner so used to them making those big name picks for way to much $ seems like they might be taking a page from the Howie book.

    • Erik Lambert

      Thank you, Ryan. It does seem like they’re taking a more measured approach to things, going for proven players they can fortify the roster with rather than big names who can save it.

  • Steven Almeida

    Who the hell is BRENT Giacomini? Any good reporting would know his name before slandering his name. And any research would lead you to find out PFF has him rated higher than Austin Howard. So Idzik did not fold and overpay a mediocre right tackle like the Raiders. Instead they got a much cheaper solid right tackle. So in familiar Idzik fashion he chose not to budge from his plan and listen to outside noise, and good a great bargain to keep Jets cap healthy moving foward.

    • Erik Lambert

      Pro Football Focus also said J’Marcus Webb was one of the better tackles in the league too. Leaning on them is going to lose you money. Giacomini was the primary culprit for the Seahawks giving up 44 sacks in 2013, a number that would’ve been higher if not for Russell Wilson being so elusive. I don’t see how with Zach Strief still available they felt he was such a capable get. They got him cheap for a reason. I’ll leave it at that.

  • NCP422

    Dumb ass Jets could have gotten Revis for FREE – without having to trade a lot or use a valuable draft pick on a corner – but no, Woody’s too proud to court him again. It’s getting harder and harder to root for these guys.

  • Herman Moore

    Ihedigbo is likely to be a better replacement for Delmas than you might think at first glance. Delmas played all 16 for the first time in three years, but to keep him healthy he was held out of practice constantly during the last half of the season, which IMHO contributed to some sloppy play down the stretch. The guy is a stud when healthy, but he’s also one more knee injury away from being a former NFL safety. Ihedigbo’s age is a liability, to be sure, but even if he regresses and only has 80 tackles, I’ll take it.

    • Erik Lambert

      I’m in full agreement that Delmas was on borrowed time I just feel you’re losing a leadership quality that Ihedigbo just can’t replace. I would’ve kept Delmas and drafted somebody early to eventually become his replacement so they could learn how he operates.

      • Herman Moore

        His price was too high for a guy with his issues. His leadership will be missed, but someone else will have to step up.

        • Erik Lambert

          Seems that way.