The first round of NFL Free Agency has come and gone. Some teams immediately improved. Other teams didn’t improve at all while the jury is still out on the moves that a few teams made. I decided to break it down into the free agency moves that are home runs for both the player and teams, the free agency moves that are most likely to end in disaster, and the free agency moves that could end up being disasters or home runs.
Keep reading for my 3 NFL Free Agency moves that make sense, 3 NFL free agency moves that don’t, and 3 NFL free agency moves that we must wait to see.
NFL Free Agency Moves That Make Sense, Moves That Don’t, and Moves We Must Wait to See
3 Moves that Made Sense
QB Drew Brees Resigns with the New Orleans Saints
The New Orleans Saints provided the most important move during free agency by resigning their best player that’s ever put on a set of Saints’ pads. Drew Brees is a first ballot hall of famer. He’s already won a Super Bowl. He might be one of the Top 5 greatest quarterbacks to ever play. Another Super Bowl ring could all but assure that.
New Orleans, obviously, had a reason to resign the brilliant Brees. The Saints were a freak play away from heading to the NFC Championship versus the Philadelphia Eagles. New Orleans has an excellent rushing attack and a great defense. Why wouldn’t they want their superstar QB back?
Drew Brees had an incentive to resign with the Saints. Although there’s a rumor that either the New York Jets or Minnesota Vikings offered Brees a $60 million two-year contract, Brees decided to resign with the Saints at a 2-year $50 million contract. He doesn’t want to go anywhere else. Would you?
OG Andrew Norwell Signs with the Jacksonville Jaguars
Norwell made the smart move by signing with the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Jags’ offensive line was great last season. Jacksonville averaged 141.4 rushing yards per game. That ranked first in the NFL. Norwell won’t have to carry the Jaguars’ offensive line.
Norwell should help the Jaguars rush up the middle even better this season than they did last season. Rookie RB Leonard Fournette can get the edge and run through blockers. Think about what the Jaguars just did by signing Norwell. How the heck is any defense going to stop the Jaguars from rushing the football?
Jags could be Super Bowl bound after signing Norwell.
DT Sheldon Richardson Signs with the Minnesota Vikings
I’m not as in love with the Kirk Cousins signing as I am with this signing. By adding Sheldon Richardson, the Vikings have built upon what was already the best defense in the NFL. Minnesota allowed 275.9 total yards per game. Of those 275.9 total yards, the Vikings gave up around 192 passing yards and 83.6 rushing yards. Opponents averaged 15.8 points per game versus the Vikings.
Richardson only has 2.5 sacks in his last 30 games. Who cares? Offensive lines must double-team Richardson on every play. That’s why he doesn’t get the sacks. What he does do is open things up for other rushers to get sacks. Forget about running the football against Sheldon Richardson.
The Vikings made a brilliant move. So did Richardson. He landed on the best defense in the NFL.
3 Moves That Don’t Make Sense
San Francisco 49’ers Sign CB Richard Sherman
The 49’ers signed Sherman to a deal worth $39 million. That’s a lot of money for a cornerback that most likely lost a step. Sherman may, or may not, have the same man-to-man coverage skills he displayed while a Seattle Seahawk. The reason I write that is because Seattle often played zone coverage while Richard was there.
This is great for Sherman. I don’t see it working out for the San Francisco 49’ers
Green Bay Packers Sign Jimmy Graham…and Let Jordy Nelson Walk
This feels like a “I’m going to prove everyone wrong” signing. For some reason, Mike McCarthy and the Green Bay Packers have struggled the past couple of seasons to get a pro bowl caliber tight-end to play at a pro bowl level in Green Bay. Martellus Bennett failed miserably. Will Graham do much better? Nobody really knows. Not only that, but the Packers let Jordy Nelson walk.
Nelson, the past few years, has been QB Aaron Rodgers’ favorite target. Was adding Graham really worth destroying the chemistry between Nelson and Rodgers?
San Francisco 49’ers Sign Jerrick McKinnon…and Let Carlos Hyde Walk
I believe Carlos Hyde has some football left to play. I like Jerrick McKinnon as a player. However, he’s best utilized as lightning to a separate players’ thunder. In Atlanta, Kyle Shanahan had both Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman. Now, he’s got Jerrick McKinnon. I don’t see McKinnon carrying the football 20 times a game. I definitely don’t feel he’s a better all-around running back than Carlos Hyde.
3 Moves That We Must Wait and See
Minnesota Vikings Sign QB Kirk Cousins
Don’t get me wrong. I, like everyone else, had Kirk Cousins as the top player in free agency. It’s rare when you get a chance to sign a QB of Cousins’ caliber. He’s got all the making of being one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL.
But, that’s the problem. He isn’t one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL yet. Handing over $85 million in guaranteed money to a player that isn’t in the Top 3 at the most important position on the football field is a risky move. I also have other questions:
- If Minnesota wanted Brees at $60 million for two-years, that means Cousins was their second choice.
- Is Kirk Cousins, outside of stats, that much better than Case Keenum? It takes more to win a Super Bowl as a QB than putting up great stats.
- Minnesota’s philosophy is to run the football and lean on it’s defense. Are the Vikings planning on changing that philosophy? If so, why?
I’m not saying Cousins fails. I’m just saying that we’ll have to see if the money was worth it. It’s Super Bowl or bust at the contract they gave him.
Chicago Bears Sign WR Allen Robinson
It’s difficult to know how good of a player Allen Robinson is. For his entire career, he’s caught passes from Jacksonville Jaguar quarterbacks. Robinson missed out on the Jags’ resurgence last season because he got hurt early and missed the entire season.
Robinson could tear it up in Chicago. Or, because he’s playing with a second-year pro quarterback in Mitch Trubisky, Robinson could have a terrible season. It’s always difficult counting on a guy who goes to your team off an injury. Robinson’s that guy. I truly hope he excels in Chicago navy blue because I think he deserves some luck after spending so much time with the Jaguars during Jacksonville’s lean years.
Kansas City Chiefs Sign WR Sammy Watkins
To me, this is sort of an odd signing. Yes, the Kansas City Chiefs are breaking in Patrick Mahomes as their starting QB this season. I get that. What I don’t understand is exactly what KC is looking to get out of Watkins. They already have one of the very best young wide receivers in the NFL in Tyreek Hill. Hill can stretch the defense versus any QB in the NFL.
Not only that, but Andy Reid has stated that he’s throwing the football more this season to RB Kareem Hunt. Also, the best tight-end in football, Travis Kelce, plays for the Kansas City Chiefs. I’m just not sure why the Chiefs signed Sammy Watkins.
We’ll see what happens with Watkins, Robinson, and Cousins. For now, the home runs appear to be Richardson to the Vikings, Brees resigning with the Saints, and Norwell to the Jaguars. The Vikings, Jaguars, and Saints helped themselves the most to secure a berth in Super Bowl 53.