Free Agency Opening Day Notes:
General notes after day 1 of the league season. The biggest question at the end of today is 'Where will Tony Romo wind up?' and the answer is revealed at the last spot of this list.
The biggest story of the day deals with front office personnel, instead of players, as Washington fired General Manager Scot McCloughan after experiencing two consecutive winning seasons. The general sentiment around the league is one of support for McCloughan and indignation for Washington. Despite proclamations about the legality of this situation as it relates to McCloughan’s employment being terminated, the situation is far from being legally cut and dry. Regardless, this is not the first time Bruce Allen and Dan Snyder have found themselves in this situation (see Zorn and Shanahan firings) and they won’t receive the benefit of the doubt from their fans, the general public, or the media. This is a sad situation that Washington should bring to a close quickly and quietly so that they can get back to not being very good at football.
Apparently Brock Osweiler = a fourth round pick - (a second round pick and a sixth round pick), meaning he has a negative value. The Browns pulled an NBA style move by picking up his contract, essentially purchasing the difference in draft capital from the Texans. It doesn’t speak well for Osweiler, or the Texans, but the Browns look like they got their money’s worth from hiring John DePodesta. This trade now gives the Browns five selections in the top 65 spots in the draft, as well as three in the top 64 spots in 2018, meaning that they have plenty of draft capital to get Jimmy Garoppolo, whom they reportedly covet.
In one day San Francisco General Manager John Lynch has signed more free agents than Trent Baalke seemingly did in four years. None of their signings, including Earl Mitchell, appear to be anything other than short term upgrades. And for a roster that has a handful of top of the roster guys, and a ton of bottom of the roster guys, eight middle of the roster guys and new ownership is exactly what they need. Getting half of that accomplished in one day is good work by Lynch.
Adrian Peterson is going to most likely have a hard time coming to grips with his value in the NFL. While he was never going to get $18 million dollars to play this year he probably expected to get close to that in guaranteed money and at least eight figures a year on average. What he will probably get will be $3-4 million per year on a one or two year deal. If he plays his cards right he can get that from a team like New England, Seattle, or Green Bay where he can publicly claim winning is more important than money. Or he can retire.
Jacksonville was actually able to sign two premium free agents that were being chased by playoff contenders in the same day. This could be a watershed moment for a moribund Jaguars team that has quietly amassed an enviable roster. Calais Campbell brings much needed athleticism and experience to a defensive front seven and should be an excellent mentor for Dante Fowler. AJ Bouye is coming off a great year and, hopefully stabilize a secondary playing opposite Jalen Ramsey. If the Jaguars can stabilize their offensive line, and stabilize Blake Bortles’ decision making, then they might make a push for the playoffs this year.
Word is the Broncos are attempting to trade Trevor Siemian to the Jets as they are expecting to sign Tony Romo. Houston has obviously also made their move so one of these teams is either going to be stuck without a starting quarterback or, what's worse, they’ll possibly be stuck with Jay Cutler or Colin Kaepernick.
The Patriots have stayed relevant for as long as they have because they stick to their system better than any other NFL team. Trade down for more picks that cost less and create competition throughout the roster. Trade for guys with 1-2 years remaining on their contract that have something to prove. Sign veteran free agents that are past their prime to team friendly deals in the last season or two of their careers. Extend Tom Brady. Wake up. Repeat. That is why the signing of Stephon Gilmore was so surprising. Gilmore is receiving $40 million in guaranteed money, shattering the record that the Patriots have ever given to a player not drafted by the team. Acquiring Gilmore gives the Patriots some options at cornerback should Logan Ryan leave as a free agent, should the team decide to trade Malcolm Butler, or both, but it is still a drastic departure for the Patriots of Bill Belichick.
Nick Fairley bet on himself last year and it appears to have paid off. Fairley was rewarded with a four year $30 million contract to stay in New Orleans. The Saints suddenly have a very talented defensive line and some solid picks with which to improve the rest of their defensive depth chart.
Colin Kaepernick is considered a disgrace because he kneeled during the National Anthem. Meanwhile Joe Mixon had a great Pro Day and is not a disgrace to the league even though he beat up a woman.