Grading the Seemingly Infinite Free Agent Moves so Far


Has there ever been a crazier period in NFL free agency? Not that I can think of – that’s for sure. I’m going to try and keep track of everything that transpires today and offer my quick thoughts on it. We’ll see how that goes….anyway, LET’S GOOOOO!!!

Malcolm Butler to the Tennessee Titans

Butler should benefit from a fresh start. He’s still an elite-level corner in the NFL and makes this Titans secondary awfully deadly all of a sudden. I can’t help but raise my eyebrows a bit at the dollar amount, though. Grade: B

Dion Lewis to the Tennessee Titans

I like Lewis’ skill set a lot, and he brings the exact dynamic to the Titans offense that it was missing last season. But, the question of whether or not he can stay healthy is valid. Grade: B

Josh Kline staying with the Tennessee Titans

I like Kline – the offensive line, as a whole, had a down year compared to 2016. But, it shouldn’t take away from the talent that all of these guys possess. With Kline and Quinton Spain both becoming free agents (though Spain is a RFA), the Titans would’ve been in a pickle if they didn’t keep at least one of ’em. Smart move. Grade: B

Cardinals release Tyrann Mathieu

Shocked to hear that he was asked to take a pay cut from Arizona, as he’s been considered one of the most promising young safeties in the game. He stuck to his guns, though, declined the offer, and was released. There will definitely be a market for him.

Ravens release Jeremy Maclin

I always thought Maclin was an underrated guy, but the production just never met the expectations. It was unreal to ever really look at him as an elite #1. He’s played nine seasons, but looks like he could still be serviceable to a team that could use depth. A lot of rumors are already swirling about a reunion with the Eagles. The Ravens, by the way, have virtually no receivers…good luck, John Brown.

Julius Peppers staying with the Carolina Panthers

Nothing really shocking here – it’s expected to be a one-year deal, and Peppers can still play a lick. Grade: C

Nate Solder to the New York Giants

Love this move. The offensive line has been the biggest area of need for the Giants over the last several seasons. They’re going to have to tinker with it a bit, but Solder’s presence should improve that group. Grade: B

Green Bay Packers cut Jordy Nelson

Shocker. Nelson, though he’s struggled with injuries, is still capable of playing at an elite level. I understand it’s a money issue, but I couldn’t help but wonder why the Packers would make this move? He still has a few good seasons left in him.

Allen Robinson to the Chicago Bears

Dig the move for the Bears assuming Robinson can stay healthy. It’s obvious that surrounding young Mitchell Trubisky with weapons is a priority for this team. Grade: B

Andrew Norwell to the Jacksonville Jaguars

A bit of a shocker here as everyone thought Norwell was destined to become a Giant. Alas, here comes the assassin Tom Coughlin to raid the fort. Norwell is going to bolster an already promising offensive line. Grade: A

Drew Brees staying on the New Orleans Saints

It’s a no-brainer, really. Everyone saw this coming. But, the fact that New Orleans can get out of this deal in a year makes this move a little juicier. Grade: A

Kirk Cousins to the Minnesota Vikings

Meh – I’m a fan of Cousins, and I’m happy to see him get a guaranteed contract after the way the R-Words dragged him along for so long. But, that said, he has to prove he’s worth it with a franchise that is fully behind him. I think he’ll be okay. He landed in a great situation. Grade: B

Trumaine Johnson to the New York Jets

Johnson is still a solid starter and the Jets have money to spend so why not, right? Grade: B

Case Keenum to the Denver Broncos

Boy, I love this move. The Broncos aren’t paying Keenum to come play backup. He’s going to be their guy, and I think he has an opportunity to really excel. This alleviates the need for Denver to draft a quarterback early, and they have the talent to get right back in the hunt for the AFC. Grade: A

Jimmy Graham to the Green Bay Packers

Love the move for the Packers, as Aaron Rodgers immediately gets a valuable red zone target. Grade: B

Trey Burton to the Chicago Bears

Burton’s a serviceable, reliable tight end. I’m not sure he’s a starter, though, and the Bears are paying him a ton of money. Like the player, not the deal. Grade: D

Star Lotulelei to the Buffalo Bills

Lotulelei hasn’t really lived up to expectations, so I’m a little perplexed by the willingness of the Bills to lock him down for five years. But, that Bills defensive line should be dominant in 2018. Grade: C

Sammy Watkins to the Kansas City Chiefs

Like the Bears, the Chiefs are doing everything they can to surround their young quarterback, Pat Mahomes, with weapons. Watkins is going to end up with ~$16M a year, though, and that seems preposterous to me given his injury history. Grade: C

Muhammad Wilkerson to the Green Bay Packers

Mini-Albert Haynesworth has been accused of getting paid and slacking off. If he wants to play, he can be dominant. Let’s hope the Pack got that Wilkerson. Grade: C

Paul Richardson to the Washington Redskins

For whatever reason, Richardson didn’t pan out in Seattle. He showed plenty of flashes, but never truly reached his potential. I still say he has a wealth of talent and maybe he’ll shine in a system that should allow him to display his talents. Grade: B

Taylor Gabriel to the Chicago Bears

If he’s used in any way similar to how Kyle Shanahan used him in Atlanta in 2016, this will be a steal. I love Gabriel’s versatile skill set, and assuming he’s used properly, could become a bona fide weapon. Grade: B

Bashaud Breeland to the Carolina Panthers

The Panthers secondary is the place to be, and Breeland will fit in nicely. Grade: B

Weston Richburg to the San Francisco 49ers

The Niners got a great interior offensive lineman to help protect Jimmy Garoppolo. Richburg was a guy I was watching for the Titans. Grade: B

Jonathan Stewart to the New York Giants

Stewart has quietly put together a solid NFL career. But, I don’t think he’s what the Giants need at the position. Big Blue needs a playmaker. Wayne Gallman showed some promise last year, but they need some explosion…maybe a Saquon Barkley, maybe? Don’t see the vision behind this move. Grade: D

Marqise Lee staying with the Jacksonville Jaguars

No clue what Lee has done in his career to warrant a four-year deal. The Jags have some weapons on offense, so I’m not sure what they see in Lee that made them lock him down. Grade: D

Teddy Bridgewater to the New York Jets

Love the move for Bridgewater – he’s going to get a chance to get back in a starting gig right away. For the Jets, signing Bridgewater is probably better than drafting anyone in the first round of this draft class. They have Josh McCown for another year, so this should solidify the quarterback position for them. Grade: B

Isaiah Crowell to the New York Jets

Crowell has sneakily been one of the most consistent backs in the NFL over the last couple of seasons. But, playing in Cleveland won’t help spread your brand. This guy should shine in the Big Apple, and the Jets are in need of a true featured back. Grade: B

Carlos Hyde to the Cleveland Browns

Don’t look now, but the Browns have some weapons all of a sudden. It’s almost as if they’re tired of losing. Hyde is an underrated producer. Grade: B

Jerick McKinnon to the San Francisco 49ers

McKinnon is another guy I had my eye on for the Titans, but they went the Dion Lewis route instead. In McKinnon, the 49ers are going to get a valuable pass catcher and offensive weapon. Just don’t think he’s worth the $7.5 million he’ll be getting each year. Grade: C

Stoney Keeley is the Editor in Chief of The SoBros Network. He is a strong supporter of Team GSD and #BeBetter. “Big Natural” covers the Tennessee Titans, Alabama Crimson Tide football, the WWE, and a whole wealth of nonsense. Follow on Twitter @StoneyKeeley

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