17 Mar Lazar Cartu Says: 2020 NFL Free Agency Grades: Cowboys earn ‘B+’ for re-signi…
Guys haven’t even signed contracts, and already NFL teams are throwing around money like they print it.
Welcome to, 2020.
The period officially begins on Wednesday, but deals were already getting done on Sunday when teams could still negotiate with their own players. Once the legal tampering period opened on Monday, more deals started to get reported.
Expect a lot of outrageous deals this week, including big money going to a lot of good players, not great ones.
Here are my grades for this week’s moves:
Cardinals add DT Jordan Philips
One of the priorities this offseason for Arizona was to improve the interior of the defensive line. They’ve done that with Phillips. He is coming off his best season, getting 9.5 sacks in 2019 for the Bills, and he at 27 years old his best football is coming. I love this signing for the Cardinals.
Giants add LB Blake Martinez
Martinez made a lot of tackles for the Packers, despite playing the second half of the season with a broken hand. This addresses a major need for the Giants and the contract isn’t out of line at $10 million a season.
Eagles add DT Javon Hargrave
This might seem like a strange move, since the Eagles had other needs (see corner), but Hargrave will be a nice addition inside next to Fletcher Cox. It gives them a power twosome and they might be able to play Malik Jackson at big end if he stays after suffering a foot injury in the first game last season. The former Steeler is a rising player who can push the pocket.
Cowboys re-sign WR Amari Cooper
After tagging Dak Prescott, the Cowboys had to keep Cooper so they gave him a $20-million-a-year deal. That’s a bit pricey for five years, especially since Cooper didn’t play well on the road last season, but they had to keep him after trading a first-round pick to get him from the Raiders. It was the right thing to do, even if the cost was high.
Seahawks add DT Jarran Reed
I like this move a lot. Reed missed time with a league-imposed suspension last season and didn’t play as well as expected when he returned. But two years ago, he was a force and the Seahawks take little risk with a two-year deal.
Filled with multiple shocking blockbuster trades that involved prominent wide receivers and record-setting contracts, the first day of the NFL‘s free agency legal tampering period did not disappoint. Will Brinson and the Pick Six Podcast Superfriends are here to break it all down; listen below and be sure to subscribe for daily NFL goodness.
Lions add LB Jamie Collins
Lions general manager Bob Quinn and coach Matt Patricia know Collins well from their days with the Patriots. Collins played great football last year for New England after returning from the Browns, but he was a disappointment in Cleveland. The Lions have to be hopeful that they are getting the Collins we saw last season for the $10-million a year they will pay him.
Raiders add QB Marcus Mariota
Mariota is coming off a disappointing season in 2019 where he was benched for Ryan Tannehill. Now he will get a chance to compete with Derek Carr for coach Jon Gruden. Mariota has talent, and maybe Gruden can get that out of him.
Dolphins add LB Kyle Van Noy
This is an outstanding move by Miami. They are doing a great job in free agency. Van Noy was a big part of the Patriots defense the past four seasons and will be a nice off-the-ball linebacker for the Dolphins. Dolphins coach Brian Flores knows him well from his days coaching him with the Patriots.
Redskins add CB Kendall Fuller
Fuller has the versatility teams love. He can play corner, slot corner or safety, which he did late last year for the Chiefs. He returns to the Redskins after being part of the Alex Smith trade two years ago. Four years, $40 million is a bit pricey for Fuller.
Bills add DE Mario Addison
He played for Bills coach Sean McDermott in Carolina, so he knows him well. Addison is a good pass rusher who will help the Bills improve in that area, especially with Shaq Lawson leaving to sign with Miami. Addison does turn 33 this September if age is an issue.
Dolphins add CB Byron Jones
Yes, they will pay him a lot of money, but they locked down a top corner to go with Xavien Howard. That’s smart. Jones brings the versatility Brian Flores likes on the back end. This was a smart signing.
Giants add CB James Bradberry
The Giants needed help on the corner, so they get a player in Bradberry who has developed into a top cover player. The Giants are giving the former Panther a reported $15 million a year, which is steep, but they had to land a top corner.
Ryan Tannehill is staying with the Titans, so what does that mean for Tom Brady and other free agents? Will Brinson and the Pick Six Podcast Superfriends break it all down; listen below and be sure to subscribe for daily NFL goodness fired into your eardrums.
Ravens add DT Michael Brockers
Brockers is a nice run player, but he won’t give much in terms of pass rush. Even so, landing the ex-Ram and Calais Campbell to go with Brandon Williams gives the Ravens a nice big, power group among their down players.
Bears add TE Jimmy Graham
Can Graham play anymore? Does he have much left? The Bears had injury issues last season at tight end, but I just don’t think Graham is the answer, especially not for the reported $8 million a year.
Dolphins add DE Shaq Lawson
Lawson is coming off his best season when he had 6.5 sacks for the Bills. He’s not an elite edge rusher, but he’s a good, sound defensive end who can hold up against the run.
Raiders add LB Nick Kwiatkoski
This is s sneaky-good signing that won’t get a lot of attention. Kwiatkoski played well last season for the Bears when Danny Trevathan went down and the Raiders have a major need in the middle of their defense.
Browns add T Jack Conklin
I love this signing by the Browns. Their tackles were a major issue last season, impacting the offense in a big way. Conklin was good for the Titans last year and will be a major upgrade at right tackle.
Lions add T Halapoulivaati Vatai
The Lions gave him a five-year, $50-million deal, and I like this move. The former Eagle is a young rising player. Those are the players you should target in free agency.
Packers add T Rick Wagner
This one is perplexing since the Packers could have brought back Bryan Bulaga. Wagner isn’t an upgrade, although the ex-Lion is younger. But he didn’t cost that much on a two-year, $11-million deal.
Broncos add OL Graham Glasgow
The Broncos had some issues last season inside, and Glasgow, a former Lion, is an upgrade. But is he worth the money they paid him? Probably not, but he will help inside.
Buccaneers re-sign DE Jason Pierre-Paul
This was a move the Bucs planned to make. They didn’t want to let Pierre-Paul get out and they did a nice job signing him to a two-year deal. After his back injury forced him to miss the first six games last season, he had 8.5 sacks in 10 games and was a great locker-room guy.
Browns land TE Austin Hooper
Hooper was the best tight end on the market with Hunter Henry tagged by the Chargers, so he was a wanted commodity, which is why his reported $11 million deal is a little bloated. But new Browns coach Kevin Stefanski will use a lot of double-tight formations, so it fits.
Dolphins add OL Ereck Flowers
While Flowers played better at guard last year, it’s still a big deal to give him $10 million a year. I get the Dolphins need help, and he did do some good things at guard last year, but this is a strange one.
49ers re-sign DE Arik Armstead
The pass rush was the key to the San Francisco Super Bowl run last season and Armstead had a career-high 10 sacks. It makes sense to keep him, but is he an elite down player. He’s good, but he’s being paid like he’s elite.
Titans re-sign QB Ryan Tannehill
Tannehill did some good things last year when he came off the bench in place of Marcus Mariota, but is he really worth $30 million per year? He did throw for under 100 yards in two of his three playoff games. The price seems high for me. Why not tag him?
Colts re-sign OT Anthony Castonzo
Castonzo was considering retiring, but instead gets a two-year deal from the Colts for a reported $16.5 million per year. That’s pricey, but Castonzo is a solid player who can still play at a high level.
Texans re-sign CB Bradley Roby
The Texans had to do something at corner and bringing back Roby after signing him to a one-year deal last year was a good move. The three-year deal is decent at an average…