It has been a crazy week thus far on the free agency front. With a month or more of free agency condensed into a week, things were obviously going to move fast, but the number of signings so far has been staggering, because a team re-signing their own free agents is mixed in as well since teams did not really have that opportunity before.
Keep track of some of the signings from around the league, from the hometown Bucs to the west coast Seahawks, after the jump.
The Bucs have so far been relatively quiet on the free agency front, making most of their noise while re-signing some of their veterans. Davin Joseph, Jeremy Trueblood and Quincy Black will all be back with the Bucs this season, after reaching multi-year contracts for their services. Joseph is now operating with a 7-year contract, worth $52.5 million, and $19.5 million guaranteed. This is not quite a record-setting contract, as Jahri Evans' contract from last year was worth a couple million more, but it's very close to the top at Joseph's position. Jeremy Trueblood has signed a 2-year contract with the money not being known just yet, but judging from the fact that he lost his job last season due to injury, and wasn't able to earn it back once healthy, it's likely his deal is for backup money, though he'll be allowed to compete with James Lee in training camp to try and win his old job back. Quincy black earned himself a 5-year, $29 million contract that includes an $11.5 million signing bonus. Looking purely at his numbers, it seems like Black's contract is for more than he's worth, but the Bucs seem to have a fascination with Black as an athlete and need to spend the money regardless.
On a side note, everyone knocks Trueblood for being a terrible pass blocker (which he is), but there is a way to solve that problem. Move him inside to a guard position. He is a mauling run blocker, and when on the inside of the line it is extremely unlikely he'll run into the speed rushers that usually give him fits. There is no shame in not being able to cut it as a tackle in the NFL. Both Robert Gallery and Leonard Davis were busts as tackles, but when moved inside they became among the best at their position. Trueblood may be able to do the same, but we won't know unless it's tried.
Based on the old axiom of Know Thy Enemy, I'm also going to break down and recap the moves from around the league.
Starting in our own division, the New Orleans Saints and Atlanta Falcons have been relatively quiet. Most of their moves have involved re-signing their own free agents. The Saints so far have re-signed Jermon Bushrod and Scott Shanle, while bringing in veteran Darren Sproles from San Diego. Locking down Bushrod allows the Saints to continue trying to develop him into something more than just a serviceable left tackle, and he's still young enough for that transformation to occur. Shanle's re-signing does little except keep some veteran leadership on the defense, while making sure a hole doesn't appear in their linebacking corps. Signing Darren Sproles helps offset the loss of trading Reggie Bush to Miami, with the added benefit of Sproles being significantly cheaper.
In Atlanta, the Falcons have re-signed Mike Peterson, keeping a veteran presence in their linebacking corps, as well as someone who is solid and reliable. They have also re-signed Tyson Clabo and Matt Bryant. Peterson is a reliable linebacker who is in the twilight of his career, but he can still be productive and is smart enough to avoid mistakes. Tyson Clabo is a mauling right tackle, and one of the people primarily responsible for helping Michael Turner gain as many yards as he has. Matt Bryant was one of the NFL's most accurate kickers last year, hitting roughly 90% of his attempts. How the Bucs let him get away, I'm not sure, but the Falcons had no intention of doing the same and made sure they would retain his services.
Unlike the rest of the division, Carolina has been making some serious noise so far in free agency. They began by re-signing Charles Johnson and DeAngelo Williams, but were nowhere near content after that. Since that, they have also traded for Greg Olsen, signed DT Ron Edwards, K Olindo Mare, and S Sean Considine, and re-signed 2 more veterans in Thomas Davis and James Anderson, while also giving Jon Beason a 5-year contract extension. Johnson received a 6-year, $72 million contract with $32 million of that being guaranteed. Not bad for someone with only one starting season under their belt, but the Panthers obviously like what they've seen from him, and have no desire to let their best pass rusher leave for a second year in a row. Ron Edwards isn't a great defensive tackle, but he's certainly an upgrade for the Panthers defensive line. A nose tackle with the Chiefs, he's used to clogging running lanes and tying up blockers, which will aid the Panthers defense immensely. Bringing back Anderson and Davis while extending Beason gives the Panthers one of the best LB corps in the NFL, assuming that Davis is able to stay healthy, which he hasn't done since being moved from his old safety position. Trading for Greg Olsen was a great move for the Panthers. No matter who wins the training camp battle for QB, the Panthers are going to have a young, inexperienced person starting whether it's Cam Newton or Jimmy Clausen. Adding a reliable and talented TE like Olsen, as well as bringing back Williams and convincing Steve Smith to stay with the team (a move that doesn't get as much publicity as it should), will help whoever wins that competition and hopefully allow them to become productive without as many of the growing pains that young QBs usually go through.
Outside of the NFC South but still close to home, the Jacksonville Jaguars have been making some noise. They brought in Clint Sessions and Paul Posluszny to add to their linebacking corps, and while Sessions is a proto-typical Colts back (in that he's somewhat undersized but speedy) and Posluszny has had some bad luck with injuries, both are productive veterans who should solidify the Jaguars LB corps. They are also reportedly very close to a deal with Dawan Landry, who is a hard-hitting safety perfectly at home in the box, laying people out. Despite being a great run stopper, he also has pretty good range as a safety and can play coverage because of it. While not being amongst the best as his position, he's a very solid player and a solid acquisition for the Jaguars defense, which is quickly becoming something that should be feared by opponents.
The Cowboys seem to have broken the Jerry Jones rule of making headlines, and have been pretty quiet so far. They've cut quite a few veterans, and re-signed Doug Free and Kyle Kosier, but that's really about it. Granted, those re-signings are moves that needed to happen, especially after two of those cut veterans were RG Leonard Davis and RT Marc Colombo. If Free and Kosier weren't re-signed the Boys would've had a completely new-look offensive line, which is a position that requires continuity to get better. Losing Colombo isn't a big loss, as rookie Tyson Smith appears ready to step in from the very beginning to man one of the tackle spots, with Free manning the other. There are conflicting reports about who will play which tackle position, but Free has played both well, and Smith has the potential to play either well, so it likely won't matter much. There is no ready replacement for Leonard Davis already on the roster, however, so the Cowboys may dip back into FA for a lower-tiered guard to replace him with, one that won't command as much salary as the $6 million they saved by cutting Davis.
It would be impossible to write about the goings-on in the NFL right now without bringing up the Seattle Seahawks. They've been more active than anyone so far, using FA to continue to remake their team in year two of Pete Carrol's reign. By signing Robert Gallery away from the Raiders, the Seahawks have given themselves one of the most intriguing offensive lines in the NFL. Having drafted a mauling RT in James Carpenter, as well as a solid RG in John Moffit, this year's draft clearly had a plan. Add that to last year's first round pick in Russell Okung, and Max Unger the year before that, and the Seahawks have completely made over their OL in 3 short years, with quality people that have plenty of upside.
Add Alan Branch to the list of Seahawk's acquisitions so far. Branch, a former NT with the Cardinals, brings a 26-year old mammoth to the Hawk's defensive line. Tarvaris Jackson gives them a good second option if the Charlie Whitehurst experiment doesn't work out, and the Seahawk's also made sure that whoever their QB is has quality weapons. They went fishing in free agency and brought themselves back a whale, pulling in the highly sought after Sidney Rice to pair with Mike Williams and Golden Tate in a very formidable WR corps. Whether TJack or Whitehurst win that QB battle, the Seahawk's QB is going to be a very happy man with a retooled OL and very special WR corps.
It's been a busy week so far, and it's only going to get more so. Leave your questions and comments below, and I'll address what I can.