Drew Brees (NOS, QB) – $35, 1 year
Brandon Coleman (NOS, WR) – $1, 1 year
Rishard Matthews (TEN, WR) – $17, 4 years
Terrelle Pryor (WAS, WR) – $25, 3 years
Eric Decker (NYJ, WR) – $20, 2 years
Gary Barnidge (CLE, TE) – $1, 1 year
Dennis Pitta (BAL, TE) – $1, 1 year
Dont’a Hightower (NEP, LB) – $8, 4 years
Nick Perry (GBP, LB) – $4, 4 years
AJ Bouye (JAC, CB) – $3, 3 years
If there was one team that you should really look at all the small deals for it’s Kelkowski as they seem to have half the league on $1, 1 year deals. They did make a few splashes in free agency though with big money going on Brees, Pryor, Decker and Matthews. This year could be the year that Brees drops off the cliff but if it isn’t Kelkowski have addressed one of their big areas of need for at least one season and the short term nature of the deal obviously minimises the risk. With three mid-priced WRs added to the team it’s apparent where else Kelkowski thought they needed to strengthen and, to be fair, if they hadn’t they’d have been relying on Randall Cobb and Will Fuller for the entirety of 2017. All three deals are for guys who seem to now be the number 1 option on their team but there is uncertainty about the standing of both Decker and Matthews in the depth chart so time will tell. Barnidge and Pitta are both notable cheap deals. Each has their question marks but both could end the season as solid TE1s and for deals with no risk attached that’s good business.
On the defensive side of the ball I like the Hightower deal as he could be a top tier linebacker if his health would ever let him. At $8 that’s a risk worth taking. Perry is also a good bet at that price. He may disappear back to obscurity but it’s no big loss if he does and he showed his ceiling last season. With AJ Bouye you’re paying for his 2016 season and now that he’s in a new team I would have no faith in him to produce again. For $3 though who cares?
Chris Thompson (WAS, RB) – $6, 3 years
DeSean Jackson (TBB, WR) – $12, 3 years
Michael Crabtree (OAK, WR) – $24, 3 years
Larry Fitzgerald (ARI, WR) – $8, 2 years
Cameron Wake (MIA, DE) – $11, 2 years
Yannick Ngakoue (JAX, DE) – $14, 5 years
Chandler Jones (ARI, LB) – $30, 4 years
Zach Brown (WAS, LB) – $13, 5 years
Eric Weddle (BAL, S) – $2, 3 years
Benjamin Hendy was a busy man in the off-season and the Bombermen have gone hard at the free agent market, preparing themselves for a big push for the Owl in 2017. On offence the monster move is Michael Crabtree and it looks like a good one. The money is not to be sniffed at but you’re talking about paying Crabtree like a WR3. He was that in 2015 and was a top-end WR2 in 2016 so unless you think he’s going to take a step back in 2017 then he looks a safe investment. The Raiders could draft a WR and impinge on his value somewhat but with so many problems on their defence it would be a surprise. DeSean Jackson is even better value at $12. Sure, he’s boom-bust but that is a pittance for a player who will win your matchup for you some weeks. He’s the second target to Mike Evans in Tampa but Jackson is not a player who needs high volume to get it done and the B-Men won’t be relying on him as anything more than a WR3 at best. Fitzgerald is a solid pick-up, his ceiling is low but his floor is high. Chris Thompson is a bit of a lottery ticket and the price looks a dollar or two high for me but he was the most competent of Washington’s backs last season so he’s worth a look.
I’m less enamoured of the defensive moves the Bombermen have made, however. Ngakoue’s price is defensible, if not cheap, but the length of the contract represents a risk to me as he’s much more likely to underperform than overperform at that money. Zach Brown too is being paid quite a lot based on one season of production in a different team. Cameron Wake’s deal sits in the middle, not bad value for a guy who can top-score when he’s on form, but he’s getting old now and has injury concerns. I would rather have had Robert Quinn at $8 than Wake at $11, personally. Coming back to the good end of the spectrum though we have Chandler Jones at $30 (expensive but he is a tippy-top linebacker) and Eric Weddle (a very steady S1/2 for a good price). One thing I absolutely cannot fault Hendy on though is the aggressive way he has moved to fill his needs. The Bombermen don’t have much by the way of draft picks this season so he needed to get his team in shape to challenge by the end of this window and, putting aside an overpay or two, it looks like mission accomplished.
Dak Prescott (DAL, QB) – $29, 4 years
LeGarrette Blount (FA, RB) – $16, 2 years
Jonathan Stewart (CAR, RB) – $8, 2 years
Adam Thielen (MIN, WR) – $14, 3 years
Kenny Stills (MIA, WR) – $9, 3 years
Jared Cook (OAK, TE) – $10, 3 years
Nick Fairley (NOS, DT) – $25, 3 years
Let’s start here with the good stuff. Neil Hawke’s running backs were less a stable than a rotten manger and some action was definitely required. There is a lot of talk of Carolina being the landing spot for Leonard Fournette in the draft but until that speculation bears fruit then Jonathan Stewart is the main man there and $8 looks good value. Even if he ends up in a committee or as a handcuff it’s not a terrible deal. LeGarrette Blount, on the other hand, does look like one. Yet to find a team, Blount’s value was entirely tied to his position in New England and if he doesn’t end up back there then the chances of him being worth that money are remote. At least it’s only a short deal. Kenny Stills isn’t bad value at $9, he could easily prove to be Miami’s second threat behind Jarvis Landry this season and their main deep option so he has a good shot to outperform that figure. I can only assume that Neil has mistaken Adam Thielen for someone else. The #33 WR in 2016, Thielen scored a quarter of his points in one week and seemed to end up as a target for the Vikings by accident. I can’t help but feel that money could have been better invested somewhere else. Jared Cook has landed in a good spot in Oakland but $10 is a big overpay for a player who has promised much throughout his career but delivered little. He was the #40 TE last season due to injury and whilst he flashed when fit I don’t know how much competition the Birds would have had for him at $5, let alone $10. Dak Prescott is just nuts. In a league where QBs are ten a penny Prescott should maybe be earning half what he is. Last season he finished 6th, sure, but the question is one of repeatability. To my mind you need to see a QB have more than 1 season performing like that before you pay him like he’s worth it.
On defence the only significant move that the Firebirds made was the addition of Nick Fairley to play alongside Geno Atkins at DT. Unfortunately this is another huge overpay in my opinion. Fairley is a player with a history of playing well for one season then dropping off the radar and he has just scored elite money in the Dynabowl. There are very few DTs in the league who are worth paying over $20 for and Nick Fairley isn’t one of them. Trust me, I own another of them.
Champions of the Sun
Ryan Tannehill (MIA, QB) – $7, 3 years
Danny Woodhead (BAL, RB) – $10, 2 years
Jack Doyle (IND, TE) – $8, 2 years
Mario Addisson (CAR, DE) – $3, 3 years
Kiko Alonso (MIA, LB) – $5, 3 years
TJ Ward (DEN, S) – $3, 3 years
Reshad Jones (MIA, S) – $11, 4 years
The Champions of the Sun were always light at QB behind Big Ben and while Tannehill is at a decent price the inconsistency of performance he has shown across the years does not inspire confidence as a primary backup. GM Max Cubberley is likely counting on QB Whisperer Adam Gase working his magic but if Paxton Lynch doesn’t become a viable QB 2 in Denver then he may find himself light on options. Danny Woodhead seems like good RB depth, something the Champions need. He is in a new scheme and has question marks over age and injury but he has shown an RB1/2 ceiling in the past and, at that price, if he can be a decent RB3 there will be no complaints. The only other offensive move outside some RB flyers was Jack Doyle, the Indianapolis Tight End. He currently heads the depth chart with both a QB and a scheme that are TE-friendly and so this seems like decent value even if he isn’t the most explosive or exciting of players. Indianapolis may end up drafting a TE to replace him but it’s rare for rookie TEs to be a factor in their first year so the Champions should see at least one year of decent production from Doyle.
There wasn’t much money to throw around at Paddy’s Pub for free agents with a new deal for Khalil Mack on the horizon but the biggest chunk of change went to Reshad Jones. $11 puts him in the elite bracket of safeties in terms of pay but it seems reasonably safe. Jones has not changed scheme or team and in Miami he was the #1 safety (total points) in 2015 and the #2 safety (points per week) in 2016. Paying premium money for a player is always a risk but Jones would seem to have a good shot of being a top 5 at his position every year, health allowing. The other main moves on defence were reasonably small fry. Amidst a whole host of $1 safeties and corners, Cubberley forked out $3 for TJ Ward. Ward is a solid option, unlikely to trouble the top of the safety rankings but fine to serve as a #2 or #3 to Jones. Kiko Alonso could be a steal at $5 (#22 LB in 2016) although concerns about him being shifted about in Miami’s scheme as well as his ever-present injury problems could just as easily sink him. Mario Addison is a deal similar to Akiem Hicks for the Sadness. A player who seemed to step up from mediocrity last season but whose role in the team for 2017 seems to be the same. Maybe he’ll drop back to obscurity but he just got paid like a starter in Carolina and if he can be a solid DE2 again then it’s a good deal.
Adrian Peterson (FA, RB) – $14, 1 year
Latavius Murray (MIN, RB) – $26, 3 years
Eddy Lacy (SEA, RB) – $18, 3 years
Marshawn Lynch (OAK, RB) – $2, 1 year
Frank Gore (IND, RB) – $9, 1 year
Mike Wallace (BAL, WR) – $10, 2 years
Mohammed Sanu (ATL, WR) – $2, 3 years
Tavon Austin (LAR, WR) – $3, 3 years
Kenny Britt (CLE, WR) – $5, 1 year
Antonio Gates (SDC, TE) – $5, 1 year
Calais Campbell (JAX, DE) – $24, 1 year
Thomas Davis (CAR, LB) – $9, 1 year
Ryan Kerrigan (WAS, LB) – $11, 1 year
DynaHard GM Chris Braithwaite certainly appears to have carried his in-season waiver wire form into the off-season with a large number of players signed. This scattershot approach seems to have largely swept up shit players, old players or shit, old players but if Chris hits on 25% of these tickets then he will be happy enough. Where else to start but with the running backs where Braithwaite’s exasperation with Todd Gurley could not be evidenced more keenly than by giving Eddy Lacy $18. By all accounts even fatter than last season, Lacy goes into a crowded and uncertain Seattle backfield. It’s a lot of money to put on a player with a history of not getting in (or staying in) good shape. $26 Latavius Murray has moved to just about the worst place for a running back in the league and this is a player who was massively touchdown dependent behind one of the best O-lines in the league. I’d also slam the signing of Frank Gore except with Indianapolis, who knows? They’re crying out for a new RB there but then that was the case last season too and they didn’t get one so maybe they’ll go back to the well of Gore one more year. Peterson and Lynch are both much better deals. Although AP doesn’t have a team yet I don’t expect that to last and he should be at least a goal-line back wherever he lands which offers decent value. Lynch was a gamble when Chris signed him (being retired as he was) but all the signs now point to him being at least Oakland’s short-yardage back for the coming season which, even sharing the load with Jalen Richard and Deandre Washington, has value. Just ask Latavius Murray.
DynaHard also added some mediocre to terrible wide receivers to their options too. Tavon Austin hasn’t done it up to this point and doesn’t look like he’s about to start now, Kenny Britt is wince-inducing bye week cover at best and Mohammed Sanu can probably be relied upon for 3 or 4 points most weeks which is something I suppose. Mike Wallace is the only one of the bunch that has much upside but a lot will depend on Baltimore’s draft moves there. Overall I like this bunch a whole lot more than the RBs, mostly because they’re all cheap deals. Yeah, they’re pretty terrible players but if one of them is a usable WR3 then it’s a decent result. Antonio Gates is a move I like better. A cheap deal for a guy who should still end the season as a good TE2 at least. Gates will be solid bye-week and injury cover at least, if not more.
Chris was pretty set on defence, having one of the best units in the league, and his tinkering around the edges here are all decent business. In Arizona Calais Campbell was hit and miss but usually ended the season on the cusp of DE1 at least. In Jacksonville you have to think he’ll play more than two-thirds of the defensive snaps so the floor of his production goes up and hopefully his 30+ point ceiling remains intact. For all that, he did just sign an FA deal with Jacksonville so he’ll probably score about 17 points over the season and spend most of it on the beach. Thomas Davis and Ryan Kerrigan are both good LB pick-ups. They each have LB1 ceilings if they have a good season (though the chances of Davis doing that at his age are diminished) and add good depth to the team.
That’s it for my 2017 free agency review. If you got this far then thanks for reading and if you have any thoughts or comments feel free to post them here on the huddle but please bear in mind I couldn’t give a shit what you think.