A quick look at the state of the nation after the major free agency first round moves have been made from our Irish correspondent and East Flanders Dungeoneers GM, Pete Conaghan
Champions of the Sun
Needs: QB, DT, RB, S
In a gutsy move, the CotS addressed a glaring need at DT by giving up DeSean Jackson for Marcell Dareus. The GM moved swiftly in Free Agency to tie up Repeat Offender – in throwing touchdowns – Ben Rothlisberger, in a strangely uncontested move to get a cheap quality QB.
Top ten TE Delanie Walker was added for minimal guaranteed money, and Buster Skrine should contribute across from Darelle Revis, as one of three cornerbacks signed. $9 for safety Barry Church seems steep, but fills a gap.
Overall grade: A-
Needs: TE, DE, S
If we assume JJ Watt will play both DE positions this coming year, then Dyna Hard looks a strong team with few needs. Just as well, because a Jerry Jones-like approach to cap management means that Dyna Hard were restricted in FA, adding RB (Joe Randle, Lance Dunbar) and LB (Sean Weatherspoon) depth for the league minimum. The expected trade activity has yet to materialise.
Needs: RB, DE
The Bombermen added depth by signing the ageing Cameron Wake at DE, and the San Diego pairing of Oliver and Brown at RB. Long term, the Bombermen have a stable of up and coming young WRs, but perhaps could benefit from a steady veteran with immediate impact, such as Andre Johnson.
Joe Flacco is the latest signing at QB to join the ranks of the Failed, Fickle and Flimsy (Hoyer, Manziel and RGIII) and should slot in as a reliable backup to Matt Ryan.
Needs: DE, LB, Secondary
The reigning Champions have a high powered offense and a mediocre defense, and a quiet free agency indicates that coach Hawke is comfortable with that (or else forgot about Free Agency).
Replacement-level replacements have been signed for the secondary, though it’s not unreasonable to see up-years for Antonio Cromartie and Devin McCourty after quiet 2014s.
Needs: DT, Depth
In what could mistakenly be seen as a win-now roster, in which Peter Manning overshadows the team like an Easter Island Head, the Losers identified Punter and Kicker as their positions of need, signing Marquette King and Stephen Gostkowski for over the minimum. That could be significant.
The remaining need, DT, may be filled by last year’s youngsters, but surely the selection of Leonard Williams in the first round of the draft is imminent.
East Flanders Dungeoneers
East Flanders moved to address an offensive situation where they were forced to play two tight ends in every game last year, by signing Justin Forsett on a major 2-year deal. Frank Gore and Danny Woodhead join Forsett in an veteran (old) RB cadre which is hoping to produce for one more year.
DeAndre Levy was the only other significant signing, and should bolster a D where four weakish linebackers were played in most games in 2014.
Here Come the Brees
Needs: RB, WR, TE, DE, LB
The WR group took an immediate upgrade with the addition of DeSean Jackson via trade, and adding Pernell McPhee and Nigel Bradham should bolster the linebackers, but more needs to be done in the draft by The Brees management.
Owen Daniels at TE should provide an immediate ROI, but it is curious that a team with such a lot of cap space didn’t make any major moves in FA. Obviously the management team believe in being prudent and building through the draft. Will the fans be happy though?
The 4th Dynmension: Dynasty of Sadness
Needs: RB, TE, DL
Stack ‘em high, buy ‘em cheap is the offseason mantra of the Sadness, whose main intention seems to have been to add camp bodies in advance of the terrible toll exacted by injuries in the coming months. Who would be an NFL starter?
The 4th Dynmension added 21 journeymen, plus Darrelle Revis and Brandon LaFell. With a high pick in the draft, the Sadness will be looking to add quality over quantity. It remains to be seen whether they will draft for need, or go BPA.
Needs: RB, TE, DT, LB
Cap restrictions made sure of a quiet free agency for Los Hermanos Tamworth, who mostly signed cheap depth players at positions of need. The exception was a $15 contract for Johnathon Stewart, who is the feature back in Carolina at long last, if he can stay healthy. Fred Jackson provides depth.
Rolando McClain comes back and the Two are hoping Jon Bostic will thrive in Chicago’s new 3-4 scheme. DE is still a worry and may be addressed in the draft.
Kelkowski Don’t Play By No Dyna Rules
Needs: TE, DT, LB
Dangerous mavericks Kelkowski bid early and often, and seemingly on every single viable Free Agent. They seem to have actually added more players than the Sadness.
Major proponents of the Chip Kelly School, they’ve followed his lead in signing Sam Bradford, albeit to a much more favourable deal. This may indicate a lack of faith in their current backup to the undroppable Kaep, Tony Romo, for whom age and injury could be catching up. A Kaep-Bradford 1-2 has the league salivating.
The TE situation has been ‘addressed’ by signing 6 of them, and RB Denard Robinson has been added for depth purposes.