Of course, while I was writing my last article, the news broke that Jake Long signed with the Rams, so now (with the exceptions of Nnamdi Asomugha, Osi Umenyiora, and restricted free agent Victor Cruz), most of the famous free agents have been signed by someone. I'm going to include the trades of Aquan Boldin and Percy Harvin in this article breaking down these deals. Don't be surprised if I start gushing about a certain player or a certain team.
Percy Harvin, WR Seattle Seahawks (Traded for 1st Round Pick, signed 6 Years/$67 million)- This is an amazing move by the Seahawks, trading a late first rounder for arguably the most athletic player in the NFL. Prior to his injury, Harvin was in discussion for MVP of the league because of his versatility. He is obviously a very skilled wide receiver, but he also played running back, wildcat quarterback, and returned kicks. It seems like he never had a very good relationship with the Vikings franchise, so they needed to get rid of him. This move allows him to join forces with former Viking teammate Sidney Rice, who is a pretty good #2 receiver down the field, and the poor-man's Harvin, Golden Tate.With the acquisition of Harvin, I officially see no holes on the Seattle Seahawks. They are the best team in football. Russell Wilson and his deep ball now has a star wideout to throw to, they're strong at running back and on the offensive and defensive lines. The linebackers are solid and it's almost impossible to throw on that secondary. Harvin's special teams allowed them to cut Leon Washington. The only thing is that they don't have a kicker as of yet, Steve Hauschka is still a free agent.
Anquan Boldin, WR San Francisco 49ers (Traded for 6th Round Pick)- The Ravens had to get rid of Boldin, so this trade was their best option. Michael Crabtree seemed to have developed into the dual threat receiver that people thought he could be. Boldin's physicality allows my boy Colin F'ing Kaepernick to throw the ball in his general area, and Boldin will go up and get it. Mario Manningham will now be able to move to his natural position as a slot receiver. Offensively there are so many weapons, when you include the running back duo of Lamichael James and Frank Gore, Colin F'ing Kaepernick, and Vernon Davis. I feel that the Niners are the second best team in football. The defense is still great and they have an elite coach.
Paul Kruger, OLB/DE Cleveland Browns (5 Years/$40 million)- Continuing with the theme of the "Raven Exodus" (which, by the way is brilliant on the part of Ozzie Newsome. He knows that his team couldn't win another Super Bowl. They weren't consistent enough to continue their streak of great play. Let them go, and rebuild), the edge rusher Kruger went to the Browns for a pretty good amount of money. In fact, I think that Cleveland overpaid for him, but it was necessary. Racking up nine sacks and countless times pressuring the QB last year, Kruger is quite the pass rusher. That's what the Browns need and they had to pay a little bit extra for it. I'm fine with this one. Overall, the Browns had 19.5 sacks, so Kruger's production will be a welcome addition.
Dannell Ellerbe, MLB Miami Dolphins (5 Years/$35 million)- The Ravens reportedly made it a priority to re-sign Ellerbe. Well, that didn't work! Ellerbe is a very talented and athletic player who could potentially be a steal at this price. He's a young, all-around linebacker, as shown by his 89 total tackles and 4.5 sacks last year. The more I look at all the facts, the more I love this deal by the Dolphins.
Mike Wallace, WR Miami Dolphins (5 Years/$65 million)- This is one contract that I absolutely hate. My feelings for Mike Wallace are much like my feelings for Chris Johnson; both guys are simply fast and while it's impossible to teach speed, they're not very good at their respective positions.Wallace isn't a very good route runner and as everyone saw last year wasn't able to do anything without Ben Roethlisberger. Now to be fair, Ryan Tannehill is better than Chuckie Batch or Bryon Leftwich, but he's no stud either. All things considered, this is way too much money being paid to a guy who in my mind hasn't proven himself to be a top wide receiver.
Dashon Goldson, FS Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5 Years/$41.25 million)- Goldson is well known for his big hits, but he isn't very good in coverage (as seen here, getting torched by JULIO! Jones). Goldson is a playmaker, but throughout a game, he can make a lot of mistakes. Also, he was mediocre up until 2011 when defensive coordinator Vic Fangio came to San Fran. This could signal that he's simply a system player. All in all, I think he got paid too much and the Niners shouldn't be too sad that he's out of town.
Wes Welker, WR Denver Broncos (2 Years/$12 million)- I love this move for the Broncos, who have now become the third best team in the league. This is a bargain for such a productive receiver, and while he's old, so is Peyton Manning. Denver is going for it in the last two years of the G.O.A.T's contract and most likely the last two years of his career. I don't think that Eric Decker is particularly good, but the Welker signing allows him to be the third option despite Welker working out of the slot as usual. Demaryius Thomas and Welker form a monstrous duo, complimenting each other perfectly. Thomas is a classic deep threat: he has a lot of size and he's very fast. Welker is a possession receiver as everyone knows, and Peyton Manning loves to spread the ball around on short, quick passes. I mean, he's made Brandon Stokley relevant.
Danny Amendola, WR New England Patriots (5 Years/$31 million)- An even better signing, Amendola is a younger and faster version of Wes Welker. They even went to the same college: Texas Tech. The part that worries people is of course his injury history. To be fair to him, he was hurt in freak accidents. In 2011 he dislocated his elbow and last year his dislocated clavicle went into his body instead of out, threatening his life. These random incidents probably aren't going to occur again, so I wouldn't freak out too much if I were a Patriots fan.
Steven Jackson (oops, wrong sport), RB Atlanta Falcons (3 Years/$12 million)- Jackson is a major upgrade over Michael Turner, who looked awful last year. Jackson is obviously getting up there in age, and he'll start the year at the age of 30. As everyone knows, 30 is the notorious running back wall. Jackson has always been productive, both running the ball and receiving it. I mean, Michael Turner had a decent season, and like I said, Jackson is better.
Greg Jennings, WR Minnesota Vikings (5 Years/$47.5 million)- Awful decision by Jennings to choose to play with Christian Ponder. Oh, I forgot, Matt Cassel might come in to save the day. I think Jennings has always been slightly overrated, but he's still a very good and productive player. He's the savior of what is aan otherwise atrocious position group: Jerome Simpson, Jarius Wright, Michael Jenkins, Stephen Burton, and Devin Aromashodu. Yeah, not good. Considering what Harvin got from the Seahawks, Jennings is worth about this much. It was necessary for them to offer this to him, I just don't know why he ever would have signed that contract.
Jake Long, OT St. Louis Rams (4 Years/$34 million)- I think Long was overpaid, but it filled a great need for the Rams. Long was the best tackle at the beginning of his career, but recently hasn't played as well. and has had to deal with injuries. The could pay off ridiculously well, but could also be a complete failure. We'll see.