The NFL’s frenzied free agency period is already over. Blink and you miss it.
And as we get closer to the project, which is now the singular focus of most front offices, there are teams vying with striking vacancies on their roster. Some teams that have made the playoffs recently may have taken a step back or could prove quite difficult even to stand still. Things are moving fast so far, and with few hard-hitting veterans left, I wouldn’t blame some recent playoff teams for being a little worried about their situation with winter now behind us.
The Steelers were still facing an intimidating 2021 offseason, and their decision to keep Ben roethlisberger, and also JuJu Smith-Schuster, to the detriment of a corner room already in need, carries some potential danger. Pittsburgh is also risking things by going with unproven offensive linemen, and needs an edge presence with Bud dupree faded away.
The Ravens ended 2020 with a lack of top players and impact wide receivers on the roster… and, yes, that continues to stand out now. Arguably the weakest receiver room in the entire NFL, and with Tyus bowser, an aging Calais Campbell and spinning man Pernell McPhee as the best options on paper today, the Ravens couldn’t be faulted for having some concern. Behind the Hollywood surge Brown on the depth chart at WR? Miles boykin, Devin Duvernay, who barely played in attack last season, and Jacques Proché, a healthy scratch. Ouch.
The Patriots have been playing shyly about their shift woes since Tom brady in Tampa, and for all the money they spent improving a horrible group of talented players, going to games with Cam Newton and Jarrett stidham seems less than ideal. Newton has a role to play, but playing 17 games with him could present complications.
The Titans took a step back at the receiver / tight end and throughout high school. The Foals still need a left tackle and passer, and have been quite silent outside of the Carson Wentz trade, which comes with its own possible warts. I like what the brown did in high school, but rushing in high school was and still is a problem. Seattle has always been in the pass rush market, and always should be.
Make no mistake, we are still weeks away from what may seem like a long offseason. There is still plenty of time. But March offers a unique opportunity to tick some boxes and eliminate some issues before jumping into the draft, and a number of NFL teams won’t.
Several pass-rush options remain and could be great deals
There are still options for pass rushers that could make a difference. Kerry Hyder is considered by some teams to be the best option on the market, after a season of 8.5 sacks replacing the injured Nick bosa. On a high rotation he could really shine, and the key for Hyder at this point might be finding the right pattern / coaching. Carlos dunlap started to look like himself once he got out of Cincy and got to Seattle, and while he’s up there he’s still got a lot to tap into.
Melvin ingram has been limited by injury in recent years, scaring some teams, but his pedigree is solid, as is his tendency to become a quarterback. Justin houston had a few teams to follow him and remained effective with the Colts. Jadeveon clowney He is probably someone the teams would like to wait to sign until they have a better idea of his health after another lost season with the Titans, but there will be contenders, like a year ago. (but not at the franchise level).
At least a few of these guys will get their money’s worth in 2021. And some will show the end is nigh. I guess at this hour, next week, most of those veterans are already enumerated. Good hunt.
Golladay’s agreement with giants shocking
Lots of surprise teams who Kenny golladay got his $ 18 million a year on what equates to a two-year guaranteed contract. As in shocked.
With the receiver on the market this weekend and the money pretty much dried up, and only three options – Bear, Giants, Bengals – New York still ended up giving Golladay what he was looking for at the start of this whole process. Hours after the Steelers signed JuJu Smith-Schuster for less than half that amount over a year, a no-frills $ 8 million contract. Strange indeed.
Maybe that will put the Giants on top. And Golladay’s combination of size and speed and explosive yards per take offers revolutionary potential. Should the Giants be able to tap into it. With New York spending very big – in addition to the biggest receiver contract, the Giants also accepted the biggest contract on the defensive end of the ball to keep Leonard Williams – and NFC East still considered the worst division in football, one would think the property is expecting big gains from coach Joe Judge in the second year.
Color me like a skeptic, even though the Giants have secured two of the best players available in this lukewarm free agent class.