NFL Offseason Mailbag: Free Agency Winners and Losers & Bears Offensive Line

Aaron NaglerNFL National Lead WriterApril 12, 2012

Lloyd should see plenty of one-on-one matchups in New England
Lloyd should see plenty of one-on-one matchups in New EnglandDilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

Every week (at least every week there's interest) I'll be conducting a Q&A with you, the dear readers of The Go Route, covering all the latest goings on around the NFL. You can submit your questions to me either via email ( or via Twitter (@Aaron_Nagler).

Let's dive in, shall we? 

From Bryan Brackney: 

For the mailbag: Best FA signing, worst FA signing.

— Bryan Brackney (@bryanbrackney) April 10, 2012

Why does this feel like a test, Bryan?

The obvious answers for "best free agent signing" would be Peyton Manning in Denver and/or Mario Williams in Buffalo. While both those moves generated seemingly never-ending headlines, I'm not sure either one is actually the best signing so far in free agency.

For my money, and for the money the Patriots paid him, I'd have to go with Brandon Lloyd signing in New England. While not generating nearly as much fanfare as the above signings, Lloyd will enable the Patriots to do the types of things they did in 2007, namely tilt the field on a single play.

To be clear, I don't think Lloyd will have a Randy Moss-type season, but the Super Bowl showed how desperate this team is for a wide receiver that can win a one-on-one matchup when all the attention is on Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez. Defenses will have a hard time picking where to focus from play to play. 

As for the worst free agent signing? I could could go a number of ways here, from the Buccaneers overpaying Eric Wright to the Redskins paying Brandon Meriweather anything at all, but for me the worst signing (so far) in free agency has to be the Vikings signing former Seahawks tight end John Carlson.

Not only did they sign him, they signed him right at the beginning of free agency to a five-year, $25 million contract which contained $9.1 million guaranteed, including a $5 million signing bonus. For a guy who didn't play last year. 

I understand the Vikings want to feature more two tight end sets, but vastly overpaying a guy who has been inconsistent as a receiver and who is a poor blocker overall just baffles me. Maybe there's some grand design at work here that will come to light as the 2012 season plays out. For Vikings fans' sake, I hope so.

From Mark Benson via email: 

Are the Bears really going to stand pat with the offensive line? They can't be serious. Cutler and Forte made that offense much more productive than it had any right to be last year considering what they were working with in front of them. Please tell me they draft someone early. 

Well, Mark, it's always hard to predict what a new general manager is going to do in the draft, but I suspect they will look to bolster the line early on. Other than bringing in Anthony Herrera for a visit, the Bears have done nothing in regards to improving the unit (other than letting Frank Omiyale walk, so maybe that's addition by subtraction).

I know the Bears' company line has been that they are satisfied with what they have and that they are content to grow their line from within, which is actually how you want to go about it. But with the talent they have assembled on the offensive side of the ball, it would seem ideal to inject a bit more talent into the line and let that talent "grow" as well.