NFL Free Agents 2013: Overlooked Signings That Will Have Huge Impact
It's easy to overlook specific NFL free agency signings, because there are only a select number of players that garner constant attention.
And for the most part that also is mostly limited to quarterbacks, running backs and wide receivers.
Given that it's an offensively-dominated league and the flashiest playmakers gain additional exposure when becoming available. But football is a team sport, which significantly inflates the need for every other position.
Whether it's the ability to control the line of scrimmage or an electric defender generating turnovers, guys such as the following need more recognition.
Chicago Bears: Martellus Bennett, TE
According to Michael C. Wright of ESPNChicago.com, the Bears brought in Martellus Bennett on Tuesday:
BEars have agreed in princpal w/Martellus Bennett .— Michael C. Wright (@mikecwright) March 12, 2013
Bennett is a nice pickup for Chicago's offense.
Last season he caught 55 passes for 626 yards and scored five times for the New York Giants. With the size (6'6", 265 pounds) to make plays against tough coverage he'll pay extreme dividends inside the red zone.
After all, the Bears ranked No. 24 in red zone touchdown percentage (50). Factor in Bennett's impact as a run-blocker and the Windy City's displays nice balance. The end result will be efficient ball movement to control the tempo.
San Diego Chargers: Chad Rinehart, Guard
The Chargers needed to bolster the interior offensive line after Louis Vasquez signed with the Denver Broncos, via Mike Garafolo of USA Today:
The Broncos have agreed to terms with OG Louis Vasquez, 4 years, $23.5 million with $13 million fully guaranteed.— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) March 12, 2013
So, the Bolts landed Chad Rinehart from the Buffalo Bills according to Michael Gehlken of the San Diego Union-Tribune:
The team has agreed to a one-year deal worth up to $1.75 million with Chad Rinehart. The guard, who can play on either side, was in Buffalo last season with offensive line coach Joe D'Alessandris and assistant Andrew Dees.
He is recovered from a leg injury last season that led to his placement on injured reserve. The injury did not require surgery.
San Diego ranked No. 27 in rushing offense last year and averaged a mere 3.6 yards per attempt. Rinehart's ability to drive block and chip to the second level will quickly establish running lanes for Ryan Mathews.
At the same time, walling the interior of the pocket will provide Philip Rivers more time to survey defenses. His addition will get the Chargers to work the line of scrimmage better, as sacks and turnovers are cut down.
Indianapolis Colts: Greg Toler, CB
Needing to enhance the coverage the Indianapolis Colts acquired Greg Toler per Will Brinson of CBS Sports on Tuesday:
Colts announce agreement in principle with CB Greg Toler (love it) and OT Gosder Cherilus (meh).— Will Brinson (@willbrinson) March 12, 2013
Ranking No. 21 in pass defense in 2012, the Colts also gave up a 62.4 completion percentage and 23 passing touchdowns. Given that the AFC South is not a pass-heavy division, that's quite a few scores allowed via the air.
Fortunately, Toler comes aboard and provides excellent playmaking skills.
In 2010 he collected 90 tackles, defended nine passes, forced two fumbles and snagged two interceptions: One of which was returned for a touchdown. The downside was missing the entire 2011 campaign due to a torn ACL according to Bob McManaman of the Arizona Republic.
Returning to the field in 2012, Toler proved his talent by making 27 tackles in 11 games, as well as recording two picks and returning one 102 yards for a touchdown.
Include this with the overall talent on the Colts and he'll make even more plays in the AFC.
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