Reviewing NFL Offseason Moves We've Loved, Hated so Far
The NFL offseason is only half over. The overly scrutinized draft remains, but waiting for that gold mine of endless hyperbole, we decided to break down the moves we loved and hated through the free-agent period.
No team would admit to hating how its offseason has turned out to date. Every signing is the missing link and almost every loss can be explained away as addition by subtraction.
We are not beholden to such lip service.
This 10-part slideshow outlines the moves we loved—we are with Drew Brees in embracing the reality Darrelle Revis is now a New England Patriot—and those we alternately hated. (Sorry, Oakland Raiders fans...and you thought your regular seasons have been bad.)
This debate is a subjective one, so we invite you to spew your hatred in the comments section below. Save the gushy, lovey-dovey stuff for your significant other.
Loved: New England Patriots Sign Cornerback Darrelle Revis
The New England Patriots grew tired of Aqib Talib's postseason disappointments the past two years but knew they needed a cornerback of his ilk. Somehow the Pats allowed him to go and filled the hole he left behind with Darrelle Revis, arguably the best cornerback in the game.
They signed him to similar money for the first season and, here's the kicker, they picked up a third-round compensation pick in the process. So, as NESN's Doug Kyed points out here: "the Patriots basically traded Talib and $2.5 million for Revis and a third-round pick."
We listed Revis as the biggest steal of the offseason here for that remarkable fact. You might not love Bill Belichick and the Pats, but you have to give them props for how this situation played out for them.
Hated: Wide Receiver Eric Decker Signs with the New York Jets
Whether you love or hate the New York Jets' signing of Eric Decker, you have to hate this move from Decker's production standpoint. He leaves the most prolific offense in NFL history with Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning to go to the Jets' annual quarterback disaster.
We suppose Decker could have signed with the worst passing offense in football, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, instead of the second-worst.
Decker likely took the best deal in terms of dollars and will get his pretty face on Manhattan billboards along with his trophy wife, country artist Jessie James Decker, but he might not see 1,200 yards or 10-plus touchdowns again. The Jets haven't gotten those kind of numbers from a wide receiver since the days of Joe Namath and Don Maynard, per Pro-Football-Reference.com.
Most of you reading this weren't even born before the 1970s. You can like aspects of Decker's signing—the Jets needed something at wide receiver—but you have to hate it from his statistical perspective.
Loved: Washington Redskins Sign Wide Receiver DeSean Jackson
The Washington Redskins needed to find some more weapons for franchise quarterback Robert Griffin III, and they scored the best one of this offseason, DeSean Jackson. They also did it at the expense of one of their chief rivals in the NFC East.
This is New England Patriots-like brilliance.
You can side with the Eagles perhaps in believing Jackson is a risk for his alleged gang ties, as The Washington Post's Kent Babb chronicled here, but you have to love the vertical nature Jackson provides for the Redskins and RGIII.
They didn't have to trade a thing to take a 1,300-yard receiver from a division rival and add him to their offense, and the Redskins will pay him less than he would have made from the Eagles, per Spotrac.com.
The Redskins are going to have one really motivated wide receiver next season, especially when he plays the defending division champion Eagles. Few big-ticket offseason additions come in with more motivation after free agency than before it. You have to love that from the Redskins' point of view.
Hated: Minnesota Vikings Sign Defensive End Everson Griffen to Huge Deal
This one isn't about hating defensive end Everson Griffen's career trajectory; it is about paying a defensive end with less than 20 career sacks big-time dollars before he becomes a star...and not having to.
The Minnesota Vikings are justified in allowing veteran sack-master Jared Allen to leave. They need to get younger. They were even right to retain Griffen before he hit free agency. They didn't, however, have to give him a five-year, $42.5 million deal with almost $20 million guaranteed—per OvertheCap.com—before he became a star.
The Vikings could have kept Griffen for far less of a commitment long term and made him earn his money year to year. They gave star dollars to someone that might never be one.
That is the part we hate about this move. The Vikings are paying for lofty, long-term expectations in a league that is moving more to a pay-as-you-go model, as CBS Sports' Jason La Canfora wrote recently.
Loved: Indianapolis Colts Sign Wide Receiver Hakeem Nicks to Prove-It Deal
The Indianapolis Colts are taking a chance on Hakeem Nicks' questionable work ethic and health history, but at a mere $4 million with $2.25 million guaranteed, according to Spotrac.com, this is a risk worth taking. The Colts added a 26-year-old potential game-changer to an offense that was already pretty good.
If Nicks returns to his 1,000-yard, 10-touchdown form, this is going to be the biggest steal of the offseason. The Colts offense is going to be pretty tough to stop, even if he winds up being more bark than bite.
Ignoring Nicks' checkered past with the New York Giants, you have to love his potential to hit it big on his one-year, prove-it deal, playing with an elite downfield passer like Andrew Luck.
Hated: Jacksonville Jaguars Give Running Back Toby Gerhart Top Dollar
You don't get to be a woebegone franchise like the Jacksonville Jaguars without making some head-scratching moves along the way. The latest is the Jags apparently skipping over the memo you don't have to pay top dollar for running backs anymore.
You can find starting running backs in Round 5 of the draft. Instead, the Jags gave career backup Toby Gerhart starter's dollars in free agency this winter.
Former Tennessee Titan Chris Johnson, despite failing to live up to his CJ2K nickname, has managed to surpass 1,000 yards in each of his six NFL seasons. He drew just a two-year, $8 million contract with $3 million guaranteed, per Spotrac.com.
It has taken four full seasons for Gerhart to reach 1,305 career yards and five touchdowns. That earned him three years, $10.5 million and $4.5 million guaranteed. Granted, Johnson wasn't available at the time that deal was offered, but that shouldn't have mattered.
The Jags paid starter's money for a backup running back in a market that gives backup running back money to starters. This is yet another reason the Jags are the Jags.
Loved: Miami Dolphins Get Running Back Knowshon Moreno on Prove-It Deal
The deal the Jacksonville Jaguars gave Toby Gerhart (previous slide) looks worse when you see what the Miami Dolphins paid to get a 26-year-old running back coming off a career year (1,038 yards rushing, 60 receptions, 548 yards receiving and a combined 13 touchdowns).
No matter what you think of Knowshon Moreno or Toby Gerhart for the next year, Moreno is worth more on mere numbers alone.
Moreno might be a mere third-down back for the Dolphins—questionable, considering the competition they have on their roster for him right now—but his addition, coupled with the offensive line upgrades make him more likely to repeat as a 1,000-yard rusher than Gerhart to surpass his career high of 531. Believe that.
The Dolphins got it right. The Jags missed the boat.
Hated: San Diego Chargers Give Running Back Donald Brown Top Dollar
Donald Brown is another case of a part-time running back getting paid like a full-time starter. Why, San Diego? Why?
Sure, Ryan Mathews needs a running mate. But you don't have to pay one of the richest deals in free agency this offseason—three years, $10.5 million with $4 million guaranteed, per OvertheCap.com—for a part-time running back...especially not in this modern-day NFL.
Running backs are found in Round 5, not in the top-tier of free agency. Put the San Diego Chargers front office in the class of the Jacksonville Jaguars in misreading the running back market. You have to hate being lumped in with the Jags for anything.
Loved: New York Jets Add Offensive Weapon in Running Back Chris Johnson
You can hate the New York Jets for a lot of reasons. The addition of Chris Johnson should not be one of them.
Johnson's best days might be behind him at age 28—he will be 29 years old Sept. 23—but the fastest running back in NFL Scouting Combine history, per CBS Sports' John Breech, can still be a game-breaker, especially if the run-heavy Jets manage his touches well.
The running game disappeared at times in Johnson's tenure with the Tennessee Titans. You can bet the Jets and head coach Rex Ryan are going to remain stubborn with it. Even if Chris Ivory splits carries with Johnson 50-50—that might be the best thing to keep the veteran free-agent addition fresh—Johnson is going to bust some huge runs this season.
The Jets needed a home-run hitter in their offense, particularly in the running game they put so much time and energy into. You have to love the fact they found one at an affordable price.
Hated: Oakland Raiders Embarrassed by Failed Physical of Guard Rodger Saffold
We have to admit, the Oakland Raiders were in a no-win situation when they decided to eschew the franchise tag on left tackle Jared Veldheer. What transpired thereafter was an absolute embarrassment of a mess.
The Raiders thought they signed St. Louis Rams combo guard/tackle Rodger Saffold to a five-year, $42.5 million deal, according to NFL insider Adam Schefter. That deal would have trumped the five years and $35 million the Arizona Cardinals gave Veldheer, the arguably superior talent.
Then, the Raiders nixed their Saffold offer on the basis of a failed physical, according to CBS Sports' Jason La Canfora. Finally, the Rams re-signed Saffold, passing him on his physical there, to a five-year, $31,722,233 million deal, per OvertheCap.com.
The turn of events was yet another black eye for the Silver and Black despite general manager Reggie McKenzie's denial of that to the San Francisco Chronicle's Vic Tafur:
No, it really wasn't a setback. ... The setback was the one that got away from us. Losing Veldheer was a blow to me. He didn't want to come back. It wasn't about finances. The kid didn't want to play for the Raiders anymore, and I struggled with that.
Love or hate the Raiders, you have to hate how they were embarrassed this offseason despite having the most salary-cap space going into it. Heck, chalk this one up as the most hated series of bumbled moves.
Eric Mack, one of the giants among fantasy writers, was the Fantasy Football Lead Writer for Bleacher Report this past season. He is now an NFL featured writer here. Follow him on Twitter, where you can ask him endless questions about your team, rip him for his content and even challenge him to a head-to-head fantasy game.
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