The NFL may have taken a 130-day break, but it’s made up for it over the past 24 hours. Teams have signed players at a pace never before seen, and Thursday looks to be much of the same. It seems like every 10 minutes, news hits the wire describing released players, trades and huge free agent deals. With that said, before moving on to Thursday’s chaos, let’s look at a few of the impact deals from Wednesday:
Sidney Rice to Seattle sounds like a major move, but we’re wondering if Tavaris Jackson has what it takes to utilize Sidney’s skills. If Seattle made an impact move, it was for Oakland guard Robert Gallery. Seattle signed Gallery, the former second round pick, to a three-year deal that will give a young offensive line a very needed veteran presence.
In 2010, Seattle produced only one 100 yard rusher, and that came in the playoffs via Marshawn Lynch’s beast run against the New Orleans Saints. Gallery will be reuniting with former head coach Tom Cable and is expected to immediately start. Gallery doesn’t guarantee a 100-yard rusher every week, but he instantly gives Seattle’s line a needed boost. We’re predicting a legitimate offensive line to mesh by Week 5.
Lynch as a sleeper in fantasy? No, that’s just crazy. Right?
Whether it’s a 3rd and 10, tip toe touchdown, open field shimmy shake or game winning Super Bowl catch, Santonio Holmes is a legit No. 1 wide out that consistently produces in high pressure situations. Apparently, the Jets agree with this sentiment, as they signed Holmes to a five year $50 million dollar deal.
Simply put, Santonio Holmes staying with the Jets is HUGE. Sanchez carries himself like a 10-year vet, but he’s still a young quarterback, and taking away his best target severely hurts his development and the Jets organization as a whole. Why? Who would Sanchez pass to without Holmes? The Jets really don’t have anyone other than Cotchery, and their running game can be sporadic at times. The Jets need a big play maker besides their defensive squad and Holmes is the answer.
Can you make an impact by not making an impact? The Ravens seem to think so. In two days, Baltimore lost Derrick Mason, Willis McGahee, Todd Heap, Kelly Gregg, Donte’Stallworth and corner Josh Wilson. To make matters worse, they still stand to lose corner Chris Carr, and this would leave the Ravens with ZERO starting corners.
I hate to question Ozzie Newsome. I’m a loyal Bama homer, but if you’re Chris Carr, you have major leverage in future negotiations. The Ravens can’t afford for Carr to leave, and they're likely to be over paying if he stays. Unless Cromartie, Asomugha or Johnson signs in the next few days, the Ravens got worse, not better. Two days, and my Super Bowl pick for February 2012 is done.
The Carolina Panthers organization promised their fans that they would be active in free agency, and they stayed true to their word. The Panthers signed their all time leading rusher, DeAngleo Williams, to a five year $21 million guaranteed contract. Many speculated that Williams would leave for greener pastures, but he stuck with the Panthers in the end.
Williams was featured on ESPN after his signing and expressed his decision making process.
“The Panthers took me in the draft after 26 other teams passed me up. They've stuck by me since I was a rookie, and I love being a Panther. We have a good team, and people will be surprised with what we do this season.”
The Panthers will need a strong running game to lean on while Clausen and Cam Newton learn the ins and outs of being an NFL quarterback. Due to injury, Williams missed most of the 2010, and the Panthers never seemed to recover, as they ended the season with a dismal 2-14 record. Signing Williams gives the Panthers some of their old swagger back, as they immediately tout a legitimate running game that opposing defenses will respect. The Panthers aren’t going to the playoffs in 2011, but with Williams running the ball, they immediately become a better team.
Paul Posluszny came out of nowhere and signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars. The linebacker university product signed a six-year deal guaranteeing him $15 million.
So why Jacksonville? Well, when you’re with Buffalo, anywhere else is an upgrade. Plus, Posluszny had a relationship with Jaguars strength coach Luke Richesson and also fits the Jags 4-3 defensive scheme.
The former second round pick is a tackle machine and immediately makes the Jaguars defense better. In 2010, the Jaguars linebackers lacked game changing ability, as the entire line backing squad combined for three forced fumbles and 6.5 sacks. We think Posluszny makes a big impact just by being there.
The Kansas City Chiefs lured away the Arizona Cardinals Steve Breaston by offering a five-year deal. Though Steve Breaston may not strike fear in the hearts of defensive secondaries, he’s an established receiver that has a history with Chiefs head coach Todd Haley.
Think about it. Besides Dwayne Bowe, who did Matt Cassel have to throw to in 2010? Opposing defenses smothered Bowe, and the Chiefs had to lean heavily on their running game. Though they secured a playoff birth in 2010, the Chiefs needed receiving threats to be successful in 2011, and Breaston fits the system perfectly. Breaston knows Chiefs head coach Todd Haley’s offensive system from his days in Arizona, so the learning curve will be minimal. Breaston immediately takes pressure off Dwayne Bowe, as he’s notorious for his 15-20 yard receptions.
Additionally, Breaston gives time for Jonathon Baldwin (Chiefs 2011 first round WR rookie) time to learn Haley’s system. With Jamal Charles, Dwayne Bowe, Steve Breaston, Johnathon Baldwin and Tony Moeaki, the Chiefs QB Matt Cassell should have plenty of passing options in 2011.
Donovan McNabb being traded for two sixth round draft picks is a steal for the Vikings. Minnesota was widely considered to be entering a re-building year, and with McNabb at the helm, a wild card berth isn’t out of the question. The Vikings lost Sidney Rice, but McNabb’s been known to make unknown wide outs look good. With Peterson still in the mix, opposing defenses have to respect the run, and McNabb stands to be the biggest benefactor. Did I mention the Vikings also signed Chicago’s Devin Aromashadu?
St. Louis has been quiet, but their signing of Quintin Mikell is a huge step in the right direction. They desperately needed the former Eagles safety, as my weekend rec team has more depth at the safety position. Mikell is good run support and has a history of 100 tackle seasons. He’ll make an immediate impact for an up and coming team.