NFL Free Agents 2011: 7 Best Moves for Players Changing Uniforms
The offseason is finally settling down and most teams know what they have heading into the first preseason games.
Barring pickups after the final roster cuts are made most of the offseason moves have been made and each team can be graded on their offseason activity so far. Certain moves have stood out above the rest though.
There is reasoning that the best moves are the ones in which you retain your own talent. If this were the case the Carolina Panthers would be all over this list. After resigning DeAngelo Williams, James Anderson and Charles Johnson, the Panthers signed a ton of young talent to big contracts.
This is about the players who will be playing in different cities though. Which moves not only included big names but made perfect sense for the players and the teams? It's the offseason so everyone thinks their are winner right now, but only a few teams actually are.
7. Ray Edwards, Atlanta Falcons
The Falcons seem to be going all-in this year. After trading away most of their draft for a legitimate threat to go with Roddy White, the Falcons felt the needed a pass rusher to shore up the defense.
The Falcons and Vikings to two very different paths in free agency. The Falcons mostly re-signed players they already had with making a few addition (including an overpriced punter) then made one big splash with Ray Edwards.
The Vikings decided to let anyone who had made any kind of name for themselves leave including Sidney Rice.
This led to the most inevitable signing of the offseason, Ray Edwards to the Falcons. Maybe it wasn't unexpected but the Falcons defense just got a whole lot better with another true pass rusher across from John Abraham
6. Greg Olsen, Carolina Panthers
This moves isn't sexy and Greg Olsen has been far from setting the world on fire but the Panthers needed an upgrade at tight end this offseason and got one.
With Dante Rosario and Jeff King leaving via free agency the Panthers were left with Jeremy Shockey, Gary Barnidge and Ben Hartstock and two undrafted rookies. While that might pass if this were five years ago, Shockey isn't what he once was and teams with rookie quarterbacks can always use a good tight end as a checkdown receiver.
Olsen is described as having sure hands. His former University of Miami and now current Carolina Panthers teammate Jon Beason said it best, "I’ve known Olsen for a long time and I’ve seen him go a whole spring or a whole summer camp without dropping a single ball. He’s incredibly consistent.’’
For a team that relied so heavily on the running game for the better part of it's history, the Panthers seem determined to change their ways this season. Olsen will certainly help.
5. Paul Pozluszny, Jacksonville Jaguars
The Jaguars were a paltry 32nd against the pass and 28th overall in defense last season. Posluszny will not solve all those problems, especially with the pass defense but he should stop the hemorrhaging of points that the Jaguars allowed last season.
Posluszny hardly ever gets his hands on the ball when it's through the air but his ability to make his way to the ball will make him valued in Jacksonville. Under the guidance of Head Coach Jack Del Rio, Posluszny should see his game elevate even further.
Posluszny already had the linebackers pedigree coming from Penn State. Having some solid defensive players surrounding him this year should only make his effect on the game even more widespread.
In addition to Posluszny, the Jaguars signed Clint Sessions and Dawan Landry who should help solidify the Jaguars defense which already boast Tyson Alualu, Aaron Kampman and Rashean Mathis.
The Jaguars should see far less points scored against them with Posluszny leading the teams defense this season.
4. Le' Ron McClain, Kansas City Chiefs
Yes, a Pro Bowl full back is one of the best additions of the offseason. Le' Ron McClain was a key to the Ravens running game and will add the same bonus to the Chiefs running game.
Jamaal Charles is a slasher who findshisway between blockers with his explosive speed. With an added blocker, Charles will continue to thrive.
With Charles taking a large share of the carries from here on out, McClain will act as an extra offensive lineman making holes for Charles.
McClain is also valuable as a goal line back. His ability to punch it in was no more apparent than in 2008 where he had10 touchdowns. This might be the biggest fullback addition ever.
3. Johnathan Joseph, Houton Texans
The Texans needed a cornerback. Johnathan Joseph needed a change of scenery and money. This was a marriage made in heaven. There were three cornerbacks that teams were trying to get this offseason, Joseph, Nnamdi Asomugha and Antonio Cromartie.
The Texans realized the Asomugha market was going to be tight so they chose to go in another direction. Joseph is a very good consolation prize.
Joseph only had one true breakout season in 2009 where he had six interception and 20 passes defensed but he missed four games last season and still put up considerable numbers. Teaming with Leon Hall, Joseph and Hall created one of the best corner tandems in the league.
In Houston, Joseph won't be surrounded by quite as much secondary talent but should be a big improvement over what the Texans had on their roster last year. Joseph will likely shut down one third of the field for the Texans as team will be less likely to throw his way allowing the Texans to focus one the middle and opposite sides of the field.
2. Nnamdi Asomugha, Philadelphia Eagles
Second best move for a player changing teams?
Asomugha is one of the two true elite cornerbacks in the NFL and it drops off significantly after that. Depending on what the Eagles do with their loaded secondary, Asomugha will start beside either Dominigue Rodgers-Cromartie or Asante Samuel, not a bad spot to be in.
As part of the vaunted "Dream Team", Asomugha joins an already loaded defense with fellow newcomer Rodgers-Cromartie, Jason Babin and Cullen Jenkins joining Trent Cole, Nate Allen, Mike Patterson and rookie Casey Matthews.
Asomugha does not have elite stats anymore because no one ever throws his way. With this Eagles defense being as stacked as it is, teams might not have a choice and that can only mean good things for Eagles fans.
1. Chad Ochocinco, New England Patriots
Sure, this is one of the more unexpected moves of the offseason but this will likely pay huge dividends for Tom Brady, the Patriots and Ochocinco.
Caught in the black hole that is the Cincinnati Bengals, Ochocinco really had no choice but to act out to garner attention. His antics were seen as juvenile and distracting but with proper guidance and a reason to stay focused, Ochocinco could end up back on track to being a Pro Bowler.
The Patriots seemed to have gone all in this season on the veterans, bringing in not only Ochocinco but also Albert Haynesworth, Shaun Ellis and Andre Carter. These are all big name players who have been at the top of their respective positions at one point or another. This isn't really the way the Patriots normally do things.
With a top flight quarterback, Wes Welker and two rising young tight ends, the Patriots passing game is again reloaded and ready to set records. Ochocinco isn't Randy Moss in his prime, but with a renewed focus and respect for his coach and quarterback, Ochocinco might be the best reclamation project Coach Belichick has ever pulled off.