Daily 2021 NFL Free-Agent Signings, Trades Grades for Start of New League Year

Gary Davenport@@IDPSharksNFL AnalystMarch 17, 2021

Daily 2021 NFL Free-Agent Signings, Trades Grades for Start of New League Year

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    Tony Avelar/Associated Press

    The 2021 NFL league year is finally here.

    The week has already seen a flurry of activity as dozens of players agreed to sign lucrative new contracts and/or switch teams. But as of 4 p.m. Eastern Time on Wednesday, pen can finally be put to paper. Deals can truly become official.

    And free agency will well and truly be on.

    Since the legal tampering period began Monday and continued through Tuesday, the NFL writers here at Bleacher Report have offered grades for all the reported transactions.

    The first official day of free agency is no different. So whether it's the San Francisco 49ers bolstering the offensive line, the Las Vegas Raiders looking to address their wide receiver corps or the Detroit Lions continuing their offseason overhaul, here's an assessment of Wednesday's signings, re-signings and trades—starting with a deal that made one fortunate vet the highest-paid player at his position in league history.

New England Patriots Sign OLB Kyle Van Noy

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    Doug Murray/Associated Press

    Terms: Two years, $13.2 million

    If I didn't know better, I'd think Darth Hoodie planned this one all along.

    One year ago, the New England Patriots watched outside linebacker Kyle Van Noy bolt for a big contract with the Miami Dolphins—a move that earned the Pats a fourth-round compensatory pick in the 2021 draft.

    Now, after one disappointing season in Miami led to Van Noy's release, he's back with the Patriots on a two-year deal that could pay the 29-year-old up to $13.2 million over the next two campaigns.

    Van Noy had the best seasons of his seven-year pro career with the Patriots. Two years ago, he amassed a career-high 6.5 sacks. The year before that, it was a career-best 92 stops with 3.5 sacks.

    There isn't a team in the NFL that has done more to re-tool the roster on both sides of the ball in free agency than the Patriots.

    Apparently, Bill Belichick hates losing even more than we thought.

    Grade: B

Cincinnati Bengals Sign DT Larry Ogunjobi

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    Bill Kostroun/Associated Press

    Terms: One year, amount undisclosed

    The Cincinnati Bengals already spent big money on a replacement for the departed Carl Lawson, signing Trey Hendrickson to rush the passer opposite Sam Hubbard.

    On Wednesday, they took steps to address the uncertainty in the middle of the defensive line.

    After amassing 5.5 sacks in both 2018 and 2019, Larry Ogunjobi saw his sack production drop to 2.5 in Cleveland's run to the playoffs a year ago. With that said, the 26-year-old remains a stout run defender who has topped 45 total tackles in each of the past three seasons.

    Assuming this one-year deal isn't for a ton of cabbage, it's a good move for a Bengals team still mulling the future of longtime three-technique Geno Atkins. Atkins has been mentioned in trade talks of late, and with his apparent replacement now on the roster, those talks will likely either heat up or fizzle out—and the latter could be followed by the veteran's release.

    At least the 6'3, 305-pounder won't have to move his stuff too far—just a few hours down I-71.

    Grade: B

Minnesota Vikings Sign CB Patrick Peterson

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    Kyusung Gong/Associated Press

    Minnesota Vikings Sign CB Patrick Peterson

    Terms: One year, $10 million

    The Minnesota Vikings had all kinds of problems defensively in 2020, especially against the pass. Now they are hoping a grizzled veteran can help whip that secondary into shape in 2021.

    There was a time when Patrick Peterson was arguably the best cornerback in the NFL. The 30-year-old made the Pro Bowl in each of his first eight seasons. That's no longer the case. In each of the past two seasons, he has allowed over 65 percent of the passes thrown in his direction to be completed with a passer rating against of nearly 100.

    But the Vikings hedged their bets with the 11th-year veteran by inking him to a one-year deal. And given the sort of money cornerbacks like William Jackson III have gotten in free agency this year, $10 million isn't outrageous for a player with Peterson's resume.

    He'll also be the team's best cover man the moment he steps off the plane in the Twin Cities.

    Grade: B+

Washington Football Team Signs WR Curtis Samuel

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    Brian Blanco/Associated Press

    Terms: Three years, $34.5 million

    A couple of days ago, the Washington Football Team answered their question at quarterback by signing veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick.

    Now Washington has spent big money to upgrade the passing-game weaponry at Fitzpatrick's disposal.

    At just 5'11", Curtis Samuel isn't a prototypical outside receiver. The former Ohio State star has never had even 900 receiving yards in a season. But the converted running back is a versatile chess piece who can play in the slot and out of the backfield, and he is a threat to score any time he touches the ball. He’s coming off a career season in which he topped 1,000 total yards and scored five touchdowns.

    Samuel has familiarity with Ron Rivera from their time together in Carolina. He offers a skill set that should mesh well with Terry McLaurin's speed and Logan Thomas' size.

    And even if you believe this is a slight overpay, it's a safe bet that Fitzpatrick is smiling through his beard Wednesday evening.

    Grade: B+

Seattle Seahawks Sign TE Gerald Everett

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    Kyusung Gong/Associated Press

    Terms: One year, $6 million

    The Seattle Seahawks have been relatively quiet so far in free agency, but they made a move Wednesday to add another weapon for Russell Wilson. (Stop it. He isn't being traded.)

    That said weapon came from the rival Los Angeles Rams is just gravy.

    Over his four seasons in Los Angeles, Gerald Everett never lit up the stat sheet—at least not consistently. His career high in catches (41) was set this past year, and he has yet to record even 425 receiving yards in a season.

    But Everett has also been the fourth option (at best) in the passing game his entire career, and when he has been afforded targets, the 26-year-old has shown to be a sure-handed receiver and capable red-zone threat.

    Everett has also been durable with just three missed games in four seasons. That no doubt appealed to a Seahawks team that has had all kinds of injury issues at tight end in recent years.

    Grade: B+

Las Vegas Raiders Trade OG Gabe Jackson to Seattle Seahawks

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    Ron Schwane/Associated Press

    Terms: Raiders get 2021 fifth-round pick; Seahawks get OG Gabe Jackson

    Unless you have been living in a cave for the past few months, you know Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson wasn't shy about voicing his displeasure with the play of the team's offensive line. Those statements got the ball rolling on the trade speculation that has swirled around the star quarterback ever since.

    Well, the Seahawks finally got around to doing something about that leaky line.

    Back in 2017, Gabe Jackson inked a five-year, $56 million extension with the Raiders. But even though he didn’t allow a sack in 1,062 snaps last year, Las Vegas was reportedly ready to release the 29-year-old in an effort to (ostensibly) clear cap space.

    Instead, the Raiders were at least able to get a Day 3 pick for Jackson, while the Seahawks were able to secure the kind of offensive line upgrade that would have been that much more expensive had they signed Jackson off the street.

    Joe Thuney just got $16 million per season from the Kansas City Chiefs, and he's not markedly better than Jackson is.

    Grade: A (Seahawks); C+ (Raiders)

Las Vegas Raiders Sign DL Solomon Thomas

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    Jack Dempsey/Associated Press

    Terms: One year, $5 million

    Back in 2017, the general consensus was that Solomon Thomas was going to be a star. No one really blinked when the San Francisco 49ers used the third overall pick of the 2017 draft on the former Stanford standout.

    Yeah. About that.

    Thomas' four-year tenure in the Bay Area was a disaster. Over those four seasons, he managed just six sacks. His playing time diminished each and every year. And in 2020, he made it just two games before tearing his ACL.

    However, for all that's gone wrong for Thomas to date, this was still a good move for a Raiders team that is (once again) taking a buzzsaw to the defensive line. There's a reason Thomas was a top-five pick, and the 6'2", 280-pounder is still just 25 years old.

    Thomas gets a change of scenery and a fresh start. The Raiders get a (potentially) talented young defensive lineman capable of playing end and tackle.

    As fliers go, it's a good one.

    Grade: A-

Carolina Panthers Sign Edge Haason Reddick

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    Ross D. Franklin/Associated Press

    Terms: One year, $8 million ($6 million guaranteed)

    The Carolina Panthers aren't playing around where fixing their floundering defense is concerned.

    On the same day they looked to add athleticism at linebacker with the Denzel Perryman signing, they also made an effort to bolster the pass-rush by inking former Arizona Cardinals edge-rusher Haason Reddick to a one-year deal that includes $6 million in guarantees.

    After he spent three less-than-impressive campaigns as an off-ball linebacker, the Redbirds moved Reddick to the edge last year once Chandler Jones was lost for the season. The 2017 first-round pick responded with easily the best season of his career, producing 63 total tackles and 12.5 sacks.

    This is a signing that's hard to find fault with. 

    Yes, Reddick had never before sniffed the sort of success he had in 2020, and five of his sacks came in one game against the New York Giants. But the one-year deal is a solid insurance policy against last year's big numbers being a fluke.

    Given that, this acquisition comes up aces. Now all the Panthers need is a quarterback.

    Grade: A-

Carolina Panthers Sign LB Denzel Perryman

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    Peter Joneleit/Associated Press

    Terms: Two years, amount undisclosed

    When Luke Kuechly retired after the 2019 season, it left a massive hole in the middle of the Carolina Panthers defense—a hole the team has struggled to fill.

    If at first you don't succeed, try, try again.

    Former Chargers linebacker Denzel Perryman appeared to be an impact player in the making as a rookie in 2015. He made nine starts and logged a career-high 73 tackles, adding a pair of sacks and a forced fumble.

    Injuries have been a major issue since then. Perryman has missed 27 games over six seasons in the pros, including three games in 2020.

    Given that lengthy injury history, it's unlikely the financial commitment in this contract is significant. It's also far from certain Perryman can stay on the field and replace the eminently disappointing Tahir Whitehead at "Mike" linebacker.

    But the Panthers had to do something at the position, and Perryman's athleticism is worth a flier.

    Grade: B-

Las Vegas Raiders Trade C Rodney Hudson to Arizona Cardinals

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    Jeff Bottari/Associated Press

    Terms: Cardinals get C Rodney Hudson, 2021 seventh-round pick; Raiders get 2021 third-round pick

    The Arizona Cardinals are all-in on 2021.

    Raider Nation was stunned Wednesday morning by news from Rapoport (h/t Michael David Smith of ProFootballTalk) that the team was planning to release veteran center Rodney Hudson. As it turns out, Las Vegas went another direction—although Hudson is still headed out of town.

    In dealing the 31-year-old Hudson (and a seventh-rounder in the 2021 draft) to the Cardinals for a third-round pick in April's draft, the Raiders are getting something in return for losing the three-time Pro Bowler.

    It's an even better deal for the Redbirds, who have been one of the league's more aggressive teams this offseason. Hudson may not be the player he once was, but the 10-year veteran is a significant upgrade over Mason Cole in the middle of Arizona's offensive line.

    Kyler Murray approves.

    Grade: A- (Cardinals); B- (Raiders)

Tennessee Titans Re-Sign ILB Jayon Brown

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    Nick Wass/Associated Press

    Terms: One year, $5.3 million

    With the 2021 salary cap down nearly $16 million from the year before, veteran players may be forced to accept short-term deals in free agency—especially if those players are coming off injury-marred seasons.

    That's the case with inside linebacker Jayon Brown. In 2019, Brown was a three-down starter for the Tennessee Titans who logged a career-high 105 total tackles. But after an elbow injury cut his 2020 season short, Brown appears willing to gamble on a 2021 rebound after settling for a one-year, $5.3 million deal to remain in Nashville.

    Provided that Brown's balky elbow is healed, this is an easy deal to like for the Titans. Prior to the injury, he was an above-average inside linebacker who tallied six sacks in 2018 and posted a passer rating against under 80 in both 2018 and 2019.

    Getting a player like that below market value who knows the defensive scheme is how free agency is "won."

    Grade: A-

New England Patriots Sign OG/C Ted Karras

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    Brett Carlsen/Associated Press

    Terms: One year, $4 million

    There hasn't been a more active team in free agency in 2021 than the New England Patriots, who have agreed to sign approximately everyone. But it hasn't all been good news. Guard Joe Thuney is leaving for a massive deal with the Kansas City Chiefs, and center David Andrews could depart as well.

    The Patriots made an effort to fill that void along the offensive line Wednesday.

    Five-year pro Ted Karras spent the first four years of his career in New England, including 15 starts for the team in 2019 while Andrews was sidelined by blood clots in his lungs. After one year in Miami, Karras is back with the Pats after agreeing to a one-year, $4 million pact.

    Karras isn't the caliber of player that Thuney or Andrews is. But he's a decent interior lineman capable of playing both guard and center who allowed two sacks in1,068 snaps with the Dolphins in 2020.

    Inking even an average starter up front for less than $5 million is a good get for Darth Hoodie—and a continuation of New England's roll since free agency opened.

    Grade: B+

Miami Dolphins Sign DL Adam Butler

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    Winslow Townson/Associated Press

    Terms: Two years, $9.5 million

    Coaches from the Bill Belichick tree have long been known to poach free agents from the Pats. Brian Flores of the Dolphins has been no exception. In 2020, Miami doled out substantial cash to ink outside linebacker Kyle Van Noy and brought in linebacker Elandon Roberts.

    Van Noy lasted just one year in Miami, but Flores is back at it in 2021.

    No one is going to confuse defensive tackle Adam Butler with Aaron Donald—the 26-year-old has only started 12 games over four NFL seasons. But the 6'5", 300-pounder can play end in a three-man front and tackle in the nickel, and over the past two seasons he was on the field for 47 percent of the Patriots' defensive snaps, averaging 30 total tackles and five sacks over that span.

    The size of this pact indicates Miami thinks Butler can be more than a rotational player. If that proves to be the case, this signing will look that much better.

    As is, it's a reasonable addition at a position where a team can't have too much depth.

    Grade: B

Arizona Cardinals Sign WR A.J. Green

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    Aaron Doster/Associated Press

    Terms: One year, $6 million


    Few things are more difficult for fans than when a franchise legend leaves in free agency—even if that player has shown he is well past his prime.

    That makes this a dark day in the Queen City.

    After a decade in Cincinnati that included six 1,000-yard seasons and seven trips to the Pro Bowl, veteran wide receiver A.J. Green has agreed to a one-year, $6 million pact to join the Arizona Cardinals. Incentives could push the deal to $8 million.

    Under Kliff Kingsbury, the Cardinals use as many sets with three and four wide receivers as any team in the NFL. And with Larry Fitzgerald a free agent, the Redbirds have a hole to fill at wide receiver.

    But Green's 2020 season in Cincinnati was inarguably the worst of his career. He caught 47 of 104 targets, averaged a career-low 11.1 yards a catch and scored just two touchdowns.

    Other wideouts on the market would have been a better use of Arizona's dwindling salary-cap resources than gambling that Green has one more big year left in the tank.


    Grade: C-

San Francisco 49ers Re-Sign OT Trent Williams

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    Rick Scuteri/Associated Press

    Terms: Six years, $138 million ($55.1 million guaranteed)


    Wednesday's signings started off with a whopper.

    It was no secret the San Francisco 49ers wanted to retain the services of veteran tackle Trent Williams. Nor was it surprising. In his first season in the Bay Area last year, Williams advanced to his eighth Pro Bowl.

    It was also no secret that demand for Williams' services would be high. ESPN's Kevin Seifert listed him as not only the top free-agent lineman but also the No. 1 free agent overall.

    Add those factors together, and you have the recipe for a massive deal. Sure enough, Williams' new pact didn't disappoint. He received a staggering $55.1 million in guarantees and is the highest-paid O-lineman in league history.

    The 49ers can't be faulted for wanting to keep arguably the league's best blindside protector in the fold. And this is a situation where the robust free-agent market for competent blockers drives up the asking price.

    But $55 million in guarantees and $23 million a season is a lot to pay someone who hasn't made it through a 16-game season since 2013 and who turns 33 in July.


    Grade: B

San Francisco 49ers Sign C Alex Mack

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    Danny Karnik/Associated Press

    Terms: Undisclosed


    The 49ers weren't done bolstering the offensive line after re-upping tackle Trent Williams. Per ESPN's Dianna Russini, Williams indicated the team had procured a replacement for veteran center Weston Richburg, who is expected to retire.

    Alex Mack has been around the proverbial block a few times. The 2021 season will mark his 13th year in the NFL, and the 49ers will be the 35-year-old's third team. Age has also taken its toll on the six-time Pro Bowler. He missed a pair of games last year and hasn't earned Pro Bowl honors since 2018.

    But Mack is still an above-average lineman. In 633 pass-blocking snaps last season, he allowed a single sack.

    Without knowing the terms of this contract, it's difficult to pass final judgment. But assuming it's not a gonzo deal (the Niners can't afford one of those anyway), a reunion with Kyle Shanahan in San Fran is a good move for both player and team.


    Grade: B

Las Vegas Raiders Sign WR John Brown

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    John Munson/Associated Press

    Terms: One year, $3.75 million


    The Las Vegas Raiders headed into the first day of the new league year with a significant hole at wide receiver. They released Tyrell Williams last month, and Nelson Agholor agreed to ink a contract with the New England Patriots.

    The Raiders have addressed that need—to an extent.

    In seven seasons with the Arizona Cardinals, Baltimore Ravens and Buffalo Bills, John Brown has shown the potential to be a productive pass-catcher and dangerous downfield threat. He has averaged 14.8 yards per reception, scored 31 career touchdowns and posted two 1,000-yard seasons—including as recently as 2019.

    But with Stefon Diggs in Buffalo last season and injuries limiting Brown to nine games, he amassed his fewest catches (33) and receiving yards (458) since 2017.

    Assuming those injuries are behind him, this is a reasonable contract for a capable veteran receiver who turns 31 next month. But unless the Raiders aren't done at the position, the team will be in a similar boat at wideout as it was in 2020:

    Lacking a true No. 1.


    Grade: B-

Los Angeles Rams Trade DL Michael Brockers to Detroit Lions

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    Stephen Brashear/Associated Press

    Terms: Lions get DL Michael Brockers; Rams get 2023 Round 7 pick


    The Los Angeles Rams and Detroit Lions have already played Let's Make a Deal once this offseason, swinging the megadeal that landed Matthew Stafford in La La Land and Jared Goff in the Motor City.

    The two teams made another trade Wednesday, and while it wasn't nearly of the scope of the quarterback swap, it was still a great deal.

    For one team, anyway.

    Michael Brockers has never lived up to being the 14th overall pick in the 2012 draft. But over nine seasons with the Rams, he has developed into a good run defender and capable pass-rusher who has topped 50 total tackles each of the past four seasons and who rolled up five sacks in 2020.

    The Lions need all the help on defense they can get—especially up front. With Brockers set to join Trey Flowers and the re-upped Romeo Okwara, the Lions could show marked improvement on the D-line in 2021.

    For the Rams, this was a salary dump. Dealing Brockers will clear $6.2 million in cap space. The Rams need that relief, but a final-round pick two years from now is a paltry return for a solid veteran starter.


    Grade: A (Lions); D (Rams)

Lions Sign RB Jamaal Williams

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    Morry Gash/Associated Press

    Terms: Two years, $7.5 million


    Brockers wasn't the only veteran player the Lions agreed to bring in on a reasonable deal.

    In four seasons with the Green Bay Packers, Jamaal Williams was never a "featured" running back. But he has carried the ball more than 100 times every year, averaged four yards a carry in the pros and averaged over 30 receptions a season.

    Green Bay agreed to re-sign Aaron Jones this week and spent a second-round pick on AJ Dillon in 2020, making it clear Williams—who turns 26 next month—wasn't in the franchise's long-term plans. He isn't going to unseat D'Andre Swift as Detroit's lead back, but he offers the Lions a very good No. 2 back who can run, catch the rock out of the backfield and pass-protect.

    The only people upset about this signing are fantasy football managers with shares of Swift in dynasty formats—although Williams is heading from the team that has dominated the NFC North in recent years to another that, um, hasn't.


    Grade: B+

Dolphins Sign CB Justin Coleman

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    Carlos Osorio/Associated Press

    Terms: One year, $2.75 million


    The Miami Dolphins have as much cap space invested in their starting cornerbacks as any team in the NFL. But while Byron Jones and Xavien Howard are high-end options (with average annual salaries north of $15 million), the depth chart behind them is riddled with question marks.

    The Dolphins took a step toward bolstering their depth in that secondary Wednesday.

    Justin Coleman isn't a difference-maker. In 11 games (and five starts) for the Detroit Lions last year, he allowed almost 78 percent of the passes thrown in his direction to be completed and posted a passer rating against of 135.0.

    But Coleman, who turns 28 this month, is an experienced slot corner who has made 29 career starts over six professional seasons. He offers experience and depth to the Dolphins, and it's difficult to find much fault with a one-year deal that checks in at less than $3 million.

    With that said, the notion of Coleman as anything more than a sub-package/part-time corner is less than ideal.


    Grade: C+

Tennessee Titans Re-Sign TE Anthony Firkser

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    Brett Carlsen/Associated Press

    Terms: One year, terms undisclosed


    With Jonnu Smith set to cash fat checks with the New England Patriots, the Tennessee Titans were left with a gaping void at the tight end spot.

    Given that situation, it's zero surprise the team wouldn't let its No. 2 tight end depart as well.

    Fourth-year veteran Anthony Firkser probably wasn't going anywhere anyway. The Titans had the option to match any offer the restricted free agent received from other teams. After the 26-year-old posted career bests in receptions (39) and receiving yards (387) last year, Tennessee locked him up for another season.

    On one hand, it was wise of a Titans team that made the playoffs each of the last two seasons to avoid losing any more talent. Firkser did show flashes last year, including an 8/113/1 line against the Houston Texans in Week 6.

    But Firkser is a one-dimensional player. Per Andrew Cooper of Fantasy Alarm, no tight end in the NFL blocked on a smaller percentage of pass plays than Firkser in 2020. He played 268 snaps at wide receiver and only 90 as an in-line tight end.

    In other words, Tennessee probably isn't done at the position—or at least shouldn't be.


    Grade: B-

Carloina Panthers Sign DL Morgan Fox

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    Stephen Brashear/Associated Press

    Terms: Two years, $8.1 million ($7 million guaranteed)

    If the first day of the legal tampering period was all about the New England Patriots, then the first day of free agency proper has been all about the Carolina Panthers and Las Vegas Raiders.

    And the former appears dead-set on overhauling the defensive front seven.

    Playing at defensive end next to Aaron Donald with the Los Angeles Rams last year, Morgan Fox enjoyed the best season of his professional career, posting personal bests in tackles (27) and sacks (six).

    With Fox joining Haason Reddick as newcomers up front, Carolina could conceivably have a vastly improved pass rush in 2021. The team also needed to fill the void created by Kawann Short's release in the offseason.

    Still, it's worth pointing out that over the first three seasons of Fox's career, he managed just 4.5 sacks, and that high guarantee percentage more than likely ensures he'll be in Charlotte through the 2022 season.

    Grade: B

Other Signings

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    Stephen B. Morton/Associated Press

    New York Giants Sign Edge Ifeadi Odenigbo

    Odenigbo didn't impress in his first year as a starter for the Minnesota Vikings in 2020, producing just 35 total tackles and 3.5 sacks in 696 snaps. However, the one-year, $2.5 million flier the New York Giants took on the fourth-year pro, per Pelissero, isn't going to wreck Big Blue's salary cap. He'll compete for rotational snaps behind Lorenzo Carter and Oshane Ximines, and the Giants can use all the edge-rush help they can get.

    Grade: B

    Cleveland Browns Re-Sign WR Rashard Higgins

    According to Rapoport, the Browns brought Higgins back on a one-year deal after the 26-year-old reeled in 37 passes for a career-high 599 yards and four scores in 2020. Assuming Odell Beckham Jr. returns at 100 percent in 2021, those numbers will be hard for Higgins to match. But he's shown himself to be a reliable target for Baker Mayfield and an important depth piece for a Browns team with aspirations of a deep playoff run.

    Grade: B

    Dallas Cowboys Re-Sign CB Jourdan Lewis

    Lewis didn't play especially well for the Cowboys in 2020. During his first season as a full-time starter, he allowed over 63 percent of the passes thrown in his direction to be completed with a career-worst passer rating against of 94.6. Still, the three-year, $16.5 million extension Lewis signed, per Schefter, is a reasonably priced deal for a Dallas team that has more than a few cap issues after extending quarterback Dak Prescott.

    Grade: B-

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers Re-Sign K Ryan Succop

    The Buccaneers have a clear plan in 2021: If there's a player they have an iota of interest in bringing back, that player has been retained. That has even extended to veteran kicker Ryan Succop. Per Pelissero, the 34-year-old who hit on 28 of 31 field-goal attempts in 2020 got a three-year, $12 million extension that includes $6.25 million in guarantees. It's a big contract for a journeyman kicker, but if ain't broke, don't fix it.

    Grade: B-

    Las Vegas Raiders Re-Sign DT Johnathan Hankins

    Per Vic Tafur of The Athletic, Hankins will be back with the Raiders after agreeing to terms on a one-year contract. A 16-game starter each of the past two seasons, Hankins isn't much of a pass-rusher (2.5 sacks in that span). But the soon-to-be 29-year-old is stout against the run, amassing 98 total stops over the past couple of years.

    Grade: B+

    Tennessee Titans Sign LS Morgan Cox

    Signing a long snapper doesn't generate much buzz in a fanbase. But this should be an exception. As Jamison Hensley of ESPN reported, the Titans inked veteran Morgan Cox to an undisclosed contract. The 34-year-old is one of the best in the game at what he does. Cox has made four Pro Bowls and was a first-team All-Pro with the Baltimore Ravens in 2020.

    Grade: A-

    Las Vegas Raiders Re-Sign WR Zay Jones

    According to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com, the Raiders have re-upped the fifth-year wide receiver, who they acquired in a midseason trade with the Buffalo Bills in 2019. Jones was a non-factor last year, catching 14 of 20 targets for 154 yards and a touchdown. He's little more than end-of-the-bench depth in 2021.

    Grade: C

    Indianapolis Colts Re-Sign RB Marlon Mack

    Mack tore his Achilles in Week 1 last year, and standout rookie Jonathan Taylor seized the starting job, creating questions about whether Mack would come back to the Colts in 2021. But as Tom Pelissero of NFL.com reported, the 25-year-old will return to back Taylor up after inking a one-year, $2 million deal. It's an excellent depth signing of a proven (if middling) commodity in the backfield.

    Grade: A-

    Las Vegas Raiders Re-Sign OG Richie Incognito

    There was a time when Incognito would have merited an entry of his own. But after making it through just 74 snaps in 2020, the 37-year-old is at best a speculative add. Still, Pelissero reported the Raiders have brought Incognito back about two weeks after releasing the 14-year veteran. It's a one-year deal worth up to $2.6 million.

    Grade: C

    Kansas City Chiefs Sign OG Kyle Long

    Like Incognito, Long was once a Pro Bowl-caliber lineman. But injuries limited him to just 30 games from 2016 to 2019, and the 32-year-old retired prior to the 2020 season. The Chiefs are no doubt hoping he can recapture his form after signing him to a one-year deal that could be worth up to $5 million, per Schefter. It's possible that a Kansas City team replacing both tackles could try Long out there, although he hasn't played on the end of the offensive line since 2015.

    Grade: B-

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers Re-Sign OG Aaron Stinnie

    A three-year veteran forced into the first real action of his career when Alex Cappa got hurt during last season's playoffs, Stinnie will be back with the Super Bowl champs. He inked a one-year deal, per ESPN's Jenna Laine. Re-signing the 27-year-old continues Tampa's offseason theme of keeping the band together for another Super Bowl run. No team in the league has had a better offseason to date.

    Grade: B

    Las Vegas Raiders Re-Sign OT/OG Denzelle Good

    The Raiders were busy Wednesday. According to Rapoport, Las Vegas agreed to a two-year deal with offensive lineman Denzelle Good, who made 14 starts at left guard last year in place of the injured Richie Incognito. Good was decent in 2020, allowing two sacks in 958 snaps. The  30-year-old can play both guard and tackle, and there's a decent chance he'll start somewhere along the Raiders O-line in 2021.

    Grade: B

    Minnesota Vikings Re-Sign WR Chad Beebe

    With 26 catches for 310 yards and two touchdowns over three seasons with the Minnesota Vikings, Chad Beebe hasn't lit the NFL on fire. However, as Darren Wolfson reported for KSTP, the Vikings saw enough from Beebe to bring the slot receiver back on a one-year, $920,000 contract. He'll compete for playing time in three-wide sets.

    Grade: C

    Cleveland Browns Re-Sign OLB Malcolm Smith

    The Browns need linebacker help as badly as any team in the league, but they haven't done much to address the issue. However, the situation hasn't gotten worse (yet). Per ESPN's Jeremy Fowler, the Browns are re-signing veteran Malcolm Smith, who played 559 snaps for the team in 2021, including four starts. The 31-year-old Super Bowl XLVIII MVP is best suited to a reserve role.

    Grade: C

    San Francisco 49ers Re-Sign DT D.J. Jones

    According to Akash Anavarathan of Niners Nation, Jones signed a one-year, $2.2 million pact to remain with the 49ers in 2021. The fifth-year defensive tackle isn't a force on the stat sheet, but he has quietly emerged as a quality starter who has five sacks over the past two seasons. Given the money that has been handed to some defensive linemen this year, this is quite the bargain for 49ers general manager John Lynch.

    Grade: A

    Las Vegas Raiders Sign DT Quinton Jefferson

    The Raiders have apparently decided to just sign all the defensive linemen ever in the hopes that at least a few actually pan out. Per Josina Anderson, they have inked veteran tackle Quinton Jefferson to a one-year "prove it" deal. In each of the past three seasons, the 27-year-old was on the field for at least 50 percent of Buffalo’s defensive snaps, and he has at least three sacks in each of those campaigns. He'll be part of the ever-growing competition for snaps on the Raiders' defensive front.

    Grade: B

    Arizona Cardinals Sign K Matt Prater

    I'm not giving a kicker his own entry, but there's no denying the Cardinals landed an upgrade on 2020 kicker Zane Gonzalez by inking veteran Matt Prater, who hit on 13 of 18 kicks from 50 or more yards the past two years in Detroit. The issue here is money. Per Rapoport, Prater's two-year deal is worth at least $7 million. Getting a better kicker is well and good, but paying a 36-year-old coming off his worst season $3.5 million per year isn't an especially wise decision.

    Grade: C

    Denver Broncos Sign RB Mike Boone

    At first glance, a two-year, $2.6 million deal, per Mike Klis of Denver 9, for a running back who has never carried the ball even 50 times in a season might not appear to move the needle much. But considering the injury history of Melvin Gordon III and the low tender assigned to Phillip Lindsay by the Broncos, there's a real chance Boone could see substantial game action in 2021. He's fared well when given an opportunity in Minnesota, averaging 5.3 yards per carry.

    Grade: B-