Monthly Archives: March 2009

FR: Free agency weekly review pt. 3

Another week, and a bunch more moves on the NFL landscape. Here’s a review of the moves from March 14-20 in comparison to each other. The 10 level is reserved for the team that made the most important signings of the week; the 1 level is reserved for a team that’s merely worth mentioning this week. Click on the following links for comparisons of the opening weekend, week 1, and week 2 moves.

10 – Saints (add S Darren Sharper, DE Paul Spicer and C Nick Leckey; kept WR-RS Courtney Roby) – The Saints still have major secondary needs, so Sharper’s leadership and veteran wiles are vital. He’s the NFL’s active leader in interceptions with 54. Spicer, who spent 10 years with the Jaguars, still can be a spot pass rusher and is worth a 1-year deal. Leckey started 10 games in Arizona last year and can fit in on the line. Roby fits in as a return option for New Orleans.

9 – Browns (add OT John St. Clair, LB Eric Barton, OG Floyd Womack, CB Corey Ivy, and RB Noah Herron) – St. Clair is a former first-round bust in St. Louis who emerged as a decent right tackle in Chicago. He got a deal worth $9 million over three years to be the bookend to stud OLT Joe Thomas. Barton has lost not just one but a few steps, but he knows Eric Mangini’s defense and may still be able to play at least on running downs. Womack, who has one of the league’s greatest nicknames — Pork Chop — played both guard and tackle in his nine years in Seattle. He’s an ideal 6th lineman who can also start and do OK. Ivy was Baltimore’s nickel back last year, and he played well in that role. He should fill a similar role in Cleveland.

8 – Ravens (add TE L.J. Smith and CB-RS Chris Carr) – Smith had a bad year in Philadelphia in ’08, largely because of injury, but he’s a dangerous pass catcher when healthy. The Ravens hope having either Todd Heap or Smith healthy will give them a middle-of-the-field threat. At $1.5 million for one year, Smith is kind of a pricy insurance policy. Carr is an underrated player who really emerged in Tennessee last year. He’s a dynamic returner, and he proved he could also contribute as a nickel back for the Titans. Given the overhaul the Ravens are doing at cornerback, Carr could be a very important player for them. He looks to fit in behind Dominique Foxworth (another addition) and Fabian Washington as Baltimore’s No. 3 corner.

7 – Patriots (add WR Joey Galloway and OL Al Johnson; kept DE Mike Wright, OT Wesley Britt and S Tank Williams) – Galloway was ineffective last year because of injury, but he was quietly dangerous in Tampa Bay in the two seasons before that. He’s a veteran who could fit in beautifully as an outside receiver opposite Randy Moss and beside Wes Welker, but Galloway will have to beat out Greg Lewis for that spot. In any case, the Patriots have improved their depth at receiver. Johnson is an interior lineman who was in Miami last year. Wright is a rotation defensive end who got a 4-year, $7.2 million deal to remain in New England.

6 – Raiders (add OT Khalif Barnes; kept C Chris Morris) – Barnes only got a one-year deal to move to the bay from Jacksonville, which is why this move isn’t higher. But he’s a talented player who is still trying to prove he can be an elite left tackle in the NFL. He’ll be a certain starter in Oakland.

5 – Cardinals (add RB Jason Wright, NT Rodney Leslie, TE Anthony Becht, and C Donovan Raiola; kept OLB Clark Haggans, DE Bertrand Berry and OG Elton Brown) – Wright, who got 2 years and $2 million on his new deal, replaces J.J. Arrington as Arizona’s third-down back. That’s the proper role for him. Leslie is a wide load who can play nose tackle as the Cards move to a 3-4 defense. He probably should be a backup and not a starter, but he’s a good option to have around. Becht is a block-first tight end who provides insurance in case Stephen Spach can’t return from his playoff knee injury. Haggans and Berry got one-year deals to stick around. Berry is a good citizen and team leader who can still get to the passer on occasion. Haggans played in Pittsburgh for eight years and should be an asset as the Cardinals seek to move to a 3-4 defense modeled after the Steelers’ D. Brown has started in the past but is more of a backup type.

5 (con’t) – Buccaneers (add LB Angelo Crowell) – Crowell missed the entire ’08 season with injury but was a productive linebacker in Buffalo before then. He’s vital in helping the Bucs replace ousted outside ‘backers Derrick Brooks and Cato June.

5 (con’t) – Chiefs (add LB Monty Beisel and WRs Bobby Engram and Terrance Copper) – Engram fits in as a possession receiver across from Dwayne Bowe, who is emerging as a quality No. 1 receiver. Engram didn’t do much last year because of injury, but he had a great ’07 season. Copper, meanwhile, will probably fit in more on special teams than on offense. Beisel will help new defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast install his new offense. Beisel was a Chief from ’01 to ’04 but spent last season in Arizona with Pendergast and new head coach Todd Haley. This is another offseason move dedicated to getting a veteran hand who can help install and teach a new system.

4 – Redskins (add DE Renaldo Wynn; kept PK Shaun Suisham) – Wynn, a Redskin from ’02 to ’06, returns from the Giants on a one-year deal to provide defensive line depth.

3 – Titans (add WR-RS Mark Jones) – Jones moves from Carolina to replace Chris Carr as Tennessee’s primary returner. Jones brought more juice to the Panthers’ return game last year than Carolina had seen since Steve Smith was in that role, so he’ll help in Tennessee.

3 (con’t) – Eagles (add FB Leonard Weaver) – Weaver is the prototypical West Coast offense fullback. He can block pretty well, catch the ball a little, and run short-yardage plays in a pinch. He was actually on the field for more than 50 percent of Seattle’s offensive snaps last year, but with Mike Holmgren retiring, the offense was going to change enough to limit Weaver’s touches. He’ll step in and be a solid complement to Brian Westbrook in Philly, and he’ll make a play or two along the way as well. Weaver is a role player well worth a 1-year, $1.75 million deal.

2- Vikings (add CB Karl Paymah and WR-RS Glenn Holt) – Paymah moves from Denver on a one-year, $1.55 million deal to contribute as a backup corner and a special-teams dynamo. Holt will help on special teams too; he’s a quality returner who will keep the Vikings from having to use Bernard Berrian in that position.

2 (con’t) – Jets (add Marques Douglas; kept S Abram Elam and CB Ahmad Carroll) – Douglas is another ex-Raven who can play defensive end in new head coach Rex Ryan’s system. He’ll be a backup who plays in a rotation. The Jets kept Elam by matching a 1-year, $1.5 million offer sheet he had signed with Cleveland. Elam can backup both safety spots, and he played well last year. Carroll is a former first-round pick who might have finally found a home after latching on with the Jets last year.

1 – Bills (add LB Pat Thomas) – With Angelo Crowell leaving, the Bills needed to add a veteran linebacker who could start. Thomas opened nine games last year in Kansas City, so he fits that bill.

1 (con’t) – Packers (kept CB Jarrett Bush and DE Mike Montgomery) – The Packers matched an offer sheet from the Titans to keep Bush, but it’s strange to picture them paying $4.5 million over three years for a backup corner. Bush will need to at least be a nickel back for this contract to make sense for Green Bay. Montgomery was a backup defensive tackle last year, but he’ll likely become an end in the Packers’ new 3-4 scheme.

1 (con’t) – Broncos (add OG Scott Young; kept TE Jeb Putzier) – Young was a backup with Philadelphia and should fill a similar role in Denver. Putzier could be an important retention because the Broncos are shopping pass-catching TE Tony Scheffler. Putzier can catch OK but is more of a blocker, which will be more important in the new offense that rookie head coach Josh McDaniels is installing.

1 (con’t) Lions (add TE Will Heller) – Heller’s a block-first tight end who will help the running game but won’t catch much at all. He comes from Seattle to replace John Owens, who went from Detroit to Seattle.

1 (con’t) – Steelers (kept OG Trai Essex, CB Fernando Bryant and LB Arnold Harrison) – Bryant is an established vet who didn’t play much after signing in Pittsburgh in the middle of last season. The hope is that, with training camp under his belt, he can serve as an effective backup. Essex signed a two-year deal, which is important because so many Steelers linemen are still free agents.

Seahawks (kept LB D.D. Lewis) – backup and special teamer

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Peppers part 2

OK, I was unfortunately a little imprecise in my outlandish predictions on Julius Peppers earlier this week. In predicting trades, I ignored the Patriots, who have been widely rumored to be interested. The thought had actually crossed my mind (I hear you now: yeah, right), but because I was trying to identify potential players in a trade, I omitted the Patriots.

The Pats do have the ammo to get Peppers, with a first-round pick and three second-rounders. The rumor out there is the No. 34 overall pick that the Pats got from K.C. in the Matt Cassel trade. My thought is that the Panthers would need to get at least two of those picks, including one of the two highest, for a deal to be worth it. But that wouldn’t be a bad return for Peppers

For the record, here are other 3-4 teams that I failed to mention in the earlier post: 49ers, Jets, Browns, Chargers, Ravens, Steelers, Chiefs, Dolphins. It’s hard to see resolution for the Peppers situation in any of those spots, but now you know.

Leave a comment with any ideas you might have  with one of these teams, or anyone else.

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OP: Whither Julius Peppers?

As a Panthers follower (OK, probably fan), I’ve been thinking about what the Panthers can do to solve the stalemate with franchise free agent Julius Peppers. The defensive end wants out of Carolina, preferring to go to a team that plays a 3-4 defense. But the Panthers want to keep him and so used a franchise tag that guarantees Peppers a one-year deal worth more than $16.6 million in ’09. That tag has clogged the Panthers’ cap so much that Carolina had less than $25,000 under the cap before cutting CB Ken Lucas last week. They still barely have enough to sign draft picks, and they won’t be able to address any other team issues (quarterback, wide receiver, defensive line depth among them) until they do something with Peppers.

What are their options? And what prediction (however outlandish) do we make? Read on.

1. Keep him – This is the Panthers’ preference, but Peppers isn’t amenable at all. Unless some sort of major deal is worked out (and that appears unlikely), it seems the only way this happens is if the Panthers wait Peppers out until about the beginning of training camp. At that point, Peppers wouldn’t really have any options in free agency, and his only way to play in ’09 would be with Carolina. A holdout would be likely, but eventually Peppers would take the $16-plus million and play the year. The problem with this scenario is that the Panthers would be in salary-cap purgatory all the way through the offseason, which would inhibit the team’s ability to improve elsewhere. This is not an appealing option, although the Panthers might be stubborn enough to try it.

2. Let someone else sign him – Peppers isn’t an “exclusive” franchise player, which means another team could sign him. But a team would have to give up two first-round picks to sign Peppers. That would give the Panthers an out, but it’s unlikely. Most of the time, when a franchise player changes teams, it’s because teams work out compensation. (That’s what happened with Matt Cassel this offseason, for example.) I’d cast this as unlikely as well.

3. That leaves one option: Trade him – Peppers wants out, and there is reportedly a list of 3-4 teams that he wants to be traded to. (The only details we’ve gotten are Dallas, two other NFC teams, and an AFC team.) So what trades are possible? Let’s delve into four theoretical/hypothetical options to see if they make sense. (Note: These are my ideas, based on analysis but not on reporting, inside info, or even rumors.)

Peppers to Dallas for Greg Ellis and picks – Dallas, the one named team, doesn’t make sense because the Cowboys have DeMarcus Ware and Anthony Spencer in the outside ‘backer spot that Peppers would fill.  Dallas is trying to re-sign Ware to a multi-year deal, and it would be hard to imagine the Cowboys giving big bucks to both Ware and Peppers despite Jerry Jones’ penchant for collecting big names. If a deal were to happen, the Cowboys would probably want to trade Greg Ellis, who has played down lineman and has a decent-sized salary. Ellis is a North Carolina product (like Peppers), so a move to Carolina would probably be OK with him. But the Panthers would have to get more than Ellis, because a 33-year-old defensive lineman doesn’t have a long shelf life. The Panthers might even prefer Anthony Spencer, a former first-round pick who hasn’t yet panned out. Either way, Dallas would have to include some draft picks, but they don’t have a first or a third this year because of the Roy Williams trade. This deal seems very unlikely.

Peppers to Green Bay for Aaron Kampman and picks – The Packers are one of 4 teams moving to the 3-4 defense as their primary defense for next season. (You’ll see two more of those teams below.) The Packers have some players who fit the scheme perfectly (DE Cullen Jenkins, ILB A.J. Hawk), but one who doesn’t seem to is DE Aaron Kampman. Kampman’s dimensions remind you of Shawne Merriman and DeMarcus Ware, but does he have the same athleticism? It might make sense for Green Bay to trade for Peppers to fill that marquee slot. That would be a big departure for the Packers in terms of organizational philosophy, but it could work. Kampman, who had 9 1/2 sacks and has 37 over the past 3 years,  would be an acceptable replacement for Peppers in Carolina. He’s a very good defensive end (almost Pro Bowl level at his best) and would soften the sting of Peppers’ loss a little bit. Kampman plus a second-round pick wouldn’t be a terrible haul for the Panthers in exchange for Peppers. It wouldn’t be equal value, but it would be 80 cents on the dollar, which is probably all the Panthers can hope for given the leverage Peppers has via the salary-cap situation. This move would make sense for Carolina if Green Bay wanted to do it.

Peppers to Denver for QB Jay Cutler – And now the wild-goose chase of ideas really starts to get far afield. The Broncos and Cutler are in a disagreement that is quickly turning into an all-out war. It appears now that trading Cutler, which would have been unimaginable at the end of the season, is now at least a 50-50 proposition. Broncos head coach Josh McDaniels has said he’s not trading Cutler only for draft picks. But would they trade him for Peppers? Like Green Bay, Denver is moving to a 3-4 defense this offseason. But the Broncos don’t really have dynamic pieces in their front seven. So Peppers would definitely fit in. This would also be a fair value trade. Cutler would allow the Panthers to say goodbye to Jake Delhomme and start a new quarterback era that’s coming in 2010 if it doesn’t happen this offseason. Delhomme is a loved Panther, but his abominable performance in the playoffs last year likely portends the end of his tenure in Carolina. If the Panthers could get Cutler, the pain of losing Peppers would at least be worth it because it meant a major step forward elsewhere.

Peppers to Arizona for WR Anquan Boldin – This is wild-goose chase part deux. Arizona is another team moving to a 3-4 defense this year, at the behest of head coach Ken Whisenhunt, who is trying to get back to his Pittsburgh roots. But there’s not a clear outside pass rusher on the Cardinals’ roster, especially after Antonio Smith departed via free agency. Enter Peppers. He would add a pass-rush capability the Cards haven’t had in years and make that defense better. Peppers, DT Darnell Dockett, LB Karlos Dansby, and CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie would be four pretty good building blocks for any D. So who would the Cardinals give up in return? Bolding makes the most sense. He’s never going to be happy as the second banana in Arizona because of the contract situations he and Larry Fitzgerald have. While a move to Carolina would mean again teaming with a high-profile receiver, the Panthers are probably better able to match Boldin’s salary to Steve Smith’s. Boldin would be the complement to Smith the Panthers have been looking for, for a long time. The move would make both teams better, at least in the short run.

So in summary, what is our outlandish prediction? The trade that’s most likely to happen is the Green Bay move for Aaron Kampman. While that doesn’t sound sexy at all, it would address the issues the Panthers have and allow Peppers the defensive system he wants. It’s a move the Panthers wouldn’t want to make, but it appears more and more that it’s a move they’ll have to make. Patience is a virtue, but patience alone isn’t going to bail the Panthers out of this situation.

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Trade update: Peterson for Redding

The Lions and Seahawks traded big-ticket defensive players with LB Julian Peterson going to Detroit and DT Cory Redding headed to Seattle along with a fifth-round pick. Here are some thoughts on the deal; you can see how it compares to other offseason swaps in this relativity post.

Peterson’s first two years in Seattle were dynamic, as he used his freakish athleticism to make plays all over the field. But last season was not a good one for Peterson, who had just 5 sacks and struggled along with the rest of Seattle’s defense. After giving fellow LB Lofa Tatupu a big contract and franchising LB Leroy Hill, Seattle couldn’t stomach Peterson’s price tag anymore. Defensive tackle is a big need area, so they get Redding, who got paid big bucks last year. Redding has promise and makes some big plays but isn’t a force as consistently as a true bellwether DT should be. That’s why Detroit was willing to part with him. It will be interesting to see if new Lions head coach Jim Schwartz can unleash Peterson again. The guess here is that he can, and here’s why: Schwartz was in Tennessee when the Titans turned Jevon Kearse into “The Freak” who terrorized quarterbacks. I think Kearse and Peterson are comparable as athletes and in their builds. Something tells me that the plan in Detroit is to make Peterson the defense’s biggest weapon. Peterson has that level of ability, so that sounds like a good plan to me.

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Holt bolts St. Louis

The Rams cut their second iconic player of the week when they granted WR Torry Holt his requested release. (OT Orlando Pace was the first.) Below are some thoughts on the Holt move; you can see how the Rams’ cuts compare to other teams in this relativity post.

Holt spent 10 years in St. Louis and played at a high level throughout. He’s made 7 Pro Bowls and compiled numbers that will put him on a Hall of Fame short list when his career is done. While he’s no longer the unstoppable force he was in the Greatest Show on Turf days, he still is an above-average receiver who would be a boon to a contender like Tennessee, Philadelphia, the Giants, or his hometown Panthers (if they ever clear adequate cap space). I’d take Holt over Marvin Harrison in a heartbeat. As for the Rams, they’ve now lost two of the stalwarts of their Super Bowl teams in Holt and Pace. That has to be a huge blow to their fans, who must now hope that these moves will expedite the rebuilding process. The Pace move might, but losing Holt isn’t worth saving what was a fair price ($8M) against the cap.

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FR: Free agency weekly review part 2

The second week of free agency started out with a kaboom when Terrell Owens signed with Buffalo. We have many thoughts on that signing in this post. As for other signings this week, we’ve compiled a list comparing them to each other below. (Click through for the opening weekend comparison and the first full week comparison) As always, the following moves are compared relative to each other using a 10-point scale, with 10 being the most impactful move of the week and 1 being a move that’s barely worth noting. Remember that these moves are compared only to each other; this week’s 10 level would have been merely a 5 or 6 last week.

10 – Cowboys (added DE Igor Olshansky and S Gerald Sansbaugh) – Olshansky isn’t an impact player, but he’s a solid, dependable end who does his job as a 3-4 defensive end and allows the glamour players (Shawne Merriman in San Diego, now DeMarcus Ware in Dallas) to rush the passer and get their sacks. Olshansky, who got a 4-year contract worth $18 million,  is replacing Chris Canty and should put forth a performance in the ballpark at Canty’s at a much cheaper price. This is the best way the Cowboys could have replaced Canty. To replace Roy Williams, the Cowboys need options, and Sansbaugh is at least that. He is an acceptable option who might still have the upside to take a step forward in his career. To get someone like him on a one-year contract is another win for Dallas.
(Note: I know that Olshanksy isn’t much of a 10 move. But that’s what you get when you compare moves on a relatively slow week.)

9 – Jaguars (added OT Tra Thomas) – The Jaguars had massive offensive line problems last year (mainly because of injury), and they throttled the Jags’ chances of a successful season. With starting OLT Khalif Barnes a free agent who expects a contract beyond what Jacksonville is willing to play, they had to get a replacement. Thomas, a three-time Pro Bowler who has played left tackle his whole career, is a pretty good one. While Thomas may not be the player he once was, he’s still pretty good. If he can play 16 games, he’ll be an asset protecting David Garrard’s blind side. Plus, Thomas is big and physical enough to be a good run blocker, which is important given Jacksonville’s offensive bent toward the ground game.

9 (con’t) – Rams (added S James Butler and FB Mike Karney) – Butler played for new Rams head coach Steve Spagnuolo with the Giants, and he now moves to the Gateway City with Spags to be the run-stopping strong safety in the St. Louis defense. The Rams have focused on their secondary in free agency, resigning CB Ron Bartell and franchising FS O.J. Atogwe, and Butler (who got $17 million over 4 years) gives them another young building block in that area. Karney is a block-first fullback who fills an important role as the Rams move to a less wide open, more run-first offense. He’s a nice player to have around, and the price (3 years, $3.6M) is reasonable.

8 – Cardinals (added CB Bryant McFadden and LS Mike Leach) – McFadden isn’t a big name at cornerback, but scouts are high on his abilities — especially as a second cornerback. Rookie sensation Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie will be the Cards’ undisputed No. 1 corner going into his second season, and McFadden brings physicality and reliability on the other side. This is a good addition in an offseason marked by departures in Arizona. Leach is a dependable long snapper who will replace Nathan Hodel.

7 – Falcons (added LB Mike Peterson and C Brett Romberg) – Peterson was a longtime stalwart in Indianapolis and Jacksonville, but he clashed with Jags head coach Jack Del Rio last year, and that paved his way out of Jacksonville. But Peterson had great success with current Falcons head coach Mike Smith in Jacksonville, so the fit is good. Add that to the fact that the Falcons have lost OLBs Michael Boley and Keith Brooking, and so there was a big need for a veteran ‘backer in the ATL. Romberg fits in as a backup who won’t kill you if he has to start.

7 (con’t) – Chargers (added LB Kevin Burnett) – Burnett was an emerging linebacker in Dallas, but the Cowboys’ desire to lock DeMarcus Ware to a long-term deal made him expendable. The Chargers run a similar system, and so Burnett has a chance to continue his ascent there. He can be a plus starter in San Diego, and he should step in immediately to help that defense.

6 – Browns (added LB David Bowens, DE C.J. Mosley and CB Hank Poteat) – It was ex-Jets week in Cleveland, as new head coach Eric Mangini brought in some players he knows and who, just as importantly, know his defensive system. Bowens is the headline here – he’s an effective pass rusher as a 3-4 outside ‘backer. Poteat is at this point a grizzled vet who can fit in as a cornerback but shouldn’t start except in an emergency. Mosley will be a rotation guy at defensive end.

6 (con’t) – Dolphins (added CB Eric Green) – After Andre Goodman left for Denver, the Dolphins needed to add a potential starter at cornerback. Green can be that. He started six games in Arizona last year before rookie Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie seized that job. Green isn’t great, but he’s an acceptable guy to start a position competition with.

5 – Seahawks (kept OT Ray Willis) – Willis is a versatile player who could potentially play tackle, although he’s slated to start at guard for the Seahawks. Given the contract that Frank Omiyale got from Chicago, Willis (a similar player) was a good guy for Seattle to keep.

5 (con’t) – Patriots (added CB Leigh Bodden and LS Nathan Hodel) – Bodden has played well in his career, but his play really fell off last year. But was that because his skills are slipping or because he was stuck in Detroit? I tend to believe he has a little bit left, which is why this move is above some others. It’s a steal for New England to get him for a minimum salary. Hodel replaces Lonnie Paxton, who moved to Denver.

4 – Bears (added S Josh Bullocks; kept RB Kevin Jones) – The Bears needed safety depth, and so they’re giving Bullocks a shot. Bears fans aren’t excited, thanks mainly to this YouTube video called “How can a safety be this bad?” Even if he is that bad, the price makes it a shot worth taking given the talent drain in Chicago over the past few years. Jones didn’t play much last year, but he showed talent in Detroit before a major injury. He’s an acceptable backup for ’08 rookie sensation Matt Forte.

3 – Packers (added S Anthony Smith) – Smith got less and less playing time in Pittsburgh last year as the season went on, but he still could be a decent safety option. The Packers have only chased bit-part players in free agency lately, and Smith fits that profile to a T.

3 (con’t) – Chiefs (added CB Travis Daniels, WR C.J. Jones and LB Corey Mays) – Daniels has bounced around a little, but he still could fit as a starter or nickel corner in the right situation. Jones and Mays both have Patriots ties, which made them attractive to new Chiefs head honcho Scott Pioli.

2 – Jets (added LB Larry Izzo and DT Howard Green) – Izzo is a special-teams ace, and Green is a rotation defensive tackle. Both will add depth for the Jets.

2 (con’t) – Vikings (kept CB Benny Sapp and DT Jimmy Kennedy) – Kennedy is important because the Vikings still may lose DTs Pat and Kevin Williams for four games each after the Starcaps issues of last season. Sapp fits in as a third or fourth corner.

1 – Texans (kept S Nick Ferguson) – Ferguson is a borderline starter who did a decent job in his first year in Houston last year, so they opted to keep him. He fits in as a backup who can play OK if called upon.

1 (con’t) – Lions (added OL Daniel Loper and LB Cody Spencer; kept RB Aveion Cason) – Loper and Spencer played in Tennessee when new Lions head coach Jim Schwartz was there. Like Cleveland and K.C., Detroit is filling the back half of its roster with guys the new bosses know.

1 (con’t) – Eagles (added S Rashad Baker) – Sean Jones is the big addition at safety for the Eagles, but Baker, a journeyman who was in Oakland last year, brings depth that’s badly needed after the departures of Brian Dawkins and Sean Considine.

1 (con’t) – Steelers (kept LB Andre Frazier) – Anytime the Steelers re-sign a free agent, it’s worth noting. Frazier isn’t a starter, but he can play the system in case of injury.

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Rolle rolls away

Another big-name player was cut today when the Baltimore Ravens said goodbye to CB Samari Rolle. Here are some thoughts on Rolle. We’ve added them and compared them to other recent cuts in this post (which is also being updated with other cuts as well.)

Rolle had been with the Ravens for four years, and when he started in Baltimore he was still among the elite corners in the league. But last year was not a good one for Samari (or Doorknob, as I still like to call him). He missed six games because of injury and never was able to get healthy enough to play at an elite level. He wasn’t going to start for Baltimore, so he requested his release. The Ravens also cut Rolle’s fellow starting CB Chris McAlister, and so their secondary is in major upheaval. Baltimore has signed Dominique Foxworth, who will definitely start even though he’s probably not even above average as an NFL starter. The other starting spot goes to Fabian Washington, at least for now. The Ravens tried to do right by Rolle by letting him go as he wanted, but they might have done wrong by themselves in the process.

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