Daily Archives: May 6, 2009

Bengal bingo

The Cincinnati Bengals moved some pieces around today, adding former Cowboy S Roy Williams is headed to Cincinnati and cutting longtime OT Levi Jones loose. We (of course) have some thoughts on the moves. We’ll compare the Williams signing to other moves in an upcoming relativity post on post-draft free-agent signings, while you can see the Jones cut in comparison to other recent releases in this post.

UPDATE: The Bengals got closer to a transaction bingo Thursday by trading for RB Brian Leonard. Thoughts on that below, but with a cut, a signing, and a trade, plus the obligatory free space, leaves them just one move for BINGO. I’m hoping beyond hope for a waiver claim on Friday…

Williams had some good seasons as an in-the-box safety in Dallas, even reaching Pro Bowl level. But over recent years, his performance has plummeted as his coverage inadequacies have been exposed. That, plus a hefty price tag, led the Cowboys to cut the cord. Now he heads to Cincinnati, where he’s reunited with ex-Cowboys defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer. Zimmer knows what Williams does well and what he can’t do, which gives the Bengals a little better than average chance to use Williams well. Plus, his veteran leadership could help a team that’s slowly building a new defensive nucleus around LBs Keith Rivers and Rey Maualuga. On a short-term, incentive-laden deal, it’s easy to see why Cincinnati would take this shot.

Jones was once a top-10 pick, and he started for a long time for Cincinnati. But injuries sapped his effectiveness over the past few years, and the Bengals finally replaced him by drafting Andre Smith at No. 6 overall this year. Jones would have been cut earlier, but Cincinnati waited to get his replacement in house before pulling the plug. Jones could still land somewhere as a backup tackle who’s good enough to play in a pinch but probably can’t play 16 games without getting dinged up. For his sake, we’ll hope he lands with a contender in that kind of role after years of meaningless games in Cincy.

Leonard was a second-round pick just two years ago after a strong career as a ball-carrying fullback at Rutgers. He had a decent rookie year with the Rams but fell off the radar as a sophomore last year. Still, he’s a good enough prospect for Cincinnati to take a shot, especially since they have little depth behind Cedric Benson, who hasn’t proven himself as a dependable full-time back. In exchange, the Bengals gave up DT Orien Harris, who is now onto his sixth team in four years. He’s a potential rotation player but not much more. It’s clear the new Rams regime didn’t have plans for Leonard and just wanted to get a roster-ready guy in exchange.

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Filed under Football Relativity, NFL Free Agency, NFL trades, transaction bingo

Lions’ tales of a Furrey Foote

First of all, I apologize for the headine. Couldn’t resist.
Second of all, if you want Brett Favre stuff, scroll down or click.
Third of all, there’s a mega-research project on coaching trees going on-line tomorrow.
Now let’s get to it. There were several moves in the NFL yesterday, and the two most interesting had to do with a former Lion and a future one. So here are thoughts on LB Larry Foote going to Detroit and WR Mike Furrey going to Cleveland.

The Browns are in serious upheaval at wide receiver. They’ve cut the cord on Joe Jurevicius, and we now must expect Donte Stallworth to miss some time with legal matters related to a deadly car accident he was involved in last year. And that doesn’t even address the persistent Braylon Edwards trade rumors. So Cleveland has tried to reload at receiver, by signing David Patten and drafting Brian Robiskie and Mohammed Massaquoi in the second round. Now they add Mike Furrey, who bounced through the XFL and the Arena League before establishing himself as a legit NFL receiver. Furrey’s best success has come in Mike Martz systems in St. Louis and Detroit, and he doesn’t have great size, but it’s still easy to see him as an effective inside receiver. If nothing else, he’ll try hard and give some level of certainty at a very uncertain position for Cleveland.

Meanwhile, the Lions add ex-Steeler Larry Foote, who had been cut in Pittsburgh for salary-cap reasons. Not only is Foote a Michigan native and alum, he’s an extremely solid inside ‘backer on running downs. He has limitations and probably shouldn’t be trying to drop into coverage, but he is a quality NFL starter who definitely upgrades Detroit’s lion-up. (Sorry.) It’s only a one-year deal, but if Foote provides leadership that term could be extended. Regardless, the Lions’ defense is better today because Foote is there.

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Filed under Football Relativity, NFL Free Agency