The NFL offseason didn’t even wait for the season to finish before getting underway. Kansas City and Washington made a blockbuster deal to send quarterback Alex Smith to the nation’s capitol before the Super Bowl. And that was just the beginning.
The league year didn’t even open until March 14, and teams had churned through a lot of the best free agent names well ahead of that.
Welcome to the new NFL.
Grading offseason moves is a tricky thing because there’s so much more at play than just the numbers a player brings to his new team. It’s still probably easier than grading draft picks who haven’t even played a snap at the pro level, but it’s worth remembering not everyone’s offseason champs see that magic translated on the field.
We’ll have to revisit these grades after the season ends. But for now, let’s assess!
(Signings and trades presented with the newest ones first and updated as they happen).
Steelers sign S Morgan Burnett
The Steelers needed a safety, and they got one. Burnett plays a little safety, a little linebacker and a little corner too, which is sort of the key for safeties these days.
Colts sign TE Eric Ebron & WR Ryan Grant
Neither is the kind of glamorous, pricey additions the Colts used to make when they tried their best to win the offseason, but both are exactly the kind of smart getting-by moves a team like this needs to make. Ebron pairs well with Jack Doyle to give the Colts two solid tight ends. Grant helps fill out the depth chart at receiver.
Chargers sign C Mike Pouncey
If his hip holds up to the rigors of the two-year deal he signed, this could be a great move for the Chargers. If it doesn’t, it wasn’t a huge risk at $15 million, but the it will leave them looking for line help again.
Rams re-sign Dominique Easley
Los Angeles had reportedly flirted with the idea of bringing Ndamukong Suh to the west coast, but instead will make a calculated gamble on the oft-injured Easley. The former first-round draft pick washed out with the Patriots, but added value as a rotational tackle in 2016, tallying a career-high 3.5 sacks and forcing a pair of fumbles from the interior. He missed all of last season with a torn ACL.
The Rams already have a ton of money tied up at DT between Aaron Donald and Michael Brockers. Retaining Easley gives them an inexpensive and effective player who can fill in for either player, assuming he can stay healthy.
Texans sign DB Tyrann Mathieu
I can’t believe it’s only a one-year deal. Houston’s defense, if people can stay healthy, is going to be very good this season. They have the pass rush, and now with the addition of Mathieu and cornerback Aaron Colvin alongside incumbent Jonathan Joseph, they’ve shored up their biggest weakness on that side of the ball.
Rams re-sign C John Sullivan
The Rams finally had a good offensive line in 2017. It’s refreshing they’re not committed to screwing that up anymore.
Bears sign CB Kyle Fuller
The Bears needed to re-sign Fuller after his breakout year in 2017. After an okay start to his career and missing all of 2016 with a knee injury, he was one of the league’s best corners last season.
According to @PFF, Kyle Fuller was the NFL's most targeted CB last season (119). Allowed only 2 TDs (one by Davante Adams in Week 10) and a very nice passer rating of 69.0.— Zach Kruse (@zachkruse2) March 16, 2018
But instead of giving him the franchise tag, which would’ve been a $15 million cap hit, the Bears used the transition tag, which allowed a suddenly aggressive Packers team to swoop in and make a pricey offer of four years, $56 million, with $18 million guaranteed. That put the Bears in a tough spot.
They couldn’t let their top corner leave, much less to a division rival, so Chicago matched the deal but in such a way that makes Fuller one of the highest paid corners in the NFL and saddles the team with a big cap hit further down the road. Fuller’s new deal will count $13 million against the cap next season and more than $17 million the year after that, with enough dead cap space to make it almost impossible to cut him before 2019, if he doesn’t live up to his 2017 performance.
All of this could have been prevented if the Bears had just used the franchise tag in the first place.
Buccaneers sign C Ryan Jensen
If four years, $42 million a lot to pay for a center? It probably is for a guy who’s had one year of success. But the Bucs needed help in the middle of their line.
Lions sign RB LeGarrette Blount
31-years old and still averaging more than 4 yards per carry. Not too bad for an early down back.
Ravens sign WR Michael Crabtree
This is a much better addition and a much better deal than the Ryan Grant signing they almost made earlier in the week (strange how that physical worked, no?). Crabtree is a sure-handed possession receiver Baltimore has long needed to help keep the chains moving and catch some of those Joe Flacco passes which aren’t always exactly on target. He’s also a threat in the red zone, catching 25 touchdowns over his last three seasons in Oakland. That’s more passing touchdowns than the Ravens had last year.
Vikings sign DT Sheldon Richardson
A one-year deal for even more defensive line help. Yikes. Is this team going to settle for anything less than a Super Bowl?
Raiders sign RB Doug Martin & WR Jordy Nelson
The grade here hinges on what they’re paying him. Martin hasn’t cracked 2.9 yards per carry in his last two seasons with the Bucs. Injuries and suspensions have made the 29-year old mostly ineffective. If this is a depth signing for the veteran minimum, it gets a shrug. If they’re paying him top dollar and eyeing him as a replacement for Marshawn Lych, there aren’t enough Fs in the world to give them.
Nelson turns 33 this spring. He looked older than that last year with the Packers. It’s a two-year, $15 million deal with $13 million guaranteed, which isn’t exactly onerous, but they’d probably have been better off just keeping Crabtree (who got cut for Nelson’s salary).
Really starting to wonder if the Raiders might regret this Gruden thing sooner rather than later.
Seahawks sign TE Ed Dickson and DE Barkevious Mingo
Grade: B for Dickson, A for Mingo
Sure, Dickson can catch a few passes, but he’s not a Jimmy Graham replacement. This has more to do with his ability to block first, catch passes second. The Seahawks need all the blocking help they can get.
Mingo could have a real nice gig here as a rotational pass rusher. This feels like one of those moves that’s under the radar now, but will pay big dividends during the season.
Patriots trade a sixth-round pick to the Browns for CB Jason McCourty and a seventh-round pick
Why are the Patriots so much better than everyone else? Well, partly because they make moves like this. Jason McCourty may not be a top flight corner anymore, but he’s better than anything they’d pull out of the draft with that sixth-rounder. AND he’s only on the hook for $3 million this season.
Oh, playing alongside his twin brother is pretty neat too.
Panthers sign DT Dontari Poe
I don’t understand why the Falcons didn’t hang onto him. He’s not the kind of defensive lineman who puts up sexy stats, i.e. sacks, but he’s a force in the middle that makes it tough to run the ball and disrupts the pocket for passers.
So much the better for the Panthers though. He signed a three-year, $27 million deal to replace Star Lotulelei. Carolina’s defensive front should be just fine this year.
Bengals re-sign TE Tyler Eifert
It’s a one-year deal with up to $8 million, which isn’t bad price to pay for a sure-handed touchdown threat. Now, he just has to stay healthy.
Bills sign QB AJ McCarron
There’s not a whole lot of evidence that McCarron is good, but there’s not much that indicates he’s bad either. Buffalo signed up to be the guinea pig and find out what the former Bengals quarterback can do as a starter. But it’s a low-risk roll of the dice and the Bills will likely aggressively pursue a quarterback in the draft anyway.
Patriots re-sign RB Rex Burkhead
Is there a more anonymous position group in the NFL than the Patriots running backs? Burkhead is a fine part of the team, and playing special teams too probably isn’t a bad way to get in Belichick’s good graces.
Chiefs sign LB Anthony Hitchens
Five years, $45 million puts Hitchens among the top of the non-pass rushing linebacker market. I just don’t see it. He’s a very serviceable inside linebacker, who mostly just plays on running downs.
Saints sign LB Demario Davis
Now this is a smart linebacker addition. Davis had an NFL-best 97 solo tackles last season, and graded out in the top five for run stopping inside linebackers, according to Pro Football Focus. It’s a big upgrade for a Saints defense that we just can’t laugh at anymore.
And they did landed him for three years, $24 million, which compared to what the Chiefs paid Hitchens is a damn steal.
Colts sign DE Denico Autry
Adding solid role players is probably the smartest path the Colts can take in free agency this season. Autry had five sacks as a rotational guy for the Raiders last year, and he’s good at stopping the run.
Broncos re-sign LB Todd Davis
A solid inside linebacker who tackles most any ball carrier who comes his way. This is one of those moves that’s smart just because it keeps a functional unit in tact.
Bills sign DE Trent Murphy
Murphy didn’t play at all last season after tearing his ACL and MCL on top of a PED suspension. Naturally, the Bills felt good enough to invest three years, $21 million based on his nine-sack season in 2016.
Browns sign CB T.J. Carrie and CB Terrance Mitchell
Just like that the Browns have a decent secondary, which was their biggest need heading into the offseason (after QB, duh). He joins Damarious Randall, who they got in a deal from the Packers last week, as the other starter on the outside. Mitchell is another solid addition for depth.
Cardinals release DB Tyrann Mathieu
This post is intended only for additions or trades, not releases. But this move so was especially stupid it had to be included on this list just so we could give it the ‘F’ it deserves. They apparently wanted him to stick around, but the two sides couldn’t agree on a contract restructure. The need for cap space is probably something they should’ve considered before signing Sam Bradford to a massive free agent deal.
Good for Mathieu for not caving. He’ll find work and fair market value pretty quickly. The Cardinals are less talented without him.
Saints sign CB Patrick Robinson
You can always try again. Robinson was the Saints first-round pick in 2010. That didn’t work out, and he bounced around the league before rejuvenating his career with the Eagles last season. Maybe with a better Saints defense he’ll be a fine slot corner for them.
Giants sign OT Nate Solder
New York’s offensive line was atrocious last season. It desperately needed upgrades, so new GM Dave Gettleman went out and snagged the best left tackle on the market. The Giants were reportedly in on Andrew Norwell and missed out. Solder’s an exceptional run blocker, and that’s an area where the Giants have to improve next season. They had to throw $60 million over four years at Solder to grab him, but it’s money well spent if Eli Manning can stay upright and the Giants can actually have a ground game this year.
Panthers will re-sign DE Julius Peppers
Yes, Peppers is 38 years old. But he didn’t play like it in 2017, when he was tied with Mario Addison with 11 sacks — the most on the team last year. Bringing him back on a one-year deal is low-risk and high-reward if he keeps playing at this level.
Chiefs re-sign Jarvis Jenkins
The Chiefs were reportedly in on the defensive tackle market during legal tampering. But Star Lotulelei went to the Bills, and Muhammad Wilkerson signed with the Packers after visiting with the Chiefs. The Chiefs needed to hold onto Jenkins, and they did.
49ers sign RB Jerick McKinnon
At four years, $30 million, McKinnon’s annual average makes him the fourth-highest paid running back in the league. He’s a good fit for the kind of offense Kyle Shanahan runs, one that values running backs who can catch the ball and make plays in space. It’s just not a position that requires this much investment.
Titans re-sign RG Josh Kline
The Titans are keeping their OL intact, and there’s value in that, especially as they shift to a new blocking scheme this season. That chemistry the line has already built should help with that transition. It’s a four-year, $26 million deal for Kline, which is a bargain compared to what Andrew Norwell got from the Jaguars.
Eagles re-sign Nigel Bradham
Bradham was one of the better inside linebackers hitting free agency, and holding onto him is key for the Eagles defense to avoid taking a step back next season. Howie Roseman has had to make some other moves to clear up cap space for the moves the team needs to make. This one, a five-year, $40 million deal, is worth it.
Jaguars sign CB D.J. Hayden
If you’ve got it, spend it ... I guess that’s kind of how the Jags are approaching things. They needed a cornerback to replace Aaron Colvin in the slot. It’s a step down from Colvin though, an expensive one at three years, $19 million.
Browns sign RB Carlos Hyde
For three years, $15 million, this is a great move. Hyde’s coming off a career season, and he’ll slide right into an offense with Tyrod Taylor at QB. It’s a sign the Browns are committed to running the kind of system that plays to both guys’ strengths.
It probably also means no Saquon Barkley with the first pick, which is fine.
Titans sign RB Dion Lewis
Lewis is an upgrade over DeMarco Murray, who was cut earlier this spring. But the Titans had a good running back, an effective No. 1 in Derrick Henry. Adding another running back for four years and $20 million was an unnecessary use of cap space.
Ravens sign WR Ryan Grant
No, turns out they didn’t! The Ravens said Grant failed their physical, which sure seems strange.
Four years, $29 million for a receiver most of us had to look up to remember who exactly he is. He happened to be buried on Washington’s depth chart for the last four years. Grant’s most productive season came last year when he caught 45 passes for 573 yards. That’s a ton of money for a third receiver. The Ravens needed a receiver, but were they really this desperate?
Packers sign DE Muhammad Wilkerson
Two big time free agent signings in one day ... WHO ARE YOU, PACKERS? This was a great move, giving them a top caliber defensive linemen the likes of which they haven’t had in Green Bay for a long, long time. And it’s just a one-year, $5 million prove-it deal.
Jets sign QB Teddy Bridgewater
Bridgewater had very serious injuries, of course, but he’s still 25 years old, and for a 2014 first-round pick that actually hasn’t played that much football, he’s worth a one-year deal, which is what the Jets apparently signed him to. Then again, if he beats Josh McCown out for the starting job and plays ridiculous football, they could just as easily lose him in 2019.
Jets sign CB Trumaine Johnson
It was a pricy addition at about $15 million per year, but the Jets have the money to spend and this is a good place to put it. New York drafted Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye a year ago, but needed cornerback help and went after arguably the top player on the market.
Titans sign CB Malcolm Butler
Signing a 28-year-old player who is a former All-Pro will never earn you a bad grade. But there’s enough risk that this doesn’t earn an A. Giving $30 million guaranteed to a player who was decidedly average in 2017 and benched by the Patriots for the Super Bowl comes with the possibility that he won’t live up to the hype. Ultimately, $12.2 million per year isn’t breaking the bank, though.
Jets sign QB Josh McCown
McCown was fine for the Jets in 13 starts last year. Fine as in good enough, meh, average in the sense of efficient but unexciting. At 39, I have to wonder if the Jets needed to spend $10 million on his deal for 2018. But they did, and even though he’s already been tabbed as the probable Week 1 starter, they’re not done finding quarterbacks.
Packers sign TE Jimmy Graham
For the third year in a row, the Packers are hoping they’ve signed a difference maker tight end in free agency. Safe to say Graham is a big upgrade over Jared Cook and Martellus Bennett. Even miscast with the Seahawks, he managed to haul in 16 touchdown passes over his last two seasons. It’s not clear how much he has left to offer as anything more than an end zone guy, but that’s not a bad thing to specialize in when Aaron Rodgers is throwing you the ball.
Jaguars re-sign WR Marqise Lee
It’s fine. Nothing special, nothing over the top. It’s $18 million guaranteed, and potentially worth up to $38 million. He has picked up more than 1,500 yards in his last two seasons after a disappointing start to his career. Still, the Jaguars are going to have to find another receiver to put above him on the depth chart.
Texans sign CB Aaron Colvin
He was mostly a starter as the Jags slot corner last season and acquitted himself well in that role. It fills a huge need for Houston. Colvin’s only 26 too, and this feels like it could be one of those low-key cornerback signings that turns into a big deal next season.
Cardinals agree to a deal with QB Sam Bradford
On the bright side, it’s a better get than Mike Glennon or A.J. McCarron. It’s probably the best they could’ve hoped for with Keenum and Cousins off the board too. Surely they’ll be in the market for a draftee, because this team needs to finally have a quarterback with in-tact knee ligaments.
Dolphins will sign WR Danny Amendola
Apparently the Dolphins have a plan to win the AFC East with nothing but slot receivers. They agreed to a deal with Albert Wilson earlier on Tuesday. Maybe he’ll move outside ... taking away targets from better receivers like Kenny Stills and Devante Parker.
Washington agreed to a deal with WR Paul Richardson
The former Seahawk receiver was a solid third prize on the market, and Washington landed him with a five-year, $40 million deal, with $20 million guaranteed. Not bad. Injuries have stunted his career, but he managed to play all 16 games with Seattle last year.
Kirk Cousins will sign a fully guaranteed deal with the Vikings
The Kirk Cousins saga has come to an end. He’ll sign a fully guaranteed three-year deal with the Vikings that’s worth about $86 million. This is a win for the Vikings, who upgrade the quarterback position on a team that made it to the NFC Championship last year with Case Keenum behind center. It’s a win for Cousins, too, and potentially for marquee players who come after him. A fully guaranteed deal of this size and scope is unprecedented in the NFL.
He’s an upgrade over Keenum, but how much of one?
Super Bowl 52 hero Trey Burton is headed to the Bears
Ryan Pace must have been watching what the Rams and Eagles did last year. They gave Jared Goff and Carson Wentz loads of talent to work with in their second year in the league. The results? The Eagles won the Super Bowl, and the Rams won the NFC West and made it to the postseason for the first time since 2004.
Now the Bears are shaping their roster for 2018 with plenty of weapons for Mitchell Trubisky to throw to in his second season. Burton has the upside of a top tight end, but he hasn’t produced like one yet.
Maybe we’ll see him toss a trick play touchdown pass to Trubisky this season. It worked in the Super Bowl.
Haloti Ngata will join the Eagles on a one-year deal
A backup DT is never the most exciting signing, but it’s a need for the Eagles. They don’t have a ton of money to spend, and getting Ngata as a stopgap for a manageable price is wise.
49ers to bring in former Giants C/G Weston Richburg
They invested heavily in Jimmy Garoppolo. Now they’re investing in a line that can keep him upright, and it’s money well spent.
Chiefs will sign former Cowboys LB Anthony Hitchens
The Chiefs are having themselves a day. They added a big offensive playmaker in Watkins, and then shored up the other side of the ball with Hitchens. Hitchens is a sound tackler and is solid in coverage. He’s a good addition, but is he really worth the $9 million per year the Chiefs will pay him?
Dolphins to bring in former Chiefs WR Albert Wilson
It’s a three-year, $24 million deal for Wilson. He’s no Jarvis Landry, but he is at least more cost-effective and he should at least be a useful slot guy in Miami’s receiving corps. It’s a lot of money for a receiver who isn’t a No. 1 or No. 2. Like most Dolphins’ moves, it seems like this is a contract they’ll be trying to wiggle out of in a year or two.
Drew Brees will stay with Saints on a two-year, $50 million deal
Sure, it was fun to watch Saints fans freaking out about the Saints taking their sweet time to do anything about Brees. And yes, other teams with cash to spend and a need at quarterback did their due diligence by reaching out to Brees’ agent. But the Saints were always going to re-sign him, and they did so on a team-friendly deal that they can get out of after one year if Brees’ age catches up with him this year.
Bills will add DT Star Lotulelei
We had Lotulelei rated as the best interior defensive lineman available in free agency. The Bills are in a position to build on last season’s success and they’re making the moves to make it happen.
Chiefs will reportedly sign WR Sammy Watkins
It’s not like the Chiefs were hurting for offensive weapons with RB Kareem Hunt, TE Travis Kelce and WR Tyreek Hill. But with second-year QB Patrick Mahomes set to take over the offense, adding a prototypical No. 1 receiver only helps. And with Mahomes’ arm, the Chiefs are expected to have more robust downfield attack, which happens to be an area where Watkins has excelled in the past ... when he’s healthy.
Three years, $30 million guaranteed for Watkins, but that’s the kind of move you can afford to make when you’re quarterback has three years left (possibly four with the fifth-year option on the table) on his rookie deal.
Jaguars will reportedly sign OG Andrew Norwell
Interior line didn’t seem like a massive need for the Jags. They already had a pretty effective run game last year and the fifth-best sack rate, but this makes both of those areas even better. Norwell, according to PFF, was the best pass blocking guard in the league last year. One less excuse for Blake Bortles to stink.
Still, five years at $66.5 million and $30 million fully guaranteed feels like a luxury move.
Bears will reportedly sign WR Allen Robinson
Three years, $42 million with $25 million guaranteed feels like a bargain. Whatever the cost, the Bears couldn’t afford not to bring in an established No. 1 receiver for second-year starting QB Mitchell Trubisky.
Broncos will reportedly sign QB Case Keenum
It’s a massive upgrade for the Broncos quarterback situation, and it still gives them the flexibility to try again with drafting and developing one this year. Keenum thrived in Minnesota with a solid offensive cast around him and a stout defense to make things that much easier. It’s a similar script in Denver. Wide receiver Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders should be thrilled about the move.
It’s a good start to challenging what the Chiefs are doing this offseason with the Watkins signing.
Bills trade OT Cordy Glenn to the Bengals and shuffle draft picks.
Grade: A ... the Bengals did something!
The deal includes a swap of first-round picks, with the Bills getting Cincy’s 12th pick and the Bengals walking away with the 21st pick. The Bengals gave the Bills a sixth-rounder and got a fifth-rounder in the deal too.
Glenn fills a huge need for the Bengals who struggled to protect Andy Dalton, who was sacked 39 times last season. They lost Andrew Whitworth to the Rams in free agency in 2017. But now they have a left tackle again, a good one.
The Bills now have the 12th and 22nd picks in the first round. They could probably find a QB with that first one; Dan Kadar’s latest mock draft had Louisville’s Lamar Jackson still on the board through the 15th pick.
49ers sign CB Richard Sherman.
It’s a three-year deal worth as much as $39 million, which is reasonable for a top-of-the-line starting corner who doesn’t turn 30 until the end of the month. He is coming off a torn Achilles, but expects to ready for camp.
Cornerback was probably the 49ers’ biggest offseason need. Sherman will pair with and mentor Ahkello Witherspoon as the starting corners, and now they can look for depth at the position.
But this move gets an A for the sheer hate, signing the player behind the rivalry between these two teams that will still face each other twice a year.
BROWNS’ BIG TRADIN’ BONANZA!
Grade: B for the Browns; A for the Patriots.
Shelton was a big part of the Browns’ actually good run defense last season. He’s on the last year of his rookie deal too — with the potential for a fifth-year option in 2019 — and carries a meager $2 million cap hit. However, they do have second-year DT Larry Ogunjobi to replace him.
The Patriots get a nice replacement for Alan Branch, who’ll probably be a critical part of another double-digit win campaign this year.
Packers trade CB Damarious Randall to the Browns for QB DeShone Kizer.
The Taylor and Landy deals generated the most excitement, but this was the shrewedest move of the bunch. Hue Jackson ruined Kizer’s tenure with the Browns last season ... a remarkable feat because it usually takes a couple years to get burned out by the Browns. He was destined to get cut. Instead, the Browns got a starting-caliber cornerback out of the deal, and Kizer gets a fresh start.
They also swapped picks in the fourth and fifth rounds of this year’s draft.
Bills trade QB Tyrod Taylor to the Browns for a third-round pick.
Grade: A for both teams.
I don’t know why the Bills have been so anxious to move on from Taylor, but doing it this way is a win for everyone involved. Taylor gets to continue his career as a starter in the NFL. The Browns have a bridge quarterback while they groom a rookie, and the Bills get the 65th pick in the draft to give them two picks in each of the draft’s first three rounds and all the flexibility that comes with it.
The question here is whether Taylor suffers the fate that befalls most Browns quarterbacks. Maybe Todd Haley can drum up some version of the offense he ran in Pittsburgh, a working man’s version of the Steelers’ Three Bs (along with all the three or four head scratching WTF decisions Haley’s good for every week). Taylor’s threat as a runner is something the Browns will have to build into the offense too, which would be especially effective if they do draft Saquon Barkley.
Dolphins trade WR Jarvis Landry to the Browns for a fourth-round pick and a 2019 seventh-round pick.
A reliable, chain-moving slot receiver. His 74.5 career catch rate is nothing to overlook given the quarterbacks he’s had to work with in Miami. According to Pro Football Focus, he generated the sixth most yards from the slot last year and the most in 2016. Cleveland’s going to overpay him if they sign him to a contract extension, but that’s a luxury they can afford.
The Dolphins were pretty clear Landry wasn’t in their plans, so getting a pair of picks for a guy they could’ve just let walk is a plus.
Grade: A for the Eagles. C for the Panthers.
Philadelphia has the smartest front office in the NFL. They don’t get enough credit for it either. Smith was the odd man out in the receiver rotation this year. Instead of just cutting him, the Eagles managed to get a depth corner with two years left on his rookie deal.
Carolina might have signed him for less than the $10 million left on the last two years of his deal. Smith does give the Panthers another speedy downfield threat, a position that thrives with Cam Newton running the offense.
At 32, it’s hard to say just how much Talib has left, but he was still one of the league’s better corners last year. And at $11 million this year ($8 million next year), it’s not a bad deal for the Rams.
The Broncos had the depth at the position, inserting Bradley Roby into the starting job, and needed the cap space.
Rams trade LB Alec Ogletree and a 2019 seventh-round pick to the Giants for a fourth- and sixth-round pick.
Grade: B for the Giants just because his contract is a little pricey for the position. A for the Rams.
Ogletree never found his place in Wade Phillips’ defense. Cutting him wasn’t an option thanks to an extension that made him one of the highest paid linebackers in the league and would have left the Rams with $10 million in dead cap space. Fortunately for them, the Giants needed a coverage linebacker.
Seahawks trade DE Michael Bennett and a seventh-round pick to the Eagles for WR Marcus Johnson and a fifth-round pick.
The Seahawks settled for a little less than other teams were offering (the Patriots had a third-round pick on the table). But good on them for sending Bennett to a team where he’ll be more at home as part of an outstanding defensive line rotation.
Bills sign RB Chris Ivory.
Whyyyyyyyy? The Bills gave Ivory a two-year, $5.5 million contract, which isn’t going to break the bank or anything, but it just doesn’t make much sense as far as assembling a team. They already have a massive amount of money tied up in the position thanks to LeSean McCoy’s $40 million contract. Now, they’re bringing in a backup who hasn’t averaged more than 3.8 yards per carry in his last two seasons and fumbled seven times in that span.
Rams trade DE Robert Quinn and a sixth-round pick to the Dolphins for a fourth- and sixth-round pick.
Quinn’s never been the same player since injuries put him on the shelf for most of 2015 and 2016. Even without his All-Pro form, the Rams will miss the 8.5 sacks he had last season. It’s a big upgrade opposite Cam Wake in Miami’s four-man front, but one that gives the Dolphins more cap work to do, as usual.
Bills sign CB Vontae Davis.
Two years ago, Davis was one of the NFL’s handful of shutdown corners. Injuries have taken a toll since then, but a one-year deal worth $5 million means the Colts don’t necessarily need him to play at that level again. And if he does get back to that level, or close to it, so much the better for Buffalo and Davis.
We’re not going to grade off every little free move that happens this month, but these are the kind of deals that have a way of becoming the best kind of offseason pickups.
Chiefs trade CB Marcus Peters and a sixth-round pick to the Rams for a fourth-round pick and a 2019 second-round pick.
Grade: A for the Rams; C for the Chiefs.
Like I mentioned the other day, the Rams have the most dangerous secondary in the NFL now, thanks to a trio of smart offseason moves. It’s hard to believe the Chiefs couldn’t have gotten more for Peters, or just kept him because he’s a good player with one year left on his rookie deal (and the potential for a fifth-year option).
Chiefs trade QB Alex Smith to Washington for CB Kendall Fuller and a third-round pick.
Grade: A for the Chiefs. B for Washington.
Kansas City had no place for Smith this season and no room to carry that kind of cap hit for Pat Mahomes’ backup. Getting a third-round pick and a starting slot corner with two years left on his rookie deal is a big win.
Washington is a good landing spot for Smith. He slides into a competitive team with a talented cast around him. Still, it’s hard not to think that maybe Washington could’ve handled things better with Kirk Cousins.