Note: Article will likely be updated as more news occurs.
(WookiePost) – With the NFL lockout having dragged on as long as it did, it’s no real surprise that a shortened free agency has hit with a bang, producing a plethora of trades, signing, and releases. Here’s an analysis of some of the biggest moves so far..
Ochocinco to Patriots: As expected, the New England Patriots signed a veteran wide receiver. Albeit a flashy one, the move gives Tom Brady another target to throw to. Last year, Chad had a pretty lackluster season compared to his previous 6 Pro-Bowl caliber ones. However, with the move, Ochocinco gets his wish to compete on a championship-caliber team. The Patriots had tried to bring in Torry Holt last year, but things didn’t work out when Holt became injured before the regular season began.
(Two of the largest moves in free agency involve two former Eagles quarters).
Kevin Kolb Goes to Arizona: Larry Fitzgerald has his quarterback in Kevin Kolb. The former Eagles quarter just signed a 5 year/63 million dollar deal with the Arizona Cardinals. Kolb started for the Eagles last season but lost his spot after Michael Vick played exceptionally well after Kolb became injured in during the Eagle’s first game. However, when Vick got injured, Kolb filled back in at the quarterback position, playing well at times. That wasn’t enough though, Vick later reclaimed the starting QB spot and continued to play great football, Vick earning his 4th trip to the Pro Bowl and winning the prestigious Comeback Player of the Year award.
The Arizona Cardinals were a bad, bad football team last year, earning a 5-11 record without a solid quarterback. It’s really no surprise the Cardinals sunk so low after two playoff seasons (one in which they made the Super Bowl). Their team’s leader Kurt Warner had retired and Matt Leinart wasn’t working out. Kolb must now fill Warner’s shoes, and those are big shoes (Warner is a 2 time league MVP and future hall of famer). Meanwhile, Kolb has a pretty solid, actually scratch that, VERY, VERY solid wide receiver to throw to in Larry Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald put up good numbers last year despite the Cardinal’s lack of strength at the quarterback position.
McNabb to the Vikings – After an injury plagued season for former Vikings QB Brett Favre, the Vikings drafted Florida State QB Christian Ponder. However, like lots of teams do, the Vikings quickly sought a veteran QB to mentor the rookie. The Redskins have shipped McNabb to the Vikings. McNabb didn’t have the greatest year with the Redskins last year, but don’t give McNabb all the blame, it’s not like the Redskins gave him much to work with.
Look for Donovan to start, and keeping starting as long as he plays well or until he is injured, eventually paving the way for rookie Christian Ponder to become the team’s future.
Tavaris Jackson to Seattle – In what sounds like a boneheaded move, the Seattle Seahawks have signed former Vikings QB Tavaris Jackson, and it’s expected that Jackson will become Seattle’s starting QB after they traded Matt Hasselback to the Tennessee Titans. Jackson over Hasselback? Common Man! Perhaps the Seahawks are planning another QB signing (if they’re smart, which doesn’t sound like they are). They also have Charlie Whitehurst on their roster (another unproven veteran). Earlier reports involving a Matt Leinart/Pete Carroll reunion turned out to be false. Despite sounding negative, this is great news for Jackson, who will get a great opportunity to try to prove himself once again.
Sydney Rice to Seattle – Former Vikings wideout Sydney Rice prospered during the 2009 season with Brett Favre as his QB, posting 1312 yards, 8 TD’s, and making the Pro Bowl. However, he was injured during most of last year (following hip surgery. The fact is that Brett Favre at QB went a long way towards helping Rice improve at his position. It’ll be interesting to see if Rice can put up large numbers in 2011, especially with Tavaris Jackson possibly being his QB (yet again..). If you were a wide receiver, who’d you rather play with, McNabb or Tavaris Jackson? (just something to think about). Perhaps the Vikings should have tried harder to keep the free agent Rice.
Albert Haynesworth to the Pats – This is a trade that really, really makes since and here’s why: The Patriots have proven success taking in somewhat troubled players (think Randy moss, even though that didn’t work long term). The entire Patriot teams’ mentality is far to strong to be hindered by any of Haynesworth’s possible antics. In New England, the defensive tackle will have the opportunity to resurrect his career and play for a serious contender. Besides, the Patriots got a pretty good deal on this one.
Reggie Bush to Miami – The Saints have sent running back Reggie Bush to South Beach, where (like LeBron) he’ll have a chance to display his talent. Reggie Bush never really lived up to the hype in New Orleans. However, he was injured quite a bit. That’s not to say he isn’t a great player. He had some amazing games with the Saints (when he was healthy), especially as a return player, plus he’s already got the pressure of winning a Super Bowl off his back. Reggie Bush will now have a chance to become a more prominent player in Miami. The Dolphins’ backfield (maybe not for too long) features aging running backs Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams (also a former Saint).
Where Will Plaxico Go? It’s with the Jets!– It’s been reported that former Giants Super Bowl hero wide receiver Plaxico Burress will likely sign with one of two of his former teams, either the New York Football Giants or the Steelers. Honestly, it doesn’t make too much sense for the Giants to sign him, the Giants already have Smith, Nicks, Manningham (3 great wideouts). So, right now, i’d give the Steelers the upper-hand as being more likely to receive Plaxico’s services. However, if one of those teams don’t get him, i’d throw St. Louis and Chicago into the mix. UPDATE: Plexico is returning to NYC. However, this time not with the Giants, he’s with the Jets. With the move, the Jets aren’t expected to keep wide receiver Braylon Edwards. The move gives Jets QB Mark Sanchez a new deep threat along with Santonio Holmes.
Hasselback to Tennessee – Former Seahawks QB Matt Hasselback has been shipped to the Tennessee Titans. It’s a similar move to the McNabb/Vikings trade, yet I’d suspect Hasselback has less a chance to become and remain a starter than McNabb. I’d expect Jake Locker to get some starts at least by mid season.
Leinart Re-signs with Texans – Perhaps it sounds like Matt’s content being a backup in the league. Once highly touted and for a short time the Cardinal’s starter, the former Cardinals QB was eventually replaced by Kurt Warner, who lead the Cardinals to the playoffs twice (one of which was to the Super Bowl. After Warner retired, Leinart didn’t really work out for the Cardinals, so he signed with the Texans last season. With Matt Schaub playing great football as the Texan’s starter, it’s unlikely that Leinart will see action, yet again (unless there’s an injury).
Jets Re-sign Santonio Holmes – This is a move that makes sense for the Jets. However, it’s interesting to see what the Jets will do with Braylon Edwards. Holmes started out last season suspended, but returned to put up respectable numbers. Look for the former Super Bowl MVP to put up larger numbers next year.
Vince Young Goes to Philly – The Eagles just picked up former Titans QB Vince Young who will settle into a role as Vick’s backup. The news makes sense for the Eagles, who were desperately in need of a reliable backup following Kevin Kolb’s trade to Arizona. It’s more important for the Eagles to have a more solid backup QB than other teams, considering Vick’s play-style leaves him prone to possible injuries. The move will also give to QB a chance to learn under a solid system lead by head coach Andy Reid.
Cowboys Release Roy Williams, he signs with Chicago – In a not so surprising move, the Dallas Cowboys have released wideout Roy Williams. The once highly touted Williams never really worked out in Dallas (who received him from a trade with Detroit in 2009). Perhaps the Cowboys should have kept T.O. after all (whose put up decent numbers under hard circumstances with two different teams). Meanwhile, the Cowboys will try to make the young Dez Bryant into an elite NFL receiver. UPDATE: Williams has now signed with Chicago, a team that way in desperate need of a decent target for Cutler. However, even with Williams, Chicago still lacks depth at the position. Williams never really lived up to the hype following his 2006 pro-bowl season with the Detroit Lions.
Cowboys Release Marion Barber, he signs with Chicago – Barber had a lackluster year with the Cowboys in 2010. However, it’s important to note that the entire Cowboys team struggled in 2010. Felix Jones is now the go to guy in the backfield for Dallas. It shouldn’t take too long for Barber to find another team though. As far the Cowboys, it will be interesting to see watch QB Tony Romo (who spend majority of last season injured). UPDATE: Marion Barber has signed a deal with the Chicago Bears. He’s the second Cowboy (the other is Roy Williams) to go to Chicago. In Chicago, Barber will backup Matt Forte, who rushed for 1,069 yards and 6 TD’s last season.
Eagles Sign Nnamdi Asomugha – All the sudden, the Eagles find themselves loaded at the cornerback position with Asomugha, the newly traded Domique Rodgers-Cromartie and Eagles veteran Asante Samuel. Will the Eagles keep Samuel? Asomugha going to Philadelphia came as a bit of a surprise. The Jets and Cowboys were at one point thought to be the main suitors.
There’s still lots of news to be made in NFL free agency. In the mean time, start planning your fantasy football teams!