1. Jacksonville: The Jaguars gave $37 million guaranteed and $99.5 million overall to pick up three defensive starters: linebacker Paul Poslusnzy, linebacker Clint Session, and safety Dawan Landry.
The Jaguars overpaid because it’s “go time” in their three-year rebuilding process. G.M. Gene Smith has drafted well, but paying big signing bonuses to middling starters rarely pays off. The three players above will never make a Pro Bowl and they are all getting paid like stars. That creates salary structure problems now and in the future.
It’s telling that the Ravens didn’t try to keep Landry. Former Ravens defensive coordinator Rex Ryan didn’t try to bring him to New York. He’s just another safety, and those guys were out there for one-year, $3 million contracts.
2. Washington: There is a misconception that the Redskins didn’t spend. They spent plenty, just not well.
Stephen Bowen was a backup in Dallas and got more than $10 million guaranteed. Barry Cofield was a good, not great rotation player in New York. He got paid $12.5 million guaranteed on a big six-year deal.
Oh, and John Beck is still the starting quarterback. This is happening. He has the worst combination of wideouts and running backs in football to support him.
3. Raiders: They kept the wrong guys, for too much. Cornerback Stanford Routt got more-per-year in March than our No. 2 overall free agent Johnathan Joseph got from the Texans. Oakland spent so much to retain Richard Seymour, Michael Huff, and Kamerion Wimbley that they couldn’t afford to keep Zach Miller, their most consistent offensive player.
The offensive line oddly got short shrift and looks like a mess. Deals with Jared Gaither and Mario Henderson blew up because of weight problems and failed physicals. I like what coach Hue Jackson is selling, but his front office did him no favors: The Raiders lost their best player (Nnamdi Asomugha), best offensive lineman (Robert Gallery), and offensive leader (Miller).
Are the Colts vulnerable?
The Colts were more active in free agency than usual, taking low-cost gambles on former first-round picks like Tommie Harris and Jamaal Anderson. Still, there is a sense this team is vulnerable with Peyton Manning sidelined following another neck surgery.
The Jaguars believe they are ready to compete. We like Houston’s chances of emerging better.
Wade Phillips has provided immediate results everywhere he’s hired as a defensive coordinator. The cupboard wasn’t bare in Houston; there is enough to talent here to be average right away. Average would be a big improvement for the Texans defense, and it would allow a primed offense to win games.
Rolling the dice
1. Patriots acquire Albert Haynesworth: Adding Chad Ochocinco will be good for Patriots writers, but Haynesworth matters more to the Patriots’ success. Haynesworth and Vince Wilfork could wreak havoc on opposing offenses if Good Albert shows in New England. Bill Belichick hasn’t had enough premier talent to work with in recent years and Haynesworth’s talent is without question.
Nothing would surprise here. Haynesworth could be the most valuable player on the entire defense or he could get cut in training camp. In Bill they trust.
2. Seahawks sign Sidney Rice: Tarvaris Jackson isn’t really a risk; he’s a stop-gap solution at quarterback with a limited ceiling. Rice is something far different.
The fifth-year player has exactly one productive season as a pro. He’s struggled with injuries and he’s also flashed top-five receiver skills. The Seahawks have repeatedly wasted money on other teams’ wideouts. For the money Rice is making, he has to play like a star.
3. 49ers stick with Alex Smith, sign Braylon Edwards: San Francisco is betting an entire season on the belief that Harbaugh can get something from Smith that previous coaches haven’t. The 49ers are also betting they can control a player in Edwards that even Rex Ryan didn’t want.
4. Jets sign Plaxico Burress: After two years in prison, the Jets signed Plaxico Burress without even seeing him in person. They better hope he doesn’t need a year to get his legs back like Michael Vick did.
5. Giants go young on offensive line: Shaun O’Hara and Rich Seubert were leaders for the Giants during their Super Bowl run, and now they are looking for work. The moves make sense, but that doesn’t make this transition any easier for Big Blue.
PFT: The manner in which Jay-Z's sports agency recruited Jets QB Geno Smith is under scrutiny due to specific NFLPA rules.
The Jets take off
Aug. 2, 2011: New York Jets GM Mike Tannenbaum says he's pleased with the moves the team made at the start of the free agency period, discusses their expectations for Plaxico Burress, talks about other key players on the New York roster and more.
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