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2019 Free Agency Discussion

2019 Free Agency Discussion
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

This is our open thread to discuss all the free agent movement, trades, cuts, and other news for the first few days of free agency, starting with the "legal tampering period" that begins at noon Eastern on March 11.

Later today we'll begin updating this thread with announcements of moves.

These deals are with players who were cut this last week, so they are not subject to waiting for the official start of free agency on Wednesday.

Detroit signs WR Danny Amendola (1 year, $4.5 million).
Philadelphia signs DT Malik Jackson (3 years, $30 million).

These deals are with new free agents and cannot be official before Wednesday.

Oakland signs OT Trent Brown (4 years, $66 million, $36.75 million guaranteed, making him highest-paid OL in NFL history).
San Francisco signs LB Kwon Alexander (4 years, $54 million, $27 million guaranteed).
Washington signs S Landon Collins (6 years, $84 million).
Detroit signs OLB Trey Flowers (5 years, reported $16-17 million per year).
Detroit signs CB Justin Coleman (4 years, $36 million).

Tampa Bay trades WR DeSean Jackson and 2020 seventh-round pick to Philadelphia for 2019 sixth-round pick, then sign Jackson to new 3-year, $27 million contract.

Buffalo signs RB Frank Gore (1 year, $2 million).
Buffalo signs TE Tyler Kroft.
Detroit signs TE Jesse James.
Jacksonville signs QB Nick Foles (4 years, $88 million, $50.1 million guaranteed).
New York Jets sign WR Jamison Crowder (3 years, $28.5 million, $17 million guaranteed).
Tennessee re-signs SS Kenny Vaccaro (4 years, $26 million, $11.5 million guaranteed).
Tennessee signs WR Adam Humphries (4 years, $36 million).


Buffalo signs C Mitch Morse.
Denver signs CB Kareem Jackson (3 years, $33 million, $23 million guaranteed).
Indianapolis signs WR Devin Funchess (1 year, maximum value of $13 million with all incentives).
Kansas City signs FS Tyrann Mathieu (3 years, $42 million).


Chicago signs RB Mike Davis (2 years, $6 million).
Cincinnati re-signs TE C.J. Uzomah (3 years, $18 million).
Minnesota signs DT Shamar Stephen (3 years).
Chicago signs CB Buster Skrine (3 years, $16.5 million).
Oakland signs S Lamarcus Joyner (4 years).
Denver signs RT Ja'Wuan James (4 years, $52 million, highest salary ever for a right tackle).

UPDATE MARCH 12 9:30 AM (Baltimore LB edition)

Arizona signs LB Terrell Suggs (1 year, $7 million).
Green Bay signs LB Za'Darius Smith (terms unknown).
New York Jets sign LB C.J. Mosley (5 years, $85 million, $51 million guaranteed).

Cleveland signs DT Sheldon Richardson (3 years, $36 million).
Green Bay signs S Adrian Amos.
Green Bay signs OLB Preston Smith.
Houston signs FS Tashaun Gipson.
New Orleans re-signs QB Teddy Bridgewater.


Anthony Barr changes his mind, will re-sign with Minnesota instead of going to the Jets (5 years, $67.5 million, $33 million guaranteed).

Arizona signs LB Jordan Hicks (4 years, $36 million, $20 guaranteed).
Buffalo signs WR John Brown (3 years, $27 million).
Buffalo signs WR Cole Beasley (4 years, $29 million).
Green Bay signs G/T Billy Turner (4 years, $28 million).
Los Angeles Chargers sign LB Thomas Davis (2 years, $20.5 million).
Miami re-signs WR DeVante Parker.
New Orleans signs RB Latavius Murray (4 years, $14.4 million).


As discussed here, the Giants are trading WR Odell Beckham to the Browns for a first-round pick, a third-rounder, and S Jabrill Peppers.

In other trade news, the Chiefs are trading edge rusher Dee Ford to the 49ers for a 2020 second-round pick. The 49ers are then signing Ford to a five-year, $87.5 million contract.

Carolina signs C Matt Paradis (3 years, $27 million)
Tennessee signs G Rodger Saffold (4 years, $44 million)
Tennessee signs DE Cameron Wake (3 years, $23 million)
Atlanta signs G James Carpenter and G Jamon Brown
Buffalo signs G Spencer Long (3 years, $13 million)
Arizona signs G J.R. Sweezy
Tampa Bay signs S/LB Deone Bucannon
Houston signs CB Bradley Roby (1 year, $10 million)
Giants sign S Antoine Bethea
Tampa Bay signs P Bradley Pinion
Chicago signs WR/RB/KR Cordarrelle Patterson


Word broke late Tuesday night that RB Le'Veon Bell was signing with the Jets for four years, $52 million. The news caused great debate online concerning Bell's decision to sit out the 2018 season. On the one hand, Bell won't make any more per year than he would have in the deal the Steelers offered him, which he turned down, and by sitting out the year he forfeited the $14.5 million he would have made for playing on the franchise tag. On the other hand, Bell's new deal includes $35 million guaranteed, more than twice the guaranteed money Pittsburgh was offering. So it is a more secure deal for the player.


Baltimore signs S Earl Thomas (4 years, $55 million) and RB Mark Ingram (3 years, $15 million)
Raiders sign WR Tyrell Williams
Washington re-signs RB Adrian Peterson (2 years, $8 million). Peterson turns 34 in eight days. If he runs for just a thousand yards in each of those two years, he'll move into the top five in career rushing yards (though he'll still be behind Frank Gore, who has a good shot at passing Walter Payton for second place behind Emmitt Smith).


133 comments, Last at 18 Mar 2019, 8:48am

1 Re: 2019 Free Agency Discussion

I think this tweet is appropriate for here:


Also... haven't the Raiders taken five OTs in their last two drafts, including a first rounder they massively overreached for?

What's the point in having a ton of cap space if you're just going to use it stupidly?

2 Re: 2019 Free Agency Discussion

Trent Brown is young and played awesome in 2018, albeit with a great OL coach and quick passing QB in a quick passing offense.

However, assuming an even split among the 4 years (which will not be case, but let's stay simple), in 2019 he will also count for around 8,77% of the cap; while the projected NE's Offensive Line will be on the book for 12,25% of the cap, all together.

3 Re: 2019 Free Agency Discussion

I've not studied the Raiders offense in detail but I think that's what Gruden aspiires to. Short passing game, QB gets rid of ball quickly into hands of shifty playmakers which is another reason Antonio Brown is a good pickup for their scheme.

6 Re: 2019 Free Agency Discussion

If that's the case, shouldn't a team want to save money on its OL? It seems like spending big money on OTs should be a better value for a team like the Rams, who run a bunch of long-developing downfield route concepts. If the QB is getting rid of the ball quickly, it doesn't really matter if his OTs are great.

10 Re: 2019 Free Agency Discussion

Pottsville, yes - that's exactly what I would have thought. It's why as someone else posted, the Pats only spend 12% of their cap on the entire line.

But an alternative thought does occur about how much time Tom Brady got to throw in the Super Bowl against the d-line of Donald, Suh and others.

Plus I believe Gruden wants to run the ball.

So all in all, I don't know. Perhaps someone else can chime in with an answer?

13 Re: 2019 Free Agency Discussion

My answer is that any investment in the offensive line when your OL coach is Tom Cable is probably not going to work out as well as you had hoped, especially when it's making a one-year wonder in a favorable system with a legendary OL coach the highest paid O Lineman in history.

Everything about the Raiders amuses me. Gruden is a buffoon. Carr won't throw the ball downfield. They fired the best personnel executive they've ever had. And now we're supposed to take them seriously because they just threw money at a malcontent WR? Does nobody remember Carr's game charts from last season? If all his targets are within five yards of the LOS who cares? If the Patriots can manage to get Edelman, Gronk, and three replacement level players all wide open within five yards of the LOS on the same play, pay their entire OL only slightly more than Brown and churn their receivers every few weeks and still end up with the most efficient offense in football, what on earth makes us think that paying Brown and Brown all that money is necessary?

And now of course they're saying they're too cash poor to contend for LeVeon Bell. (Not that I think he's a great investment either...) If there's a disgruntled former Steeler that fits their QB and OL quality of play, it's him, not Brown.

18 Re: 2019 Free Agency Discussion

Yes, this is two years running where the Pats have lost their LT in free agency, to a team that made him the highest paid OL ever, each time. How well did that work out for the Giants last year?

Meanwhile, Belichick takes in extra 3rd round picks in compensation.

Teams would do better to try to throw that money at Scarnecchia instead, to pry him away from the Pats. And it wouldn’t count against their cap. (Though he might not want to. He already retired once).

20 Re: 2019 Free Agency Discussion

"Teams would do better to try to throw that money at Scarnecchia instead, to pry him away from the Pats. And it wouldn’t count against their cap."

Bite your tongue! Part of Scarnecchia's value is that he is good both as a coach and a judge of draft talent.

I'm interested to see how Brown does. How much of Brown's performance was due to Scar/Brady/Belichick/scheme in a way that's not transferrable? I agree with Dave that the Tom Cable factor is key.

58 Re: 2019 Free Agency Discussion

I could see this having a real impact. The Jags were 5-5 in games where they held the opposition to 20 or fewer points last season, and 2-6 in games decided by one score. Going from Blake Bortles to Foles makes them a contender. That plus a healthy Fournette makes them dangerous.

73 Re: 2019 Free Agency Discussion

The "spending $88 million" is the key here. The Jags signing "not Blake Bortles" to be their quarterback is a significant upgrade and makes sense on the face of it. But who were they bidding against with Foles? They had to get rid of 3 decent to good players to make room for his bloated salary. It would have made way more sense to try to sign Teddy Bridgewater (if he was interested) for a lot cheaper and keep guys like Malik Jackson.

12 Re: 2019 Free Agency Discussion

I get that he's immortal and loves football, but I can't think of any reason why Frank Gore should take a "paltry" $2m to go suffer through playing in Buffalo.

Also, this is just another move that makes it feel like the three crappy teams in the AFC East are just carousel-ing through each others' retreads in the world's worst attempt to play catchup with the Patriots.

Bills hire fired Jets coach
Jets hire fired Dolphins coach
Bills hire crappy former Patriots OC
Bills hire aging Dolphins RB


And before all the Pats fans come after me again for daring to suggest that the rest of their division sucks, please everybody note that I AM KIDDING.

Speaking of intradivisional moves, the Landon Collins deal baffles me. I get that that's a HUGE amount of money for a safety (does this mean that Earl Thomas is now going to demand 15 per?) but damn... why would ANYONE want to go play for Washington?

Also, he would've been a damn good fit for the Colts, and I was really hoping that'd happen (but for more like 10m per...)

17 Re: 2019 Free Agency Discussion

Dave, you're a bitter man. :-) The Colts are getting better. Their QB looks to have recovered finally. They have boatloads of cap space. They're gonna make the playoffs. Other teams are signing away the Pats' free agents. The Pats lost their best pass rusher and their LT is a rookie coming off a serious injury. You should be happy! :-)

24 Re: 2019 Free Agency Discussion

I am happy! I'll just feel confident when my team gets a real pass rush that can be trusted to slow a title-caliber offense. The healthy QB and godsend of a coach made me extremely happy last year, even as they were 1-5.

(Actually, thinking back on that... the Patriots game was their only loss of those 5 - heck, of the 6, since the 10-1 streak had only that freakishly awful shutout to the Jags where they were only one play away too - that they didn't have a realistic shot to win. Now that they've gotten more comfortable and confident, they're not just in the playoff conversation, but in the playoff bye conversation, even if they don't improve.

But against a real QB they'd still be in trouble. They quietly got a damn easy slate of them last year, with only Brady and Mahomes (Wentz was in his first game back) standing out. Heck, the conversation for third best QB the Colts played last year might be Derek Carr vs. Marcus Mariota. Or Deshaun Watson, I guess, depending on your opinion of him.

These next two years will be interesting, though. I hated that they did the dance of switching from 3-4 to 4-3 and blowing up the personnel (the Hankins deal was a waste and I loved Henry Anderson) but they did great in year one under Eberflus. As the personnel improves, maybe they can turn into a legitimately scary well-balanced team. (Not really sure how paying Funchess and Chester Rogers to drop passes is going to help much, but hard to get upset about 1-year prove it deals for non #1 WRs unless they take snaps away from a promising rookie or something.)

And as for the Pats, I'm sure I'm quite like you in being somewhat less than scared of the dropoff in pass rush and pass protection next year. I'm sure they'll be just fine.

107 Re: 2019 Free Agency Discussion

When the Colts were 1-5, I was not despondent at all. I thought they were doing way better than I expected and were pretty promising, given Mack's injury, Costanzo's injury, and the youth starting--the first month they had like 6 rookies starting! As Dave indicated, the Pats game was the only "complete" loss--a typical Colts/Pats Game for the past 6-7 years--misery with a few flashes of what might be stomped to cinders by what it is. Some frustrating losses, yes, but they were just kids. But ignoring the W/L and looking at the actual output... I was really optimistic. Not playoffs optimistic, but surely 2019 optimistic. And they they went on the run. So now I am a lot more expectant.

The OL was very un-Colts-like and having Howard Mudd back can only help. They need to generate pressure.
With three picks in the first 60, I'd like to see a top-36 edge rusher and WR and CB, in any order (although that would be my preferred order). Unless they sign a B+ or A- free agent in one of those roles. I'd consider Funchess a seasoned, big, veteran B quality FA signing. Then again, so was Ebron and he turned into an A- (some key drops). Maybe Reich and Luck can squeeze the most out of Funchess like they did Ebron. Maybe having Hilton and Ebron/Doyle (and Hines) to worry about in the passing game will help Funchess open up and blossom. Maybe he just racks up 600 yards as the #2/#3 WR while K'Neal Harry slowly supplants him by the time the playoffs come around. (As a Pac-12 guy, Harry impressed me last season.)

Speaking of Pac-12, I'd also love to see, but don't think we really need him, Ben Burr-Kirven from UW (go Huskies!). That LB was literally everywhere in every game--I swear he was making tackles one play, then telestrating the next for the TV crew, then handing out towels in the men's washroom the next, before tipping a pass on the next. Basically Darius Leonard for the Huskies. I don't think he's gotten much press this spring, but his game film should put him in the range of picks #30-#50; I suspect he'll be high a third rounder (65-70) and a bargain for anybody who nabs him there.

23 Re: 2019 Free Agency Discussion

Am I the only one old enough to remember Buffalo acquiring Pats ex-starting QB ?

Imagine that trading your ex-starting QB to a divisional rival for a 1st round pick.

For 8 games Bledsoe looked like a god ... then it all crumbled.

25 Re: 2019 Free Agency Discussion

Nope. I remember being in my cousin's med school apartment in Syracuse watching the local broadcast in awe as they killed the clock on that 31-0 Lawyer Malloy revenge game that made the region all optimistic for two months. The hideous navy uniforms... the Sam Adams SI cover... the inevitable crashing down to earth.

Ugh, I'm old.

30 Re: 2019 Free Agency Discussion

Of course 2003 was Bledsoe's second season with the Bills ... the Pats couldn't get rid of him quick enough after the SB victory.

But I guess there was reason for optimism in Buffalo. After all they were still only three years since their last playoff appearance. The Pats had only gone 9-7 in 2002 - which is currently their last single-digit winning season - how crazy is that. The Jets were a wildcard team with Chad Pennington playing very efficiently.

At that moment, Belichick was still the average coach from Cleveland and his Pats record was 5-11, 10-6, 9-7 and with SB XXXVII having been delayed by 9-11 everybody loved that a team called the Patriots had won it.

How different that time was.

44 Re: 2019 Free Agency Discussion

Just a correction, the Pats were 11-5 in 2001, not 10-6.

But yea, what a different time. I remember rooting for the scrappy underdog Patriots against the heavily-favored juggernaut St. Louis Rams. I also remember Brady being considered a game-managing dinker and dunker until at least 2004.

55 Re: 2019 Free Agency Discussion

Interesting, because as a Peyton Manning fan I very clearly remember being told from all angles in 2004 that Brady was already the GOAT because of his rings and that Manning was a choker.

Watching the McGinest game (11/2003) now, 15 years later, is a fascinating study in quarterback-centered roster building and game planning.

I remember that super bowl clearly. I, too, was very pro-Patriot.

60 Re: 2019 Free Agency Discussion

Well, '04 was the first season that Brady's Y/A went north of 7.0. I guess that, combined with the RINGZ, and the Patriots being the Colts' post-season kryptonite was enough to sway all the people who seem to forget that football is 11-on-11, not a pistols at dawn duel between quarterbacks.

109 Re: 2019 Free Agency Discussion

Don't bring up the McGinest game; just don't go there.

It's possible that his "injury" with a minute left and Indy surging downfield tipped the scales for that Pats win, therefore HFA in the playoffs, a possibly SB appearance, and a SB win.
One freakin' timeout that the team did not have. That's a big returnon investment, a high leverage play.

Of course, he made two great plays on that drive. One was falling down, the other tackling Edge in the backfield two plays after the "injury."

One thing I always held against Manning was his predictability. Not that his choice of calls when he audibled was bad, far from it. But it was obvious to me--If I was the defensive coordinator, I'd think "we're stacking the box, but we know you'll audible to a pass and that's our plan." I always felt that early on, even if it cost them a couple drives around midfield (where Hunter Smith could punt them out of danger), he should make what appeared to be an unwise audible, or "refuse" to change a play call, or quick-snap the ball with 20 seconds left instead of 3 like always, just to make the defense uncertain what he'll do when he sees X in the fourth quarter, with the game on the line. Because he was so good at, and comfortable with,and successful with, his ability to diagnose the D, he'd always wait until the D showed its hand and snap the ball with 2 seconds left. Everybody on the planet knew that. SO why not surprise them once in a while and take a chance, even if the play fails?

"Hey they're stacking the box. Guys, I'm gonna fake audible the shit out of this, and we'll run it anyway. Because win or lose on this play, it will pay dividends later in the game. Papa John's on me if we lose."

Just my two cents.

31 Re: 2019 Free Agency Discussion

Re: Frank Gore ... he's about 500 yards behind Barry Sanders for 3rd on the all-time rushing list.

He probably idolised Sanders growing up so wants to get ahead of him.

And why pass up that opportunity? You're a long time retired.

46 Re: 2019 Free Agency Discussion

I didn't understand Washington paying him that much money. I can totally understand Collins signing the contract. This is probably his only time to ever sign a big FA contract. Even if it doesn't work it, he's set for life if he's smart about it.

50 Re: 2019 Free Agency Discussion

The Bills have sucked for the entire time. Both the Jets and Fins have had their moments, but neither has been more than good during a couple short stretches. The Jets had the Sanchize as their QB during their best couple years. (Honorable mention to Chad Pennington who managed to QB both the Jets and Fins to decent seasons.) The AFC East has still mostly sucked for the Brady/Belichick era.

57 Re: 2019 Free Agency Discussion

Dude, don't bother. You'll never win that argument (even if you're not even arguing). No matter how you define the word suck, no matter what qualifiers like "mostly" you use, and no matter how many different (easily researchable) ways you can illustrate that there hasn't been one single top-tier team fielded this century by any of those other three teams, you will still never convince a Pats fan that it has provided even a 1% chance of an advantage for them. And if you don't genuflect quite deeply enough, even while congratulating them and declaring the best team of tall time, they'll still come after you. (And if you're too outspoken they might even try to get you fired from your job.)

Anyway, this is one of my favorite articles of the week:


The Jets and Bills are throwing heaps of money around, the Dolphins are pretty much tanking at this point, and meanwhile the Pats just let a pass rusher, the new highest paid OT in history, and quite possibly their reliable kicker, walk without a care, and instead of actively pursuing replacements this week, their coach/GM is lounging around in Barbados.

Which is just awesome... there's probably nobody I admire more than that man, and this just adds to that.

But it's not the behavior of someone that seems particularly worried about what his competition is up to this week. Which should tell you something. (It should also tell about 25 other NFL GMs and owners something too... but apparently some people never learn.)

61 Re: 2019 Free Agency Discussion

I assume this is directed at my comment above. I explicitly stated that their division does currently "suck", and undeniably this has aided their Super Bowl runs in the most recent seasons. But without wanting to rake over tired old ground, it has been shown objectively many times on these boards that the Patriots have not had an especially easy ride in their division over the entirety of the Belichick years.

And I'm not even a Pats fan! I only prefer to try and stay objective on these matters.

This topic, for some reason, clearly touches a nerve. You should step away from the keyboard. Insulting/alienating customers of the website you are employed by is not a good look.

63 Re: 2019 Free Agency Discussion

Any Pats fans who don’t think they have benefited from weak competition is delusional. The Pats aren’t the only team to benefit from a weak division. The Packers clearly were helped by being in the same division as the Matt Millen Lions and a usually mediocre Bears team. Manning’s Colts also benefited from the usually weak AFC South during his time there.

A weak division doesn’t lessen what the Patriots accomplished. Those SB titles and appearances are amazing and they’ve easily had the longest period of sustained excellence in my lifetime. Only the Tom Landry Cowboys come close.

66 Re: 2019 Free Agency Discussion

I'd put the 49ers in at least the same ballpark too, no?

You should probably duck, though. Just saying so based on my own experience... a lot of people take "benefitted from" to mean "wouldn't have done it without."

Which is not what anyone [sane] is saying, of course...

92 Re: 2019 Free Agency Discussion

Repeating myths again and again does not make them any truer.

2008-2017, the AFC East was better than league average against the Patriots in terms of win-loss percentage. However much the AFC East "sucked" (hint: they didn't) the Patriots didn't gain any extra wins from it. Last year was a different story, as most would agree. Of course, other teams benefited from weak divisions last year, so weak divisions might have had no net effect on the playoff seeding. Regardless, the Patriots beat a pretty tough slate of teams in the playoffs, so it hardly matters.

Really, given the AFC East's slightly above average strength in the 2008-2017, we cannot in honesty say the Patriots were gifted any extra wins there. The only viable concern is the lack of any particularly strong AFC East teams to steal a division title from the Patriots.

The problem with that theory is that the Patriots won their division with 14 wins twice, 13 wins twice, and 12 wins four times. 13 or more wins always (in this period) takes the division. 12 wins takes the division about 80% of the time, so the Patriots going 4-0 at that win total is unremarkable. You could wish for a division loss at that level, but it would be less likely than what happened. Taking the division with 10 wins (as they did once) is slightly fortunate. That's more than balanced by getting kicked out of the playoffs entirely with 11 wins in 2008. That's insanely rare.

It comes down to this: the whining we're hearing is really a complaint that the Patriots didn't lose the division while going 12-4 at least one time in four tries.

It's a pretty feeble complaint.

102 Re: 2019 Free Agency Discussion

FWIW, here is the difference between each team's divisional winning percentage and non-divisional winning percentage (2009-2018):

Colts 0.203
Jaguars 0.120
Cowboys 0.097
Texans 0.070
Eagles 0.070
Rams 0.052
Steelers 0.045
49ers 0.032
Ravens 0.030
Packers 0.030
Raiders 0.030
Patriots 0.023
Lions 0.010
Broncos 0.007
Seahawks 0.002
Chiefs -
Dolphins -
Falcons (0.003)
Saints (0.013)
Buccaneers (0.017)
Bengals (0.033)
Panthers (0.042)
Cardinals (0.045)
Giants (0.047)
Bills (0.057)
Vikings (0.067)
Redskins (0.075)
Chargers (0.077)
Browns (0.082)
Bears (0.083)
Jets (0.087)
Titans (0.093)

106 Re: 2019 Free Agency Discussion

Nice. You did shift one year to include the year everyone agrees the AFC East was weak, which dilutes the point about the division prior to this bad season. But it still shows the general point. Even including 2018 and excluding 2008, most divisions were easier for someone in the division than the AFC East was for the Patriots.

On the other end of the table, it’s no surprise to see the Jets near the bottom here. They play in a very tough division indeed.

123 Re: 2019 Free Agency Discussion

Just showing the data. There was talk about the Patriots record in the division vs. out of it. I just wanted to see how they compare to the rest of the league in that regard. (They are ever so slightly better than average.)

125 Re: 2019 Free Agency Discussion

You conveniently ignored the stretch when they had 4 SB appearances including three SB wins over seven years. When you cherry-pick stats, it's little wonder everyone ignores your argument. Either that, or you don't think 2001-2007 meant anything. Personally, I thought they were pretty amazing during those years.

111 Re: 2019 Free Agency Discussion

I won't deny the overall weakness of the AFCS for most of Manning's tenure (having an expansion team to kick around sure helps), but there were 4 or 5 years that the division put forward two playoff teams. Jags twice, Titans 2 or 3 times, including McNair's (cough) co-MVP season. I think that was 2003, when the Titans really challenged the Pats in arctic weather in the playoffs. Well, challenged more than expected, anyway, given it was southerners playing in a freezer.

Now without looking at records, I'd guess that when two ACFS teams made the playoffs, the other two picked top-10 in the draft the next year. So there's that....

Somewhere there is a record for most consecutive division wins, and it's either the Colts or Pats who have #1 and #2 on that list; not sure of the order. Pats always had trouble with Fins in Miami, and for like three years Indy might have swept. That'll be a fun one to look up.

65 Re: 2019 Free Agency Discussion

It touches a nerve because after the Super Bowl, in the context of me congratulating them and calling them the best team/dynasty ever, an angry mob attacked me for insinuating that it's a tad easier, statistically, to reach a Super Bowl when you only have to play two playoff games instead of three. And I do mean an angry mob. And this was also after I applauded their thorough preparation and execution in beating the clear two (other) best AFC teams en route to the latest super bowl (unlike the previous year). There shouldn't be anything controversial about that statement. I apologize for lumping you in with that mob.

Still, I would respectfully disagree that anything has been proven or shown objectively. There have been plenty of W-L tables offered that show that the Patriots have not won at a greater rate against their division than against others, but that just means that the great team is great against all competition, not that the AFCE competition is necessarily stronger (or weaker).

The point wasn't ever even meant to be that they're THAT much worse than other divisions... every division has terrible teams. The Colts in their run got/have got to face Bortles, Gabbert, Locker, Bill O'Brien, Gary Kubiak, Mike Mularkey x2, etc... But every once in a while every other division/team has pulled it together to at least field a team worthy of a bye. The AFC East, on the other hand... hasn't. Not once. Even if you removed the Patriots from the division entirely (ie - each other team gets 2 wins in place of those games), that division would still not have had one single team earn a bye since Belichick arrived. Every single other team except the Lions, Jaguars, and Redskins has! (TB and OAK only in 2002 though, which is really clinging to the edge of that sample.) But not the AFC East, even if you gifted them wins. The Jets had some amazing defenses... but also Sanchez. The Bills are the Bills. The Dolphins snuck in on a tiebreak the year Brady was hurt. That's IT. For two decades. Not even one random single 12+ win contender like McNair's Titans or even Del Rio's Raiders.

And I'm sorry, but when the statement was only that MAYBE if once or twice there was a bye-capable team in their division, they MIGHT have missed out on a bye once or twice more (in 17 years), and that that extra game in January MIGHT have increased the chances that they'd have lost another playoff game along the way... and that's somehow still attacked by an angry mob, well, you can see why it might touch a nerve. I apologize if I seemed testy... I just didn't like the "oft peddled... myth" phrasing. (Or that "step away from the keyboard" either, for that matter.) It's not a myth. The three other franchises in the division are relative jokes. Especially to someone (me) with extremely high standards and little patience for fools. And to be fair... I'd say that of most of the other franchises as well. I've never pretended otherwise.

It's why this whole Free Agent period (all while Belichick lives it up in the Caribbean) amuses me. SS,DY. 95% of teams continue to pursue expensive mediocrity, while the Pats and a few other teams that are well-run sit back completely unaffected by the fact that they are once again "losing" the offseason. The Dolphins are actually finally fully embracing a proper rebuild, but once again it appears that the Bills and Jets are doing more long-term harm than good because they foolishly think they can buy their way into contention this year. And I've never once for a second pretended that the Patriots wouldn't still win a division they shared with the Chargers or Colts or Steelers or Ravens, etc... only that once every few years it might just possibly have made it a little bit tougher for them to get that bye. That's all. That's not a controversial statement. If a Pats fan wants to say "sure, but they've still dominated the good teams too, so I think they'd still have been fine," my hackles wouldn't get raised at all. Because I agree.

That is very seldom the reaction, though.

Anyway, cheers to the season. We still have the Bell contract to look forward to... I'm excited.

75 Re: 2019 Free Agency Discussion

Ok, I'll respond. The 2010 Jets would get a bye depending on tiebreakers on where you put New England; the Jets, Ravens and Steelers would all tie at 12-4. I realize the Jets lost to Baltimore, but the Ravens didn't get the tiebreaker for the division against the Steelers, so it would be Steelers against Jets for tiebreaker... if New England is in another division. If the Pats go to the North, the only way the Jets don't get a bye is if the Steelers or Ravens go to the East, and even then it's probably a toss up. Oh yeah, Jets beat the Steelers in the regular season, so yeah, they would have gotten the bye.

I understand thinking the Jets are being dumb with their money (the Bell contract isn't as bad as I expected, but it's still a foolish idea to spend big on a running back), but the Bills have not been stupid at all. They have cap space, and they are rebuilding their offense as they need to. The Patriots do this at times as well, Belichick is on vacation because the Pats don't have money for the big ticket guys in free agency this year, he doesn't always skip it. Often he uses the trade market at this time, just as the Jets did to get the Raiders guard.

Lastly, I'm not sure why any Patriots fan would think it's a good idea to have a college guard coming off a year long injury blocking for my 42 year old All-World quarterback's blindside. Sure, Scarnecchia is great, but that's a big ask.

77 Re: 2019 Free Agency Discussion

Well hot damn, you're right. In reviewing that season, I counted them out because 12-4 wouldn't have beaten the 13-3 Patriots. But if, as I stated in that last post, we removed the Pats entirely, 12-4 would've taken the division and their head to head over the Steelers would've given them not just the bye, but the 1 seed. Damn nice find!

But... if we're remove the Patriots from that year entirely, both the Steelers and Ravens would have ended up 13-3, so I guess the Steelers would've been the 1. And the Ravens would've been insanely unlucky to be hitting the road at 13-3.

(On a side note, I continue to be annoyed about that season because of Jim Caldwell and his timeout and the end of Peyton's Colts career being to leave the field with a lead inside of a minute only to watch helplessly as it was given away. Especially since it was the 2009 Jets team that to my eyes gave them the much better game. Also, as long as I'm looking back at 2010 can we all collectively shake our heads at the fact that one of the two 14-2 Pats losses was an ass whupping by the BROWNS? I totally forgot about that game!)

I actually completely agree about the Bell contract. In fact, I agree so much that I'm a little relieved that the Texans didn't find a way to go get him, as that would have been the one thing that could've made them really scary next year.

As for the Bills, I had this conversation with a coworker yesterday. In the here and now, they've done well (aside from Beasley, which makes no sense given Allen's accuracy and his small catch radius), but on the whole, I still find them incompetent for drafting Allen and believing in him enough to try to build around him. As long as he's there, nevermind even what they gave up for him, they will be mired in mostly mediocre with an occasional ceiling of "well damn" because of his arm. But even with an exceptional defense and this new offense, they're still limited by their QB... it'll take a miracle for them to really contend next year. And even if he does improve and develop... in two more years they'll owe him a raise large enough that the defense that carries him now will surely start to get picked apart.

But you're right... if the only measuring stick is "are they making the right moves, given the current QB situation and no option of changing that," they've done pretty well.

I still see it as a very expensive race between them and the Jets to get to 8-8. Although if Darnold makes strides this year and Gase uses Bell well, it wouldn't totally surprise me to see the Jets creep up to 10-6 with a bit of luck. Which means that it's fair to say that the 2019 AFC East, non-Pats category, is almost certainly better than it has been in a while. I'll be really shocked if the @Miami curse still applies to the Pats this coming year, though. Although maybe Flores will find a way to do what Patricia did last October.

81 Re: 2019 Free Agency Discussion

And I still shake my head at the 12-1 Pats losing to the 2-11 Dolphins in December 2004 - at Miami, of course, and that loss ensured them a trip to Pittsburgh for the AFCCG (though as it turned out, they would've had to anyway, due to their earlier loss to the Steelers. But the Miami debacle put them effectively 2 games behind with 2 to go.)

96 Re: 2019 Free Agency Discussion

Because as a Pats fan, it's headshakingly frustrating, especially last season when that freak play cost them the #1 seed. (Not that it mattered in the end.) However, of all the in-Miami failures, a 12-1 team losing to a 2-11 team seems most unlikely.

112 Re: 2019 Free Agency Discussion

Was that the Brady Butt Pass game? I think he had four picks in one of those unlikely losses in Miami, one from his tush after he slipped and fell with no contact. It was an INT (by Jason Taylor maybe?)
Stupid. Very un-Brady-like, but being a faithful Colts guy, I loved it. Not a lot I can knock him for, so when it happens, I savor it.

86 Re: 2019 Free Agency Discussion

Would it kill you to stop openly mocking an entire fanbase? I've yet to see anybody here throw a temper tantrum like you allege, so if you've had problems with fans on other sites - kindly leave those problems there.

97 Re: 2019 Free Agency Discussion

Agreed - I get that one of their collogues was recently social media mobbed and summarily canned - but no one on this forum did that; referring to it in a form post is hack-ish, allowing the appearance that it colours opinion looks awful on the publication and this writer in particular.

With regard to the specific statistical claim - that the Pats have or haven't benefitted from being in the AFC east. Anon makes (and has repeatedly made) a pretty indisputable case that the Pats W-L records have not positively benefitted from it. Some other commentators here talk past that on the presupposition that the lack of a particularly excellent team to "challenge" for the division is an independent form of weakness. To address this question you would need to assess whether winning a division 16 of 18 years with a 232-68 record (12.89-3.11/year) record is above or below the expected result; you might consider variance in the equation as well as the Pats have had less variance than most NFL teams in addition to the high winning percentage. My conclusion on this question is that it's rare to see a team not win the division winning 12+ games, the pats are 2-2 in the division winning between 9 & 11 games which seems pretty average --> the Pats record division-winning results are what you would expect from a set of teams with the records they've had; but this is a legitimate area for statistical inquiry that hasn't been beaten to death on these boards because those that make the counterargument here don't make it cogently.

103 Re: 2019 Free Agency Discussion

Someone else mentioned the years 2008-18.

The Patriots have had double-digit winning seasons in all ELEVEN years. The other three teams have totalled FOUR between them (Bills 0, Dolphins 2, Jets 2).

That's seven seasons where the Pats didn't have any competition for the divisional crown. How can that not be a weak division?

The Pats get the toughest schedule in the division as 14 games are in common and their other two games are against division winners.

At best you can say the other teams are average - there are quite a few 7-9, 8-8, 9-7 records in there - but they're certainly not strong. And their records aren't being suppressed by the Pats sweeping them each year. Others have quite adequately shown that the AFCE teams actually do better than the rest of the league against them.

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Note: the rest of the league also sucks just as much. :-)

More seriously, it is in fact the case that the rest of the AFC East have their records suppressed by having to play the Patriots twice each season. They do much better against the league as a whole than against the Pats. Playing the Pats hurts their chances of getting a wildcard, even if they have little hope of winning the division over the Pats.

That’s the point. Almost everyone does badly against the Pats this century. So you can’t just look at overall records to judge the division. You have to look at non-divisional records only.

In 2018, the rest of the AFC East (the non-division winners) went 10-20 outside the division, worst in the league. But how bad was it historically? You’d have to go back to 2010 to find a “worst division” as good, and back to 2003 to find one better. Even when they’re the worst, the AFC East is one of the best.

FWIW, 2018 was the only time since the current divisions were set up that the AFC East was the weakest division. Compare that to the AFC South, which was weakest division four times in the last eight years.

You’re barking up the wrong tree. It’s the recent AFC South that’s getting all the help from weak sister teams.

113 Re: 2019 Free Agency Discussion

It may be a reference to the days of the Peytom Branning thread that crashed a server until it was moved from a general weekly threat to its own level of hell. There was some vitriol. Pretty sure I contributed to it a few times around 2 or 3 a.m. after hours of research. Hey, those 1,000 word essays don't just happen ;-)

87 Re: 2019 Free Agency Discussion

Does it make it more or less terrible that the Giants failed to franchise Landon Collins in light of the Washington 6/$84 deal? Obviously NY couldn't/wouldn't pay him that type of money, but with a loose cannon like D Snizzle making it consistently rain on free agents (and the signaling from Collins to WAS that he wanted to go there), the Giants probably missed an opportunity to capitalize on losing a player they never intended to re-sign.

89 Re: 2019 Free Agency Discussion

Are you talking about the tag-and-trade? It's technically against the rules, I remember the R______s making noise about doing that to Kirk Cousins, and how it would have violated the CBA. I don't understand how the Dee Ford situation is different.

19 Re: 2019 Free Agency Discussion

Jets sign Vikings OLB Anthony Barr. Terms not announced yet.

Mixed feelings, he has been very good at times, very fast for a LB but sometimes got stuck in coverage which was not his forte. May have been a better fit in a 3-4 than a 4-3. He made 4 pro bowls in 5 years but that's not quite as impressive as it sounds, and he comes across as someone that didn't quite reach the potential we thought he had, but maybe a change of scheme will help. If the VIkings weren't suffering for cap space thanks to Cousins he is someone they absolutely would have tried to keep, but it has long been seen as a forgone conclusion they would let him walk.

I think this will net them a decent compensatory pick at least.

22 Re: 2019 Free Agency Discussion

Reports are that the Jets will use him more as a 3-4 edge than the Vikings did, although his flexibility should allow them to move him around. Per PFF (if you're into that kind of thing), he was very productive as a pass rusher in 2018, albeit in limited opportunities.

43 Re: 2019 Free Agency Discussion

And.... now he's NOT going to join the Jets, and will stay in Minnesota. Unless he changes his mind again before he signs anything.

Like many Vikings fans, we're fine with having him back, but where did we get the money? I mean, this kind of has to mean letting one of the top corners go (we have depth), but that was expected already, so now... two of them? We already are letting Sendejo walk, which I understand though sad to see him go.

26 Re: 2019 Free Agency Discussion

Baltimore has now lost three linebackers and safety Eric Weddle from their starting defense.

Letting Mosley go for that insane money is easy to understand, but the Suggs move just seems weird. I can't believe they didn't want him or that he was willing to go anywhere else. That's going to be strange.

115 Re: 2019 Free Agency Discussion

Yeah, but wasn't the Suggs move pretty much out of the Belichick playbook we so admire? Aging fan favorite, former superstar, likely to get more money than we're willing to pay...

So make it super-Belichickey, he'll be cut in week 8 and the Ravens sign him back in week 9! (ala Legarrette Blount)

29 Re: 2019 Free Agency Discussion

Somehow Miami's terrible Oline manages to get even worse. All the talk of Miami tanking is starting to feel like just accepting the inevitable rather than a cunning plan :).

32 Re: 2019 Free Agency Discussion

I REALLY want to see Teddy Bridgewater get a proper starting shot. Guess he'd rather it be post-Brees in New Orleans than somewhere in 2019. That's probably long-term smart, but really annoying in the short term...

33 Re: 2019 Free Agency Discussion

I do, too. Always believed in Teddy. But, after the QB trades and Jax inevitably signing Foles, where could he have gone? Not sure there was a clear path to a starting gig in 2019. Think he had to accept being a back-up somewhere, and a Super Bowl contender is as good a place as any.

34 Re: 2019 Free Agency Discussion

Wow, the Packers might spend more money in free agency today than they have in total since they signed Charles Woodson in '06.

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It looks like Gutekunst recognizes that his job is dependent on getting AR to at least one more SB, a mindset that was foreign to TT. I'm thrilled with this as he's strengthened two of the team's weakest positions and can go into the draft without needed to fill any specific position. Right now I think it's still going to be an edge rusher, but taking one of the Iowa TEs is also now a distinct possibility.

51 Re: 2019 Free Agency Discussion

Probably not a coincidence that they've all been 4 year deals for guys who are going to turn 30 right around the time Rodgers is likely to retire.

The Iowa TEs both seem like no-brainer fits for their new offense - I have been wondering though if they might not get stuck thinking #12 is too high to pick a TE (especially if a pass rusher or OL they really like is still there) and then watch both of them come off the board before #30.

42 Re: 2019 Free Agency Discussion

This article agrees with that sentiment https://www.profootballfocus.com/news/pro-is-kwon-alexander-worth-the-money-that-he-got-from-the-49ers the highlight being "Alexander has missed 78 tackles in the regular season; only Telvin Smith Sr. has more missed tackles in that span "

47 Re: 2019 Free Agency Discussion

Yeah, most of the big deals look mostly like the usual slight overpays by struggling/desperate teams. But this one is staggering. I don't watch the Bucs closely, but from what I gather Alexander is solid, traditional linebacker, and they've paid him like Luke Kuechly.

54 Re: 2019 Free Agency Discussion

I'm not nearly as down on this one as most, I think, for a couple reasons.

First, the Keuchly comparison is unfair, because Keuchly's contract was done in 2015. Since then, the cap has expanded by around 35%, salaries have increased, and it looks the cap increase is accelerating. So, Kuechly had 12m apy over five years, with $27 guaranteed; a straight inflation bump puts that at 16.2m-apy, 36m guaranteed in "2019 NFL dollars". Saying that a 13.5m-apy over 4 years with 27m guaranteed contract in 2019 is similar to, or as I've seen elsewhere, bigger the Kuechly's is a little disingenuous.

And a little more on the contract, the chatter I've seen on the fan-boards has been "for that money, we could have had mosley!" Mosley's 17m-apy over 5 years with 51m guaranteed (3m less than Kwon's entire contract!) says otherwise.

Second, holy cow the niners LBs were bad last year, outside of Warner. And, by all accounts, the defense they want to run depends heavily on a fast guy who doesn't really need to take on blocks playing cleanup. From my limited knowledge, that sounds like what they hope Alexander is. The stats, especially counting stats like PFF and broken tackles, can lie about a player like this, so those just don't bother me.

The ACL... that bothers me.

All that said, probably the best take I've seen on this is that it shows just how costly the Foster meltdown has been. Instead of a cheap, ascending player who fits the defense precisely, the Niners had to pay a guy on the open market. And, if we're real honest here, the meltdown wasn't all about the off-field. On-field Foster was just not that great this year, and there was a lot of chatter about him not being willing to actually learn the defense. Probably the on-field struggles made the off-field less forgivable, and a lot easier to just cut.

49 Re: 2019 Free Agency Discussion

Packers FA deal details so far:

OLB Preston Smith - four-year, $52 million deal (including a $16 million signing bonus)
OLB Da'Zarius Smith - four-year, $66 million deal, with a $20 million signing bonus
S Adrian Amos - four-year, $37 million deal including $14M the first year
OL Billy Turner - four-year, $28 million deal

In other news, OLB Nick Perry is being released. Matthews is already a FA, so it looks like the Packers will have two new starting OLBs. I like the first three signings. I'm less sure of the Turner signing as I don't know if he's much better than what they currently have at RG/RT with Bulaga, McCray, and Patrick opposite LG Lane Taylor.

52 Re: 2019 Free Agency Discussion

Doubling up at OLB reminds me of how they approached CB in the draft last year, investing extra resources to make it significantly more likely you come away with at least one useful player. In this case, given the money involved, they're probably hoping they'll both at least be useful and one excels.

I guess it failed in 2015 when they used their first two picks on Randall and Rollins, but looking back they were playing Randall out of position the whole time he was in Green Bay.

53 Re: 2019 Free Agency Discussion

Not quite sure why AZ is signing so many defensive FAs when the draft is supposed to be crawling with defensive talent. Regardless of whether they stay with Rosen or draft Murray, you'd think they would want to work on upgrading the offense beyond trading for 1 OL.

78 Re: 2019 Free Agency Discussion

I think it's just the trades. Plenty of big name talent lands free agency deals every year. But I can't recall a year where two marquee names plus others (including a tagged player) were also traded on top of that.

88 Re: 2019 Free Agency Discussion

Carolina signing ex-Broncos C Matt Paradis for 3/$27m and re-upping former All-Pro RT Daryl Williams on a 1-yr deal as he returns from a knee injury that cost him almost all of 2018 are promising signs that the Panthers are serious about being good up front again. At least on offense. I'm holding out hope that the bumper crop of edge talent in the draft will produce at least a serviceable pass rusher in 2019. My goodness were the Panthers bad at that last year. It will be even more important in 2019 since OLB Thomas Davis, one of the all-time great Panthers and still one of the best cover LBs in the league moves on to the Chargers for 2/$20.5m. At least Dave Gettleman, while he was ravaging our roster for 4+ years, didn't trade away Cam Newton.

99 Re: 2019 Free Agency Discussion

The Vikings need to free up cap space, and asking Everson Griffen to restructure is the obvious path, which isn't to say Griffen is unreasonable to decline. A hard business just gets really hard when there is a hard salary cap.

I'm not too optimistic these days on the Vikings. Several years of bad injury luck with 1st and 2nd round picks, and turnover on the offensive coaching staff ( mostly due to success or bad luck), has kind of left them with limited options.

100 Re: 2019 Free Agency Discussion

Well, he agreed to restructure. Selfishly, I'm happy to see it, because I've so enjoyed watching his career develop, and was afraid it was over last season. I don't know the guy, obviously, but I really wish him the best. He got kind of a late start as a full time starter, so he won't be another Viking HOFer on the defensive line, but he really has been a terrific player, in all aspects of the position, with a consistently high effort level.

101 Re: 2019 Free Agency Discussion

And with that Barr re-signed, Griffen restructured, Stephen brought back, they should use every draft pick on offensive linemen, and hope they get lucky. If they see a real value at nose tackle, fine, but I have no idea how they are going to get blocking. Ugh.

104 Re: 2019 Free Agency Discussion

Panthers release Matt Kalil, and he'll deliver 9 million plus in dead cap to them next season. He's made 56 million before the age of 30, while being average at best, and that's somewhat generous. More than 20 million of it came after the Vikings gave up on him.

Tom Condon is a freakin' great agent.

121 Re: 2019 Free Agency Discussion

Well, no agent can overcome supply and demand, and I have no in depth study to support it, but my impression is that Condon gets more juice from the orange than the norm, and perhaps even better, more juice from the lemon.

126 Re: 2019 Free Agency Discussion

Buster Skrine signs with CHI for 3 years, $16.6M total, $8.5M guaranteed.
Bryce Callahan signs with DEN for 3 years, $21M total, $10M guaranteed.

Bears made a mistake here. Major downgrade with not much savings.

129 Re: 2019 Free Agency Discussion

Woohoo! I've been crossing my fingers hoping the Broncos would sign Callahan, especially after missing Amos.

Chris Harris/Kareem Jackson/Bryce Callahan should make an excellent starting trio of CBs. It's unlikely they'll be quite as good as Talib/Harris/Roby was, but they should be very good nonetheless.

133 Re: 2019 Free Agency Discussion

If the Broncos have paid Jackson all that money to play corner, they've made a huge mistake. He's an excellent safety (though probably not good enough to justify what they've given him) but a sub-par corner.

131 Re: 2019 Free Agency Discussion

Callahan & Skrine mostly play in the slot. Roby has mostly played outside, and Kareem Jackson moves around between outside, slot, and safety.

Another comparison is Skrine's apparent replacement:
Brian Poole NYJ (26 y/o) - 1 year, $3M

Poole was not very good last year as Atlanta's slot corner, but I don't think that he was any worse than Skrine.