Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

17 Mar 2014

Free Agency Open Thread Week 2

This thread will keep a log of free agency news between March 17 and March 23.

Click here to read the first week's free agency open thread.

MONDAY 6:00 pm EDT

  • Giants sign CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie to a five-year, $35 million contract
  • Raiders sign WR James Jones to a three-year deal
  • Seahawks re-sign K Steven Hauschka to a three-year, $9.15 million deal with $3.35 million guaranteed
  • Saints re-sign RT Zach Strief to a five-year, $20.5 million deal with $8.5 million guaranteed
  • Jets re-sign OLB Calvin Pace to a two-year, $5 million deal
  • Cowboys sign QB Brandon Weeden. Third string excitement!

TUESDAY 10:00 pm EDT

  • Cowboys sign DT Henry Melton
  • Raiders sign OT Donald Penn
  • Texans sign DT Jerrell Powe
  • Falcons sign CB Javier Arenas


  • Cardinals sign CB Antonio Cromartie
  • Panthers sign WR Jerricho Cotchery
  • Raiders re-sign SS Charles Woodson


  • Falcons sign KR/PR Devin Hester
  • Bucs sign CB Mike Jenkins

FRIDAY 4:00 pm EDT

  • Steelers sign WR Lance Moore
  • Panthers sign CB Antoine Cason

Posted by: Aaron Schatz on 17 Mar 2014

58 comments, Last at 25 Mar 2014, 1:28am by jtr


by coboney :: Mon, 03/17/2014 - 8:39pm

Really surprised to see DRC end up with the giants and for a bargain at that. I had thought the Jets might land him and while his retirement comment is a worry he is an excellent press-corner.

by justanothersteve :: Mon, 03/17/2014 - 10:12pm

James Jones gets 3 years/$11.3 M. Very happy for him and wish him well.

by LionInAZ :: Sat, 03/22/2014 - 8:44pm

He's going to need all his skills to anticipate underthrown passes from Schaub.

by The Powers That Be :: Tue, 03/18/2014 - 8:26pm

Melton's a Cowboy, according to his Twitter account.

by LionInAZ :: Wed, 03/19/2014 - 11:13pm

Exchanging Jason Hatcher for Melton seems like a downgrade, given Melton's uncertain health.

by The Powers That Be :: Thu, 03/20/2014 - 12:29pm

Hatcher's 32. Melton's 28. So Hatcher's older now than Melton will be at the end of the contract. The contracts were very similar (4 years, Hatcher a little more guaranteed, Melton a little more total value), except the Cowboys can escape Melton's after one season if he doesn't work out. Hatcher may be a better player this season, but to me it's irrelevant, since I wouldn't have given him that contract.

by LionInAZ :: Sat, 03/22/2014 - 8:49pm

It's a risk, as I implied. If Melton fails to regain his pre-injury form, the Cowboys might be worse off than if they had kept Hatcher.

But hey -- I laugh at the Sowboys for getting themselves into this situation.

by morganja :: Tue, 03/18/2014 - 10:32pm

Now Cam Newton in surgery. The Panthers are one Tebow signing away from the worst off-season ever.

by DEW :: Wed, 03/19/2014 - 12:14am

They think Cam will be back in time for the season, though. On the other hand, they might as well sign Tebow. I mean, they're obviously abandoning the whole "forward pass" concept at this point. They have literally gotten rid of every WR who caught a pass in 2013. The six on their current roster have five career receptions combined. And basically anyone worth picking up has been signed. Maybe Danario Alexander if you have Magic Health Pills, or Santonio Holmes with Magic Attitude Pills, or maybe Lance Moore? Are they planning to go four deep with rookies?

by tuluse :: Wed, 03/19/2014 - 1:00am

I think Cam would excel running the single wing.

by dryheat :: Wed, 03/19/2014 - 8:16am

If they have the cap space, guys like DeSean Jackson and Danny Amendola are reportedly available via trade for mid-round picks.

by Will Allen :: Wed, 03/19/2014 - 2:03pm

I haven't seen enough of DeSean Jackson to have a strong opinion, but Danny Amendola on the the current Panthers roster would be the very essence of trivial. You'd be better of trying to get lucky with a mid round pick.

I really do think that a one or two win season is not terribly far fetched for this team. Where are the points going to come from, especially after the nearly inevitable Newton injury that occurs as he tries to single-handedly create an offense?

by Perfundle :: Wed, 03/19/2014 - 4:49pm

I know they lost most of their decent secondary players, but I don't think a team with as strong a front 7 as Carolina has will be that bad without any injuries.

by Will Allen :: Wed, 03/19/2014 - 5:37pm

If you can't score, and your secondary is porous, a good front 7 becomes of much more limited value.

by MC2 :: Wed, 03/19/2014 - 10:24pm

Well, the Texans have a pretty strong front seven, and have the advantage of playing in a much weaker division than the Panthers, and look at what just happened to them.

Having said that, I think the only way they end up having a 1 or 2 win season is if Newton gets injured. As long as he's healthy, they should be able to score just enough to allow their defense to grind out at least 5 wins.

by Perfundle :: Thu, 03/20/2014 - 3:24am

No they don't. They have Watt, and Cushing who was hurt for most of the year, and a bunch of underwhelming guys. They were much better the year before, and it carried an average offense and a horrific special teams to a 12-4 record, although that was a bit inflated.

by MC2 :: Thu, 03/20/2014 - 4:00am

Congratulations, you've just undermined your own argument. Going into last season, everyone thought, based on the previous year, that the Texans had a very strong front seven. However, they then failed to perform nearly as well, in spite of having basically the same personnel and not suffering an inordinate amount of injuries. They basically just regressed. Why couldn't the same thing happen to the Panthers?

by Perfundle :: Thu, 03/20/2014 - 1:20pm

Go back and read my post. I specifically said: "I don't think a team with as strong a front 7 as Carolina has will be that bad without any injuries." Losing your second-best player in your front seven for more than half the year and your third-best player in Barwin to free-agency isn't a big change? Give me a break.

by MC2 :: Fri, 03/21/2014 - 12:00am

"Without any injuries", seriously? Has there ever been a team in the history of the NFL that has gone through an entire season without a single injury? I thought we were discussing reality, instead of some hypothetical Panthers dream world.

And as for the Texans, no, I don't really think losing Barwin was a big deal, and as for Cushing, as I just said, injuries are a part of life in the NFL. You have to expect a few of them. When you have 5 starters on the same side of the ball miss a majority of the season, that's bad injury luck. Just losing a couple of guys, that's nothing (especially when your best player, by far, plays every game, and plays almost as well as he did in his historically great season the year before).

by tuluse :: Fri, 03/21/2014 - 12:18am

He said no injuries to the front seven not the entire team. Which has happened multiple times. I think the 2005 Bears had their front 7 play all 17 games they played.

by Perfundle :: Fri, 03/21/2014 - 1:56am

I was talking about injuries in their front 7. And it's not like Carolina didn't have their share of injuries as well in other units of their team.

"And as for the Texans, no, I don't really think losing Barwin was a big deal"
Obviously not, because that would undermine your argument. Not having Barwin and Cushing is not "having basically the same personnel," especially when the players that replaced them noticeably sucked.

by MC2 :: Fri, 03/21/2014 - 4:05am

You have it backwards. I made the argument, in part, because I don't consider Barwin to be a key player. He's OK, but nothing special. And again, losing 2 moderately valuable players is not an inordinate amount of bad luck. It's actually about what you would expect. Rather, the Texans' defensive decline was mostly the product of simple regression (which Carolina will probably experience some of this year), combined with the offense putting them in many tough situations (which, again, figures to be an issue for the Panthers this year). Plus, as I pointed out back in my original comment, the NFC South is much tougher than the AFC South.

by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Wed, 03/19/2014 - 9:07am

"Maybe Danario Alexander if you have Magic Health Pills, or Santonio Holmes with Magic Attitude Pills"

Don't forget Titus Young with Magic sanity and legal troubles pills.

by MilkmanDanimal :: Wed, 03/19/2014 - 12:36pm

I will be you a shiny nickel Terrell Owens is laying in his driveway right now frantically doing situps, hoping for a phone call.

by Cythammer :: Wed, 03/19/2014 - 6:01pm

No reason not to pick up Santonio considering what they have left on their roster. They're still going to have to draft multiple receivers. Cam's going to discover what it was like being a Jets QB the past two seasons.

by mehllageman56 :: Wed, 03/19/2014 - 6:43pm

Or Santonio will rediscover what it's like to have a real quarterback. No insult to Geno, he was a rookie last year.

by Cythammer :: Thu, 03/20/2014 - 7:37am

Both will happen. Santonio isn't terrible, but it's pretty bad if he's your number one receiver.

by commissionerleaf :: Thu, 03/20/2014 - 11:52am

Cam Newton didn't depend on Smith nearly as much this year as last; I think they're just accepting that 2014 isn't going to be a huge passing year with any of their old players. They can still obtain receivers in the draft, and they can still split Olson into the slot or Stewart out wide.

It isn't like any Panthers receiver not named Steve Smith has been good in the Cam era. And Smith is obviously declining. In a vacuum, wasn't this the right year to let him go?

by Perfundle :: Thu, 03/20/2014 - 1:20pm

I don't think any one decision Carolina has made regarding their wide receivers is questionable on its own, but taken together it's led to their team's current state, although at least they've signed Cotchery now.

by DEW :: Thu, 03/20/2014 - 2:31pm

Exactly. Every individual decision, taken in a vacuum, makes some sense. "Steve Smith is in his age-related decline phase and is too expensive to keep for what he provides on the field"; "Brandon LaFell has had several years to develop and hasn't shown anything significant"; "Domenick Hixon has never been able to get through a season uninjured despite his potential"; and "Ted Ginn Jr. is a good return man but has only shown viable receiving skills last year and only in a limited capacity" are all valid decisions independent of one another. The problem is that in the aggregate, they're left with having to restock the entire WR position through the draft and through free agency. Then they made the additional decision to let most of the desirable free agent WRs sign with other teams. I've always liked Cotchery, and he's a useful guy to have on the team, but he's a guy who you fill out the back end of your receiving corps with to give you that steady #3 or #4 guy, not be the best one on the team.

Moreover, their good 2013 season suggests that they aren't likely to get a true #1 dropping to them in the first round of the draft unless they trade up (and with their secondary issues, that might not be the best move anyway). If you can't have a guy like Calvin Johnson (or vintage Steve Smith) to carry the rest of the receiving corps, you need to make up for it with depth so you end up with a #2-caliber guy being covered by somebody's fourth-best cornerback. Unless they pull a dramatically brilliant move, I see 8-8 in their future given their issues at receiver and DB.

by Will Allen :: Thu, 03/20/2014 - 3:42pm

Given Newton isn't due back on the field until July, if they go 8-8, Rivera will have done a job worthy of Coach of the Year.

by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Thu, 03/20/2014 - 3:55pm

Agreed, to go 8-8 with their current roster/injury situation, they would either need outstanding coaching, incredible luck, or a little of both (like last year's Jets).

by Will Allen :: Thu, 03/20/2014 - 3:47pm

Jared Allen goes to the Seahawks. I've never been anti-Seahawks, but now I'm fully in the mode I was when Birk was with the Ravens. I'd be very happy to see a great pro and Viking get a championship elsewhere.

There's a chance that Seattle's defense will be better, which is kind of intimidating to consider.

by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Thu, 03/20/2014 - 3:57pm

Despite him giving my favorite team constant fits, I've always found Allen very fun to watch. One of those guys I wanted to hate, but can't bring myself to.

by Will Allen :: Thu, 03/20/2014 - 4:32pm

The guy, in his time with the Vikings, has been almost literally everything you'd want to see in a very highly paid NFL player. Terrifically productive, without being one-dimensional. Plays extremely hard. Accountable, and not given to making excuses. No off the field problems. Represents his employer extremely well. Provides leadership and helps promote an environment which is attractive to other free agents. The guy's been great, and I'd now love to see the Seahawks repeat.

by dmb :: Fri, 03/21/2014 - 11:01pm

Were the DUIs all from his time prior to the Vikings?

by Will Allen :: Sat, 03/22/2014 - 5:39pm

Yes. He's a good example of a guy growing up, and becoming a responsible adult by his mid 20s. Yes, you'd rather see it at age 18, but better late than never.

by Perfundle :: Thu, 03/20/2014 - 4:25pm

I don't know about better in DVOA, but I doubt they'll be better in VOA or points allowed. Their offensive slate looks to be much better than last year, going up against Dallas, Green Bay, Denver, San Diego and Philadelphia; they only faced two top-12 offenses last year outside of SF. I don't think it's a coincidence that the three most memorable defenses in the DVOA era all happened to luck into very poor offensive schedules.

by Will Allen :: Thu, 03/20/2014 - 4:37pm

That's a good point; they could be better without it being superficially apparent. I guess one area where it might be possible to improve would be to force more turnovers. It'll be interesting to see.

by Karl Cuba :: Thu, 03/20/2014 - 4:51pm

Allen's probably an upgrade over Clemons but the have lost some other guys: Bryant, Browner, McDonald, Thurmond. They're also unlikely to stay as healthy as they did on defense last year, they were only missing Rice from their starting roster when the Superbowl rolled around. (I know Seattle fans, you were missing some O-linemen during parts of the regular season and only got one game out of Harvin but I don't know how much you can expect out of him.)

They'll need to find some rookies or develop some of their young guys to replace the rotational players they lost on defense if they're to improve.

by Will Allen :: Thu, 03/20/2014 - 5:25pm

Allen's not going to get the same number of snaps in Seattle as he did in Minnesota, I wouldn't think, but I also think that it might lead to greater productivity.

by Perfundle :: Thu, 03/20/2014 - 6:03pm

I don't really expect them to have such a deep rotation at DL this year. I don't think giving everyone 16% more snaps and going only 6-deep will impact them that much (this assumes a player from either this year's or last year's rookie class takes the 6th spot).

by Karl Cuba :: Thu, 03/20/2014 - 6:22pm

I'd expect someone to step up, that Aussie fella if his knee holds up could replace Bryant for example. It becomes tougher if guys start to get dinged, the line was very healthy last year.

by Karl Cuba :: Thu, 03/20/2014 - 4:51pm

Doesn't Arizona's secondary look nasty? Veldheer is a good pickup at LT too, they're looking strong.

by LionInAZ :: Sat, 03/22/2014 - 8:56pm

Yes and no. Powers and Honey Badger are both short, so Cromartie looks like an upgrade over Powers, superficially. On the other hand, Cromartie is up and down even if you don't think he's on the downside of his career, and Dansby (who led the team in both INTs and pass deflections) is gone again. With no improvement at safety, I'd call this a lateral move.

by morganja :: Thu, 03/20/2014 - 6:34pm

The Panthers posted a picture of Crotchety signing his contract, as if no one would believe the Panthers signed a WR....

by Perfundle :: Fri, 03/21/2014 - 2:00am

I'm guessing DYAC, but I hope that no one in the world actually has that as their last name.

by morganja :: Fri, 03/21/2014 - 4:06pm

He's old enough for the name, isn't he?

by coboney :: Fri, 03/21/2014 - 8:20am

Or no one believed they signed a 34 year old receiver to a 5 year contract! (I know the last 3 years are just fake but still...)

by Perfundle :: Fri, 03/21/2014 - 3:08pm

I don't think I've ever seen such a long contract be worth so little money.

by runaway robot :: Sun, 03/23/2014 - 6:38pm

Cotchery is 31. I was hoping the Steelers would keep him, but Lance Moore makes up for it.

by jtr :: Fri, 03/21/2014 - 3:45pm

Rumors have Harrison strongly considering a return to Pittsburgh. He'd be great depth at OLB for them, especially if Jarvis Jones needs a little longer to develop into an impact player.

by jtr :: Tue, 03/25/2014 - 1:28am

Steelers sign LB Arthur Moats. He looks more like an OLB in the Steelers' scheme, and he fills the fourth and probably last OLB slot on the depth chart. I wonder if anyone is even going to want Harrison, who showed last year that he's not terribly useful in a Von Miller style rusher/Sam in a 4-3.

by Will Allen :: Fri, 03/21/2014 - 7:02pm

Joe Webb goes to Carolina, and is assigned to the qb role. I'm sure Shah8 will be advising Jerry Richardson to commission the manufacture of a trophy case.

by dbostedo :: Fri, 03/21/2014 - 7:51pm

Obviously Richardson is intending to flip Cam Newton for a stable of receivers. That will allow him to unleash Joe Webb's obviously-there-but-doesn't-show-up-in-statistics-or-visually-when-watching-him greatness that will lead the Panthers to the Super Bowl.

by Ryan D. :: Sat, 03/22/2014 - 11:30am

Damnit! I came here to post that same snarky remark.

by morganja :: Fri, 03/21/2014 - 9:15pm

Webb!!! Brilliant! He's a quarterback and a receiver! This is Gettleman's secret plan, a quarterback who can catch his own passes.