2014 NFL Free Agency: Best and Worst Signings

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Looks Good on Paper

Oct 7, 2012; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Tennessee Titans defensive back Alterraun Verner (20) against the Minnesota Vikings at the Metrodome. The Vikings defeated the Titans 30-7. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Alterraun Verner, Tampa Bay Buccaneers CB

Easily a top five cornerback last season, Verner was signed to a four-year, $26.5M contract. That’s a steal. Verner’s contract makes Denver and Green Bay look like they overpaid for Aqib Talib ($9.5M per year) and Sam Shields ($9.75M per year), respectively. Verner had a better 2013 than both of those players. He and Richard Sherman and Patrick Peterson are the next generation of premier cornerbacks.

T.J. Ward, Denver Broncos SS

Most people think Ward is only an in-the-box run defender. Pro Football Focus did have him rated as the top run-defending safety, but he improved significantly in coverage last year. Denver managed to sign him for just $5.6M a year, which is significantly less than what the Saints gave Jairus Byrd ($9M). For a team with a win-now mentality, the defensive upgrades – especially this one – were necessary for a team that wants to compete with NFC powerhouses like Seattle and not have a repeat of the Super Bowl.

Donald Brown, San Diego Chargers RB

Three years for $10M sounds like a lot for someone who’ll be a third string running back, but look what happened in Indianapolis – Trent Richardson was below average and Brown stepped into the starting spot and produced. I think Brown will be a solid player in the Chargers’ running back rotation with Danny Woodhead and Ryan Mathews and will further improve the running game and passing game. He’s not a very good blocking running back, but he can help elsewhere.

Golden Tate, Detroit Lions WR

Detroit needed another receiver behind Calvin Johnson. In a pass-oriented offense, the lack of a solid second receiver was evident down the stretch last year. Tate could possibly fill that role. And if the Lions take a receiver at tenth overall – perhaps Mike Evans – that passing attack would be one of the best, if not the best, in the league. Try double teaming Megatron with those three on the field.

Anquan Boldin, San Francisco 49ers WR

Boldin has been one of the most reliable receivers in the league and has been Colin Kaepernick’s “security blanket”, for lack of a better term. He stepped up in a big way in Michael Crabtree’s absence. He made key plays in the two wins for the 49ers in last season’s playoffs against Green Bay and Carolina, proving he can still get it done. His presence in San Francisco is necessary for a team that’ll definitely be contending for a Lombardi this season.

Andre Roberts, Washington Redskins WR

This was Bruce Allen’s only good signing of the offseason so far. Roberts can be a solid number two receiver behind Garcon, who established himself as a top receiver last season. Roberts was overshadowed by Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd last year and the year before, but still managed 1,200 yards over the past two years as a third receiver. He can also help with kick and punt returns, something Washington has really struggled with over the last few years.

Dexter McCluster, Tennessee Titans WR

McCluster is one of the most exciting players in the league. I was surprised that the Chiefs didn’t use him more on offense, as he’s crazy fast with insane cutback ability. In addition to his excellent returning skills, he’s a versatile player on offense. The Titans can line him up in the backfield or on the outside. He would be a good compliment to whoever the running back in Tennessee will be (Chris Johnson probably isn’t coming back).

Jared Veldheer, Arizona Cardinals OT

An average Cardinals offensive line and a below-average Cardinals quarterback went 10-6 and almost made the playoffs. Veldheer improves both. He will again protect Carson Palmer’s blind side as he did in Oakland, significantly improving the offensive line. Even if he is just above average, it will be an upgrade to Arizona’s offensive line.

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Tags: Arizona Cardinals Atlanta Falcons Buffalo Bills Cleveland Browns Denver Broncos New England Patriots NFL Nfl Free Agency Oakland Raiders Philadelphia Eagles San Diego Chargers San Francisco 49ers Tampa Bay Buccaneers Tennessee Titans Washington Redskins

  • AF AF AF

    Can any fn writer, write anything non bias, especially against the raiders!

    • Jarod Cook

      Being a Browns fan I can fill your pain. But you got to admit, both the organizations bring it on them selves. Bad FA signings, questionable drafts, under achievement there’s a reason why are teams are always the brunt of writers jokes and bias.

    • Matthew Marcella

      Haha I’m just glad not many care for Miami GO PHINS

      • arnie

        Wait for it….

  • Jarod Cook

    I love my Browns they let go of 2 there leaders on defense, then turn around and bring in guys who are older then the ones they let go. To top it off they spent more money on the players they brought in then by keeping the ones they let go. I love how Browns PR tried spinning it into how these players are supposedly better. A break down of FA so far in my eyes.
    1.Whitner was the weak link the 49ers secondary last season, and would constantly be out of position. Ward on the other hand improved on his coverage skills from previous years, and layed some monster hits out last season(week 14 Gronk/pro bowl Gordon just a couple memorable ones of my head).
    2.Dansby was just as good as DQ over the past few seasons, but at 32 father time is catching up on him, he has maybe 2-3 good seasons left in him.
    3.They didn’t upgrade either of the OG positions, I was hoping they at least brought in 1 OG, then could look to the draft for another.
    4.Had a chance to acquire Revis for a 5th rd pick but decided against it, hell even if it was a one rental it would’ve been amazing to see him paired with Haden. There’s still DRC and Cromartie out there but they’ll have to over pay to bring them to Cleveland, when you look at the deal that Talib got.
    5.They had a chance at Edleman, but instead overpaid for Hawkins who hasn’t really proved himself.
    6.Sadly so far Tate is there best signing IMO, but he’s going to probably end up missing 4-6 games this year from injuries.
    7.They still have around $40 mil in cap space, need about $20 mil to resign Haden, Gordon, Cameron next year. So you got to wonder where that extra $20 mil they could’ve used on some quality FA is going?(Haslem’s pocket) When there 4-12 next year wondering why there picking in the top 5 again, I’m just going to live by the Cleveland’s sport motto “There’s Always next year.”

  • yes sir

    Talib is really on a one year deal we can cut him if he dont man up to his contract we have a very smart coaching staff and we won’t lose any money letting him go so alot afc bum teams just upset they can’t beat us lmao HATERS

    • powderBLUE801

      The bolts did beat you and barley lost the other two games. Don’t think your donkys are untouchable cuz you will be sadly mistaken. I love the fact they spent a ton of money on players that can’t play a full season. Lol

      • jkamuf

        You sound like a bitter Chargers fan that watched his team get eliminated by the Broncos in the playoffs..

        • powderBLUE801

          Not bitter. My team made a hell of a run and we will get even better. Just stating the facts of some dumb signings.

          • arnie

            …at half the cost.

  • http://www.musketfire.com/ Joe Soriano

    Here’s the thing about the Saffold signing, I am 99% sure he didn’t fail his physical in Oakland. He “failed” it, because Mark Davis said, “Crap, I don’t want to pay this guy, screw you McKenzie” and vetoed the move. At least, that’s my conspiracy-theory take on the move, and I think Davis’s patience for McKenzie could wear thin quickly.

  • Don

    It appears the Donkeys and Cheatriots are the most desperate teams right now

  • powderBLUE801

    Hahaha I agree with the Talib signing. Dumb donkeys!!

  • Jarod Cook

    The clock is ticking in Denver and New England. Manning has got maybe 2-3 years left, while Brady has got 4-6. Both want another shoot at the super bowl, and there not shy about it. It’s better then sitting there with $20-40 mil in unused cap space. It helps that players are willing to take a pay cut to come there.

  • Ryan

    He did just that talking about the Eagles not signing Byrd or ward. All of the other head scratchers are that they paid to much. Did you read the article?

  • powderBLUE801

    Nobody took a pay cut. Talib is making a lot more and ware is getting the same amount he would have in dallas. Do your homework before commenting. And manning will not be around for 2-3 more years.

  • arnie

    You made my point. Desperate. If they had better drafting skills 3-4 years ago, this would be a different discussion.

  • arnie

    Did you understand it?
    FA is a joke. The chargers went to the playoffs, while spending half of what the broncos did. They lost, because of lack of depth, which they address this season, while still spending less money. On the flip side, the broncos got their buts handed to them by a 3rd round QB an bunch of 4th, 5th an 6th rounders on defense.
    The Seahawks became champs after 4 good years of drafting.