One Last Piece to the Puzzle?
As per usual, the 4pm starting time for NFL free agency is more of an ambiguous guideline. As I’m sitting down on my filthy, college-house couch to write this, it’s a few minutes past 1pm, and my phone has been blowing up since yesterday with ESPN updates (da-na-na! da-na-na!)
Knowing completely that the landscape of the league could change within the next few hours, I had to give some thought as to what I could write about that wouldn’t be rendered completely pointless after one or two big moves. So I went with what jumped out to me first and foremost, and that is the early free agency activity of some of last season’s bottom of the barrel finishers.
So, without further ado, let’s take a look at the early action of:
The Cleveland Browns:
So far, the possessors of the number one overall pick have shown the ability to wield their checkbook and make three seemingly progressive moves thus far. The hapless stars of BELIEVEland have managed to sign WR Kenny Britt, who is coming off a 1,000 yard season with the Rams, and Center JC Tretter, who despite a laundry list of injuries played well for the Packers whenever he saw the field. They were also able to reach a contract extension with Guard Joel Bitonio. The current status of Terrell Pryor and where he stands in negations are currently unknown, but the Browns have not kept it a secret they would love to have him back.
The Browns were able to ink a known deep threat in Britt at a cost of 32 million dollars over four years. The signing of the former Rams/Titans wide-out makes sense for an organization that is currently in rebuild mode. Britt, though still only 28, can bring some veteran leadership to a locker room that other than Pryor, is relying on a lot of young talent in players such as 2016 first round pick Corey Coleman, and fellow second year players Rashard Higgins, Jordan Payton, and Ricardo Louis. If the Browns are able to retain Pryor, the Dawg Pound may have a little bit more to celebrate about in 2017.
The incoming JC Tretter, meanwhile, gives the Browns the ability to perhaps salvage the career of former first-round pick Cam Erving. Erving has been much, MUCH less than stellar playing the Center position. The experience of Tretter will make it easier to slide him over to guard, where he may be a more suitable run-blocker. On the flip-side, Tretter does come with his own baggage. Battling a litany of injuries since his rookie year, he only started a total of 10 games for the Packers out of a possible 33, though it must be noted he played very well whenever he did. If he can suddenly become more reliable for the Browns than he was for Green Bay, then there’s no reason why this shouldn’t be a bargain deal.
Update: Browns have signed former Bengals Guard Kevin Zeitler to a five year deal, further strengthening the O-line. Could they be gearing up to protect a new quarterback?
Update: Oh, god damn. The Browns have acquired Texans QB Brock Osweiler, his monster contract, a 2018 second round pick, and 2017 sixth round pick from the Texans in exchange for a fourth rounder this year.
The Jacksonville Jaguars
Yeah, yeah, people are saying THIS is the offseason the Jags get it right. Finally, ALL the pieces are falling into place. However, this does has a teeny, tiiiiiiiiny chance of ACTUALLY being the year.
The Jags were able to snag (hey! That rhymes!) Safety Barry Church and Defensive End Calais Campbell, bolstering a defense that finished 29th overall last year. Campbell brings a horrifyingly physical pass rush that they were lacking all last season, while Church brings a reliable veteran presence who can make tackles in the open field.
Church suffered a torn Achilles early in his career, but was able to start every game for the Cowboys from 2013-2016. He’s tough, and he can get physical when defending the pass. Meanwhile, Campbell had 8 sacks, and 53 combined tackles last year as a leader of the Cardinals defense. Joining him with Fowler Jr. and Malik Jackson can make for a potential fire storm for opposing offensive lines.
Update: The Jaguars are expected to sign former Texans Cornerback A.J Bouye. This should make for an interesting pairing on the outside with Jaylen Ramsey.
The San Francisco 49ers
Settle down, I’m not about to call Brian Hoyer the savior of San Fran. But, it’s at least a start. Hoyer has been a serviceable starter for the last three teams he’s played for. In fact, he posted a total record of 10-6 playing for the Cleveland Browns. Imagine that!
Last year, he threw for six TD’s and no interceptions while stepping in for an injured Jay Cutler on the Bears. Despite there being talk of him remaining in Chicago after the Bears eventually cut Cutler, he ultimately decided to follow former offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan to the Bay Area, who might be able to coax the best out of him the way he did in Cleveland, while also having the opportunity for a week one start.
Then, there’s Pierre Garcon, who’s leaving the sinking ship in Washington for a franchise that’s hoping for a resurgence. Garcon finished last season with 1,041 yards and 3 TD’s as one of Cousins’ favorite targets. With Desean Jackson heading to Tampa Bay, Garcon set out to find his own pot of gold. Typically known as a ‘possession receiver’, Garcon showed he could flash his speed last season finishing with an average 13.2 yards per catch. If he and Hoyer can develop a quick connection, we have the potential to see a much more efficient offensive attack in San Francisco.
Also worth noting, rumors are still swirling about a possible Cousins to San Fran trade either this year or next. A Cousins/Garcon reunion might be the exact formula they need for a quick turnaround.
Honorable Mention: Chicago Bears: Quentin Demps, Mike Glennon.
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Penguin Tundra Sports Blog was created in 2016 by a very bored college student who was obsessed with Rugby and Football. That same college student knew how to write pseudo-intelligently, so what better way to show off than to create a blog. Along your journey though the Tundra's domain, you may come across outlandish opinions, horrible spelling errors, and some shit that is just outright wrong. Well then, you should comment, give my blog more attention, and we will have our day in internet court. Otherwise, I hope you enjoy talking about sports as much as I do.
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