March 13, 2015 - Greg Gabriel
Who has done well in free agency?
Having spent most of my adult life working in the NFL as a scout, I have great respect for the guys in the NFL who make a living evaluating players. They are very talented people who work hard and, in most cases, make sound decisions. For that reason, unlike other websites, I refuse to put grades on things like free agency acquisitions draft classes. First of all, what may look good on paper today can turn out to be a disaster come next fall. Just look at Tampa Bay as an example. Last March, most “experts” thought they had a great free agency haul, with all the money they spent and players they signed. Well, a year later, many of those players have already been cut because they turned out to be poor signings. Many times, the under the radar signings turn out to be the best signings. Free agency is a way to add players to your roster in areas of need. Free agency and the draft have to work hand-in-hand in order to do the best job in reshaping a roster. If a club relies too much on free agency, they could end up getting burned. That being said, there are some clubs that I feel have done a good job in the first few days. Jacksonville Jaguars With this being the third year of David Caldwell/Gus Bradley era, they have to start winning games. Last year, they drafted quarterback Blake Bortles with the hope that he becomes a top NFL quarterback. While Bortles struggled at times as a rookie, he still flashed enough to show the talent is there. Caldwell got Bortles another weapon with the signing of tight end Julius Thomas. At 26 years old, Thomas is still an ascending player, and with his size and athleticism, he will be a big help in the red zone The Jags signed defensive tackle Jared Odrick and cut Red Bryant. Odrick makes the Jaguars more athletic on the defensive front. Davon House is another young ascending corner who is just string to come into his own. He has size and length and will match up well with taller receivers in the league. Jeremy Pernell is in the same mold as the others. He is still young and improving and will be an upgrade on the offensive line. New York Jets Mike Maccagnan and Todd Bowles have gotten off to a good start by doing a great job strengthening their secondary. They got the best corner in the game with the signing of Darrelle Revis, who still has plenty of great football in him. A few years ago, the Jets had one of the best secondaries in the league with Revis and Antonio Cromartie. With Cromartie signing with the Jets last night, they are back together. Add to that duo, the addition of Buster Skrine form the Browns and the Jets have done a great job upgrading the corner position. This morning, it looks as if they will add another good player in safety Marcus Gilchrist. Miami Dolphins To sign Ndamukong Suh the Dolphins were going to have to pay big dollars, which they did. That is the cost of business when you want one of the two best defensive lineman in the game. If tight end Jordan Cameron can stay healthy is actually an upgrade over the possible loss of Charles Clay. While Clay is terrific as a receiver, he doesn't do as much in the run game as Cameron can. Follow Greg on Twitter @greggabe