Draft King Analysis|
March 13, 2012
Lou Pickney, DraftKing.com
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Let there be no doubt: the NFL game has changed. Due to rule changes made for player safety reasons, in particular providing protection for wide receivers but also additional protection for quarterbacks, having an effective passing game is much more important than ever. In turn, players who are effective against the pass on defense are more important.
Pete Prisco of CBSSports.com noted something telling from day one of NFL free agency today -- there weren't any running backs or middle linebackers signed. To be fair, Arian Foster and Marshawn Lynch both signed new deals with their current team before they could hit the open market. But look at the early major deals signed this afternoon/evening and you'll notice the positions landing big guaranteed money involved primarily players that can contribute to a team's pass offense or pass defense.
· QB Jason Campbell (Raiders) signed with Bears: one-year, $3.5 million
· WR Vincent Jackson (Chargers) signed with Buccaneers: five-year, $55.555 million, $26 million guaranteed
· WR Pierre Garçon (Colts) signed with Redskins: five-year, $42.5 million, $20.5 million guaranteed
· WR Marques Colston (Saints) stayed with team: five-year, $40 million, $19 million guaranteed
· WR Robert Meachem (Saints) signed with Chargers: four-year, $25.9 million, $14 million guaranteed
· WR Reggie Wayne (Colts) stayed with team: three-year, $17.5 million, $7.5 million guaranteed
· WR Josh Morgan (49ers) signed with Redskins: two-year, $12 million, $7.3 million guaranteed
· CB Cortland Finnegan (Titans) signed with Rams: five-year, $50 million, $26.5 million guaranteed
· CB Terrell Thomas (Giants) stayed with team: four-year, $28 million, $11 million guaranteed
· CB Carlos Rogers (49ers) stayed with team: four-year, $29.3 million, guaranteed money unknown
· CB Tim Jennings (Bears) stayed with team: two-year, terms undisclosed
· SS Dwight Lowery (Jaguars) stayed with team: four-year, terms undisclosed
· DE Jeremy Mincey (Jaguars) stayed with team: four-year, $27.2 million, $9 million guaranteed
· DE Red Bryant (Seahawks) stayed with team: five-year, $35 million, $14.5 million guaranteed
In addition to the information in this list, earlier this month the Bills inked WR Stevie Johnson to a five-year, $36.25 million deal with $19.5 million guaranteed. This has been a good off-season to be a skilled unrestricted free agent wide receiver.
Props to rotoworld.com for being a go-to source for NFL contract information. They're almost always ahead of the curve on procuring and posting contract information. Their page about Pierre Garçon noted the opinion that the Redskins "grossly overpaid" for Garçon. That's debatable, but between just Garçon and Morgan, the Redskins shelled out $27.8 million in guaranteed money in the span of less than eight hours this evening. If this plan, trading several high picks to be able to draft Robert Griffin III and spending big money on free agent receivers (along with franchise tagging TE Fred Davis) doesn't work for Mike Shanahan and company, the current regime will likely be out and someone else will have to deal with dead cap space and a lack of high draft picks to be able to add elite players to turn things around.
Note to Redskins fans: I hope that Griffin has a great NFL career and I look forward to watching him play. As for the receivers, Garçon had 947 yards in receiving last year with the Colts *without* Peyton Manning and there is reportedly strong internal optimism in DC about Morgan and how he could fit into the offense. But the reality is that it appears that the current administration in Washington risked future dead cap space and a lack of high draft picks down the line to give themselves their best chance to win in 2012, even if it meant putting the team in a tough position for 2014 and beyond.