Draft King Analysis|
March 5, 2015
Lou Pickney, DraftKing.com
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With just a few days to go before the start of free agency, NFL teams are in the process of making moves to prepare themselves for big-time signings while working the open market to find role players currently available.
Darnell Dockett, who turns 34 in May, has signed a two-year deal with the 49ers with $2 million guaranteed. Selected out of Florida State in the third round of the 2004 Draft by the Cardinals, he had spent his entire career with Arizona before being cut by the team last week.
Dockett thrived with the Cardinals, only missing one start in 10 seasons before tearing the ACL in his right knee in practice in August of last year. And while time is not on his side, he should help bolster San Francisco's already stellar defensive front seven.
If you're a player and you know you're going to be cut, it's in your best interest to hit the open market now before the players entering free agency flood the market early next week. Texans WR Andre Johnson falls into that category, and the longer Houston holds onto him, the more difficult it will be for him to maximize his value. An already fractured situation could deteriorate rapidly if the Texans opt to hold onto him a bit longer, perhaps seeing if they can find a trade partner for him.
Carolina, which has a laundry list of needs, made the interesting decision to sign Greg Olsen to a new contract. Olsen, who turns 30 next week, is coming off his first 1,000 yard receiving season and had one year remaining on his existing contract. The move was expected, though Olsen receiving a reported $12 million signing bonus shows how serious the Panthers were on locking him up long-term.
The rumor mill is going crazy over the destination of Ndamukong Suh, with the Dolphins and Raiders being the teams seeming to be brought up the most. Of course teams can't officially talk with representatives about a pending free agent until Saturday, but it's not difficult for that rule to be circumvented. Suh could end up landing $60 million in guaranteed money.
It will be interesting to see what happens with Packers WR Randall Cobb, who is expected to command considerable attention when free agency begins. Green Bay has operated in a methodical way where it retains key players without overpaying to keep them, minimizes its free agent moves, and keeps itself in a financially solid position long-term.
Cobb had a great contract year in 2014, with 1,287 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns. He is benefiting from one of the major concessions made by the NFL when the Collective Bargaining Agreement was renegotiated in 2011, where players with four seasons of accrued play were allowed to become unrestricted free agents. Cobb is just 24 and is primed to land a nice payday. He could very well be the most highly-paid wide receiver free agent this off-season.
Packers fans can't be happy to see him go, but the team has taken this tact in the past (e.g. Greg Jennings, James Jones) and been able to find sustained success. And while Cobb will likely excel elsewhere, his new team will pay a premium to land him -- the type of premium that Green Bay simply isn't willing to shell out one year after signing Jordy Nelson to a massive contract.