Draft King Analysis|
March 6, 2015
Lou Pickney, DraftKing.com
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Just one day before NFL teams can officially start talking to representatives of pending free agents, a flurry of signings, restructurings, and even a trade all took place today.
It's tough to keep track of it all, and this is mild compared with what you can expect to see next week. Some noteworthy moves:
• Chicago traded WR Brandon Marshall to the Jets for a 2015 5th round pick, pending a passed physical. Marshall turns 31 later this month and is less than 300 yards away from hitting the 10,000 career receiving yard mark. It's expected that the Jets, once Marshall is officially acquired, will cut Percy Harvin. If he's on the roster as of March 19, the Jets will owe the Seahawks a fourth-round pick. If not, they only owe Seattle a sixth-round pick.
Harvin and his $10.5 million base salary for 2015 will be gone by March 19.
• It was a busy day for the Jets, who signed pending free agent ILB David Harris to a three-year, $21.5 million deal with $15 million guaranteed. That puts an end to the rumors that the Bills would target him in free agency to reunite him with Rex Ryan.
• Marshawn Lynch will be returning to Seattle for 2015 rather than retiring or demanding a trade, thanks in part to a new contract with a $7.5 million signing bonus and a total of $12 million in year one. Lynch turns 29 next month, which is poor on the risk-reward chart for running backs. But Lynch is no ordinary RB, not in that Seattle offense, and his return boosts Seattle's hopes for a third consecutive NFC Championship.
• This week Pittsburgh let it be known that they won't offer a new contract to SS Troy Polamalu, and likewise the Colts have done the same with WR Reggie Wayne. Both are old men by NFL standards, particularly Wayne who turns 37 in November. They've reached that awkward point that so many greats of the past have faced: call it a career having played for just one team, or try and stretch their career out as a shadow of their prime with a new team.
• As it applies to the NFL Draft, what Oakland does in free agency will likely have a direct impact at the top of the board. The Raiders have plenty of needs, including defensive line and wide receiver. They are expected to be big spenders in free agency, with DT Ndamukong Suh perhaps only a dream but the team apparently ready to spend like wild to get WR Randall Cobb and TE Julius Thomas.
If the Raiders are in fact able to land both Cobb and Thomas, that would significantly lower their odds of taking a wide receiver at #4 overall. Trading down seems unlikely since general managers in win-or-be-fired roles almost never worry about the long-term future, and with so much talent at DE/OLB in this draft, Oakland can stay put and land a key edge rusher.
• If you're Jacksonville, what would it take from Philadelphia to convince you to trade out of the #3 overall position if Marcus Mariota is still on the board? Mike Florio noted this week that the Eagles (and every other NFL team for that matter) can trade their 2018 draft picks, but not until the 2015 draft begins. But that in theory shouldn't change anything since the Eagles would want to be sure Mariota will be there before pulling the trigger on a deal.
But the Jaguars would have considerable leverage knowing that Oakland at #4 isn't going to want to trade down for reasons mentioned above, Washington at #5 isn't going to want to help out a division rival, and the Jets at #6 could end up being just fine with taking Mariota themselves. But it's a long drop from #3 to #20, and it could take an offer bordering on reckless to make Jacksonville agree to make the trade.