by Nicholas Cicale (@nickcicale)
Here’s where I’ll be posting my takes on NFL free agents and where they sign.
DeAngelo Williams to Pittsburg from Carolina
The story of what never was. Trapped in a quagmire of running back mediocrity, Williams always showed the most potential in Carolina, and got paid like a top back in the league. His injuries were always untimely, and as a result he hasn’t had a 1,000-yard season since 2009. Now 31, he’ll be the primary backup for Le’Veon Bell.
Darren McFadden to Dallas from Oakland
2 years $5.8 million
It has looked like McFadden lost some of his burst after so many injuries. The Cowboys aren’t giving up much to get him, so it’s a low risk option in the backfield. I have a feeling they’ll add another back (possibly in the draft) before the start of the season.
DeMarco Murray to Philadelphia from Dallas
5 years $42 million
This is a good move in terms of fit. His skills go really nicely with the Eagles play calling and offensive line. However, the financial aspect of the trade are all out of whack. In trading McCoy earlier this month, it looked like the Eagles were trying to save money at running back, which would have been smart. Then they gave a ton of cash to Murray and Ryan Matthews, two very injury prone backs. If Murray stays healthy like he did last season he’ll put up great numbers. That just isn’t a guarantee.
Brian Orakpo to Tennessee from Washington
4 years $32 million
Mostly due to injuries and being part of a bad defense his entire career, Orakpo has never lived up to expectations. He’s probably a good fit in Tennessee, who desperately needed defensive help, and if he plays all 16 games this year should earn his money. It’s a little risky, but a risk that might pay off.
Andre Johnson to Indianapolis from Houston
3 years $21 million
It’s hard not to look at this as a straight Wayne/Johnson swap, and it’s a perfect fit. Johnson is 3 years younger, is faster, taller and has about the same injury risk as Wayne. He’s never been a beast in the redzone like one might assume, but he’s also never had a quarterback close to as good as Andrew Luck. I wouldn’t be completely shocked if Johnson wasn’t nearly as good as most probably expect him to be, but the fit looks right.
Nick Fairley to St. Louis from Detroit
1 year $5 million
Fairly was a beast when he was on the field last year, but a lack of consistent effort through his rookie contract is probably what prevented him from grabbing a long-term deal. He joins an already stacked front seven in St. Louis, so even though his role will be diminished, he’ll have an easy time making an impact.