2016 NFL Free Agency Diary

  • Mebane Comes To Terms With The San Diego Chargers

    In an effort to strengthen their defensive line, the San Diego Chargers came to an agreement with free agent nose tackle Brandon Mebane, the team announced.

    The 31-year old defensive tackle spent each of his first nine seasons with the Seattle Seahawks and should play well next to the underrated Corey Liuget.

     
  • Matt Cassel Signs With The Tennessee Titans

    It's being reported by numerous outlets that the Tennessee Titans have come to an agreement with free agent quarterback Matt Cassel, to back up Marcus Mariota.

    This will likely be a quarterback competition between Cassel and Zach Mettenberger with the loser being released.

    After Cassel's miserable showing last season in Dallas, it's a surprise that he was signed on the first day of free agency.
  • Giants Win Olivier Vernon Sweepstakes

    It came down to the New York Giants and Jacksonville Jaguars.

    Miami Dolphins free agent defensive end Olivier Vernon chose to play with the Giants.

    Vernon was PFF's top rated defensive lineman last year and reportedly signed a five-year deal worth approximately $85 million with $52.5 million guaranteed.

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    The $52.5 million guaranteed is the most ever for a defensive end and the Giants have revamped their defensive line as they inked Damon Harrison and Jason Pierre-Paul, as well as cornerback Janoris Jenkins.

    New York seems to be trying to replicate the formula that won them a pair of Super Bowl titles (2007, 2011) as they had one of the fiercest pass rushes in football, along with a quarterback who played big in big games.

    They still have Manning, and they've replaced Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora with Harrsion and Vernon, while still having Pierre-Paul.
  • Jets Land Matt Forte

    After losing running back Chris Ivory to the Jacksonville Jaguars, the New York Jets went out and grabbed a more versatile running back in former Bears Pro Bowler Matt Forte.

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    Forte has been one of the most productive backs in the NFL without the flash or the ego associated.  Although he's on the wrong side of 30, he hasn't showed any signs of slowing down, as he averaged 4.1 yards per carry in 2015 on a bad Bears team.  Forte is a great weapon in the passing game, as he has 487 receptions in his career.

    The former Tulane Green Wave running back has 8,602 career rushing yards on 2,035 carries for an average of 4.2 rushing yards per carry. His 487 receptions have totaled 4,116 receiving yards and he has 64 total touchdowns (45 rushing and 19 receiving) in his career, all for the Bears until now. Forte is a two time Pro Bowler (2011 and 2013), and his 12,718 all purpose yards rank 12th among all active players and 73rd among all NFL players ever.

    Contract details are unknown at this point, but it's more likely than not the Jets received Forte for less money than the Jaguars paid Ivory.

    New York will now turn its focus on signing free agent quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, who may have a much bigger market now that there is an opening in Denver.
  • Texans Land RB Lamar Miller

    ESPN is reporting that the Houston Texans have agreed to terms with free agent running back Lamar Miller, formerly of the Miami Dolphins.

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    Miller was the last of the "big three" free agent running backs to sign as Doug Martin re-signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers earlier today, and Chris Ivory left the New York Jets to sign with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

    The Texans will make Miller their lead back and he should prosper in the zone blocking system that Houston employs.  He is only 24 years old and was our top free agent running back available due to his lack of wear and tear and lack of injuries.

    Miami never used Miller enough as he was a very productive back for much of his time with the Dolphins, averaging 4.5 yards per carry in 2015 with eight touchdowns.

    With new quarterback Brock Osweiler having a limited amount of experience, it's likely that Houston leans on the ground game as much as possible.
  • Texans Land QB Brock Osweiler

    The Houston Texans have made one of the biggest signings in the early period of free agency as they signed former Denver Broncos quarterback Brock Osweiler.

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    This is one of the bigger surprises in free agency as the Texans have taken the potential starting quarterback of the Denver Broncos.

    Osweiler started just seven games last season before being replaced by Peyton Manning, who led the team to the Super Bowl title.

    He immediately becomes the new face of the Texans franchise after having a productive stint with much better pieces in Denver.  Osweiler completed 61.8 percent of his throws, for 246 yards per game with 10 touchdowns and six interceptions.

    The former second-round pick will now lead a Houston offense that has DeAndre Hopkins at wide receiver, and not a whole lot else.

    It's unclear how much of an upgrade Osweiler is over last year's starter, Brian Hoyer.  Teams will have some film on him and Texans head coach Bill O'Brien will have to devise an offense around his talents.

    As for the Broncos, they are now scrambling for an answer at quarterback.  Their best bet is probably Ryan Fitzpatrick, who had a mostly productive season with the New York Jets last year, leading them to a 10-6 record but losing their final regular season game with the playoffs on the line.

    Another option could be San Francisco 49ers signal caller Colin Kaepernick, who is unhappy after being benched in favor of Blaine Gabbert.  With the need so obvious for John Elway, the 49ers now have negotiating leverage for the once Super Bowl quarterback.

    One other option is Robert Griffin, III, who was recently released by the Washington Redskins.  RG3 could be a solid fit in Gary Kubiak's system as he is mobile and can run the bootleg, which is a fixture of his offense.
  • Giants Agree To Terms With DT Damon Harrison

    The defensive line market in free agency is blowing up and former New York Jets defensive tackle Damon "Snacks" Harrison is the latest recipient.

    Harrison won't have to change much about his everyday life as he moves from the Jets over to the New York Giants, as he reportedly agreed to a deal with $24 million in guaranteed money.

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    The Giants have been busy spenders in free agency as they re-upped with defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul on a one-year deal and agreed to terms with cornerback Janoris Jenkins on a long-term deal earlier today.

    The Harrison signing is another part of the team trying to end their playoff drought after four seasons.

    Harrison should fit in well playing along side Johnathan Hankins and Jay Bromley, as the team tries to rebuild a defense that allowed 420.3 yards per game in 2015, good for dead last in the NFL.

    With general manager Jerry Reese on the hot seat, it's no surprise that the Giants are going to unload as much of their cash as possible to try and manufacture a winner.
  • Bucs Come To Terms With RB Doug Martin

    The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have reportedly come to terms with running back Doug Martin on a five-year deal worth approximately $35.75 million with $15 million guaranteed.

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    In his contract year, Martin had his best season since he was a rookie in 2012, rushing for 1,402 yards with six touchdowns.

    Martin "calmed down" the Bucs offense as they had a pair of rookies on the offensive line as well as rookie quarterback Jameis Winston.

    With the cap space that Tampa Bay has, it would have sent a bad message to the team and their fans if they let Martin walk over just a few dollars.

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    The message of the entire Bucs offseason has been continuity, as Dirk Koetter was promoted to head coach and Vincent Jackson was retained by the team.  Having Martin in the fold for the prime of his career is an excellent move.
  • Jaguars Sign Punter Brad Nortman

    The Jacksonville Jaguars have upgraded at punter as they reportedly inked former Carolina Panthers' punter Brad Nortman to a new deal.

    It is being reported as a four-year deal, by NFL Network's Rich Eisen. 

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    Nortman isn't a huge statistical upgrade over soon-to-be former Jaguars punter Bryan Anger, but Anger had to go, mostly due to his draft position (3rd round) by former general manager Gene Smith.

    Anger finished 11th in gross punting in 2015 (46.3 ypp), 22nd in net punting (39.5 ypp), with four touchbacks and he allowed a punt return average of 10.8 ypr.

    Nortman finished 18th in gross punting (45.4 ypp), 17th in net punting (39.8 ypp), with five touchbacks and he allowed a punt return average of 7.8 ypr.

    The 6.8 yard difference between Anger's gross to net punting average was one of the worst in the NFL.

    This isn't a huge upgrade for the Jaguars on paper, but this is more about getting rid of what turned into a league-wide joke, drafting a punter in the third round.  Only if they would've got rid of the other league-wide joke, the guy who drafted him, Gene Smith earlier, they would probably be further along in the team's development.
  • Chargers Come To A Deal With WR Travis Benjamin

    The San Diego Chargers needed someone to stretch the field and they have landed the best available deep threat in free agency in former Cleveland Browns wide receiver Travis Benjamin.

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    Benjamin will be a perfect complement to precise route-runner Keenan Allen, and with a healthy Antonio Gates still in the fold, quarterback Philip Rivers will have plenty of receiving options downfield.

    If they can fix their offensive line and keep Melvin Gordon on the field, San Diego can not only have an explosive offense once again, but make a run at an AFC West title.

    The former Browns speedster is also a weapon in the return game as he is an elite punt returner who has taken three kicks back to the house in his career.  The Chargers were historically bad in the return department a season ago, totaling just 84 punt return yards, the lowest by any team since 1981.

    This, along with Mack's departure is just another example of players trying their best and taking less money to leave Cleveland.  This will continue to the be the case until the Browns prove that they can be a functional organization, something they haven't been in nearly 30 years.