UPDATED: NFL Free Agent Signings – QB / RB / WR Round Up

By Ha Kung Wong

Twitter: @FBGarbageTime

Don’t have time to keep up with the big quarterback, running back and wide receiver signings in free agency?  Well, keep it tuned in and we’ll keep you informed!

Quarterbacks

Brock Osweiler to the Houston Texans

This one was a shocker for me.  The Broncos invested a second round pick and four years on Brock Osweiler just to let him walk days after Peyton Manning retires.

And Osweiler made out like a bandit:

Of course, not everyone thought this was reasonable, as Saints backup QB Matt Flynn made his thoughts on the deal pretty clear:

Honestly, I kind of side with Flynn on this one.  Osweiler is a great prospect with significant potential, but he’s only played 7 games in four years, and was so shaky in his final starts that he was eventually benched for a sub-100% Peyton Manning.  And it’s not like he didn’t have targets to throw to in Denver, as he had Demaryius Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders, CJ Anderson, Ronnie Hillman, Owen Daniels and Vernon Davis.  Now he’s stepping into a situation where he has basically just DeAndre Hopkins.  Hopkins is terrific, but you can’t tell me that’s an upgrade on what he had in Denver.

I suppose adding RB Lamar Miller might take some of the pressure off, but I feel Osweiler’s deal with the Texans is more a reflection of the weak QB free agent class than the “value” they’re getting from Osweiler.

Notable available QBs in no particular order:

  • Ryan Fitzpatrick

UPDATE – March 10

Currently, the Jets have an outstanding offer that barely exceeds what the Eagles paid Chase Daniels to be their backup.  And since the offer, it’s inexplicably been radio silence from the Jets.

If the Jets don’t move on him though, it’s possible the newly QB-less Broncos may swoop in:

UPDATE – March 11

Interestingly, the Jets hosted RGIII today, but it appears that they what to sign him as a backup to Fitzpatrick.  That would be a great move if they can make it happen, but at this point, with the dearth of QB talent left in free agency, they really can’t afford to lose Fitzpatrick.

UPDATE – March 13

And the plot thickens for Mr. Fitzpatrick, as it’s revealed that the Broncos are unwilling to pay what he’s asking for.  If the Fitzpatrick doesn’t fine some takers soon, he may have to take the Jets initial offer, or ponder retirement.  Honestly, both sides have a lot to lose, so I think the Jets should just up their offer by a small amount as a sign of faith and Fitzpatrick should just return to only spot he’s been successful in years.

  • Robert Griffin III

UPDATE – March 10

Really no movement on RGIII since his release from the Redskins, but there’s been some rumors that he wants to end up in Los Angeles.

Honestly, it can’t be worse than Nick Foles or Case Keenum, and it certainly has potential to fill seats in their new stadium.  In addition, a running QB could help the run heavy offense that Jeff Fisher wants to employ.

UPDATE – March 13

Looks like the Jets are seriously kicking the tires on potential backup QB, RGIII.  The longer Fitzpatrick shops around, the more likely the Jets will move to lock up RGIII, as Geno Smith and Bryce Petty are unlikely to be the answer.

UPDATE – March 18

And the saga keeps on ticking.  Looks like the Jets are getting a little more serious about getting Fitzpatrick under contract.  Perhaps checking out RGIII confirmed for them that Fitzpatrick is the best option after all.

UPDATE – March 24

And now, RGIII has signed with the Cleveland Browns.  I break this down in more detail HERE.

Running Backs

Doug Martin staying with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers

This one was a no brainer to me.  I discussed Martin previously, so as you know, I think he was the best available free agent RB this year.  So the Buccaneers, who made great strides with rookie QB Jameis Winston last year, was smart not to let a key component of their success leave.  $35M for a 5 year deal sounds about right to me and ensures that there will be consistency on offense for the foreseeable future, something that was sorely lacking in Tampa over their recent history.

Lamar Miller to the Houston Texans

I also previously discussed Lamar Miller, and you know I like him as well, particularly in light of his mild usage over the last two years.  Once the former HC Philbin was fired and the handcuffs came off, Miller was a new man.  I already cited all the stats in the previously article, so the short summary is Miller, with a full complement of carries, could really have a banner year in Houston.

Chris Ivory to the Jacksonville Jaguars

As I mentioned previously, Chris Ivory is better suited for a time share in light of his high contact running style, so going to the Jaguars to share time with rookie RB T.J. Yeldon makes a lot of sense.  And according to GM Dave Caldwell, this is specifically what they intend to do:

The Jaguars are really moving in free agency, and getting a solid 2 down back will also help preserve Yeldon’s health.

Matt Forte to the New York Jets

Being a big Matt Forte fan since he came into the league, I was sorry to see him released by the Bears.  But I do think, in light of the Chris Ivory departure, and the potential departure of Bilal Powell, that Forte couldn’t have asked for a much better landing spot.  Of course, a lot of his effectiveness will depend on what QB the Jets decide to run with, and they’ve been strangely silent with Ryan Fitzpatrick up to this point.  My only concern is his ongoing health, and as I mentioned previously, I’d prefer if the Jets keep at least one RB to pair with him during the season.

UPDATE – 12:24 PM ET – March 10

And now it looks like the Jets did keep at least one RB to pair with Forte, as they’ve re-signed Bilal Powell.

And they also signed Khiry Robinson, so now they have plenty of RBs…again.

The next five best available RBs left in free agency:

  1. Arian Foster
  2. LeGarrette Blount
  3. Tim Hightower
  4. Alfred Morris
  5. Ronnie Hillman

UPDATE – March 10

C.J. Anderson isn’t an unrestricted free agent, but he is a restricted free agent that now has a signed offer with the Miami Dolphins worth $18M over 4 years.  If the Broncos don’t match it in 5 days, they’ll lose another important part of their team and receive no compensation.

UPDATE – March 11

Arian Foster has said that he’ll be practicing “patience” as he decides what o do in free agency.  Makes sense, but many of the RB needy teams have filled their gaps, so waiting too long might be detrimental for his market.  Perhaps if the Broncos fail to match the Dolphins with respect to C.J. Anderson, waiting might open up a spot in Denver.  But there aren’t many other potential landing spots that will get better over time.

UPDATE – March 13

In the ongoing C.J. Anderson saga, it looks like the Bears actually offered him more money, but Anderson preferred to work with old Broncos OC and new Dolphins HC, Adam Gases.  It’s also come clear that the Dolphin front-loaded a lot of the compensation in order to make it difficult for the Broncos to match.  Looks like the Broncos really underestimated Anderson’s value in free agency, and may be paying the price soon.

Not much news on the other top RBs in free agency, but there’s at least this report that Blount should be full go if he can find a landing spot in 2016.

UPDATE – March 15

And now the C.J. Anderson comes to a close as the Broncos decide that they can ill afford to lose their best QB and best RB all at the same time.  They match Miami’s offer and Anderson returns to Denver.

UPDATE – March 16

Haven’t heard much about CJ2K.  Neither landing spots are all that great, as David Johnson has been essentially handed the keys of the city in Arizona and Miami has Jay Ajayi.  The Dolphins would be slightly better since Ajayi does have some injury concern, and hasn’t proven anything on the field yet, but it would be interesting to see if CJ2K can recreate his success with Miami’s offensive line.

UPDATE – March 17

And now, CJ2K is going back to Arizona.  Surprising, but I suppose he thinks he can be a decent complimentary back behind David Johnson.

UPDATE – March 18

Unsurprisingly, there’s not much market for a lifelong backup RB who’s had his opportunities to shine, but failed to consistently take advantage.  I mentioned that he’s a good passing down option, which I think he’ll be in Green Bay, in addition to having change of pace duties.  But how much more he gets will depend more on what Eddie Lacy does in the offseason trying to get back in shape than what Stark can do as he moves into the wrong side of 30.

And Alfred Morris is finally on the board. At this point, he can be had for cheap and certainly has some upside.  He’s proved before that he can be successful in the NFL and based on his light usage in 2015, he might be a steal for the Cowboys if they decide to take a chance.

UPDATE – March 21

Alfred Morris would get a big boost behind the Cowboys offensive line.  And the Cowboys could get Morris on the cheap.  Seems like a good match on paper.

UPDATE – March 22 (9:40 AM ET)

And there you have it.  Alfred Morris will indeed gain the benefit of the Cowboys offensive line in 2016.

Wide Receivers

Marvin Jones to the Detroit Lions

I like Marvin Jones a lot.  In fact, I thought he was the best available WR in free agency.  As I mentioned, he had significant upside in 2013 prior to his injury and demonstrated that he still had that upside in 2015 after returning from injury.  The Lions needed a boost with Calvin Johnson deciding to retire, and the pair of Golden Tate and Marvin Jones is a good start.

Travis Benjamin to the San Diego Chargers

Clearly, the Browns are blowing up their team and looking to start over, as they let they’re best WR leave in free agency. I noted that Benjamin was in my top four best available WRs in free agency, so San Diego signing him is a big deal, particularly with Malcolm Floyd retiring.

UPDATE – 9:37 PM ET – March 9
Richard Matthews to the Tennessee Titans

The Titans are really building.  After obtaining DeMarco Murray from the Eagles to shore up the ground, they grab, in my opinion, the second best available WR in free agency, Rishard Matthews.  I mentioned that I had some concerns with Matthews’ on-field attitude, seeing as how he specifically noted that he wouldn’t take less than a WR2 opportunity and clearly didn’t want to be behind rookie DeVante Parker in Miami.  He’ll have to deal with a young WR in Tennessee as well, but he’ll likely be a WR1/2 with Dorial Green-Beckham, although target-wise will potentially fall behind TE Delanie Walker as well.  Either way, with a full year under the belt for Marcus Mariota and Green-Beckham, a stud TE in Walker and new additions Murray and Matthews, the Titans are shaping up to be significant contenders in 2016.

UPDATE – March 11
Jermaine Kearse staying with the Seattle Seahawks

Well, surprisingly, Kearse is returning to Seattle.  Being buried behind Doug Baldwin and Tyler Lockett isn’t ideal, and as I mentioned, I think he has a lot more upside in an offense where he can get more consistent targets, but comfort level is important, so staying with the Seahawks isn’t all bad.  Regardless, I would have preferred to see him join a different team where he could be a true WR2.

The next five best available WRs left in free agency:

  1. Anquan Boldin
  2. James Jones
  3. Brandon LaFell
  4. Andre Johnson
  5. Roddy White

UPDATE – March 13

Not much movement on outstanding WRs, outside of Chris Hogan moving from Buffalo to New England, but that’s not surprising considering the lack of quality in free agency.  But with the news that Martavis Bryant may be facing a year long suspension, perhaps Pittsburgh will jump into the fray.

James Jones has reiterated that he wants to stay in Green Bay long term, which makes sense in light of the fact that he’s only shown any promise while catching passes from Aaron Rodgers, but so far, it seems the Packers are looking to move on to their younger WRs like Ty Montgomery, Jeff Janis and Jared Abbrederis.

UPDATE – March 14

Looks like James Jones has a great reason to want to return to Green Bay, as he led all Packers in performance-based bonuses.  So far, the Pack haven’t decided to take him back, and I think it’s unlikely they will with all the younger talent they need to evaluate in their WR core.

UPDATE – March 16

Well, the Bengals can certainly use some help after losing Marvin Jones. I think LaFell can still be a decent downfield threat, and considering his down year in New England, he can probably be obtained on the cheap.

UPDATE – March 17

Boldin has been strangely quiet, but at least his agent thinks things are brewing.  But then again, if I were his agent, I’d start that rumor as well.  At least we know retirement isn’t in the cards.

Keep checking back as we keep you updated on the NFL Free Agency!

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