The Biggest Free Agent Signings So Far, Graded

The free agency frenzy in the NFL is in full swing, and with big signings already taking place, the only thing left to do is to judge them.

Nick Foles to the Jaguars

Ahh the big one. It still feels like yesterday when Nick Foles was on the brink of retirement after what would’ve been a pretty mediocre career. Some playoff wins, a few clutch performances, and a Super Bowl ring later, Foles becomes the newest big quarterback investment in Jacksonville. Foles is a definite upgrade from Blake Bortles, but the move still doesn’t make the Jags contenders just because he’s won one Super Bowl before. While the team still has some really good pieces on defense; the oft-injured Leonard Fournette averaged 3.3 yards per carry in 2018, and the receiving core features the ultra-decent DeDe Westbrook and average-at-best Keelan Cole – far from the level of talent Foles had at his disposal in Philly. At 30 years old, Foles is far from a long-term solution in Jacksonville. Don’t expect a huge turnaround in a division with the Colts and Texans anytime soon. 

Grade: C

Tyrann Mathieu to the Chiefs 

The Chiefs’ secondary is… atrocious (to say the least). Apart from a Dee Ford offsides call, it was the biggest thing that kept them from going to the Super Bowl last year. Besides Eric Berry, literally anyonewould be an upgrade over the rest of the secondary. The Honey Badger might not be the player he used to be, after an ACL tear and multiple shoulder injuries, but he’s still a playmaker at the safety position. Mathieu brings a much-needed ferocity to the Chiefs defense, and most importantly, adds versatility. With the addition of Mathieu, Kansas City added someone who could pressure the quarterback, play as a linebacker in the box, and create turnovers on the back end all at once for a pretty good price. 

Grade: B-

Landon Collins to the Redskins

There’s nothing bad about this move. At all. The ‘Skins assembled the best safety tandem in the NFL last year with D.J. Swearinger and HaHa Clinton-Dix; but with Swearinger being released for a violation and Clinton-Dix on the market at the moment, Washington found themselves back at square one in the defensive backfield. By signing Collins to a 6-year contract, the Redskins won’t have to worry about having a reliable safety for a while. Collins is a top-tier safety that was first on many teams’ lists in a free agent market that was stacked with good safeties, and is still just starting his prime. If Washington can negotiate a deal with Clinton-Dix, they might even be worth watching next year.

Grade: A

Kwon Alexander to the 49ers

Getting Kwon Alexander was necessary for San Francisco after their recent linebacker troubles, but the price that came along with the fifth-year backer was a heavy one. For a player that is considered to be just good(with flashes of greatness), $54 million over four years seems like a stretch – especially when Alexander is coming off of a season in which he missed ten games with injury. By acquiring Alexander, however, San Fran filled in a huge offseason need and eliminated a draft need; but Alexander’s agent made sure to squeeze all the money he could out of GM John Lynch.

Grade: B-

Trent Brown to the Raiders

Trent Brown is by no means a bad offensive lineman, but linemen who have success in New England and then leave have an awful track record. Case in point: Nate Solder in 2018. Did you hear about him? What team did he even play for? Exactly. Solder effectively did his best to disappear in 2018, and the Patriots did what they always do – moved on and replaced him. The Raiders apparently didn’t learn from this, as they paid an ungodly amount of money for an offensive tackle with one good year (with a quarterback who rarely holds the ball for more than three seconds). After some subpar years in San Francisco and an above average one in New England, $66 million over four years is a ridiculous amount of money coming from a team who “couldn’t afford” Khalil Mack or Amari Cooper. 

Grade: C- 

C.J. Mosley to the Jets 

The Jets front seven is always loaded, but never seems to get much done. C.J. Mosley brings an immediate reliability to the middle linebacker position in New York. His production has sputtered some over the last couple years, but it’s attributed mostly to Baltimore adding great interior linemen and being able to rotate bodies at the linebacker position. With the Jets, Mosley will get to be the main linebacker on an up-and-coming defense, and should stay as a top ten linebacker for years to come. 

Grade: B

Trey Flowers to the Lions

Matt Patricia, you sly dog. After a first year filled with ups and downs as the Lions’ head coach, Patricia managed to snag a former Patriot from his stellar days as New England’s defensive coordinator. Ezekiel Ansah showed flashes of greatness in Detroit, but they were few and far between, mixed with a multitude of injuries. Flowers is a massive upgrade at the defensive end position, being one of the few consistent players on New England’s defense last year. Flowers might not have the most outstanding production numbers in sack category, but he’s a constant and consistent force that impacts the run game as well. His quarterback pressure numbers, tackles for loss, and total tackles all sit at great marks for the last three years, and the five-year contract is a good one on Detroit’s end too.

Grade: A-

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