**News Update (4/10/15) **
We are a miniscule TWENTY days away from the 2015 NFL Draft!!! We are firmly into smoke-screen season. The rumors are flying, and not much of it is believable.
Tampa Bay is locked in on picking a quarterback with the #1 overall pick. The only question remaining is will it be Florida State’s Jameis Winston or Oregon’s Marcus Mariota? The assumption is Winston goes first to Tampa. Some of the bigger rumors out there involve the Titans pick at #2. The main rumors involve the Bears, Browns, and Chargers. The Bears would trade pick #7, QB Jay Cutler, and some filler to move up five spots to select Mariota. The Browns would trade picks #12 & #19 to move up to #2 for Mariota, as the Browns brass has fallen out of love with last year’s top pick Johnny Manziel. The Chargers would trade pick #17 and QB Phillip Rivers to move up to pick Mariota. Rivers is entering the last year of his contract and doesn’t seem too thrilled with the idea of playing in Los Angeles. It promises to be a fun few weeks.
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**News Update (3/24/15) **
- The Redskins have traded a 2016 6th round pick to Tampa Bay for safety Dashon Goldson and a 2016 7th round pick.
- Florida State CB P.J. Williams was arrested this morning for DWI. Williams is currently the DFD #1 ranked corner.
- Steelers RB LeVeon Bell suspended 3 games, fined additional game check for violating substance abuse policy, per league sources. He is appealing. The Steelers must have anticipated this when they signed free agent RB Deangelo Williams.
- Steelers safety Troy Polamalu has announced his retirement. Polomalu had a great and potentially hall-of-fame career, but the last few years have not been kind.
After the first week of free agency, the news has slowed to a crawl. Outside of a few free agent signings, the action has moved at a snail’s pace.
The NFL awarded compensatory draft picks for the 2015 Draft at the annual league meetings. 14 teams received picks after they had a net loss in free agency in 2014. Compensatory picks cannot be traded.
3-97 New England
3-98 Kansas City
4-132 San Francisco
5-172 Kansas City
5-173 Kansas City
6-210 Green Bay
6-212 Green Bay
6-215 St. Louis
6-217 Kansas City
7-253 New England
7-254 San Francisco
- The Steelers have signed QB Ben Roethlisberger to a 5-year $99M deal that can escalate to $108 M. “Big Ben” is a top-ten QB in the league, and this is how you pay those players.
- The Chiefs have re-signed DS Ron Parker to a five-year $30M deal.
- The Vikings have released WR Greg Jennings. This move was coming the moment Minnesota acquired Mike Wallace.
- The Bengals have signed DE Michael Johnson to a 4-year $24M deal. This is such a sweet deal for the Bengals. They received a 3rd round compensatory pick for losing Johnson in free agency a year ago, and now they get him back in the position he had his most success.
- The Texans have signed ex-Patriots DT Vince Wilfork and ex-Jaguars WR Cecil Shorts to 2-year deals. Wilfolk can mentor last year’s 3rd round pick Louis Nix, and transition him into the starting role.
- 49ers ILB Chris Borland is retiring from the NFL after one season. He was a 3rd round pick in 2014. Borland cited his growing concern with head trauma injuries as his reason for stepping away. Borland was a very good starter for the Niners last year, so this was shocking to say the least. The question is, will this start a trend or is this a one-off deal?
- The Bills have signed Dolphins restricted free agent TE Charles Clay to a 5-year $38M deal, with $20M guaranteed. Miami chose not to match the offer. Since the Dolphins only placed the transition tag, they will receive no compensation.
- The Cowboys have signed former Panthers DE Greg Hardy to a one-year $11.3M deal. The deal has incentives that can pay an additional $1.8M.
**Free Agency Madness: DAY FOUR (3/13/15) **
- The Titans have signed former Redskins OLB Brian Orakpo to a 4-year $32M deal, with $13.5M guaranteed. If healthy, Orakpo can be a tremendous boost to the Tennessee pass rush.
- The Redskins have signed former 49ers CB Chris Culliver to a 4-year $32M contract. Culliver is a solid corner, but the market for corners has gotten a smidge ridiculous.
- The Rams have signed former Lions DT Nick Fairley to a 1-year deal that can be worth up to $7.5M. This is a one-year “prove it” deal for Fairley. The Fairley signing also means the Rams now have FIVE 1st-round picks on their defensive line. Chris Long, Aaron Donald, Michael Brockers, Robert Quinn, and now Nick Fairley! Yeah, good luck with that.
- The Saints have traded WR Kenny Stills to the Dolphins for OLB Dannell Ellerbe and a 2015 3rd round pick. The Saints fire sale continues. The Dolphins were able to shed Ellerbe’s salary (New Orleans is restructuring his deal), and the Saints were able to pick up their fifth pick in the first 78 selections. They have a chance to really rebuild their team.
- The Saints have signed RB C.J. Spiller to a 4-year $18M deal, with $9M guaranteed. Spiller fits the Saints offense like a glove.
- The Bills have signed WR Percy Harvin to a one year deal. Another one-year “prove it” deal. Rex Ryan and company traded for Harvin last year when they were with the Jets, so it makes sense they would be interested in reuniting.
- The Vikings have traded a 5th round to the Dolphins for WR Mike Wallace and a 7th round pick. Another salary dump by Miami, which was made easier with the acquisition of Stills. Minnesota gets a deep threat for Teddy Bridgewater. For their sake, I hope they can restructure his contract. Yuck!
**Free Agency Madness: DAY THREE (3/12/15) **
- The Saints have traded offensive guard Ben Grubbs to the Chiefs for a 2015 5th round pick. This is a move for the Saints to cut salary at a time when they desperately need to. Grubbs struggled in 2014.
- The Eagles have agreed to a 5-year $42M deal with RB Demarco Murray. The deal has $21M guaranteed. This is a double middle finger to Dallas. Not only do they lose their top back, but they lose him to a division rival. History tells us a back coming off a season with as many touches as Murray had; tend to struggle the following year. This is why they doubled-down with yesterday’s signing of Ryan Mathews.
- The Chiefs have released WR Dwayne Bowe. This was an expected release. Bowe will likely have many suitors.
- The Ravens have re-signed RB Justin Forsett to a 3-year $9M deal. Forsett had a breakout year in 2014 and the Ravens rewarded him.
- The Saints have signed former Patriots/Seahawks CB Brandon Browner to a 3-year $15M contract, with $10M guaranteed. Browner is a solid corner, but not great. He is however a great locker room guy, which the Saints defense sorely, needs.
- The Jets have signed CB Antonio Cromartie to a 4-year $32M deal. Cromartie reunites with Revis, but the Jets have spent a boatload of cash on corner the last few days.
- The Colts have waived RB Trent Richardson. Richardson was the #3 overall pick in 2012, and was traded to the Colts from Cleveland for a 2014 1st Round pick during the 2013 season. I can’t remember a draft prospect that universally praised, fall flat on his face like this so quickly. Richardson should clear waivers, since no team wants to assume his contract. He should however pick up with a team, for a much cheaper price.
- The Dolphins have signed former Browns TE Jordan Cameron to a 2-year $15M deal. It was erroneously reported earlier that he had re-signed with the Browns. It seems Cameron’s agent worked a few people in the media, and got his client a better situation with Miami. I feel this will mean current Dolphins TE Charles Clay will likely sign elsewhere. This also means the Browns have very little in the way of receiving talent.
**Free Agency Madness: DAY TWO (3/11/15) **
After a whirlwind of trades and signings on day one, day two slowed down a little.
- OT Bryan Bulaga has officially re-signed with the Packers. The contract is for 5 years, $33.75 million. This is a good re-signing for Green Bay. Bulaga is one of the few stable players on their o-line.
- Steelers OLB Jason Worilds has decided to retire from the NFL. Surprising since he had a few suitors in free agency.
- The Bengals have re-signed offensive guard Clint Boling to 5-year $26M extension. Boling has improved from year-to-year, and the Bengals like to take care of their own.
- The Eagles have signed former Chargers RB Ryan Mathews to a 3-year, $11.5M deal, with $5M guaranteed. You would think this would take the Eagles out of the RB market, but they could be in the Demarco Murray sweepstakes.
- Tampa Bay has released OT Anthony Collins and DE Michael Johnson, both of whom they signed as free agents from the Bengals one year ago. Johnson could very well wind up back in Cincinnati very soon or maybe a reunion with old coach Mike Zimmer in Minnesota.
- The Colts have signed former Texans WR Andre Johnson to a 3-year $21M deal. If Johnson has anything left in the tank, he could be highly productive in Indianapolis. Andrew Luck is easily the best QB he has ever played for.
- The Chiefs sign former Eagles WR Jeremy Maclin to a 5-year $55M contract. You have to think Maclin will end the streak of no wide outs catching a TD pass for the Chiefs.
- The Patriots signed former Browns DE Jabaal Sheard to a 2-year deal worth $11M, $5.5M guaranteed. Sheard is a sneaky good signing.
**Free Agency Madness: DAY ONE (3/10/15) **
Mock Draft 2.0 is now updated on the site. Check out who we think your favorite team will draft: http://deepfrieddraft.com/Mock_Draft.html
The NFL 2015 calendar officially began at 3 p.m. today, and did it ever start with a bang. There was big money being thrown around. There were trades no one saw coming, and much more.
- The Bills have agreed to trade ILB Kiko Alonso to Philadelphia for RB LeSean McCoy. The trade will become official next week. LeSean McCoy's production was down last year, and Chip Kelly was seemingly not happy with the money he was owed. Alonso was a superb middle linebacker before an ACL injury cut his sophomore season short. This trade could be a win-win for both teams, if the respective players bounce back.
- The Vikings have agreed to trade QB Matt Cassel to the Bills. The Vikings acquire a 2015 5th Round pick and 2016 7th Round pick. The Bills acquire Cassel and a 2015 6th Round Pick. The Vikings have their QB, so Cassell was expendable. The Bills QB situation is bleak, and this will not alleviate that.
- The Bears have agreed to trade WR Brandon Marshall to the Jets, for a 2015 mid-round pick. The trade is pending a physical. Marshall is still a very good receiver and can help the Jets. The Bears get out from under his contract, but now have a huge hole opposite of Alshon Jeffrey.
- The Seahawks have signed RB Marshawn Lynch to a 2-year, $24M contract extension. “Beast Mode” is back for the Seahawks. Lynch is a key cog in the Seattle offense and this contract does not hamstring them too much.
- The Texans have re-signed CB Kareem Jackson to a 4-year $34M extension with $20M guaranteed and OT Derek Newton to a 5-year $26.5M extension with $13.75M guaranteed. Jackson had a very good 2014 and Newton solidified the right tackle position.
- The Saints have re-signed RB Mark Ingram to a 4-year $16M extension. Ingram had a breakout year in the final year of his contract. But with the devaluation of the running back position, this is probably the best contract he could have hoped for.
- WR Randall Cobb and the Packers have reached agreement on a 4-year deal worth $40M, with $17M guaranteed. This was a smart move by Cobb. He is just 24, so if he has 4 more productive years with Aaron Rodgers, he can hit the market for more money at age 28.
- The Bills have agreed to extend the contract of RB LeSean McCoy once the trade with the Eagles is finalized. It is a 5-year extension, worth $40M, with $26.5M guaranteed. This is a lot of dough for a RB coming off his least productive season in recent memory.
- The Dolphins have agreed to sign former Lions DT Ndamukong Suh to a 6-year, $114 million dollar deal, with $60 million guaranteed. Suh is arguably the second best defensive lineman in football, but is being paid like the best defensive overall player in the league. Hell, he is getting top QB money!! Time will tell on this contract.
- The Chargers have re-signed CB Brandon Flowers to a 4-year $36M extension. Flowers gambled taking a one-year prove it deal last year and it paid off for him.
- The Eagles have agreed to a 5-year $54M deal with former Seahawks CB Byron Maxwell. $25M of the contract is guaranteed. Curious to see how he fares away from the “Legion of Boom”.
- The Patriots have re-signed DS Devin McCourty to a 5-year $47.5M contract, with $28M guaranteed.
- The Bills and OLB Jerry Hughes have reached agreement on a 5-year deal worth at least $45M with $20M guaranteed to keep him in Buffalo. Good job by Bills to resign Hughes, who had double-digit sacks a year ago.
- The Chargers have agreed to sign former Broncos guard Orlando Franklin to a 5-year $36.5M deal, with $20M guaranteed.
- The Bears have agreed to sign former Ravens OLB Pernell McPhee to a 5-year $40M deal, with $16M guaranteed. McPhee was one of the hot, under-the-radar names in free agency.
- 49ers ILB Patrick Willis and DE Justin Smith are announcing their retirement from the NFL. I was not surprised by Justin Smith stepping away, but I was surprised by the 30 year old Willis. Willis said he didn’t feel like he could compete at a high level anymore, and if he couldn’t do that, he didn’t want to step on the field.
- The Saints have released LB Curtis Lofton. Lofton was the Saints leading tackler the last three years. He was a cap casualty because the Saints can’t manage their cap properly. I feel like doing a write-up on the ineptitude of the Saints front office in recent years.
- The Texans have released WR Andre Johnson. Johnson refused a pay cut and after the Texans exhausted trade options, he was released. The rumor is that he may land in Indy on a short-term deal.
- The Eagles have re-signed DE Brandon Graham to a 4-year deal worth $26M. He gets $14M guaranteed. Graham was a hot name with many suitors.
- The Colts have signed former 49ers RB Frank Gore to a 3-year $12M deal, with $7.5M guaranteed. The Colts also signed former Eagles OLB Trent Cole to a 2-year, $16M deal. The Colts appear to be making a run with short term veteran free agent signings, because they know they have to pay Andrew Luck mega bucks soon, and that will limit what they can do in the future.
- The Cardinals have signed former 49ers guard Mike Iupati to a 5-year $40M deal, with $22.5M guaranteed. This is big money for a guard, but Iupati is one of the best in the league. This is not a ringing endorsement for 2013 1st-round pick Johnathan Cooper. Cooper has battled multiple injuries, and unless he writes the ship soon, he will be a huge bust for Arizona.
- The Saints have traded TE Jimmy Graham and a 2015 4th-round pick to Seattle for center Max Unger and their 2015 1st round pick. This one was shocking for many reasons. Graham just signed a huge extension with the Saints last year. The Seahawks were linked to Julius Thomas, but after he signed elsewhere, they made their move. The Saints pick up one of the best centers in the league and the 31st overall pick. I don’t have faith in the New Orleans brain trust to make the right picks. They also may have to rework Unger’s deal some. Unless they trade back into round one, this will mark the third straight year Seattle will be without a first round pick.
- The Ravens have traded DT Haloti Ngata and a '15 7th-round pick to the Lions for a 2015 4th and 5th round pick. If Ngata is healthy, this isn’t a big drop-off from Suh.
- The Broncos have signed veteran TE Owen Daniels to a 3-year deal and have resigned TE Virgil Green to a three-year deal. Solid signings…
- The Falcons have signed former Texans OLB Brooks Reed to a 5-year $22M deal and OLB Justin Durant (Cowboys). Also solid signings.
- The Jaguars have signed former Broncos TE Julius Thomas to a 5-year $46M deal, with $24M guaranteed. I like the game changing ability Thomas possesses, but do not like his medical history. If healthy, he makes the Jags offense much better.
- Titans QB Jake Locker is retiring from the NFL. Locker was the #8 overall pick in 2011. Locker never could stay healthy.
- The 49ers have signed former Ravens WR Torrey Smith to a 5-year $40M deal with $22M guaranteed. This gives Kaepernick a deep threat they have not really had.
- Giants have signed former Patriots RB Shane Vereen to a 3-year $12.35M deal. I like this signing for the Giants. Vereen is great catching passes out of the backfield and can pair with Andre Williams (who is terrible at catching the football) to give New York a solid ground game.
- The Jets have released WR Percy Harvin. When Harvin signs with a new team (and he will), it will be his 4th team in four years.
- The Texans have re-signed QB Ryan Mallett and signed former Browns QB Brian Hoyer. They have traded QB Case Keenum to the Rams for a 2016 7th round pick. I bet they wish they would have traded back into the 1st round and draft Teddy Bridgewater now. Their QB situation is not ideal.
- Eagles acquire QB Sam Bradford and 5th round draft pick in 2015 from Rams for QB Nick Foles, a 4th round pick in 2015 and a 2nd round pick in 2016. If Bradford can stay healthy (which he has never been able to do), he can be successful in Chip Kelly’s offense. If he never plays a down for the Eagles in 2015, the Eagles get a 3rd round pick in 2016 from the Rams. If he plays less than 50% of the offensive snaps in 2015, they get a 4th round pick in 2016 back. I am still not convinced they will not make an effort to trade up to draft Marcus Mariota.
- The Jets have signed CB Darrelle Revis to a 5-year $70M deal, with $39M guaranteed. The Jets also signed former Browns CB Buster Skrine to a 4-year $25M contract, with $13M guaranteed. “Revis Island” has returned to New York. This is the 3rd straight off-season Revis has been a free agent.
We will have more updates tomorrow!