First off for anyone that got that somewhat obscure reference in the title, congrats. This will most likely be the final free agency round up of the year, although there will be comments if shocking cuts happen between now and the draft.
The Denver Broncos seemingly have been awarded the top free agent prize this year in Peyton Manning. Early rumors suggest they are currently working on a deal (5 year, 95 mill) that will bring Peyton to even more rarefied air than he’s already accustomed. Sure there are questions regarding Manning’s health, whether he’ll be able to maintain his gaudy offensive play under a new coach and scheme, and what will happen to Tim Tebow (I had to get that in there). However no question is more important than this: why Denver? Don’t get me wrong Denver has an exciting YOUNG core, especially on defense. Unfortunately on offense there is almost a complete dearth of talent, especially at the skill positions. Peyton has no one to really throw to – it remains to be seen if Eric Decker will become a solid starting WR now that he is playing in a pass heavy offense, and Demaryius Thomas has not proved anything yet – and doesn’t really have anyone to hand the ball to – Knowshon Moreno is constantly hurt and Willis McGahee slowed to a crawl by the end of last season. I still think Peyton would have been better off going to San Francisco that has a good running game and a top 5 defense year-in and year-out. Oh well.
Speaking of the San Francisco 49ers, they signed Mario Manningham (2 year, that’s all the info available) to further solidify their receiving corps (earlier in free agency they signed the formerly retired Randy Moss). This marks yet another Super Bowl hero WR the New York Giants decided not to re-sign. Don’t expect huge numbers from Manningham, especially since no one is quite sure who will be throwing to him – at the moment it is Colin Kaepernick…youch. Although here’s a riddle that will be answered at the end of this post: What makes Manningham better than a Manning?
Alex Smith, once (and future?) 49er QB, apparently feels jilted by SF’s “lowball offer” (3 year, 24 mill) and is seeking to ply his trade for the Miami Dolphins. How Smith feels $8 million a year isn’t a fair offer is ridiculous considering he was about to be a career back-up until last year. The ‘Phins are continuing to get dumped on during this year’s free agency period as both Peyton Manning and Matt Flynn scorned them, while Ryan Clark hated pretty hard about their front office (don’t worry Dolphin fans, never forget the self-evident truths of Kanye West, “Love your haters – they’re your biggest fans”).
Meanwhile, in the furthest city from Miami, Matt Flynn signed (3 year, 26 mill, 10 mill guaranteed) with the Seattle Seahawks. Apparently Flynn wanted to become his own man and no longer live in the shadow of new Dolphin coach Joe Philbin. I’ll never know why people get so excited about back-up QBs and sign them to ridiculous contracts and/or trade a king’s ransom for them (believe me the Rob Johnson trade still haunts me), but when you are starting Tarvaris Jackson you can’t blame the Seahawks.
The Kansas City Chiefs signed the best offensive tackle on the market in Eric Winston (4 year, 22 mill). Winston is more known for his run blocking than his pass protection but that’s good for the Chiefs anyway as they have a solid stable of running backs, including Jamaal Charles who will be returning to duty this season. This is definitely a good move for the Chiefs as they now have two pretty good OTs to man the ends of that offensive line.
The New England Patriots towed the line with by signing veterans at discounts. Brandon Lloyd (3 year, 12 mill) and Robert Gallery (1 year) are the newest additions to the ever fluid personnel of the Patsies. Lloyd reunites with his former head coach, Josh McDaniels (who returned to be the Patriots’ offensive coordinator), where he had ridiculously amounts of success. While they keep tinkering with the offense, the defense has yet to add/retain any pass rushing talent, which was a very big part of their success from last year.
Last but not least the Carolina Panthers added another car, or bulldozer more like, to their garage of running backs by signing Mike Tolbert (4 year is the only information available). They also announced Tolbert as a fullback in a press release regarding the signing. Whether the Panthers decide to trade either DeAngelo Williams or Jonathan Stewart remains to be seen (although they have already quashed rumors of their desire to trade Stewart) but putting Tolbert in a backfield that already includes the aforementioned RBs AND Cam Newton and it looks like the Panthers will be running the ball like it’s going out of style. Wait, it is going out of style.
The answer to the riddle: He comes with ham. Thank you, I’ll be here all week.