In general, by nature, I’m a pretty pessimistic, negative person. Some see the glass as half full; I see it as half empty and full of urine and cigarette butts. I try to be aware of it and not let it affect my day-to-day life too much, but after the recent events during the recent NFL free agent frenzy, I just couldn’t sit idly any longer. The love fest coming from fantasy football players and football fans was literally making me sick. Many people saw positive moves for their respective teams, all I saw was franchise crushing errors that will take generations to repair. Without further ado, let’s delve into my madness.
Brandin Cooks Traded to the Patriots
Gauging from the response of Patriots haters on Twitter, you’d have thought the nation’s suicide hotlines were ringing off the hook all across the country. “Why do other teams let the Patriots do this to them?” and other such crybaby B.S. filled my timeline “What do the Patriots need to be happy, a 19-0 record?” Ugh. Drama queens everywhere. This is going to backfire. Cooks was basically kicked out of New Orleans for complaining and not being a team player. The pinnacle took place after he publicly complained about not being involved after a 49-21 win where the Saints amassed 555 total yards of offense. Do you think Bill Belichick is going to put up with that kind of nonsense? If he didn’t like splitting targets with Michael Thomas, he’s going to be miserable watching guys like Matt Lengel and Michael Hoomanawanui pull down red zone targets. Cooks is only hitting the Pats for 1.5 million in cap space, and if he shows the signs of jealousy in Foxborough that he showed in N’awlins… expect him to suffer the same fate as Ocho Cinco.
Alshon Jeffery, signs with the Eagles for 1 year at 14 million dollars
5 seasons in the NFL and he has missed significant time in 3 of those 5 years due to injury. If there is one thing I’ve learned in my 37 years on this planet; it’s that Philadelphia sports fans are the most reasonable, understanding people on earth. Oh, wait, that’s 100% false. It’s been awhile since we’ve seen the charmers in the stands at Lincoln Financial Field (or the old Vet for that matter) rain down boos and racial slurs on an injured player writhing in pain on a stretcher, but if Jeffery sustains another major injury, expect to put the earmuffs on the women and children. The booing jolly ole Saint Nick incurred will be nothing compared to the vile hellfire headed towards Alshon Jeffery for collecting a cool 14-mil for 9 games worth of action. If the stretcher can’t get him off the turf fast enough, expect the next injury to be airborne battery related.
Terrelle Pryor, signs with the Redskins for 1 year at 8 million dollars
My first impression is that Jay Gruden thinks he’s such a quarterback whisperer that he can groom Pryor to be the QB of the future after Kirk Cousins jumps ship next year to join his man-crush Kyle Shanahan in San Francisco for the 2018 season. It’s hard to find a more dysfunctional franchise under more backward leadership than you’ll find in Cleveland… but Pryor managed to do just that landing in the nation’s capital. Pryor is essentially the 2nd year wide receiver and will be playing opposite Josh Doctson, who is essentially a rookie, I’m sure the offense will gel nicely with a signal caller who wants to play on the complete other side of the country tossing balls to a converted quarterback in his second year at receiver and a 24-year-old rookie. Sounds like a great plan Mr. Snyder, while you’re at it, why don’t you fire that pesky know it all GM McCloughan too, we can’t have him getting any credit if this thing turns around, it’s all about you sir.
Martellus Bennett, signs with the Packers for 3 years for around 20 million dollars
Who’s excited for this new weapon in Green Bay’s potent offense? Not me, yuck. The Packers just don’t utilize the tight end enough for this to move the needle for me. Over the course of the last 9 years, since Aaron Rodgers has been the starting quarterback the average stat line for tight ends has been 42 catches for 466 yards and 3.8 touchdowns. Last year, that would have ranked 24th and 23rd in standard and PPR scoring, respectively. No thanks in real life or fantasy.
Pierre Garcon, signs with the 49ers for 5 years and 47 million dollars
What?!?! He’ll be 31 when the season starts and has never scored more than 7 touchdowns in a season… sounds like a reasonable deal. “But, Kyle Shanahan knows him from their time in Washington together, and Garcon already knows all of the-“. Shut up with that nonsense! Just because you have millions of dollars of room under the salary cap doesn’t mean you have to blow it unreasonably. Can’t wait to see Garcon running routes in 2022 at age 36 for another 3-13 Niners team just as Lynch and Shanahan will be shown the door.
DeSean Jackson, signs with the Buccaneers for 3 years and 35 million dollars
As much as it pains me to do this, I can’t hate everything. A pretty good signing for a team that needed a big play threat. This makes sense on many levels for both sides. Jackson will turn 31 during the season and over the course of his 9-year career has only played a full 16 games twice, although he has only missed significant time once, during the 2015 season. I don’t have much here… DeSean is a stupid name.
Brian Hoyer AND Matt Barkley, both sign with the 49ers
Who really cares about the money here? Barkley’s hasn’t been disclosed yet, and Hoyer signed a 2 year, 12 million dollar deal. So, apparently, Shanahan and Lynch were so impressed by the Chicago Bears and their 3-13 record that they thought “You know what, we really should bring in both their second and third string quarterbacks to make us better.” And that is exactly what they did. I’ve made a lot of bad decisions in my life. I’ve done quite a few things I regret. I’ve hurt people close to me, and I’ve let people who counted on me down, but I’ve never done something as terrible as this. Oh, what’s that you say? Hoyer knows Shanahan’s system from their time together in Cleveland? How did that workout? Well, the Browns went 7-9, but Hoyer completed only 55% of his passes, which was good enough for 32 of 33 quarterbacks that year. He also had a QB rating of 76, good enough for 31 of 33 quarterbacks and he tallied 12 touchdowns to go along with his 13 interceptions. I can see why they want to get that connection back together by the bay. And Barkley, oof. Everyone keeps saying “He was looking good towards the end of last year”. Uh, when was that? When he tossed 14 interceptions in 7 games? He was on pace for 32 in a full season (good enough for 4th worst all time if it kept up).
Mike Glennon, signs with the Bears for 3 years and 45 million dollars
So, uh, I guess Mike Glennon is a thing now. Bears fans for years have been clamoring for the team to move on from apathetically faced Jay Cutler, and they got their wish, only to see him be replaced by apathetically faced and giraffe-necked Mike Glennon. The Bears are really doing everything they can to push for that #1 pick in 2018, aren’t they? Weren’t Ryan Pace and John Fox supposed to be the saviors of this once proud, storied franchise? Sheesh, you’d never have thunk people would want to see Lovie Smith and Jerry Angelo around the windy city again, yet here we are.
Markus Wheaton, Kendall Wright and Dion Sims, sign with the Bears too
While we’re addressing the Bears, their new franchise QB needs weapons so they went for it by bringing in Wheaton and Wright, who I care so little about that I can’t even be bothered to google their contract details. Team them up with combine warrior and apparent draft bust Kevin White and you really have a core in place to let an entire stadium down. Cameron Meredith is the lone bright spot here, but if I know that, so do opposing defensive coordinators and he’ll be taken out of the game plan from the first snap each week. And Dion Sims? What were they thinking? Zach Miller is/was a surprisingly effective tight end when he played. Now what, bring in some mediocre talent to demotivate him? Just put your head in your hands and shake your head back and forth while muttering “Dion Sims”- it just feels natural.
Kyle Juszczyk, signs with the 49ers for 4 years and 21 million dollars
So, this Lynch-Shanahan thing is off to a great start, huh? They gave a fullback 21 million dollars, making him the highest-paid fullback in the NFL- at a staggering bump over the second highest paid fullback who just signed an 8.4 million dollar contract. This Juszczyk fella must be a helluva player as he’s getting paid 3 times as much as the next best guy at his position. Per year, by contract, Juszczyk is now the 8th highest paid running back in the NFL. EIGHTH!!!
Kenny Stills, re-signs with Miami for 4 years and 32 million dollars
He averages 7.9 million dollars a season with this deal, but he was reportedly asking for 12 million per initially. Wow. In his 4 year career Stills has managed to bring in 164 receptions. In 2002, Marvin Harrison caught 143 balls. IT’s just crazy that the ‘phins would bring him back at such a price. He’s a deep ball specialist. Jarvis Landry has a defined role in this offense, Devante Parker is coming along too, and now with the Stills signing, they’re essentially giving up on Leonte Caroo just one year after drafting him in the 3rd round. It seems like a lot of cashola to blow on a guy who will almost certainly see a regression in his touchdown numbers.
Robert Woods, signs with the Rams for 5 years and 39 million dollars
This might be the worst. Woods has averaged 50 receptions for 612 yards and 3 touchdowns over the course of his 4 year NFL career. He has never hauled in more than 65 catches, or more than 5 touchdowns, nor has he ever accumulated more than 699 yards in a season. Somehow, the Rams thought he was worth nearly 40 million dollars. I mean, good for him, I’d take the money too if somebody offered it to me, but I gotta think he’s lying in bed at night, staring at the ceiling fan, sweating, waiting for Ashton Kutcher to pop out of his closet with the contract and a pair of scissors for one of the most elaborate and hurtful episodes of Punk’d ever. You could have just resigned Kenny Britt who was already in place.
Kenny Britt, signs with the Browns for 4 years and 32 million dollars
So, let me get this straight. The Browns drafted 4 wide receivers last year and still needed to make a splash in free agency this year to have the potential to have an actual productive passing game? Then They let Pryor walk away for a 1-year deal that pays the same annually? Call me crazy but maybe instead of bringing in, ya know a baseball front office guy and a lawyer to run the team you try bringing in, oh, I don’t know, maybe a lifelong football guy with a track record of success. Just a thought. Good thing you have eight first-and-second round picks in the next to drafts, with the level of failure I’ve seen thus far- especially at QB and wide receiver, you’re going to need all of those picks to get a 1 NFL caliber player… sadly he’s going to leave after his rookie deal runs up and sign somewhere he might actually get to play in a playoff game.
Brandon Marshall, signs with the Giants for 2 years and 12 million dollars
I’m not trying to make light of his mental health issues, but he claims to have been diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder, and if you know anything about mental health and this disorder, in particular, it is not easy to deal with. Now, you’re going to put that personality in the huddle with Odell Beckham Jr who has recently shown an inability to control his emotions on the sideline… this has got Chinatown, back alley, wrists tied together, butterfly knife fight written all over it. I don’t understand how the Giants can even think this could work. It’s going to be fun to watch; I give the over/under on sideline blowups for the season at 7.
Torrey Smith, signs with the Eagles for 3 years and 15 million dollars
Remember when he was a thing? It sure seems like that window has closed. I’m sure the Philly fans will love him and give him a fair chance in the city of brotherly love (see Jeffery, Alshon above). The talent and upside were there, but much like winning seasons in Philadelphia, everything seems to have been washed away by the meddling of Chip Kelly. The Eagles front office is trying to give Carson Wentz some weapons, but is Smith the guy? Maybe his agent cleverly sent the Eagles brass a tape from his Baltimore years and pretended his time in San Francisco was accidentally eaten by a dog or got caught up in the VCR or something. Nobody in their right mind should pay someone 15 million bucks for the 26 catch, 465 yard, 3 touchdown average stat line he produced with the 49ers over the last 2 seasons.
There you have it. A few things will still change during free agency as it is a fluid situation minute-to-minute. Could some of these moves work out? Sure they probably will, but many of them are going to be complete failures. Don’t get caught up in all the coach speak or the Twitter love fest that comes along with every trade or signing. ESPN and the NFL Network are desperate for storylines and things to put a positive spin on. If you’re looking for a reality check, let me know on Twitter @dibari22 and I can find the dark lining to every silver cloud during this NFL off-season. When life gives you lemons, don’t make lemonade; give yourself a paper-cut and squeeze the lemon juice into it. Have a bad day, and sell Brandin Cooks while you still can.