The smoke has cleared in the free agency period around the NFL. The roster activity will not stop completely when it comes to hiring and firing of players in the league, but the pace has slowed considerably.
Just check out the activity from Monday at the bottom of this post. There were four UFA signings announced where a player changed teams. The movement of LB Paris Lenon, CB Marcus Hudson, WR Ruvell Martin and ILB Larry Foote didn’t create much of splash.
But that’s where the available players sit right now. There are a few players every day coming available; for instance, QB Chris Simms and S Deon Grant because available after they were released by the Broncos and Seahawks.
We’ll take a look at the best signings around the league on Wednesday. Here on Tuesday, we’ll take a look at the Chiefs roster moves since the start of the new league year, plus the day before it all began when they re-signed LB Mike Vrabel (above). Here’s my view on what the Chiefs have gotten done, in order or importance to the team in 2010:
1. Signed free agent RB Thomas Jones – Much has been written about the acquisition of Jones last week and there’s no sense going back over plowed ground. Suffice to say that just about everyone in the league thinks the Chiefs really helped themselves and their offense. As long as that over 30 running back wall doesn’t drop on Jones all at once, the signing of Jones fills a big hole on the roster and depth chart.
2. Re-signed free agent WR Chris Chambers (right) – If the Chiefs were a finely tuned personnel machine, with a consistent and productive offense, then it wouldn’t make sense to re-sign Chambers. He would have come in and helped out last year, and then the Chiefs would have moved on. But they are far from being finely tuned and getting Chambers under contract was imperative. Had he been lost, so much of the improvement that was seen in the passing game last year would have gone out the window. Right now the Chiefs and more importantly Matt Cassel, need some stability.
3. Re-signed OLB Mike Vrabel – The best of all worlds for the Chiefs defense this year would be for youngster Andy Studebaker to step up in training camp and the pre-season and claim one of the outside LB spots. In his brief opportunities last year, Studebaker showed he has play making ability and the coaching staff needs to get him on the field and let him play. Having Vrabel around is a good move as he can step in if Studebaker can’t manage the jump or he can help with his knowledge and willingness to lead and instruct as a backup. There’s room for both roles on this defense and nobody would fill it better than Vrabel.
4. Re-signed WR Terrance Copper – The strength of the Chiefs last year was their special teams. All the pieces of their kicking game are in place for this season with the signing of Copper, who was the team’s second leading tackler in ‘09. That alone made re-signing him a smart move. And then, go back to the final game of the season against Denver when on the Chiefs first offensive play he ran through the Broncos secondary for a 50-yard gain. Where was that in the first 15 games?
5. Signed free agent WR Jerheme Urban (left) – All reports are this is the kind of guy any coach would want on his team. As a receiver he’s an improvement over a Lance Long or Bobby Wade, but hardly the type of guy that’s going to make a big improvement in the offense. There was nothing special about his numbers while playing in Arizona – 36 games, 74 catches, 963 yards and 6 TDs – but remember that ahead of him were guys like Larry Fitzgerald, Anquan Boldin and Steve Breaston. Urban may be able to help on special teams, but this is not a significant addition.
6. Signed free agent DT Shaun Smith – This is a big body to help in the middle, but Smith is fairly ordinary when it comes to production on the field. He’s had one season where he was productive; that was 2007 with Cleveland, when he played in 15 games and had 62 total tackles and the only two sacks of his career. Since then he’s played in 14 games, with a total of 44 tackles and no sacks. Signing Smith did not break the bank – unless he sat on it! – so if he doesn’t adapt to life with the Chiefs, no big loss. The Chiefs still need to find a young, big body guy to plug that position in the future.
7. Signed free agent C Casey Wiegmann (right) – I’m still not sure what this signing is all about. When news first came down that the former Chiefs center is now a Chiefs center again, the thought occurred that maybe it was one of those deals where Wiegmann wanted to retire as a member of the Chiefs. But that apparently is not the case; he’s going to play.
The Chiefs made a decision two years ago that Wiegmann’s career was over. He proved them wrong by going to Denver and playing two seasons and taking every snap for a team that won a lot more games than the Chiefs (six compared to 16 victories for the Broncos.) But there’s no getting over the fact he’s 37 years old.
There would appear to be several possibilities here for the Chiefs: a.) they want Wiegmann to push incumbent starter Rudy Niswanger; b.) they plan to release their tender on Niswanger, have Wiegmann start and draft a future center in April; or c.) they plan to have Wiegmann, Niswanger and draft choice compete for the job. Keep an eye on this situation; there has to be more to come.
QUIET DAY #11/A FREE AGENCY-PERSONNEL UPDATE
- BRONCOS – released QB Chris Simms.
- CARDINALS – signed LB Paris Lenon (Rams)
- PANTHERS – signed CB Marcus Hudson (49ers); re-signed OL Rob Pettiti.
- RAIDERS – LS Jon Condo, QB Charlie Frye, QB Bruce Gradkowski, OL Chris Morris and LB David Nixon signed their RFA contract tenders.
- RAVENS – re-signed TE Edgar Jones.
- SEAHAWKS – signed WR Ruvell Martin (Packers); released S Deon Grant and LS Matt Overton; DE Darryl Tapp signed his RFA contract tender.
- STEELERS – signed LB Larry Foote (Lions).
- TITANS – signed P-K Ricky Schmitt.
- VIKINGS – hired Matt Sheldon as assistant defensive backs coach.