As more and more big names get taken off the board in the 2013 free agents market, the Denver Broncos positioned themselves as possibly the premier team in the NFL by signing Wes Welker from the New England Patriots and Dominique Rogers-Cromartie from the Philadelphia Eagles.
Other interesting transfers were the New England Patriots filling their hole at Wide Receiver by signing Danny Amendola, the Tampa Bay Bucaneers signing Dashon Goldson, the Seattle Seahawks adding defensive end Cliff Avril from the Detroit Lions and the Lions themselves, as rumors told, got Reggie Bush signed.
Wes Welker has been the most productive wide receiver in the NFL since joining the New England Patriots, averaging 112 receptions per year from 2007. He finished with 118 catches for 1,354 yards and six touchdowns in 2012. The Denver Broncos, already with two 1000 yard receivers, wanted to give Peyton Manning another quality target, and gave Welker, who played last season under the franchise tender, a two year deal worth $12 million, plus bonuses if he reaches 90 catches each season.
More Broncos – DRC, Stewart Bradley & Terrance Knighton
A lot of team thought Dominique Rogers-Cromartie was going to be the cornerback that stays with the Philadelphia Eagles, but he decided it’s going to be better out West with a contender. The Broncos signed Cromartie on a one year deal worth $5 million, hoping he plays like he did for the Cardinals before leaving to the Eagles.
Terrance Knighton was always going to be leaving Jacksonville, and the Broncos were the closest team to get him, thanks to Jack Del Rio, their defensive coordinator, very interested in the player. They signed the defensive tackle on a two year deal. Stewart Bradley, coming from Arizona, where he didn’t really fit the 3-4 scheme, signed a one-year deal, hoping to become the team’s starting middle linebacker.
The Patriots didn’t waste any time replacing Wes Welker, signing Amendola from the St. Louis Rams. His deal is for five years, worth $31 million, $10 million in guaranteed money. He played in 11 games last season and missed the entire 2011 season for various injuries. He caught 63 passes for 666 yards and three touchdowns with the Rams, hoping that staying with Josh McDaniels (new Pats’ OC) and having Tom Brady throw at him will show he’s a premier wide receiver in the NFL. Amendola will also fill the slot-receiver position for the Patriots.
The Seahawks continue to make big improvements, this time to their talented defensive line, by bringing in defensive end Cliff Avril, who didn’t like the extension offers from the Lions. He was franchised last season and took his time before signing a one-year deal with the team expiring three days ago. Avril’s deal in Seattle is a two-year, $15 million contract. He finished last season with 9.5 sacks, 35 tackles and two forced fumbles.
The New York Jets are cleaning up every unlikable contract they have, which doesn’t bode well for Rex Ryan, but is very good for the rest of the NFL with a handful of quality players hitting the market. Landry signed a four year deal worth $24 million with the Indianapolis Colts, and includes $14 million in guarantees. The Jets made an effort to re-sign Landry, their best player hitting free agency, but didn’t really have a shot compared to other teams even after clearing quite a lot of cap-space.
Mendenhall played in only five games last season for the Pittsburgh Steelers, missing the early part of the season still recovering from an ACL tear, and missing the ending with a strained right Achilles. The 25-year-old running back has rushed for 3,549 yards and 29 touchdowns in 57 career games. He signed a one year deal with the Arizona Cardinals.
New Cardinals – Josh Cribbs & Drew Stanton
The quarterback situation in Arizona is getting clearer, as Bruce Arians signed Drew Stanton, who was the backup of Andrew Luck in Indianapolis. The Cardinals seemed to have won the race for return man Josh Cribbs coming from the Cleveland Browns, and have made other minor additions in cornerback Jerraud Powers, safety Yeremiah Bell and cornerback Lorenzo Alexander.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers were willing to give Dashon Goldson what the San Francisco 49ers wouldn’t, or couldn’t, answering their greatest need – secondary. Goldson signed a five year deal worth 41.25 million of which $22 million is guaranteed. He has nine interceptions over the past two seasons. That’s the third most by any safety.
Reggie Bush wanted to stay with the Miami Dolphins, but they didn’t want him. The Detroit Lions have plenty of issues, and they hope to solve one of them by signing Bush on a four year deal worth $16 million, including $4 million guaranteed. Bush rushed for 2,072 yards and 12 touchdowns in two seasons with the Dolphins. The Lions hope that with an offense like they have, focused on passing, with Stafford and Megatron, Bush can thrive under less pressure and attention from defenses.