In another busy day of free agents signings and players being released, the Minnesota Vikings grabbed most of the headlines by signing Greg Jennings of division rivals, the Green Bay Packers, while the Denver Broncos actually releasing Elvis Dumervil (mistake or not) also raised quite a few eyebrows.
In other signings that made an impact, the Patriots signed Adrian Wilson from the Cardinals, the Miami Dolphins continue to vastly improve their offensive options with two new players and the Batlimore Ravens finally started adding some players after many bolted the ship.
Jennings was waiting for the right kind of offer from the Vikings to make his mind up and finally leave the Packers, despite a generous offer from the only team he’s played for in his NFL career, so far. Jennings side a contract with a maximum value of $47.5 million for five years; The contract is worth a minimum of $27 million over the first three years, and could be as much as $28.5 million over the first three years if he goes to the Pro Bowl. Jennings played in only 8 games last season, but has been good for at least 1100 yards in his healthy seasons.
Arizona Cardinals – Defensive additions
The Cardinals, who had problems all over the field last season but mostly on their offensive game, continue to improve their defense, signing corner Antoine Cason and defensive end Matt Shaughnessy on one year deals. Cason, 26, played for the past five years with the San Diego Chargers and was their best corner last season. Shaughnessy, 26, also comes from the AFC West, playing for the Oakland Raiders these last four years, and recorded 3.5 sacks last season, starting in all 16 games for the Raiders in 2012.
Quite often, rumors turn out to be true. The New England Patriots need desperate help in their secondary, and while Adrian Wilson, 12 years in the NFL with the Arizona Cardinals, is past his prime, he’s still an improvement to the little they had heading into the offseason. Wilson was released by the Cardinals two weeks ago, and brings more of a physical presence and tackling ability, not to mention his all-pro selections, to a less than impressive bunch of safeties.
Dolphins add Gibson and Keller
The Miami Dolphins continue to stock up on receiving options for Ryan Tannehill. After already signing Mike Wallace and re-signing Brian Hartline, they kept on the upgrading with Brandon Gibson from the St. Louis Rams and the coveted Dustin Keller from the New York Jets. Keller, one of the better tight ends in the market available for a move, like most players on the Jets’ roster, signed a one-year deal worth $4.25 million. He missed 8 games last season, but the Dolphins are hoping they get a 2011 kind of season from him, with 65 catches for 815 yards and 5 touchdowns. Gibson, 25, has been talked about as an upcoming potential star at the position for a few years, without a breakout ever coming. Maybe now in Florida.
Not everyone wants to stay with the New England Patriots. Danny Woodhead left the Pats for a team that used to be a bitter rival for a few years, the San Diego Chargers. Woodhead played in 345 of the offensive snaps last season, totaling 76 carries for 301 yards and four touchdowns while adding 40 receptions for 446 yards and three touchdowns, and was known as the premier “passing” back for the Pats, who often use a spread formation. In San Diego, signing a two-year contract, he’s likely to be a backup for Ryan Matthews, or a complementary option. Ronnie Brown was also signed to add depth to the position.
The Baltimore Ravens finally make some sort of addition to their roster after seriously trimming down their pay roll and squad size, not to mention talent, in less than a week. Marcus Spears, who wasn’t going to be effective in the new 4-3 defense the Dallas Cowboys are moving to, shifts conferences after 8 seasons in Dallas, recording only 1 sack per season in the last couple of years, losing his place as a starting defensive end for the team.
Let go – Elvis Dumervil and Kevin Kolb
How does this happen? Agents and teams holding out till the final moment. The Denver Broncos wanted Elvis Dumervil to take a paycut from $12 million to $8 million in 2013, or be released. Dumervil and his agent refused, only to change their minds a bit too late, as John Elway explains it.
At approximately 1:25 p.m. MDT, however, we were informed that Elvis changed his mind and accepted the same contract we proposed nearly two-and-a-half hours earlier. Although we expressed our concern regarding the time constraints, we were assured that the signed documents would be submitted to us before the league’s waiver deadline. We did not receive the documents from Elvis by the league’s deadline and were forced to release him shortly before 2 p.m. MDT.
The Broncos can re-sign Dumervil, but there are cap constraints, and they’ll probably look into some other free agency options before bringing him back to the team, not to mention Dumervil, one of the more productive pass rushers in the league over the last few seasons (63.5 sacks since 2006), is going to be a very coveted man the next few days.
Less of a surprise was Kevin Kolb released by the Arizona Cardinals, also because they weren’t able to restructure his deal. Kolb was set to make a $2 million bonus if he was still on the club’s roster Saturday. He also had a $9 million base salary for this season. After the team signed Drew Stanton, it was obvious Kolb wasn’t really sticking around.