Cleat Geeks

The Free Agent 5: Best Signings

Hello guys, welcome back to the last rendition of The Free Agent 5 series. The free agency flurry has ceased, the smoke has cleared and we finally know where some of the top talents in the league are going to call home for the next few years. As always, it was full of surprises and unexpected circumstances. In this final edition, I will be breaking down what I think the top 5 free agent signings were. Going to blow my own trumpet a little, a lot of my predictions seemed to bear fruit, especially in my QB edition.

Oh… also, I do apologise for being slightly quiet over the last week or two, had a crazy amount of work to do. Anyways, less stalling, let’s count down my top free agent signings.

  1. ANDREW NORWELL – G

HT:6’6              WT325             Age:26             New Team: Jacksonville Jaguars

Andrew Norwell one was of the best guards in the whole entire league last year, the fact he was allowed to get to free agency was a surprise. However, the Carolina Panthers elected not to resign or tag Norwell, and the Jags benefitted from this decision. Not to mention, so did Norwell, who is now the highest paid guard in the league signing a 5-year $65.5 million dollar deal.

I love this signing and as much as I berate Blake Bortles, this team immediately became much better on offence with the signing of Norwell. It was a much-reported storyline going into last season that the Jags wanted to run the ball LOTS, culminating in the drafting of Leonard Fournette no. 4 in the 2017 Draft. How do you give your high priced running back the best chance to succeed? You sign an elite road-grader up front. Norwell has been ranked in the top 15 guards in the each of his first 4 seasons, but 2017 he took the next step, getting voted to be a 1st team all pro. Norwell was the only guard in 2017 with at least 200+ pass block snaps without a pressure, not only great in the passing game, he was the no.1 offensive line mean in run block success percentage. The Jags just got better up front on offence and with their defence, they have to be favourites in the AFC.

 

  1. ALLEN ROBINSON – WR

HT: 6’3             WT:210            Age: 24            New Team: Chicago Bears

This was my first ever prediction for Cleat Geeks and I managed to guess right. I really like this pick up by Chicago, with the signing of A-Rob, Taylor Gabriel and Trey Burton, they have started to give Mitchell Trubisky every single chance to succeed. Obviously, Robinson was the most high profile of the pick-ups. I won’t talk too much about him as a player, but instead urge you to go and read the Free Agent 5: Receivers.

Robinson coming off a torn ACL has elite upside and can give Trubisky a legitimate threat on the outside. However, it all depends on how his knee holds up, but we are all hoping for the best, as Robinson has the potential to be the next great receiver and the league is so much more fun when he is playing lights out.

 

  1. RICHARD SHERMAN – CB

HT: 6’3             WT:195            Age: 29            New Team: San Fransisco 49ers

Wow. In terms of needs to signing ratio, this is the best free agent pick up for the whole year. Although this happened before the official start of the year, I couldn’t leave Sherman out of this list, the signing was too perfect. Sherman’s 2017 was cut short by a torn Achilles and has had some complications since, but the fact that he was able to sign means that there should be no real concern for his long-term health.

Obviously, this is a great signing not only because Sherman is one of the best cornerbacks of the last 5 years, pioneering the ‘Legion of Boom’, but it also fills a massive hole for the 49ers. San Fran’s draft has completely opened up and they can take the best player available. You either love or hate Sherman with his antics and bravado off the field, but there is no way you can doubt his talent. What is also great is that Sherman will be playing the Seahawks twice a year…. That IS going to be fun.

 

  1. TYRANN MATHIEU – CB/S

HT: 5’9             WT: 186           Age: 25            New Team: Houston Texans

Mathieu hasn’t really been the same since his 2nd torn ACL in his mightily impressive 2015 campaign. However, he is still young and still has all the ability to be one of the better defensive backs in the league. Mathieu wouldn’t take a pay cut in Arizona, he backed his ability to be worth a lot more than anything Arizona was willing to give up. This ended up in Tyrann being cut and the Texans were on the receiving end and signing Mathieu to a 1-year $7 million deal, for what it is worth, I believe this is a steal.

The Texans had a massive need in the secondary, and I think Mathieu’s versatility will make him extremely valuable. Add this to one of the best front-7s in all of football, with JJ Watt, Whitney Mercilus and Jadevoen Clowney, Mathieu could reap on the rewards with his unique playmaking ability and knack to be around the ball. Good one Houston.

 

  1. SHELDON RICHARDSON – DT

HT: 6’3             Weight: 295      Age: 27            New Team: Minnesota Vikings

With Kirk Cousins being the marquee signing for Minnesota the signing of Sheldon a few days later went somewhat under the radar. After an ultra-promising start to his career, off the field issues had a part to play in Richardson’s fall from grace. He was then traded to the Seahawks and had some promising moments, but nothing near to what we are used to seeing from him. I think Minnesota is one of the best places for Richardson to have gone, he goes to an already loaded defensive line and his addition makes it even more scary. He has proven that he can be a dominant force, so here is hoping that he can rekindle the Richardson we all want him to be.

As for the team, the Vikings defence is one of the better in the league and that starts up front. This being said, whilst they have all the star power in the world, their depth proved to be an issue and they fell off towards the end of the year and throughout the playoffs. Case and point is the Eagles game, ironically enough the Eagles’ depth on the d-line is the golden standard. With the signing of Sheldon, the Vikings are extremely close to that golden standard.

 

 

Well, that wraps it up for this edition guys, I hope you enjoyed reading it. Short but sweet end to my first series of articles. Don’t forget, hit me up on twitter @edmardon23 with any feedback, would love to hear from you.

 

 

Photos from NFL.com

 

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