On Day 2 of the 2013 NFL free-agent signing period, the news slowed down considerably. If the big money was flowing like a babbling brook on Day 1, it was dribbling like a half-turned faucet on Wednesday.
The warts of the collective-bargaining agreement signed in 2011 showed themselves on Wednesday as veteran players — guys everyone just sort of expected would get big deals — sat around and waited. Some teams were active on Day 2, but not many.
Here’s the Buzz Meter’s three winners and three losers from Day 2.
1. Denver Broncos — Getting Wes Welker for two years, $12 million was an absolute coup. Welker is the Rolls Royce of NFL slot receivers — the best to ever play the position — and the Broncos snagged him for a very cost-efficient price. Welker hasn’t missed a game the past two seasons and has more catches over the past five years than any player in the NFL. He joins a loaded receiving corps that already includes young stars Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker.
In addition to Welker, the Broncos scooped up veteran defenders Terrence “Pot Roast” Knighton and Stewart Bradley. They re-signed productive defensive tackle Kevin Vickerson, as well. The Broncos finished the day with a late-night signing of Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, a capable starting cornerback. Good times up in Denver.
2. Seattle Seahawks — Seattle made a big splash on Monday, trading for Percy Harvin a day before the start of free agency. I like what they did on Wednesday even more.
Seattle inked defensive end Cliff Avril, the top free agent on my Top 50 list this year, to a two-year, $15 million contract. Avril’s skills put him in perfect position to excel in Pete Carroll’s Seahawks defense as their “Leo” pass rushing defensive end. Several teams have added pieces in the past few days. No team has added two pieces that immediately upgrade both sides of the ball quite like the Seahawks have with Harvin and Avril.
The latter has recorded at least eight sacks in each of the past three years. Put him in that Seattle system and those numbers should go up.
3. Detroit Lions — Detroit inked deals with running back Reggie Bush and Glover Quin, immediate upgrades to the offensive and defensive sides of the ball. Bush had arguably his two best years as a pro the past two seasons in Miami and will be used out of the backfield both as a running back and receiver in Scott Linehan’s offense.
Quin, though not the biggest name on the free-agent market, might be the most promising. In a defensive backfield loaded with talent in Houston, Quin had the best season of all. He’ll play the safety spot and help offset the loss of Louis Delmas, who appears headed elsewhere. The Lions had an awful season in 2012, just one year after a trip to the playoffs in 2011. They’re headed in the right direction with these two additions and still have the fifth overall pick in April’s NFL Draft.
1. New York Jets — Another day gone, another day squandered for the Jets. There’s been no movement on the Darrelle Revis front, meaning the rest of the team’s roster remains stagnant. New York GM John Idzik spent the day at Alabama’s Pro Day, while the rest of the organization remained quiet.
Free-agent receiver Brandon Gibson visisted the Jets facilities, but no deal was made. We’re now two days into free agency and the biggest deal the Jets have made is signing David Garrard, a 35-year-old journeyman quarterback who hasn’t thrown a pass in an NFL game since 2010.
2. San Diego Chargers — While the Denver Broncos, Kansas City Chiefs and even the Oakland Raiders have spent the last two days making moves, the Chargers have been utterly silent. San Diego re-signed cornerback Richard Goodman, but there’s been no major additions to either the offensive line or the linebacker corps, areas of need for the ‘Bolts.
They’re waiting things out while their division opponents are upgrading their rosters. Though the patience is commendable — they’re certainly not overpaying for anyone — they may be missing the boat on players who could help lessen the gap between them and Denver.
3. Veteran pass rushers — The list of veteran defensive ends and linebackers who haven’t been signed to deals yet is pretty much endless. Prior to the start of the free-agent signing period, it was all but assumed that big names such as Osi Umenyiora, John Abraham, Dwight Freeney, Connor Barwin, Michael Bennett, Richard Seymour, Israel Idonije and Lawrence Jackson would be scooped up and signed to deals once the free-agent signing window was opened. Think again.
Teams are waiting it out, diligently, and are by no means rushing to the altar to sign veteran pass rushers. Cliff Avril, the top free agent on my Top 50 list, was signed to a less than earth-shattering 2-year, $15 million deal on Wednesday. This has to strike fear in the players on this list (and their agents), as none of these players will likely fetch the same amount of money from a suitor.
The marketplace is interesting this year, and in the case of veteran pass rushers — the supply apparently far outweighs the demand.