Before April moves in and Mock Drafts and spring handbags take over my life, I want to look back at March and reflect on the wild month of NFL Free Agency. You know how I feel about free agency if you read my last post. If you haven't, don't worry, it's right below this one. Take a peak then scroll back up. Anyway...in order to make sense of the last few weeks, I'm going through the league and highlighting the great moves, good moves and bad moves.
THE DREW BREES CATEGORY (Great Moves)
Denver Broncos -- Wes Welker, WR -- The Welker signing gives the Broncos the best trio of receivers in the league along with Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker (also the hottest receiver in the league), but it's the contract that makes this a great move. It's only a 2 year/$12 million deal! This puts him at the same yearly salary level as Jordy Nelson, Mike Thomas and Michael Crabtree (equal or lesser WR's in my opinion) and ends before he's an old man eating up cap space. Great move.
Seattle Seahawks -- Cliff Avril, DE / Michael Bennett, DE -- RGIII's torn ACL in last season's Seahawks/Redskins playoff game got all the press, but his wasn't the only knee that got beat up by FedEx field. Seattle's Chris Clemons tore his ACL in the same game and the Seahawks were on a mission in March to fill the void. They landed Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett, both of which could make huge impacts for the already great Seahawks defense. Avril is 5 years younger than Clemons, the same height and weight, and had only 5 less tackles and 2 less sacks on a so-so Lions defense. Bennett is 4 years younger, slightly bigger, and had the same amount of tackles, forced fumbles, and sacks on a bad Bucs defense. Great moves.
THE CHARLES WOODSON CATEGORY (Good Moves)
New England Patriots -- Danny Amendola, WR -- This makes total sense for the Patriots and you had to be blind not to see it coming. After losing Welker to the Broncos, the Pats turned around and signed his exact replacement, only younger. Amendola has been the one bright spot for the Rams offense the last few years and could really flourish with Brady instead of Bradford throwing him the ball. The only question mark is his durability. Welker seems immune to injury even while battling bigger safeties and linebackers, while Amendola has broken bones while not even getting hit (arm, collarbone). Good move.
San Francisco 49ers -- Phil Dawson, K -- Maybe the most overlooked signing of the month went to the 49ers who signed Pro Bowl kicker, Phil Dawson to replace the inconsistent, David Akers. This is just one more spot on the roster where the Niners are now better than almost every other team in the league. Good move.
Chicago Bears -- Martellus Bennett, TE -- In 2012 the Bears finished last in the NFL with only 33 catches by tight ends. Bennett had 55 himself, along with 626 yards and 5 touchdowns. A new offensive-minded coaching staff, a 2nd-year Alshon Jeffrey and the addition of Bennett could help the one-dimensional (Cutler to Marshall) Bears passing offense that ranked 29th in the league.
THE ALBERT HAYNESWORTH CATEGORY (Bad Moves)
Miami Dolphins -- Mike Wallace, WR -- History shows that when wide receivers sign big free agent contracts they don't live up to the deal. That's a bold statement, I know, but there are names behind it: Sidney Rice, Braylon Edwards, T.J. Houshmandzadeh. In fact, the most productive newly signed free agent WR of the last five years is arguably Vincent Jackson in 2012. Jackson had 72 catches, 1,300 yards and 8 TD's last season. Mike Wallace better put up those numbers regularly or Miami will have highly overpaid his 5 years/$60 million ($30 million guaranteed) contract. Wallace is coming off a year where his yards per catch and yards per game dropped significantly and is now catching passes from Ryan Tannehill, not 2-time Super Bowl winner Ben Roethlisberger. I'm not sold. Bad move.
Tennessee Titans -- Andy Levitre, G -- When's the last time someone said an NFL team made a deep playoff run because of their guard play? Probably never. So why would you pay a guard like someone who makes game-changing plays? It's not that I don't believe offensive lines are important, I do. Offensive lines can separate good teams from great teams. But Levitre, with his new 6 year/$46.8 million contract is now making more per year than A.J. Green and Reggie Wayne, almost the same amount as Arian Foster and about 1 million less than Aaron Rodgers. Yes, that Aaron Rodgers. Levitre is a very good player and I'm sad he's not on my Bills anymore, but paying a guard that much money is crazy. Bad move.