The Philadelphia Eagles improved their wide receiver group on the first day of free agency as they signed Torrey Smith to a 3-year/$15 million contract. Smith spent the past 2 seasons with the 49ers, but he only had 267 receiving yards in 2016 which led to his release. However, it wasn’t too long ago that Smith was one of the top deep threats in the entire NFL when he was with Baltimore. Smith still has the ability to be a deep threat and if he can return to the type of player that he was a couple of years ago then this could be a very good signing for Philadelphia. Smith won’t receive a lot of targets in the Eagles passing game, but he is still a major threat to make big plays. Smith certainly has tons of talent left and this signing could have big rewards for the Eagles while it isn’t too much of a financial risk.
The Washington Redskins tried to upgrade the safety position on the first day of free agency as they signed former Cardinals safety D.J. Swearinger to a 3-year/$13.5 million deal. Swearinger had a career-high 3 interceptions last season with Arizona, but Swearinger certainly isn’t known as a very god cover safety. Swearinger is a hard-hitting safety that plays the run well and is a reliable tackler. Swearinger is still an upgrade for the Redskins at safety over Donte Whitner. However, Swearinger can’t be relied upon in coverage as he isn’t very fast and he often gets burned on deep routes which isn’t good since he will be the last line of defense for the Redskins. The good news for Washington is that he won’t cost much to sign, but in my opinion he is just an average safety at best. If Swearinger can improve his coverage skills then this would be a very good signing, but I don’t see that happening which is why this is just an average signing for Washington.
The Houston Texans made an underrated signing on the 1st day of free agency as they signed strong safety Quintin Demps to a 3-year/$13.5 million contract. Demps put up really good stats in 13 starts for Houston last season as he had 55 tackles and a whopping 6 interceptions. Demps certainly is a ballhawk and he proved that last season as he led all safeties in interceptions. However, Demps is just a good all-around starting safety as he proved that he can be very good against the run as well. The only concern that I have about this signing is that Demps is about to be 32 years old which is when safeties typically begin to slow down. Either way, it isn’t like the Bears are giving much of a financial committment to Demps anyways and he should definitely be a major upgrade to the safety position for Chicago. If Demps can perform like he did last season then this would be a great bargain signing for the Bears.
The Detroit Lions added to their defensive line depth on Thursday as they signed former Buccaneers defensive tackle Akeem Spence to a 3-year/$10.5 million contract. Spence has struggled with injuries throughout his career and he was suspended for one game in 2015 as well after being arrested on a substance abuse charge. However, Spence is a very capable rotational player at the defensive tackle position. Spence plays the run well and he has decent pass rushing abilities as well. Detroit had a big need for defensive tackle depth and this signing will certainly fill that need. Spence won’t be a starting defensive tackle for the Lions, although he can provide the team with a quality backup whenever needed. This is a good signing for Detroit as it adds much better depth to their defense and hopefully Spence can stay healthy in order for this to be a really good signing.
The Indianapolis Colts tried to add some more depth to their pass rush on Thursday as they signed outside linebacker Barkevious Mingo to a 1-year/$2.5 million contract. Mingo has been a bust so far in his NFL career after being drafted 6th overall in the 2013 draft by the Browns. Mingo couldn’t even revive his career with the Patriots last season as he only had 11 tackles while playing primarily as a special teams player. Mingo can’t be relied upon as a starter for the Colts, but maybe he can help his career by being a rotational pass rusher for Indianapolis. Mingo isn’t going to make a major impact for Indianapolis, yet he should provided much needed depth on a bad Colts defense. Don’t expect Mingo to be a great player for the Colts, but if he can somehow take advantage of this opportunity and play well then this could be a tremendous bargain signing for the Colts. This signing is worth the risk for the Colts even if Mingo only is a backup outside linebacker and a contributor on special teams.
The Atlanta Falcons let go of defensive end Tyson Jackson on Thursday and they replaced him with former Cowboys defensive end Jack Crawford on a 3-year/$10.3 million deal. Crawford didn’t really make an impact in the NFL until the past 2 seasons for the Cowboys as he has 7.5 sacks the past 2 years. He won’t be a starter for the Falcons at defensive end, but he does add some decent depth to the position for Atlanta. I’m not a big fan of this signing for the Falcons since they could have gotten a better backup pass rusher for the price than Crawford. He will provide some decent depth, but don’t expect him to make much of an impact as a rotational pass rusher for the Falcons. This is just an average signing for Atlanta unless Crawford can somehow become a more effective pass rusher.
The Seattle Seahawks offensive line was terrible last season and they have it a priority this offseason to address the offensive line. They started that process on the first day of free agency by signing offensive tackle Luke Joeckel to a 1-year/$8 million deal. Joeckel was the 2nd overall pick in the 2013 draft by the Jaguars, but because of injuries and inconsistent play he was never successful in Jacksonville. If Joeckel stays healthy then he still has tons of potential to be a very good left tackle for the Seahawks and he certainly is an upgrade over what Seattle had last season at that position. The Seahawks definitely overpaid in order to sign Joeckel as $8 million is a lot to pay an unproven player, but the good news is that it is only a 1-year deal. If Joeckel can stay healthy and play well then this is a very good signing for Seattle, although it is a mystery as to if that will actually happen.