The sports world has taken a hiatus due to the spread of Coronavirus, and deservedly so. I would like to start this blog wishing that all of you reading it are well and do not have said illness. If you do, I hope your symptoms are manageable and you get better soon. Now, on to some sports. NFL free agency has been the only significant thing happening, thanks to the fact that it requires little to no interaction to happen. Many of the big name players have already changed hands, such as Tom Brady, Philip Rivers, and Emmanuel Sanders. This article is not about them. This is about the maybe not as well known players who teams signed to good deals and should be acknowledged. Many of these are one year prove it deals, but that does not diminish their quality. Here are my top five sneaky good deals so far in free agency:
Oakland Raiders Sign DT Maliek Collins: 1 yr, $6 million
Considering some of the dollar amounts being thrown around for interior defensive linemen, this contract is excellent. Collins has been a steady, consistent presence on the Dallas Cowboys defense since he came into the league in 2016. He does not stuff the stat sheet (although hes good for a few sacks and TFLs), but he is stout in the run game and can push the pocket in the passing game. A change of scenery was necessary to unlock his full potential. Despite being in the league for four full seasons, he will only be 25 for the start of the 2020 regular season. If he takes that next step, this will be a worthwhile investment. Smart move by the Raiders to not overpay and at minimum add depth and experience to their D-line.
New York Giants Sign QB Colt McCoy: 1 yr, $1.5 million
This was an excellent bargain grab by the Giants. McCoy came into the NFL in 2010, and will be on his fourth team in New York. Originally thought to be the next franchise QB for Cleveland, he never lived up to the hype he was given back then. He has carved out a nice role as a veteran back-up who is smart and can come in whenever you need him, but is also fine if he does not play a snap the whole season. He makes perfect sense in a locker room that currently contains 2nd year pro Daniel Jones and journeyman Alex Tanney. Few teams will be paying as little as the Giants will be to the QB position in 2020, which frees up money to attack areas of need.
Seattle Seahawks Sign OT Brandon Shell: 2 yrs, $11 million
Seattle has developed a tendency for finding undervalued players, adding them to the team, and proving their worth (see Russell Wilson, Doug Baldwin etc.). Shell comes from a much maligned New York Jets offensive line, but he was not part of the problem. In four years, he has racked up 40 starts, mostly at RT. He’s not a pro bowler, but overall his game is solid with the size to be useful in the run game and decent pass-blocking abilities. With the Seahawks losing George Fant and likely Germain Ifedi to free agency, they needed to find cost effective replacements up front. Whether he starts or lands as a G/T back-up, Shell is exactly what they were looking for.
Carolina Panthers Re-sign S Tre Boston: 3 yrs, $18 million
Boston got the highest valued deal on this list, but it’s still one of the best. He has bounced around the league a bit since being drafted by the Panthers in 2014, but he has been a play-maker everywhere he has gone. His 11 interceptions over the past three seasons is one of the best totals in the league over that span. Boston has played both free and strong safety in his time, and will fit next to whoever Carolina puts next to him. Keeping a quality starting safety at $6 million a year is very good, considering the top notch players at the position get twice that much. Good player, reliable, fairly durable, and on a reasonable deal. What an excellent combination that is.
Washington Redskins Sign OG Wes Schweitzer: 3 yrs, $13.5 million
It is rare for my favorite team to make this list, but they made a darn good signing here. After coming into the NFL as a late round pick. Wes managed to start every game for the Atlanta Falcons in 2017. He did not match that the following two years, but has still amassed 36 starts in three years. He is not among the elite players at his position, but brings experience and a tough demeanor with him. The team-friendly structure of this deal makes it even better. The Redskins loaded most of the guarantees into the first year of the contract, meaning if things do not work out, they can move on without much hassle. If he performs well, then the team has control but he will make more money. For a team with consistent O-line issues, this move is excellent.
Honorable Mention – Minnesota Vikings Re-sign P Britton Colquitt: 3 yrs, $9 million
We have to give some love to the punters! $3 million per year is no longer a high number for a specialist, particular one with Colquitt’s resume. He has averaged over 45 yards per punt in each of the last four seasons, rarely gets blocked, and posts good numbers at pinning the ball inside to 20 yard line. He has yet to make a pro bowl, but is a rock solid player that teams love to build with. Minnesota keeps stability among their specialists, which has been an issue in recent years.
There is more to come in free agency. The quarterback carousel is going to continue into the next week, and probably longer. Players like Cam Newton, Jameis Winston, and Andy Dalton will be on watch. Several O-linemen remain on the market as well. Where guys like Jason Peters and Daryl Williams end up could have a big impact on players in the draft. And of course we cannot forget the players on the other side of the ball. Everson Griffin, Ndamukong Suh, and Markus Golden lead a talented groups of veterans still looking for homes. I imagine most of these players will not be free agents much longer. My only hope is that the Redskins pick up a few of these guys, although they’ve done well so far. That will do it for this post. Stay safe, and I will see you next time on the IE Sports Radio Blog; your direct blog for all that is sports. Have a great week.