Free agent/team matchups

Posted: September 24, 2013 in Uncategorized
Five logical free agent/NFL team signings

In which Dave trumpets his opinion about the importance of signing inexpensive free agents to replace under-performing starters.

Tim Tebow to Jacksonville

Jacksonville has offensive troubles. Woes, if you will. Former first round pick Blaine Gabbert is widely seen as a failure after two years and change in Jacksonville. Backup Chad Henne doesn’t inspire much confidence for the Jaguars either. Quarterback/running back hybrid Tim Tebow can yield more offensive production (yards, points) than any passer on the Jacksonville roster. And he happens to be well loved in the Florida area where Tebow won a Heisman trophy. Yes, Jacksonville will have to restructure their offense around Tebow, but having scored eleven points in two games, less than 1/8th of Denver’s point total so far (as of week two), Jacksonville’s offense desperately needs restructuring. Cecil Shorts and Justin Blackmon are very capable receivers and would be able to do more for the offense given the opportunity. Tebow’s ability to make plays with his feet and his arm strength makes sure the Jaguars have the opportunity to go toe to toe with every opponent they face. A dual threat qb and a runner as talented as MJD will force defenses to respect the run, allowing Shorts, Blackmon, and Marcedes Lewis opportunities to get open. You don’t need a quarterback that completes 65% of his passes to win games. You need a quarterback that puts points on the board. In the right offense, Tebow can do just that in Jacksonville.

 

Peyton Hillis to St. Louis

St. Louis’s starting running back is former seventh round pick Daryl Richardson. The younger brother to Bernard Scott has performed admirably considering the expectations placed on him coming out of college. Richardson beat out promising young tailback Isaiah Pead for the starting role. While Richardson has exceeded expectations thus far, the St. Louis offense is missing Steven Jackson as the former Oregon State product served as a terrific runner and receiver for St. Louis after the legendary Marshall Faulk stepped away from the game. St. Louis needs a strong power back, like Jackson who has experience catching the ball and can help out blocking when needed. Peyton Hillis, at 6’2” and 250 lbs, should be more than capable to fill in as both a blocker and target for Bradford. Hillis has made a name for himself as a power back in Cleveland, and helped to humiliate the New England secondary as a pass catcher. Hillis, still 27, has a few good years left in him and should help the Rams offense become more complete.

 

Austin Collie to New England

New England’s bread and butter is the passing game. They seem to always have an answer. Troy Brown, Deion Branch, Randy Moss, Wes Welker, Rob Gronkowski. Belichick and the front office find talent for Brady to throw to. Early on in 2013, the Patriots receiving well seems to have run dry. Danny Amendola and Rob Gronkowski are out with injury. Young receivers Kenbrell Thompkins and Aaron Dobson have failed to “step up.” The once earth shaking offense needs receivers. Cue former Colts receiver Austin Collie. Collie, a former standout at BYU, burst onto the scene at Indianapolis fearlessly catching passes down the middle of the field, defended by players 30-50 pounds heavier than him. Collie’s career has been stained by concerns of injury as his time in Indianapolis was cut short by concussion issues. Route specialist Austin Collie should fit right in at New England where Brady needs most of all receivers who know how to be in the right place at the right time.

 

Jake Ballard to Tennessee/Arizona

I really believe Jake Ballard would improve any of these teams instantly. I originally had Ballard pegged for Tennessee alone because of the Titans’ love of running the ball with Johnson and Ballard’s ability as a blocker and size (6’6”, 260 lbs). Delanie Walker currently serves as the starting TE for Tennessee. Walker, an effective chess piece in Greg Romans’ passing attack last year for the 49ers probably doesn’t merit a starting position on his own. Ballard, who has proven himself as a talented receiver in the Giants offense in 2011, brings the skills of a complete tight end to any team that signs him. He’s also half a foot taller than Walker, meaning young passer Jake Locker will have an easier time getting Ballard the ball given Ballard’s massive wingspan.

I have elected to include Arizona with Tennessee because the starting tight end on their depth chart is Jim Dray. Dray is the type of player who earns a starting spot when you (the GM, owner, CEO) spent all of your salary cap money on other players (Larry Fitzgerald, Carson Palmer, rookies, etc) and can’t afford a decent tight end. Still Palmer could use all the help he can get stuck on the wrong end of the NFC West. And considering Ballard’s situation being unemployed and all, I can’t imagine he would command much more than Dray does just to be on a team with a decent quarterback. Palmer’s main targets right now are the future HOFer Fitzgerald, and two lesser proven wideouts Andre Roberts and Michael Floyd. While talented, neither of them have demonstrated the ability to “tear it up” in the middle of the field like a Wes Welker or Jason Witten. Ballard would allow Palmer to look to all parts of the field, especially now that Andre Ellington is starting to show up in the passing game..

 

Richard Seymour to Philadelphia

The new look, Chip Kelly-led Philadelphia Eagles easily have the most exciting offense to watch. They also have a train wreck of a defense. A more tired defense is likely a natural result of having an offense whose specific job is to score and get off the field as quickly as possible. The Eagles defense ranks in the bottom seven for points allowed, total yards allowed, and passing yards allowed. Allowing several yards is an unavoidable consequence of having a high scoring offense. Allowing 28 points a game is a problem. The Eagles defensive problems cannot be solved by signing one player. The Eagles defensive line is easily the least recognizable of the players on D. Throughout his career has performed as an above average pass-rusher, and should draw double teams, allowing Trent Cole, Connor Barwin, and other defenders additional opportunities to hurry the quarterback. If Seymour and the Eagles could agree on a price, Seymour could bring a seasoned veterans’ talents to a defense in need and the Eagles could allow the 32 year old a chance to get to the playoffs again, something the surely missed during his time in Oakland.

It is now time for me to take responsibility for my horribly botched upset prediction. Oakland did not beat Denver in Mile High stadium. It was not a close game. I am a dweeb. To Oakland’s credit though, they have so far allowed the fewest points to Denver in the young season. And New York and Baltimore are routinely perceived as fielding championship caliber defenses, whose performances paled in comparison to Oakland’s. Wait for this coming weekend for me to blather on about such games as: Seattle at Houston, New England at Atlanta, and the surprisingly decent Detroit/Chicago match-up. Also, don’t miss out on whatever gosh-awful upset prediction I feel like talking myself into.

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