The 2018 free agency bonanza is underway. Part one and two focused on the expected, albeit, lucrative signings. Part three will focus on the big money being given to the mid-tier players. Some of these signings are an example of a good investment. Some are unwise, and then there are some signings that come down to front office malpractice.
2018 Free Agent Grades: Part 3; Dark Money
Danny Amendola To DOLPHINS
2 YEARS $12 MILLION, $8.25 MILLION GUARANTEED
On one hand, this isn’t a bad way to replace Jarvis Landry. Amendola has two rings and was one of Tom Brady‘s most reliable targets. On the other, he turns 33 and the wrap on him in St. Louis was being injury prone. He can still be a valuable slot for whoever ends up playing quarterback in Miami and he’ll also be a quality veteran in the locker room.
Albert Wilson To DOLPHINS
3 YEARS $24 MILLION
Ooof. It was understandable that the Dolphins didn’t want to pay Jarvis Landry big time money. Albert Wilson was a member of the Chiefs but not one that made much of an impact. It isn’t clear what the calculus was in giving out big money to a guy that wasn’t a key cog in an offense that was bereft of receiving talent. 2018 might be kinder but he’d have to really make an impact to justify this one. Mike Tannenbaum was once a cap genius and now he’s burning money like he just knocked over a Charleston bank.
Taylor Gabriel To BEARS
4 YEARS $26 MILLION, $ 14 MILLION GUARANTEED
The Bears offensive revolution continues. They signed Allen Robinson yesterday and now Matt Nagy has his new Tyreek Hill. Mitch Trubisky is now in the same position Jared Goff was last year. They went out and got him Robinson, Trey Burton, and now Gabriel. He also still has Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen in the backfield. He has no more excuses in 2018. Gabriel should be able to stretch the field big time.
Jonathan Stewart To GIANTS
2 YEARS $6.9 MILLION, $2.95 MILLION GUARANTEED
Wow. The Giants would’ve been better off handing that money to comedian Jon Stewart. Stewart is 31 and has had a long history of injuries. The Giants are in a weird place where they need to rebuild but also feel compelled to make one last Eli run. No man’s land is a bad place for a team to be and signings like this are what happens.
Nate Solder To GIANTS
4 YEARS $65 MILLION, $35.5 MILLION GUARANTEED
If the Giants are going to make one last run its best to protect Eli. Solder was Tom Brady‘s left tackle for years. Not only does this make life harder for the Patriots but the Giants have one of the better tackles in the league. Yes, this is an overpay but its one that makes sense for the Giants.
Jerick McKinnon To 49ERS
4 YEARS $30 MILLION
John Lynch is clearly in heat check mode. He’s been awesome for a first time GM rebuilding the 9ers. So this was a major flex. The team knows that now that they have Jimmy Garoppolo, Richard Sherman, Weston Richburg (more on him later), and Pierre Garcon and they can make some noise. The problem is Kyle Shanahan, like his father, is more than happy to use lower tier running backs to effectively run his zone blocking scheme. McKinnon wasn’t that type of back in Minnesota and he won’t be here. This is a really bad contract.
Jimmy Graham To PACKERS
3 YEARS $30 MILLION, $22 MILLION GUARANTEED
When Seattle traded their center Max Unger to New Orleans for Graham it was thought to be a huge coup. Russell Wilson had never had a target like him. The problem was Graham couldn’t stay healthy. The Seattle offense also couldn’t develop any receivers or running backs, and their line was terrible. Graham is now coming to the Packers where that won’t be a problem. He is one of the deadliest red zone targets in the league and that should double with Aaron Rodgers throwing to him. That being said his health is a concern at that price.
Muhammad Wilkerson To PACKERS
ONE YEAR $8 MILLION
This is a STEAL. The wrap on Wilkerson with the Jets is that he no longer cared once he got paid. The Packers haven’t had a quality defensive tackle since prime B.J. Raji. If Wilkerson is motivated he could be a disruptive force on a Packers defense that’s needed help for quite some time. At this price, he is a low-risk high reward.
Trumaine Johnson To JETS
5 YEARS $72.5 MILLION, $34 MILLION GUARANTEED
This is a weird one. Johnson like Kirk Cousins has mastered the franchise tag. He’s made $56.5 million with his two tags and previous contract by the Rams and how he’s making at least $34 million. His on-field production wouldn’t lend itself to being worthy of that kind of haul. For the Jets, they had money to spend. They struck out on Cousins and couldn’t let that money burn a hole in their pockets. Johnson could be their Revis replacement but it’s not likely. He is decent in press coverage but he’s not exactly a lockdown corner. Perhaps Todd Bowles can unlock what Wade Phillips couldn’t but don’t count on it.
Paul Richardson To WASHINGTON
5 YEARS $40 MILLION, $20 MILLION GUARANTEED
It wouldn’t be free agency without a bad Washington contract. They traded for Alex Smith in the offseason and then they overpaid to give him a target. Richardson’s signing is the classic overpay for upside. He had flashes in Seattle but he never turned into a reliable target for Wilson. Washington is a mess offensively and this doesn’t help. It’s interesting that they’d pay all that money to Smith and Richardson yet they couldn’t get Cousins out of the door fast enough. It really makes sense that Dan Snyder owns Six Flags.