The 2018 free agency season is underway. It’s seemingly being scored to “Psycho” by System of a Down. Players have been moving at ludicrous speed. Grading these deals is tricky but here it goes. Here is part one of the free agent flurry.
2018 NFL Free Agent Grades: Part One
Kirk Cousins To The Vikings
3-YEARS $84 MILLION GUARANTEED (Projected)
Cousins was the biggest fish in the free agency pool. It became clear that he wasn’t going to be wooed strictly by the money as the situation was going to be a factor.
The Vikings had over $50 million this season to spend and they decided to go all in on next season. This deal is all guaranteed and he’d next hit the market when he’s 31. For him, this is super savvy as he could get paid even more the next time around if he can win a title with the Vikings.
The Vikings are taking a massive risk as no one has ever had this kind of deal where every cent is guaranteed. What’s funny is that his numbers are similar to Case Keenum who the team opted to let walk to Denver. Still, the Vikings see Cousins as the guy to take them to the next level. He very well could be. Not only that, but he made Aaron Rodgers and Matt Ryan salivate as they can now negotiate for more during there next negotiations.
Allen Robinson To The BEARS
3-YEARS $42 MILLION (Projected)
The Bears heard all the noise the Rams made last year and said: “I’ll have what they’re having”. They have a young QB in Mitch Trubisky that no one can definitively say is good or not. They too had a coach in John Fox that opted to run an archaic system thus not utilizing Trubisky.
He had no weapons but a decent running game. Enter Robinson. Robinson tore his ACL last season but did have a 1,400 yards and 14 touchdowns in 2015. Aside from Alshon Jeffery, he is easily the best receiver the Bears have had in a decade. It’s fair to knock him for being the beneficiary of garbage time stats but he should instantly open up that offense.
Sammy Watkins To The CHIEFS
3-YEARS $48 MILLION (Projected)
Ooof. On one hand, Watkins is only 24. He offers a second speedster to compliment Tyreek Hill. Second-year Quarterback Patrick Mahomes will be moving around a lot and needs weapons that can go get it.
While Watkins has the potential to be the Flash, he also has screws in his feet. His injury history is longer than his stat sheet. It’s a major risk to pay him $16 million a year. He stayed healthy in L.A. last year but he also became marginalized as the season went on because the Rams’ other receivers blossomed. The Chiefs didn’t have much money to spend this season and this is an odd way to spend it. If it works, this offense with Travis Kelce, Hill, Kareem Hunt, and Watkins could be amazing. If it doesn’t then it gets ugly.
Sam Bradford To The CARDINALS
2-YEARS $40 MILLION (Projected)
Brock Osweiler was labeled “The Heist” by Michael Lombardi for Jedi mind tricking the Texans to pay him a massive amount of money two years ago. He became a salary dump to the Browns and then to the Broncos.
If Brock was the Heist, Sam Bradford is Neil McCauley. Bradford has made an estimated total of $113.95 million in eight years. This is despite being on IR the majority of his career. He had one great season in Minnesota where he was one of the most efficient quarterbacks in league history. The Cardinals struck out hard on Cousins and Keenum. They are in the running to take one of the quarterbacks that inevitably falls in the draft. Bradford is a bridge but a very expensive bridge to nowhere. Pray for Larry Fitzgerald.
Andrew Norwell To The JAGUARS
5-YEARS $66.5 MILLION (Projected)
The Jags are stuck with Blake Bortles. They extended him to a deal that would mitigate his cap hit. Now they have to protect their investment. Norwell is one of the best guards in the league. This bodes well for both Bortles and running back Leonard Fournette. He is now the league’s highest-paid linemen with his deal netting $30 million in guarantees. He just reset the market for linemen everywhere.
This concludes grading the free agents part one. Coming up: A marquee tight end goes North. The Bears continue to rebuild their offense, the Broncos add a quarterback, and Miami spends money like Jordan Belfort during the Steve Madden IPO.