While we wait for a few more big name players to sign, such as Greg Jennings, Ed Reed and Jake Long, let’s take a look at some more free agents who have new NFL homes.
1. Steven Jackson, Atlanta Falcons- (3yr/12m) Jackson is coming in to replace Michael Turner, and it is a good move, as Jackson is two years younger than Turner. This move all depends on Jackson staying healthy, though. While he has all of the talent in the world, there are a few games at least every season Jackson misses due to injury. Still, he has reached 1,000 yards rushing for eight straight seasons, and the Falcons will lighten up the workload for Jackson by giving more carries to Jacquizz Rodgers. With Jackson’s pass catching ability out of the backfield, the Falcons offense is loaded and will be hard to stop.
2. Laron Landry, Indianapolis Colts- (4yr/24m) Landry made the most of his one year “prove it” deal with the Jets, earning a nice payday from the Jim Irsay and the Colts. Landry is a big, physical player, and some receivers will think twice about going over the middle with him there waiting to dish out a nasty hit. For all the money tied into him, the Colts better hope he can be healthy for most of his deal, as he has dealt with numerous injuries throughout his career. Landry will help the Colts in the run game, but his pass coverage skills are suspect.
3. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Denver Broncos- (1yr/5m) DRC was one of the big move the Eagles made during the summer of 2011, but the young corner didn’t exactly play as well as anyone had hoped. Now, DRC has signed a one year deal with the Broncos, and if anyone watched the playoffs this past year, then you know which area the Broncos needed to fix most. At 27 years old, the 6’2 back and former pro bowler should slide in nicely opposite of Champ Bailey, and look for DRC to have a solid year and earn him a long term contract in Denver. Look for DRC to have more than five interceptions, and become Denver’s number one corner this year.
4. Cliff Avril, Seattle Seahawks- (2yr/15m) The Seahawks biggest weakness was it’s front seven and being able to attack the opposing quarterback. Now, the Hawks made a big free agent splash, convincing former Lions defensive end Cliff Avril to take a shorter term deal and join a rising team that many view as a 2013 Super Bowl contender. Avril is great at getting around offensive lineman and getting to the QB, and teams have to be extremely cautious of his techniques at stripping the football. The Hawks are getting a player entering his true prime years (27) and Avril should see double digit sacks this year.
5. Rashard Mendenhall, Arizona Cardinals- (1yr/2.5m) For the past few seasons, the Cardinals have struggled running the ball. Beanie Wells didn’t pan out to being a number one back like many had hoped, and LaRod Stephens-Howling couldn’t carry the load all by himself. The Cardinals hope they have solved their problems by signing Mendenhall. At 25, he is still very young, and a few years ago was considered one of the top up and coming backs in the game. Recently, he has had numerous injuries and issues with Steelers coaches helped to keep him off of the field. Both Mendenhall and the Steelers needed a change of scenery, and if he can stay healthy, Mendenhall can return to being a number one back.