April 1, 2015 by Ell and Mike Sports
Ell’s Free Agency Winners 2015
The Raiders seem to have finally learned how to make the right moves in free agency. They signed one of the best centers in the league in Rodney Hudson who is a young player in his prime; this also hurts the divisional rival Chiefs who must replace him. NT Dan Williams is another young solid player in his prime who has brought nice consistency clogging the middle for a very good Cardinals defensive unit. MLB Curtis Lofton has always been a tackling machine while consistently going over 100 tackles for the season. 2014 SB MVP MLB Malcolm Smith will provide solid depth behind the linebacker spots. FS Nate Allen will replace Tyvon Branch and he is a good, young safety, who can be inconsistent at times, but he has a tendency to cause turnovers and make plays; he could learn a lot from veteran Charles Woodson. RB Roy Helu is a solid pass catching RB who can also get good yardage when running the ball; he should complement Murray nicely as a 3rd down change of pace back. QB Christian Ponder is a decent veteran backup, but it was a smart move to reunite him with his former OC who helped him have a career year. Taking a flyer on RB Trent Richardson was also worth the risk, as Helu and Murray seem ready to carry the load whether Richardson contributes or not, but he has talent and should be hungry on his last chance. The Raiders didn’t suffer any significant losses and filled a lot of holes; they could be dangerous with a solid draft and continued growth of the core players.
The Colts needed to make moves that would put them over the hump to get to the Super Bowl and adding veteran WR Andre Johnson and veteran RB Frank Gore definitely helps. They are respected veterans who work hard day in and day out and they bring same physicality and toughness on game days. The offense should continue to grow with these two along with the other weapons on the roster. Veteran RG Todd Hermann fills a need along the interior line and he can also provide leadership for that unit. OLB Trent Cole has been a consistent pass rusher for years and he can produce the sacks this defense needs to be more effective. DE/DT Kendall Langford will replace DE/DT Cory Redding, but Langford is a player with good size and high motor he should fit nicely as a 3-4 defensive end. MLB Nate Irving is coming off of injury, but he is a solid run stopper and if he doesn’t gain the starting job he could provide solid depth. The Colts seemed to have added the right players at the right positions, so a solid draft could take them deep in the playoffs.
After making the splash of adding HC Rex Ryan, the Bills had to make a splash in free agency. The Bills acquired RB LeSean McCoy from the Eagles for MLB Kiko Alonso, who had a solid rookie year, but tore his ACL in his 2nd season in the offseason. McCoy is a top 5 back with game changing speed who has proven that he can be the go to guy. The Bills added another playmaker in WR Percy Harvin who can make plays in space when used correctly in the right system. Signing away TE Charles Clay from the division rival Dolphins gives them a reliable target from the TE position that can catch and block while always coming up with big plays. Trading for veteran QB Matt Cassel was a smart move as the competition would give them an idea of E.J. Manuel’s development, as well as give them a decent stop gap QB as Manuel learns the new playbook. Re-signing pass rushing DE Jerry Hughes was another smart move which keeps the D-line intact and ready for another big year. They did lose a good blocker with great size in TE Scott Chandler and hard hitting SS Da’Norris Searcy. The Bills seem to have made the right moves to make a push for the playoffs, but a solid draft could definitely get them over the hump.
The Chargers made some smart moves, although it lacks the star power they collectively brought in a good group. Re-signing veteran CB Brandon Flowers was a smart move because he was a great fit in their system last year allowing them to keep the tandem of Flowers and CB Jason Verrett who should be even better in his 2nd year; Flowers was one of the top CBs available for free agency. Signing RG/RT Orlando Franklin helps solidify the interior O-line as he proved to be a solid run blocker last year with the Broncos which could help the Chargers in the area and hurt a division rival. They also re-signed LT King Dunlap which keeps up the continuity. Bringing in WRs Stevie Johnson and Jacoby Jones give the Chargers offense some much needed speed and more weapons for Rivers; Jones also helps in the return game. CB Patrick Robinson has proved that he can make plays when healthy he should be a good 3rd CB behind Flowers and Verrett. S Jimmy Wilson was brought in to take over the starting SS job. The Chargers loss WR Eddie Royal who is replaced by Jones, RB Ryan Matthews, CB Shareece Wright who is replaced by Robinson, and SS Marcus Gilchrist who is replaced by Wilson. The Chargers moves aren’t flashy, but they are the low-key moves this team needs. A good draft could get the Chargers back in the playoffs.