Guest Author - Mona McKenzie
The Chicago Bears made the biggest splash by signing several big name players. Looking to strengthen his sometimes suspect defense, head coach Lovie Smith turned to former Carolina Panthers star defensive end Julius Peppers to compliment Brian Urlacher and the Bearsí pass rush. Peppers signed on for six years, with $42 million of his contract guaranteed. On the offensive side of the ball, Chester Taylor left Minnesota to join his former division rival. TE Brandon Manumaleuna also joins the new and improved Bears.
Mike Shanahan wasted little time in cleaning house. The Redskins released 10 players including WR Antwaan Randle El, CB Fred Smoot, QB Todd Collins, and DT Cornelius Griffin. Is it possible that owner Daniel Snyder has finally decided to let those who are more knowledgeable about football run the show? The Skins also picked up defensive tackle Maake Kemoeatu to aid underperforming Albert Haynesworth.
Upon his release from the Redskins, Antwaan Randle El was reunited with his old team this week Ė the Pittsburgh Steelers. The team from the Steel City also retained FS Ryan Clark and added FS Will Allen from Tampa Bay.
Arizona made a few moves by trading star WR Anquan Boldin to the Ravens, while picking up S Kerry Rhodes from the Jets. S Antrel Rolle signed with the Giants and ILB Karlos Dansby signed with the Dolphins. The Dolphins also retained nose tackle Jason Ferguson and quarterback Chad Pennington.
Some Eagles fans may be happy that Michael Vick was paid a $1.5 million roster bonus. While this doesnít assure Vick of a roster spot for the 2010 season, itís likely he will be playing more at the quarterback position for some team this year. The Eagles may seek to trade Vick for a draft choice in order to help shore up needs in other key positions.
Detroit picked up two top free agents in DE Kyle Vanden Bosch from Tennessee and WR Nate Burleson from Seattle. Rumor has it that head coach Jim Schwartz camped out at Vanden Boschís home until the free agency period began to seal the deal.
Packers DE Aaron Kampman packed up his game and moved it to Jacksonville, while the Colts retained MLB Gary Brackett. Former Peyton Manning back-up quarterback Jim Sorgi has moved to the Giants to help out Peytonís little brother Eli, keeping it all in the family.
RB Thomas Jones signed a two-year deal with the Chiefs. The Jets took a gamble in releasing Jones and allowing him to test the free agency waters. New England signed franchise-tagged defensive tackle Vince Wilfork and retained RB Kevin Faulk.
Super Bowl 44 Champions New Orleans Saints have quite a few players in free agency. FS Darren Sharper, DT Anthony Hargrove, and G Jahri Evans remain unsigned. OLB Scott Fujita left the Crescent City for Cleveland, not before donating half his Super Bowl check to coastal restoration to the City of New Orleans.
Notable players released this off-season without a current home include QB Jake Delhomme, WR Terrell Owens, and RB Brian Westbrook. With the addition of WR Antonio Bryant in Cincinnati, itís very unlikely TO will join Ocho Cinco and the Bengal wide receiver corp. RB LaDainian Tomlinson is still on the market. He recently visited the Vikings. Could you imagine a backfield with Tomlinson and Adrian Peterson? Of course this adds a new dimension to ďFavre Watch.Ē Letís keep an eye on this possibility and other moves as the NFL Draft draws near.