Same Face, New Place: Top 5 NFL Free Agent Signings
Rejoice, football fans! We are less than a month away from meaningful, regular season NFL action. There is much to look forward to when the 2017 season kicks off, including big name stars in different uniforms. Since free agency began back in March, huge moves have been made by multiple teams, so let’s look at a few of the biggest signings this offseason.
5. Logan Ryan, Tennessee Titans
Former Team: New England Patriots
Contract: 3 Years, $30 million
Drafted in the 3rd round of the 2013 NFL draft, cornerback Logan Ryan had an extremely successful four-year stint with the New England Patriots. It was a stint that included 13 interceptions, 202 tackles, and, oh yeah, two Super Bowl rings. After a fantastic 2016 campaign, Ryan’s time with the Patriots came to an end when he signed with the Tennessee Titans. With a top-tier cornerback, the Titans vastly improve a Dick LeBeau-run pass defense that was 30th in the league a year ago.
4. Calais Campbell, Jacksonville Jaguars
Position: Defensive Tackle
Former Team: Arizona Cardinals
Contract: 4 Years, $60 million
Eight years with the Arizona Cardinals solidified Calais Campbell as one of the best, toughest defensive tackles in the NFL. In his time out west, Campbell recorded 56.5 sacks, forced eight fumbles, and picked off the quarterback three times. Now, just shy of his 31st birthday, he heads to the opposite end of the country to the AFC South’s Jacksonville Jaguars. Campbell adds veteran leadership to an increasingly dangerous Jaguars defense that also added cornerback A.J. Bouye and safety Barry Church this offseason. With his pass rush prowess, AFC South quarterbacks will surely see Campbell in their sights many, many times in 2017.
3. Martellus Bennett, Green Bay Packers
Position: Tight End
Former Team: New England Patriots
Contract: 3 Years, $20.5 million
In his single season with the New England Patriots, Martellus Bennett got what every player coached by Bill Belichick expects to get: A Super Bowl ring. In 2016, he had solid year, catching 55 balls for 701 yards and seven touchdowns, and had a couple of big catches in the wild comeback win against the Falcons in the Big Game. Bennett moves on this year after signing a three-year, $20.5 million contract with the Green Bay Packers, where he should see a lot of targets from Aaron Rodgers, especially in the red zone. Bennett is a solid pickup for the Packers, who needed a big tight end to replace Jared Cook after he signed with Oakland.
2. Stephon Gilmore, New England Patriots
Former Team: Buffalo Bills
Contract: 5 Years, $65 million
Stephon Gilmore caught on quickly when it came to playing cornerback at the professional level, starting all 16 games during his rookie season back in 2012 and accounting for 16 passes defended and an interception. His game only improved from there and, after five years as a starter in Buffalo, Gilmore has solidified himself as one of the league’s top corners. In 68 games with the Bills, he had 14 interceptions and 62 passes defended, including five and 12 respectively in 2016. With his signing in New England, the Patriots get their replacement for Logan Ryan and quite possibly the NFL’s most dangerous CB duo courtesy of him and Malcolm Butler.
1. Alshon Jeffrey, Philadelphia Eagles
Position: Wide Receiver
Former Team: Chicago Bears
Contract: 1 Year, $9.5 million
It was news to no one that star receiver Alshon Jeffrey was disappointed with the last couple of seasons in Chicago. Not only did he miss substantial time during both 2015 and 2016 – seven games and four games, respectively – but he also had, by far, his least number of targets and receptions. In 2016, he was targeted just 94 times, catching 52 balls, and recorded a career-worst two touchdowns. Jeffrey moves on from the Bears to Philadelphia, signing a one-year deal with the Eagles. He’ll be a welcome addition to QB Carson Wentz’s receiving core, likely taking over Nelson Agholor’s starting spot. If Jeffrey can stay on the field, he should have a bounce back year and he’ll certainly see more targets than he did the last two years in Chicago.