By Ryan Hack
The NFL free agency period was back in March, and many players signed large contracts with new teams.
Former Denver Broncos defensive tackle and Super Bowl 50 champion Malik Jackson signed the largest deal of the offseason with a six year, $85,500,000 contract with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Sophomore, Cole Hufman said “it’s a fair contract because he is a good player, and a lot of football players make more money than him.” Through week six, Jackson has only recorded eleven tackles and one sack. Jackson is starting to look like a bust at this point in the season.
The New York Giants signed defensive end Olivier Vernon to a five year, $85,000,000 contract. In his four seasons playing for the Miami Dolphins, Vernon put up 29 sacks and 139 tackles. In the first six games for Vernon, he has only thirteen tackles and one sack. Compared to other defensive linemen, he is 18th at his position in terms of stats.
Cornerback Josh Norman signed with the Washington Redskins after playing for the Carolina Panthers. Last year with the Carolina Panthers, Norman totaled 48 tackles and four interceptions, two of them returned for touchdowns. Through the first six weeks of the season, Norman has recorded 26 tackles, a forced fumble, and one interception. The $75,000,000 given to Norman is looking like it was well spent.
Eric Weddle, now a strong safety for the Baltimore Ravens after signing a four year deal worth $26,000,000, played nine years for the San Diego Chargers. In those nine years, Weddle totaled 679 tackles and 19 interceptions, three returned for touchdowns. After three home games and three away games, Weddle has 17 tackles and an interception. This has helped a struggling Ravens defense over the past couple of years tremendously.
There were many offensive players that signed deals as well. Lineman Kelechi Osemele signed the largest contract of all offensive players worth $58,500,000 which he will receive over a five year period. Osemele, a Super Bowl XLVII champion with the Baltimore Ravens, started in 51 games in four seasons. Sophomore, Aden Boyer said “the deal is fair because he is a good player and there are more players that are better than he is, and they make more money. Also, the general manager is the one that makes the decision and he has factored in other things like the salary cap, so he knows what’s right.” This season with the Oakland Raiders, Osemele has started every game this season, blocking effectively for his running backs.
The Detroit Lions reached out to wide receiver Marvin Jones, signing him to a five year contract worth $40,000,000. Over the past three years with the Bengals, Jones started in 21 games, playing in 43 and hauled in 134 passes for 1,729 yards and 15 touchdowns. In his first six games with the Lions, Jones has totaled 29 receptions for 529 yards and four touchdowns. Jones is on pace to finish as a top ten receiver this year.
Formally with the Indianapolis Colts, tight end Coby Fleener had 183 receptions in four seasons, totaling 2,154 yards. Fleener had a slow start to the 2016 season, but in weeks three to six, minus week five as the Saints had their bye week, he has 19 receptions for 202 yards and a touchdown. Fleener signed a five year, $36,000,000 contract who is playing mediocre for the money he received.
Former Dolphins’ running back Lamar Miller signed a four year, $26,000,000 contract with the Houston Texans. After starting as a full back with Miami, he became a running back and had 638 carries for 2,930 yards and 19 touchdowns in four seasons. This year, Miller has carried 125 times, for traveling 520 yards and a touchdown. After changing teams, Miller is on track to have a career year.
Most teams took advantage of the free agency to improve their roster, but there are still plenty of teams that could use some work.