The NFL got its first taste of the 2018 season with free agency kicking off recently and lots of big splashes were made. Kirk Cousins got paid and then some, Richard Sherman is moving down the coast, and Sammy Watkins is on the move again. But what about the players that weren’t signed to huge contracts? There were plenty of moves that may not have made the front page but will have big impacts. Here are some free agent signings you may not have seen but are not too shabby:
Jeremy Hill to the Patriots ($1.5 million-1 year)
The Patriots’ backfield is a revolving door. Just about every game it’s a different guy leading the charge and getting the job done. One thing they do love is a lightning and thunder combination. Rex Burkhead and James White have great flashes and big plays. What Jeremy Hill brings is a bit of Thunder
Hill is no stranger to plunging it in on the goal line and that’s exactly what they need. They had that with LeGarrette Blount in 2016. Then they watched him punish them in an Eagles’ uniform in this past Super Bowl. For the cheap price of $1.5 million, this is a great pick up for New England.
2. S/CB Tryann Mathieu to the Texans ($7 million- 1 year)
I love this signing for a couple of reasons. The biggest one is his price tag. $7 million makes him the 35th highest paid defensive back in the league. Mathieu is valued higher than 35th among all defensive backs.
Next, Houston ranked 24th in passing yards allowed last season. So bringing in a quality guy to your secondary for that cheap of a price is something every general manager would love. Besides some injuries, Mathieu had a good career in Arizona. He played and started in all 16 games last season and recorded two interceptions to make his career total 11.
3. WR Michael Crabtree to the Ravens ($21 million- 3 years)
Once again, let’s first check out the numbers behind what he is getting paid and if he is worth that. Crabtree’s $7 million this season ranks 28th in the NFL. Last season Crabtree reeled in eight touchdowns which were tied for eighth in the league. Looks like a good bargain for Baltimore on that front.
As for the need to bring in a wide receiver, the Ravens were in bad shape in that part of the game. Tight end Benjamin Watson and receiver Mike Wallace were tied for the most touchdowns caught by a Raven at a low four. Crabtree alone doubled that in his season with Oakland. Joe Flacco will be very happy to have a new toy to play with this season as he desperately needs help in the passing game.
4. CB E.J. Gaines to the Browns ($4 million- 1 year)
Cleveland may not be THAT bad this year. I know, crazy. They have made some conservative smart moves in free agency and if they draft well who knows they could win a game, or two.
Gaines is entering his fourth season after playing his first two seasons with the Rams and last season with the Bills. He started in 15 games his rookie year and then battled injuries in the following two seasons starting in 1o and 11 games, respectively.
The Brown’s pass defense was nothing to be too proud of last season ranking 19th in passing yards allowed, 26th in passing touchdowns, and 31st in interceptions. Bringing in a quality corner with potential, for a cheap and 40th ranked paid secondary player in the league is a good pick up for the Browns.
Written by: Matthew Peterson
Edited by: Colin Castleberry