The NFL smell is in the air. Training camp is right around the corner along with Super Bowl predictions. Between the NFL Draft and the free agency frenzy, there was a ton of player movement this off-season. In this article we'll look at 5 overrated and underrated moves that were made this off-season and how they will fit in with their new clubs.
IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER -
James Jones - (Green Bay Packers) Oakland Raiders
- I actually really like James Jones. But I actually like Jones on a team with an already proven wideout like he had in Green Bay for a few years, insert Greg Jennings, Jordy Nelson, and Randall Cobb's name's here. He will prove to be a solid pickup for the Raiders, as they search for wide receiver help, but he will not be enough. He needs a playmaker opposite him so that he can take the top off the defense. He will not have that in Oakland. They have plenty of wide receiver talent on the roster, but none of which are proven (Greg Little, Andre Holmes, Rod Streater to name a few). And oh yeah, doesn't have Aaron Rodgers throwing him the ball neither. Insert Matt Schaub's name here. While he will be a solid player for the Black Hole, he won't be enough of what they are asking of him. And Jones is really only a one dimensional player. I consider 50-60 catches for 700-800 yards with 3 to 4 touchdowns to be a successful year for him in Oakland.
Aqib Talib - (New England Patriots) - Denver Broncos
- Now I'm sure a lot of you are thinking "How can this be an overrated move? This guy is one of the best in the league." I'm certainly not denying that. This is strictly the contract. An absurd contract at that. 6-year, $57 Million dollar deal, to be exact, for someone who has rarely been able to stand upright for a full 16 game season seems to be a little much. Someone who has been in trouble with the law, someone who has had problems with previous employers, injured at critical points in games and season's. He was a model citizen for his year and half season for the Patriots, keeping his name out of headlines, outside of missing games. He could prove to be a really good player for Denver, or he could prove to a big waste of money. Yes, I know only 11.5 million is guaranteed, but if he proves to play up to part of the contract and not at the end, it's a lot of money tied up. But Denver is in win now mode, so you can hardly fault them for that or fault Talib for taking that massive contract.
- A little bit of a reach in my book, Bortles is more then likely to hold the clipboard barring an injury to current starter Chad Henne. While it's a feel good story for the Central Florida product, I see another Blaine Gabbert situation brewing. At some point, he is going to be thrown into the fire and also into a no win situation, with only newly signed Toby Gerhart at his disposal. Not sexy. With Justin Blackmon in and out of the league, he does not have the necessary weaponry to throw to and will struggle to connect with them. That's not to say that I could be very wrong. And I hope I am. He was a very good college player and ends up on a QB hungry team, but without offensive help, he will struggle down the road. He has a solid offensive line that is improving which should give him some extra time to throw, but who can he throw to? Mercedes Lewis? Not enough. I think he could have been had in the 2nd round of the draft and used a 1st round pick on a WR.
Eric Decker - (Denver Broncos) - New York Jets
- My woman will kill me for this. I do however think it's a decent signing for a wide receiver hungry team, but not at this price with no help opposite him. In Denver, Decker had the luxury of having Demariyus Thomas opposite him, Wes Welker in the slot, Julius Thomas at tight end, with Knowshon Moreno and Montee Ball at running back. That's what essentially got him his payday. Not to say he hasn't earned it, but it is going to be hard to replicate those number's with a largely unproven QB in Geno Smith. His best bet is if newly signed Michael Vick starts. Hope that also newly signed Chris Johnson can open up the field for him to cash in on paydirt. But without a playmaking WR to start opposite him, Decker will have a hard time finding room to get open, being covered by a number one corner with no help. His new deal would have looked nice for a team with an already good WR like Detroit, Seattle, Arizona to name a few. In New York, it will be hard to earn that money.
Tyson Jackson - (Kansas City Chiefs) - Atlanta Falcons
- Atlanta did their best to attempt to bolster their defensive line problems, but handing out a 5 year contract worth upwards of $25 Million is a little much for someone coming off a career year which saw him notch 33 total tackles, 4 sacks, and 3 pass deflections. He didn't look lost, he more or less looked like someone who didn't try every play. He can be a run stuffing down lineman with upside still, only being in the league since 2009 (3rd overall pick). I don't think he will live up to that type of hype. But he does fill a void for Atlanta, I just think he could have been had for a lot less. Otherwise it wouldn't have been in overrated signing in my book. Perhaps a one-year prove it deal would have made it more underrated.
- Michael Johnson
- DeMarcus Ware
- Donte Whitner
- Brandon Albert
- Karlos Dansby
IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER -
Jordan Matthews - (Vanderbilt) - Philadelphia Eagles
- After a polished college career which saw him grab over 260 footballs for 3759 yards and 24 touchdowns, Matthew's will look to translate this into NFL success. While Matthew's played for Vanderbilt, not necessarily the best college team around, he did however play in the SEC, college football's premier division. Matthew's a notorious hard worker, end's up in a perfect situation in Philly where the boast one of the NFL's most potent offense's. While he may not fill the shoes of Desean Jackson immediately, he fills a void regardless. They needed wide receiver help and not knowing if Jeremy Maclin will stay healthy or not only justifies the pick that much more. Matthew's will be a lock to put up top rookie receiving numbers in the Eagles hurry up offense. Look for him to pony up near 1,000 yard numbers. A very under the radar pick.
Arthur Jones (Baltimore Ravens) - Indianapolis Colts
- Jones, a rotational down lineman for the majority of his Ravens career, broke out in his first full season as a starter. While the stats don't look sexy on paper (53 total tackles, 4.0 sacks) he was constantly clogging up the line of scrimmage and disrupting Quarterback dropbacks. Something that Indy lacked last year outside of Robert Mathis, who is suspended the first four games of the season due to a failed drug test. But when Mathis returns, he should be able to pst similar numbers as last year, solely on the fact that Jones has arrived to help take on multiple lineman, leaving Mathis ample time to get to the QB. Jones big body should also help stop the running game or at least contain it, something that they could not do, as evidence by their last game of the season in New England giving up a robust 234 yards on the ground, capped off by a 70 yard some odd run by big bodied Legarrette Blount. Jones only helps slow down the run that much more. A very under the radar signing by the Colts.
C.J. Fiedorowicz (Iowa Hawkeyes) - Houston Texans
- I really liked this draft pick. The rookie tight end landed in a good spot with Houston. Standing 6 foot 7 inches, he's already a red zone presence, something that the Texans lacked last season (other then a QB). With new coach Bill O'Brien on the scene, Fiedorowicz is a lock for a top Offensive Rookie of the Year award vote or two. The reason I believe this is O'Brien is a former Patriots coordinator. He knows how to utilize all of his offensive weapons and I think if Fiedorowicz can show his worth, O'Brien will get him into situations to succeed. Having Andre Johnson, as of now, helps. Getting good QB play will matter too. Regardless. He's got a build of Rob Gronkowski as well, so if any two people can make it work as such, O'Brien and Fiedorowicz can and will look to do so.
Kenny Britt (Tennessee Titans) - St. Louis Rams
- At 25 years old, it seems like Britt has been in the league for 10 years. He hasn't been in the NFL for that long, but has been productive when healthy and not in trouble with the law. A once big-time wide receiver, he seemed to mail it in with the Titans or he wore out his welcome. When on his game, he was a good bet for 70-80 catches for over 1000 yards. This past season I think my 1 year old daughter was more productive, that's how little he did this year. With his terrible play this past season he's on a one-year prove it deal with the Rams, which can prove to be one of the more highly underrated moves this off-season. With Sam Bradford coming back and drafting another great offensive lineman, the Rams look poised to make a run at a Wild Card spot this season and Britt could be a big part of that.
Rashad Jennings (Oakland Raiders) - New York Giants
- At 29 years young, you would think giving that amount of years to a running back might be a little much. It really isn't in his case. He backed up Maurice Jones-Drew for years in Jacksonville, so he's fresh. A very capable running back who will break tackles, who can run inside and out, will have a very solid year for the G-Men if he can stay healthy and if the offensive line can hold up. A very solid pick-up, should he stay healthy, he could be a good bet for 1,000 yards and 5 to 6 touchdowns, giving Eli Manning a clock killing running back that he has lacked for a few seasons.
- Darrelle Revis
- Malcom Jenkins
- Justin Tuck
- Wesley Woodyard
- Dexter McCluster
So what do you think sportsblog.com? Let me know your under and overrated player movement!