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NFL Signings / Rumors
1.) OLB Ahmad Brooks, 49ers – It was widely rumored that Brooks and his $7M salary cap hit were going to be released this offseason, but with the surprising retirements and chaos in San Fran it appears the Niners are going to keep Brooks. GM Trent Balke promised today that Ahmad Brooks would be the starter at the OLB in 2015. Brooks was a captain under Fangio and would have been an obvious add for the Bears if released, but the Niners can’t afford to lose anymore players so the Bears will have to look elsewhere for defenders with experience in Fangio’s scheme.
2.) OLB Bruce Carter, Bucs– I had pegged Carter as the best fit for the NaVorro Bowman ILB role in Fangio’s scheme due to his elite athleticism and coverage skills, but the Bucs paid Carter $5M per year for four years. It is a massive overpay (imo) for a guy who has struggled the last few seasons. Carter will play the SAM position in Tampa’s 4-3 and based on his play at the position in Dallas will struggle to earn his contract. He was my ideal choice for the Bears at ILB, but at closer to half the price the Bucs paid.
3.) WR Percy Harvin, FA – After being cut by the Jets, it is rumored Harvin will be visiting the Packers tomorrow which scares the crap out of me. The Packers are already flush at receiver with Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, Davante Adams, and a couple promising 2nd-year receivers in Jared Abbrederis and Jeff Janis. Not to mention the fact that the Packers already have the most accurate QB in the NFL. The addition of a dynamic player like Harvin to an already explosive Packers offensive should keep new Bears DC Vic Fangio up at night.
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4.) DT Randy Starks, FA – After signing DT Ndamukong Suh, the Dolphins decided that they no longer needed the high-priced DT Randy Starks. He’s 31 and a bit past his prime but in the last five seasons has made two Pro Bowls (2010, 2012), finished as the 7th rated DT according to PFF in 2013, and even last year in perhaps the worst season of his career still finished as the 43rd ranked DT out of 81 according to PFF. Starks also has experience as a 5-tech DE which may be the biggest hole on the Bears roster right now. The cost of signing Starks should be low and he could add valuable D-line depth for the Bears in their transition to a 3-4 scheme.
5.) OT Anthony Collins, FA – In his first year as a starter at left tackle (2013), PFF ranked Collins as the 13th best left tackle in the league which earned him a 5-year, $30M contract from the Bucs last offseason. Collins played so poorly for the Bucs that he was benched for the last four weeks of the season and then released yesterday along with their other high-priced free agent acquistion from last offseason, DE Michael Johnson. Collins is no longer young at 29 years old but his track record suggests that he is a much better player than he showed for the Bucs last year. His massively disappointing season should keep his price to a minimum, but Collins has proved he can play left tackle competently in the NFL and could be a free agent bargain as a back-up swing tackle.