The big moves of free agency are behind us. You know what that means. It’s grading time!
Matt Williamson of Scouts Inc. runs through the AFC in this Insider file.
Some of Williamson’s analysis: “The Colts had a ton of money at their disposal and certainly improved in several key areas, but they didn't add a true star to their roster. The signing of (Erik) Walden is probably the roster move I understand the least this offseason, as Indy paid him starter's money very early in free agency when he hasn't proved to be a starting-caliber outside linebacker. I also think the Colts overspent on (LaRon) Landry, although he is a good fit as an in-the-box safety for this scheme. (Aubrayo) Franklin also should be very useful on the nose and has some playmaking skills from that position as well, and (Greg) Toler should be a very solid second corner opposite Vontae Davis.”
Williamson’s grade: B+
My thought: Besides Toler, all the defensive moves have been about stopping the run. The question is if the pass rush and coverage will improve enough in conjunction with that.
Some of Williamson’s analysis: “My biggest issue with the Titans' offseason is the amount of money Tennessee gave to (Shonn) Greene. I don't see any special qualities in him, and he would not have been a priority for me whatsoever, making this one of the worst free-agent signings to date. Overall, Tennessee's signings seem disjointed, especially on the defensive side of the ball in terms of scheme fits, but the Titans did add more than they lost in free agency.
Williamson’s grade: C+
My thought: Greene can do the things that Chris Johnson can’t. But so can a lot of cheap, mid-round draft picks. I fear they overvalued a guy from a good short-yardage team as a short-yardage back.
Some of Williamson’s analysis: “(Ed) Reed is going to the Hall of Fame someday, but is he currently an upgrade over (Glover) Quin? That is debatable, but obviously Quin has much more football ahead of him. If you look at Houston's roster, the majority of its stars have been Texans their entire careers. Bringing in a leader that has been instrumental in so many wins like Reed might pay off in the locker room.”
My thought: Reed can provide the sort of juice the back end of the secondary lacked at the end of last season. So long as there is draft pick who can play special teams now and develop behind Reed, I’ll be fine with this change.
Some of Williamson’s analysis: “They still have an awful lot of money to spend if they chose to do so, which could lead to many value signings between now and when the season opens. In the meantime, (Roy) Miller will replace the departed (Terrance) Knighton, which is more or less a lateral move, and (Justin) Forsett could establish himself as Maurice Jones-Drew's top backup. Other than that, Jacksonville has done very little of note.”
My thought: It’s a good point about the remaining potential for value signings. There will be another new market, for example, following some cuts after the draft.