There have been hundreds of free agent signings thus far around the NFL. Here are a dozen of moves that should make the biggest impact:
Peyton Manning (DEN) – After trying their hand with Tim Tebow a year ago, the Broncos now turn to Manning to get them back to the promise land. If the future Hall of Famer can shed the neck issues and regain his throwing strength he could pay big dividends over the next couple of seasons in Denver.
Vincent Jackson (TB) – Jackson became a malcontent in San Diego and continuously has battled injuries. He now gets a fresh slate in Tampa Bay where the Bucs have made big offseason movement. With Mike Williams and Kellen Winslow being nice compliments and a young quarterback like Josh Freeman it could be big things ahead for the former Charger.
Mario Williams (BUF) – Buffalo had to make a splash and were in desperate need of improving one of the league’s worst defensive fronts and by landing Williams they did both. Adding Mark Anderson from New England to go along with Williams was icing on the cake.
Brandon Lloyd (NE) – Being reunited with Josh McDaniels can’t be overlooked. The journeyman receiver had a career year playing under McDaniels in Denver and now he gets Tom Brady throwing him the ball. The presence of Wes Welker and tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez could limit his targets, but expect a big year ahead for Lloyd.
Matt Flynn (SEA) – Though he still has plenty to prove the fact remains he’s the best quarterback Pete Carroll has brought in since arriving to Seattle. That’s not saying much considering the other two were Tavaris Jackson and Charlie Whitehurst. Flynn had options and chose to go to the Seahawks. The last free-agent, backup quarterback that left Green Bay for the Emerald City was Matt Hasselbeck and that didn’t turn out too bad.
Cortland Finnegan (STL) – Finnegan was the easily the best cornerback on the open market and his former head coach Jeff Fischer knew it. He joins a young and overrated defense in St. Louis. It might not be this year that the Rams are ready to compete, but clearly they’re going in the right direction.
Brandon Jacobs (SF) – While they lost out to Manning, the 49ers did have several new pieces to its offense already this offseason. None may prove more valuable than Jacobs, who gives the team a nice compliment to Frank Gore and youngster Kendall Hunter. The loss of Jacobs will be felt in New York as much as his impact will be made on the 49ers.
Michael Bush (CHI) – One of the more surprising signings was Bush going to the Bears. However, with Matt Forte entering the last year of his deal, coming off a major injury and threatening to hold out the team grabbed some nice insurance policy on the cheap. Bush is going to be in the mix with or without the incumbent Forte.
Peyton Hillis (KC) – With Jamal Charles returning from a season-long ACL injury a year ago, the Chiefs found a nice compliment in Hillis. Just like Thomas Jones did in 2010, Hillis is going to get plenty of looks in the Chiefs’ offense. His receiving skills out of the backfield will prove to be an asset.
Pierre Garcon (WAS) – Garcon got paid big time to come to DC and with the Redskins likely to draft Robert Griffin III with the second overall pick in the draft, they needed some targets. Garcon still found a way to be productive in Indy last year through the Manningless mess.
Robert Meachem (NO) – Chargers coach Norv Turner has already promised big things for Meachem, who was inconsistent in the Saints’ offense. With Vincent Jackson no longer in the picture though there will be plenty of chances for Meachem in San Diego’s revamped receiving corps to make a splash.
LaRon Landry (NYJ) – Part of the Jets struggles last year on defense was the result of not being able to stop the run from the secondary. In Landry, Rex Ryan gets a physical, hard-hitting safety that allows him to do what he does best.
COMPLETE FREE AGENT SIGNINGS (FFToolbox.com)
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