Very quietly, the Chicago Bears have had a very solid showing in free agency so far.
Excluding an injury-plagued 2014, Trevathan was a staple in the middle for the Super Bowl champion Denver Broncos for most of the past three years. According to PFF, Trevathan was the sixth rated linebacker in 2015 and should jump right in and be an asset on both run and pass defense.
Not only did the Bears sign the best free agent linebacker available, they also signed the second best linebacker available in Jerrell Freeman. Again, Bears linebackers were horrible in 2015 and now they have two legitimate starters in Vic Fangio’s defense.
Also, the team went out and upgraded the offensive line by signing Bobby Massie away from the Cardinals. Massie isn’t exactly a stud tackle, but he’s decent, and his contract is only $18.5 million dollars over three years and $6.5 million guaranteed. Not a bad signing at all, and he seems pretty excited to be playing alongside Kyle Long.
Lastly, the Bears deserve kudos for not re-signing Matt Forte to some horrible contract, even though he’s been great for them for the past eight years.
We’ll get to the teams that had big money to spend in free agency eventually, but like the Bears, the Texans made a few key moves that could help them reach the playoffs again in 2016.
For starters, they went ahead and signed the number one free agent quarterback in Brock Osweiler. Is Osweiler a legitimate franchise quarterback that will live up to his $72 million dollar contract? Maybe, but he’s worth the risk for a Texans team that has an up-and-upcoming defense and a few big-time talents on offense.
Osweiler’s eight-game stint for the Broncos wasn’t overly impressive, but he has the arm talent to be a solid starter for at least the duration of his contract in Houston. Also, signing Osweiler allows Houston to go in another direction with their first two picks in the 2016 draft.
In addition to Osweiler, the Texans were able to pull in the most explosive playmaker available in Lamar Miller. Some may argue that Doug Martin or Alshon Jeffery are better respectively, but I’d personally rather have a 24-year-old with Miller’s talent.
Miller and Osweiler weren’t the only offensive additions Houston made, after losing Brandon Brooks the front office went ahead and snagged Jeff Allen as his replacement. Allen is a somewhat under the radar signing, but when factoring his price tag and performance in 2015, a lot of people would rather have Allen over Brooks.
Somehow the Texans were a playoff team that collapsed under Brian Hoyer‘s horrible play. Despite teams in their division, most notably the Jaguars, getting better, Houston should be clawing their way into another playoff spot thanks to the talent they have added.
The Jaguars had a lot of money to spend and went out and spent it. They signed the top player available in Malik Jackson and immediately bulked up their defensive line. Obviously, that wasn’t all they did defensively, they also were able to bring in Prince Amukamara on a one year deal and Tashaun Gipson on a five-year, 35.5 million dollar deal. Defensively, the Jaguars should have one of the most improved units in 2016 and finally make Gus Bradley look like the defensive genius many thought he was in Seattle.
They also brought in Chris Ivory, albeit they did overpay him, but they should be a much more successful team running the ball after T.J. Yeldon didn’t’ quite look like he could handle lead running back duties as a rookie.
Like the Jaguars, the Raiders had a boatload of money to spend and went out and addressed a few core needs.
While I wasn’t blown away by the Bruce Irvin signing, Sean Smith and Kelechi Osemel are two huge additions for Oakland. Smith was a signing that I think surprised of people and he should pair well with David Amerson.
Also, the Raiders already had an okay offensive line in 2015, and adding Osemele could shoot them up quite a few spots in the rankings.