Day give of free agency is complete, and I’ve got you covered with grades and analysis for each signing from the day.
If you want to check out my grades for each signing from previous days of this free agency period, click on the corresponding day below.
Philadelphia Eagles Sign Quarterback Marcus Mariota
Contract: One year, $5 million (Max value of $8 million)
The Eagles needed a new backup quarterback with Gardner Minshew heading to Indianapolis, and they found that with Marcus Mariota. There’s no doubt he’s failed to meet the expectations many had for him when he was selected second overall in the 2015 Draft. I’m not even sure Mariota is a high-end backup at this point, but he certainly might play like one in Philadelphia. If Jalen Hurts happens to miss any time, Mariota’s mobility would make for a more seamless transition, not forcing crazy schematic/game plan adjustments.
Seattle Seahawks Sign Linebacker Devin Bush
Contract: One year. $4 million
The former first-round pick had an awesome rookie season, but ever since suffering a torn ACL in October 2020, his career trajectory has plummeted downwards. At his best, Bush was an extremely well-rounded player, doing lots of things at a high-level. I doubt he’ll ever get back to that level, as he’s played extremely far from it these past two years. However, the Seahawks are in desperate need of off-ball linebackers to play alongside Jordyn Brooks, and Bush isn’t a bad one-year flier if he can regain some of his old juice as time distances itself from his injury. With that being said, the Seahawks should be looking for immediate help as they look to contend, and there were some safer options within the same price range.
New England Patriots Sign Tight End Mike Gesicki
Contract: One year, $4.5 million (Max value of $9 million)
The Patriots were in dire need of more receiving help. Mike Gesicki may be categorized as a tight end, but he plays more like a big-bodied receiver. He’s dominant at the catch point with his size, ball skills, hands, body control, and vertical jump. An explosive linear athlete that can be deployed as a mismatch receiver; stretch linebackers vertically from the slot, or split out-wide and dominate defensive backs with his size and prowess at the catch point. He’s an extremely poor blocker, though, so expect Hunter Henry to be deployed as more of the “traditional” tight end.
A one-year prove-it deal was predictable for Gesicki given his lack of 2022 production and this incoming tight end class being loaded with talent. The Patriots take advantage of the situation, as this is a really nice value signing.
🔹Great at the catch point
🔹++Ball skills (hands + body control)
🔹Nice linear athlete
🔹Inside/outside versatility; WR like
🔻Very poor blocker
🔻Not as quick out of breaks
Mike Gesicki will be used as a mismatch receiver pic.twitter.com/BEss52tQHz
— Aidan Maher (@Aidan_Maher17) March 18, 2023
Dallas Cowboys Re-Sign Quarterback Cooper Rush
Contract: Two years, up to $6 million
Cooper Rush started five games in the absence of Dak Prescott, and played fairly well. He was nothing spectacular in a fairly watered-down offense, but he got the job done operating as a game manager; controlling tempo, hitting receivers in stride, and avoiding turnovers. Rush has spent the past five seasons in Dallas, and showed last season he’s a reliable backup option that can keep this team afloat.
Seattle Seahawks Sign Safety Julian Love
Contract: Two years, $12 million
Julian Love was awesome for the New York Giants this past season, doing a little bit of everything at just 24 years old. He’s primarily a box safety with his ability in run support, but has also shown he can play some nickel, matchup with tight ends, and drop back into a deep zone. This probably means Ryan Neal won’t be returning to Seattle, so Love will join a safety tandem of Quandre Diggs and Jamal Adams. It seems unlikely that Adams will be cut this offseason, but it’s definitely possible next year as his dead cap keeps shrinking. Since joining the Seahawks, he’s battled multiple injuries – including a season-ending quadricep tendon tear and damage to his knee – and Seattle has failed to fully maximize his strengths in the box as a run-supporter that can also get after the quarterback. Signing Love gives Seattle some Jamal Adams insurance, and if Adams does make a strong return in 2023, they’ve got versatility on the back end. Granted, the amount of money they have invested in this safety room is pricey.
Kansas City Chiefs Sign Linebacker Drue Tranquill
Contract: One year, up to $5 million
Tranquill had a number of teams bidding for his services, but the Chiefs won out. He’s an extremely well-rounded linebacker, so I’m assuming his lengthy injury history led to his market not quite matching his play. With that being said, Tranquill has only missed a handful of games over the past two seasons, and if he can stay relatively healthy in 2023, the Chiefs just got an absolute bargain.
New England Patriots Sign Linebacker Chris Board
Contract: Two years, up to $6.7 million
We all know Bill Belichick loves a good special teamer, so it’s no surprise he decided to bring in Chris Board. Back in October, Belichick referred to Board as “the best special teams player we’ll play against all year” in the lead up to their game against the Detroit Lions. A special teams ace that will also bring some pass-rushing in blitz packages and coverage depth at off-ball linebacker given his athletic tools.
Kansas City Chiefs Sign Safety Mike Edwards
Contract: One year, $3 million (Max value of $5 million)
The Chiefs were in the safety market after losing Juan Thornhill. Mike Edwards stepped up into a starting role for Tampa Bay last season, and despite his fair share of struggles, he’s a good ball-hawing safety that can rotate downhill. Edwards should be treated as a depth/rotational piece rather than a full-time starter, but this is a fine, cost-controlled addition at a position of need.
Minnesota Vikings Sign Defensive Lineman Dean Lowry
Contract: Two years, $8.5 million
Dean Lowry is out of his prime, but far from an afterthought. He’s fairly inconsistent at this point, with lots of struggles against the run. However, the Vikings need interior defensive line depth, and Lowry can push the pocket and generate pressure from the inside. This gives him a clear role on passing downs, and Brian Flores’ scheme puts an emphasis on getting a push from the interior on the pass-rush.
Cincinnati Bengals Sign Safety Nick Scott
Contract: Three years, $12 million
After losing both Jessie Bates and Vonn Bell, the Bengals found themselves with a need at safety. Nick Scott is a versatile safety that took over a full-time starting role with the Los Angeles Rams last season, tallying over 1,000 snaps for the first time in his career. Scott often found himself in the back-end of the Rams defense, but still had plenty of reps in the box, with some slot corner sprinkled in. He’s an athletic, aggressive, hard-hitting safety that’s prone to some lapses, but his instincts continue improving. He didn’t start playing safety until the middle of his college career at Penn State, so he’s just now starting to put it all together.
As it currently stands, Scott’s a serviceable starter that can play all over the field. Give him another year under Lou Anarumo, and Scott could be in for another step forward.