The start of free agency is a chance for redemption. The Los Angeles Rams are looking to defend their NFC West divisional title. Let’s take a look at how the rivals are doing this offseason.
QB Brett Hundley, Seattle Seahawks, 25
The Cardinals offensive line is horrible. They’ve brought in a few pieces through free agency to address that. The backup plan to Josh Rosen is fellow UCLA alumni Brett Hundley. He does have some starting experience with the Green Bay Packers and he may be necessary if the offensive line doesn’t improve much.
ILB Jordan Hicks, Philadelphia Eagles, 27
The prized ILB of the 2019 free agency class, Hicks is a much needed addition to the Cardinals’ defense. He didn’t come cheap at nearly $8.5 million per year. Still, if he stays healthy, the Cardinals have a star linebacker on the team. Health will remain a top concern around Hicks though.
WR Kevin White, Chicago Bears, 26
To say White is a bust is an understatement, however, the potential still remains. He’s still a larger receiving target, and could be another weapon for Rosen. The key to this signing is Larry Fitzgerald’s return. Who better to learn from than Fitzgerald? If White still doesn’t progress, he’s a true bust in the NFL.
RT Marcus Gilbert, Pittsburgh Steelers, 31
The acquisition may have flown under the radar but it’s a significant move. Gilbert may not be a Pro Bowl tackle, but he’s been solid with the Pittsburgh Steelers. He’s not a long-term answer, but this gives the Cardinals some time to assemble a decent offensive line. Considering Gilbert only cost a sixth round pick, it’s a small investment with potentially a large reward.
OLB Terrell Suggs, Baltimore Ravens, 36
Adding Suggs too is obvious that the Cardinals want a more dominant defense. Luring the veteran to the Cardinals is ideal for bringing in leadership. If the Cardinals do improve rapidly, maybe they bring him back next year too. Look for the Cardinals’ defense to be much stronger than in 2018.
San Francisco 49ers
DE Dee Ford, Kansas City Chiefs, 27
Ford’s production is undeniable, so it’s smart that the Chiefs didn’t let him go for nothing. Actually, the Chiefs are switching to a 4-3 defensive scheme so the trade makes sense. The 49ers did surrender a 2020 second round pick and are locking him into a 5-year, $85 million contract. Ford may be an improvement, but he came at an expensive price that the 49ers can afford.
CB Jason Verrett, San Diego Chargers, 27
Verrett’s rookie and sophomore seasons were amazing. That said, he hasn’t played a full season for the past three years. His injury concerns are the cause of him only receiving a 1-year deal from the 49ers. Verrett can earn a huge payday if can prove himself in 2019. The 49ers may have one of the best cornerbacks at a fraction of the cost.
S Jimmie Ward, San Francisco 49ers, 27
Much like Verrett, Ward is known to be a little injury prone. He’s a player that plays well on the field, but the problem is he can’t seem to finish a season. Signing Ward to a 1-year contract worth about $4.5 million is a small investment, especially if he plays up to his potential.
ILB Kwon Alexander, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 24
The Alexander signing is part of a youth movement for the 49ers. Playing particularly well his first two seasons, his production fell a little in recent years. His tackling skills are undeniable, but coverage is what seems to be diminishing. Alexander did sustain a season-ending injury, so last season is tough to reference from completely. That said, $13.5 million per year is a little steep for a player that hasn’t been consistent. That could just be because of the Buccaneers’ inefficiency though.
RB Tevin Coleman, Atlanta Falcons, 25
This is quite possibly the most underrated signing for the 49ers. Kyle Shanahan did prove last season that he can be competitive with a beat up team. Adding a player like Coleman could work to his advantage. Coleman did battle through some injuries. At only $4.25 million, he is bargain for the next two seasons. Even if he doesn’t work out in San Francisco, the Niners can also cut him after year one.
OG Mike Iupati, Arizona Cardinals, 31
Fun fact, the only NFC West team Iupati hasn’t played for is the Los Angeles Rams. Starting his career with the 49ers, he eventually wound up with the Cardinals on a massive contract. He did not live up to expectations in Arizona due to injuries. He’s looking to resurrect his career in Seattle. Iupati replaces J.R. Sweezy who is now playing for the Cardinals oddly enough.
OLB K.J. Wright, Seattle Seahawks, 29
Bringing back Wright is the right thing to do, pun intended. Spending his entire career in Seattle, he is the heart and soul of the defense. He continues to be a productive member of the team. Wright coming back at about $7.5 million a year is a fair price for both sides. They may not be the “Legion of Boom” anymore, but Wright can still be bring the pain.
K Jason Myers, New York Jets, 27
Can’t put a price on a reliable kicker. Then again, the Seahawks just gave Myers the price of nearly $4 million per year for his Pro Bowl services. That’s almost double than what the Rams pay for Greg Zuerlein’s services. Cost aside, Myers is a dependable kicker that’s capable of sealing games.
OLB Mychal Kendricks, Seattle Seahawks, 28
This signing is somewhat risky, but not because of Kendricks’s talent. Currently, Kendricks is awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty for insider trading last year. He could serve jail time and miss the 2019 season. Even if this happens, the Seahawks only brought him back on a 1-year deal and likely not much of the contract is guaranteed. They should have a backup plan just in case.
DE Frank Clark, Seattle Seahawks, 25
Most of the Seahawks’ transactions revolve around keeping key players. Clark is a player the Seahawks should keep, but it’s costing them. They placed a franchise tag on him, but for over $17 million. They must work towards a long-term solution if they are to have any chance of retaining him next season. In the meantime, the Seahawks keep quite possibly their best defensive player.