Baltimore has taken full advantage of Joe Flacco's restructuring with their recent signings in free agency. Meanwhile the Browns are staying away from spending big money, and the Steelers are figuring out how to deal with Martavis Bryant's year-long suspension.
Eric Weddle chooses structure over money: The Ravens got a huge boost to their secondary with the signing of veteran safety, Weddle. Weddle signed a four year deal with $13 million guaranteed over the first two seasons. Weddle had his choice narrowed down to three teams prior to choosing Baltimore, and he even visited New England. The Ravens have also cut safety Will Hill, which will save the team $2.84 million according to ESPN.
Weddle turned down more money elsewhere in order to join the Ravens. Of course at the age of 31, playing for a proven team, and a comfortable fit for his family easily could be worth taking a little less.
Mike Wallace returns to the AFC North: The possibility was talked about before, but now it is official. Wallace has signed with the Baltimore Ravens. The two year $11.5 million deal is mutually beneficial as the Ravens desperately missed the deep threat of Torrey Smith last season, and Wallace claimed he needed a quarterback who could air it out better than Teddy Bridgewater. Although, I probably said that a little nicer than Wallace did.
Wallace had this to say about Bridgewater via Ben Goessling of ESPN "When this process started, I knew I wasn't going back to Minnesota. I was like, 'I need a good quarterback,'" Wallace said. "I need a quarterback who is proven and can get things done. [Ravens QB Joe] Flacco has always been that guy." His jabs didn't stop their either.
Mike Wallace, former Steeler, on being a Raven now "I used to hate purple, now I love purple". Dude.. you were a VIKING LAST YEAR— trey wingo (@wingoz) March 16, 2016
Ravens Roster and Free Agency Moves since March 1, 2016, per ESPN:
|March 15, 2016||Signed WR Mike Wallace to a two-year contract.|
|March 14, 2016||Agreed to terms with S Eric Weddle on a four-year contract.|
|March 10, 2016||Agreed to terms with TE Benjamin Watson on a two-year contract.|
|March 8, 2016||Signed CB Shareece Wright to a three-year contract.|
|March 3, 2016||Released LB Daryl Smith and DE Chris Canty,|
|March 2, 2016||Agreed to terms with QB Joe Flacco on a three-year contract extension.|
|March 1, 2016||Designated K Justin Tucker as its franchise player.|
Cleveland make quiet signing: The Cleveland Browns signed former Jets linebacker, Demario Davis, to a two year $8 million deal on Wednesday. Davis, best remembered for this play, has 90 tackles and two sacks last season. Davis by no means corrects the losses from last week, but he provides some solid depth, and could even be a starter. The signing looks to mark the end of Craig Robertson's time with Cleveland, as they will plan on having him start beside Christian Kirksey, with the news of cutting Karlos Dansby coming a few hours after the Davis signing. Although this isn't a move that will quiet other league execs' laughter, it is a solid move.
Browns cut Karlos Dansby: The new regime's plan is becoming a little more clear as they let their free agents walk, and now they're cutting a big signing from the former regime.
The 34-year-old linebacker shared his feelings on Cleveland, prior to this news, on SiriusXM NFL Radio show Wednesday morning according to profootballtalk. "The last two years may have been the toughest two years I’ve ever had in the league by far," Dansby said, so maybe both sides can benefit from this. The Browns will save around $3 million in cap space according to overthecap.com's cap calculator. It is clear that the new brain trust in Cleveland want their Browns not to look anything like last years. Whether they find the formula to get back on track, or end up with the same fate as the rest remains to be seen.
Browns cut Dwayne Bowe: The Browns also cut one of their biggest ever free agent mistakes, Dwayne Bowe. Bowe had $9 million of his contract with the Browns guaranteed, despite making only five catches for 53 yards during his time in Cleveland. Yes, he got paid an obscene $1.8 million per catch.
Johnny Manziel says he didn't feel 'wanted': This is hopefully (but doubtfully) the last chapter of Johnny Manziel's drama with the Cleveland Browns,. Emily Kaplan of TheMMQB.com talked to a source close to Manziel who said Manziel "never really felt like the coaches wanted him there."
Manziel has no one to blame but himself as a former coach told Kaplan that once Manziel became the starter "he had no idea what was going on. He went out there and had no clue." It appears Manziel is suffering from the thought that his fall was everyone else's fault and not his own. Still, Manziel thinks his future is much brighter than it actually is.
Browns Roster and Free Agency Moves since March 1, 2016, per ESPN:
|March 16, 2016||Terminated the contracts of LB Karlos Dansby and WR Dwayne Bowe. Signed LB Demario Davis.|
|March 11, 2016||Waived QB Johnny Manziel. Signed OL Alvin Bailey and LB Justin Tuggle.|
|March 8, 2016||Re-signed LB Tank Carder. Signed DL Jamie Meder and RB Raheem Mostert.|
|March 4, 2016||Announced the resignation of president Alec Scheiner, effective March 31.|
Martavis Bryant receives at least a year-long suspension: The shocking news that Bryant was suspended for at least one calendar year for violating the league's substance abuse policy came last weekend. The suspension comes as a huge blow for Pittsburgh who enjoyed Bryant's presence as a number two to Antonio Brown last season, but the Steelers have made it clear that things have to change
"He is at a crossroads of his professional life, and he needs to understand significant changes need to occur in his personal life if he wants to regain his career as a Pittsburgh Steeler," Steelers GM, Kevin Colbert, said of Bryant via ESPN.
The Steelers have a history of being a no-nonsense franchise when it comes to marijuana punishments, so Colbert's quotes come as no surprise, but what does this mean for the Steelers who will now be without Bryant next season? Obviously last week's Ladarius Green signing becomes more valuable as he will need to fill not only Heath Miller's shoes, but maybe even Bryant's as well. As far as wide receiver replacements, Markus Wheaton will have to keep improving as he totaled 44 catches and five touchdowns last season compared to Bryant's 50 catches and six touchdowns. Sammie Coates only had one catch last season, so he too will need to improve in order for Pittsburgh to succeed without Bryant.
Steelers Roster and Free Agency Moves since March 1, 2016, per ESPN:
|March 15, 2016||Signed OT Ryan Harris to a two-year contract.|
|March 10, 2016||Signed TE Ladarius Green to a four-year contract.|
|March 10, 2016||Agreed to terms with G Ramon Foster on a three-year contract.|
|March 9, 2016||Agreed to terms with G Ramon Foster on a three-year contract.|
|March 8, 2016||Re-signed S Robert Golden to a three-year contract. Agreed to terms with WR Darrius Heyward-Bey on a three-year contract.|