15 thoughts - free agency

Gandhi

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1 – In a way I almost feel entitled to have big signings after going through a year where they waved the white flag before the games started.

2 – That said, Monti Ossenfort is obviously shaped from his previous bigtime executive roles - six years with the Patriots, and three with the Titans – a time in which those two teams have combined for one big free agent acquisition. That is not a typo. Doesn’t exactly indicate that he believes strongly in that strategy.

3 – Last year I pretty much expected them to sign quarterback Jacoby Brissett to step in while Murray was out, and then to back up Murray after. Why? Well, he is good and has a somewhat similar playing style, but mostly because he had Drew Petzing as QB coach in 2022, and Ossenfort was the director of college scouting with the Patriots when they drafted Brissett in 2016. Now? Now he is scheduled to become a free agent again after having played out his one year-deal, and the Cards are basically without a backup quarterback.

4 – Ossenfort was a big part of drafting the very good O-linemen Isaiah Wynn and Mike Onwenu with the Patriots. Now both are free agents…

5 – Jonathan Gannon made Haason Reddick into a monster in Philly – one of the best pass rushers in the NFL. Now Reddick have reportedly requested a trade (and denied it himself, but you know… I was basically born skeptic). A couple of days ago, Adam Schefter reported that the Eagles are looking for a second-round pick, or a package of a third- and fifth round pick. You have to wonder if a three-way reunion (Reddick-Gannon-Arizona combination) is coming.

6 – I say it every year, but it seems like many fans are still a bit confused: the salary cap is not a problem. That is because it was changed many years ago from a hard cap to a soft cap. It means that it increases every year, and since the salary cap is calculated based on the TV deals (and the current deal runs for 8 more years), we already know that it will continue to go up and up and up. And sure, any contract will always bring a retrospective cap hit sooner or later, but the development salary cap-wise makes this problem almost non-existent. That it creates potential issues with actual, real payments (“the funding rule”) is another matter, but people are kidding themselves if they think that salary cap-limitations is of relevance.

7 – Relations matter.

Defensive line coach Derrick Leblanc coached Christian Wilkins in arguably Wilkins’ best season with the Dolphins.

Defensive assistant coaches Patrick Toney and William Peagler both were at Louisiana Lafayette when OG’s Robert Hunt (Dolphins) and Kevin Dotson (Rams) played there.

Outside linebacker coach Rob Rodriguez was the assistant defensive line coach for Danielle Hunter for the first four years of Hunter’s NFL career – and Gannon was also on that staff.

Watch out for those four being targets.

8 – Grover Stewart is among the best nose tackles in the NFL (as I am sure O-line coach Klayton Adams can attest to after having been O-line coach and tight end coach across from Stewart for four years in Indianapolis). Nose tackles are usually not prioritized- and not paid a lot in free agency, so maybe the Colts will not keep him. He would be a great fit. Gannon have said multiple times how he is very inspired by Matt Eberflus, who have had Stewart as a stalwart in his defense for years.

The devil’s advocate would say that that would kind of make it a little red flag, if Eberflus did let him go.

9 – What to do with their own free agents?

I would let Hollywood Brown go. I think he is an okay #2, but I also think that he would command more money than he is worth.

Zeke Turner and Greg Dortch are personal favorites, so I would obviously re-sign them.

I would keep defensive lineman L.J. Collier and offensive lineman Pat Elflein. Both were brought in to play roles, but both quickly ended on IR. I want to see what they can do.

And because you cannot change your entire team, I would also keep:

Cornerback Antonio Hamilton,

Offensive guard Trystan Colon,

Tight end Geoff Swaim,

Defensive lineman Carlos Watkins,

Linebacker Josh Woods,

Linebacker Krys Barnes,

Defensive lineman Jonathan Ledbetter.

10 – Monti Ossenfort have been around cornerback Kristian Fulton for three years in Tennessee. And he would be a great fit in Gannon’s defense.

11 – Chase Young is an interesting case. Extraordinary prospect coming into the draft, but two years of injury issues derailed his career after a Rookie of the Year-season. Then last season he registered the 15th highest pass rush win rate at 19.3% - but 24.8% of it in the first half of the season with Washington, and only 12.9% in the second half with San Francisco. He obviously has the potential to be dominant, and now the Cards have had a half season to scout him firsthand. And in-divison transfers happen fairly often. He will most likely search for a one year-prove it deal that will not break the bank.

12 – Safety Chauncey Gardner-Johnson was a vital part of Gannon’s successful defense in Philly. Now he is on the market. Reunion?

13 – I have no problem that Ossenfort fired the vice president of player personnel (Quentin Harris) and director of player personnel (Dru Grigson). I am sure they are the nicest people in the world, but they have also been integral parts in building one mediocre team after another for many years, both through free agency and the draft.

14 – Sure, this thought is just namedropping personal preferences, but I was big fans of both edge rusher Jonathan Greenard and linebacker Jordyn Brooks when they came out in the 2020-draft, so I have followed them since. Grennard is already very good, and Brooks is solid, but I think that both can become even better and are good fits in Gannon and Rallis’ system.

15 Any consideration of buying Justin Fields to back up Murray? Murray have not played a full season for three years straight (yes, I am aware that Fields have missed six games combined the last two seasons, but if you rarely expose him to danger, that seems like it’s fixed). How many games would the Cards have won last year with a better backup? Say you can get Fields for a third round-pick? I don’t know. I am simply throwing the thought out there. I can just hear triple Super Bowl-winning general manager Charley Casserly: “the most important player on your team is your quarterback, and the second most important player on your team is your backup quarterback.”
 

JohnnyCakes

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13 – I have no problem that Ossenfort fired the vice president of player personnel (Quentin Harris) and director of player personnel (Dru Grigson). I am sure they are the nicest people in the world, but they have also been integral parts in building one mediocre team after another for many years, both through free agency and the draft.

Regarding Q and Grigson, they may have been on the staff but they arent the ones who pulled the trigger and actually drafted the players
 

dreamcastrocks

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15 Any consideration of buying Justin Fields to back up Murray? Murray have not played a full season for three years straight (yes, I am aware that Fields have missed six games combined the last two seasons, but if you rarely expose him to danger, that seems like it’s fixed). How many games would the Cards have won last year with a better backup? Say you can get Fields for a third round-pick? I don’t know. I am simply throwing the thought out there. I can just hear triple Super Bowl-winning general manager Charley Casserly: “the most important player on your team is your quarterback, and the second most important player on your team is your backup quarterback.”
I'd be shocked if Fields isn't starting somewhere in 2024.
 
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Gandhi

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13 – I have no problem that Ossenfort fired the vice president of player personnel (Quentin Harris) and director of player personnel (Dru Grigson). I am sure they are the nicest people in the world, but they have also been integral parts in building one mediocre team after another for many years, both through free agency and the draft.

Regarding Q and Grigson, they may have been on the staff but they arent the ones who pulled the trigger and actually drafted the players
Yes, I agree, Johnny, but as I write, they have been part of building the team.
 
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Gandhi

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I'd be shocked if Fields isn't starting somewhere in 2024.
Yes, DCR, I would too, but it is obviously a simply matter of who wants it the most. The Bears are not going to sell to a team that offer less than another, and he doesn't have anything to say about it himself.
 
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Gandhi

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7 – Relations matter.

Defensive line coach Derrick Leblanc coached Christian Wilkins in arguably Wilkins’ best season with the Dolphins.

Defensive assistant coaches Patrick Toney and William Peagler both were at Louisiana Lafayette when OG’s Robert Hunt (Dolphins) and Kevin Dotson (Rams) played there.

Outside linebacker coach Rob Rodriguez was the assistant defensive line coach for Danielle Hunter for the first four years of Hunter’s NFL career – and Gannon was also on that staff.

Watch out for those four being targets.
Dotson have now been re-signed by the Rams, so take him out of the list.
 

BritCard

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8 – Grover Stewart is among the best nose tackles in the NFL (as I am sure O-line coach Klayton Adams can attest to after having been O-line coach and tight end coach across from Stewart for four years in Indianapolis). Nose tackles are usually not prioritized- and not paid a lot in free agency, so maybe the Colts will not keep him. He would be a great fit. Gannon have said multiple times how he is very inspired by Matt Eberflus, who have had Stewart as a stalwart in his defense for years.

Gannon knows Grover Stewart. He was DB coach in Indy for 3 years with him.
 

Mulli

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If you have so little confidence in Kyler that you give up a third to have Justin Fields on the bench, just get rid of Kyler and go with a rookie high draft pick. Fields off the bench will be bad habits Fields. He will need to be the starter getting all the reps if he is going to improve.
 
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Gandhi

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If you have so little confidence in Kyler that you give up a third to have Justin Fields on the bench, just get rid of Kyler and go with a rookie high draft pick. Fields off the bench will be bad habits Fields. He will need to be the starter getting all the reps if he is going to improve.
Mulli, please show me where I write that I don't have confidence in Murray. I have not checked well enough.
 

Mulli

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Mulli, please show me where I write that I don't have confidence in Murray. I have not checked well enough.
That was my "if" statement. If you do have confidence in Murray, spending a 3rd on Fields doesn't really make sense (and gives me the impression that confidence in Murray is lacking).
 

oaken1

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That was my "if" statement. If you do have confidence in Murray, spending a 3rd on Fields doesn't really make sense (and gives me the impression that confidence in Murray is lacking).
My confidence when Kyler is on the field is pretty high.
My confidence Kyler will start 17 games a season...not so much.

I would certainly drop a third round pick on Michael penix if he was on the board.
 

Cardiac

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1 – In a way I almost feel entitled to have big signings after going through a year where they waved the white flag before the games started.

2 – That said, Monti Ossenfort is obviously shaped from his previous bigtime executive roles - six years with the Patriots, and three with the Titans – a time in which those two teams have combined for one big free agent acquisition. That is not a typo. Doesn’t exactly indicate that he believes strongly in that strategy.

3 – Last year I pretty much expected them to sign quarterback Jacoby Brissett to step in while Murray was out, and then to back up Murray after. Why? Well, he is good and has a somewhat similar playing style, but mostly because he had Drew Petzing as QB coach in 2022, and Ossenfort was the director of college scouting with the Patriots when they drafted Brissett in 2016. Now? Now he is scheduled to become a free agent again after having played out his one year-deal, and the Cards are basically without a backup quarterback.

4 – Ossenfort was a big part of drafting the very good O-linemen Isaiah Wynn and Mike Onwenu with the Patriots. Now both are free agents…

5 – Jonathan Gannon made Haason Reddick into a monster in Philly – one of the best pass rushers in the NFL. Now Reddick have reportedly requested a trade (and denied it himself, but you know… I was basically born skeptic). A couple of days ago, Adam Schefter reported that the Eagles are looking for a second-round pick, or a package of a third- and fifth round pick. You have to wonder if a three-way reunion (Reddick-Gannon-Arizona combination) is coming.

6 – I say it every year, but it seems like many fans are still a bit confused: the salary cap is not a problem. That is because it was changed many years ago from a hard cap to a soft cap. It means that it increases every year, and since the salary cap is calculated based on the TV deals (and the current deal runs for 8 more years), we already know that it will continue to go up and up and up. And sure, any contract will always bring a retrospective cap hit sooner or later, but the development salary cap-wise makes this problem almost non-existent. That it creates potential issues with actual, real payments (“the funding rule”) is another matter, but people are kidding themselves if they think that salary cap-limitations is of relevance.

7 – Relations matter.

Defensive line coach Derrick Leblanc coached Christian Wilkins in arguably Wilkins’ best season with the Dolphins.

Defensive assistant coaches Patrick Toney and William Peagler both were at Louisiana Lafayette when OG’s Robert Hunt (Dolphins) and Kevin Dotson (Rams) played there.

Outside linebacker coach Rob Rodriguez was the assistant defensive line coach for Danielle Hunter for the first four years of Hunter’s NFL career – and Gannon was also on that staff.

Watch out for those four being targets.

8 – Grover Stewart is among the best nose tackles in the NFL (as I am sure O-line coach Klayton Adams can attest to after having been O-line coach and tight end coach across from Stewart for four years in Indianapolis). Nose tackles are usually not prioritized- and not paid a lot in free agency, so maybe the Colts will not keep him. He would be a great fit. Gannon have said multiple times how he is very inspired by Matt Eberflus, who have had Stewart as a stalwart in his defense for years.

The devil’s advocate would say that that would kind of make it a little red flag, if Eberflus did let him go.

9 – What to do with their own free agents?

I would let Hollywood Brown go. I think he is an okay #2, but I also think that he would command more money than he is worth.

Zeke Turner and Greg Dortch are personal favorites, so I would obviously re-sign them.

I would keep defensive lineman L.J. Collier and offensive lineman Pat Elflein. Both were brought in to play roles, but both quickly ended on IR. I want to see what they can do.

And because you cannot change your entire team, I would also keep:

Cornerback Antonio Hamilton,

Offensive guard Trystan Colon,

Tight end Geoff Swaim,

Defensive lineman Carlos Watkins,

Linebacker Josh Woods,

Linebacker Krys Barnes,

Defensive lineman Jonathan Ledbetter.

10 – Monti Ossenfort have been around cornerback Kristian Fulton for three years in Tennessee. And he would be a great fit in Gannon’s defense.

11 – Chase Young is an interesting case. Extraordinary prospect coming into the draft, but two years of injury issues derailed his career after a Rookie of the Year-season. Then last season he registered the 15th highest pass rush win rate at 19.3% - but 24.8% of it in the first half of the season with Washington, and only 12.9% in the second half with San Francisco. He obviously has the potential to be dominant, and now the Cards have had a half season to scout him firsthand. And in-divison transfers happen fairly often. He will most likely search for a one year-prove it deal that will not break the bank.

12 – Safety Chauncey Gardner-Johnson was a vital part of Gannon’s successful defense in Philly. Now he is on the market. Reunion?

13 – I have no problem that Ossenfort fired the vice president of player personnel (Quentin Harris) and director of player personnel (Dru Grigson). I am sure they are the nicest people in the world, but they have also been integral parts in building one mediocre team after another for many years, both through free agency and the draft.

14 – Sure, this thought is just namedropping personal preferences, but I was big fans of both edge rusher Jonathan Greenard and linebacker Jordyn Brooks when they came out in the 2020-draft, so I have followed them since. Grennard is already very good, and Brooks is solid, but I think that both can become even better and are good fits in Gannon and Rallis’ system.

15 Any consideration of buying Justin Fields to back up Murray? Murray have not played a full season for three years straight (yes, I am aware that Fields have missed six games combined the last two seasons, but if you rarely expose him to danger, that seems like it’s fixed). How many games would the Cards have won last year with a better backup? Say you can get Fields for a third round-pick? I don’t know. I am simply throwing the thought out there. I can just hear triple Super Bowl-winning general manager Charley Casserly: “the most important player on your team is your quarterback, and the second most important player on your team is your backup quarterback.”
First off, impressive amount of homework pointing out all the connections with cards coaches and FAs. It will be interesting to see if it does help sign those players.

Your take on the CAP is not entirely accurate IMHO. Explain why the Bills are gutting their roster to get under the CAP.

Great post BTW.
 

oaken1

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First off, impressive amount of homework pointing out all the connections with cards coaches and FAs. It will be interesting to see if it does help sign those players.

Your take on the CAP is not entirely accurate IMHO. Explain why the Bills are gutting their roster to get under the CAP.

Great post BTW.
Yeah if the cap was as irrelevant as some people try to convince everybody Jerry Jones would have 20 Lombardi trophies
 
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