The Schein Nine  

 

Patriots botch Wes Welker situation; Titans crushing free agency

The free agency frenzy is zany and well under way. We are all over the good, the bad and the Patriots. (I can't believe I wrote that, either.)

Here's what we love and what we hate, Schein Nine style.

1) New England Patriots are the biggest losers

A source warned me before the free agency period began that Wes Welker has felt disrespected for a few years in New England, and "if team X offered him 100 bucks and the Patriots offered him 100 dollars, he would leave New England." I filed that away in the mental Rolodex, but I never thought Welker would find an offer comparable to whatever the Pats gave him, nor did I think he could find a legendary quarterback equal to Tom Brady. Neither did the Patriots. They gambled and lost -- big time.

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Losing Welker to Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos is akin to a kick to the groin. Replacing Welker with Danny Amendola is like swapping a Rolex for a Casio watch.

It is a rare moment when you write the following: The New England Patriots totally botched this.

It's been an open secret that Bill Belichick and Welker have differing opinions on the receiver's value. Is Welker that good, or is he just a product of Brady? Welker was aided by Brady, Belichick and the system, no question. But he was one of the best receivers in the entire league every year he played in New England. I know coaches think slot receivers are interchangeable. Personally, I don't remotely believe that to be the case.

Welker took the Broncos' offer of two years and $12 million. He joins Peyton in his quest to deliver a Super Bowl to Denver.

Our friend Tom Curran of Comcast SportsNet New England reported that a source close to Brady was "beyond enraged" over the terms of Welker's deal. I would be livid if I were Brady, especially after signing a team-friendly extension.

I would also be livid that Welker has been replaced with the oft-injured Amendola. The former St. Louis Rams receiver was on my list of the riskiest free agents because he just can't stay healthy. Welker is a rock, having missed a grand total of three games during his six-year tenure with the Pats. Welker is better and more reliable. Not to mention, he had a fantastic rapport with Brady. This can't be overlooked. It will take time for that to develop between Brady and Amendola, assuming the latter can actually stay on the field. The Patriots foolishly gave Amendola a five-year, $31 million deal. Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels had Amendola when both were in St. Louis, and some around the league believe McDaniels was a driving force here. Anyone remember when McDaniels ran Denver into the ground?

This is odd.

What is this, amateur hour?

2) Tennessee Titans get it right

I love what Tennessee has done. I predicted guard Andy Levitre would sign with the Titans before free agency began on Tuesday. They needed him. There was a reason Chris Johnson told us the team's line play was spotty on radio row at the Super Bowl. This is a fantastic upgrade. Johnson and Jake Locker will feel the positive effects. Johnson will get back to his dominant form.

Furthermore, Delanie Walker is an underrated tight end who fills the void left by Jared Cook's departure. And Shonn Greene was hardly a featured back with the New York Jets, but he's the perfect complementary player to push and spell Johnson.

3) Seattle Seahawks shine

The Seahawks made a sensational trade, dealing for receiver Percy Harvin. Now, Harvin does have warts: He gets nicked; he feuded with two head coaches and his quarterback while with the Minnesota Vikings. And Seattle gave up three draft picks, including a first-rounder (No. 25 overall) in April's draft. Still, this was a no-brainer.

I talked to Seattle general manager John Schneider on "Schein on Sports" Wednesday on SiriusXM, and he said the positives outweigh the negatives. And he's right. Harvin's yards-per-catch mark is twice the average for NFL receivers. The Seahawks are aware of Harvin's past issues, but Schneider is rightly banking on Pete Carroll's Tony Robbins-esque motivational skills, which have worked on other questionable characters before (think: Marshawn Lynch and Bruce Irvin). Schneider stressed Harvin's incredible "passion and confidence" while calling him a "rare football player." Harvin instantly helps Russell Wilson and the deep passing attack, as well as Seattle's special teams.

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During our conversation, Schneider told me he wanted to add a pass-rushing defensive end. Hours later, he bagged Cliff Avril. I thought Avril would get overpaid on the open market. Our Ian Rapoport reports the deal is for two years and $15 million. That's fair money.

Seattle is one of the two most well-rounded teams in the NFL, with the other being ...

4) The San Francisco 49ers make their move

I don't care about age or 40 time -- receiver Anquan Boldin is a winner with a knack for clutch play. Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco was at his best in the playoffs when he was finding Boldin in the red zone. Niners GM Trent Baalke could be arrested for pilfering Boldin, giving up the equivalent of a kicking tee in the trade.

5) I hate the Miami Dolphins' spending spree

Mike Wallace topped my list of the riskiest free agents because of his unreliable hands and poor attitude. I said he would never live up to whatever contract he received. Well, Wallace is now the third-highest paid receiver in the NFL, and that doesn't make sense. Wallace is getting five years and $60 million with $27 million guaranteed from Miami.

I didn't like what the Dolphins paid for Dannell Ellerbe or Philip Wheeler, either.

6) Love for Andy Reid and John Dorsey

This new head coach/general manager combo is slamming it out of the park. As I previously documented, Alex Smith and Reid will give the Kansas City Chiefs six more wins than they had last season. I love the Dunta Robinson signing; he's an upgrade at corner. I put Mike DeVito on my list of underrated free agents last month because the defensive lineman is versatile, dependable and a leader. Chase Daniel is a strong backup QB for Smith. The Chiefs are cooking.

7) Cleveland Browns flop

Paul Kruger was another player on my risky list. The guy has 15.5 sacks in four years, yet he just signed a $40 million deal. Yes, he caught fire late last season and helped the Baltimore Ravens win the Super Bowl. Yes, I love his attitude. But he's done it for a quarter of a season.

And Desmond Bryant gets a five-year contract for $34 million with $15 million guaranteed?!? Wow.

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8) Detroit Lions reel in a whopper

Detroit needs a lot of help. And I still think the Lions are the worst team in the NFC North. But for all of the reasons I documented earlier this week in my free-agent matchmaker column, the Lions hit an absolute home run in signing Reggie Bush to run the ball 15 times and catch it seven times per game out of the backfield.

This is a huge coup for Jim Schwartz and Co.

9) Love the Arizona Cardinals' moves ... except one

When I wrote a few weeks ago that Drew Stanton was the second-most underrated free agent out there, I suggested he could reunite with Bruce Arians in Arizona. The Cardinals made it happen. Stanton has talent, but he's been in bad situations. He will be given every opportunity to start in the desert.

I also like the Cardinals bringing in safety Yeremiah Bell, a physical player and run stopper who was also a team leader with the New York Jets last year after a long tenure in Miami. Great work from general manager Steve Keim. Plus, reports indicate that versatile playmaker Josh Cribbs could soon be in the fold, too.

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I didn't like the Rashard Mendenhall move. Sure, he is back with Arians, whom he played under in Pittsburgh. But I just don't trust Mendenhall as a player, worker or teammate. I wrote last week that I'd rather play with 10 men on offense than put Mendenhall at running back.

It must be noted that the no-nonsense Arians wanted Mendenhall. However, I think a healthy Ryan Williams beats him out.

Follow Adam Schein on Twitter @AdamSchein.

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