Seattle Seahawks appeasing
Marshawn Lynch with
a contract extension through 2017 back in March. I know, I know -- extensions aren't typically headline-grabbers. But with Lynch, it's different. For starters, he's the best player on the
Seahawks, whether or not
Russell Wilson ends up making $100 million. Secondly, no one ever really knows how close he is to walking out the door. Why give him an excuse by underpaying him (per market value)?
While I thought
Indianapolis' signing of Trent Cole was a smart under-the-radar move --
as detailed Monday in my review of the Colts' offseason -- it's not as impactful as Seattle having Lynch around longer. #BeastMode
I like the
New Orleans Saints wisely re-signing their own, crafting
an affordable, four-year, $16 million deal for running back Mark Ingram. After watching New Orleans
trade away tight end Jimmy Graham and
deep threat Kenny Stills, Ingram looms as the centerpiece of an aggressive, ground-heavy attack for the
Saints. When healthy, the former first-round pick looked as good as any runner in the NFL last season, showing great vision and punishing power.
Pairing Ingram with free-agent acquisition
C.J. Spiller gives the
Saints one of the most intriguing backfield combinations in the league.
acquisition of tight end Jimmy Graham from the
New Orleans Saints was arguably the biggest splash of
the flurry of March 10 trades -- and could be the most impactful, as well. Graham will bring an entirely different dimension to a
Seahawks offense that is already tricky to defend. The mismatch nightmare will prove to be a major weapon for quarterback
The Graham acquisition also allowed Seattle to focus on other areas in the draft, as
only one of eight picks (Kansas State WR
Tyler Lockett) was devoted to a pass catcher.
Three moves stick out to me ...
» How about the
New York Jets rebuilding their cornerback position by bringing back a pair of old friends,
Darrelle Revis and
Antonio Cromartie? They went from having one of the worst CB situations in the NFL to one of the best.
» And the
Philadelphia Eagles did well in swapping out
LeSean McCoy for
DeMarco Murray (... even if that wasn't quite the plan from the beginning). I think Murray is an upgrade over McCoy, particularly in Chip Kelly's north-south ground game.
» Finally, the
Cowboys ended up with three "first-round picks," as
Randy Gregory and
La'el Collins all carried Round 1 grades through most of the pre-draft process. But, of course, there is some "buyer beware" here.
Free-agent signings fail more often than not, in large part because paycheck veterans not viewed as nucleus players by their own teams are transferring to another system which might not even fit their talents.
The Saints' signing of C.J. Spiller is an exception. Spiller was one of the NFL's most dynamic players in 2012, slashing defenses with his explosive lateral agility and 4.3 long speed.
New Orleans is getting him at a discounted rate because his production suffered due to a 2013 high-ankle sprain, a 2014 broken collarbone and the failure of Doug Marrone's coaching staff to get him the ball in space. Sean Payton, on the other hand, has gotten the best out of playmaking "satellite" backs such as
Darren Sproles and
Reggie Bush. This is a match made in heaven.
I really liked the
Giants signing special teams dynamo
Dwayne Harris away from the
Cowboys. He's a sure-handed punt returner and kick returner, and he can make plays in the passing game as a third or fourth receiver. In one move, the
Giants landed someone who can fill a bunch of roles. As a bonus, they pilfered a key piece -- Harris was probably Dallas' best special teams player last season -- away from an NFC East rival.
Seattle getting tight end Jimmy Graham from New Orleans stands out. Graham has been a machine the past four seasons, averaging 89 receptions and 12 touchdowns. His addition immediately shores up Seattle's passing attack, which wasn't that bad to begin with despite not having a true go-to receiver.
Seattle also added wideout
Tyler Lockett in the third round. The Kansas State product should improve the
Seahawks' return units and give them another weapon out of the slot. Losing
Max Unger in the Graham trade hurt, but giving
Russell Wilson more weapons far outweighs losing the stud center.