A couple weeks into free agency, the frenzy certainly has reshaped the league. Players have been picked off of Around The NFL's Top 99 Free Agents list at a rampant pace. With the salary cap on the rise yet again, franchises are tossing money around like never before, breeding huge financial windfalls for guys like Olivier Vernon (five years, $85 million, $52.5 million in guarantees from the Giants), Malik Jackson (six years, $90 million, $42 million in guarantees from the Jaguars), Brock Osweiler (four years, $72 million, $37 million fully guaranteed from the Texans), Janoris Jenkins (five years, $62.5 million, $29 million fully guaranteed from the Giants) and Kelechi Osemele (five years, $60 million from the Raiders).
But of course, big money doesn't always produce big production. (See: This motley crew.) So, poring over all of the signings in the new league year, which player do you think will provide the most bang for the buck?
Williams, who just turned 31 in January, signed a two-year, $17 million deal with the Dolphins. At an average of $8.5M per, that's half what the departed Olivier Vernon will make in New York. Before last season, which brought about a new system in Buffalo, the former No. 1 overall pick was performing at a high level (see: 38 sacks from 2012 through '14). Williams has been told he will be used in a scheme that better fits his skill set in Miami. Playing on the short-term contract and coming off a down year, he clearly will be playing with something to prove.
Forte, who signed with the
Jets, is making an average of $4 million per year. He is a versatile back who can catch and run with the ball, which is vital to the
Jets' offense. Forte failed to reach 1,400 scrimmage yards last season for the first time in his NFL career (ending up with 1,287), but I think he still has some gas left in the tank.
For the money (four years, $24.5 million) and with six divisional games every year, I think it's a good matchup.
The best bargain to change teams was offensive tackle Donald Stephenson, who went from the Chiefs to the Broncos on a three-year, $14 million deal. Any time you can get a 27-year-old player who is a starter -- and a starter who can play at multiple positions (Stephenson can play guard, and both right and left tackle) -- that's a coup.
At two years for $12 million, defensive end Jaye Howard was a bargain for the Chiefs to retain. Howard is starting to emerge as a major contributor for Kansas City, and I think he's going to be a very good player for the Chiefs, who were fortunate to have kept him at a relatively fair price for both sides.
Michael Griffin was also given strong consideration as a bargain player who changed teams, going from the
Titans to the
Vikings on a one-year, $3 million pact.
Bottom line: Forte's a huge offseason acquisition for the
Jets. And very reasonable at $12 million over three years.
The Vikes are already on the attack for another divisional title, and a potential run to a Super Bowl with these additions.