Kevin Kolb, Albert Haynesworth, Reggie Bush among big name players dealt in NFL Free Agency
The tornado that is free agency has continued to rip through the NFL, picking up big-name players and dropping them onto new teams, since Tuesday morning. Here’s a recap of some of the biggest deals that have gone down so far.
Kevin Kolb signs with the Arizona Cardinals
In what was probably the most anticipated move in free agency this year, espn.com reported Thursday afternoon that the Cardinals have signed quarterback Kevin Kolb to an estimated five-year, $63 million contract.
Once thought of as the quarterback of the Philadelphia Eagles’ future, Kolb struggled to find playing time since joining the league in 2007. While longtime Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb struggled through injuries in 2009, Kolb stepped in and showed flashes of brilliance, becoming the first quarterback in NFL history to throw for over 300 yards in his first two starts.
When the Eagles traded McNabb last season, it was finally Kolb’s chance to take over the team—until he left the first game with a concussion. Eagles’ backup quarterback Michael Vick stepped in and had one of the best seasons of his career, and just like that, the Kolb era in Philadelphia was over.
The young Kolb, having fully recovered from his injury, now gets a chance to again be the leader of an Arizona offense that includes many of the same players who helped the Cardinals reach the Super Bowl in 2009, including wide receivers Larry Fitzgerald and Steve Breaston and running back Tim Hightower. Now that Arizona has a dependable arm behind center, look for them to be just as dangerous again.
Albert Haynesworth traded to the New England Patriots
On Thursday, the Washington Redskins took the initiative of getting rid of one of the biggest headaches to have graced their locker room by trading defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth to the New England Patriots. How badly did they want him gone? They traded the one-time Pro Bowl player for a miniscule 2013 fifth round draft pick.
Haynesworth was a defensive beast while playing in a 4-3 defensive scheme for the Tennessee Titans since 2001. In 2009 the Redskins signed him to a seven-year, $100 million contract that, at the time, included a then-NFL-record $41 million in guaranteed money.
However, the defensive tackle never quite amounted to what the Redskins were hoping for, playing in only 20 games throughout the past two seasons and recording just six-and-a-half sacks. Constantly battling head coach Mike Shanahan, Haynesworth would often skip practices while vocally complaining to the media about not wanting to play in the Redskins’ 3-4 defensive scheme. Shanahan eventually suspended him for the last four games of the season last year for conduct detrimental to the team.
Should Haynesworth be able to get his act together, he adds a defensive force to a Patriots front line that already includes Pro Bowl tackle, and general monster of a human being, Vince Wilfork.
Reggie Bush to the Miami Dolphins
According to espn.com, a trade between the Dolphins and New Orleans Saints that would send Bush to Miami was dependant upon whether Bush would accept Miami’s proposed two-year, $10 million contract offer, and he supposedly has.
In return for Bush, the Saints will acquire second-year safety Jonathon Amaya from the Dolphins.
Miami’s offense ranked third worst in the NFL last season in scoring. Looking for someone to compliment second round draft choice Daniel Thomas in the running game, the Dolphin’s picked up a true role-player in Bush.
Despite the fact that Bush has yet to rush for over 600 yards in a season or make a Pro Bowl appearance since his highly anticipated entrance into the league five years ago, he still has a Super Bowl ring and defenses still have to account for him. He’s got speed and will no doubt rip off a few highlight reel runs. The Dolphins certainly didn’t get any worse by picking him up.
Minnesota Vikings pick up Donavan McNabb, deal Sidney Rice
The Washington Redskins continued to clean house this free agency period by trading Donovan McNabb to the Vikings in exchange for two future draft picks, espn.com reported on Thursday.
Shortly after acquiring the veteran quarterback, the Vikings then dealt what would have been McNabb’s number one receiver, Sidney Rice, to the Seattle Seahawks, where he reportedly signed a five-year, $41 million contract.
The Vikings were in need of a quarterback after losing Brett Favre to retirement and trading back-up Tavaris Jackson to the Seahawks. They drafted quarterback Christian Ponder in the first round of this year’s draft but, despite having superstars in the likes of Adrian Peterson and Jared Allen, they could hardly depend on a rookie quarterback to get them back to the playoffs.
After struggling through injuries with a bad Washington team last season, McNabb now finds himself surrounded by talent and could provide the key ingredient. However, his main receiving target is now gone so how the Vikings’ season plays out could be very interesting.
With 1,312 yards receiving, eight touchdown catches and a Pro Bowl nod, Rice had a breakout year in 2009. However, he was injured in the NFC Championship game that season, causing him to have hip surgery and miss the first nine games of 2010.
If Rice can stay healthy, he will no doubt boost a Seattle offense that barely made the playoffs last season.
Who he’ll be catching passes from remains a question though.
As reported by San Diego Entertainer Magazine on Wednesday, longtime Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck was rumored to be on the trading block. On Wednesday night, espn.com reported that the Tennessee Titans had acquired the QB, signing him to an undisclosed contract, and officially ending the Vince Young era in Tennessee. The Titans released Young on Thursday morning.
Free Agent Deals yet to be made
Many players, including this year’s top free agent, Nnamdi Asomugha, have yet to be dealt.
Other trade rumors surrounding the likes of New York Jets’ receiver Santonio Holmes, Cincinnati Bengals’ quarterback Carson Palmer and receiver Ochocinco, and future hall of famer Randy Moss continue to fly.
Baltimore Ravens tight end Todd Heap and receiver Derrick Mason, Dallas Cowboys receiver Roy Williams, and New York Giants receiver Plaxico Burress all still remain unsigned, and ProFootballTalk.com reported this morning that Jets wide receiver Braylon Edwards could be on the move, possibly to Minnesota, as well.
Needless to say, with the amount of free agents in the NFL right now, combined with such a short window period of free agency due to the lockout, the frenzy will continue as teams look to have pieces in place by the time they start training camp this week. Pay close attention as you never know what big name player might land in your favorite team’s city within the next few days.
photos courtesy wigstruck, keith allison, dbkind and Boback Ha’ Eri via flickr