The best free agent signing no one is talking about
Wow. What just happened? What a first day of NFL free agency, that not only included big-name signings, but even bigger trades. Trades? In the NFL? Yes! I’ll take it. When it seems like years between trades that have such stars and impact players being tossed from team-to-team like a dirty….can’t go there. Anyways, it was a crazy day, that saw Haloti Ngata head to Detroit, Jimmy Graham team up with Russell Wilson, and Ndamukong Suh sign a big deal in Miami, and Revis re-unite with the New York Jets.
One deal I love that flew under the radar, involved those same New York Jets, and could be the most impactful deal of day one.
Buster Skrine is a former Cleveland Brown that played opposite Joe Haden, and received very little fan-fare. He was targeted a lot, more than most cornerbacks throughout his four-year tenure in Cleveland. While his career started rocky, he has improved drastically, and I would contend he had a better 2014 than his teammate Joe Haden.
Skrine signed a four-year $25 million contract with the Jets, with a little over $13 million in guaranteed money. He will play opposite Darrelle Revis, very similar to his previous situation in Cleveland. More importantly, the Jets needed to acquire a cornerback that could be left out on an island, opposite Revis’ private one, in order to be successful in new head coach Todd Bowles system. Bowles, who came from Arizona, loves to leave his corners in man coverage, utilizing his safeties and linebackers to blitz or roam around the field. Bowles and the Cardinals blitzed more than any other team last year, almost 50% of the time according to Pro-Footballfocus.
With former number one pick Dee Milliner recovering from a ruptured Achilles tendon, Buster will more than likely start the season on the outside of the Jets defense, but his versatility will allow him to shift inside to the nickel position, when Milliner returns. Many football fans do not realize how rare that versatility is in today’s defensive backs.
With the AFC East making such a splash to start the off-season, the Jets needed to make some moves just to keep up. Not only have they kept up with their division rivals, I would contend they have won the start of free agency with the Revis/Skrine signing, and the Brandon Marshall trade just days earlier.
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