At Draft Rite, we are all about covering the NFL from a roster-building perspective. We consider ourselves to be your home of the NFL offseason. Team building is such a fascinating subject, and the NFL invests millions of dollars into the people who put everything together every year.
It’s an inexact science. The league is constantly evolving and changing to match the new schemes and strategies designed by coaches and front-office executives. Roster building is such a careful craft. With only 53 spots available (45 activated on game day), teams have to be very careful with the people that they keep and the ones that they let go.
Prospects and the draft are only a small part of the NFL offseason. There is more to it, such as the veterans who have been in the league for a while and understand the ropes.
Every day, Tuesday through Saturday, I will be giving you a report on what teams across the NFL have done officially, and try to give you some insight into what that can mean for them and the rest of the league.
Dallas Cowboys sign QB Andy Dalton
Andy Dalton was cut by the Cincinnati Bengals after nine seasons as the starter. A second-round pick in 2011, Dalton has held the reigns since then, missing eight games to injury over that span. Dalton has passed for 31,594 yards, and 204 touchdowns over his nine-year career while compiling a passer rating of 87.5.
Last season, the Bengals tried their luck with rookie quarterback Ryan Finley, and it was an utter disaster. Three games later, Dalton was named the starter for the rest of the season. The basic explanation for Dalton running out of time in Cincinnati was the change of the coaching staff last year, the first time in Dalton’s career, and he is not the style of quarterback that fits what Bengals head coach Zac Taylor wants to do on offense.
Dalton isn’t the most talented quarterback in the NFL. He’s a technically refined and savvy veteran with below-average arm talent. Zac Taylor wants to implement spread-vertical concepts to his scheme. This isn’t quite the style that fits Dalton, who prefers a quick drop and a receiver being schemed open to run with the ball after the catch.
This is closely aligned with what Mike McCarthy does on offense. McCarthy likes to scheme people open, and get the ball into playmakers. He made people like Randall Cobb and Jordy Nelson into NFL stars because of that.
Granted, with Dak Prescott at quarterback, I would fully expect Dallas to try and run a wide-open, vertical spread offense. However, the Dalton signing is an insurance policy for Prescott if he gets hurt this season. If that’s the case, then I would fully expect to see the offense shift to scheme Dalton in better.
Baltimore Ravens sign LB Jake Ryan
A fourth-round pick in 2015, Jake Ryan emerged as a legitimate linebacker in the NFL, playing in 43 games between 2015 and 2017 with the Green Packers. That being said, Ryan was considered the “nickel linebacker.” Basically, he was replaced on the field just about every time the defense went into a nickel package.
He’s had an issue so far throughout his career in the NFL: injuries. The man hasn’t been able to stay on the field, seeing action in just two games these past two seasons. He’s not a great athlete either, but he’s quick and instinctive.
If he can stay healthy, this could end up being a valuable pickup for the Ravens who need a sub-package linebacker who can play on valuable downs. Jake Ryan could fill that role perfectly.
Chicago Bears sign WR Ted Ginn Jr
The Chicago Bears are in need of a lot of weapons on their offense. With the uncertainty at quarterback in the near future, the Bears want to compile a lot of weapons and ensure that the rest of the offense is there so that they can essentially plug-and-play their quarterback.
Ginn was the ninth overall selection in 2007, valued highly after running a 4.38 forty-yard dash at the NFL Combine. He’s been an explosive threat his entire career on special teams as well and has scored 42 total touchdowns through his career.
I would expect Ginn to push Cordarrelle Patterson and/or Riley Ridley on this roster. Ginn is more of a slot receiver, crafty and quick with his routes. He’s been in the league for a long time and still has speed and quickness to his game, and the veteran awareness is something that will be a welcome addition to the roster.
- The Bears signed WR Ted Ginn Jr and FS Tashaun Gipson.
- The Chiefs waived RB Mike Weber and TE Alize Mack.
- The Cowboys waived QB Cooper Rush and signed QB Andy Dalton.
- The Dolphins signed WR Albert Wilson to a renegotiated contract.
- The Jaguars waived RB Jeremy McNichols and DE Chuck Harris.
- The Panthers terminated RB Marcus Murphy’s contract, a vested veteran of all contracts, and signed G Michael Schofield.
- The Ravens signed LB Jake Ryan.
- The Seahawks waived RB Adam Choice, DE Shakir Soto, DT Nazair Jones (failed physical), and LB Pita Taumoepenu.
Top Remaining Free Agents
- QB Cam Newton
- DE Jadeveon Clowney
- CB Logan Ryan
- CB Eli Apple
- DE Vinny Curry
- WR Josh Gordon
- MLB Mati Te’o
- OLB Aaron Lynch
- RB Darren Sproles
- OT Jordan Mills
- QB Blake Bortles
- DL Michael Bennett
- S Johnathan Cyrpien
- OLB Markus Golden
- P Dustin Colquitt