And so ends a disappointing 2012 season where it probably went about as bad as anyone could have predicted. Worst-case scenario kind of bad. And to make matters worse, this off-season isn't gonna be very easy. Limited cap space and a lot of potential areas of improvement on both sides of the ball. Not to mention all of the free agents, which is what this fanpost is dedicated to. I'll look at all of our free agents and give my thoughs on them.
Yeremiah Bell: He's a fossil, but he wasn't bad this past season. I mean he wasn't great by any means, but our safety position wasn't anywhere near as much of an issue as it was in 2011. Considering that Landry is also a free agent, the position is a huge question mark going into next year. I'm not sure how many teams will be in the market for a 35 year-old safety with iffy pass coverage skills, so we could probably get him at a vet minimum deal. I'd be open to bringing him back next year as a stopgap if we can't find new people for the position.
Mike Devito: He put together a nice season, but that means a lot of teams are gonna be interested in him. For that reason I don't see him returning, since our cap space isn't really flexible enough to warrant it. It's a shame, our D-line depth will suffer without him, meaning that Kenrick Ellis needs to step up.
Braylon Edwards: I was pleasantly surprised that he was actually able to help us given all the circumstances. I'd be okay with giving him a chance to make the team next year, although i'm wondering if he's really that much better than a younger player with some room to grow. That's why I wouldn't guarantee him a spot. Still, couldn't hurt to see what he has left.
Nick Folk: Good kicker, for the most part anyway. I'd bring him back, but I wouldn't throw a ton of money at him.
Shonn Greene: While he has broken 1000 yards the past 2 seasons and has shown that he can take the majority of carries for a team, he hasn't really been a playmaker and he's pretty average back all things considered. With him as your lead back you're not gonna get many big plays from the backfield. I'd be fine with letting him walk. Although that does arise the question of who's gonna get most of the carries next season. I wouldn't trust Powell with that role.
Lex Hilliard: He's not really a good player, he's just a functional emergency guy. There's a reason he wasn't on a roster at the beginning of the season. Let's try to find a real fullback.
Dustin Keller: I was a huge Keller fan the past few seasons, and he really couldn't catch a break with all the injuries, which is just pretty unfortunate. He's a good player when healthy for sure, but his biggest draw was that Mark Sanchez trusted him above anyone else. It's been strongly confirmed this season that Mark Sanchez isn't our guy, so I don't think it's really worth bringing Keller back at what some other team would pay him. I guess we could franchise tag him, but I don't even know if he'd make enough of a difference next year to warrant taking up that cap space. I say let him walk. Thanks for the productive seasons, and happy trails Dustin.
Laron Landry: Well, he managed to stay healthy all 16 games. Looks like he proved everyone wrong. I don't think he's coming back next year. I regard him as a good safety, not a great one that should make 7 mil a season, he's not consistent enough and misses too many tackles for that distinction. Unfortunately, that pro bowl berth and his reputation as a big hitter will let him sell himself as one of those top-tier safeties. In our monetary situation, we can't afford to put that kind of money into a non-premium position like safety, unless they were a real difference-maker that was one of the centerpieces of our team. That's not the case here. It looks like Josh Bush and/or Antonio Allen may need to grow up quickly, since i'm not really confident that we can find adequate, known commodities for this position.
Brandon Moore: He's been a good player for quite some time, but considering his age, i'm not really sure what it'll cost to bring him back. If he can come back at something reasonable i'm all for that. That's a valid "if" though.
Chaz Schilens: He stayed healthy for the most part, which was the biggest question mark with him. Well, it turns out that he just kinda sucks anyway. Buh-bye.
Matt Slauson: He's pretty meh. Definitely don't overpay for him, but if Moore doesn't come back, see if we can at least get him. I do think we're gonna have to go into the draft for this position.
Bryan Thomas: It's time to part ways with the old veteran. I think he's just about done with football.
Restricted free agents:
Jeff Cumberland: May as well put a tender on him, I guess he's a decent enough #2 or 3. I'd be pretty worried if he's the best tight end on the roster going into training camp though.
Austin Howard: I don't want him starting next season, he's not a great player by any means. I'm very open to bringing him back as a backup, however. He's a known commodity that's a good guy to have on the bench. We should definitely find a good tackle in either the draft or free agency though.
Josh Mauga: We're gonna lose a lot of linebackers in the off-season, but it's not like he's anything special. I don't really have an opinion on him to be honest.
Tanner Purdum: Can't recall anything particularly bad about him. May as well bring him back.
Keep in mind that these are just my opinions, i'm open to feedback.