|02-13-2007, 01:38 AM||#1|
Join Date: Mar 2004
2007 Free Agency Primer: Safety
I'd prefer to grab one in the draft, but I wouldn't be opposed to Hamlin or Grant.
2007 Free Agency Primer: Safety
By Andrew Mason
The basic structure of free agency is the same as it has been for the past 14 years. The parameters, however, are tweaked this year, owing to a rise in the salary cap stemming from terms of the collective bargaining agreement that was ratified last year.
In 2006, free agency was delayed for a week to hammer out an agreement and avoid what would have been an uncapped 2007. This year, one can expect the signing period to begin on time at the first weekend in March, and the Broncos stand ready to compete.
"We have more flexibility," General Manager Ted Sundquist said.
Today, our examination of free agency begins with a look at some of the safeties that are set to hit the market unless their current teams finalize contracts with them over the next two and a half weeks.
KEN HAMLIN, SEATTLE SEAHAWKS
Hamlin became a starter in his first regular-season game in 2003 and became one of the key components of Seattle's defense, notching a career-high in passes defensed (eight) and logging 96 total tackles last year, matching the tally he amassed in his rookie season.
Last season, he rebounded from a disastrous 2005 in which his season ended after he suffered a fractured skull during a nightclub incident six weeks into the campaign.
"I use it as something to look at, to make me a better person. It changes your outlook," Hamlin told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer last month.
He wasted little time finding his old form upon his return last year, snagging NFC Defensive Player of the Month honors in September after intercepting two passes, forcing a fumble, recording a sack and tallying 18 total tackles during the Seahawks' three September wins.
Hamlin is joined in free agency by teammate and fellow safety Jordan Babineaux; however, the three-year veteran is a restricted free agent, unlike Hamlin. Babineaux started eight regular-season games last year and logged 55 total tackles and an interception. A year earlier, with Hamlin sidelined, he notched 74 total tackles and three interceptions.
ROBERT GRIFFITH, ARIZONA CARDINALS
The elder statesman of the free-agent class at safety turned 36 years old last Nov. 30, but remains a productive and durable player, having not missed a game since 2002, when he was still with the Cleveland Browns.
Griffith was a beacon of stability on an Arizona defense fraught with injuries last fall, intercepting three passes -- his most since 2002 -- while breaking up 10 passes, just one shy of his career-high tally back in 1998, when he was one of the key components of a Minnesota Vikings team that finished the regular season 15-1 before falling in the NFC Championship to the Atlanta Falcons.
Only three safeties have more tackles in the last 10 seasons than Griffith, who is set to enter his 14th NFL campaign.
MICHAEL LEWIS, PHILADELPHIA EAGLES
A wafer-thin line separates the penthouse from the outhouse in the NFL, but the fall from one to the other is as lengthy as it can be ignominious, as the Eagles safety learned in 2006 after being demoted for Sean Considine late in the Eagles' Oct. 15 loss to the New Orleans Saints.
Two months later, though, Lewis propelled the Eagles to a 21-19 win over the Washington Redskins by returning an interception 84 yards for a score.
"I'm a starter and that's what I believe in my heart. Whether it will be here or elsewhere I know I will start again," the University of Colorado product told PhiladelphiaEagles.com after that game. "Of course, when you're told you can't play and they put in another guy it's going to hurt.
"Whatever role they've given me, I've tried to make the most of it."
After he was removed from his strong safety slot, Lewis' role became that of a hybrid linebacker used on passing downs. It was in that duty where he intercepted the Jason Campbell pass against the Redskins.
"His attitude has been phenomenal," Eagles head coach Andy Reid said in December. "He's one of the good guys and the tough guys."
But Lewis sees his future at in the secondary.
"I'm not a linebacker. That's the way I feel," he said. "I'm a safety. I'm not going to (give up on that). Whether it's here or somewhere else. I know I can play in this league as a safety and make plays."
GIBRIL WILSON, N.Y. GIANTS
With only three years of experience, the 2004 fifth-round pick is a restricted free agent, and has already become an integral part of the Giants defense.
Wilson became a starter in just the third week of his career and has grown from there, establishing himself as the Giants' leading tackler in 2005 with 112 stops -- 90 solo and 22 assists. He also intercepted a pair of passes and logged three sacks in his breakthrough year, one that also saw the Giants earn their first NFC East crown in five years.
In 2006, the Giants shuffled back to an 8-8 finish, but Wilson remained a stalward, logging 100 total tackles (74 solo, 26 assists) and intercepting two passes while setting career highs in forced fumbles (three), fumble recoveries (two -- the first of his career) and passes defensed (eight, or four more than he notched in the first two seasons of his career combined).
DEON GRANT, JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS
The former Carolina Panthers safety jumped to the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2004 via free agency and was consistent, notching at least 60 tackles and multiple interceptions in each of his years there.
Grant has 18 interceptions in the last six seasons, placing him seventh among all NFL safeties in that time frame. His 336 total tackles in the last six years also rank 12th among league safeties, one spot ahead of former Broncos and current Detroit Lions safety Kenoy Kennedy.
He has also been remarkably durable, having not missed a game since the 2001 season -- a significant accomplishment considering that some thought he might never play again after he dislocated and fractured his left hip during a training-camp practice in his rookie year.
OTHERS TO CONSIDER:
Mike Adams, San Francisco (restricted)
Yeremiah Bell, Miami (restricted)
Jay Bellamy, New Orleans (unrestricted)
Tyrone Carter, Pittsburgh (unrestricted)
Terrence Holt, Detroit (unrestricted)
Kevin Kaesviharn, Cincinnati (unrestricted)
Mike Logan, Pittsburgh (unrestricted)
Donnie Nickey, Tennessee (unrestricted)
Tony Parrish, Dallas (unrestricted)
Omar Stoutmire, New Orleans (unrestricted)
Travares Tillman, Miami (unrestricted)
|02-13-2007, 05:30 AM||#2|
Ring of Famer
Join Date: Jul 2002
The Best Safety available: Deon Grant
Most Underrated: Terrence Holt. In the right system (ours) this guy is decent.
Most Intriguing: Adam Archuletta: The skins might just let him walk if relations don't improve drastically over the summer. He was asked to play more of a coverage role last year which is his weakeness and was eventually benched and relegated to STs.
|02-13-2007, 01:21 PM||#3|
highly touted recruit
Join Date: Mar 2006
i was thinking the other day about archuleta too...i know its the skins so you never really know what they're going to do, but its near impossible to have that much money tied up in a benchwarmer
|02-13-2007, 01:26 PM||#4|
RIP Darrent Williams
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Glendale, AZ
I like this guy
Kevin Kaesviharn, Cincinnati (unrestricted)
but he isnt better than what we got, but he has potential to be good imo.
Also Nickey from TN could be ok here.