SI'S TAKE ON BIG-NAME DEALS AND UNDER-THE-RADAR MOVES
• Albert Haynesworth, DT, and Chad Ochocinco, WR, Patriots (acquired in trades). Bill Belichick is unrivaled in his ability to revive the careers of the perpetually disgruntled (Corey Dillon) or the purportedly washed-up (Randy Moss). His next reclamation projects: Haynesworth, who cost New England only a fifth-round pick after a disastrous stint with the Redskins, and Ochocinco, who agreed to a restructuring of his deal after being dealt by the Bengals for two late choices. Larceny.
• Johnathan Joseph, CB, Texans (five years, $48.8 million). Joseph had nine interceptions over the past two seasons with Cincinnati and was the second-best cornerback available in free agency. His signing, coupled with the arrival of former Bears strong safety Danieal Manning, immediately improves a Houston secondary that was a sieve last season.
August 7, 2011
• Santonio Holmes, WR, Jets (five years, $50 million). Re-signing Holmes was priority No. 1 because the Jets didn't want to build their passing game around Braylon Edwards. The bonus addition of Plaxico Burress gives Mark Sanchez a dangerous red-zone target.
• Reggie Bush, RB, Dolphins (traded from the Saints). As good as Bush has been when healthy, he'll have a tough time flourishing, because Miami is not as talented at the skill positions as New Orleans is. Defenses will find it easier to zero in on him.
• Peyton Manning, QB, Colts (five years, $90 million). There was never any danger that he'd leave Indy, but his new contract gives the franchise, its players and its fans peace of mind.
• Harvey Dahl, RG, Rams (four years, $16 million). Atlanta had two above-average free-agent guards in Dahl and Justin Blalock. Blalock's three years younger at 27, so he stayed with the Falcons and Dahl went on the market. The Rams will make him a Day One starter, and his mean streak will serve them well.
• Cullen Jenkins, DT, Eagles (five years, $25 million). After paying big for Nnamdi Asomugha, G.M. Howie Roseman put together a creative deal—Jenkins reportedly can be cut after a year at just $4 million in first-year cap charges. When he, Jason Babin and Trent Cole are rushing, this will be a hard front to handle.
• James Jones, WR, Packers (three years, undisclosed). Maybe Green Bay G.M. Ted Thompson simply trusts Aaron Rodgers more than he did Brett Favre. Four years ago Favre begged for Randy Moss. Thompson preferred young wideouts—including a rookie, James Jones. Rodgers recently went public pleading for the Pack to keep Jones, a 6' 1" deep threat. On Sunday, Thompson got it done.
• Steve Breaston, WR, Chiefs (five years, $9 million guaranteed). Tremendous value for a workmanlike receiver who could catch 70 passes for K.C. and knows what coach Todd Haley, his former offensive coordinator in Arizona, likes to run.
• Remi Ayodele, DT, Vikings (three years, $9 million). Vastly underrated contributor on the Saints' Super Bowl team—a gap-plugger who's also surprisingly quick to the passer. Puzzling that New Orleans didn't do more to keep him, because coordinator Greg Williams loved what he did for the defense.