Fuller re-signs with Chicago

CB Kyle Fuller has re-signed with the Chicago Bears after being placed on the transition tag, which allowed the Green Bay Packers to offer him a contract before the Bears matched it.

The Packers offered Fuller a 4-year, $56 million contract with $20 million in the first year, which the Bears quickly matched and signed Fuller to a long-term deal, granting Fuller his wish of not playing under the tag. The Packers needed additional secondary support and Fuller was the best option available and certainly was one of the best free agents this offseason.

Last season, Fuller made 69 tackles and 2 interceptions and was easily Chicago’s best corner and was an absolute must to keep Fuller with the Bears as they continue to rebuild their defense. Placing the transition tag on Fuller was a risky move by the Bears as they had no control over the contract offers that Fuller could have received and therefore allowed other teams to set the terms of the contract and force Chicago to pay it but in the end, they keep Fuller and will hope that he can be the cornerstone on a new look defense under new HC Matt Nagy.

NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported it first.

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Panthers signs Wright

The Carolina Panthers have signed WR Jarius Wright to add further depth to a rebuilding receiver corp.

Wright signed a 3-year, $7.5 million contract with $2 million guaranteed and a cap hit of just over $1.5 million for his first season in Carolina. Wright was released by the Minnesota Vikings earlier in the offseason after spending most of his time there as a 3rd/4th receiver with limited snaps. In Carolina, Wright will be expected to play in the slot primarily and will get more snaps due to the lack of depth on the Panthers roster.

Last season, Wright caught 18 passes for 198 yards and 2 touchdowns, which shows a big impact on limited catches, mirroring Wright’s NFL career so far. The Vikings have plenty of receivers on their roster including upcoming stars Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen and due to Wright’s lower position on the roster, his snaps will be easily replaced by a fellow veteran or rookie. For Carolina, Wright adds a veteran presence to their depth chart and a challenger for the slot position in the Panthers starting lineup.

NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported it first.

Bucs make O and D line improvements

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have signed C Ryan Jensen and DE Vinny Curry in free agency.

Jensen has signed a 4-year, $42 million contract with $22 million guaranteed and a cap hit of $12 million for his first season in Tampa while Curry has signed a 3-year, $23 million deal with $11.5 million guaranteed with a cap hit of $6.5 million for this upcoming season.

Jensen will become the starter for Tampa Bay, which will allow Ali Marpet who played center last year to move back to his more natural guard position and strengthen the line in general. Furthermore, Jensen has become the highest paid center in the NFL after only one season starting at the position for the Ravens but he did perform well and was one of the best players on Baltimore’s offense last year. Jensen will certainly improve an offensive line that needed upgrading and with a new starting RB on the cards after the release of Doug Martin and a potentially make or break year for QB Jameis Winston, an upgraded O-line could be the one thing in the way of the Bucs having a top 5 offense.

ESPN’s Dan Graziano reported it first.

Curry is the 3rd defensive lineman who Tampa have signed this offseason along with Mitch Unrein and Beau Allen and will give the Bucs another option in their pass rush. Curry was released by the Philadelphia Eagles earlier in the offseason due to salary cap issues and was used in a defensive end rotation, receiving limited snaps but with the Bucs, Curry could be seen as a starter and getting more snaps and less time off the field, especially with Robert Ayers being released in a corresponding move to make room for Curry.

Last season, Curry made 42 tackles, 3 sacks and a forced fumble and has in general been a disruptive influence in his NFL career. For the Eagles, they lose Curry but have gained DE Michael Bennett from the Seattle Seahawks on a cheaper deal so Curry’s snaps will be replaced by Bennett as well as the emerging talent of Derek Barnett, a 1st round draft pick last year who looked great on limited snaps last year.

NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported it first.

Texans sign Mathieu

The Houston Texans have signed S Tyrann Mathieu in free agency after being released by the Arizona Cardinals for not taking a pay cut.

Mathieu has signed a 1-year, $7 million contract with $6.5 million guaranteed. Mathieu will come in as an instant starter at the free safety position and give the Texans a much stronger secondary than in past seasons and along with their pass rush and linebackers, they could potentially have the best defense in the NFL. Last season, Mathieu made 78 tackles, 1 sack, a forced fumble and 2 interceptions in 16 games but he has struggled with serious injuries in the past with 2 major knee injuries in his NFL career so far.

However, when healthy, Mathieu is one of the best safeties in the NFL and has been extremely impactful during his time with the Cardinals as a in the box, free roaming nickel defender. For the Cardinals, they lose a key player in the middle of their defense and secondary and they will struggle to find a player of Mathieu’s quality to replace him, which could affect their new defense schemes for this season.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported it first.

Ravens sign Crabtree

The Baltimore Ravens have signed WR Michael Crabtree after he was released by the Oakland Raiders earlier this offseason.

Crabtree has signed a 3-year, $21 million contract with $13 million guaranteed and a cap hit of just over $3 million for this upcoming season. Crabtree was released by the Raiders after they signed Jordy Nelson in free agency and was deemed to be not needed in HC Jon Gruden’s plans for this season. The Ravens desperately needed wide receivers this offseason after they ranked near the bottom of the NFL in passing, not helped by a poor receiver group last season and Crabtree will certainly challenge for that no.1 WR spot straight away.

Last season, Crabtree made 58 catches for 618 yards and 8 touchdowns, making him one of the best receivers on Oakland’s roster but after his release, the Ravens will hope that Crabtree can put up similar numbers, if not better, with Joe Flacco for the next 3 seasons in Baltimore and help them to establish a more dominant passing game. Crabtree is an excellent route runner and possession receiver as well as a major redzone threat so the Ravens will certainly be targeting Crabtree a lot this season and as the Raiders, they lose one of their best WR’s and will struggle without him this season.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported it first.

Chargers sign Pouncey

The Los Angeles Chargers have signed C Mike Pouncey after he was released by the Miami Dolphins earlier this offseason.

Pouncey signed a 2-year, $15 million contract with $10 million guaranteed and a cap hit of $6.25 million for his first season in LA. Pouncey was released by the Dolphins due to cap issues and Pouncey requesting a release after he was offered a pay cut when he wants a new contract with more money, which would have been deserved with Pouncey being one of the best centers in the league in Miami.

Last season, the Chargers had Spencer Pulley playing at center, who was inconsistent in his play and improving the O-line was a high priority for LA this offseason and Pouncey will give them a 3 time Pro Bowler and a great run blocker at the position, which can benefit RB Melvin Gordon and the running game in general. It’s safe to say the Chargers’ interior line has improved but the Dolphins have potentially got weaker with the release of Pouncey and will depend on new C Daniel Kilgore to reduce the impact of Pouncey leaving.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported it first.

Raiders add defensive depth

The Oakland Raiders have signed CB Rashaan Melvin and LB Kyle Wilber in free agency.

Melvin has signed a 1-year, $5.5 million contract with $4.85 million guaranteed while Wilber signed a 2-year, $2.75 million deal with $1.4 million guaranteed and a cap hit of $1 million for his first season in Oakland.

Melvin joins an Oakland secondary that struggled last season and was consistently exploited throughout the season and is especially weak now after the departures of T.J. Carrie and D.J. Hayden in free agency. Melvin has been the best corner for the Indianapolis Colts during his time there and has shown promises to become a very good shutdown, outside CB.

Last season, Melvin made 36 tackles and 3 interceptions and these numbers brought a strong free agency market for Melvin and the Raiders will be hoping that Melvin will be an instant starter alongside 2nd year player, Gareon Conley, who was decent in his first year in the league. For the Colts, they lose their best corner in an already weak secondary and will have to replace Melvin with another veteran or impressive rookie.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported it first.

Wilber joins the Raiders as mainly LB depth and will most likely be cover for Bruce Irwin and Tahir Whitehead as well as a special teams contributor. Wilber made his name in special teams at Dallas and has been a key player throughout his career and is consistently a top tackler over the past 3 seasons. Last season, Wilber made 10 tackles and 1 forced fumble playing limited snaps. Wilber is a hard hitting, special teams ace and the perfect type of player for Jon Gruden’s defensive rotations and special teams in a new look Oakland roster.