Yesterday wasn't just the first day of NFL Free Agency, it was the first day of the league year. That means that all of the contracts that had previously been signed and submitted were accepted by the league, so I'm counting everyone in my Day 1 grades:
Signed LB Donald Butler to a 7-year deal, $51.8 million deal
This could be a 3-year deal for about $17 million if Butler doesn't play great, which is very reasonable. It's actually a little less than what Karlos Dansby got from the Browns (4 years, $24 million), and he's 6 years older than Butler.
Restructured the contracts of WR Eddie Royal and OLB Jarret Johnston to save $ 2 million in cap space
Great move. These are guys that were slightly overpaid that the team didn't want to cut.
Released CB Derek Cox, CB Johnny Patrick, and FB Le'Ron McClain
Good moves. Cox obviously was a bad fit, Patrick can't stay healthy and McClain is both a bad fit and not very good. I'll knock this down a letter grade because Jeromey Clary isn't on this list (yet) and he really should be, but otherwise a solid move.
Signed S Darrell Stuckey to 4-year deal, $7.6 million
This is the perfect deal for Stuckey. For two years, he doesn't count much against the cap and works fine as a special teams captain and backup Safety. In the final two years, he's either an inexpensive starting Safety or they can cut him and save money.
Signed G Chad Rinehart to 2-year deal, $6 million
This move makes a lot more sense if they cut Clary. Paying close to $9 million for those two guys to battle over the RG spot is ridiculous (top-flight Guards make closer to $6 million per season). Paying Rinehart $3 million to either start or backup a rookie? I'm cool with that.
Signed RB Donald Brown to 3-year deal, $10.5 million
Absolutely brilliant. This is the move that proved to me that Telesco is always thinking about next offseason, like any really good GM.
Brown is a solid RB. He can run, he can catch, and he can block. He doesn't have a ton of miles on him, the contract isn't very long, and the money isn't outrageous. Brown provides insurance for Ryan Mathews and Danny Woodhead from injury this season, brings a new dimension (and fresh legs) to the offense, and keeps Telesco's back from being up against the wall when Woodhead and Mathews become free agents next year.
So far, so good, Mr. Telesco.