5 top AFC free-agent signings for value and fit – The Athletic

It is difficult to win consistently in free agencies. Each new deal is a reset of the market, so teams must pay a premium to be able to outbid other teams that want to improve. Finding bargains is key, but it’s difficult and usually involves risk. One star player might be coming off a season or two of low production. Maybe he’s coming off an injury. Maybe a player just wasn’t the right fit on a previous team.

Cordarrelle Patterson, a former first-round pick at wide receiver, signed a three-year, $3million deal with Atlanta Falcons last year. He then had the best season of any player in his career at the age of 30. Arthur Smith, the 2013 first-round selection at wide receiver, was not able to produce consistently for eight seasons. In fact, other teams had done it briefly in the past. These types of players are easy to identify and understand. Of course, we won’t know how things will turn out until they actually play, but here are my favorite free-agent signings from a value and fit standpoint so far from the AFC.

Chargers: J.C. Jackson CB

Contract: Five year contract, $82.5 million (Guaranteed $40 million)

Average annual value rank is Sixth (among CBs).

Scheme: Two-high

I wanted to include only smaller deals in this article, but I was pretty stunned when J.C. Jackson didn’t get a bigger contract. Jackson is one of most exciting corners to hit the market in a while. He was expected to reset market. Jackson checks all the boxes to be a top-ofthe-market corner.

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