Final AFC North Division Player Movement Chart
SIGNING FRENZY FINISHED FOR ANOTHER YEAR
By Joe Platania
(through Thursday, July 5)
With the start of training camps less than three weeks away in the case of most teams, the free-agent signing period frenzy -- which died down significantly at least two months ago -- appears to be finished for another year.
It's no surprise that because of the current free agency/salary cap system, there was significant roster turnover on all four AFC North Division teams. There are varying reasons for the division's changing face.
In Baltimore, the defending division champion Ravens' dearth of salary-cap room led to the jettisoning of several starters and key players, such as guard Ben Grubbs, linebacker Jarret Johnson, defensive end Cory Redding and safeties Tom Zbikowski and Haruki Nakamura.
The Cincinnati Bengals had the most cap room in the AFC when the signing period began, and put it to use by signing five offensive linemen, a standout veteran corner (Dallas' Terence Newman) and a possible new starter at running back (New England's BenJarvus Green-Ellis).
As usual, the Pittsburgh Steelers made few waves in free agency, preferring to mostly re-sign their own players and letting several of their aging veterans walk away via waivers or retirement.
As for the Cleveland Browns, they made the kind of drastic moves expected of a last-place team that wants to make an immediate impact in a division that sent three teams to the playoffs in 2011. Defensive ends Juqua Parker and Frostee Rucker are expected to bolster an already young and promising defensive line.
But, if any team still needs help at a certain position, there are a few players on the AFC North's so-called "scrap heap" that have impressive credentials.
They include five-time Pro Bowl offensive lineman Andre Gurode, veteran running back Cedric Benson (a top-five overall draft pick), pass-rushing linebacker James Farrior, veteran guard Eric Steinbach and longtime punter Brad Maynard.
An explanation of how the player-movement chart works appears at the bottom of this article.
Free agents lost: WR Lee Evans (Jacksonville), CB Chris Carr (Minnesota), DT Brandon McKinney (Indianapolis), S Haruki Nakamura (Carolina), S Tom Zbikowski (Indianapolis), G Ben Grubbs (New Orleans), LB Jarret Johnson (San Diego), DE Cory Redding (Indianapolis), T D.J. Jones (Philadelphia), K Shayne Graham (Houston)
Free agents signed: WR Derrick Mason (Houston, subsequently retired), G Tony Wragge (St. Louis), G Bobbie Williams (Cincinnati), WR/RS Jacoby Jones (Houston), NT Ryan McBean (Denver), NT Ma'ake Kemoeatu (unattached), QB Curtis Painter (Indianapolis), S Sean Considine (Arizona), CB Corey Graham (Chicago), LB Cody Glenn (Indianapolis, subsequently cut)
Re-signed: CB Cary Williams, LB Jameel McClain, LB Brendon Ayanbadejo, C Matt Birk, LB Dannell Ellerbe, LB Albert McClellan, LB Chavis Williams, CB Lardarius Webb, G Justin Boren, LB Josh Bynes, LB Sergio Kindle, CB Danny Gorrer, LS Morgan Cox
Status unresolved: RB Ray Rice (franchise tag), TE Kris Wilson, C Andre Gurode, LB Edgar Jones, RB Matt Lawrence
Retired: RB Ricky Williams, CB Domonique Foxworth, WR Derrick Mason
Free agents lost: LB Brandon Johnson (Pittsburgh), G Bobbie Williams (Baltimore), TE Bo Scaife (New England), WR Jerome Simpson (Minnesota), LB Keith Rivers (New York Giants, via trade), WR Andre Caldwell (Denver), G Nate Livings (Dallas), G Mike McGlynn (Indianapolis), DE Jonathan Fanene (New England), DE Frostee Rucker (Cleveland)
Free agents signed: C Reggie Stephens (Chicago), G Matt Murphy (Indianapolis), CB Terence Newman (Dallas), G Jacob Bell (St. Louis, subsequently retired), DE Jamaal Anderson (Indianapolis), DE Derrick Harvey (Denver), RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis (New England), CB Jason Allen (Houston), G Travelle Wharton (Carolina), RB Aaron Brown (Detroit), G Chris Riley (Tampa Bay), DT Vaughn Meatoga (Washington)
Re-signed: K Mike Nugent (franchise tag), TE Donald Lee, T Dennis Roland, LB Manny Lawson, DT Pat Sims, T Anthony Collins, CB Adam Jones, S Reggie Nelson, FB Chris Pressley, LB Dan Skuta, DB Jeromy Miles, LS Clark Harris, WR Andrew Hawkins, G Otis Hudson, DL Nick Hayden, RB Cedric Peerman, LB Vincent Rey
Status unresolved: SS Chris Crocker, RB Cedric Benson, CB Kelly Jennings, CB Rico Murray, S Gibril Wilson, WR Terrell Owens
Retired: G Jacob Bell
Free agents lost: RB Mewelde Moore (Indianapolis), CB William Gay (Arizona), T Jamon Meredith (Tampa Bay)
Free agents signed: LB Brandon Johnson (Cincinnati), TE Leonard Pope (Kansas City), LS Matt Katula (Minnesota)
Re-signed: QB Byron Leftwich, QB Charlie Batch, T/G Trai Essex, FB/TE David Johnson, WR Jerricho Cotchery, T Jonathan Scott, G Ramon Foster, G/C Doug Legursky, T Dorian Brooks, RB Isaac Redman, NT Steve McLendon, P Jeremy Kapinos, CB Keenan Lewis, S Ryan Mundy, WR Mike Wallace (tendered)
Status unresolved: WR Arnaz Battle, QB Dennis Dixon, CB Bryant McFadden, T Max Starks, G Chris Kemoeatu, LB James Farrior, DE Aaron Smith, P Daniel Sepulveda, RB Chad Spann
Retired: WR Hines Ward, NT Chris Hoke
Free agents lost: RB Peyton Hillis (Kansas City), S Mike Adams (Denver), T Artis Hicks (Miami), T Steve Vallos (Philadelphia), LS Ryan Pontbriand (San Francisco)
Free agents signed: DE Juqua Parker (Philadelphia), DE Frostee Rucker (Cincinnati), P Spencer Lanning (Jacksonville), LB Jojo Dickson (Jacksonville)
Re-signed: K Phil Dawson (franchise tag), CB Dmitri Patterson, T Oniel Cousins, LB D'Qwell Jackson, TE Dan Gronkowski, G John Greco, TE Alex Smith, WR Jordan Norwood, DL Emmanuel Stephens, DL Brian Schaefering, DL Auston English, DL Brian Sanford, LB Marcus Bernard, RB Chris Ogbonnaya, LB Ben Jacobs, QB Thaddeus Lewis
Status unresolved: DE Jayme Mitchell, G Eric Steinbach, P Brad Maynard, P Richmond McGee, LB Titus Brown, T Tony Pashos, RB Armond Smith
PressBox's AFC North Division player movement list is derived from Rotoworld.com's look at players who let their contracts expire when the league signing period began on March 13.
The teams' lists of unrestricted and restricted free agents are thought to be complete, but other roster moves involving lesser-known exclusive-rights free agents may not be reflected here. As transactions involving such players become known, they will be included.
Also, players that are released and become street free agents -- the so-called "salary-cap dumps" -- will be added to the lists as needed under the "status unresolved" heading.
Restricted free agents will be listed as having re-signed after receiving tender offers from their clubs, even though those tenders may not have been signed. A tender offer usually means a team is intent on keeping that player on its roster, although it is sometimes used to gauge interest from other clubs.
Draft picks, on most occasions, are commensurate with where the free agent in question was originally selected, and what a team can expect in return if it loses a restricted free agent.
Or, a team can perform an NBA-style sign-and-trade transaction, putting the restricted free agent's name on a new contract and sending him to another club.
All tendered restricted and exclusive-rights free agents will be indicated as such. If any of those players departs for another team, his name will be moved from the re-signed classification to the free agents lost category.
The deadline for offer sheets to be extended to restricted free agents on other teams is April 20. The player's old club then has seven days to match the offer, or the offering club immediately assumes his rights.
Players will sometimes change teams because they were placed on waivers and signed by other teams. Those moves are also reflected here, because any unattached player with NFL experience is, technically, a free agent.
Players lost or acquired via trades will also be noted as such.
This chart will appear on the "Ravens Report" blog and in the PressBox print edition throughout the offseason with updated information.
Posted July 6, 2012