Thursday, July 30, 2015

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Per Ian Rapaport, the Carolina Panthers have signed Joe Webb, who has played as a quarterback, receiver, kick returner and general multiweapon for the Vikings, with varying degrees of success, though most of them as failures.

He is reportedly joining the receiver-starved Panthers as a quarterback. The Panthers have recently signed Jerricho Cotchery and Tiquan Underwood to supplement their receiver corps otherwise featuring Tavarres King and Marvin McNutt.

This means Webb will compete with Derek Anderson and Matt Blanchard for a backup spot behind Cam Newton. While it is perhaps accurate to say that Newton and Webb share more similar skill sets than Newton and Anderson/Blanchard, don’t expect them to necessarily use Webb in the same way that they use Newton should Cam, for whatever reason, be unable to play.

Cam Newton, at 6’6″ and 250 pounds, outweighs a fair number of linebackers in the league and supplements his quarterback play with “power” running back runs, with a fair degree of agility. Webb “supplemented” his quarterback “play” with scatback-style scrambles with a lot of movement to the sidelines, which makes sense as he’s three inches shorter but 30 pounds lighter.

Both share a big arm and have some struggles with rhythm passing, but there’s a reason that Newton is a premier young quarterback and Webb is struggling to find his position. Vikings fans will be happy to see him go, but it’s difficult to say he’s been anything but a good sport and team player.

Perhaps a better set of quarterbacks coaches can turn Webb into a real quarterback, as his athletic ability is in the top one percent of even the elite players of the NFL. Then again:

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Per Corey Wootton’s Twitter account, the formers Bears defensive end has elected to stay in the NFC North and sign with the Minnesota Vikings.

The Vikings hold a particular importance for Wootton, as his first career sack in 2010 was against Minnesota against Brett Favre (it happened to be the sack that ended Favre’s career). Wootton has stayed in the midwest since he elected to play for Northwestern (out of Rutherford, New Jersey) and was named to several Big Ten all-freshman teams before entering the 2010 draft and getting drafted in the fourth round.

Wootton ranked 45th out of 52 4-3 DEs in Pro Football Focus’ grading system for 2013 but fared better in previous years. In 2012, he ranked 38th of 62 rushers and earned a nearly average (though negative) grade. In those two years, he earned a better run defense grade than pass rush grade, which fits more in line with what Zimmer has sought in his defensive ends in Cincinnati than a signing like Griffen does. Wootton’s Pass Rush Productivity (a PFF measure) was dead last in the NFL in 2013, but was NFL average the year before.

Wootton has also taken a number of snaps at DT and had looked better there, giving Zimmer an undersized (6’6,” 270) rotational pass rusher in Nascar packages and potential run stop fill in for Floyd.

His deal is for one year and is a $1.5 million deal with another $500k in incentives, per Alex Marvez of Fox Sports. Wootton still has untapped talent that a coach like Zimmer can develop, and it will hopefully turn into a longer deal. Given the heavy rotation we’ve seen in Bengals defenses in the past, this sort of depth signing may end up having a bigger impact than most.

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**UPDATE: Jared Allen has returned home without signing a deal with the Seahawks and will not sign today. His agent, Ken Harris, has told others that he will “consider Seahawks offer along with the others, and make a decision this weekend,” per Adam Schefter.

He has not yet signed a deal or, evidently, agreed to one.

Jared Allen has agreed to a deal with the Seattle Seahawks, per Ed Werder.

This is technically not final, and his agent (Ken Harris) has told other that Allen is just in “for a visit,” I doubt anything else happens besides him getting signed to a deal.

While I’m happy for Allen to get a deal he thinks he deserves (he would have been happy retiring if he didn’t get “what he was worth”) and get a real shot at a ring, it is a little upsetting to see Allen sign with the great thieves of the West, the Seattle Seahawks.

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The Minnesota Vikings have stopped becoming somewhat active in free agency, like most teams, and have signed most of who they were going to sign. After losing Henry Melton to the Dallas Cowboys, the Vikings chose to sign former New Orleans Saints defensive tackle Tom Johnson, which makes it extremely unlikely that they re-sign Kevin Williams.

I’ve tracked the Vikings’ moves below. Any signings that occurred after January 1st 2014 is a “new addition,” which is why there are some names there that you may not recognize from the free agency period. Signings added to the team or practice squad in 2013 were not categorized as “new additions.”

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With the Minnesota Vikings signing “backup” defensive end Everson Griffen to a lucrative contract worth $8.5 million per year (though guaranteed only for the first two years, making him easy to cut should it be necessary), the shape of the roster is becoming clearer. Known mostly as an athletic wunderkind who dropped in the draft to off-field issues (and had some run-ins with the law since), Griffen’s signing was widely described as an investment in potential.

That’s not quite a fair analysis. Since joining the Vikings in 2010, Griffen hasn’t simply been a ball of unmolded potential and an unknown athletic quality; he’s had over a thousand quality snaps with the Vikings playing the position they’ll ask him to play—snaps they and the rest of the NFL would use to gauge his value. In fact, the Denver Broncos were willing to offer Griffen a deal worth $500k more a year.

With all that attention what does Griffen bring to the table?

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