Friday 3.20 Movers and Shakers: Brady a Buc and Gurley a Falcon as More Veterans Make Moves

Cameron Smith

The Tom Brady free agency saga finally officially came to an end with Brady inking a two-year deal with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers just before former Rams running back Todd Gurley returned to Georgia. Here's all the moves that unfolded on a busy football Friday.

BUCCANEERS SIGN FORMER PATRIOTS QB TOM BRADY TO TWO-YEAR DEAL

You've heard and read about this ad nauseam already, so we won't belabor it. Still, the point remains: The Tamp Bay Bucs actually pulled off the thing and landed Tom Brady. It happened.

FINANCIAL IMPACT: Major, as you'd expect it would take to lure Brady away from New England. Still, the contract terms aren't quite as rich as many expected. Yes, Brady could earn a total of $29.5 million per season, but $4.5 million of that total is structured in the form of incentives in each of his two years in Tampa.  That means he carries a practical tag hit of $25 million, which is steep but survivable for a Tampa roster that entered the offseason with some $80 million in salary cap flexibility.

QUALITY STATS IMPACT: It doesn't get much bigger than adding Brady to an offense in desperate need of a quarterback who doesn't throw interceptions. Jameis Winston finished ranked 22nd in the league in Offensive Passer Rating despite throwing 33 touchdown passes, third most in the NFL. If Brady can reproduce a decent chunk of Winston's offensive productivity with the same weapons while simultaneously avoiding forced turnovers, the Bucs will be in business. Expect enormous gains in both Offensive Passer Rating and Real Quarterback Rating both for the Bucs and for Brady, who was 12th in Real QBR during his final season in a Patriots uniform.


FALCONS SIGN FORMER RAMS RB TODD GURLEY III TO ONE-YEAR DEAL

Well, that was fast. Less than 24 hours after being officially released by the Rams, Gurley heads back to his home state of Georgia to play for his hometown team.

FINANCIAL IMPACT: The Falcons will pay Gurley $6 million, which could be a considerable bargain if Gurley can ever prove he's truly health again. And he'll actually earn $11 million because of some complicated release off-sets from his deal with the Rams. The point is that Gurley makes sense for a team that just released its own star running back in Devonta Freeman. 

QUALITY STATS IMPACT: You tell us! Seriously. Try to figure out Todd Gurley.  The Rams finished the 2019 season fourth in Offensive Rusher Rating, though that had only a moderate amount to do with Gurley. Still, it underscored the sense that Gurley still has talent left in his legs, and if his knees cooperate he could be a game changer. If he is, that  should be music to the ears of Matt Ryan and every Falcons fan out there. 


BUCCANEERS SIGN FORMER COLTS OL JOE HAEG TO ONE-YEAR DEAL

Tom Brady wasn't the only addition to Tampa's roster on Friday. The new quarterback also got some help in the form of versatile lineman Joe Haeg, who could step in to a starting role at either guard or tackle come September. 

FINANCIAL IMPACT: Minimal. Haeg will cost a total outlay of approximately $2.3 million, which is the kind of cap hit that is insignificant enough to warrant almost sweeping it under the rug. Even if Haeg is just there for depth, he's  well worth his cost. 

QUALITY STATS IMPACT: Questionable? If Haeg is a true contributor, it sends mixed messages. He started six of the eight games he was healthy enough to play in 2018, but none in 2019 as the Colts offensive line truly took shape. That's not to say he isn't a talented player, and he should certainly help lift the Bucs' 28th-ranked Offensive Hog Index, regardless of his role.


SAINTS RE-SIGN OL ANDRUS PEAT TO 5-YEAR DEAL

If the Bucs' offensive line got deeper, the Saints unit re-established its dominance by re-upping Peat.

FINANCIAL IMPACT: Peat will cost the Saints $57.5 million across the five years of his deal, with $33 million guaranteed. He's likely to end up with an average $11 million cap hit, which is certainly not insignificant for New Orleans up front.

QUALITY STATS IMPACT: Significant. The Saints needed to keep Peat around to ensure Drew Brees stays upright and racks up the completions he needs to remain top of the quarterback heap. New Orleans finished top-four in the Offensive Hog Index, and this should help keep them right around there.


STEELERS SIGN FORMER COLTS TE ERIC EBRON TO 2-YEAR DEAL

Pittsburgh should have Ben Roethlisberger back under center this fall, and he should have a new security blanket in the form of Ebron, who signed up with the Steelers despite expected interest from the now Tom Brady-less Patriots and other would-be contenders. 

FINANCIAL IMPACT: It's two years and $12 million for Ebron, which makes for a relatively reasonable tight end rate, particularly if Ebron can continue producing at the rate he always has in Indianapolis.

QUALITY STATS IMPACT: Potentially significant. Ebron dipped from 13 touchdowns to three between 2018 and 2019, but that likely had more to do with the change from Andrew Luck to Jacoby Brissett and Brian Hoyer at quarterback. If he can tap back into his red zone explosiveness, Ebron could end up looking like one of the steals of the 2020 free agent market.


BRONCOS SIGN FORMER CHARGERS RB MELVIN GORDON TO 2-YEAR DEAL

Revenge is a dish best served within the division when it comes to Gordon, who avoided the fate of now Ravens safety Earl Thomas when he did end a holdout but couldn't cash in at Thomas' level once free agency hit.

FINANCIAL IMPACT: Gordon gets $16 million across two years, with $13.5 of that guaranteed. That hit will be spread across both seasons, with a likely deeper hit in the 2021 season, but we'll have to wait for the full details to eventually leak.

QUALITY STATS IMPACT: A true toss up. Gordon certainly won't hurt Denver's collection of offensive weapons, but it's uncertain if he can really be expected to be the showstopping back of two seasons ago. Still, given the Broncos' dip from 2018 to 2019 — they finished 19th in Offensive Rusher Rating in 2019 after ranking third in 2018 — it's understandable that they would want to take a big swing with a major acquisition. Enter Gordon, and hopes for the best.


RAVENS TRADE DL CHRIS WORMLEY TO STEELERS FOR DRAFT PICK SWAP

There are typically only a couple reasons why a team would trade an established player to a divisional rival: 1) they find the player to be a total non-factor who is not any sense of a threat, or 2) they're completely overwhelmed by the return. Given the return in Wormley's trade to the Steelers, we can only imagine this is a case of the former rather than the latter, but we'll have to see how things play out in Pittsburgh.

FINANCIAL IMPACT: Wormley is entering the final season of his rookie four-year deal, and will count $2.1 million against the salary cap. Perhaps the Ravens were motivated to move on now for fear they would get nothing in return in 12 months time?

QUALITY STATS IMPACT: There are real questions about just how much better the Steelers may possibly be getting by adding Wormley. The defensive end had 33 total tackles and just 1.5 sacks with the Ravens in 2019, and he's joining the team that featured the No. 1 unit in the Defensive Hog Index. We don't see Wormley unseating anyone on the Steelers line, but clearly the Pittsburgh coaching staff has seen something. If they're right, he'll be an abject steal.