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AFC Free Agency: Why it’ll work, why it won’t

We’re going to update this throughout the rest of Free Agency. Several members of our staff will participate in this game, “Why it’ll work, why it won’t” with the Free Agency signings. It’s far too early to know if every signing will pay off for every team, so we’ll share a quick thought of support for both cases. If it works or if it doesn’t. Hopefully you’ll enjoy!!

Oakland Raiders: Kelechi Osemele, Bruce Irvin, Sean Smith

Why it works – Osemele is one of the best offensive lineman in the league, at 26-years old he’ll be around for QB Derek Carr for a while. He’s also versatile enough to play tackle. So while his contract is high for a guard, it’s cheap for a left tackle. His addition to the line immediately upgrades the position, he and Gabe Jackson become one of the best guard duos in the league. Bruce Irvin is coming from a team with a winning culture, he also gives Oakland an added pass rusher opposite Khalil Mack. Sean Smith steps in and becomes the starter opposite David Amerson, giving them experience in the secondary after losing HOF Charles Woodson in the secondary.

Why it won’t – What if Osemele doesn’t have that drive to be a winner as a few reports out of Baltimore may have suggested? Irvin could contribute and play up to his potential or go south. While that isn’t expected, the possibility is reason enough for why his acquisition doesn’t work. Sean Smith has rarely been in the same place for a long time, this could simply be a case of buyer’s remorse. At 28-years old, there’s always concern when a player has played for several teams.

Jacksonville Jaguars: Malik Jackson, Chris Ivory, Tashaun Gipson, Marcedes Lewis,  Sam Young

Why it works -Let’s be honest, the Jags have to sometimes overpay to get their guy. For the second straight season, they’ve poached one of the Broncos big names. Jackson will be a great fit along that defensive line, adding last year’s 1st round pick Dante Fowler doesn’t hurt either. Tashaun Gipson is a viable starter at safety, all the kid does is get his hands on the ball. Ivory should be a great complement to the young T.J. Yeldon. Lewis provides great size and depth at the tight end position behind Julius Thomas and with Stefen Wisniewski not being retained as of yet. Young provides depth.

Why it won’t – What if the Jackson’s production was due more to the environment he was in, the players that surrounded him. Then that contract looks bad and the Jags paid for something they never received, but again it’s a big what if. Gipson doesn’t stay healthy, that’d be a big issue. There’s less room for error in Lewis and Young as those are both about quality depth.

Tennessee Titans: DeMarco Murray, Rishard Matthews, Matt Cassel, Ben Jones

Why it works: The Titans acquired Murray from the Philadelphia Eagles on Tuesday night Murray was not used properly in Philly and now has a chance to start over. He will be a great fit in both the running and passing game, especially with second-year quarterback Marcus Mariota being under center. Rishard Matthews and former Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin never quite saw eye-to-eye and last season Matthews proved to be a quality wide receiver. This gives Mariota another weapon who can stretch the field. Center Ben Jones was signed away from divisional rival Houston and he will add more protection for Mariota and create holes for Murray. Matt Cassel left the Dallas Cowboys to be the backup to Mariota.

Why it won’t: What if Murray isn’t as “fresh” as he says he is after practically “taking a year off” in Philadelphia. What if he was only a product of the stout Dallas offensive line? What if Matthews’ progression hits a snag and he doesn’t recover from it? It’s not like he’s an elite NFL wide receiver. How well will Jones fit in with his new team? Will he be able to keep the opposition away and give Mariota time to throw? What if Mariota goes down? In comes Cassel, who quite frankly isn’t all that good. If he were to come in and replace Mariota, that could spell trouble for Tennessee.

San Diego Chargers: Travis Benjamin, Dwight Lowery, Brandon Mebane

Why it works: Benjamin had a career-season for Cleveland last year with the likes of Johnny Manziel and Josh McCown throwing him the ball. Now he has Philip Rivers to toss him the ball and Rivers is a top-10 quarterback in this league who is known for getting the most out of all the receivers he has to work with. Lowery is entering his 9th season and will fit in nicely in the secondary at the safety position as a versatile playmaker, who was third on the Colts last year with 83 tackles. Mebane is someone who can stop the run and he also was a part of the Seattle Seahawks teams that have won a Super Bowl.

Why it won’t: Benjamin could have just been the benefactor of having no top receiver on the roster. He was paired with tight end Gary Barnidge, who had a career season. What if he can’t live up to his previous performances? Lowery could start to see his play decline as he will be in his 9th season and is 30-years old. Also, he has been an NFL journeyman, with San Diego being his 5th team since being drafted in 2008. Mebane has seen his play decline over the past couple of seasons and that could continue.  He will be entering his 10th NFL season and is 31-years old. His best days could very well be behind him.

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