2012 Offseason Movement: Defensive Backs
By Aaron Rudnicki
July 18th, 2012

The offseason movement feature makes yet another appearance. It's one of the few staples of football that you know isn't going anywhere since there will always be players changing teams. Some will end up in better situations, some in worse ones. It's up to us to tell you which ones look good or bad from a preliminary look below. And it's up to you to continue to return to our website over the summer to see how some of these guys look to be panning out with their new teams. If nothing else, this will provide you with a refresher course or keep you informed on something you may have missed in April.

We wish we had a crystal ball to tell you exactly what is going to happen, when it is going to happen, and how much turnover there will be statistically. But the truth is, it's very early in the offseason. The key directive we can give you right now is to stay informed. Players change teams almost daily during the summer months, and a seemingly insignificant move in late August can have a huge impact on both the real NFL and your fantasy league.

We all want to know how Player X will fit in with Team Y. We all want to know how a superstar will react to the first major move of his career, or which journeyman on their last legs will resurrect their stat lines with a move elsewhere. And we can help you with that over time. For now, though, educate yourself on what you see below. Get a good base for how the moves should impact each team, and we'll continue to let you know how they are impacting each team. In the meantime, you can be assured that you won't be that guy at the bar saying something like, "I like Sidney Rice but just don't trust Tarvaris Jackson." while your friends give you blank stares and wonder where you were all offseason.

Defensive Backs by Aaron Rudnicki

  1. S LaRon Landry - NY Jets (from Washington)
    • What happened: The Jets found a potential steal in free agency when they signed Landry to a one-year contract for $4 million.

    • What it means: Landry is a former top-10 draft pick who started to emerge as a star in Washington before suffering an Achilles injury in 2010. He was never fully recovered last year though and wound up missing half the season after reinjuring it. If healthy, he will provide the Jets with a physical presence in their secondary and a dominant run defender. However, he is still rehabbing the injury and won't be able to participate in offseason workouts so his health remains a major question mark at this point. The Jets also added a similar player when they signed Yeremiah Bell so there is some concern that Landry could be used in more of a coverage role that would not play as well to his strengths.

  2. S Yeremiah Bell - NY Jets (from Miami)
    • What happened: After he was released by the Dolphins in a move to trim salary, the 34-year-old Bell signed a one-year deal with the Jets for $1.4 million.

    • What it means: The Jets further overhauled their safety overhaul by signing the veteran Bell to a discount one-year contract. Bell has not missed a game and averaged nearly 90 solo tackles per year over the last 4 seasons in Miami, making him one of the most consistent and reliable players in the league during that span. He turned 34 years old in March, however, so there has to be some concern about whether he can continue to play at such a high level. Bell is known primarily as a strong safety who defends the run better than the pass, but that description fits Landry as well so it remains unclear how the two of them will be deployed by Rex Ryan. There may be enough tackle opportunities for both to remain solid starters, but an injury could push the healthy player back up to elite status.

  3. CB Richard Marshall - Miami (from Arizona)
    • What happened: The Dolphins upgraded their secondary by signing the scrappy Marshall to a three-year, $16 million contract with $6 million guaranteed.

    • What it means: Marshall has been one of the most productive fantasy corners in the league since the Panthers drafted him in 2006. He is an above average tackler for the position with excellent ball skills. Although he played some safety for the Cardinals last year and performed well, the Dolphins have indicated they plan to use him strictly at corner for now. Look for him to replace the disappointing Sean Smith in the starting lineup and get plenty of tackle opportunities following the release of the veteran safety Yeremiah Bell this offseason.

  4. S Tanard Jackson - Washington (from Tampa Bay)
    • What happened: Following his release from Tampa, Jackson will try to turn his career around in Washington after signing a one-year deal for $700,000.

    • What it means: Jackson has already been suspended twice by the league for violating the substance abuse policy, and his new coach in Tampa was apparently not happy with his approach to the offseason this year. He was released to send a message to the remaining players and eventually latched on with the Redskins on a one-year deal. Jackson is a talented player who should have little difficulty earning a starting spot in Washington and putting up decent numbers, but he'll obviously need to stay out of trouble in order to maintain his fantasy value.

  5. CB Cortland Finnegan - St. Louis (from Tennessee)
    • What happened: The long-time Titan will be reunited with his former coach Jeff Fisher after signing for $50 million over five years, including $26.5 million guaranteed.

    • What it means: Finnegan has developed a reputation for being one of the most physical and borderline dirty corners in the league, but he is also very productive. After signing a huge deal like this, he'll obviously have a lot of pressure on him to help turn around a pass defense that has struggled in recent years. Given his prior relationship with Fisher though, we can likely expect a smooth transition and more of the same. Finnegan isn't the type of player who quarterbacks tend to shy away from so he will likely continue to match up against the opposing team's No. 1 wide receiver and see plenty of action each week as a result.

Other notable defensive backs that changed teams:

  • S Mike Adams - Denver (from Cleveland)

  • S Atari Bigby - San Diego (from Seattle)

  • CB Brandon Carr - Dallas (from Kansas City)

  • CB Drayton Florence - Denver (from Buffalo)

  • CB William Gay - Arizona (from Pittsburgh)

  • CB Cedric Griffin - Washington (from Minnesota)

  • S Tyrell Johnson - Miami (from Minnesota)

  • S Brandon Meriweather - Washington (from Chicago)

  • S Haruki Nakamura - Carolina (from Baltimore)

  • CB Terence Newman - Cincinnati (from Dallas)

  • S Brodney Pool - Dallas (from NY Jets)

  • CB Tracy Porter - Denver (from New Orleans)

  • CB Aaron Ross - Jacksonville (from NY Giants)

  • CB Stanford Routt - Kansas City (from Oakland)

  • CB Asante Samuel - Atlanta (traded from Philadelphia)

  • S Madieu Williams - Washington (from San Francisco)

  • CB Eric Wright - Tampa Bay (from Detroit)

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