Each signing makes a lot of sense. When healthy, Bradshaw is a starter-caliber back, and Ellis was the No. 7 overall pick five years ago. Both players are experienced and in their primes. Bradshaw is 27, with Ellis turning 28 in July.
Bradshaw was the last relatively young featured back left on the market. Michael Turner and Cedric Benson have each been lead backs, but both will be 31 by the end of the 2013 regular season. Peyton Hillis and Beanie Wells also have experience in this role, but Hillis’ 2010 breakout season seems long, long ago, and Wells’ durability is something of a question.
Ultimately, we tabbed Kevin Smith to take Bradshaw’s place on the All-Unemployed Team. Smith is only 26, and he’s shown some spark in limited action with Detroit in the last two seasons. Smith also has injury concerns, but he looks capable of holding down a roster spot, and his versatility is also a plus.
That said, teams looking for a power back might prefer Benson or Turner. Wells, meanwhile, is just 25 years old. But there isn’t a clear-cut top back on the market with Bradshaw gone.
To replace Ellis, we turned to longtime Steelers nose tackle Casey Hampton. Yes, Ellis is a 4-3 tackle, while Hampton has played in the 3-4 throughout his 12-year career. Nevertheless, it was time to get a nose guard on the team.
Finally, the Patriots’ signing of Tim Tebow didn’t necessitate any new additions to the club. Vince Young remains the quarterback — and is all the more the best option available now that Tebow is off the market.