Tuesday afternoon at 4:00 P.M. marked the beginning of free agency in the NFL. It didn’t take long for teams to start signing and resigning players shortly after the 4 O’ clock hour. There were many moves that happened right away, and there are many moves that are still going to take place. I will give you a recap of what moves have been made and where your favorite players will be suiting up next season. I will also give you a quick rundown of some key players who have yet to sign a new deal. Some of these moves make you scratch your head from a football standpoint, but you need to remember these moves are about one thing and one thing only; money. With that being said, let’s take this thing for a ride.
One of the biggest signings so far has surely been Mike Wallace. Tuesday afternoon, the former Pittsburgh Steeler, signed the dotted line to play for the Miami Dolphins. The deal is reportedly for 5 years and 60 million dollars (30 million of which are guaranteed). It appears that the Steelers only offered Wallace 10 million per year, however Wallace was looking for a minimum of 12 million per year (cha ching). Another significant signing that occurred on Tuesday was the Cleveland Browns signing former Baltimore Ravens linebacker Paul Kruger to a 5 year, 40 million dollar contract. This is big money for a pretty unproven player in Kruger. He is a good linebacker but does not have the track record that would merit a contract of this magnitude. Only time will tell if the Browns made a smart move by signing Kruger (considering we are talking about the Browns I’m sure this move will backfire). There were a couple of moves at the tight end position Tuesday with Martellus Bennett and Anthony Fasano both on the move. Bennett, the former New York Giant, inked a 4 year, 20 million deal with the Chicago Bears, giving Jay Cutler another legitimate option other than Brandon Marshall. Anthony Fasano formerly of the Miami Dolphins signed with the already very busy Kansas City Chiefs. The deal is reportedly for 4 years and 16 million dollars. The Chiefs continue to improve their roster, and dare I say that the Chiefs might sniff at a winning record this season? Yeah you’re right, probably not. The biggest news at the tight end position by far was the decision by future Hall-Of-Famer Tony Gonzalez to come back to play one more season with the Atlanta Falcons. This season will be Gonzalez’s 18th, and based on his production from 2012, I’m sure the Falcons are giddy at the news of his comeback.
On the defensive side of the ball there hasn’t been as much noise, but there have been some moves that will impact the New York teams next season. The Giants had released Chris Canty who is now a member of the defending champion Baltimore Ravens. In his place, the Giants have brought in Cullen Jenkins formerly of the Philadelphia Eagles. The New York Jets made some noise a day prior to the free agent frenzy with the earth shattering signing of David Garrard, however they made a couple moves Tuesday as well. They restructured Santonio Holmes’ and Antonio Cromarties’ contracts and they can wave bye-bye to Mike Devito as he is off to the most popular place to live these days (apparently), Kansas City. Another noteworthy move from the defensive side of the ball was that the Eagles released Nnamdi Asomugha. Asomugha is one of the worst free agent signings in recent history (don’t worry Albert Haynesworth, your’e still #1 in my heart). Another notable release was Ryan Fitzpatrick being let go from the Buffalo Bills. At least they didn’t wipe their butt with all that money (haha). William Gay, formerly of the solid Arizona Cardinals defense will add some depth to an aging Pittsburgh Steelers defense. Also, Dunta Robinson, formerly of the Atlanta Falcons, signed with the new and improved Kansas City Chiefs.
At this point there are still some big names hanging out in free agency that have yet to sign somewhere. Most notably Wes Welker, Reggie Bush, Ahmad Bradshaw, Greg Jennings, Rashard Mendenhall, and Steven Jackson. All of these guys will find a home in the coming days, it is just a matter of where. You also have Victor Cruz in waiting as a restricted free agent. For those of you who don’t know what it means to be a restricted free agent allow me to explain: A restricted free agent can negotiate with any team until April 19th. If another team presents said free agent with an offer, the original team has an opportunity to match or exceed the offer. If the original team decides not to match the offer, they will receive draft compensation based on the qualifying offer. While I like Victor Cruz as a player (and I’m sure the Giants like him too), it’s not about the player, it’s about the money. Can the Giants keep Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz? I highly doubt it.
Let us move on to the other New York “team”, the Jets. The New York Jets are going to be one of the worst teams in the league this year. They have two quarterbacks who are both completely useless, and they are losing players in bulk this offseason. They already released Calvin Pace, Bart Scott, and Erik Smith in February. As I mentioned earlier, they lost mike Devito to free agency, they waived Sione Po’uha, and it is likely that Darrelle Revis will be traded before this years draft. It is safe to say that they are in rebuilding mode.
All in all it has been a busy couple of days in free agency, and the fun has only begun. As it stands so far, you’d have to say that the Kansas City Chiefs are the big winner so far. There are big names still left to sign so that may change in a heartbeat. Stay tuned for the rest of the moves around the NFL.
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