NFL teams didn’t wait for March 14 to start reshaping their rosters. Now, all those moves are going to have domino effect on free federal agency and the bill of exchange.
The NFL offtime period has been a busy one so far, even earlier free federal agency has started.
We’ve seen Marcus Peters listed to the Rams and Alec Ogletree shipped to the Giants. Michael Bennett was sent to the Eagles, and we’re expecting the first of the end for the Legion of Boom, with Richard Sherman’s release.
Each of those moves are like dominoes, large big, hard-hitting dominoes, that will have rippling effects on how the free causal agent marketplace and the bill of exchange blossom this year.
So which of these pre-free federal agency moves are changing the scenery for the new conference year on Mar. 14, and how will they happen?
Washington had 3 choices with Kirk Cousins this year: tag him for a 3rd time period, let him walk, or lock him up with a long-term deal. As predicted, they let him walk. But alternatively of clumsy their QB state of affairs any further, they opted to make a commerce for Smith.
Now Kirk Cousins is the hottest name on the free federal agency marketplace. Teams like the Jets, Browns, Cardinals, and Vikings should be consenting to propulsion a evidence deal at Cousins. If Washington hadn’t listed for Smith, Cousins mightiness be lining yet some other time period of musical performance nether the tag. Sam Bradford, Teddy Bridgewater and AJ McCarron would be the top targets in free federal agency, and Jimmy Garoppolo mightiness be retention onto that highest-paid NFL participant appellation a little longer.
Trumaine Johnson received the franchise tag in each of the last two years, making it unlikely that the Rams would be able to hammer out a deal in the 2018 offtime period. That was bad news with Kayvon Webster going down with an Achilles injury late in 2017, leaving the Rams with little cornerback depth.
They solved the problem by brokering commerces with the Chiefs and Broncos to land Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib — two of the NFL’s best cornerbacks.
That’s good news for the entire cornerback marketplace. By addressing their cornerback question marks via commerces, the Rams did every team interested in upgrading at the position a favor. It: A) Took one of the teams most desperate for cornerbacks out of the free federal agency marketplace, and B) Guaranteed that Johnson would become available. That’s more talent to pick from and less competition to parse through it.
All good things must come to an end, and that’s currently happening to the Seattle Seahawks. They listed defensive end Michael Bennett to the Eagles in exchange for bill of exchange picks in an effort to get younger. Friday, they released Richard Sherman, a staple on Seattle’s defense and Legion of Boom secondary. There are rumors that Earl Thomas’ time in the Pacific Northwest could be coming to an end soon, too, if any potential suitors make them a lucrative offer.
It’s a reset button that was going to have to be hit eventually, and now the Seahawks are officially Russell Wilson’s team.
The Seahawks are just getting started. While the offtime period has been busy so far, free federal agency still doesn’t start until Mar. 14. Between there and the NFL Draft, Seattle is going to be quite busy trying to make sure they don’t miss a beat on defense, meaning they’ll be participants in free federal agency and on the hunt during the bill of exchange. Ndamukong Suh was already sighted in Seattle the day news broke that the Dolphins would cut him.
Cleveland didn’t wait until March 14 to reshape the roster. The Browns spent the days just earlier the legal tampering period opened making several big commerces. The team acquired quarterback Tyrod Taylor, wide receiver Jarvis Landry, and cornerback Damarious Randall, and jettisoned quarterback DeShone Kizer and Danny Shelton. Altogether, it cost the team several mid-round selections, but the Browns added a few 2019 picks along the way.
The quarterback marketplace was affected by the Browns’ moves. Cleveland still has more than $80 million in cap space and plenty of roster reshaping left to do, so it didn’t change free federal agency too much aside from leaving the Bills without a quarterback and the Packers hungry for more cornerback help.
The biggest domino, though, was that it presumably takes the Browns out of the marketplace for AJ McCarron, the Bengals’ backup quarterback who the Browns infamously tried and failed to commerce for last time period. One less likely suitor for McCarron, who now mightiness have to wait until Cousins, Sam Bradford and Teddy Bridgewater find new teams.
McCarron technically should have been a restricted free causal agent with the Bengals this offtime period because of his number of accrued time periods. He filed a grievance against the Bengals, claiming that they shouldn’t have placed him on IR in his rookie time period. He won.
That gave teams some other starting quarterback option in free federal agency. And McCarron, who showed promise in 2015 filling in for an injured Andy Dalton but hasn’t played consistently since, should come much cheaper than Cousins. That’s good news for teams like the Broncos and Cardinals, who need a quarterback but have limited cap room to work with this offtime period. Still, there’s a long list of participants better than McCarron who mightiness find jobs first.
Buffalo is shipping off all kinds of assets earlier the conference year opens. On Monday, they dealt left tackle Cordy Glenn to the Bengals and swapped first-round picks with Cincy as part of the deal.
The Bills have the picks to get their quarterback in the bill of exchange. With the first and fourth overall picks, the Browns still control the board, but Buffalo now has the 12th pick and the 22nd, the only other team with two picks in the opening frame, more than enough commerce capital to move up higher into the first round for a quarterback.
Dealing Glenn also means there’s one less team looking for a left tackle on the free causal agent marketplace. That’s either good news for the handful of squads still looking for veteran blind side help, and potentially bad news for participants like Nate Solder or Chris Hubbard.
Last year, the Eagles flourished in free federal agency. They didn’t overspend, they targeted needs, and the talent they added got them a Super Bowl win. That won’t be the case this year.
This year, they’re paying for it, and it will make more participants available. The Eagles are nearly $10 million over the cap, and they have until the start of the conference year to get nether it. They’ll have a hard time re-signing free causal agents like Nigel Bradham and Trey Burton, and they may have to commerce Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles to clear up some cap space.
While the Rams made deals to revamp their cornerbacks, they also dealt Alec Ogletree to the Giants. He’s a more valuable cog for a Giants defense that needed coverage linebackers. Ogletree also happens to be one of the conference’s highest paid linebackers. His $10 million cap hit is a big one for a team with a lot of needs and less than $20 million in available space.
Does this point to Eli Manning getting dealt by the Giants? That still feels like a stretch, but all eyes will be watching to see what Big Blue decides to do about the 37-year-old QB. It was assumed earlier in the year that his time there was over, but former coach Ben McAdoo’s poor handling of the state of affairs, benching the two-time Super Bowl winner, caused more problems than it solved. Even if the Giants do hang onto Manning, they may need to restructure his contract and the $22 million cap hit it carries. Remember too that Odell Beckham Jr. wants a new contract soon.
Not content just to have their franchise quarterback signed to the NFL’s richest contract, the 49ers struck early in free federal agency to fill one of the biggest holes on their roster, cornerback. The Seahawks released Richard Sherman, and he wasted no time signing with the Niners relishing the chance for “vengeance.” It’s clear the 49ers have no intention of hiding behind the rebuilding label; they want to contend and they want to do it now.
The 49ers are going to be aggressive on the free causal agent marketplace. Only four teams have more cap space the 49ers with $64 million to spend, and 3 of those teams — the Jets, Browns and Colts — are in the process of a roster makeover. They still need pass rushing help, receivers, linebackers and interior linemen, positions which also happen to have some of the best available free causal agents this year. San Francisco can set the marketplace.