The NFL’s second day of free agency was more about taking care of your own than bringing in new faces. Although there still were a few moves to bring in outside talent, mainly by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Bucs kept the momentum rolling from day one (signing the best FA WR in Vincent Jackson) by also scooping up the best offensive line free agent, guard Carl Nicks (5 year, 47.5 mill, 31 mill guaranteed) and cornerback Eric Wright (5 year, 37.5 mill). The Wright signing might be the more interesting of the two as this almost assuredly means the Bucs will not be drafting Morris Claiburne with the 5th overall draft pick in the upcoming draft. Remember March 14th as the day the Bucs tipped their hands in the pursuit to go all-in on Trent Richardson (just a guess but come on).
Also the Jacksonville Jaguars decided to overpay tremendously for Laurent Robinson (5 year, 32.5 mill, 14 mill guaranteed). Do the Jags need WR help? Yes. Do they need it from a guy who was cut last year from a team that, at the time, didn’t have a single worthwhile receiver? Probably not. Well at least he now has the prospect of Chad Henne (2 years) throwing balls over his head to look forward to, although the Henne deal does give someone to push Gabbert, which is definitely needed.
The Dallas Cowboys replaced the aging Terrence Newman, who they cut just yesterday, with former Chief Brandon Carr (5 year, 50.1 mill). This is probably the best free agent move so far. While Finnegan has the flashier name and the “better” stats, I think Carr has more upside and will finally give Dallas a cornerback that won’t make football fans cringe to watch. They also added Kyle Orton, to back up Tony Romo, and Lawerence Vickers on the offensive side. Some shrewd moves coming from the Cowboys today.
However, the most noteworthy of today’s moves were about keeping your own. After holding out for two years (admit it, even though he was on the field he didn’t care at all), Desean Jackson finally gets paid (5 year, 51 mill) by the Philadelphia Eagles. You better believe Philly fans will be all over his ass if he is anywhere close to his play last year.
Meanwhile the Detroit Lions made sure Calvin Johnson, i.e. Megatron, to “put the [money] cube in [his] chest” (to the tune of 8 years, 132 mill, 60 mill guaranteed). He is definitely the best young receiver in the game and this move probably is back-loaded so that the Lions can make a few moves to put them over the top, but wow that’s a lot of dough. But if you’re a Lions fan you have to be happy, for a franchise that hasn’t done much lately keeping their own has to be a priority.
The Miami Dolphins also got to keep Paul Soliai (2 year, 12 mill, 6 mill guaranteed) that stunned the NFL “pundits”. Many thought Soliai was as good as gone but the Dolphins luckily retained the anchor of their defensive line. They also brought in the solid Richard Marshall to help bolster the pass defense.
One last signing to mention, Peyton Hills has found a new (albeit short term home as his contract is only for 1 year, 3 mill) with the Kansas City Chiefs.
Last, but not least, it remained quiet on the Eastern front. While Peyton Manning had an incredibly lengthy meeting (putting in a full 8-hour day), he left the Tennessee Titans still able to swim in the shallow end of the free agent pool. Likewise Mario Williams decided (or according to John Clayton, “The Bills still have Mario Williams locked in at their facility, trying to convince him to be a Bill,” oh how Mr. Mackey loves to hate on the Bills) to stay in Buffalo for not only the entire day of Wednesday, but through Thursday morning. This lengthy visit is incredibly abnormal because players usually only make quick stops unless they sign, they don’t spend 60 + hours in a city before signing. Being a fan of the Buffalo Bills I have my own special take.
The Bills’ reputation across the league is that they must overspend to land any wanted free agent and when that is coupled with the Bills’ needing to spend a lot to reach the cap floor this year, Mario decided to use Buffalo as leverage. While in Buffalo, Mario was hoping to receive many offers from worried teams except that never happened. Now all of a sudden Mario has to seriously consider the Bills offer, which to the front office’s credit is actually a real offer, they didn’t just bring Mario in to excite the fan base with no intention of signing him (as has happened many times before). Mario flew his wife into town to get her to look it over and try to talk her, and probably himself, into actually being able to live and play in Buffalo. If no contract is signed by Thursday morning the Bills should rescind their offer and tell Mario that he can still play in Buffalo once he leaves, but the offer won’t be nearly as good.
That wraps up the major news from NFL Free Agency’s second day. Be sure to check back for a wrap-up and analysis for days 3 and 4.