NFL Free Agency: Day 1 Recap
By Brian Dugan
Nov 17, 2013; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals defensive end Michael Johnson (93) reacts during the game against the Cleveland Browns at Paul Brown Stadium. Cincinnati won 41-20. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
The NFL’s closet thing to a yard sale opened Tuesday afternoon at 4pm Eastern Time, and teams wasted no time offering deals to new free agents, all hoping to get to that next level. Yes, NFL free agency has begun. The Cincinnati Bengals go into free agency with needs at cornerback, safety, offensive line, possibly running back, and quarterback. What have the Bengals done to address these needs and what does day two bring? Firstly, the Cincinnati Bengals are generally okay with not making any moves on day one of free agency. They just don’t. If anything they lose players on day one and work the rest of the offseason to fill the open holes. Look for more of the same from the Bengals on day two and days to come. Here is a rundown of the moves the Bengals have made, the AFC North, and the most notable snags of day one.
Cincinnati: The Bengals have two unrestricted free agents, T Anthony Collins, and DE Michael Johnson. Johnson is regarded as one of the best DE’s in the league and is commanding top dollar, whereas Collins has been a very nice fit in Cincinnati and may have to wait on a contract. Johnson wasted no time Tuesday and came to an agreement with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, signing a 5 year $43.75 million dollar deal, with $24 million guaranteed. Collins is also in talks with Tampa Bay, and is drawing interest from former Offensive Coordinator and now Redskins Head Coach, Jay Gruden. The Bengals also released 7 year veteran C Kyle Cook, who will free up just over $2 million in cap space. Bengals have also re-signed WR/KR Brandon Tate. Lastly for the Bengals, The Browns have signed WR Andrew Hawkins to an offer sheet, and with him being a Restricted Free Agent, the Bengals have the opportunity to match the offer.
Cleveland: After releasing LB D’Qwell Jackson, and losing S TJ Ward to free agency, the Browns have wasted no time in signing former Arizona Cardinals LB Karlos Dansby to 4 years, $24 million, with $14 million guaranteed, and the Browns also signed former San Francisco 49ers S, and Cleveland native Donte Whitner to a 4 year $28 million deal. Also, the Browns have signed Bengals WR Andrew Hawkins to an offer sheet, with no details of the deal discussed. The Browns are also reportedly in talks with Tampa Bay in securing CB Darrelle Revis.
Baltimore: The Ravens have been scrambling to sign OT Eugene Monroe, and it appears both sides have agreed to terms on a new deal. Monroe and the Ravens have agreed to a 5 year $37.5 million dollar deal. The Ravens have also expressed interest in former Steelers WR Emmanuel Sanders.
Pittsburgh: Once again the Steelers enter free agency over the salary cap and once again their front office nearly goes into panic mode as they restructure deals, and decide whom they can keep and whom they need to release. Most notably, Emmanuel Sanders is lost to free agency, and they already announced the release of veteran linebacker LaMarr Woodley. The Steelers did make one day one move, they signed former Carolina Panthers S Mike Mitchell to a 5 year, $25 million dollar deal.
Other notable signings from around the league:
Denver: Biggest signing, former Patriots CB Aqib Talib, 6 years, $57 million dollars, with $26 million guaranteed. They also agreed to terms with WR Andre Caldwell through 2015 for $3.75 million, and are signing former Cleveland Browns S TJ Ward. Other potential contracts include former Dallas Cowboys all pro DE Demarcus Ware, former Chicago Bears DE Julius Peppers, and/or former Minnesota Vikings DE Jared Allen.
Oakland: The Raiders have announced the signing of RB Darren McFadden to a 1 year deal worth $4 million dollars. Raiders also signed former Rams OT Rodger Saffold for 5 years $42.5 million dollars with $21 million guaranteed.
Tennessee: Titans are rumored to be cutting ties with RB Chris Johnson, and in the meantime have signed former Chiefs WR/KR Dexter McCluster, the deal is reportedly for 3 years, $12 million dollars with $3.5 guaranteed.
Indianapolis: The Colts certainly have been busy today, which is nothing new for owner Jim Irsay. The Colts have reached deals with CB Vontae Davis on a 4 year $39 million dollar deal with $20 million guaranteed. Colts also signed former Ravens DT Arthur Jones to a 2 year deal worth about $6 million.
Jacksonville: The Jaguars have traded away former 1st round QB Blaine Gabbert to the San Francisco 49ers for a 6th round pick. Jacksonville has signed former Broncos G Zane Beadles to a 5 year, $30 million dollar deal with $13 million guaranteed. Jacksonville announced a deal with former Minnesota RB Toby Gerhart. Also, former Seahawks CB William Thurmond is scheduled to meet with the Jaguars tomorrow.
Miami: The Dolphins have also been very busy this day one of free agency, acquiring former Chiefs OT Branden Albert on a 5 year $46 million dollar deal with $25 million guaranteed.
Arizona: The Cardinals have signed former Raiders OT Jared Veldheer to a 5 year $35 million dollar deal.
San Francisco: Besides trading a 6th round pick to the Jacksonville Jaguars for QB Blaine Gabbert, the 49ers have also traded a conditional 7th round pick to the Miami Dolphins for T Jonathan Martin.
Seattle: No rest for the Super Bowl Champs, as the Seahawks have signed their own DT Michael Bennett to a 4 year $34 million dollar deal. Seattle is also in talks with former Vikings DE Jared Allen and Cowboys free agent DL Jason Hatcher.
Tampa Bay: The Buccaneers opened free agency signing former Bengals DE Michael Johnson to a 5 year $43.75 million dollar deal with $24 million guaranteed. They weren’t done yet, as the Bucs have signed former Seattle DT Clinton McDonald to a 4 year, $12 million dollar deal. The Buccaneers are also targeting former Bears CB Charles “peanut” Tillman.
New Orleans: The Saints have been relatively quiet, until they nabbed former Bills S Jairus Byrd for a 6 year $54 million dollar contract with $28 million guaranteed.
Washington: New Head Coach and former Bengals Offensive Coordinator Jay Gruden is going to have a few new toys in Redskin country as the Redskins have signed former Tampa Bay LB Adam Hayward on a 3 year deal, former Browns G Shawn Lauvao to a 4 year $17 million dollar deal, and former Tennessee WR Andre Roberts to a 4 year $16 million dollar deal. The club also reports the re-signing of WR Santana Moss.
As free agency day one winds down, look for teams to be just as active in day two. Look for the Bengals to continue working on deals for their own players and not just jump into the free agent market. Remember, these players are free agents for a reason, and the Bengals know this. All free agent deals reported in this article are per Adam Schefter of ESPN.
All info courtesy of NFL.com.