The three-day NFL negotiating window has become so efficient that the free agency, as we once knew, is almost over when the market officially opens. At that time, on Wednesday, nine of the top 10 members of ESPN's first 100 free agents – and 17 of the top 20 – had already engaged in a team.
The 2019 twist was a series of operations that stole the titles. We have included these offers in our initial look at the winners and losers of the free NFL frenzy of 2019. Let's dive in
Winners | Losers | On the fence
We always seem to save a place here for the team that spent the most money and / or made the most eye-catching moves. But the Browns are really a better team now than they were at the end of the 2018 season, having used operations to replace a mostly trivial class of free agent.
They gave quarterback Baker Mayfield one of the best directors of the game in Odell Beckham Jr. They fortified an already formidable defensive front by acquiring the pass-roverher Olivier Vernon. And don't forget that at some point, they will have the tailback Kareem Hunt, who signed last month, but that should serve an NFL suspension for part of the season.
The new coach Freddie Kitchens will be challenged to merge a group of sharp personalities, and there is still some franchise inertia to overcome, but for the first time in a quarter of a century, the Browns are legitimate contenders for the playoffs.
Safety and linebacker without haste
The free agency is off and running. Here's what to know:
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Recent history has suggested that teams would see no value in the great class of this type of security. And reasonable people could discuss the wisdom of paying the best dollar to linebackers who don't rush to pass the passerby.
But the security market has exploded, starting from that of Landon Collins for six years, $ 84 million with the Redskins and continuing with good contracts for Kenny Vaccaro (four years, $ 26 million from the Titans), Tyrann Mathieu (three years, $ 42 million from the Texans), Lamarcus Joyner (four years, $ 42 million from the Raiders) and Tashaun Gipson (three years, $ 22.5 million from the Jaguars).
Meanwhile, the Jets gave the linebacker CJ Mosley $ 85 million in five years, and the Vikings reconfirmed linebacker Anthony Barr to an agreement that will pay him at least $ 16 million for 2019 (after reversing a previous decision to sign with Jets). Mosley and Barr have a total of only 22 bags in 148 career games, usually the metric that determines the salaries for linebackers, but the Jets and Vikings have seen beyond those numbers.
This week strengthened the initial Eagles quarterback on several levels.
First of all, the backup that was more than just a backup has finally passed. Nick Foles has agreed to enter into agreements with the Jaguars and, although there has never been any indication of discomfort between the two reporters, the Eagles' decision to let Foles leave the yard cleans up any lingering doubts about Wentz despite a series of injuries in recent two seasons. .
Secondly, Wentz will certainly be helped by the acquisition of the DeSean Jackson receiver, still one of the best downfield threats in the game. As Warren Sharp of Warren Football Analysis noted, Jackson excels in the paths that Wentz threw the best during his career, that is the exit and the flight.
Lever of the stars
Trade involving large receivers, Antonio Brown and Beckham – along with linebacker Khalil Mack in September – suggest a growing model: NFL players are improving the possibility of getting out of unwanted situations, regardless of the state of the contract, and getting out of it better the other part.
The Raiders updated Brown's contract after his exchange, and there have been reports that the Browns could do the same for Beckham after hitting him Tuesday. Such tactics will not necessarily work for the middle class of the league, and not everyone will have the stomach to follow. But for unhappy stars, at least, the path is not as gloomy as it once appeared. Forcing a trade was, however, more effective this year than having a free will, at least in bringing back the case of Le Veon Bell.
When: 25-27 April
Where is it: Nashville, Tennessee
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Sometimes you win for the moves you don't make.
The patriots were more than happy to sit down and allow Trent Brown to face the richest contract for a lineman in NFL history, as they had been last year when they greeted Nate Solder. The same goes for their best pass-rusher, defender Trey Flowers, who has agreed a five-year deal with $ 90 million with the Detroit Lions.
It takes incredible discipline to sit tight while players in those positions move away, but the upside is that it prevents overpaying that they eat in other priorities through the roster. It would be a questionable strategy if the Patriots had not shown, several times over the years, to be able to identify and develop cheaper substitute players.
If the best organizations follow a clear vision, what can we say about the Giants?
A year ago, they were filling up to finish with quarterback Eli Manning, making a series of decisions that included Beckham an extension of the five-year contract. This week, they started a fire sale with Manning still as their quarterback (at least for now). And the Jabrill Peppers security acquisitions, guard Kevin Zeitler and other first and third round choices in no way compensate for the departures of Collins, Vernon and Beckham.
The Giants now have one of the least talented rosters in the NFL, and the hope of improving it is limited by their decision to let Collins go away (rather than make a trade) and settle for a modest return to Beckham's business. They do not seem to follow a linear plan and are late for a succession plan to the quarterback. It's as if the Giants – and CEO Dave Gettleman in particular – were operating on a long-standing NFL team building.
The Ravens have reinforced their racing game with Mark Ingram. Will it be worth the money? Bill Barnwell evaluates the major offers.
The period of the free NFL agency is here. We rank the top 100 players to reach the open market, from Le Veon Bell to depth defenders.
Bell almost certainly cost millions of dollars by supporting in 2018.
Maybe it was worth it, avoiding playing for the Steelers again. Or maybe he will get more money guaranteed in his next deal. But his four-year contract worth $ 52.5 million is not the height. Nor is it the highest paid return in the NFL. Todd Gurley of Rams maintains that position with an annual average of $ 14.5 million, compared to Bell's $ 13.1 million.
It is hard to predict how Bell will manage to recover the money he would have earned by signing the Steelers final offer, which he reportedly paid between $ 14 million and $ 15 million a year, or playing at $ 14 , 55 million franchised for 2018. The move kept him healthy and brought him out of Pittsburgh, but he failed to generate the kind of bidding war that would allow him to get out of financial advantage.
Offensive linemen who have not obtained the free agency
The NFL teams are so desperate for a competent line game that, once again, they snatched away a handful of departures like a lot of hyenas.
The Raiders turned Trent Brown, whose main attribute was that he had started 16 games with the left tackle for the Super Bowl champions, the highest-paid offensive lineman in the league's history with a four-year contract and $ 66 million. The Packers gave Billy Turner, a guard / parade, a four-year contract worth $ 28 million. The Bengals have signed a right-wing attack with Bobby Hart for a three-year deal worth $ 21 million. (Neither Turner nor Hart deciphered the ESPN list of the first 100 free agents.)
These numbers should stand out among the highest ranks of the Liner League, most of whom signed contract extensions long before reaching a free agency. Imagine what a player like Packers has to deal with David Bakhtiari, an All-Pro in 2018, could have arrived on the open market. (Like many players, Bakhtiari signed an extension before the expiration of his rookie deal. The agreement he agreed to in 2016 pays him an average of $ 12 million a year, compared to the average Brown's $ 16.5 million.)
Royalty AFC North
Either the Steelers or the Ravens won the AFC North in 13 of the 17 current seasons. But both took great successes over the past week as a new competitor emerged before their eyes.
The Steelers have surrendered to one of the best players in their recent history, sending Brown to the Raiders for a return (third and fifth round choices) that will make it hard to even replace his impact. The Ravens, meanwhile, greet four key players – Mosley, security Eric Weddle, linebacker Terrell Suggs and linebacker Za & Darius Smith – from a defense that took him to the playoffs last season.
Adam Schefter reports on Earl Thomas's intention to sign a four-year, $ 55 million deal with the Ravens.
Both the Steelers and the Ravens could choose the remaining market and then refuel during the draft. The ravens have already, to some extent, accepted the terms with the safety of the wounded, Earl Thomas and the veteran backtracking to Mark Ingram. But the rise of the Browns as a legitimate contender to the division, for the first time in a quarter of a century, leaves much less room for error.
ON THE ENCLOSURE
The Titans were one of the most active teams in the NFL this week, doing three major operations by signing offensive lineman Rodger Saffold, receiver Adam Humphries and defensive Cameron Wake, while he signed Vaccaro again safely. I'm not sure what to do with it.
On the one hand, giving Wake $ 10 million guaranteed at the age of 37 seems overly optimistic. But on the other hand, giving a relatively inaccurate quarterback to Marcus Mariota, a productive slot receiver in Humphries seems like a good idea. And Saffold, assuming he is healthy, adapts to the open mouth style that the Titans should pursue.
I understand the incentive of the Titans after being in the division of the AFC South division until last week's 17th. But will this eclectic stuff do anything to push them beyond the Texans and the Colts? For the moment we will leave the Titans in the winner / loser purgatory.
At the beginning of this week, it seemed that Bridgewater was ready to return to the Saints for a second season as backup for Drew Brees. The dolphins reportedly convinced him to visit their facility with the odds that new coach Brian Flores will open the starting job. If so, Bridgewater must face a complex and difficult decision.
It hasn't taken a significant step since 2015, and returning to New Orleans means committing to pass a fourth consecutive season on the sidelines, with no guarantee that it will replace Brees in 2020. But it should go on the field, the Saints "Offensive infrastructures offer a model of much better success than the dolphins, which seem to be starting a long reconstruction process.
What could be better for Bridgewater's long-term goal than to be a starter: get back on the field before it is definitively classified as a backup or create the best possible environment for success if it arrives on the field? Both options are fraught with risks.