Last season, because of the prolonged player lockout, the NFL free-agent season consisted of the first couple weeks in August before the start of training camp, which led to a complete frenzy of deals on almost an hourly basis.
With business back to usual in the NFL for this offseason, you would think that teams would take a slow and methodical approach to signing free agents, but since the opening bell on Tuesday afternoon things have been almost as fast and furious as quite a few high-profile deals have already been struck.
The Washington Redskins made the biggest so far splash by redesigning their entire receiving corps with addition of Pierre Garcon from Indianapolis and Josh Morgan from San Francisco. These moves are obviously in anticipation of adding quarterback Robert Griffin III with the second overall pick in the draft. The Redskins put themselves in position to grab what they hope will be their franchise QB for seasons to come, through an aggressive trade with Cleveland that sent their first round picks for the next three years to the Browns to move up to the No.2 spot.
Randy Moss was technically retired, but signed a free agent deal with the 49ers in hope of revitalizing a career that prematurely ended on a bad note. The future ‘Hall of Famer’ is confident there is still plenty of gas left in the tank to help San Francisco win a championship next season.
A couple of wide receivers that are staying put are Reggie Wayne in Indianapolis and Calvin Johnson in Detroit. It was widely speculated that Wayne would try and follow Peyton Manning to whichever team this season’s biggest free agent prize finally decides to play for in 2012, but he came to terms with the Colts on a new three-year $17.5 million deal. Johnson was not a free agent, but Detroit decided to take the bull by the horns and make him the highest-paid receiver in the history of the NFL with an eight-year deal worth an estimated $130 million.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers took an aggressive approach to free agency by signing former New Orleans guard Carl Nicks to five-year $47.5 million deal. This was just after they agreed to terms with former San Diego wide receiver Vincent Jackson on a five-year deal that is reportedly worth around $56 million. To bolster their secondary, the Buccaneers signed former Lion cornerback Eric Wright to a five-year $37.5 million contract. Tampa Bay had targeted all three of these players as its top priority and gets the early A for getting these deals done within the first 24 hours of free agency.
A couple of other deals that got done today has former Tennessee cornerback Cortland Finnegan jumping ship to sign with St. Louis and former Saints wide receiver Robert Meachem filling Jackson’s vacated spot in San Diego.
Besides Manning, who reportedly has narrowed his choice of teams down to Denver, Arizona, Miami, and Tennessee, the biggest fish in the free-agent pool is linebacker/defensive end Mario Williams, who played his first six seasons in the NFL with Houston. Williams is easily the best defensive free agent on the open market and is reportedly being courted by Seattle, Buffalo, Chicago, and Jacksonville. There is an outside chance he works out a deal with the Texans, but right now he appears to be headed elsewhere for 2012.
DJ is a freelance writer that concentrates on his true passion in life; the world of sports. He produces a number of articles each week for BangTheBook.com as well as a select group of other websites that specialize in providing the most up-to-date information for the sports gaming industry. His goal is to write insightful articles on a wide variety of sporting topics that can provide an edge to today's sophisticated online player.