In a year where the salary cap in the NFL dropped by 8%, teams weren’t shy to deal out some serious cash.
One of the busiest teams Monday was New England, who were able to walk away with seven key free agents. This list includes former Baltimore pass rusher Matt Judon and former Tennessee tight end Jonnu Smith. Bill Belicheck was clearly not happy with being just average, and the aggressiveness of the Patriot’s moves reflects that greatly. The team spent close to 200 million dollars in total contract money just on Monday.
Houston has also been very active, albeit with some lower-profile moves. They were able to walk away with running back Mark Ingram, wide receiver and kick returner Andre Roberts, and linebackers Christian Kirksey and Kamu Grugier-Hill. This was a team that clearly needed to retool after a 4-12 finish. The biggest question looming remains to be the future of DeShaun Watson.
Jacksonville was another team that made several moves that won’t generate headlines but could help gain wins. Defensive end Roy Robertson-Harris, running back Carlos Hyde, and receivers Jamal Agnew and Phillip Dorsett are now all in the fold for 2021 and new head coach Urban Meyer. These moves make sense for a team that will fill out most of its needs through the draft. The team has 11 selections, including Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence coming their way very soon.
The Jets entered this offseason with the second-most cap space, and they capitalized on that with the signings of linebacker Jarrad Davis, defensive end Carl Lawson, and wide receiver Corey Davis. They now need to address an offensive line that has been one of the worst in the league for years.
To replace Lawson, Cincinnati signed former Saints defensive end Trey Hendrickson to a four-year deal worth 60 million dollars. Hendrickson broke out with 13.5 sacks last season. Time will tell if he is the real deal or just a one-shot wonder.
At the game’s most important position, Jameis Winston re-upped with the Saints to be their starter for 2021, even with the extension that was given to Taysom Hill a few short days ago. Ryan Fitzpatrick inked a two year, 10 million contracts with Washington, where he will be competing with Taylor Heineke, and whoever else they may bring in, to be the starter
Cory Linsley and Joe Thuney boosted the interior line market on Monday. Linsley was able to ink a four-year, 62 million dollar deal with the Los Angeles Chargers, making him the highest-paid center in the NFL. Thuney agreed to a massive five-year, 80 million dollar contract block for Patrick Mahomes in Kansas City. This was the offseason for teams to improve their offensive lines with key guys available all over free agency. Los Angeles and Kansas City improved theirs in a big way.
Other notable signings include Bud Dupree going with Tennessee, John Johnson signing with Cleveland, Ronald Darby signing with Denver, and Yannick Ngakoue joining the Raiders.
For day two, some big names still remain, especially at the wide receiver position. Notable names such as Kenny Golladay, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Will Fuller, and Curtis Samuel remain on the board. Also, running back Chris Carson, cornerback Shaq Griffin, and tackle Trent Williams are still left on the open market.
Here’s to hoping day two is as good as day one.