The official start date of NFL free agency is at 4:00 p.m. EST on Tuesday March 12, but there are a lot of rumors, speculations and confirmations of player movement ahead of the beginning of free agency. This is an exciting time of the NFL year, as it gives teams the chance to add proven talent to their squads.
It is also a time when a lot of money gets thrown around. Outside of the NFL draft, free agency represents the biggest opportunity for teams to add players to their roster.
Let's look at some things we know, and things we are hearing ahead of the start of free agency in 2013.
The Seattle Seahawks took the league by surprise today when, a day before league-wide free agency began, they traded for disgruntled receiver Percy Harvin.
Fox's Jay Glazer was first to tweet the news of the trade.
The Seahawks and Vikings have agreed to a trade that send Harvin to Seattle for draft picks, pending Harvin passing a physical
— Jay Glazer (@JayGlazer) March 11, 2013
The trade makes a lot of sense for the Seahawks. They are going all-in to win now. They have the luxury of paying in other areas because of how little they are paying their starting quarterback Russell Wilson.
As a football player, Harvin is as electric is it gets. He can impact the game in so many ways—catching the ball, returning it and out of the backfield. Harvin is going to help to take the Seahawks offense to the next level.
Mike Florio of profootballtalk.com has reported that the Seahawks gave up their 2013 first-round and seventh-round picks, in addition to a 2014 third-round pick to get Harvin.
The Seahawks get an incredible football player, and the Vikings get picks in return for a player who no longer wanted to play there. It's a winning situation for both teams.
The Miami Dolphins took a step forward last year with rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill. Their offense was better than expected, and now is the time to bring in talent to help him grow as a quarterback.
Steelers wide receiver Mike Wallace will hit the open market on Tuesday, and he is expected to go the the Dolphins, as reported below by ESPN's Adam Schefter.
League-wide expectation is that WR Mike Wallace winds up in Miami with the Dolphins.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 11, 2013
Wallace is a tremendous vertical threat and a No. 1 receiver. They re-signed receiver Brian Hartline, but they don't have a player to challenge defenses deep. Wallace is the perfect fit, as challenging defenses vertically is what he does best.
In what seems to be a day of saber rattling between NFC West powers, the San Francisco 49ers answered the Seattle Seahawks' trade for Percy Harvin with a significant move of their own. The San Francisco 49ers acquired Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Anquan Boldin for a sixth-round pick.
The trade was reported by Aaron Wilson of The Baltimore Sun.
The Ravens are in a tight money situation because of the huge contract that quarterback Joe Flacco signed.
Make no mistake, Boldin can still play and he will help the 49ers offense to move the chains and make tough, contested catches across the middle and in the red zone.
The New York Giants received some defensive line help in the form of Cullen Jenkins, as reported by ESPN's Adam Schefter on March 10.
Former Eagles DL Cullen Jenkins reached agreement on a three-year deal with the New York Giants.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 10, 2013
Jenkins was a member of the Philadelphia Eagles for the past two seasons, but he was cut in a money move several weeks ago. Jenkins is a nine-year veteran, playing his first seven seasons in Green Bay. He signed a five-year, $25 million deal with the Eagles in 2011.
Jenkins is set to anchor the defensive line for the Giants. This is a unit that needed to be upgraded as they finished No. 25 in the NFL in run defense last year, allowing 129.1 rushing yards per game.
According to ESPN, Buffalo Bills cornerback and kick returner Leodis McKelvin signed a four-year contract worth a little over $20 million to remain a member of the Bills. McKelvin, a former first-round pick in 2008, was scheduled to become a free agent on Tuesday, but the Bills decided they did not want to allow him to get there.
McKelvin has had a bigger impact on special teams than he had as a cornerback, but he will get the chance to compete for a starting job in 2013. He played a lot as the nickel corner in 2012, but judging from the amount of money he was paid, it is expected that he will compete to start opposite 2012 first-round pick Stephen Gilmore.
The Detroit Lions are in a delicate situation with their salary cap, and they must pick and choose wisely as to how they will spend their money. Big contracts to quarterback Matthew Stafford, wide receiver Calvin Johnson and defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh have eaten away at the money they have to spend, and they have plenty of holes to fill.
The Lions need to have inexpensive play out of the defensive end position. Anwar Richardson of mlive.com is reporting that the Lions are pursuing St. Louis Rams defensive end William Hayes. Hayes is a former 2008 fourth-round pick of the Tennessee Titans.
That was Lions head coach Jim Schwartz's final year as Titans' defensive coordinator, and there is a relationship there.
This type of move makes a lot of sense for the Lions, as it won't break the bank. There is also comfort in knowing a little about what kind of player they they are getting. Hayes is the prototype of free agent for the Lions in 2013, inexpensive and highly productive for his level of compensation.
Cornerback Dunta Robinson was not unemployed for very long, as the Chiefs signed him to a three-year deal just days after he was cut by the Atlanta Falcons. The move was reported by ESPN's Adam Schefter. Robinson will compete for playing time in the Chiefs' secondary.
Robinson was a high-profile cornerback in Atlanta, but his play has suffered of late and he was cut to save money. The Chiefs have added a player who can compete right now to make their secondary better than it was in 2012.
Running back Reggie Bush's name has been connected with the Detroit Lions since the Dolphins made it clear he wasn't returning to Miami in 2013 (Oakland Press). The fit between Bush and the Lions is seemingly perfect, as the Lions are desperate for speed out of the backfield and Bush certainly provides that.
Mike O'Hara of detroitlions.com broke down what Bush could bring to the Detroit offense. He makes it clear that it isn't the volume of plays that Bush will make for the Lions that matters, it's the constant threat to make the big play—similar to what running back Jahvid Best provided before he was injured.
Bush would make the offense significantly better than it was in 2012, and his speed is the key. Like all players in free agency, money will be the driving force in whether Bush ends up in Detroit for the 2013 season. But there is no doubting the Lions' interest in him.