NFL free agency is here, which means the rumors are at the highest possible pitch when it comes to some of the top names on the market.
Thanks to the legal tampering period that preceded the opening of the market, plenty of deals were already agreed to in principle—but no ink was allowed to actually touch paper.
Now, all chaos breaks loose.
It can be very difficult to keep up with all of the nuggets of info making the rounds, so here is a look at the latest on three of the biggest names in search of a new deal.
Jairus Byrd No Lock in Washington, May Stay in Buffalo?
As arguably the top prize on the market, former Buffalo safety Jairus Byrd may be—believe it or not—back on his way to Buffalo.
According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport and The Philadelphia Inquirer's Jeff McLane, there is an outside chance Byrd will crawl back to Buffalo if he cannot get the deal he desires on the open market:
Would be really surprised if #Redskins were in on Jairus Byrd, from what I’m hearing. We’ll see his market. Return to Bills still possible— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 11, 2014
Don't rule out Jairus Byrd returning to the Bills if he can't get big money on the market. They'll pay him a fair amount.— Jeff McLane (@Jeff_McLane) March 11, 2014
Rapoport's details are especially interesting because the Washington Redskins figured to be major players for Byrd's services (Come on, when is Washington not in play for a top free agent?).
But honestly, it makes sense that some on the market are allegedly balking at Byrd's requests, as detailed by NFL Network's Albert Breer:
Word is that Jairus Byrd's asking price has scared some teams off. He's looking for more than $8 million per year, and may well get it.— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) March 10, 2014
Look, Byrd is a great player. He ranked as the No. 8 overall safety in the NFL last season, according to Pro Football Focus (subscription required), for a reason. But the market may fight back on this one, and in what would be a surprise to most, Byrd may stay with the Bills after all.
This meshes well with what Byrd told ESPN's Mike Rodak recently about his open dialouge with the Bills front office:
The door is not closed on anything. I'm not closing the door on any opportunities at all. The lines of communication are still open. I've talked to [CEO] Russ [Brandon] and [general manager] Doug [Whaley] a couple days ago. We're talking. So it's not anything that's hard feelings or anything like that. The conversations that we've had, we know what's going on. We're all on the same page. We'll go from here.
Justin Tuck Going Back Home?
At the age of 30 and coming off a season in which he recorded 11 sacks, Justin Tuck is one of free agency's unheralded gems who has plenty left to offer if the price is right.
But according to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, the market is being unkind to Tuck, which may in turn land him right back with the New York Giants:
Per a league source, Tuck’s exploration of the market currently is causing him to lean toward remaining with the Giants.
One team, we’re told, was willing to pay Tuck $3 million per year. For that amount elsewhere, Tuck is inclined to stay in New York.
No shocker here. Why would Tuck leave familiar territory while uprooting his family for such a meager sum?
In the current environment over the past few seasons, the most money for players like Tuck will be with his old team. That appears to be the case here, and barring an uptick on the market, Tuck looks like he is going to be back in New York next season.
The Darrelle Revis Saga
Get used to seeing Darrelle Revis' name in the headlines until this whole ordeal is sorted out.
According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will cut Revis on March 12 if they have not found a trade partner:
Short of a trade in the next two days, the Buccaneers are expected to release CB Darrelle Revis by 4 p.m. Wednesday, per league sources.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 11, 2014
It gets more complicated.
The only presumable way a team will be willing to give up a major haul to obtain Revis would be for him to restructure his ridiculous contract that will pay him $16 million next year alone. According to Florio, Revis will not take a pay cut to make a trade happen:
Per a league source, Revis declined Tampa’s request to reduce his compensation. Which sparked the effort to trade him and the inevitable decision, if they can’t trade him, to cut him. The source explains that Revis won’t take a pay cut to facilitate a trade.
According to Schefter, the Oakland Raiders and the Cleveland Browns are the two names seriously in the mix to land Revis at this time. However, a deal seems unlikely without the star corner consenting to a pay cut and with both teams knowing full and well Tampa Bay is sure to cut him in order to avoid the $1.5 million bonus he is due Wednesday.
There appears to be a great chance Revis hits the market, which would truly be a sight to see as the majority of the teams in the league would surely have some level of interest in the NFL's best corner.