NFL Free Agency: 5 Teams That Will Make a Splash in Free Agency
The 2011 NFL Free agency period is in full swing. Yesterday marked the start of the negotiating timeframe, which started slowly but picked up speed later in the day. Last evening and into last night, some of the premier players available at their positions started to agree in principle with teams.
Due to the unique offseason, there are certain unorthodox rules regulating free agency in place. For instance, all of the contracts agreed upon yesterday will not become official until Friday at 6 p.m. EST. Also, all the cuts that have been taking place across the league cannot actually take place until Thursday.
So, even though some sought-after players such as Charles Johnson and Marshall Yanda were locked up yesterday, what we saw is likely the calm before the storm. Today it could very well start pouring with free agent signings.
What teams will be most involved in this frenzy of free agency activity? Some teams have tons of cap space because of the more stringent salary floor. Other teams have lots of holes to fill. There are also teams with coaches who have to win this year or they will lose their jobs.
These are the teams that I think will make the biggest proverbial “splash” in this free agency period. Have any thoughts of your own or disagree with my opinions? Let me know either, in the comments or on Twitter (@JakeBRB).
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The Jaguars are one of the teams that have to spend a lot to be in compliance with the new salary floor. With $31.4 million to work with, they have a lot of money; but as opposed to other teams in a similar situation, they seem to be very willing to capitalize on the new revenue sharing and spend.
Jacksonville already showed this by signing former Bills linebacker Paul Posluszny to a six-year $42 million deal. The Jaguars are also right in the middle of a four- or five-team bidding war for the services of free safety Eric Weddle.
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This one was a softball. The Redskins classically are in the mix for at least two or three high profile free agents every year. Even though Mike Shanahan and Bruce Allen have reined in the spending a bit, there is a certain amount of shopping that has to take place to appease owner Dan Snyder.
The Redskins were supposedly hot for Yanda who is locked up, but are still on the prowl for Jets receiver Santonio Holmes who could be the highest paid player at his position. They are also reportedly locked into a bidding war with Jerry Jones and the Cowboys for Cullen Jenkins. Jones vs. Snyder is always entertaining.
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Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome always has a few tricks up his sleeve, but I don’t think anyone saw the myriad of cuts that happened this week. Derrick Mason, Todd Heap, Kelly Gregg and Willis McGahee all were key players on the Ravens for the last few years, but they lost their jobs.
The reason for the cuts was to make cap space. Yonda was re-signed, and supposedly they are trying to lock up Haloti Ngata to a long-term deal. With all the cap space they created though, they still have plenty of room to sign a big name player or two.
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Gary Kubiak knows that if he does not make the playoffs this season, he will lose his job. To make it to the postseason, newly hired defensive coordinator Wade Phillips needs to turn the defense around in a hurry. He’ll need a few more starters to be able to do that, especially in the secondary.
The Texans have been linked repeatedly to the Nnamdi Asomugha sweepstakes, but it is unknown how realistic that is. Based on the several talks with the media by owner Bob McNair though, it does not appear that money will keep the Texans from acquiring a top flight corner back.
New York Jets
The Jets have been a larger-than-life franchise since head coach Rex Ryan was hired. In his first season, he knocked on Bart Scott’s door at 12:01 a.m. on the first day of the new league year. Last season, the Jets were at the center of the preseason media attention because of the show Hard Knocks and the well publicized holdout of Darrelle Revis.
The Jets have also made several trades to acquire players like Santonio Holmes, Braylon Edwards and Antonio Cromartie. Now, the Jets have to be active in free agency just to retain the key players on their team in order to maintain their level of success.