NFL Free Agency 2019: Isaiah Crowell Cut by Jets and More Moves Highlight Day 2

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistMarch 14, 2019

NASHVILLE, TN - DECEMBER 2:  Isaiah Crowell #20 of the New York Jets runs the ball during a game against the Tennessee Titans at Nissan Stadium on December 2, 2018 in Nashville,Tennessee.  The Titans defeated the Jets 26-22.   (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

The New York Jets announced the release of running back Isaiah Crowell on Thursday as the reaction to the NFL's initial free-agent frenzy headlined Day 2 of the new league year.

Crowell was made expendable after the Jets landed fellow running back Le'Veon Bell, one of the open market's biggest prizes. The former Pittsburgh Steelers offensive cornerstone signed a four-year, $52.5 million contract after sitting out the 2018 season while refusing to play under the franchise tag.

Bell is going to receive a lion's share of the playing time in the New York backfield—he led the NFL with 406 touches with Pittsburgh in 2017—which led the Jets to move on from their leading rusher last year.

Let's take a look at some of the other notable moves early on Day 2 of free agency.

              

Steelers Sign Wide Receiver Donte Moncrief

Pittsburgh needed to bolster its receiving corps behind new unquestioned top target JuJu Smith-Schuster after trading Antonio Brown to the Oakland Raiders. Moncrief is a step in the right direction.

Adam Schefter of ESPN reported Moncrief signed a two-year contract with the Steelers after spending the 2018 season with the Jacksonville Jaguars. He spent his first four NFL years with the Indianapolis Colts.

The 25-year-old Ole Miss product tallied 48 receptions for 668 yards and three touchdowns while playing all 16 regular-season games for the Jags in 2018. Pro Football Focus graded him as the league's 86th-best wide receiver.

His best statistical season with the Colts came in 2015 when he posted career-high totals in catches (64) and receiving yards (733), along with six scores.

Moncrief is the favorite to earn a starting role opposite Smith-Schuster, though he'll likely have to fend off training camp competition from James Washington, Eli Rogers and Ryan Switzer.

           

Linebacker K.J. Wright Sticks With Seattle Seahawks

Wright had an opportunity to survey the open market after developing into a key member of the Hawks defense since the team chose him in the fourth round of the 2011 draft.

The 2016 Pro Bowl selection ultimately decided to remain in Seattle, though. He confirmed his decision to ESPN's Josina Anderson and noted it's a two-year deal worth a maximum of $15.5 million.

Wright will look to bounce back after being plagued by knee injuries last season. He made just five appearances after missing no more than three games in any of his first seven years.

The 29-year-old outside linebacker has registered 723 total tackles, 33 passes defended, 11.5 sacks and 10 forced fumbles in 112 regular-season games for the Seahawks. He also finished with at least 100 tackles in four straight campaigns from 2014 through 2017.

Seattle will be looking for a return to form from Wright as he assumes his usual starting role for a defense that ranked 16th in yards allowed per game last season.

          

Dallas Cowboys Bring Back Wideout Tavon Austin

Austin failed to make much of an impact during his first year in Dallas. He made eight receptions for 140 yards and two touchdowns in seven games. The normally versatile playmaker didn't make his presence felt in the rushing or return games either, and he missed nine games because of injury.

Yet, the Cowboys announced Thursday they've brought him back on a one-year contract.

Austin, 28, should have a chance at redemption next fall. Cole Beasley, who operated as the team's chief slot receiver over the past seven years, left in free agency to sign with the Buffalo Bills. It leaves a void the former Los Angeles Rams wideout could be asked to fill.

He'll have competition for that role from Michael Gallup, however, which could push Austin to the roster fringe if he doesn't shine during the postseason.

His big-play ability has never been in question dating back to his days at West Virginia, but making a consistent impact has been mostly elusive throughout his NFL career. The Cowboys will hope his breakthrough year finally arrives in 2019.

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