While the first couple days of NFL free agency contain plenty of suspense and excitement—as does the legal-tampering period before free agency—the second wave of free agency is where some of the most important decisions are actually made.
It isn't that tough a decision to throw resources at top-tier talents. It's tougher to part with a receiver you recently paid a bonus to—as the Oakland Raiders did with Jordy Nelson on Thursday—or to trade away a quarterback you realize is no longer your franchise QB.
This is exactly what happened when the Miami Dolphins decided to deal Ryan Tannehill to the Tennessee Titans. According to NFL Media's Ian Rapoport, the Dolphins are getting a pair of draft picks, while the Titans are getting a pick plus Tannehill:
According to Rapoport, the Titans and Tannehill have also agreed to a new one-year contract:
This had to be a tough decision for the Dolphins, who have tried to forge Tannehill into a franchise quarterback for the past seven years. However, it was a smart decision, as the new regime clearly didn't view him as part of the future.
If Miami knew it was time for a clean break, at least it got something in return.
The move was a smart one for the Titans, too. Starting quarterback Marcus Mariota has dealt with some notable injuries over the last few years, including a broken leg and the elbow injury that affected him for most of 2018.
There aren't many trades that look like true win-win deals, but this is one of them. Let's dig into some of the other notable deals from Day 3.
Patriots Release Adrian Clayborn
Another big move from Friday was the New England Patriots' release of defensive end Adrian Clayborn. They released Clayborn despite losing Trey Flowers just a couple days prior. As Ben Volin of the Boston Globe pointed out, the move did free up $4 million in cap space.
Of course, the decision to release Clayborn may not have been completely financially motivated. Clayborn did mention that he was "granted" his release, which seems to indicate he asked for it.
"Thank you Patriots for my time with the organization," Clayborn said via Twitter. "I gained so much respect for how you do things and win championships. It’s done the right way through hard work. Thank you for granting my release. I’m ready for this next chapter."
Regardless of what prompted the split, this is another move that feels like a relative win-win. It gives the Patriots a little more wiggle room as they try to navigate the offseason. It also places a player who had 9.5 sacks just two seasons ago back on the open market.
Texans Reportedly Add Briean Boddy-Calhoun
The Houston Texans may have lost safety Tyrann Mathieu in free agency, but they've made several moves to strengthen their secondary since. They made another on Friday, reportedly adding versatile defensive back Briean Boddy-Calhoun on a one-year deal, per NFL Network's Ian Rapoport:
Boddy-Calhoun may not be a big-name player, but he's a valuable defender because of his versatility. He's capable of playing multiple positions, according to Pro Football Focus (via Aaron Reiss of The Athletic):
Bringing in Boddy-Calhoun makes a lot of sense, as pass defense was one of Houston's biggest issues in 2018. The Texans defense allowed an average of 260.4 yards per game through the air, fifth-most in the NFL. Boddy-Calhoun may be viewed as a value add, but he can help turn the pass defense around.
In addition to signing Boddy-Calhoun, the Texans have also added safety Tashaun Gipson and cornerback Bradley Roby this offseason.
Bengals Add John Miller
The Cincinnati Bengals had an offensive line that was average at absolute best in 2018. While they haven't thrown a ton of money at fixing it, the Bengals have made some line-related moves.
The addition of Miller appears much more promising than the Hart deal. While Hart struggled with pass-protection and with penalties in 2018, Miller was a terrific piece of Buffalo's interior line. He's also started 47 games in his pro career and is just 25 years old, which means Cincinnati will get three of his prime years.
While the Hart deal felt like a bit of a misstep, Miller's three-year deal actually feels like one of the best bargains of free agency so far.