The legal tampering period has just begun for the NFL, meaning that teams and players are free to negotiate contracts that are committed to signature when free agency officially begins later this week. An absolute ton of spending has happened so far, including the following major moves for some of the league’s best players.
CJ Mosley - New York Jets
Mosley was high and above the best linebacker to hit free agency this offseason. A career Baltimore Raven, the 26-year-old linebacker tallied up 105 combined tackles and 35 assisted tackles, good enough to earn him his 4th trip to the Pro Bowl. Most expected for Mosley to stay in Baltimore, but the former first rounder couldn’t refuse the Jets’ massive offer of $85 million over 5 years. He will now join ILB Avery Williamson and fellow new linebacker Anthony Barr to form a formidable linebacking crew for Gang Green.
Trey Flowers - Detroit Lions
The sack-gathering defensive end was a major contributor to the Patriots defense and was viewed as the top edge rusher / defensive end on the market. As Baker pointed out on our latest episode of Last Second Covers, Flowers was quoted last week at a minor league hockey game saying, “This number six. We want seven.” Guess he was referring to winning the Lions their first seven (let alone one) Super Bowl, because he spurned the Patriot Way and instead opted to reunite with Matt Patricia in Detroit for around $16-17 million per year for 5 years.
Landon Collins - Washington Redskins
Collins’s relationship with the Giants was on and off for months before the team finally decided not to slap him with the franchise tag. Many thought that Collins would return to New York on a long-term deal, but those dreams faded when he agreed to a 6-year $84 million contract with the Redskins. I’ll never understand why the Giants let a player of Collins’s caliber walk, but now they’ll see him play against their squad twice every year for 6 years.
Trent Brown - Oakland Raiders
The 6’8” and 359-pound tackle Trent Brown came out of nowhere this season for the Patriots, nicely filling the shoes of departed left tackle Nate Solder. In an episode of Last Second Covers, Sulla was admittedly triggered at my prediction that Trent Brown would leave New England, albeit for their rival Jets. Brown did end up moving on from the Patriots, but instead for Jon Gruden’s Raiders for a huge 4-year $66 million deal.
Nick Foles - Jacksonville Jaguars
The Eagles fill-in quarterback has finally gotten his payday. After a championship victory and Super Bowl MVP award to show for it, Foles and the Eagles decided to mutually part ways. With the veteran quarterback on the market, the Jaguars decided they could no longer play pop warner football with Blake “the BOAT” Bortles under center. It took a 4 year contract worth $88 million, but the Jaguars believe they have finally found their man in Big D*ck Nick.
Tyrann Mathieu - Kansas City Chiefs
After leaving the Arizona Cardinals, the Honey Badger signed a one-year “prove it” deal with the Houston Texans. Now that he is a free agent again, Mathieu inked a big 3-year $42 million contract with Kansas City. The Chiefs desperately needed help in their league-worst secondary, but this deal also forces us to now question the team’s intentions with oft-injured safety Eric Berry.
Antonio Brown - Oakland Raiders
This was one of the most amazing trade sequences I have ever seen go down. For months, Antonio Brown has been expressing how unhappy he was with Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers organization. He even went as far as publicly demanding a trade. And so, Pittsburgh granted Brown his wishes by trading him to the Buffalo Bills. But wait, the headline says Oakland Raiders? Yup. Brown told the Bills that if the trade for him went through, he would RETIRE! (Can you blame him, though? Playing with Josh Allen in Buffalo sounds worse than a Russian gulag.) So instead, the Steelers sent Antonio Brown to Oakland, where he will get a chance to replace Amari Cooper as Derek Carr’s top receiver. In return, the Steelers netted a 3rd round pick and 5th round pick in this year’s draft.
Kelechi Osemele - New York Jets
In order to clear some cap space for Antonio Brown, the Raiders traded left guard Kelechi Osemele to the Jets in return for moving up 57 spots in the upcoming draft (the Raiders swapped their 6th round pick for the Jets’ 5th round pick.) This is a low-risk high-reward move for the Jets. Osemele is coming off a down year that was caused by some toe injuries, but he is just 29 years old and is a former first-team All-Pro and 2-time Pro Bowler. If the former Raider can return to his normal self, then the Jets will have struck gold with this deal and have successfully filled a glaring hole in their offensive line.
Vernon Olivier - Cleveland Browns
As the Giants attempt to fully (or kind-of with their on-the-fence efforts) rebuild, they unloaded the large contract of DE / edge rusher Vernon Olivier to the Cleveland Browns. In return, New York netted offensive guard Kevin Zeitler, whose veteran presence will immensely help strengthen the team’s notoriously weak offensive line. For the Browns, they will now start the season with a front line that includes Myles Garrett, Sheldon Richardson, Emmanuel Ogbah, Larry Ogunjobi, and the veteran Olivier.
There are still several big names left on the free agent market, including safeties Earl Thomas and Eric Weddle, center Matt Paradis, and superstar running back Le’Veon Bell. Keep your eyes on the market and follow Twitter religiously for a potential massive Day 2 of unofficial NFL Free Agency.
Purveyor of truth. Breaker of chains. Foolish fan of the Mets, Jets, and Knicks.