The official start of the 2016 NFL Free Agency period began on Monday with teams being able to contact and begin contract negotiations, but in the last 24 hours a lot more than that has happened. We’ve seen two massive retirements, a huge trade and some equally large transactions that have come in the form of both tentative signings and releases.
There is a lot to go over, but we’ll do the best we can to touch on all of the latest buzz:
Big Name Retirements
We heard about Peyton Manning retiring on Monday and on Tuesday Detroit Lions star wide receiver Calvin Johnson followed suit. That makes two massive retirements in two days, and the two legends join the likes of Heath Miller, Marshawn Lynch and all-pro guard, Logan Mankins.
Murray Lands in Tennessee
DeMarco Murray finally got his wish, as reports broke out yesterday that the frustrated Eagles running back was traded to the Titans.
Tennessee finalizing deal for Eagles RB DeMarco Murray, league sources tell ESPN. Trade expected to be complete for new league year Weds
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 8, 2016
The move helps Philly free up a ton of cap space and also gives Tennessee a legit threat at running back. Tennessee worked with spare parts such as Terrance West and Bishop Sankey in 2015 and it simply wasn’t working. Murray gives them a determined north/south rusher that could greatly help second-year passer Marcus Mariota. Always misued in Chip Kelly’s system, it’s highly possible Murray is set up for a huge bounce back season in Tennessee.
Lamar Miller to Houston?
Miami running back Lamar Miller is a hot commodity right now, as he’s without a doubt one of the top rushers available out on the open market. It’s looking quite likely that Miller has priced himself out of South Beach, while reports of Miller going to the Houston Texans are starting to gain serious steam.
The #Texans are making a strong push to secure RB Lamar Miller before the league year begins, source said. Working toward a deal.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 8, 2016
Per reports, the two sides are “working” on a deal as Houston makes a “strong push” to quickly replaced Arian Foster, who they cut just days ago. The Texans currently do not have a viable every down option to lean on, while Miller’s versatility and explosive nature make him an ideal replacement option.
Doug Martin to Raiders?
Doug Martin will be the highest paid running back in free agency, but the big question is where he’ll actually go. Reports suggest the Tampa Bay Buccaneers would love to retain him at the right price, but it’s quite likely he won’t be back in Tampa Bay in 2016. That leaves a lot of doors open and it doesn’t sound like The Muscle Hamster is close to a decision, but the Raiders could certainly be in the mix. Six teams ar expected to be seriously interested in Martin, but Oakland has recently “entered the sweepstakes”.
Thought Oakland was done? I’m told they are now entering the Doug Martin sweepstakes. He could be scary behind that upgraded offensive line.
— Rand Getlin (@Rand_Getlin) March 8, 2016
Bills, Dolphins Agree to Deal
Philadelphia already looked smart by dumping the unhappy Murray to the Titans, but they got rid of more perceived dead weight when they agreed to a deal with the Dolphins that sent linebacker Kiko Alonso and cornerback Byron Maxwell to South Beach. Both players under-performed in their only seasons in Philly and the Eagles new regime decided to quickly correct Chip Kelly’s biggest mistakes.
In a related move, Philadelphia upgraded over the departing Maxwell by signing former Bills cover man Leodis McKelvin to a two-year deal worth roughly $6 million. McKelvin isn’t necessarily slated to be one of Philly’s two main cornerbacks, but at the very worst should bolster the depth in their secondary.
Osweiler Looking at Texans, Broncos
Brock Osweiler suddenly has the world at his feet with Peyton Manning announcing his retirement. Per ESPN’s Adam Schefter in an appearance on Sportscenter, his decision is likely down to staying in Denver or heading to Houston. Early signs suggest Osweiler will stay with the Broncos, but if the Texans offer more money, he could bolt.
Packers Eyeing Forte?
In one of the more interesting free agency rumors, the Green Bay Packers appear to be genuinely interested in adding former rival, Matt Forte.
The former Bears running back is one of the top running backs out on the open market, and after seeing Eddie Lacy struggle with his weight and effectiveness in 2015, Green Bay may want to cover all of their bases. Forte could come at a bit of a discount and former teammate Julius Peppers has even suggested he’ll try to convince him to join the Pack. Nothing is imminent, however.
NYG Keep JPP
New York originally looked like they would be testing the waters with star defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, who injured himself last summer in a fireworks accident and wasn’t quite himself after returning. Per Adam Schefter, however, JPP is staying in NYC on a one-year deal worth up to $10.5 million. The Arizona Cardinals were reportedly also actively involved in trying to coax JPP to the desert, but he will instead stay with the Giants for 2016.
Vikes Drop 60 Minutes
Mike Wallace’s tenure with the Minnesota Vikings ends after two up and down seasons, as the Vikings cut him loose on Tuesday. Wallace was never able to get the chemistry right with Teddy Bridgewater and has now flamed out of two NFL cities ever since leaving the Pittsburgh Steelers. Wallace was a major disappointment specifically in 2015, when he scored just twice while catching 39 passes. He still has the speed to be a dangerous threat down the field, but at 29 years old may not be seen as a legit answer as a starter anymore. Regardless, a playoff contender could use him to stretch the field, so it will be interesting to see where he winds up.
Trevathan to Chicago?
The Bears have begun the process to get their once great defense back on track, and that just might include stealing quality linebacker Danny Trevathan away from the Denver Broncos. Per reports, it “sounds like” Chicago has extended Trevathan a four-year offer, but he may decide to push for more money. Trevathan would be a nice get for a Bears defense that lacks competent linebackers for its 3-4 scheme, but he’s no lock to take the deal.
Jags Nab Malik Jackson
Jacksonville made a huge splash on Tuesday, when reports emerged they beefed up their defense with the addition of Malik Jackson. Jackson broke out with the Super Bowl champion Broncos last year and got himself paid, agreeing to a massive six-year, $90 million deal. Jackson will shore up Jacksonville’s defensive line immediately and will also be handed a hefty $42 million in guaranteed money. Jackson will be switching schemes and projects to work on the inside of Jax’s 4-3 base defense.
Ravens Splurge on Watson
Baltimore brought in former Saints tight end Ben Watson, who even at 35 years old proved last year he can still ball. He could be the starting tight end heading into 2015, which could say a lot about how comfortable the Ravens currently feel about handing huge roles to either Crockett Gillmore or Maxx Williams. More than anything, however, it probably spells the end of the often injured Dennis Pitta.
Got more free agency news you want to touch on? Feel free to spark up some free agency conversation in the comments below!