NFL free agency in 2018 begins Wednesday, March 14, with the league’s legal tampering period having began Monday and running though the start of the league year. It’s a chance for teams to negotiate with agents of the top unrestricted free agents for 2018 before they can officially sign Wednesday.
But multiple contract and trades already have been agreed upon. Further, many notable NFL veterans have been released and allowed to test the open market come free agency.
MALCOLM BUTLER TO THE TITANS
With about $60 million to spend this offseason, the Titans jump into the deep end on Day One of this NFL free agency extravaganza and sign Malcolm Butler, bringing the former Patriots Super Bowl hero (and, in later years, scapegoat) to New England South. New head coach Mike Vrabel gets a cover corner who, while not cheap, is hopefully desperate to prove that whatever nebulous offenses ended his career in New England were the act of a tyrannical head coach and not the faults of a rule-bending player.
JOSH MCCOWN TO THE JETS
I was surprised to see the immediate backlash on Twitter after a season when McCown played at replacement level (and at times far above) for the Jets in 2017. A one-year, $10-million deal is easily absorbed by a team that has almost $90 million in cap space, and having an easy-going personality like McCown in the locker room makes it simple to still sign someone like Teddy Bridgewater and draft a rookie at No. 6.
JIMMY GRAHAM TO THE PACKERS
The Seahawks finally did what we expected them to throughout Graham’s career in Seattle—establish him as a dominant red-zone force and Rob Gronkowski-style matchup nightmare for undersized defensive backs. Now Green Bay can pick up where Darrell Bevell and the Seahawks left off.
SAM BRADFORD TO THE CARDINALS
I don’t necessarily blame Cardinals general manager Steve Keim for the predicament the team was in. Arizona struck lightning in a bottle with Bruce Arians and Carson Palmer, and the franchise needed to plan methodically around the whims of an aging head coach and quarterback who were both teetering on retirement when the Cardinals’ surge began a few years ago. It was too tempting to see the boon through, which is why they’re stuck paying an injury riddled quarterback $20 million on a one-year deal.
KIRK COUSINS EXPECTED TO SIGN A THREE-YEAR CONTRACT WITH VIKINGS
Tuesday represented a historic shift in the NFL contractual landscape for game-changing quarterbacks. Kirk Cousins capitalized on a dim passer market that had at least two deep-pocketed suitors and, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, is primed to sign a three-year deal with Minnesota, which could set the template for all other top-tier quarterbacks to come.
ALBERT WILSON TO THE DOLPHINS
Wilson’s deal averages $8 million per season according to NFL Network—a nice payday for a high-end, multi-tooled role player. Wilson made some gigantic catches for the Chiefs last year but was ultimately overshadowed in the passing game by Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill. The 5′ 9″ wideout should be able to help whomever is quarterbacking the Dolphins next season in the intermediate passing game. With so many teams trending toward mismatched bunch formations, Wilson’s speed and size can be a great advantage for Adam Gase.
HALOTI NGATA TO THE EAGLES
Howie Roseman is not afraid to Dream Team it all over again. It’s hard to imagine Ngata, a 34-year-old, five-time Pro Bowler coming off the bench but that’s the plan for next season. He and Michael Bennett, two of the most revered defensive linemen of the last decade, will supplement a defensive front that already includes Fletcher Cox, Chris Long, Brandon Graham and Vinny Curry. While it’s easy to overreact to certain offseason moves, Philadelphia is layering high-end talent atop a roster that has already won a Super Bowl. Dare we call it Patriot-esque?