The NFL’s biggest conflict, one of its biggest contradictions, began on Monday with the start of the “legal tampering” period, when teams agree to deal with free agents before signing them on Wednesday, the official start of the league year. Can This, of course, creates a ton of intrigue with the NFL’s game of musical chairs and can change the outlook of the season in a matter of hours.
The rest of free agency still needs to play out and the draft hasn’t happened yet, but here’s a look at some of the winners and losers from the NFL’s first day of free agency.
How should one block the 49ers this upcoming season? Teams will have to gameplan on how to keep Bosa and Armstead at bay, but now the 49ers have added Javon Hargrave to the mix.
The 49ers are going to create a ton of advantageous positions for their new three-headed monster on the defensive line. Bosa and Armstead are already elite players in their own right. Now they have another true star to help them hit it offensively. Hargaway is another disruptor that will only create more opportunities for Bosa and Armstead.
Hey! The Raiders found a veteran quarterback. Probably not what Adams expected, but Jimmy Garoppolo gave him a chance to play passable QB for the 2023 season.
Garoppolo’s contract still gives the Raiders the flexibility to add a quarterback with the seventh pick in next month’s NFL Draft. Garoppolo can hold down the fort while their next quarterback gets used to the NFL (assuming that’s what head coach Josh McDaniels wants to do).
The Raiders are a tentative winner, but they are putting themselves in a position to seek stability in the game’s most important position.
Mahomes is getting a strong supporting cast after winning his second Super Bowl in five years. To bolster the Jaguars’ offensive tackle, the Chiefs signed Jaguar Taylor to a four-year contract to replace Orlando Brown Jr. as their replacement at left tackle. Even though Taylor hasn’t played left tackle in the NFL yet, he profiles as a better alternative to Mahomes as a passer. He’s a bit more agile in pass protection than Brown, which should give Mahomes more time to find guys in the first few seconds of a pass concept.
The NFL’s best offense just got even better. Mahomes can throw Air Bud and win an MVP with the offensive line talent the Chiefs are accumulating.
Sam Darnold, congratulations. He joins the San Francisco 49ers and Kyle Shanahan in playing for the most quarterback-friendly offense in the NFL.
With Darnold signing a one-year contract with the 49ers, he will (likely) not be their regular starting option, but the 49ers have shown the importance of depth at QB over the next few seasons. Based on their recent history, they needed someone who could come in and run the offense without too many hiccups. There is a long list of quarterbacks who could benefit from this system for Shanahan and Darnold. If he plays well in a position when his number is asked for, he may be in a position to get paid by another team next season. That’s what makes him a winner.
Welcome to your bag season, big guys. Chris Lindstrom signed a five-year, $105 million contract from the Atlanta Falcons, Jawan Taylor brought in cash from the Kansas City Chiefs and Laramie Tunsil is on track to become the highest-paid offensive lineman in the league — again.
The price is rising on top-shelf offensive linemen and these guys are cashing in on their rare skills. Orlando Brown Jr. is likely out of place with the Chiefs, but the contracts these other linemen are getting are going to help them in the long run.
Continuity is key on the defensive back end and the Bengals lost their starting safeties from last season with Jesse Bates III and Von Bell signing with the Atlanta Falcons and Carolina Panthers, respectively.
Bates and Bell led the Bengals in defensive snaps last season, combining for 2,041 snaps on the season. Bates played 98.2% of his available defensive snaps with Bell playing 98.4%. They have some promising young players like Dax Hill and Cam Taylor-Britt ready to get playing time at those spots, but the loss of Bates and Bell leaves a huge void in the Bengals’ secondary.
The Broncos had a chance to regain some lost ground this offseason, but a weak free-agent class at the top hindered the top-tier talent they could add to their roster. Nevertheless, they paid a lot of money to linemen Mike McGlinchey and Ben Powers to try and strengthen their offensive line. Final contract numbers haven’t been released yet, but it looks like they spent a lot of money on players who are slightly above average at their positions. This could help the Broncos’ offensive line become a more complete unit, but the line still isn’t a great unit.
Jets, Packers and quite frankly, everyone
We sat waiting for Aaron Rodgers’ New York Jets to finish and nothing happened! Rodgers is taking his sweet time with this deal, holding the Jets and Packers hostage as they wait to hear what the future Hall of Famer wants to do. There is only so much time and speculation that can be spent on Rodgers as to what he wants to do next with his career and his life. Free agency officially opens on Wednesday and we’re all here hoping for a finish line so we can move on and start figuring out what these two teams look like following this trade, if This happens sometimes.
The Titans look like they’re about to have something Serious If things are pat then problems emerge. The team signed first-round draft pick Andre Dillard, who lost his job to Jordan Malata, to start for them, with a $30 million contract. Nate Davis left the Titans for the Chicago Bears, leaving the Titans a thin offensive line to work with. It’s not an ideal situation for Henry as he looks to maximize the back nine of his career and build up to a few more productive seasons.
Still, it’s worth noting that the Titans have the 11th pick in the upcoming NFL Draft and could very well use that pick on an offensive lineman – doesn’t seem likely given how their roster is constructed. Depending on whether they have a choice.