Seems like there’s more moving and shaking leading up to the start of the NFL free agent period this year compared to prior offseasons. Meanwhile, the Bears are lurking with their cap in order, ready to attack the market where they can hopefully cross off a bunch of needs early.
Let’s take a moment to look around the league …
- The Los Angeles Rams’ secondary improved with a second major offseason trade, dealing a fifth-round pick to the Denver Broncos for cornerback Aqib Talib. With the move, Denver creates $11 million in cap space and every penny counts as the Broncos continue to position themselves to sign quarterback Kirk Cousins. As for Talib, he gets to re-join former defensive coordinator Wade Phillips in Los Angeles. Phillips and Talib were together in Denver where he earned All-Pro Honors and won a Super Bowl.
- Kirk Cousins isn’t the only quarterback whose market will soon be heating up. Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio reports that Brees (through his agent, of course) can engage in conversations with other teams during the legal tampering period that begins on Monday. An earlier report suggested that would not have been a possibility has since been refuted by Florio’s sources.
- If the Arizona Cardinals want in on the action, they’ll have to be creative in doing so. Kent Somers of AZCentral.com reports the team has just $23 million in cap space, meaning they might not be in position to bring Cousins into their mix. The Cardinals have a need at the position after Carson Palmer’s retirement to start the offseason.
- Cornerback Richard Sherman becomes the latest part of the Seattle Seahawks’ roster purge. The Seahawks have reportedly told Sherman he will be released, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. The team has already traded defensive lineman Michael Bennett, parted ways with cornerback Jeremy Lane, have dangled Earl Thomas in rumored deals, and could stand to lose tight end Jimmy Graham and defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson in free agency.
- Bengals.com writer Geoff Hobson tweets the team has informed cornerback Adam “Pacman” Jones that the team will not be picking up his option. By doing so, Cincinnati saves about $6 million in cap space. It’s possible Jones returns on a team-friendly deal after taking a paycut. He’ll turn 35 in September, but was still a viable cornerback option in the right situation and is still a quality punt returner.
- I’m curious what this early cornerback movement will do for Kyle Fuller’s market. The Rams’ moves have all but ensured Trumaine Johnson won’t be back with the team next year, which means he’ll hit the open market as an unrestricted free agent who won’t likely return to his former team. He’ll join Malcolm Butler in that camp, but how his market shapes up remains to be seen after his Super Bowl benching. That leaves Fuller, a top-3 cornerback on the market, but the only one holding any kind of tag. With Butler and Johnson probably moving on to other teams, it’s likely they’ll take away potential landing spots for Fuller. Thus, making it that much more likely that Fuller will return to Chicago.
- The Philadelphia Eagles and Carolina Panthers hooked up on a deal that will send wide receiver Torrey Smith from Philadelphia to Carolina for cornerback Daryl Worley. Philadelphia was probably going to cut bait with Smith at some point this offseason, most likely in an attempt to clean up their cap situation. Luckily, the Panthers had a need at the position and could offer up something of consequence.
- Elsewhere in the receiver world, there are no restrictions on recruiting possible future teammates through Twitter. Bengals running back Joe Mixon is already making his play for possible Bears target Sammy Watkins:
— ⚡PRIMETIME!!!⚡ (@Joe_MainMixon) March 7, 2018
- Watkins, naturally, had an answer:
You never know brother this business is crazy..
— King me (@sammywatkins) March 7, 2018
- Hey, that’s a nice team-friendly deal that also rewards an up-and-coming player who created a pretty decent connection with Jimmy Garoppolo:
Breaking: #WR Marquise Goodwin and the 49ers have agreed to a 3yr extension worth $20.3M & 10M guaranteed, per source.
— Josina Anderson (@JosinaAnderson) March 8, 2018
- When your team has Aaron Rodgers under center, the only quarterback problems that could possibly arise is regarding the backup. New GM Brian Gutekunst told ESPN’s Rob Demovsky he isn’t thinking about a long-term replacement for Rodgers just yet, but it’s worth pointing out that Gutekunst was on the staff when the team drafted Rodgers in the first-round as Brett Favre’s eventual replacement.
- Speaking of backup quarterbacks, the Titans have parted ways with Matt Cassel as part of the team’s latest round of cuts, according to ESPN’s Cameron Wolfe. The move comes after the team released running back DeMarco Murray and safety Da’Norris Searcy. Tennessee’s most recent cuts have cleared more than $10 million in cap savings, pushing their total available cap space past $60 million. But with that, the team has opened up some positions of need for first-year coach Mike Vrabel’s team.
- There’s one less landing spot for Mike Glennon now that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have re-signed Ryan Fitzpatrick as the team’s backup quarterback, according to ESPN’s Janna Laine. A Glennon-Bucs reunion could have been a thing once the Bears parted ways with him officially when the new league year begins, but that’s now off the table.