NFL Free Agency Starts: Some Big Names Changing Teams
As noted earlier on Breitbart Sports, the Miami Dolphins made the first major splash as NFL free agency opened Tuesday afternoon with the signing of wide receiver Mike Wallace from the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The Dolphins, however, were able to follow up that expected move with the addition of linebacker Dannell Ellerbe from the Baltimore Ravens. Then, the Dolphins also made a quick move to sign linebacker Philip Wheeler from the Oakland Raiders.
Miami is clearly the big winners so far, signing three of the biggest names on the market. To pave the way for those moves, the Dolphins have released Karlos Dansby, who led the team with 134 tackles last season. Baltimore could be a destination for Dansby as the Ravens now need to replace both starting middle linebackers from last season.
Here are some other news and notes from around the league:
- We have closely been following the Darrelle Revis saga with the New York Jets who have been shopping the elite corner. Now, reports are emerging that the Tampa Bay Bucs could be the most likely destination. The Bucs have flexibility with their salary cap, and, though the situation could change, Revis would be a great pick up for them.
- In addition to losing Ellerbe Tuesday and trading Anquan Boldin Monday, Tuesday also saw the loss of Paul Kruger to the Cleveland Browns. The Ravens were expected to let Kruger walk, and the division rivals had been mentioned as a possible destination. The only positive news for the Super Bowl champs is the signing of defensive tackle Chris Canty from the New York Giants who should beef up their defensive line. On the other hand, the Browns received additional good news with the signing of 27-year-old defensive tackle Desmond Bryant from the Oakland Raiders. Bryant is considered a rising star.
- Perhaps the only team shedding more key players from last year’s team is the Oakland Raiders as general manager Reggie McKenzie continues to try to rebuild the franchise after a number of terrible years, picks, and contracts under the late Al Davis. In addition to allowing Wheeler to move on to Miami and Bryant to Cleveland, McKenzie cut former first rounders wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey and safety Michael Huff in addition to underperforming defensive end David Tollefson. Moreover, the Raiders may not be done shedding players as defensive tackle Tommy Kelly and linebacker Rolando McClain, both long expected to be released, were not cut Tuesday. Likewise, starting quarterback Carson Palmer will be asked to restructure his contract in order to free up necessary cap room. Oakland, who has the #3 pick in the NFL Draft in April, will now have significant needs at receiver, tight end, offensive line, defensive line, linebacker, and in the secondary as they will likely try to replace as many as 13 starters from last year’s atrocious squad.
- Other big name players released include cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha from the Philadelphia Eagles, cornerback Chris Gamble from the Carolina Panthers, safety Quintin Mikell from the St. Louis Rams, quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick from the Buffalo Bills, cornerback DeAngelo Hall from the Washington Redskins, safety Adrian Wilson from the Arizona Cardinals, and cornerback Aaron Ross from the Jacksonville Jaguar. Asomugha, thought to be among the NFL’s top defensive backs just a couple of years ago, never lived up to expectations with the Eagles. Gamble is rumored to want to retire rather than go to another organization
- We have reported here on Breitbart Sports that defensive back Charles Woodson, the man who beat Peyton Manning out for the Heisman Trophy, was previously released from the Green Bay Packers and wanted to play for a contender. Confirmation of that is coming from reports that the former Michigan Wolverine will be visiting with the San Francisco 49ers in the coming days.
- The Tennessee Titans are reportedly shopping wide receiver Nate Washington. The veteran has proven he is not worth the #1 target money he has been receiving. Danny Amendola, from the St. Louis Rams could be targeted as a replacement. In addition to this news, the Titans also were one of the major players in free agency, signing Buffalo Bills guard Andy Levitre and San Francisco 49ers tight end Delanie Walker
- Jay Cutler received some help Tuesday as well as his team added tight end target Martellus Bennett of the New York Giants and then gave him added protection by bringing in tackle Jermon Bushrod of the New Orleans Saints. The Bears will likely now focus on resigning Brian Urlacher and other free agents currently on the roster.
- Consistent with what we reported Monday on Breitbart Sports, Tony Gonzalez has announced that he will return to the Atlanta Falcons, foregoing retirement.
- Talented but mediocre tight end Jared Cook chose to sign with the St. Louis Rams on Tuesday. The Rams have to be thrilled with adding this athletic option to aide Sam Bradford.
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