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The craziness of NFL free agency

Some big name players cash in with new teams, while the Pats resign a familiar name and part ways with Mac Jones

Jimmy Myers
The craziness of NFL free agency
Kyle Dugger PHOTO: NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

Banner Sports sponsored by Cruz Companies

 

The official opening of the National Football League free agency period is now upon us with several players getting rich.

Teams are looking to pick up those missing pieces of the puzzle that will vault them ahead of the champion Kansas City Chiefs. Trades abound during this time of year too, with the NFL making deals like kids with trading cards.

Some teams used the franchise tag on certain players before free agency took place this week. Organizations can apply this to a player who will become an unrestricted free agent, and it holds the athlete to the team for the upcoming season.

Franchise tags were placed on Jacksonville Jaguars edge rusher Josh Allen (26) one year, $24 million; Kansas City Chiefs cornerback L’Jarius Sneed (27), one year, $19.8 million; Tampa Bay Bucs safety Antoine Winfield (25), one year, $17.1 million and Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins (25), one year, $21.8 Million.

Kyle Dugger of the Patriots also has this designation. He will be paid $13.8 million this year, remaining in Foxboro. The Pats made moves by signing tight end Hunter Henry for three years and $27 million.

However, their former teammate Mac Jones will now be suiting up for the Jacksonville Jaguars, having been traded south. The Patriots also resigned backup quarterback Jacoby Brissette who played for them in 2016.

Kirk Cousins PHOTO: ALL PRO REELS

The biggest free-agent name in the sweepstakes is quarterback Kirk Cousins. He leaves the Minnesota Vikings to take his talents to the Atlanta Falcons. The price tag: four years, $180 million. This is for a 35-year-old player recovering from Achilles tendon surgery.

Right behind Cousins is defensive end Chris Jones (29) of the two-time defending champion Kansas Chiefs. His deal is for five years and $160 million, with $95 million guaranteed to remain at Arrowhead Stadium. The Chiefs also retained linebacker Dru Tranquill (28) who remains with the two-time defending Super Bowl champions with a three-year, $19 million deal.

Quarterback Baker Mayfield (28) is staying with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers by way of a three-year contract that will pay him $115 million.  He will keep his star wide receiver Mike Evans (30), who has decided to remain a Buccaneer for the next two years at a price tag of $52 million. They lost to the Detroit Lions in the NFL divisional playoffs last year.

Other players on the defensive side of the ball cashed in on 2024, too.

Defensive lineman Christian Wilkins (28) leaves the Miami Dolphins for the Las Vegas Raiders, who will pay him $110 million over the next four years for his services.

Lineman Justin Madubuike (26) got paid by the Baltimore Ravens to the tune of four years, $98 million.

Tony Pollard PHOTO: JOE GLORIOSO

Edge rusher Jonathon Greenard, (26) departs the Houston Texans for the Minnesota Vikings —four years, $76 million. The Texans also lost linebacker Blake Cashman (27) to the Vikings, who will help shore up their depleted defense with him and Andrew Van Ginkel (28), who signs for $20 million with $14 million of it guaranteed.    

And finally, defensive lineman Grover Stewart (30) will remain with the Indianapolis Colts for three years and $39 million.

There were quite a few offensive players who got new contracts with new teams.

Running back Josh Jacobs (26) leaves the Las Vegas Raiders for the frozen tundra of the Green Bay Packers.  His four-year, $48 million deal should provide tons of fuel to heat his home on those chilly Green Bay nights.

Wide receiver Michael Pittman (26) stays with the Indianapolis Colts for the sum of $71 million to be spread out over three years.

Russ Wilson PHOTO: ALEECE WILLIAMS

Running Back Tony Pollard (26) also leaves the Cowboys behind, signing a three-year, $24 million deal with the Tennessee Titans. This news means that most likely Tennessee will part ways with former All-Pro running back Derrick Henry. Could the Cowboys be in his future?

Two surprising signings of the day came in the announcement that Saquon Barkley (27) is leaving the New York Giants, signing with the rival Philadelphia Eagles for three years and $37.75 million. The bottom line was that the Giants did not want to give Barkley a multi-year contract.

Next, former Seahawk and Denver Bronco Russell Wilson signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers for the paltry sum of $1.21 million in a one-year deal. The nine-time pro bowler and Superbowl champ will make less than the present QB in the Steel City, Kenny Pickett, who makes $1.98 million. There are more deals to come at this writing, so stay tuned.

football, free agency, NFL, Sports