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NFL Offseason Weekly Report: Free Agency Has Arrived

Free Agency season has arrived in the NFL! Legal tampering (where players can agree to new deals with new teams) began at 12pm on Monday and the new league year started on Wednesday at 4pm. The deals will begin to pick up from now until April’s Draft. Let’s dive into this week’s notable news and rumors.

The Aaron Rodgers Resolution

We kind of, sort of, got a resolution with Aaron Rodgers this week. It appears he will not be returning to Green Bay this coming season and the Jordan Love era has begun. He feels slighted by the Packers after returning from his "darkness retreat" and both sides have ramped up compensation talks. This will be an interesting discussion as you rarely see an aging superstar traded in the twilight of his career for this much capital. Green Bay will be in no hurry to make the deal as they will begin building with Jordan Love, although getting some draft capital for next months draft might speed somethings up for both sides.

Jalen Ramsey Traded To Miami

Miami continues to re-tool the defense under new coordinator Vic Fangio. Miami acquires Ramsay while giving up TE Hunter Long and pick number #77 in next months draft. This is an all in move by this franchise. He is only 28 years old and is a three time all pro, most recently in 2021 and with the acquisition of Vic Fangio to run the defense, the cupboards will be full in Miami for them to make a run for an AFC East title.

Ravens Release Calais Campbell

One of the staples of the Baltimore defense is no more. Ravens have released Campbell and freed up $7 Million in cap space. He had one year left on his deal and is aging for the position at 36. They have plenty of depth at the position so his release is not unexpected, as the Ravens needed to clear some cap space to make room for the Lamar Jackson franchise tag contract. He could potentially come back on a smaller deal as a depth piece, but it appears unlikely now.

Jonnu Smith Traded To Atlanta

As if you needed more reason to fade Kyle Pitts in fantasy this season. Smith has been traded to Atlanta from New England for a day 3 draft pick. Smith never became a factor in the stale New England offense and it’s no surprise to see him traded. Atlanta is an interesting landing spot for him as now he can hopefully get back to his Tennessee production days where he was a bell cow tight end and showed consistent growth every season. This will allow Atlanta Falcons HC Arthur Smith to really open up the playbook again with 2 TE sets and gives some insurance to current starter Kyle Pitts.

Jimmy Garoppolo To Las Vegas

Another NFL reunion with Jimmy Garoppolo joining forces with his old OC in New England and current Raiders HC Josh McDaniel. Jimmy G gets a 3 year deal worth approximately $67 Million dollars with $34 Million in guaranteed money. This should put Las Vegas out of the running for drafting a QB in April and gives some clarity to the QB room in Vegas. He has a 40-17 (4-2 postseason) record as a starter however durability has been his issue throughout his NFL career. He has only played one complete season since his arrival to the NFL in 2014. This move should keep Las Vegas in the yearly playoff discussion if he can stay on the field.

Darren Waller Traded to New York

What a couple of weeks for Daniel Jones. First a huge new contract and now a brand new (and elite) pass catcher joins him in New York. Waller has been traded to New York from Las Vegas for a 3rd round pick. This was the pick they received in the Kadarious Toney trade with Kansas City. I would say New York got the best end of this trade as Waller will really bring a safety net to Jones and company in New York. Giants struggled last season to really find that #1 pass catcher with the large of amount of injuries to that position, Waller will be a welcome addition to this team.

Stephon Gilmore Traded To Dallas

A surprising move for Dallas but not so surprising move for Indianapolis. Veteran CB Gilmore has been traded to Dallas with a fifth round pick going to Indianapolis in the upcoming draft. Unconfirmed reports believe that Gilmore asked to be traded as it appears Indy is headed for a full re-build and not a reload, as once thought. Dallas will now have Trevon Diggs on one side and Stephon Gilmore on the other. This is a statement move by Dallas takes a step towards trying to keep up with division rival Philadelphia.

Zeke Elliott Released By Dallas

Right as the clock struck 4 pm, Zeke Elliott was released by Dallas. There were conflicting reports about Dallas’ ask for a pay cut and that’s what led to him being released. What it really boiled down to was money and production. The Cowboys signed RB Tony Pollard to the franchise tag after a breakout season where he finally broke the 1000 yard club. If Zeke and Pollard were to stay on the same team in 2023, that would account for approximately $28 Million against the cap. That is not sustainable in the modern NFL. Even though Zeke is coming off his worst season as a professional, the release allows him to test free agency and have one more shot at big contract in 2024, if he can produce a great 2023 campaign.

Matt Ryan Mistake Is Over In Indianapolis

Thankfully, and willfully, the Matt Ryan era is over in Indianapolis. Ryan was released by Indy and has freed up about $17 Million in cap space for the upcoming season. His agent put in his contract that he will be paid $12 Million by Indianapolis if he was cut before March 17th. While the dead money cap hit will hurt Indy, it is much needed so they can begin to re-build with the new coaching staff. Ryan had the worst season of his career with only 3,057 yards passing, 14 TDs, 13 INTs and was sacked 38 times in the 12 games in which he played. He was benched mid-season in favor of backups Sam Ehlinger and Nick Foles, respectively. It is widely expected that Indianapolis will draft one of the 4 first round draft prospects in next month’s draft.

Laremy Tunsil Resets The Market

For the second time in his career, Tunsil has reset the market for an offensive tackle. And once again, it’s a massive contract. The numbers to be exact are a 3-year $75 Million dollar with $50 million guaranteed. In 2020, he signed a $66 Million dollar extension (which was the highest paid at that time as well). He also negotiated this (and prior) contract by himself without an agent. He has earned it with Pro Bowl level production and outside of the 2021 he has started at least 14 games every season. His high-level production and durability are expected to continue into this next contract.

Patriots Acquire Smith-Schuster and Mike Geisicki

New England finally locks down a #1 receiver after losing Jakobi Myers to Las Vegas this week. This is an upgrade over Myers. JSS brings them stability and playoff experience for the new OC Bill O"Brien. Anytime you can give a young quarterback a veteran security blanket its a great signing. They were also able to upgrade the TE position after trading Jonnu Smith to Atlanta by signing TE Mike Geisicki from division rival Miami. No more excuses for Mac Jones this coming season.

Bengals Get O-Line Help With Orlando Brown

Cincinnati has become a model of consistency that past two seasons with two AFC Championship appearances. However the weakness of this team has been, and continues to be, the offensive line. This should shore up any doubts they might have going forward. Brown signs a 4-year $64 Million dollar contract to be the starting LT. However this signing has pushed current starter Jonah Williams to the bench and he has requested a trade. It"s unclear if they will honor that request or move him to right tackle as they did pick his option for this season prior to the trade.

Dallas Acquires Brandin Cooks

Cooks has wanted out of Houston for quite sometime now. Cooks has been traded inside the state to Dallas and will now pair up with Ceedee Lamb and Micheal Gallup. Even with the release of Zeke Elliott they are going keep the offense stacked going into 2023. Cooks had an underwhelming year after missing time after the trade deadline when he took some time away from the team as he appeared to have some disagreements with upper management. This will be Cooks’ 5th team since entering the league in 2014. He is a bit of an undersized WR but has never had a season with less than 40 receptions. Don’t expect that to change as the Cowboys have a pass happy offense.

Detroit Lions Re-Tools

Detroit loses rushing TD leader Jammal Williams (signed with New Orleans) but gains former Bears RB David Montgomery to pair with D’Andre Swift. And late Sunday night they signed Philadelphia standout Safety CJ Garnder-Johnson to a one year $8 Million dollar contract, with $6.5 Million guaranteed. This will put Detroit in the playoff discussion, if not the favorite in the NFC North. It appears that the players and staff are buying into Head Coach Dan Campbell’s vision as Detroit continues to win the offseason.

Main image credit Embed from Getty Images

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