Navigating the complex free agency frenzy in the NFL

Brady Melovitz, Contributing Writer

Free agency has kicked off with a bang as many teams who were looking for holes to fill found the plug to put into place. 

Many teams’ first choice of signing was to go for the quarterbacks, whether it be as a starter or a backup. Free agency of course started out with the signing of former Las Vegas Raiders quarterback, now turned Saints quarterback, being signed to a 4-year $160 million contract. 

The Raiders, in response to releasing Derek Carr, decided to target Jimmy Garoppolo formerly of the San Francisco 49ers. He signed for a three-year contract worth approximately $67.5 million.

With Garoppolo leaving the 49ers, the 49ers signed quarterback Sam Darnold of the Carolina Panthers to a one-year deal. The 49ers also signed defensive tackle Javon Hargrave from the Super Bowl runner-up Philadelphia Eagles. The Eagles also seemingly lost corner Darious Slay, only to have the star corner sign an extension for two years.

Philadelphia also lost running back Miles Sanders, who had his best season in the NFL. The Carolina Panthers signed Miles Sanders, filling in the whole that was left from the Christian McCaffery trade with the 49ers last season. The Panthers also made a huge trade for the number one overall pick from the Chicago Bears.

Speaking of the Bears, they made more moves than just trading the number one overall pick. In that trade, they got Justin Fields, the number one receiver he needed. They also bolstered up their defense by offering contracts to linebackers Tremaine Edmunds and T.J. Edwards.

Another winner of free agency this offseason so far has been the Atlanta Falcons. After an underwhelming season, they spent a lot of money during free agency. They signed Chris Lindstrom to a massive extension for the next five years with the contract being worth over $100 million. They also traded for Jonnu Smith from the Patriots. David Onyemata also signed with the Atlanta Falcons to the tune of $35 million. 

However, probably their biggest splash was that of the star safety of the Bengals, Jessie Bates. The Bengals also made a move that Joe Burrow is sure to be happy about. When the Chiefs decided to let go of Orlando Brown, the Bengals said, “thank you very much” and signed him to a 4-year contract worth $64 million. 

The Bengals division rival however still has a major problem on their hands. The Ravens have yet to sign Lamar Jackson to a contract, and it does not seem like they are going to anytime soon. They placed the non-exclusive tag on Jackson, meaning that in theory, any team can sign Lamar to a contract as long as the Raven do not match. If the Ravens do not match the offer, they would get two first-round picks in compensation.

Seemingly no teams have come forward in the Lamar Jackson sweepstakes as of now, but it should only be a matter of time before a team decides to. Another quarterback who will be moving homes sooner rather than later is Aaron Rodgers.

Unlike the Lamar Jackson situation, there is one team who has made it very clear from the start they want him, the New York Jets. The Jets had a pretty amazing season compared to what was expected of them. They believe they are one quarterback away from making a playoff run, and they might be right. 

The Jets already signed wide receiver Allen Lazard, who has been linked to Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay for years. It’s rumored that the Jets will be targeting more former Packers to lure Aaron Rodgers to their team even more.

There are still plenty of top free agents left and we are still trying to figure out where they will land next.