NFL Players Hit The Open Market


Jeffrey Beall/Wikemedia Commons

Melvin Gordon walks off the field after a game against the Broncos, his new team.

Harrison Kemmer, Reporter

During these troubled times of Covid-19, NFL free agency is giving people everywhere a sense of normalcy. It has provided the highs and lows that it normally does, with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers fans rejoicing and partying and the Houston Texans fans facing a sad reality. The Dallas Cowboys made a dent in the market and the Panthers made some big moves. The Atlanta Falcons, Arizona Cardinals, Denver Broncos, Philadelphia Eagles, and the Miami Dolphins signed some big names along with the Buccaneers. 

Dallas Cowboys

The Cowboys have retained many players as well as signed some big names. They re-signed wide receiver Amari Cooper to a $100 million contract over a five-year span. The team placed the exclusive franchise tag on fifth-year quarterback Dak Prescott. America’s team also retained linebacker Sean Lee, cornerback Anthony Brown, center Joe Looney, kicker Kai Forbath, and safety Darian Thompson. 

Cowboys fan Carson Lee ‘23 was very excited that Cooper and Prescott will be staying. 

“It is awesome that we kept Cooper and Prescott because they will take us to the ever-=elusive sixth Super Bowl win,” Lee said.

The Cowboys made some “big” signings in the forms of 6 foot 4, 300-pound Gerald McCoy and the 6 foot 3, 346-pounder Dontari Poe. Gerald McCoy is getting paid $18.3 million for three years. Poe’s deal has not been released yet. 

Ex-Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix signed a one-year, $4million contract with the Cowboys. 

Who remembers the kicker that sent the Los Angeles Rams to Super Bowl 53? New Orleans Saints fans do and they cannot be happy that he is staying in the NFC. Greg Zuerlein is coming to the Cowboys on a three-year, $7.5 million deal. 

With all the great signings, sadly, one big-time Cowboy was lost. Jason Witten signed a one year, $4 million deal with the new Las Vegas Raiders. He will be missed and in his absence the Cowboys re-signed tight end Blake Jarwin to a three-year, worth $24.25 million. Good luck on your next chapter in the NFL and we thank you for 16 wonderful years, Jason Witten. 

The Big Dogs

Tom Brady has officially left the New England Patriots. He won six titles there and three league MVPs as their quarterback. He has signed with the Buccaneers for $50 million over two years. 

The Atlanta Falcons managed to get running back Todd Gurley back to the state of Georgia, where he played his collegiate years. He signed a $6 million deal for a year. If he can return back to his old self, then the Falcons offense could be electric. 

Somehow, someway, the Cardinals snatched Deandre Hopkins from the Texans in a blockbuster trade. The Texans received David Johnson, a running back who has only had one great pro year, a second-round 2020 draft pick, and a 2021 fourth-round pick. Along with the electric receiver Hopkins, the Cardinals received a 2020 fourth-round pick. This trade is a prime example of why, if the Texans want to be great, Bill O’Brien should not be the general manager.

Jeremy Henderson ‘23, long-time Texans fan, was very disappointed in the trade.

“As of today, I am no longer a Texans fan, as I find it hard to root for a team that trades away its best player. I am now a Cowboys fan,” Henderson said.

Now onto the Dolphins… they are definitely showing they want to contend in the wide open AFC East this upcoming year. They lured cornerback Byron Jones away from the Cowboys with a mammoth of a contract. It is worth $82 million for five years. They also signed linebacker Kyle Van Noy to a four-year $51 million deal. 

The Broncos snatched up running back Melvin Gordon as soon as they got the chance. He is on a two-year $16 million deal. As a Bronco, he will be playing against his old Los Angeles Chargers twice a year. 

Sadly for Cowboys fans, the Eagles addressed the secondary problem. They traded for the Detroit Lions cornerback Darius Slay. The Lions will receive a third and fifth round pick in this year’s draft. 

Finally, the Colts signed ex-Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers to a one year, $25 million contract. Rivers has spent the entirety of his 16-year career with the Chargers. 

Staying Put

Some big names have also decided to stay where they are… for now. Whether it was because that specific team offered more money than other possible candidates or the player just wanted to stay home, these players stayed with their current teams. 

The Tennessee Titans retained the duo that led them to the AFC Championship. Quarterback Ryan Tannehill will be staying as he earned an awesome four-year, $118 million contract. He won comeback player of the year last year, as he had his best year yet in the NFL. The other big piece is running back Derrick Henry. While he didn’t get a long-term deal done, the Titans placed the franchise tag on him. 

The Saints retained their man, Drew Brees. The 41-year-old quarterback signed a two-year contract worth $50 million. The 19-year veteran is trying to prove he has still got it, as he now has the most passing touchdowns and most yards thrown for in NFL history. The team also re-signed the wild card of all wild cards in the form of (who knows what position) Taysom Hill. The first-round tender was placed on him. 

Along with signing future Hall of Famer Tom Brady, the Buccaneers also retained some key pieces. Last year’s sack leader Shaquil Barrett will be staying with the team on the franchise tag. The outside linebacker recorded 19.5 sacks last year to win the sack title. The Bucs also re-signed defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh to a one-year, $8 million deal. He provides some big time insurance on the defensive side of the ball. 

The Pittsburgh Steelers kept defensive end Bud Dupree by placing the franchise tag on him. He will return as a key piece of the post Steel Curtain defense.

The Patriots have to have some good news… right? That is correct Patriots fans of the world. You have re-signed Devin McCourty to a two-year, $23 million contract. 

Underrated Deals

These are some players that will definitely make a mark on their new teams and prove that they were rightfully signed. 

Long-time NFL receiver Emmanuel Sanders signed with the Saints for $16 million over a two-year span. He ate the Saints secondary up in a week 14 win when he was on the San Francisco 49ers. 

The Buffalo Bills signed long-time cornerback Josh Norman to a one-year, $6 million dollar deal. The cornerback is trying to prove that he hasn’t lost a step. Even if he has, he is one of the biggest smack talkers in the league and can get under even the best receiver’s skin. The Bills also traded for Vikings receiver Stefon Diggs. Diggs was the player who caught the ball in one of the most known plays in NFL history… the Minneapolis Miracle. 

The Carolina Panthers signed quarterback Teddy Bridgewater to a three-year, $63 million contract. After all he has been through, he finally gets another chance to be an NFL starter. He almost lost his leg as a result of a brutal ACL tear. Good luc,k Teddy.

Two XFL stars will also make runs at the NFL. Star quarterback PJ Walker will be making a return to the NFL as a Carolina Panther. Dallas Renegades tight end Donald Parham will also be making a return to the NFL, as he inked a contract with the Chargers. 

Many questions still need answering. Where will Cam Newton and Jameis Winston end up? Will Jadeveon Clowney stay with the Seattle Seahawks or leave for another option? Will the Texans ever make up for a really, really bad trade? With all of that still to come, NFL free agency never disappoints.