The bulk of the soon-to-become free agents will not sign until the official start of free agency, but some have already signed new contracts. See the whole group of players who have already agreed to new homes.
Free agency has not yet begun; and yet, some of the early-bird specials have already been signed to new football teams. These early roster moves are certain to impact the spending and strategies of franchises throughout the league, so we’ve assembled a report with all the changes you need to know.
OT Doug Free re-signs (DAL) -Dallas has plenty of players hitting the open market, but the ‘Boys have gone ahead and re-signed their biggest would-be free agent. The offensive tackle is staying in Texas on a three-year contract, meaning the Cowboys dominant offensive line force will carry on past 2015.
RB Marshawn Lynch signs 2-year extension (SEA)-No one expected Lynch to sign anywhere else, but the questions were about his retirement status. Running backs typically have short lives in the National Football League, so this 28-year-old power back might not be in the league for two more years despite what his new Seahawks contract says.
DE Tyson Alualu re-signs (JAX)-The foundational Jaguars defensive lineman is staying in Jacksonville. The Jags, unwilling to risk losing the pass rusher and run stopper to free agency, made sure he stuck around with a 2-year, $6 million agreement.
S Major Wright staying in Tampa-The paperwork hasn’t yet been signed, but the agreement is there. Wright’s fate as a professional defensive back has been no sure thing over the years, but the Buccaneers see enough in him to keep him around while they completely restructure the rest of their team.
CB Kareem Jackson re-signs with the Houston Texans-One of the best available players at his position in the free agency class of 2015, Kareem Jackson has taken himself off the names on the open market. The veteran DB just finalized a four-year contract with his career-long team.
San Diego Chargers sign a different kind of weapon-San Diego has added a special teams playmaker, former Baltimore Ravens wide receiver and return man Jacoby Jones. Expect Mike McCoy to implement Jones into the offense as a wide receiver option as well.
Jets re-sign LB David Harris-Harris was never going anywhere, but now it is official. The linebacker stud signed his name on a three-year contract worth over $21 million, a steep price New York was willing to pay for its best linebacker.
Tight end Niles Paul re-signs with the Washington Redskins-Quarterback is still a giant question mark for this club, but the ‘Skins are keeping their tight end target right where he is. Niles Paul is staying in D.C. for the next three seasons, and is sure to face adversity from a team standpoint.
Record-holding kicker Matt Prater sticking to Detroit-The 64-yard field goal kicker left Denver midseason to become a Detroit Lion, and now the experienced placekicker will be in Michigan for another three years, as the Detroit franchise announced its re-signing of Prater.
Panthers extend Greg Olsen-Minus Kelvin Benjamin, Carolina doesn’t have much talent at crucial pass-catching positions. Fortunately for Cam Newton, the team wisely invested in their team captain, tight end Greg Olsen. Olsen is on board for another three years on the east coast.
Bengals retain LB Rey Maualuga-Cincinnati was not the least bit interested in seeing its aggressive linebacker on the list of free agents available to all 32 teams, so team executives drew up a three-year, $15 million contract for the 28-year old.
49ers pick up former Cardinals DT Darnell Dockett-Arizona released the veteran defender. Three teams were interested in adding Dockett: the Seahawks, Rams, and 49ers. San Fran won the NFC West lottery, signing the defensive tackle to a two-year deal.
Keith Rivers leaves Buffalo, lands in Dallas-In the end, the Cowboys added the Buffalo Bills tackler to their roster on a one-year deal.
WR Cole Beasley, Dallas Cowboys sign major extension-The underrated slot receiver received a large contract offer, a four-year extension worth over $13.6 million, a nice award for the veteran route-runner.
QB Josh McCown replaces Brian Hoyer in Cleveland-With McCown signed in on a three-year deal, the Browns can afford to lose free agent Brian Hoyer. With the weaknesses of Johnny Manziel, McCown will likely be the guy for the 2015 Cleveland Browns season.
DE Ricky Jean-Francois becomes a Washington Redskin-It’s a three-year, $9 million pact between the Redskins and former Colt Jean-Francois, and it will certainly bulk up the Washington pass rush.
Head coach Tom Coughlin has a clock-An anticipated one-year extension gives Coughlin an indication of when his time is up in New York, and will play a huge part in pressuring the head coach to build a better-than-ever franchise in 2015.
Colts extend backup QB Matt Hasselbeck-Indy is happy to have its solid safety net back, and Hasselbeck is willing to stick around for one more season, to potentially get his coveted Super Bowl title. 2015 will likely be the last year, the last chance, for the 17th-year passer.
Soon to Sign: Deals that are all but done
1. RB Frank Gore (SF)-The 49ers are going to do what it takes to keep their star running back, despite his age. An agreement is expected to be reached soon.
2. QB Mark Sanchez (PHI)-The desire for a return to Philly is mutual, per several team sources. All that is left to do is negotiate to reach that point.
3. WR Jeremy Maclin (PHI)-In the same boat as Sanchez, Maclin is confident he will be an Eagle in 2015, but it could take a while to set the price. The longer it takes, the better for Maclin, who can take advantage of a free agent market that is certain to overpay for the services of the elite veteran pass-catcher.
New Targets: Who’s Eyeing Up Who?
1. Houston Texans, QB Brian Hoyer-The Texans have former Browns passer Brian Hoyer in their crosshairs.
2. San Diego Chargers, DT Ndamukong Suh-San Diego is the newest team to join the battle over the best free agent available, and the Chargers’ biggest competitor may be sitting in their division #Oakland Raiders
3. Saints, Redskins want RB Justin Forsett-Two NFC teams want Forsett to swap conferences to become their starter at running back. New Orleans likely will lose Mark Ingram to free agency, and Pierre Thomas was released Wednesday. The Redskins have Alfred Morris, but apparently want a complementary rusher.