NFL Free Agency: The Free-For-All Has Begun
6. LB Nate Irving, Broncos. This might be a bit of a stretch given that Irving has only 12 career starts. But eight of those starts came in the first eight weeks last season, where he showed sharp play recognition and quickness as a three-down ‘backer. He finished the year on IR with a torn MCL but should be 100 percent entering 2015.
Indeed, it's been reported that Irving has drawn wide interest. Given that he'd only be a backup for them, its' really hard to see Nate returning to the Broncos.
According to multiple reports, New England is retaining free safety Devin McCourty, agreeing to a five-year deal worth a reported $47.5M. Jacksonville, Philly, and the Giants were also in on McCourty, who reportedly gave the Pats something of a hometown discount.
Then again, Mike Reiss reports that McCourty will receive a whopping $28.5M in guarantees.
As expected, the Chiefs have agreed to a reworked contract with Tamba Hali, according to ESPN; the linebacker had been due to draw a $6.75M salary and count for nearly $12M against the team's cap.
Despite severe cap limitations, KC has franchised Justin Houston and is expected to sign wideout Jeremy Maclin on Tuesday. They've already cut Joe Mays, Vance Walker, Anthony Fasano, Donnie Avery, and A.J. Jenkins, and are expected to release Dwayne Bowe as well.
Denver will host free agent defensive lineman Kendall Langford sometime this week, according to Mike Klis. The 6-6, 313-pounder was released by St. Louis two weeks ago; he had been set to make $6M in the final season of a four-year deal signed in 2012.
Because he was cut, Langford is free to sign with any team and would not count toward any compensatory pick calculations.
Despite significant remaining caponomic problems, Kansas City is expected to sign wide receiver Jeremy Maclin on Tuesday, reports Chris Mortensen. Per Mort, the Chiefs will likely clear out cap space for Maclin by cutting overpaid wideout Dwayne Bowe.
Expect Julius Thomas and Rahim Moore to cash in big, reports Jason La Canfora. It's been widely reported that Thomas is heading to Jacksonville once the new league year begins on Tuesday, and La Canfora hears the tight end will get close to $10M per year, which would be a 50% boost from the contract Denver reportedly offered him last summer.
Some interpreted the LeSean McCoy-for-Kiko Alonso deal as a continuation of the devaluation of running backs in today's NFL. However, the Bills have given McCoy a new contract that speaks strongly to the contrary.
Although already under contract, McCoy was able to extract a new five-year deal out of Buffalo; it's worth a reported $40M with $26.5M guaranteed, probably with $16M fully guaranteed. Those are big numbers for a running back, especially one who already has 1,761 career touches.
Having apparently lost out on Ndamukong Suh and Randall Cobb, the Raiders need to find other ways to reach the NFL salary floor and use a good deal of their $59.6M in cap space. Per reports, Oakland is making a "strong push" for KC center Rodney Hudson (as are the Chiefs) and is interested in Cincy receiving tight end Jermaine Gresham.
Earlier today, we discussed the cornerback market as it relates to the Broncos' December extension of Chris Harris. Since then, news has emerged of two more cornerback contracts. Soon-to-be former Seattle corner Byron Maxwell will reportedly get $63M over six years from Philly, with as much as $25M guaranteed (probably not fully). Brandon Flowers has reportedly agreed to a new four-year, $36M deal to remain in San Diego.
There's no word yet on what Flowers will get in guarantees, but given the state of the market and his willingness to sign before the league calendar flips, we're guessing the figure dwarfs the $10M Chris Harris got from Denver.
Orlando Franklin is leaving the Broncos and will join the rival Chargers, according to the UTSD. Citing sources, Michael Gehlken describes the negotiation between the two sides as "unofficially done."
In San Diego, the versatile Franklin will be reunited with Mike McCoy, who was Denver's OC during the lineman's first two seasons. Franklin played right tackle for three years before shifting inside to left guard in 2014, and according to Gehlken, will likely swing back outside for the Chargers.