Ravens give Flacco biggest deal in NFL history; five players tagged

Now that the combine is over, and the 2013 league year is approaching, the NFL offseason is starting to heat up.

Teams have until 4pm ET on Monday to apply their franchise tags, and eight days later, at 4pm ET on Tuesday, March 12, the league calendar will flip, opening the trade and free agent markets.

At that hour, teams will have to have exercised any options, submitted offers to restricted free agents, and minimum-salary tenders to exclusive rights free agents, and most importantly, be compliant under the Top-51 salary cap figure, which will sit at $123M.

The past few days have seen several star players restructure their contracts to help either get their teams under the cap, or to provide them more room to maneuver in free agency.

Tom Brady, Ben Roethlisberger, DeMarcus Ware, Miles Austin, Jason Witten, Brandon Carr, Jahri Evans, and Lawrence Timmons have all accepted more cap-friendly deals.

Several others, like Nnamdi Asomugha, Chris Gamble, and Matt Cassel, are expected to be released.

Darrelle Revis and Matt Flynn are rumored to be on the trading block, while the Niners have already agreed to send Alex Smith to the Chiefs.

Several more transactions have already hit the wire today, and we'll update them here:

News

Baltimore agreed with QB Joe Flacco on a six-year, $120.6M contract, the largest ever paid an NFL player; the parameters of the deal have yet to emerge.

Non-exclusive franchise and transition tender values were made official today; exclusive franchise tender values will be set later in the month. Someone needs to tell Mike Klis the difference...

Buffalo safety Jairus Byrd, Indianapolis punter Pat McAfee, Cincinnati DE Michael Johnson, and Bears DT Henry Melton were all tagged today.

Atlanta released RB Michael Turner, DE John Abraham, and CB Dunta Robinson; Turner has been suggested as a potential target for Denver, along with former Rams back Steven Jackson, while the Broncos have been rumored to have interest in Abraham going all the way back to his Jets days, if not recently.

The trio of cuts frees up $16M in cap room for the Falcons, who are rumored to be interested in Jackson and ex-Colts DE Dwight Freeney.

Detroit extended tackle Corey Hilliard for two years, a move that suggests they'll not be re-signing Gosder Cherilus.

Arizona released LB Stewart Bradley and CB William Gay; New England cut old friend Spencer Larsen.

Carolina agreed to a restructured deal with TE Greg Olsen and released DT Ron Edwards.

Former Eagles DT Cullen Jenkins visited with the Giants today and is reportedly attracting interest from at least six other teams.

Longtime Indy center Jeff Saturday will retire as a Colt.

Rumors

FWIW, Gary Myers thinks it would make sense for Denver to aggressively pursue a deal for Revis. Incarcerated Bob, whom many credit with having been the first to break the Manning-to-Denver story, claims the Broncos, Saints, and Vikings have made offers to New Jersey in the past couple of days.

The LOLJets are reportedly close to a deal with QB David Garrard, who would back up and perhaps provide competition for Buttfumble.

A $14M carryover should leave the Chiefs with $7.5M in cap space, but they're expected to release QB Matt Cassel and are likely to tag WR Dwayne Bowe if they're unable to agree to a long-term deal with him.

Updated 10:42pm ET

Doug is IAOFM’s resident newsman and spelling czar. Follow him on Twitter @IAOFM

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