I'm not sure what the No. 1 hangover day of the year is, but I have to think that March 18 is in the top five and I think what I'm trying to say here is that no one should have to work the day after St. Patrick's Day.
Speaking of not doing any work, I think the Eagles, Falcons and Colts have decided not to do any work during the first week of free agency because those three teams have yet to sign anyone. I'm not sure exactly what that means, but I do know for a fact that I will not be picking the Eagles to win the NFC East in 2021. Following up a 4-11-1 season by not signing any free agents doesn't seem like an optimal strategy.
Although those three teams haven't signed any free agents, plenty of other teams have and there will be even more deals going down on Thursday. If you want to stay on top of those, you're definitely going to want to click here so you can check out our live blog. If you're too busy to be following a live blog, you can also click here to check out our free agent tracker that will be updated any time one of the top 100 free agents signs a deal.
Alright, let's get to the rundown. As always, here's your weekly reminder to tell all your friends to sign up for the newsletter. All you have to do is click here and then share the link.
1. Today's show: Recapping Day 1 of free agency
We don't usually break out champagne for our podcast, but we broke out some drinks for Thursday's show to celebrate the new league year, which is way more exciting than celebrating the new year. For today's show, we celebrated the official start of the new league year by listing our winners and losers of free agency so far.
Although it might seem kind of early to do something like that, let me assure you that it is not. Even though free agency is less than 24 hours old, we've already seen 22 of the top 23 free agents on Prisco's top 100 list get signed.
For the show, Will Brinson, Ryan Wilson and I were joined by Tyler Sullivan, who handed out his own winners and losers, so there are a lot of winners and losers to get through here.
- Wilson: Cardinals. The Cardinals have pulled off some of the most impressive moves of free agency and they added to their haul on Wednesday by trading for Rodney Hudson and signing A.J. Green.
- Brinson: Deshaun Watson. First, I'd like to note here that Brinson isn't taking the quarterback's legal issues into account here. Watson is the winner because it appears that the Texans have finally come to terms with the fact that they're going to have to trade their star QB, which means he finally gets to leave Houston.
- Sullivan: 49ers. San Francisco now has one of the best offensive lines in football after adding Trent Williams and Alex Mack in a 12-hour span on Wednesday.
- Breech: Washington. This team might be my dark horse to win the entire NFC. Not only did they sign Ryan Fitzpatrick, but they've also added two other solid free agents in Curtis Samuel and William Jackson.
- Wilson: Michael Brockers. Less than a month ago, the former Rams defensive tackle said he was excited about playing for the Rams this year because Matthew Stafford was a "level up" from Jared Goff. Well, the joke is now on Brockers because he got traded to the Lions and will now be leveling back down to Goff.
- Brinson: Free agent wide receivers. Going into Thursday, three of the top receivers were still available (Kenny Golladay, Will Fuller, JuJu Smith-Schuster) and that's because it seems that no one really wants to pay big money for a receiver.
- Sullivan: Raiders. No one knows what the Raiders are doing, including the Raiders.
- Breech: Seahawks. Russell Wilson made it clear this offseason that he either wanted to be traded or he wanted to see the Seahawks add some serious talent to the roster. The Seahawks have done neither. This is probably going to make things even more awkward between the two parties going forward.
To listen to today's episode -- and to subscribe to the podcast -- be sure to click here.
2. Biggest signings over the past 24 hours
During free agency, it's nearly impossible to keep track of everything that happens, but the good news for you is that you don't have to because CBS pays me to do it for you. Although Wednesday didn't get as crazy as Monday or Tuesday, there were definitely some surprising signings, so let's go through those.
- Patrick Peterson headed to the Vikings. The Vikings secondary wasn't great last year, so they've decided to fix that problem by bringing in eight-time Pro Bowler Patrick Peterson on a one-year, $10 million deal.
- Washington signs William Jackson and Curtis Samuel. The defense was already the strongpoint for the Football Team and they just got better by shoring up their secondary with the addition of Jackson on a three-year, $42 million deal. As for Samuel, Washington now has one of the best one-two receiving punches in the NFL with Samuel and Terry McLaurin on the roster.
- Patriots bring back Kyle Van Noy. The Patriots actually picked up an extra draft pick this year for losing Van Noy in free agency to the Dolphins last March. In the most Bill Belichick move ever, the Patriots now have Van Noy and the extra draft pick. The linebacker signed a two-year deal with New England.
- Haason Reddick headed to Carolina. If Reddick can replicated his 2020 season in Carolina, then the Panthers just got a steal by signing him to a one-year deal worth up to $8 million. Reddick finished fourth in the NFL last year with 12.5 sacks.
- Chiefs beef up offensive line by adding Kyle Long. After one year in retirement, Kyle Long has decided to make an NFL return and he'll be doing it in Kansas City after signing a one-year deal.
- 49ers beef up offensive line with Trent Williams and Alex Mack. We mentioned the Williams trade yesterday, but after handing out that monstrous deal, the 49ers still weren't done as they added six-time Pro Bowl center Alex Mack on a one-year deal worth up to $5.5 million.
- Ex-Bengals receiver A.J. Green headed to Arizona. This feels like a sneaky good signing by the Cardinals. Green doesn't have what it takes to be a No. 1 receiver anymore, which is fine, because he won't have to fill that role in Arizona. The former Bengals could do some serious damage as the No. 2 guy behind DeAndre Hopkins.
- Raiders add John Brown. After letting Nelson Agholor walk in free agency, the Raiders decided to replace him with John Brown, which isn't a horrible trade off. Brown is getting a one-year deal worth up to $5.5 million.
3. Top 10 free agents left on the market
We're less than 24 hours into the official start of free agency we've already seen 22 of the top 23 available players get signed. If your team forgot that free agency is happening and hasn't signed anyone yet, I have some good news for you: There are plenty of good players who are still available.
The biggest prize left on the market is probably Kenny Golladay, who currently seems to be mulling offers from the Bengals and Giants. With that in mind, let's check out the 10 highest-ranked players from Prisco's top 100 list who are still available (they're listed with the team they played for last season):
1. Kenny Golladay (Lions)
2. Anthony Harris (Vikings)
3. Melvin Ingram (Chargers)
4. JuJu Smith-Schuster (Steelers)
5. Alejandro Villanueva (Steelers)
6. Will Fuller (Texans)
7. Jadeveon Clowney (Titans)
8. Xavier Rhodes (Colts)
9. Eric Wilson (Vikings)
10. Sammy Watkins (Chiefs)
Remember, by the time you read this newsletter, there's a very real chance that someone on this list could have already signed and if that happens, you can find out where they signed by clicking here and checking out our free agent tracker. We also have a live blog that will cover all signings AND trades as they happen and you can check that out by clicking here.
4. Raiders pull off two trades
I have no idea what the Raiders are doing this offseason, but whatever it is, it has involved trading away 60 PERCENT of their starting offensive line. Last week, we saw them trade Trent Brown to the Patriots, and this week, they followed that up by making two more trades involving their offensive line.
- Gabe Jackson gets shipped off to Seattle. The offensive guard started all 16 games for the Raiders last season, but he won't be starting any this year and that's because the team traded him to Seattle. Despite the fact that Jackson has been a solid guard for seven years, the Raiders were only able to get a fifth-round pick in return for him from the Seahawks. The only winner here is Russell Wilson, who can now stop complaining about not having any offensive linemen.
- Rodney Hudson is headed to Arizona. There was a report earlier this week that Hudson was going to be cut, but instead of releasing him, the Raiders decided to deal their starting center to Arizona. In the deal, the Cardinals got Hudson and a seventh-round pick while the Raiders got a third-round pick in return.
The biggest upside to these two moves is that the Raiders were able to save $11 million in cap space. However, I'm not sure that upside makes up for the fact that the Raiders just blew up their offensive line. The Raiders also released Richie Incognito last week, but he re-signed this week along with Denzelle Good, which means they now have at least two guards on the roster. Based on how the Raiders' offseason is going, they'll probably trade those guys away, too.
5. Bears made a monstrous offer for Russell Wilson
If Twitter is any indication, it seems that Bears fans aren't very happy about the fact that their team signed Andy Dalton and although it won't make them feel any better, it seems that the Bears did make a hard run at Russell Wilson. As a matter of fact, based on a report from Dan Patrick, the Bears basically offered everything but the kitchen sink in an effort to land Wilson and to he honest, I'm pretty sure they even offered to throw in the kitchen sink at one point.
Here are the details on the offer:
- According to Patrick, the Bears were willing to give up THREE first-round picks, one third-round pick and two starters to land Wilson.
- CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora added that the Bears were going to allow the Seahawks to pick any two starters and that Khalil Mack and Akiem Hicks would not have been off limits.
It seems that Pete Carroll was the one who turned down the trade and one big reason he did that is because it would have left the Seahawks without a quarterback. As noted by Will Brinson, if Seattle would have agreed to the deal, it would have basically made them the Bears. They would have had a stacked defense, but no quarterback and as the Bears have proven for the past 30 years, it's hard to succeed in the NFL without a quarterback.
My new conspiracy theory is that the Bears signed Dalton so that they can call up the Seahawks and say, "OK, we now have a quarterback to throw in that deal we offered you, will you take it now?"
6. Rapid-fire roundup
This has been a busy week in the NFL and since it's nearly impossible to keep track of it all, I went ahead and put together a roundup for you of things that don't involve free agent signings.
- Patrick Chung retires. After opting out the 2020 season, the Patriots safety has decided not to return to football. Chung, who's been in the NFL since 2009, announced his retirement Thursday.
- Philip Lindsay now a free agent. A talented running back unexpectedly became available on Thursday when the Broncos rescinded Lindsay's free agent tender, which means he's now free to sign with any team.
- Jaguars taking calls for Gardner Minshew. With the Jags set to draft Trevor Lawrence, most teams are now under the impression that they no longer need Minshew and because of that, multiple teams have been calling Jacksonville about possibly making a trade for the QB, according to NFL.com.
- Bengals make offer to Kenny Golladay. Golladay is arguably the top free agent left on the market and right now it seems to be a two-horse race between the Bengals and Giants for his services.
- Jets trying to land JuJu. Smith-Schuster's college quarterback was Sam Darnold and it seems that the receiver is interested in reuniting with his former teammate at USC.
- Deshaun Watson facing multiple lawsuits. The Texans quarterback has been hit with multiple civil lawsuits that are all alleging sexual impropriety. According to three suits that have been filed so far, Watson has been accused of trying to hire a different masseuses and then trying to convince those masseuses to perform sexual favors. Watson has denied any wrongdoing. You can check out more on Watson's situation by clicking here.
7. The Kicker!
As we all know, free agency can't officially start until we see at least one kicker sign with a new team, so I'm happy to report that free agency has officially started because Matt Prater is headed to Arizona. The former Lions kicker signed a two-year deal with the Cardinals that's worth up to $7 million.
Prater might not be the best kicker in the league, but he's definitely the smartest. The Cardinals will be the fourth team he has played for since entering the NFL in 2007, which means over the past 14 years, he has played in Atlanta (indoors), Denver (the best outdoor stadium for a kicker), Detroit (indoor stadium) and now Arizona (indoor stadium). Getting to play your entire career in those four cities is like winning the kicker lottery, so congratulations to Prater.
Although Prater struggled last season -- he hit just 75% of his field goals -- he was still better than the guy he's replacing, Zane Gonzalez, who hit just 72.4% of his field goals. Prater also has a rocket-launcher for a leg as he holds the NFL record for longest kick (64 yards) and most field goals of 50 yards or more.
Prater also spent part of his offseason trying to see who can kick farther out of a human and a robot and let me just say that if kicking is any indication, robots are soon going to conquer us all. You can check out Prater vs. the robot by clicking here.
Finally, yesterday was the three-year anniversary of the time Rob Gronkowski showed up at my bachelor party dressed as a leprechaun and if you'd like to know all the crazy details of that wild St. Patrick's Day outing, be sure to click here.