NFL free agency does not officially begin until Tuesday at 4 p.m. Eastern Time. Already some big names have been signed or offered huge contracts. Two standouts who were expected to become free agents have been removed from the talent pool.
Detroit Lion Ndamukong Suh has already been in negotiations with the Miami Dolphins. When he is officially released on Tuesday, he is expected to sign a $114 million contract to be paid over six years. Suh will receive $19 million each season; 60 million is guaranteed. He will become the highest paid defensive lineman in the NFL, a goal he has long expressed as his crowning achievement.
The Lions offered Suh $17 million per year with $58 million guaranteed, but failed to match Miami’s bid. He surpasses J J Watt who had the distinction as highest paid previously.
Suh’s on-the-field antics have given some coaches doubt regarding his focus. However, his reputation as one of the game’s best run-stoppers, his selection as a three-time All-Pro, and his 2014 season 8.5 sacks make him a desirable addition.
I expected Green Bay Packers’ wide receiver Randall Cobb to be the most sought after wide receiver in free agency; he’s off the market. Green Bay resigned Aaron Rodgers’ second favorite target to a four-year, $40 million deal. $17 million is guaranteed.
The Oakland Raiders, Jacksonville Jaguars, and the Houston Texans were prepared to offer Cobb a larger contract, but he opted to stay with Rodgers for less money. The Packers were minutes away from playing in Super Bowl XLIX, and Cobb believes his best chance to wear the ring is in Green Bay.
2104 was Cobb’s fourth NFL season; he caught 91 passes for 1,287 yards and 12 touchdowns. Along with Jordy Nelson they became the first receiving tandem to each have more than 90 catches, 1,200 yards, and at least 12 touchdowns in the same season.
Running backs have lost their luster. Formerly NFL teams sought a great running back as their first choice behind a starting quarterback. With the league’s focus more on the passing game, most teams settle for a ‘good’ RB.
LeSean McCoy is a great running back. He was traded last week to the Buffalo Bills. McCoy signed a restructured five-year deal for $40 million. He received a $26.5 million guarantee, with $16 million due in 2015. He is now the highest paid running back in the NFL.
McCoy is in the peak of his career going into his sixth season at 26 years of age. He is an excellent receiver out of the backfield as well as the league’s best running back. His best season was in 2013 with the Eagles; McCoy rushed for 1,607 yards, and nine touchdowns. He also added 539 yards receiving and a touchdown. His overall record is 6,792 rushing yards for 44 touchdowns; his receiving total is 2,282 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Several expected free agents are experiencing a busy weekends as teams attempt to keep them on their roster, while others are preparing big contracts to lure them away. As early as Wednesday we may see other key players signing huge contracts with new teams.
By James Turnage