Free Agency: Disenchantment works, trench warriors coveted

AP

Print Article

  • FILE - In this Oct. 22, 2017, file photo, Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell (26) carries the ball during an NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals in Pittsburgh. A person with direct knowledge of the negotiations says the New York Jets and Bell have agreed to a deal early Wednesday morning, Mach 13, 2019, a person with direct knowledge of the negotiations told The Associated Press. The deal gives new coach Adam Gase and second-year quarterback Sam Darnold a big-time playmaker, arguably the best player at his position before Bell opted to sit out all of last season rather than sign a franchise tender with Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic, File)

  • 1

    FILE - In this Oct. 28, 2018, file photo, New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. (13) makes a one handed catch against Washington Redskins safety D.J. Swearinger (36) and linebacker Josh Harvey-Clemons (40) during an NFL football game, in East Rutherford, N.J. No longer a punching bag, the Browns are punching back. From hopeless to hopeful. Finally. In landing Beckham, one of the game’s most electrifying players, the Browns have risen from the deepest depths imaginable in just a year. (AP Photo/Brad Penner, File)

  • 2

    Oakland Raiders wide receiver Antonio Brown holds his jersey during an NFL football news conference, Wednesday, March 13, 2019, in Alameda, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

  • FILE - In this Oct. 22, 2017, file photo, Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell (26) carries the ball during an NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals in Pittsburgh. A person with direct knowledge of the negotiations says the New York Jets and Bell have agreed to a deal early Wednesday morning, Mach 13, 2019, a person with direct knowledge of the negotiations told The Associated Press. The deal gives new coach Adam Gase and second-year quarterback Sam Darnold a big-time playmaker, arguably the best player at his position before Bell opted to sit out all of last season rather than sign a franchise tender with Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic, File)

  • 1

    FILE - In this Oct. 28, 2018, file photo, New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. (13) makes a one handed catch against Washington Redskins safety D.J. Swearinger (36) and linebacker Josh Harvey-Clemons (40) during an NFL football game, in East Rutherford, N.J. No longer a punching bag, the Browns are punching back. From hopeless to hopeful. Finally. In landing Beckham, one of the game’s most electrifying players, the Browns have risen from the deepest depths imaginable in just a year. (AP Photo/Brad Penner, File)

  • 2

    Oakland Raiders wide receiver Antonio Brown holds his jersey during an NFL football news conference, Wednesday, March 13, 2019, in Alameda, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

It's probably fair to compare the opening of the NFL's business season with the wildness often seen on the stock market floor. A frenzy of bidding and trading and changes of mind — all involving millions of dollars.

Several trends already have appeared during the two days of the "legal tampering" period, and once moves became official:

DISENCHANTMENT WORKS

Antonio Brown didn't want to be a Steeler anymore. Nor did Le'Veon Bell.

Odell Beckham Jr., was unhappy with his quarterback in New Jersey.

So Brown, whose antics at the end of the 2018 season pretty much guaranteed he would be leaving Pittsburgh, landed in Oakland, where he presumably is thrilled with a new contract that guarantees him $30 million; he had no guaranteed money remaining on his Steelers deal. How long he will be happy with Derek Carr after becoming dissatisfied with Ben Roethlisberger depends on how often and accurately Carr gets Brown the ball.

Bell, who sat out the entire 2018 schedule rather than sign another franchise tag, saved a year of wear and tear, always a consideration for a running back. Then he got a megadeal from the Jets that satisfies his demands for financial security: $52.5 million for four years, with more than half of that pretty much guaranteed. He also has some attainable incentives that could increase the total package.

The Beckham trade echoes the Brown situation only in that his shenanigans — and criticisms of Eli Manning — made his team tire of him despite all of his electrifying skills. Where the Giants prospered and the Steelers didn't was in the value of compensation: Cleveland parted with a first- and third-round draft pick and Jabrill Pepper, who should start at safety.

But Beckham also got out of a place that didn't totally please him.

BUILD THE TRENCHES

While defensive linemen tend to come into the NFL and make an early impact, it's far more rare for blockers to do so. Thus, teams are turning more and more to free agency for guys to protect their most valuable commodity, the quarterback, and open holes for runners.

The Raiders led the way here, grabbing left tackle Trent Brown, who was a major contributor to New England's title run, for $66 million over four years.

Buffalo, whose 2018 season in part was destroyed by problems up front, got Chiefs center Mitch Morse for four years and $44.5 million, and tackle Ty Nsekhe ($14.5 million for two years).

Recognizing how its O-line had regressed, Atlanta spent nearly $40 million for two guards, James Carpenter and Jamon Brown.

Carolina, San Francisco and Seattle also dived in with huge sums for huge men on the O-line.

And Baltimore re-signed what coach John Harbaugh calls "the best blocking tight end in the league," Nick Boyle, for $18 million over three years.

GUARANTEED BUCKS

Early returns indicate players are getting more guaranteed money, in total and percentage-wise. A fully guaranteed contract such as the deals hundreds of baseball players negotiate, remains extremely rare in the NFL. But there's progress being made, and perhaps Kirk Cousins' megadeal in 2018 (three years, $84 million) eventually will be a bellwether.

TRENDING UP

No question the Browns, Raiders, Jets, Bills and 49ers all took major steps in upgrading their rosters through trades and free agency. What do those five have in common, though? How about lots of losing in recent years?

Certain units that needed improving, aside from the aforementioned offensive lines, got an influx of talent: Kansas City's and Green Bay's defense; Washington's secondary; and Jacksonville's quarterbacking with Nick Foles.

TRENDING DOWN

The Steelers, long the measuring rod in the AFC North, look severely weakened — and they already did so too often in tight games last season.

Giants fans might be wondering why they should show up at MetLife Stadium this year. Well, there's the sensational Saquon Barkley.

Miami, which traded starting QB Ryan Tannehill to Tennessee on Friday, is in full rebuild mode. Carolina could wind up there, too.

___

More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL

 

Print Article

Read More National & World Sports

Busted: NCAA bracket filled with tales of transgression

AP

March 21, 2019 at 10:54 am | SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The NCAA Selection Committee has spoken, seeding 64 teams for the tournament that starts Thursday. What if the Committee on Infractions had a say, too? Records would still m...

Comments

Read More

NCAA Tournament: Let the games begin - in earnest

AP

March 21, 2019 at 7:52 am | Reigning national champion Villanova will be in action along with Michigan, the runner-up from a year ago, while Belmont and Murray State open the NCAA Tournament as trendy upset picks. There's K...

Comments

Read More

Lopez's 3-pointers have become a key for NBA-best Bucks

AP

March 21, 2019 at 7:32 am | In case more proof was needed that the game of basketball has changed wildly in the last few years, check out the starting center for the team with the best record in the NBA — he is often nowhere ne...

Comments

Read More

Wednesday Sports in Brief

AP

March 21, 2019 at 5:00 am | COLLEGE BASKETBALL DAYTON, Ohio (AP) — Tyson Ward scored 23 points, and North Dakota State advanced to the NCAA Tournament round of 64 with a 78-74 win over North Carolina Central in a First Four...

Comments

Read More

Contact Us

(406) 755-7000
727 East Idaho
Kalispell, MT 59901

©2019 Daily Inter Lake Terms of Use Privacy Policy
X
X