It seems every year gets more and more crazy when the onset of NFL free agency begins. It's hard to say of this was the zaniest in recent memory, but it's definitely up there. Retirements, trades and other mega-deals headlined Tuesday, so let's have a look at some early reactions.
Arizona Cardinals: The boys in the southwest took advantage of teams not being able to retain some of their own and made a couple of key splashes to go all in for 2015. Offensive guard Mike Iuapti was a solid addition to a line that needed help. They also tapped into Bruce Arians' Colts and Steelers background, bringing in outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley and also have visits set up with Brian Orakpo, A.Q. Shipley, and Cory Redding.
New York Jets: Yes, they do the splashy thing often. However, offensive guard James Carpenter and cornerback Darrelle Revis are great gets. Keeping rotational back Bilal Powell was good, even though they shed Percy Harvin from the roster. That move doesn't seem too bad though, given that they also just traded for Brandon Marshall.
Yet To Be Determined:
Green Bay Packers: Channeling their inner Mike Brown, the Packers had an inward focus to the start of free agency with the re-signing of two core players in Bryan Bulaga and Randall Cobb. Aside from the occasional splash, the Packers usually remain quiet in free agency, as they have one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL and don't need to get too crazy.
Seattle Seahawks: They pulled off a huge trade for monster tight end Jimmy Graham, but had to give up a Pro Bowl center to get him. After losing Carpenter and linebacker Malcolm Smith, their personnel losses are piling up, even though Graham is a major boost to the offense.
Philadelphia Eagles: LeSean McCoy and Jeremy Maclin both left Philly, and most would say that it's madness. While it is eyebrow-raising to lose so many offensive playmakers, their salary hits and Chip Kelly's ability to plug in whoever and get production makes it seem a tiny bit reasonable. The Nick Foles-Sam Bradford trade was odd and some are speculating that Bradford might be trade bait used to reunite Kelly and Marcus Mariota in the form of draft picks. They also re-signed Brandon Graham.
San Francisco 49ers: They can't help the retirement of Patrick Willis and wishy-washy status of Justin Smith, but they have let Iupati and Frank Gore walk, while also seeming to be fine with the same track for Michael Crabtree. Torrey Smith was a nice get, but he's just another No.2-type receiver in a group filled with them. They've drafted to arm themselves for these losses in recent years, but with no Jim Harbaugh at the helm, it could be risky.
Free Agency Must Reads
DT Nick Fairley visiting Cincinnati Bengals
The Cincinnati Bengals are scheduled to visit with Detroit Lions defensive tackle Nick Fairley this Wednesday. Fairley became an unrestricted free agent on Tuesday.
Free Agency Must Reads
That Wacky AFC North:
Cincinnati Bengals: Mike Brown and Co. employed the "keep your own mentality" on day one, locking up Chris Lewis-Harris, Eric Winston and the important signing of offensive guard Clint Boling. They also added linebacker A.J. Hawk and have a Wednesday visit set up with defensive tackle Nick Fairley. They preached "change", but did they actually get better, or just keep things status quo? Fairley signing and/or others in key spots will determine the level of quality this offseason.
Baltimore Ravens: They lost Smith, Pernell McPhee, and traded away Haloti Ngata. This fire sale rivaled the 49ers in a way, but somehow general manager Ozzie Newsome always manages to conjure up magic. We'll see what he has up his sleeve.
Pittsburgh Steelers: Like the Bengals and Packers of late, Pittsburgh remains relatively quiet in free agency, minus the occasional second-tier signing. They retained linebacker Arthur Moats, whom the Bengals were interested in, as well as veteran tight end Matt Spaeth, but lost out to Revis. Mainstay Brett Keisel is gone, so it will be interesting to see what else they do going forward.
Cleveland Browns: This team is tough to figure out. They added much-needed receiver help in Brian Hartline, but appear to be letting Jordan Cameron, Brian Hoyer and Jabaal Sheard go. They also lost out in the Bradford sweepstakes and cornerback Buster Skrine went to New York with Revis. They'll likely splash for someone, but it might be a patented Browns overpayment maneuver.