The Browns showed they are serious about upgrading their offensive line by making Kevin Zeitler the highest-paid guard in the league. Grade -- A: Snagging the guy considered to be the best lineman on the market, a guy who has started 71 of 72 games, was a Pro Bowl alternate last year and is just 27 ... what's not to like?
The Bengals won their first AFC game of the year Thursday when according to multiple reports they outmuscled the Steelers and Titans to re-sign starting cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick on a five-year deal believed be worth more than $50 million. It's believed he'll be in town Friday to sign and conduct a news conference.
Suddenly, the Bengals offensive line is undergoing its biggest facelift in eight years and sixth-year left guard Clint Boling is emerging as the leader of a young and inexperienced group that could go into the spring with as few as 148 NFL starts across the five spots.
The Cedric Ogbuehi Era has begun as the Bengals bid farewell to one of their most celebrated players and leaders in franchise history. Andrew Whitworth, a three-time Pro Bowler who has played the third most games ever on the Bengals offensive line as primarily a tackle, has played his last one and is now the starting left tackle for the Los Angeles Rams, according to multiple reports.
The departure of Cincinnati Bengals left tackle Andrew Whitworth essentially came down to long-term security, according to his agent Pat Dye. Whitworth agreed to a three-year deal Thursday with the Los Angeles Rams. The deal is worth $36 million with $15 million guaranteed. The Bengals' best offer was a one-year deal worth $10 million, Dye said, refuting reports that the Bengals were willing to go as high as $11-12 million. The possibility of a second year was not on the table.
The Cincinnati Bengals knew they couldn't keep all of their free agents, but they couldn't afford to let them all go. They made sure to keep cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick in Cincinnati, agreeing to terms on a five-year deal when free agency opened on Thursday. Kirkpatrick also had interest from the Steelers.
Beginning in April of 2015, what happened to the Bengals offensive line on Thursday was always the plan. That doesn’t mean the opening day of free agency unfolded the way the club hoped it would. The team meets a new, uneasy reality in front of Andy Dalton. The future is here. And a huge spotlight turns to 2015 first-round pick Cedric Ogbuehi.
AFC North Bytes
Nose tackle Brandon Williams was one of the more underrated free agents on the market, but the Ravens sure recognized the nose tackle’s talent, and to keep it. Williams has re-signed with the team on a 5-year, $54 million deal with $27.5 million guaranteed after establishing himself as one of the most dominant run-stuffing defensive linemen in the NFL.
In one of the most frenzied opening days of NFL free agency ever, the Browns made the wildest move, essentially taking on the $16 million contract of Brock Osweiler for a second-round pick.
The Pittsburgh Steelers announced Thursday that they have signed quarterback Landry Jones to a two-year deal. According to NFL Network's Aditi Kinkhabwala, Jones' deal is worth $4.4 million total with $600,000 guaranteed.
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Retired NFL lineman Geoff Schwartz, who’s been through four of them, explains the process of free agency from a player perspective.
Are the New England Patriots trading Jimmy Garoppolo? A goodbye to New England early Friday morning appeared on the quarterback’s Instagram prompting speculation he is on the move. A picture of Garoppolo holding the Vince Lombardi Trophy following Super Bowl LI appeared with the caption “So grateful for my time in New England. Peace out Boston ”
The madness is well and truly underway. At 4 p.m. ET on Thursday, free agency officially opened across the National Football League. Not that there hadn't been plenty of wildness already. The "legal tampering" period earlier in the week led to any number of deals being agreed to, although they couldn't officially be signed until Thursday afternoon—deals that led to some happy NFL teams and even happier agents.
Everyone take a deep breath and let the market reset after Thursday's deluge of free-agent signings. Breathe in. Breathe out. The initial wave of transactions seemed closer to the opening of the stock market than the NFL's new league year.