Nick Mensio

Free Agency Dose

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NFL Hot Stove, Day 1

Tuesday, March 12, 2013



The Panthers are in cap hell, and new GM Dave Gettleman doesn’t have a lot of avenues out. Carolina won't be a major player in free agency, but could dip into the market during the second and third waves. … Recently released cornerback Chris Gamble is likely calling it a career. … The Panthers re-signed exclusive rights free agent fullback Richie Brockel to a one-year, $555,000 deal.

The Patriots’ focus was still on their own free agents Monday. Free agent receiver Wes Welker is widely expected to return to New England, and getting a deal done before Tuesday afternoon isn’t believed to be as big of an issue as it's previously been described. Welker will experience a softer market than he anticipates. ... The Patriots would like to get something worked out with free agent cornerback Aqib Talib soon. … Prior to restricted free agent receiver Victor Cruz switching agents, the Patriots were reportedly considering making a run at him. … New England is one of a handful of teams interested in free agent defensive tackle Desmond Bryant.

The Raiders are another team with a mess on their hands. They haven’t been linked to many free agents, but Oakland is likely to cut some bait in the near future. … The Raiders reportedly would love to re-sign free agent linebacker Philip Wheeler, but it’s believed he won’t be back. His stock has steadily risen over the last few days. … Free agent tight ends Kevin Boss and Anthony Fasano have been mentioned as possible replacements for Brandon Myers. Myers has drawn interest from Cleveland.

The Rams are expected to let three of their more prominent free agents walk. Receivers Danny Amendola and Brandon Gibson and running back Steven Jackson are unlikely to be back. St. Louis also announced the release of strong safety Quintin Mikell early Monday. … The Rams have been linked to free agent left tackle Jake Long, but his price could be out of their range. Plus, the Rams already have a solid left tackle in Rodger Saffold. We think it's more likely they'll acquire Saffold's bookend in the draft. … Free agent defensive lineman Jason Jones and linebacker Philip Wheeler have also been connected to the Rams. Jones and coach Jeff Fisher have a history from their days together in Tennessee. St. Louis was interested in him last offseason. … The Rams re-signed defensive tackle Jermelle Cudjo to a two-year deal.

The Ravens made the bold move of trading receiver Anquan Boldin to San Francisco for a 2013 sixth-round pick. Baltimore wanted Boldin to take a $2 million cut from his $6 million salary, but he refused. … With the money saved in the Boldin deal, the Ravens are now expected to pick up the $1 million roster bonus due to receiver Jacoby Jones. … Baltimore is set to meet with free agent linebacker Dannell Ellerbe early Tuesday, and he’s believed to be the team’s top priority with the Boldin matter resolved. … The Ravens are expected to show interest in free agent receiver Danny Amendola on Tuesday afternoon. Amendola would replace Boldin in the slot. … Free agent safety Ed Reed hired an agent on Monday, and he’s not expected to return to Baltimore. We like Indy as the favorite to sign him. … The Ravens extended second-round tenders to restricted free agents tight end Dennis Pitta and defensive lineman Arthur Jones. Tight end Ed Dickson was tendered at the lowest level.

The Redskins are intent on fixing the back end of their defense. Cornerback DeAngelo Hall and his $8 million salary were released on Monday. Washington has turned its attention to free agent cornerbacks Greg Toler, Derek Cox, and Aqib Talib. The Redskins are reportedly aiming to make a strong push for Talib once the market opens. … Defensive end Adam Carriker restructured his deal, converting $1.4 million into attainable incentives. … The Redskins signed offensive tackle Tony Pashos on Monday. He could be an option at right tackle, but in all likelihood is just veteran depth. … Washington tendered restricted free agent nose tackle Chris Baker at the lowest level. Return man and receiver Brandon Banks wasn’t tendered at all, and his time in D.C. is likely over.

The Saints don’t have much cap space, but they have the ability to create some by releasing defensive end Will Smith, safety Roman Harper, and linebacker Jonathan Vilma. They’re expected to do so on Tuesday before free agency opens. … Free agent outside linebacker James Harrison said he would welcome the idea of playing for the Saints. … Free agent left tackle Jermon Bushrod is 50:50 to re-sign with New Orleans. After releasing the aforementioned veterans, Bushrod is expected to be GM Mickey Loomis’ top priority before Tuesday's free-agency commencement.

The Seahawks made the biggest splash of the day on Monday. Seattle traded the No. 25 overall pick, their 2013 seventh-round pick, and a 2014 third-rounder to the Vikings in exchange for disgruntled receiver Percy Harvin. The sides reportedly already have a contract in place to keep the 24-year-old in Seattle long-term. The move will do wonders for Russell Wilson and the passing attack. You can read more about the trade from Adam Levitan here. … Following the acquisition of Harvin, who happens to be just as electric in the return game as he is at receiver, kick returner Leon Washington is now on the trading block. He may be able to fetch a late-round pick. … The Seahawks were one of a handful of teams to be connected to free agent defensive tackle Desmond Bryant on Monday.

The Steelers aren’t going to be very active in free agency. They may have made their two biggest signing already. Earlier in the offseason, nickel cornerback William Gay was signed to a three-year, $4.5 million deal. On Monday, Pittsburgh re-signed guard Ramon Foster to a three-year contract. He will compete for a starting job this summer. … With the signing of Foster, left guard Willie Colon’s future is in doubt. He’s due a $5.5 million salary and the Steelers could save $2 million versus the cap by releasing Colon. They could save even more in 2013 by designating Colon a post-June 1 cut. … Running back Jonathan Dwyer signed his $1.323 million restricted tender. He’s the lead dog in the backfield picture at the moment, but that won't last.

The Texans have had a quiet offseason. They have focused on locking up free agent safety Glover Quin, but to this point it hasn’t come to fruition. The closer it gets to Tuesday afternoon, the less likely it is that Quin is back in Houston. … The Texans signed tight end Phillip Supernaw on Monday. He’ll fight for a roster spot. … Expect the Texans to address receiver opposite Andre Johnson in the draft.

The Titans are expected to make free agent guard Andy Levitre their No. 1 priority, and they are considered the overwhelming favorites to land him. Levitre is expected to command $8-9 million annually. Left guard Steve Hutchinson announced his retirement, creating a hole for Levitre to fill. ... It has been confirmed that free agent tight end Jared Cook will test the open market. He’ll be one of the hottest commodities. His price tag could legitimately get out of control. … The Titans extended a second-round tender to restricted free agent center Fernando Velasco. Tennessee chose not to tender exclusive rights free agent offensive lineman Kevin Matthews.

The Vikings pulled the trigger on the trade sending Percy Harvin to Seattle for the Seahawks’ 2013 first- and seventh-round picks, along with a third-rounder in 2014. While fans may not love trading one of the game's most dynamic players, the Vikings got a great haul for a player that was never going to take another snap in Minnesota. … The Vikings are expected to make a serious run at free agent wide receiver Greg Jennings now that the only legitimate wideout on the team has been traded. Minnesota also inquired on Anquan Boldin, offering a seventh-round pick in exchange for the 32-year-old. … Minnesota and free agent right tackle Phil Loadholt continue to negotiate a long-term deal, but it’s likely that Loadholt will reach the open market. The Vikings would be wise to keep the mauling right tackle. … The Vikings extended an original-pick tender to restricted free agent cornerback A.J. Jefferson.



Nick Mensio is a football writer for Rotoworld.com. The 2014 NFL season marks his third with Rotoworld. He can be found on Twitter at @NickMensio.
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