Fantasy Football News

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

2012 Free Agency Update: Wide Receivers-galore and other UFA signings

Today marks day No. 2 of the National Football League's new calendar year, which also means day No. 2 of the 2012 free agency period.

Less than 24 hours after free agents were allowed to sign with teams we have witnessed more wide receivers signing contracts than every other position. In fact, six of the position's most coveted free agents have already signed new contracts.

They haven't all switched teams for 2012––Indianapolis' All Pro Reggie Wayne signed a three-year deal to stay with the Colts and New Orleans' leading receiver Marques Colston signed a five-year deal to stay with Drew Brees and the Saints. The rest, well lets just say they will be donning new uniforms once Training Camp rolls around this summer.

After tying a career-high with nine touchdown receptions with the San Diego Chargers this past season, 29-year old Vincent Jackson landed a five-year, $55.5 million contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The one-time Pro Bowl wideout will team up with one of the youngest offensive units in the league, alongside 24-year old quarterback Josh Freeman, fellow receivers Mike Williams (24) and Arrelious Benn (23) and running back LeGarrette Blount (25).

Luckily for Charger quarterback Philip Rivers, General Manager A.J. Smith immediately went out and bought himself a V-Jack replacement with a 4-year, $25.5 million deal according to ESPN's John Clayton.
The receiver talk doesn't end there. On Monday, the 49ers added a deep threat by giving future Hall of Famer Randy Moss a one-year deal after his announcement to un-retire following a year out of football. The Niners can void his contract before the season starts without penalty, if Moss starts acting up or they change their minds. That makes this a very solid and affordable signing on San Francisco's part.

Pierre Garcon announced yesterday, before the news broke, that he would be signing with the Washington Redskins. Just days after owner Dan Snyder spent three first round picks and a second round pick on this year's sought-after second overall pick in April's NFL draft, Snyder dropped $42.5 million ($21.5 million guaranteed) on the 25-year old Garcon, wrapping him up for the next five years.

The move also comes one day after learning the Redskins, and Cowboys, will be penalized by Commissioner Roger Goodell for pushing salary cap into an uncapped season.

This clearly didn't worry the Skins' organization too much, as they also signed WRs Eddie Royal (two-years, $12 million) and Josh Morgan (two-years, $6 million) shortly afterwards, adding targets for soon-to-be quarterback Robert Griffin III.

Update on other WRs:

*Brandon Lloyd (STL) is set to visit the 49ers.
*Mike Wallace (PIT restricted free agent) can still sign with another team. The Steelers have signed an offer sheet, but other teams are allowed to counter that offer. Personally, I see him landing elsewhere because I'm just not sure the Steelers have the money to retain Wallace.
*The Detroit Lions and Calvin "Megatron" Johnson have made history. The All-Pro wideout wasn't set to become a free agent, but he did however sign a mega contract extension from the Lions, worth $132 million. The $132 million over the next eight years makes Johnson (96 catches, 1,681 yards, 16 TDs in 2011) the highest-paid wide receiver in league history, surpassing Larry Fitzgerald's $120 million contract from a year ago.

Top UFA WRs Still available:

*Brandon Lloyd
*Mario Manningham
*Laurent Robinson
*Harry Douglas
*Deion Branch

Non-WR Free Agent Signings

Much to my surprise, the New Orleans Saints were unable to retain free agent guard Carl Nicks. The 26-year old Nicks was made the highest-paid guard in the league by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers following a contract signing of 5-years, $47.5 million. Nicks will be a welcome addition to the Bucs, who like I said previously, houses one of the youngest offensive attacks in the league.

The first and only quarterback to sign thus far has been former Raider Jason Campbell, who is on his way to Chicago to back up Pro Bowl signal caller Jay Cutler. He will join new-coming wide receiver Brandon Marshall (acquired from Miami for two 3rd round draft picks yesterday) after signing a one-year deal.

Despite losing top wideout Vincent Jackson, San Diego center Nick Hardwick has agreed to stay with the Chargers and signed a three-year contract. The Chargers, however, released left tackle Marcus McNeill at the same time, to save cap space.

Key Defensive Signings:

*So far, former Tennessee Titans cornerback Cortland Finnegan has signed the biggest defensive contract of the free agency period, agreeing to a five-year, $50 million mega-deal with the St. Louis Rams.
*Former Cleveland Browns and Detroit Lions cornerback Eric Wright signs with Bucs on five-year, $37.5 million contract.
*Pro Bowl corner Carlos Rogers re-signs with the 49ers (four-year, $31 million) after his one-year contract expired.
*Cornerback Perrish Cox, former Bronco, signed a two-year deal with the 49ers despite his recent involvement with a sexual assault case. He was found not guilty in court on March 2.

The Biggest are yet to come:

Peyton Manning, one of the best free agents to ever hit the market in NFL history, has reportedly narrowed his possible destination list down to just four teams (Denver, Miami, Tennessee and Arizona) according to a Yahoo! Sports report I just recently read. As of 12:00 PM eastern time on Wednesday March 14, Manning's decision could come as early as today.

As for the best defensive free agent on the market, Houston Texans' defensive end/linebacker Mario Williams has met with the Buffalo Bills, and will reportedly meet with other teams as well. So don't get overly excited just yet, Buffalo fans.

Come back for more free agent signings and NFL off-season news! Or visit the All-Out Blitz tumblr page for faster updates:

Photo credit
Vincent Jackson: Harry How/Getty Images
Brandon Lloyd: Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images
Cortland Finnegan: Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

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