NFL Free Agency
Ryne Oshiro, Staff Writer
What brings more excitement to football fans than Fantasy Football? Well, one answer could be the signing of NFL free agents. A free agent is someone who is no longer tied within a specific team and can choose from numerous options and offerings from teams who desire that certain individual. For example, if the Seattle Seahawks had a contract with a player that expires next year, they would have to rearrange a deal to the likings of that specific player or else they may look for more money elsewhere. With the free agent signing, there also comes a time where teams will release certain players to save up cap space in order to have the money to sign those desired players.
To kick off the madness of free agency, former Houston Texans pass-rusher J.J. Watt agreed to sign a two-year contract with the Arizona Cardinals on a $31 million deal. This was a bad sign for Seahawks fans, but a good one for Cardinals fans. Among popular names, Dallas Cowboys star quarterback Dak Prescott resigned and agreed to a four-year $160 million deal. This signing proves that Prescott will be looked at as the quarterback for years to come as he has giant shoes to fill with a team that features arguably the best offensive weapons that include running back Ezekiel Elliot and wide receivers CeeDee Lamb, Michael Gallup, and Amari Cooper. The Seahawks were among the many teams to release players, letting defensive end Carlos Dunlap go, clearing about $14.1 million of cap space. Yet, even though they released him, the Seahawks have re-signed him to a deal that both sides benefit from.
One team that looked to gain their mojo back is the New England Patriots who failed to make the playoffs after seeing their future hall of fame quarterback Tom Brady head to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last season. Following the departure, Brady ended up winning his seventh Super Bowl and the Patriots were stuck watching him succeed from home. In the 2021 free agency, the Patriots have made moves to become the dominant team they once were. The Patriots added the top two tight ends in free agency by signing former Los Angeles Charger Hunter Henry and former Tennesee Titan Jonnu Smith to multiple-year deals. To add depth to their defensive side, they added linebacker Matthew Judon from the Baltimore Ravens, re-signed defensive end Deatrich Wise Jr, former Philadelphia Eagles safety Jalen Mills, and former Miami Dolphin Kyle Van Noy. All players signed deals for multiple years as the Patriots look to build towards their future.
For the home-state Seahawks, the release and resigning of Dunlap wasn’t the only move made in March. After blowing up the NFL world with trade talks of star quarterback Russell Wilson, the Seahawks looked to beef up positions of need. After releasing cornerback Shaquill Griffin, the Hawks went out and signed former San Francisco 49er cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon to a one-year deal. In typical Seattle fashion, they also signed former Los Angeles Ram tight end Gerald Everett to a one-year deal to fill the gap of Greg Olsen retiring. One of the biggest needs was signing Chris Carson back and the Seahawks did so by giving him a three-year contract that guarantees him $5.5 million in 2021.
Free agency will begin to ramp up as the 2021 NFL draft will soon take place on April 29th and run through May 1st. The excitement of the new football season is officially around the corner and fans will begin to find either disappointment in their team or optimism in the upcoming year.