NFL free agency, Day 2

Detroit News

And we’re back.

As you might expect, there was a lot of movement on the first day of free agency, and we did our best to keep you updated throughout the day.

The Detroit Lions joined in the frenzy Monday, re-signing three of their own, linebacker Alex Anzalone, defensive tackle Isaiah Buggs and running back Craig Reynolds, tendering five exclusive rights free agents, and making a splash on the open market. And they reached an agreement on a three-year deal with Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Cameron Sutton.

There’s plenty more to come. We’re still waiting on decisions from several Lions free agents, including running back Jamaal Williams, wide receiver DJ Chark and defensive lineman John Cominsky, who each figure to have a decent market for their services.

Editor’s note: Newest updates will be on top

▶ 8:03 p.m. — Planning on calling it a night unless a major signing or Lions’ move goes down. Before shutting down shop, here are some of the agreements that have taken place since our last update.

  • After leaving in 2020, defensive tackle Jarran Reed is returning to Seattle on a two-year deal. He appeared in 17 games for the Packers last season, playing nearly 70% of the team’s defensive snaps.
  • The Vikings are giving Andrew DePaola the most guaranteed money for a long snapper in NFL history as part of a two-year, $4 million deal.
  • Kaleb McGary, a four-year starting offensive tackle with Atlanta, is re-upping with the team that drafted him in the first round in 2019, getting three more years and $34.5 million.
  • Former Michigan star Jabrill Peppers is staying in New England on a new, two-year contract.
  • The Colts are giving former Rams and 49ers edge rusher Samson Ebukam a three-year, $27 million deal. He set career-highs with 5.0 sacks and 50 quarterback pressures as a 17-game starter last season.

▶ 5:52 p.m. — To the surprise of no one, the Colts are releasing quarterback Matt Ryan. Based on how banged up he looked during training camp joint practices with the Lions last year, retirement seems very realistic for the former MVP.

Ryan, who threw a 62-yard touchdown with his NFL first pass attempt in the 2008 season opener against the Lions, ranks top-10 all-time in completions, passing yards and passing touchdowns.

▶ 5:31 p.m. — Not that the Lions were looking for another cornerback after adding two already, but one of the top names is now off the board. According to ESPN, James Bradberry is heading back to the Eagles, and the numbers looking pretty team-friendly. It’s reported to be a three-year extension for 38 million.

Bradberry was a key offseason addition for the Eagles last season, locking down the second corner spot opposite Darius Slay. Playing on a prove-it deal, Bradberry did just that, holding opposing QBs to a paltry 51.2 passer rating when throwing his direction.

The veteran corner has corralled at least three interceptions each of the past four seasons and has broken up an impressive 64 passes during that four-year stretch.

▶ 5:04 p.m. — Another big name is on the move with the Colts agreeing to send cornerback Stephon Gilmore to the Cowboys, according to multiple reports. Soon to be 33 years old, he’s clearly not the All-Pro player he once was, but he’s still a really good cover corner, who held opposing QBs to a passer rating of 82.6 last season, despite seeing a hearty 82 balls thrown his direction.

Paired with ball-hawking Pro Bowler Trevon Diggs, Dallas’ already good pass defense just got better, and it only cost the Cowboys a Day 3 draft pick.

▶ 5:04 p.m. — We’ve hit another lull in the negotiating action, although multiple sources indicate the Jets got across the finish line with Lazard. The big-framed receiver is reportedly getting four years, $44 million.

Obviously, the deal will be defined by its structure, but the average value feels a touch rich for a guy who has averaged 43.8 yards per game the past three seasons. He’s coming off a career-year with 60 catches for 788 yards and six touchdowns, but it’s easy to imagine his relationship with Rodgers got Lazard more than he would have otherwise.

▶ 3:45p.m. — Here’s that story on Cominsky coming back.

In non-Lions news, the Eagles are signing running back Rashaad Penny. Not sure if that means they’re out on bringing back Miles Sanders, who is also a free agent. And with Philadelphia holding the No. 10 and 30 picks in the draft, there will be an opportunity to take one of the top backs in this class, if they want to go that route.

Penny’s a really good player — averaging an impressive 6.2 yards per carry the past two years — he’s just struggled to stay healthy. It’s difficult to imagine the Eagles are prepared to rely on him as the unquestioned lead guy in their backfield with those durability concerns.

▶ 3:26p.m. — John Cominsky is also coming back on a two-year deal. More on that one, in a separate post, in a moment.

▶ 2:56 p.m. — Lions are adding cornerback Emmanuel Moseley, according to ESPN. We’ll have more on that in a separate post shortly.

▶ 2:29 p.m. — In a trade that would have been bigger news two years ago, the Giants are shipping a late third-round pick (No. 100) to the Raiders for tight end Darren Waller.

Waller broke out in 2019 and was similarly exceptional in 2020, earning Pro Bowl honors after catching 107 passes for 1,196 yards and nine touchdowns. But knee, back and hamstring injuries sidelined him 14 games the past two years. During that stretch, the production also dipped, with 83 catches across 20 games.

With minimal dead money on the deal, the Giants are absorbing most Waller’s $12 million cap hit next season, but also taking on little risk beyond 2023 if the move doesn’t work out. It’s a good roll of the dice for an offense that averaged just 185.7 yards passing last season.

▶ 2:14 p.m. — I’ve got to be honest, I expected more fireworks today, especially after the frantic pace of agreements throughout Monday, but we’re halfway through the day and things have been pretty mundane.

In the past couples hours, there have been a couple notable players sticking with their teams, with Minnesota center Garrett Bradbury re-signing for three years and single-season catch king Michael Thomas re-working his contract to stay in New Orleans.

Thomas was thought to be on the chopping block after three injury-plagued seasons, but the two sides will give it another go as the 30-year-old receiver will see if he can rediscover his durability and productivity playing with new quarterback Derek Carr.

▶ 12:50 p.m. — We’re still here, just not a lot going on at the moment. In NFC North quarterback news, Kirk Cousins is doing an annual contract restructuring to provide the Vikings some cap relief, while Aaron Rodgers is still holding everyone hostage, forcing everyone to read and listen to non-updates about his situation every 2.5 minutes.

▶ 11:20 a.m. — We’re starting to see some movement with skill position agreements, starting with Meyers’ deal with the Raiders and running back Raheem Mostert re-signing with the Dolphins (two years, up to $7.6 million).

ESPN is also reporting that the Jets are making steady progress on a deal with Allen Lazard, pointing to that being imminent (and having nothing to do with Aaron Rodgers, wink, wink).

So what does this mean? Well, it would suggest that the market rate is being set at both the receiver and running back positions, which should accelerate the process for both Chark and Williams. The Lions have expressed interest in bringing both players back, but each is understandably exploring the market and trying to maximize their value, given the lack of quality options at their positions.

▶ 10:50 a.m. — We’ve posted an update on Matt Nelson re-signing with the Lions and will have another post coming shortly on how Sutton’s contract agreement breaks down.

Around the league, the only new deal of consequence is a three-year, $24 million extension for safety Donovan Wilson in Dallas.

▶ 10:00 a.m. — Obviously things will continue to change quickly throughout the day (wide receiver Jakobi Meyers just came off the board with a three-year, $33 million agreement with the Raiders), but let’s take a look at some of the best players who have yet to reach new agreements.

Quarterbacks: Jacoby Brissett, Carson Wentz, Marcus Mariota, Baker Mayfield, Gardner Minshew

Running backs: Miles Sanders, David Montgomery, Leonard Fournette, Devin Singletary, Kareem Hunt

Wide receivers: JuJu Smith-Schuster, Mecole Hardman, Allen Lazard, Adam Thielen, Odell Beckham

Tight ends: Dalton Schultz, Mike Gesicki, Austin Hooper, Hayden Hurst, Irv Smith Jr.

Offensive line: Orlando Brown, Taylor Lewan, Dalton Risner, Isaac Seumalo, Garrett Bradbury

Edge defenders: Leonard Floyd, Arden Key, Jadeveon Clowney, Justin Houston, Charles Omenihu

Defensive tackles: Fletcher Cox, Sheldon Rankins, Calais Campbell, Larry Ogunjobi, Matt Ioannidis

Linebackers: Lavonte David, Bobby Wagner, Leighton Vander Esch, Drue Tranquill, Denzel Perryman

Cornerbacks: James Bradberry, Rock Ya-Sin, Byron Jones, Marcus Peters, Byron Murphy

Safeties: Jorden Poyer, Chauncey Garder-Johnson, Taylor Rapp, Rodney McLeod, Julian Love

▶ 9:00 a.m. — In terms of overnight deals, the biggest one went to one of the biggest men available: Dalvin Tomlinson. The 325-pound nose tackle is leaving Minnesota for a four-year deal worth up to $57 million.

That’s another blow to a Vikings defense that also had linebacker Eric Kendricks and cornerback Patrick Peterson reach agreements elsewhere. The NFC North foe did add edge rusher Marcus Davenport on the heels of Za’Darius Smith asking for his release last week.

As for this morning, the most notable agreement was another cash-in for a backup quarterback. Former Commanders signal-caller Tyler Heinicke will now provide insurance in Atlanta, netting a two-year deal with a maximum value of $20 million.

Oh, yeah, and Rams kicker Matt Gay is becoming the league’s second-highest paid at the position (by average annual value), behind only Baltimore’s Justin Tucker. The Colts are giving Gay a four-year pact worth $22.5 million. Given he’s made 92.5% of his field goals in the past three seasons, the money makes sense.

Twitter: @Justin_Rogers

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