Tuesday, March 13, 2012
2012 NFL Free Agency Begins Or So I've Heard
The new calendar year for the NFL officially began at 4 p.m. this afternoon, meaning that free agency opened.
For New England Patriots fans, this day is strange. You watch so many teams around the league make big splashes but the Pats rarely spend a whole lot in free agency or acquiring marquee names. They much prefer to draft and develop guys or find castoffs that they turn into valuable players.
So while Vincent Jackson was getting paid in Tampa Bay, Peyton Manning was traveling around the country and Brandon Marshall was traded from Miami to Chicago, the Patriots chose to lock up mostly depth players that don't get many headlines.
Backup quarterback Brian Hoyer received a second-round tender from New England. The $1.92 million tender means that any other team can sign him to an offer sheet. If the Patriots don't match it, they get a second-round pick.
Defensive lineman Kyle Love received an exclusive rights free-agent tender. Center Dan Koppen is headed to the open market in free agency although he could return to Foxboro. Linebacker Niko Koutouvides was signed to a one-year deal with a base salary of $825,000. Finally, Matthew Slater is expected to reach an agreement tomorrow.
Only Brandon Lloyd is left in terms of impact free agent wide receivers. Let's hope that the Pats can get something done with him soon and they don't lose out to a team like the 49ers (who's hosting him on a visit tomorrow). I would list other pipe dreams like Mario Williams but I fear there's no chance they'll land anybody in his range.
UPDATE 3/14: The Patriots resigned linebacker and special teams standout Tracy White, terms were not disclosed. They've also signed former Bengals defensive end Jonathan Fanene to a three-year contract worth $12 million which includes a $3.85 million signing bonus. I'm excited that the Pats addressed one of their biggest needs but honestly, I've never heard of this bum. Looks like another nobody that they'll try to squeeze something out of on short money. He had 6.5 sacks last season and six sacks in 2009. He's 29 years old, 6-4, 285 pounds and he's from American Samoa. You probably would recognize him from his long hair.
UPDATE 3/15: Today the Patriots resigned Slater and also came to terms with defensive lineman Marcus Harrison, who was on the team for one day (haha really) last season. New England also signed safety Steve Gregory to a three-year deal (averaging between $2 million and $3 million) and they resigned Dan Connolly to a new contract. Gregory was on the Chargers since entering the NFL as an undrafted rookie in 2006.