Free agency is in full force around the NFL as the new league year is set to begin on Wednesday. While Lamar Jackson and Aaron Rodgers will take center stage in less than 24 hours, teams are agreeing to terms on contracts with the top free agents as they are cap compliant.New deals can’t officially be announced until tomorrow, but there was plenty of signings around the league on Day 2. Who are the winners and losers after a busy Day 2 of free agency? Plenty of teams are excited after their free agent finds. From Monday: Day 1 winners and losersHave a day Howie Roseman. The Eagles retained their biggest free agent by getting James Bradberry to stay in Philadelphia — at a discount no less (three years and up to $44 million). Whether the Eagles will have Bradberry and Darius Slay in 2023 is currently up in the air, but they currently have the dynamic cornerback duo back two days into free agency.Philadelphia also got Rashaad Penny at a bargain (one-year deal up to $2.1 million) and retained Boston Scott, setting the pair up with Kenneth Gainwell at running back. The Eagles still are making a push to re-sign C.J. Gardner-Johnson, who is still a free agent.
Philadelphia is still immensely talented despite its free agent losses. The Eagles prioritized secondary and got Bradberry to stay. Huge win for Roseman. Aaron Rodgers appears to be on his way to the New York Jets, but he had a shopping list of what he wants with his new team. The Jets landed Allan Lazard (Rodgers’ wide receiver in Green Bay) and Rodgers reportedly has asked for Randall Cobb and Odell Beckham Jr. (who the Packers were interested in bringing in two seasons ago).What is to become of Elijah Moore and Corey Davis? Garrett Wilson isn’t going anywhere and the wide receiver room will be crowded if Cobb and Beckham join Lazard. Moore and Davis will certainly be expendable, even if both players would be assets to Rodgers.
The Jets are desperate for a quarterback. Rodgers is getting what he wants. Now that Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley are back in New York, the next task is to get Jones some pass catchers that can elevate his game even further as a quarterback. The Giants accomplished this by trading a third-round pick for Darren Waller, who had consecutive 1,000-yard seasons in 2019 and 2020.Waller has appeared in 20 of a potential 34 regular season games since, but is still one of the best receiving tight ends in the game when healthy. Expect a lot of two tight end sets with Waller and Daniel Bellinger, which will significantly help Jones in the middle of the field. There’s still work to do at wide receiver and offensive line, but this is a good start for the Giants in improving their offense.
Hiring Jonathan Gannon as head coach figured to be a prime free agent destination for the number of Eagles players set to hit the open market. All the Cardinals got from the 2022 Eagles defense was Kyzir White thus far. The Cardinals aren’t typically big players in free agency, but they couldn’t convince James Bradberry nor T.J. Edwards to join Gannon. Javon Hargrave went to the San Francisco 49ers, a division rival as the cherry on top of a poor start to free agency. Unless the Cardinals can convince C.J. Gardner-Johnson to come to Arizona, this legal tampering period has been disastrous. Gannon’s Eagles’ connections haven’t worked so far. They also lost Byron Murphy and Zach Allen on defense too.
The Cowboys aren’t typically active in free agency, but they were able to land Stephon Gilmore in a trade with the Indianapolis Colts (and only gave up a fifth-round compensatory pick in the process). Dallas needed to pair someone with Trevon Diggs and ended up with a quality starter in Gilmore. Not only does Gilmore join a defense with Diggs, Micah Parsons, DeMarcus Lawrence, and Jayron Kearse — the Cowboys get a player that has allowed just a 42.0 passer rating in coverage over the last six seasons. Gilmore should thrive and Dan Quinn’s defense, as he’ll be needed to contain the Eagles and Commanders’ strong wide receiver units. Williams was a perfect fit with the Detroit Lions, who turned the page on him and signed David Montgomery to a three-year deal worth $18 million. Montgomery will take Williams’ spot as the No. 1 back in the Lions’ offense, while Williams will hit the free agent market.
Some team is going to get an excellent player in Williams, who was great with Detroit last season. Williams had 262 carries for 1066 yards (4.1 yards per carry) and 17 touchdowns. He produced the first 1,000-yard rushing season of his career and the first 1,000-rushing season for a Lions player since Reggie Bush in 2013. Williams also led the league with 17 rushing touchdowns, setting the Lions’ franchise record for most rushing touchdowns in a season. He has rushed for 50-plus yards in 10 straight games, the longest active streak in the NFL. Williams is going to get well-deserved money in free agency, but it should have been in Detroit. Some team will be extremely fortunate to have him.