In case you missed it, we officially said goodbye to the 2012 NFL Season at 4pm ET today. If you missed it, it's likely because the 2013 season didn't take much time before the headlines came pouring in.
Free agency officially opened for business as soon as we wrapped up the previous year, and immediately the NFL, and the Rams, at the forefront of the sporting world.
Let's start with the Blue and Gold.
The Rams got off to a hot start, signing former Titans TE Jared Cook to a five-year deal, rumored to end up costing $8m per year on average. Cook posted nearly identical numbers to current Rams TE Lance Kendricks last year: 44 rec, 523 yds, 4 TDs for Cook and 42 rec, 519 yds, 4 TDs for Lance. The question that the Rams will be paying so heavily to have Cook answer is whether his pass-receiving acumen can translate to higher production in the Rams' system. Cook played a role more traditionally seen by wide receivers in the slot, so it certainly doesn't mean we'll be seeing a whole lot less of Kendricks. Still, with the offensive depth chart yet to be set, the roles for just about everyone outside of Sam Bradford are up in the air.
One thing that could shift things around on the line is former Miami OT Jake Long coming to visit tomorrow. Also coming to town is safety Louis Delmas who has been with the Lions for all of his four-year career to this point. It's hard not to be enamored with the idea of bringing in a former Pro Bowl left tackle and promising safety talent, but free agency is a process for many players. With Chicago also interested in Long's services, it's not a done deal by any means.
And while it wasn't the headline grabber some of those were, the Rams quietly re-signed William Hayes and Jermelle Cudjo to long-term deals. Securing some defensive line depth that has experience with the rest of the unit (at a relatively cheap cost) was an early positive.
Let's go around the league to recap the day's major (and relevant) moves:
- Miami was the big spender on the first day of the season, breaking the bank for WR Mike Wallace. The Dolphins also hauled in former Ravens LB Danell Ellerbe for a reported 5-year, $35m deal. Keeping Chris Clemons was a high priority for them as well.
- Philadelphia was also very active today. CB Nnamdi Asomugha, who two years ago was the unanimous best free agent on the market, never played like he was the best free agent on the market. The Eagles released him this afternoon...This is your caveat emptor lesson of the day. Meanwhile, the Eagles reportedly locked up the services of former Texans FB James Casey, ex-Niners NT Isaac Sopoaga, ex-Pats rover Patrick Chung, LB Jason Phillips who leaves the Panthers...and Bradley Fletcher.
BFB was a hard worker and epitomized much of the Spagnuolo defense. Physical past the breaking point. His pressing game didn't fit what Fisher wants to do with the defense (though those 10-yard cushions are a bit much...). I doubt I'm alone in hoping he makes a positive impact for Philly...except in any game in which we play them.
Read up on their news over at Bleeding Green Nation.
- Tennessee, aside from losing TE Jared Cook, was able to refresh their team with some new veteran talents. The Titans paid heavily for G Andy Levitre whose time in Buffalo suggested he could be one of the better guards in the league for the next few years. They paid another heavy sum to Delanie Walker who leaves San Fran.
You can catch up on Titans stuff at Music City Miracles.
- As for the Rams departing cast, it sounds as if the Jets are in the lead for Brandon Gibson. The market's been relatively quiet for Danny Amendola today by all accounts, though the Titans may be fishing. Steven Jackson will have plenty of suitors, and it sounds as if the Packers are out in front of everyone tonight.