Free Agency And What We Know So Far


When we mention Free Agency the primary though that comes to mind is Wes Welker. Will he stay or will he go? But as Boston Globe Greg Bedard cites, the bombardment of different reports about Welker is only scratching the surface of what is yet to come within the next days. As he points out, that’s exactly what the NFL wants – attention, but clubs don’t necessarily enjoy this short of attention – well, unless the club is the New York Jets.

Jan 24, 2013; Honolulu, HI, USA; General view of a football with a Pro Bowl logo at NFC practice for the 2013 Pro Bowl at Hickam air force base. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Since franchise tag period ended on March 4 at 4 p.m. EST, here’s what we are left with so far.

  • Franchise Tag Players 

Only eight players got a franchise tag this year and their respective value for one-year tender (21 players received the franchise tag in 2012)

Miami Dolphins defensive tackle Randy Starks ($8.45 million)

Chicago Bears defensive tackle Henry Melton ($8.45 million)

Indianapolis Colts punter Pat McAfee ($2.977 million)

Denver Broncos left tackle Ryan Clady ($9.828 million)

Cincinnati Bengals defensive end Michael Johnson ($11.175 million)

Buffalo Bills safety Jairus Byrd ($6.916 million)

Kansas City Chiefs left tackle Branden Albert (9.828 million)

Dallas Cowboys outside linebacker Anthony Spencer ($10.627 million)

  • Franchised Players in 2012 who were not tagged in 2013

New England Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker

Detroit Lions defensive end Cliff Avril

San Francisco 49ers safety Dashon Goldson

Atlanta Falcons cornerback Brent Grimes

Cincinnati Bengals kicker Mike Nugent

Cleveland Browns kicker Phil Dawson

Washington Redskins tight end Fred Davis

Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Dwayne Bowe (avoided second franchise tag by re-signing to a five-year extension)

  • Potential players to get fired and hired big bucks

Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Mike Wallace

Baltimore Ravens outside linebacker Paul Kruger

Detroit Lions defensive end Cliff Avril

Buffalo Bills left guard Andy Levitre

Minnesota Vikings offensive Phil Loadholdt

New England Patriots offensive tackle Sebastian Vollmer

Cincinnati Bengals offensive tackle Andre Smith

Tennessee Titans tight end Jared Cook

  • NFL Salary cap

The set NFL salary cap for 2013 figure is $123 million, which all clubs must be in compliance by the start of free agency on March 12 at 4 p.m. According to, the teams with better cap room are the Dolphins, Browns, Eagles, Patriots, Buccaneers, Bengals, and Colts.

The teams not so “lucky” are the Panthers and the Saints, which is over the cap and will have to release players or restructure current contracts by or before March 12. The Cowboys and Redskins are the teams in the worst position as they were given cap penalties after violating NFL rules in 2010 while Raiders, 49ers, Steelers, Cowboys and Giants will have to work on creating some cap room

  • NFL rule on tampering period

As Boston Globe Greg Bedard nicely lays out on the new legal tampering period, the NFL has created a three-day period (March 9-11) in which clubs can legally speak with agents representing players from other teams to show interest and measure market value. This rule is to prevent teams from displaying direct interest in a free-agent-to-be while that player is still under contract to another team. It’s worth to remember that in the Ed Reed case, he can’t be contacted by another team since he does not have an agent.

There will be much more news to come in the upcoming days, that’s for sure. Whether it will be “good” news or “bad” news, at the end of the day “it is what it is” and move on.

Follow Celia Westbrook on Twitter @celiawestbrook