Free agency is always an exciting time of the year for NFL teams, players, and fans. It provides a great way for teams to bolster their rosters, and fill any gaping holes in their player personnel. This year, free agency is already off to a crazy start with numerous large and lucrative contracts. Let’s take a look at the five best moves of NFL free agency to date.
Patriots sign CB Stephon Gilmore
The reigning champs did not hesitate to sign former Bills CB Stephon Gilmore at the start of free agency. While a five-year, $65 million dollar deal with $40 million guaranteed might seem a bit hefty, the 6’1 corner back should be worth it. Coming off a Pro Bowl season, and five interceptions for the Bills, Gilmore is a great addition to the Patriots’ secondary, especially with CB Logan Ryan leaving for the Titans, and CB Malcom Butler likely signing elsewhere.
Bills keep QB Tyrod Taylor, restructure contract
With numerous teams in the market for a new quarterback, the Bills were definitely smart to not let their agile signal caller walk. At two years, $30.5 million with $15.5 million in guarantees, the Bills are much better off than what they would have been paying. Taylor threw for over 3,000 yards and rushed for over 500 in 2016, and at 27 years old, he has some good mileage left in him. If the Bills did not make an effort to retain their former Pro Bowler, they would have been in trouble finding a replacement for next season.
Packers sign TE Martellus Bennett
As if it was not scary enough, the Packers offense just got a whole lot scarier. Adding Martellus Bennett to the mix in Green Bay would give them an offense featuring Bennett, WR Jordy Nelson, WR Randall Cobb, WR Devante Adams, and RB Ty Montgomery. With Aaron Rodgers at the helm, they are going to be tough to stop. Coming off of a Super Bowl season with the Patriots, Bennett did well filling in for the injured Rob Gronkowski and solidified his abilities as a pass catching tight end. A three-year deal worth $21 million with $7.2 million guaranteed is a very fair price for this 6’6 red zone threat.
Redskins sign WR Terrelle Pryor
Terrelle Pryor managed to earn over 1,000 yards receiving, despite the poor quarterback play in Cleveland. That in itself should be an accomplishment. Pryor proved himself as a viable WR1 last season and now has that same opportunity to do so in Washington. With WR Pierre Garcon and WR DeSean Jackson both gone, Pryor is now the number one target for the Redskins offense. If they passed on signing him, their offense would have been in trouble. With a one-year, $6 million dollar prove-it deal, there is little to no risk in this signing.
Giants sign WR Brandon Marshall
Brandon Marshall is arguably the most talented active player who has never gone to the postseason. That could change this upcoming season. In a great signing for the Giants, Marshall enters a high powered, elusive offense featuring WR Odell Beckham Jr. and WR Sterling Shepard. The presence of Marshall takes some pressure off of Beckham, and should allow them both to have incredible seasons. Throughout his ten years in the NFL, he never truly had a capable quarterback, being paired with the likes of QB Jay Cutler, QB Chad Henne, and QB Geno Smith. That will change with the Giants, when Marshall will be catching passes from two-time Super Bowl MVP QB Eli Manning. This addition may be what the Giants need to propel them back to the Super Bowl.
By Eric Spiniello Photo Credit: Getty Images