With the first day of free agency wrapping up let's take a look at all the major movers and shakers. Of course, the Redskins are right there. Stop sniggering!
Perhaps the most interesting move of the day was the trading of Brandon Marshall to the Chicago Bears. The Bears only gave up two third round picks to reunite the talented receiver with Jay Cutler, whom he played with during his time at Denver. The Bears struggled to remain competitive in the NFC North last year, largely due to the rise of the Lions. With Cutler throwing bombs to Marshall expect the offence to lean less heavily on Matt Forte. Only a good thing. Marshall has now also found himself in legal troubles, allegedly striking a woman outside a nightclub. Bears sources have reportedly said they were unaware of the incident before the trade. I wonder if Miami knew. [caption id="" align="alignright" width="267" caption="Pierre has found himself a new role with the Washington Redskins."][/caption] The Washington Redskins were very active early by signing two and a half wide receviers. Pierre Garçon was the main target and Shanahan got his man for a 5 year 42 million dollar deal, certainly too much for a WR2 but the Skins seem to believe that he can step up to the WR1 spot. They also signed 49ers WR Josh Morgan, a great receiver after the catch, and are in the process of signing slot receiver Eddie Royal. The Skins also maintained some consistency on the DL by re-signing Adam Carriker. The blowout contract of the day came courtesy of Vincent Jackson, who signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for 5 years and 56 millions dollars. Giving Josh Freeman a big target this season and making the Skins' signing of Garçon appear modest. Later the San Diego Chargers came to a 4 year deal with Saints receiver Robert Meachem, apparently finding a successor to Jackson. The Chargers are in danger of being major losers this free agency period as they might also lose Mike Tolbert to a team such as the Chiefs or Giants. Getting Meachem on board will help them a lot. Despite losing Meachem the New Orleans Saints did manage to keep one receiver on the books: Marques Colston. Colston's re-signing has been met warmly by franchise tagged QB Drew Brees and he will earn close to 40 million dollars over 5 years. Personally I believe Colston is getting a little long in the tooth but he may still have some productive years in New Orleans. The Indianapolis Colts also managed to maintain some veteran talent on their offence in Reggie Wayne. Wayne will receive close to 18 million dollars for his talents. I like this move in particular because it gives the Colts a veteran presence on offence that can help their soon-to-be rookie QB -most likely Andrew Luck- develop. The Seattle Seahawks stabilised their run defense by re-signing DE Red Bryant Bryant is a massive part of that Seahawks defensive unit and shall receive 35 million dollars over 5 years. The Seahawks also re-signed special teams stand out Heath Farwell. The San Francisco 49ers also wisely maintained their outstanding defensive unit by re-signing CB Carlos Rogers to a 4 year 32 million dollar deal. Rogers was coming off an outstanding year in 2011 and would have been a hot commodity on the free agent market should the 49ers had let him go. The Jacksonville Jaguars re-signed both S Dwight Lowery and DE Jeremy Mincey to 4 year deals, a great move to help maintain a solid pass defence. [caption id="" align="alignleft" width="252" caption="Before his injury in 2011 Thomas was a consistent performer."][/caption] The New York Giants made a point to re-sign Terrell Thomas, immediately improving their pass defence -which certainly suffered without him in 2011- and perhaps more importantly denying other teams a chance to sign him themselves. They are also currently in the process of woo-ing ex-Cowboy Martellus Bennett, to help rebuild their injury-ravaged TE group. That squirrelly punk CB Cortland Finnegan also found himself a new home with the St Louis Rams with a 5 year 50 million dollar deal! Huge! Think what you like of him, he gives that pass defence some real aggression and attitude on the line. Would have been perfect if Gregg Williams was sticking around. It's clear the position that got the most attention today was at wide receiver, the big contracts a sign of the growing importance of the position and rise of multiple receiver sets in the NFL. Much for the same reason some big deals were also handed out to defensive backs. Did I miss anybody? Let me know in the comments! There are some big name players who are yet to sign including Peyton Manning, Mario Williams, Carl Nicks, Eric Winston and Brandon Carr. Stay tuned.