Nick Foles

USA Today

2019 NFL Free Agency

It was a one-horse race for Nick Foles and the Jags just lapped themselves.

March 12, 2019 - 10:43 am

NFL free agency starts tomorrow, but the legal tampering period started yesterday. What is legal tampering? It’s essentially the official opening bell on “securing the bag” season. And there were a ton of bags secured yesterday.

Here is a quick summary of the guys who have agreed to deals that will be official as of tomorrow:

Za’Darius Smith and Adrian Amos going to the Packers

Nick Foles going to the Jaguars

Landon Collins going to Washington

Terrell Suggs going to the Cardinals

Sheldon Richardson going to the Browns

CJ Moseley going to the Jets

Frank Gore going to the Bills

Tyrann Mathieu going to the Chiefs

Desean Jackson being traded back to Philadelphia

Trey Flowers and Danny Amendola going to the Lions

Trent Brown and Lamarcus Joyner going to the Raiders

And those are just the highlights. Those are some huge names getting some huge paydays. Like I said, bags are being secured in a big way over the last 24 hours. 

In other words, it’s ON. By the time I finished going through that list, I’m guessing another three guys agreed to deals with another three teams. Every time you turn around, someone is getting paid by someone. 

But here’s the dirty little secret. A lot of it isn’t going to mean a lot. You’ll get a bunch of good headlines. Fans will get pumped up. Phrases like “changing the culture” will be thrown around a lot. And you’ll win a ton of press conferences, but how many football games will be won?

Because the start of free agency is frequently all about bad teams agreeing to bad contracts for good players. The value play has never been about making a big splash now. There are no discounts to be had in the first twenty-four hours. 

You know who you didn’t hear me mention on that list? The Patriots. 

Sure, there are former Patriots signing with teams. Oakland splashed out on Brown and the Lions seem determined to build the New England Patriots of Detroit. But how often has that worked? How many former Patriots have signed in free agency with someone else and been a star for the new team? That’s not how the Pats work. Instead of making a huge splash, they quietly traded for Michael Bennett, who’ll probably have about a billion big plays for them. At a fraction of the cost. And splash.

That doesn’t mean that I hate all the moves. I don’t. I really like Tyrann Mathieu in Kansas City. Hell, I like Mathieu anywhere, because all he does is make an immediate impact and make a defense better. And that’s a defense that needs to be made better. And I loved the reaction tweet from Patrick Mahomes. 

I love Frank Gore going to Buffalo because I love Frank Gore being in the league. He doesn’t just make a team better, he makes the league better. 

And I like Nick Foles going to Jacksonville, yes, they paid him a lot. I’m just not sure why they paid him so much to go there. 4 years, 88 million, with more than 50 guaranteed. And it could balloon to 102 mill over four years. In a situation where they were negotiating with themselves. Good player. Great agenting.  And…well…Jacksonville. 

Don’t get me wrong. I want every player to get as much money as they possibly can, so I’m not mad at Foles for getting that deal. He’s worked his ass off and turned his career around in a Hollywood kind of way. He’s earned it.

I’m just not clear why Jacksonville thought they had to pay him it. Once Denver traded for Joe Flacco and Washington added Case Keenum, who was left to pay that kind of money to Foles? Only Jacksonville.

And who would overpay for a quarterback in a situation where they were negotiating with themselves? Only Jacksonville. 

It was a one-horse race and the Jags just lapped themselves. And the justification, according to the NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo is that they wanted to pay him that kind of money, so that when he walks into the locker room, guys respect him as a starter. What the hell? That makes no sense on so many different levels.

First off, Foles was paid backup money in Philadelphia and was absolutely loved by his teammates there. They loved him. They loved him so much there was that report that they liked him more than Carson Wentz. That had nothing to do with his salary. It had to do with who he is and what he does.

And what does it say about what’s happened to Jacksonville’s locker room that the front office feels like they have to overpay for a quarterback just to get guys to respect that quarterback. That says way more about the roster you’ve assembled than the guy you just signed. That feels like an old Jacksonville move. That doesn’t feel like a Sacksonville move.

And while I like Washington adding Landon Collins, it is so Washington to throw big money at a safety and still have a ton of questions at quarterback. And if the Lions are trying to build the New England Patriots of Detroit, Washington seems locked in on being the Alabama Crimson Tide of Washington. 

The only thing that could make them more Alabama is if Jay Gruden had a soda bottle prop at his press conferences and complained to the media about making up quarterback controversies.  

All in all, a pretty awesome 24 hours of NFL free agency, especially considering that NFL free agency doesn’t actually  start for roughly another 24 hours.