Today begins the new league year in the NFL, and with it comes the start of free agency and the first day that free agents can sign with new teams. Once free agency officially started at 4pm Eastern, there was a flurry of activity, with the Texans signing two of the biggest names on offense and the Giants signing several defensive players to contracts totaling more than $200 million.
Broncos QB Brock Osweiler was one of the biggest offensive pieces available. When Peyton Manning announced his retirement earlier this week, many people thought it was a given that Osweiler, who was considered Manning’s heir apparent, would re-sign with Denver. But that didn’t happen. The Texans swooped to offer Osweiler a four-year deal worth $72 million, with $37 million of it guaranteed. The $18 million per year average is about $3 million more than the reported $15 million annual salary the Broncos offered. But the Texans didn’t stop there. Because they cut RB Arian Foster last week, they were in need of a starting running back. So they signed former Dolphins RB Lamar Miller to a four-year, $26 million contract, with $14 million in guaranteed money. Miller reportedly gave up a bigger offer from another team to sign with the Texans.
Both New York teams were busy today, with the Jets filling a hole at the running back position by signing former Bears RB Matt Forte. Contract details are not known at this time, but ESPN’s Ed Werder reports it’s a couple million less than the $32.5 million contract RB Chris Ivory — who left the Jets — signed with the Jaguars. The Giants, meanwhile, were focusing on their defense today. In addition to re-signing DE Jason Pierre-Paul to a one-year deal worth $10 million, Big Blue signed CB Janoris Jenkins (five years, $62.5 million; $29 million guaranteed), DT Damon Harrison (five years, $46.25 million; $24 million) and DE Olivier Vernon (five years, $82.5 million; $52.5 million).
Other notable free agents signing with new teams today include:
WR Travis Benjamin — Chargers
WR Marvin Jones — Lions
LB Bruce Irvin — Raiders
DL Malik Jackson — Jaguars
C Alex Mack — Falcons
TE Ben Watson — Ravens
LB Danny Trevathan — Bears
TE Coby Fleener — Saints