The NFL free agency period opened on the 11th March 2013 and was generally a softer market then in 2012, with no huge contracts given out such as the Vincent Jackson deal in 2012.
The free agency period will remain open, but most of the major signings and cuts have been made. Below is a team-by-team summary of acquisitions and releases.
The Cards made a bold move by cutting high-paid starter Kevin Kolb, who had underperformed after getting big money via a trade with the Eagles.
He’s been linked for a move to the Jets. Arizona also cut both starting safeties in Kerry Rhodes and Adrian Wilson, and former first round pick Beanie Wells at running back.
To replace these losses, the Cardinals have signed former Steeler Rashard Mendenhall, who was injured for most of 2012 but has been reasonably solid throughout his career.
Apart from signing a few lower-tier players, the Cardinals will certainly have to look towards the draft to target a new quarterback and safety.
The Falcons came ever so close to the Super Bowl in 2012 and from their free agent moves, it looks like they’ll be in the mix once again.
They’ve reportedly lured tight end Tony Gonzalez back into another season (Gonzalez was set to retire) and have secured ex-Ram Steven Jackson at runningback, an improvement over the released Michael Turner.
There are some questions in the secondary, with Dunta Robinson leaving the team for the Chiefs and Brent Grimes as yet still a free agent. The team has also re-signed long-time tackle Sam Baker to a new contract.
The reigning Super Bowl champions have had one of the most controversial free agency periods of any Super Bowl champion.
The team has traded fan favourite and club stalwart Anquan Boldin to San Francisco for a sixth round pick, and some of the teams biggest names won’t be around next season – Ray Lewis and Matt Birk have retired, Paul Kruger has left for the division rival Browns, and Lewis’ pegged replacement Dannell Ellerbe has signed with Miami.
The team also cut safety Bernard Pollard and has both its young tight ends (Pitta and Dickson) as restricted free agents.
However, the team accomplished its greatest offseason task – resigning quarterback Joe Flacco to a contract that made him the highest paid NFL player in history.
The Bills were big players in free agency in 2012, signing marquee end Mario Williams. By contrast, the Bills in 2013 has so far resembled a mass exodus, with the team cutting starters Ryan Fitzpatrick and Nick Barnett.
Some of the teams’ best talent has also left, namely guard Andy Levitre for Tennessee (thought to be the best free agent guard available in 2013).
The team was able to keep some stability in the secondary, franchising safety Jairus Byrd and resigning corner Leodis McKelvin, but we haven’t seen nearly enough additions to think that the Bills will show any improvement in 2013.
Carolina has been very quiet throughout the 2013 free agency market, reupping a few of their second-tier players (Derek Anderson, Jordan Senn, Ben Hartsock), with the biggest signing probably corner Drayton Florence (formerly of the Lions).
It’s a surprise that we haven’t seen them bring in more help at wide receiver or release one of the overpaid running backs on the roster, but these moves could happen later in the off-season.
After a disappointing 2012 season that got coach Lovie Smith fired, the Bears were in the market this offseason for some offensive line help.
To date, they haven’t managed to sign any big names but the draft is stocked with tackles and it’s likely we’ll see the Bears go there.
The team made one big upgrade at tight end, signing Martellus Bennett from the Giants and cutting Kellen Davis.
The team also retained starting corner Zackary Bowman to maintain their top defence, however veteran linebacker Brian Urlacher may be leaving the team after an extended dispute with the front office as to his value.
The Bengals are a team on the rise in a tough division, and the team looks to be strong again in 2013.
They’ve got new contracts for both of their defensive ends (Michael Johnson and Robert Geathers) and reports lately have been indicating corner Adam Jones and Terence Newman, who both had major roles in 2012, will be back.
The team is still attempting to work out a deal with previous first round pick and starting tackle Andre Smith, who is one of the top tackles available in free agency.
The Bengals will also need to look at the running back position, with backups Brian Leonard and Bernard Scott now free agents.
The Browns made two of the very first signings in 2013, bringing in Paul Kruger from the Ravens, and Desmond Bryant from Oakland, so the team’s defensive front will look much different this season.
The team clearly needs help at wide receiver, even before it was obvious that playmaker Josh Cribbs will be moving on.
Look for Cleveland to draft a couple of wide receivers and/or tight ends to help their struggling offense.
America’s team has had a fairly quiet free agency period, which is definitely odd for team owner and general manager Jerry Jones, who consistently loves the spotlight.
The Cowboys have tagged linebacker Anthony Spencer, who likely was their top priority, as well as centre Phil Costa.
The team cut starter Gerald Sensabaugh, and have also lost wide receiver Kevin Ogletree to the Bucs and defensive lineman Marcus Spears to the Ravens.
There’s a sense that the Cowboys’ big moves are yet to come, as Dallas searches for the pieces that will return them (finally) to the playoffs.
It’s hard to argue against Denver being the favourites to represent the AFC in the Superbowl in 2013, looking at the team on paper.
In what could turn out to be one of the acquisitions of the year, Denver signed the NFL’s most productive slot receiver Wes Welker for a bargain cost, hurting one of their biggest AFC rivals, the Patriots, in the process.
The team also improved at guard, getting Louis Vasquez (formerly of the Chargers), and at corner, securing Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.
They applied the franchise tag to tackle Ryan Clady, who was terrific in 2012.
Defensive end Elvis Dumervil, the NFL’s sack leader in 2009, was cut due to an exorbitant salary and the team will probably look to the draft to find someone to play across from star Von Miller.
The Lions have over 25 players from their 2012 roster hit the free agent market this year, and they’ve been able to keep a lot of the key players, namely corner Chris Houston, safety Louis Delmas and linebacker DeAndre Levy.
They’ve lost key end Cliff Avril to the Seahawks, as well as tackle Gosder Cherilus to the Colts – which, coupled with the retirement of Jeff Backus, leaves them a bit shorthanded at offensive tackle.
Apart from resigning their own talent, the Lions have also been able to acquire running back Reggie Bush (was with Miami for 2012), who should provide consistent production from the backfield, something the Lions have been without in recent years.
Green Bay Packers
One of the best teams in the NFC, Green Bay has been very quiet this offseason, signing only one player so far in free agency (third string linebacker Rob Francois).
The team has lost Pro-bowl centre Jeff Saturday to retirement, as well as role players Tom Crabtree and Erik Walden (to the
Bucs and Colts respectively).
Perhaps their biggest loss is at wide receiver, with Greg Jennings leaving the team for division opponents Minnesota.
Green Bay is still well stocked at wide receiver, but not so at runningback – both Cedric Benson and Ryan Grant are free agents.
Long-time veteran Charles Woodson was also cut this offseason.
The Texans had a very impressive defence in 2012, led by superstar JJ Watt, but now face the task of bolstering their talent after losing safety Glover Quin (to Detroit), linebacker Connor Barwin (Philadelphia) and cornerback Alan Ball (Jacksonville).
The team also cut wide receiver Kevin Walter and has linebackers Tim Dobbins and Bradie James (combined 1,050 snaps in 2012) as free agents who they will be looking to resign. Houston haven’t yet made any signings from other teams.
The Colts went from the worst team in football to the wildcard round in 2012, and will look to do at least one better.
They’ve been aggressive in free agency, signing a number of solid players such as LaRon Landry (formerly of the Jets), Gosder Cherilus (Lions), Greg Toler (Cardinals), Donald Thomas (Patriots) and Ricky Jean-Francois (49ers).
Indy lost one of their top wideouts Donnie Avery to Kansas City, and veteran passrusher Dwight Freeney is also leaving in free agency (yet to sign).
It’s tough for a Jags fan to be impressed with Jacksonville’s moves so far this year, as the team hasn’t done much to improve from a poor 2012 season – the biggest signing probably running back Justin Forsett from the Texans.
The Jags cut starting safety Dawan Landry as well as their big-ticket signing from last season (wide receiver Laurent Robinson).
They’ve lost corners Aaron Ross and Derek Cox, as well as rare bright spot Terrance Knighton to Denver. This is one team that needs its 2013 draft picks to be immediate contributors.
Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs are an enigma – they finished with the worst record in 2012 but sent six players to the Pro Bowl. New head coach Andy Reid has already made an impact, trading for quarterback Alex Smith and releasing Matt Cassel.
They’ve improved in the secondary, acquiring Sean Smith (from Miami) and Dunta Robinson (from Atlanta) in an attempt to match Denver’s powerful offense.
The Chiefs were also successful in agreeing to a new contract with number one receiver Dwayne Bowe and punter Dustin Colquitt.
The release of starting tackle Eric Winston was a bit of a surprise, but the Chiefs will definitely be a lot better in 2013.
Miami entered the 2013 free agency period with the most cap room, and they went out straight away and signed big name receiver Mike Wallace.
They also revamped their linebacking core, signing Dannell Ellerbe and Philip Wheeler to replace 2012 starters Kevin Burnett and Karlos Dansby.
It hasn’t all been good news, losing former first overall pick Jake Long to the Rams, starting corner Sean Smith to the Chiefs, and starting running back Reggie Bush to the Lions.
The team has signed tight end Dustin Keller (former Jet) to replace Anthony Fasano (now with Chiefs).
GM Jeff Ireland has reportedly written all the new contracts to have a low cap number in 2013, and Miami might be in trouble next time around.
The Vikings were involved in the biggest trade of the offseason, sending disgruntled (and very talented) receiver Percy Harvin to the Seahawks for a bag of picks, including a first rounder.
To ease the loss, they’ve also signed Greg Jennings (one of the best receivers available this year) and experienced quarterback Matt Cassel to back up third-year starter Christian Ponder.
Minnesota’s other important signing was to re-up tackle Phil Loadholt, which should help ensure another sterling season from 2012 rushing leader Adrian Peterson.
New England Patriots
As usual for the Pats, they’ve been active in free agency and have turned over a good deal of their roster, with the biggest change being the loss of receiver Wes Welker (five 100-catch seasons in the last six years).
The team has also lost contributors Brandon Lloyd (cut due to salary), Danny Woodhead (to Chargers) and Donald Thomas (to Colts).
They’ve been able to quell the fan’s disappointment at losing Welker to some degree, keeping corners Aqib Talib and Kyle Arrington, acquiring veteran safety Adrian Wilson, and signing slot receiver Danny Amendola.
The team is still in the process of acquiring talent on the defensive line, and keeping right tackle Sebastian Vollmer is also a prime concern.
New Orleans Saints
The Saints have focussed much of their free agency period on improving their secondary, with reports indicating a visit from top corner Nnamdi Asomugha and signing Keenan Lewis (former Steeler).
They’ve also added Benjamin Watson at tight end, and resigned kick returner Courtney Roby.
Backup quarterback Chase Daniel has left for Kansas City, and the Saints’ priorities will now be with their offensive line (centre Brian de la Puente and tackle Jermon Bushrod are free agents).
New York Giants
The 2011 Superbowl champions have been active throughout free agency, but no progress has been made with restricted free agent receiver Victor Cruz, who is looking for a big contract.
Some signings the Giants have made so far include tackle Will Beatty, defensive end Cullen Jenkins, safety Ryan Mundy, linebacker Dan Connor, receiver Louis Murphy, corner Aaron Ross and tight end Brandon Myers.
They’ve lost Ahmad Bradshaw (cut), Martellus Bennett (Chicago), Kenny Phillips (Philadelphia) and Chris Canty (Baltimore) so far, and still have a large number of players from last season in the free agent market.
New York Jets
The Jets disappointing 2012 season and a mid-season injury to corner Darelle Revis has led to speculation Revis will be traded this offseason, so the team can get some value before Revis hits the market in 2014.
This trade has not yet occurred, but there are a number of Jets who’ve flown on by – both starting safeties have departed, LaRon Landry for the Colts and Yeremiah Bell for Arizona.
New York also looks different at linebacker (they’ve cut Calvin Pace and Bart Scott) as well as some of the offensive skill positions, with Shonn Greene leaving for Tennessee and Dustin Keller heading to Miami.
It also seems like a matter of time before quarterback Tim Tebow is released.
The Raiders’ biggest offseason move was the release of two first-round picks, Darrius Heyward-Bey and Michael Huff.
The team also has a number of key starters from 2012 that have hit the market – namely Shane Lechler, Richard Seymour, Cooper Carlisle, Joselio Hanson and Matt Giordano.
The linebacker core has been turned over, as Philip Wheeler left for Miami and Nick Roach and Kevin Burnett were added. The team will need to target wide receivers in the upcoming draft.
The 2011 ‘Dream Team’ has all but disappeared from the Eagles, with Nnamdi Asomugha and Cullen Jenkins being released, as well as the departure in free agency of Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and King Dunlap.
The Eagles have made some solid additions to the team, signing linebacker Connor Barwin, defensive lineman Isaac Sopoaga, corner Cary Williams and safety Kenny Philips.
The key for Philadelphia this season will be the performance of quarterback Michael Vick, who took a reduction in pay to avoid release.
One under-the-radar move that may pay off in a big way for the Eagles is the addition of tight end James Casey from Houston.
The Steelers have a long tradition of letting veteran players walk and drafting cheap young talent, and the first half of that equation has been fulfilled so far in the 2013 free agency period.
Pittsburgh have released or failed to resign Mike Wallace, Keenan Lewis, James Harrison, Willie Colon, Rashard Mendenhall, and Ryan Mundy, all of whom are well known in Pittsburgh.
The team also is faced with the threat of losing receiver Emmanuel Sanders to the Patriots. The lone major addition by the team is the return of corner William Gay (from Arizona).
St Louis Rams
St Louis have a fair way to go to be able to challenge in a strong division that features San Francisco and Seattle, and its tough to see how the team has improved so far in free agency.
They’ve lost both starting safeties (Quintin Mikell and Craig Dahl) as well as wideouts Danny Amendola (to Patriots) and Brandon Gibson (to Miami).
Nine-year veteran Steven Jackson has finally moved on from the team, voiding his final year with the Rams to move to Atlanta.
St Louis has made a couple of quality additions, namely this year’s top tackle Jake Long and top tight end Jared Cook.
San Diego Chargers
After an underacheiving 2012 season which saw both GM and coach fired, the Chargers haven’t done much in free agency to bolster the team.
Top interior lineman Louis Vasquez has left for Denver, and corner Antoine Cason has left for Arizona, with the man on the other side, 11-year veteran Quentin Jammer, also a free agent.
The team has brought in third-down back Danny Woodhead from the Patriots, as well as linemen King Dunlap and Chad Rinehart. Cornerback Derek Cox from Jacksonville also projects to be a new starter.
San Francisco 49ers
There’s been a lot of turnover on the 49ers roster since their loss in Superbowl 47. Former first overall pick Alex Smith was traded to Kansas City, and the team traded a six round pick for Baltimore’s Anquan Boldin.
They also cut troubled kicker David Akers, and lost key defensive players Dashon Goldson (to Tampa Bay), Isaac Sopoaga (Philadelphia) and Ricky Jean-Francois (Indianapolis).
Former Backup tightend Delanie Walker also signed with Tennessee, and the 49ers will likely took to restock in the draft, where they have a league leading 14 picks.
In a case of the rich getting richer, the impressive Seattle team from 2012 has added three big pieces so far this offseason.
Wide receiver Percy Harvin, only 24, was acquired via trade from the Minnesota Vikings and figures to be a big part of the Seahawks offense in 2013.
The team also added ends Michael Bennett (Tampa Bay) and Cliff Avril (Detroit).
The only contributors to leave the Seahawks so far this offseason have been lineman Jason Jones (to Lions) and kick returner/running back Leon Washington (to Patriots).
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Bucs biggest news of free agency is their interest in trading for Jets corner Darelle Revis. While the trade has not yet occurred, all reports indicate they are the most likely team to get Revis, which would be the biggest offseason move in the NFL (for 2013).
The team has already added safety Dashon Goldson and receiver Kevin Ogletree, but have lost defensive linemen Michael Bennett and Roy Miller.
The lack of big corner contracts so far won’t help the Bucs chances of convincing the Jets to trade Revis, but if it happens, it’ll be a huge move for Tampa Bay.
After owner Bud Adams commented in 2012 that big changes will be made to the Titans, they opened the free agency period by picking the bones of the Bills roster, signing Ryan Fitzpatrick, Andy Levitre and George Wilson.
They also added running back Shonn Greene (from Jets), lineman Sammie Hill (from Lions) and tight end Delanie Walker (from 49ers) to replace tight end Jared Cook, who departed Tennessee for St Louis.
One big loss for the team is the retirement of guard Steve Hutchinson, and the Titans will have to look at the draft for offensive line help.
Due to penalties imposed by the NFL relating to the Redskins use of the uncapped year in 2010, Washington hasn’t made the customary big splash in 2013.
They’ve resigned a number of their own free agents, most notably Tyler Polumbus and Kory Lichtensteiger, who both started last year.
Washington must make a decision regarding tight ends Chris Cooley and Fred Davis, who have both been starters for Washington but are currently free agents.
They’ve also cut veteran DeAngelo Hall, who has been one of their most consistent performers at corner, and we can expect them to target the secondary in the draft.
Most Improved: Seattle Seahawks and Kansas City Chiefs
Least Improved: Carolina Panthers and Jacksonville Jaguars
Best players available: Corner Nnamdi Asomugha, tackle Sebastian Vollmer and end Elvis Dumervil.