An Historic Day in the NFL

Posted by on March 11th, 2015  •  0 Comments  • 

It was a day like never seen before in the history of the NFL and free agency.  
We have had historic days in the National Football League, whether it was Joe Namath’s New York Jets Super Bowl win over the Colts, or it was OJ Simpson of Buffalo being the first ever to rush for 2,000-yards behind the Electric Company line in Buffalo, or the Ice Bowl in Green Bay, or the Hershel Walker or Eric Dickerson trades..
But never off the field have we seen a day like yesterday, launching the 2015-free agent shopping season.
There were 5-blockbuster trades announced, involving leading rushers, starting quarterbacks, and big money players.  Then 55-players changed teams on the first day of free agency, including some high water-big money contracts.
The landscape in the NFL has forever changed.  The salary cap is at an all time high of $143M, and now trades amongst NFL teams in the offseason are very much changing the look of rosters.
Eagles quarterback Nick Foles is now a Ram.  Philadelphia has ex St. Louis big money quarterback Sam Bradford.  LeSean McCoy has a record contract and lots of carries coming in Buffalo.  The Jets have brought in explosive wide receiver Brandon Marshall.  Seattle wound up with pass catching tight end Jimmy Graham. The Lions dealt for massive defensive tackle Hloti Ngata.  
Some of it was salary cap driven, some of it was changes in coaching staffs.
Then NFL teams opened their checkbooks, and the contract offers made were staggering, as were the signing bonuses, and more so than ever, the guaranteed money.
Ndomukong Suh heads to the Miami Dolphins on a (6Y-$114M) deal with $60M guaranteed.  He is as good a defensive tackle in the history of the game, and if he stays healthy for four season, should pay off handsomely on the deal. 
The New York Jets fired another volley in the long standing border war with the Patriots, signing CB-Darrelle Reavis to a record (5Y-$70M) deal with nearly $40M-guaranteed. 
Seahawks young DB-Byron Maxwell is headed to the Eagles on a (6Y-$63M) package, alot of money for a player who has blossomed in just 18-months.
Kansas City shelled out ($55M) to Eagles WR-Jeremy Maclin, a huge amount of money for a player who has had just two really good seasons in the league.
New England was stunned in the loss of Revis, but did hand over ($47M) to safety Devin McCourty, a proven stars.
Julius Thomas, the young tight end, left Denver for Jacksonville, lured by a ($46M) package.  Green Bay’s big play WR-Randall Cobb elected to stay there at a price of ($40M).  
Offensive lineman set records too, with the Raiders giving Chiefs OC-Rod Hudson  a wild ($44M) payday, and Arizona handing over ($40M) to guard Mike Iupati of the 49ers, contracts never seen like that before.
Of course there were those players franchise tagged, who got guaranteed one year deals, like the ($14M) to Dez Bryant of the Cowboys, the ($14M) deal to Denver’s Demaryius Thomas, and a $13M-package for Chiefs linebacker Justin Houston.  
The NFL Union has done an amazing job at the bargaining table on behalf of players.  NFL clubs had to spend to 88% of the salary cap in years gone by, but the union found a number of teams sitting on cap space, and pocketing the money.  The new rules in the CBA, you must spend to the cap, and the NFL guarantees teams will spend 95% of all available cap space.  Lots more money going around.
And as we saw on day one, sign early, and get the money while it’s still available.  What was spent in day one, won’t be there for today’s second day of deals.
Players getting rich; teams hoping now they get big time production out of the people they just gave big time contracts to.
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