2021 NFL Free Agency

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Vincent Cavaniola, Writer

March 16, 2021: NFL free agency is officially underway for the year. Multiple players signed with new teams, while some re-signed with the team they played for this past season. Star Running Back Aaron Jones re-signed with the Green Bay Packers (4-year, $48 million contract) – many people expected Jones to sign elsewhere due to the Packers having AJ Dillion on their roster. Star QB Dak Prescott re-signed with the Dallas Cowboys (4-year, $160 million contract). Another key re-signing that happened was Jameis Winston re-signing with the New Orleans Saints (1-year, $12 million contract). This was big for the Saints because Drew Brees recently retired after 20 seasons in the NFL, so they needed a QB. The New England Patriots signed multiple players including TE Jonnu Smith (4-year, $50 million), WR Nelson Agholor (2-year, $26 million), QB Cam Newton (1-year, $14 million), TE Hunter Henry (3-year, $37.5 million), and OLB Matt Judon (4-year, $56 million). Some other key players that signed with new teams are Kenny Golladay (New York Giants; 4-year, $72 million), JJ Watt (Arizona Cardinals; 2-year, $31 million), Will Fuller (Miami Dolphins; 1-year, $10 million), Patrick Petterson (Minnesota Vikings; 1-year, $10 million), Curtis Samuel (Washington Football Team; 3-year, $34.5 million), A.J Green (Arizona Cardinals; 1-year, $8 million), and Yannick Ngakoue (Las Vegas Raiders, 2-year, $26 million).

A team may apply a franchise tag to any player on the team that was set to become a free agent. So, if you had a star player that was set to hit free agency, you could put a franchise tag on that player. The tag binds the player to the team for one year if certain conditions are met. Each NFL team has 1 franchise tag per offseason and one transition tag per year. For example, the Chicago Bears assigned a franchise tag to WR Allen Robinson, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers assigned a franchise tag to WR Chris Godwin (re-signed, 1-year, $16 million), the Denver Broncos assigned a franchise tag to S Justin Simmons (re-signed with Denver, 4-year, $61 million), the New York Jets assigned a franchise tag to S Marcus Maye, and the New York Giants assigned a franchise tag to DL Leonard Williams. 

As for New York Jets fans, free agency hasn’t been going as expected thus far. They’ve only made 3 major moves: signing WR Corey Davis (3-year, $37.5 million), DE Carl Lawson (3-year, $45 million), and DT Sheldon Rankins (2-years, $17 million). I’m sure the Jets are going to either try to acquire QB Deshaun Watson from the Houston Texans or keep their #2 overall draft pick and hopefully draft QB Zach Wilson. The Jets are in need of some offensive linemen, a cornerback, and a running back. The wide receivers aren’t too bad nor is the defensive line. Jets fans are hoping for a better season this upcoming fall, as it cannot get much worse than last year (2-14 record in 2020).