NFL free agency in 2018 won’t open for business until the new league year kicks off at 4 p.m. ET on March 14. But before then, teams will hope to reach terms on long-term extensions with the free agents they would like to keep for next season and beyond.
Here’s predicting who among those players will and will not be released this year as teams prepare for free agency and the NFL Draft.
Miami is looking to clean house for Year 3 of Adam Gase to save both salary cap space and create a culture change, and Suh, a big-time free-agent signing, isn’t immune.
Dez and Dallas might appear to be headed for a breakup, but they need each other more than they will admit. Bryant stays as an appeased wideout with a restructured deal to continue trying to help Dak Prescott.
He gets an A-plus for life.
LB Anthony Hitchens, Chiefs Grade: D+ The Chiefs certainly went after their Derrick Johnson replacement.
Hitchens seemed likely to head to the Colts, where former Cowboys linebackers coach Matt Eberflus was installed as defensive coordinator as part of the Zombie Josh McDaniels staff, but the Chiefs outbid former Kansas City executive Chris Ballard to bring Hitchens to town on a massive contract.
The Iowa product signed a five-year, $45 million deal with a $14 million signing bonus and $21.3 million due over the first two years of his new contract.
This is a remarkably large deal for a player who wasn’t a building block for the Cowboys, who weren’t a very good defense while Hitchens was in the lineup.
“Spring training has always been associated with hope for a new season. This year a significant number of teams are engaged in a race to the bottom. This conduct is a fundamental breach of the trust between a team and its fans and threatens the very integrity of our game.”
In an increasingly contentious atmosphere, MLB responded with its own statement (via ESPN.com), saying the number of unsigned players is a failure on their agents’ parts to correctly assess their clients’ values in the current market.
“Our Clubs are committed to putting a winning product on the field for their fans. Owners own teams for one reason: they want to win. In Baseball, it has always been true that Clubs go through cyclical, multi-year strategies directed at winning.
“It is common at this point in the calendar to have large numbers of free agents unsigned. What is uncommon is to have some of the best free agents sitting unsigned even though they have substantial offers, some in nine figures. It is the responsibility of players’ agents to value their clients in a constantly changing free agent market based on factors such as positional demand, advanced analytics, and the impact of the new Basic Agreement. To lay responsibility on the Clubs for the failure of some agents to accurately assess the market is unfair, unwarranted, and inflammatory.”