The NFL’s free agency bonanza is off to a hot start as teams offer piles of guaranteed money at unrestricted free agents. Though players cannot sign contracts until Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET, many of the top free agents have already agreed in principle to stay with their current teams or move on to new club.
Many of the biggest names who were expected to sign lucrative deals were taken off the market prematurely thanks to the franchise tag. The Dallas Cowboys used the tag on receiver Dez Bryant, as did the Kansas City Chiefs with linebacker Justin Houston, and the Denver Broncos with receiver Demaryius Thomas.
Each of those players figured to set the market on players ranked right behind them, but many are still getting huge deals. Here are 10 of the biggest deals signed so far.
DT Ndamukong Suh to Miami Dolphins No other player at any position on the open market will command anything close to the six-year, $114 million (with $60 million guaranteed) that Suh got from the Dolphins. He was seen as a game changer by many teams, and the Detroit Lions whiffed on re-signing arguably the best defensive lineman in the NFL.
CB Byron Maxwell to Philadelphia Eagles Contrary to popular belief, the Eagles didn’t chase an offensive star for Chip Kelly’s system and instead came to terms with Maxwell, a talented defensive back whose contributions were perhaps overlooked when compared to former Seattle Seahawks teammates Richard Sherman and Earl Thomas. Maxwell is expected to sign a six-year, $63 million contract with $25 million guaranteed.
S Devin McCourty stays with New England Patriots The Patriots gave McCourty a five-year deal worth $47.5 million with $28.5 million guaranteed Sunday, now they’ll try to retain the services of cornerback Darrelle Revis.
C Rodney Hudson to Oakland Raiders The Raiders needed a significant upgrade on the offensive line if they were going to improve last year’s worst-ranked rushing attack. Hudson agreed to leave the Kansas City Chiefs for a five-year, $44.5 million deal.
WR Randall Cobb stays with Green Bay Packers The Packers managed to keep the touchdown machine Cobb on a $40-million deal over four years. Keeping Cobb alongside Jordy Nelson was a major priority for the Packers and they were successful.
OLB Pernell McPhee to Chicago Bears The now-former Baltimore Raven will head to Chicago after coming to terms on a five-year deal worth $40 million, with $16 million guaranteed, according to the Baltimore Sun. For the Ravens, this comes after failing to re-sign receiver Torrey Smith. Meanwhile, the Bears have perhaps found a replacement for veteran Lance Briggs.
WR Jeremy Maclin to Kansas City Chiefs No Chiefs receiver caught a touchdown last season, but Maclin figures to change that in 2015. The final tally is presently unknown, but ESPN reports Maclin’s deal will be worth $11 million per season. However, the Chiefs must also find a way to clear some cap space to sign Maclin, and the future of receiver Dwayne Bowe in Kanas City could be jeopardy.
CB Brandon Flowers stays with San Diego Chargers Taking advantage of a rather thin defensive back market, Flowers agreed to stay in San Diego for a four-year, $36 million. Last season Flowers was part of Chargers secondary that ranked No. 4 in the NFL with 214 passing yards allowed per game.
RB Mark Ingram stays with New Orleans Saints The market for running backs presently has a very low ceiling, with Ingram’s four-year, $16 million deal the highest so far. The Saints wanted to keep Ingram and didn’t really let him hit the open market to see what other offers were out there, but his deal could go a long way in determining what kind of contract running back DeMarco Murray gets in the near future.
RB Frank Gore to Philadelphia Eagles Less than a week after trading LeSean McCoy, the Eagles have a new rusher in Gore. He reportedly agreed to a three-year deal worth $7.5 million, with the first two years fully guaranteed, according to ESPN. The all-time leading rusher in San Francisco 49ers history, Gore figures to get plenty of touches in Kelly’s system next season.