It didn’t take long for the free-agent market to settle down. Seventeen of the top 20 players of our original top 99 players list were signed within 24 hours of the market officially opening. After two days of free agency, only 10 players out of our top 40 are available. We reached the second wave of free agency quicker than ever before, with most of the action coming during the “legal tampering” period. The official start to free agency now feels like an anticlimax.
Quality players like Prince Amukamara and Robert Ayers started to take mid-range deals Friday, and similar contracts will continue to get done slowly over the next week as players like Arian Foster, Robert Griffin III and Percy Harvin look for homes. So reporters with weekend plans were ultimately big winners during this crazy week. It should be quiet this weekend, barring a Colin Kaepernick trade blockbuster.
So who were some of the other winners and losers from the first week of free agency?
Running backs: It’s once again safe to pay running backs like valuable contributors to society! We saw some criticism of Doug Martin’s deal, which includes $15 million guaranteed over the first two years of the deal. Those people did not watch Martin play like the best running back in the league last year. There are questions about whether Lamar Miller can carry the load, but the Texans paid him more than $6 million per season. Chris Ivory won’t even necessarily be a starter in Jacksonville, but he’ll get $10 million in the first two years of his contract to support T.J. Yeldon and take goal-line carries. Matt Forte came at a relative bargain price for the Jets, but it was nice to see running backs start to at least approach third-receiver money again. Speaking of which…