Significant Signings from the Second Wave of Free Agency
The initial wave of free agency is usually a wild and turbulent ride where huge splashes came come from anywhere at any time. It is when many of the top free agents across the league cash in and reset the markets for their respective position groups by inking record-breaking deals with new teams or in resigning with the franchise that they were most recently a part of. The second wave is viewed as a much less frantic period where patience pays off for the teams that weren’t as active during the first wave and they are able to still fill positions of need will quality starters or even some of the top guys that didn’t get signed right away or wanted to wait until the market was reset to sign new deals. Here’s a list of some significant signings of some players from the second wave of free agency that could make many splash plays come this fall: • DE Justin Houston: The Indianapolis Colts were relatively quiet during the early part of free agency despite having the most cap space in the league. That was until they landed one of the top remaining free agents on the market when they signed former Kansas City Chiefs’ pass rusher Justin Houston to a two-year deal worth $24 million. He will join an ascending Colts defense that has the 2018 Defensive Rookie of the Year in linebacker Darius Leonard who also led the league in tackles last year with 163. • TE Jared Cook: The New Orleans Saints haven't had a dynamic tight end such as Cook since they traded Jimmy Graham to the Seattle Seahawks in 2015. After being the leading receiver and go-to target in Oakland last season he will flourish in Sean Payton’s offense and will be one Drew Brees’ favorite targets next year along with Pro Bowl receiver Michael Thomas. • S George Iloka: Prior to being sent to the Vikings at the trade deadline last season the big-bodied safety was a five-year starter for the Cincinnati Bengals and after signing a one-year deal with Dallas Cowboys he could prove to be a key piece to an already loaded defense. • WR Randall Cobb: After losing former slot receiver Cole Beasley to the Buffalo Bills in the first wave, the Dallas Cowboys were able to find his replacement and in the eyes of some, an upgrade when they inked former Green Bay Packers’ receiver Randall Cobb to a one-year deal worth $5 million to assume the same role. • LB Vontaze Burfict: After being on the market for just 48 hours following his release from the Cincinnati Bengals, he signed with Oakland Raiders on a one-year deal worth $5 million. When healthy and not suspended, he is one of the best linebackers in the league. His throwback style of play on the field fits the old school Raiders mystique that Head Coach John Gruden is trying to revive and will be welcomed by the silver and black faithful. • QB Robert Griffin III: This resigning went under the radar for the most part as his two-year deal was to agree to be the backup and a mentor to second-year franchise quarterback Lamar Jackson. The reason that this could prove to be a significant move is that if Jackson were to get injured during the season Griffin could be inserted into the line up without the team having to deviate from their run-oriented offensive game plan. • DE Vinny Curry: After a year away in Tampa with the Buccaneers following the Philadelphia Eagles winning Superbowl LII (52), the defensive chose to come back to the city of brotherly love on a one-year deal worth up to $3.5 million even though he had other offers to play elsewhere for more money. • QB Ryan Fitzpatrick: Fitzmagic is staying in the sunshine state after signing a two-year deal that has a max value of $20 million if he meets all of his incentives. The team has finally signed their stopgap starter and the bridge quarterback to whoever the team decides to draft this year or in 2020. • DE Bruce Irvin: After losing franchise all-time sack leader Julius Peppers to retirement back in February the Carolina Panthers signed the former first-round pick to a one-year deal worth $4 million. His 6.5 sacks last season between his time with the Falcons and Raiders were 1.5 more than the Peppers produced last season. • CB Breshad Breeland: The Kansas City Chiefs continue to reshape their defense and add quality players to their secondary when they signed a one-year deal worth $5 million. He will join Pro Bowl safety, Tyrann Mathieu, as they try to sure up a porous Chiefs defense that ranked second to last a season ago. • S Andrew Sendejo: After being apart of one of the best safety tandems in the league in Minnesota with four-time Pro Bowler Harrison Smith he will now team up with three-time Pro Bowler Malcolm Jenkins after signing a one-year deal with the Philadelphia Eagles. • C Nick Easton: After three-time Pro Bowler Max Unger unexpectedly retired prior to the final year of his contract the New Orleans Saints decided to sign the best remaining center on the market to a four-year deal worth $24 million.