Every NFL free agency period, even the legal tampering window, comes with losers and winners that we tend to crown each spring. The winners are well worth debating, but seeing how teams, players or outside observers lost gives us some level of balance on where free agency goes.
It is, after all, a zero-sum game. There are only 272 wins available in a season, and for someone to add one, someone else has to lose one. Let’s take a look at the NFL’s free agency losers from Day 2.
NFL Free Agency Losers
Aaron Rodgers Watchers
Once again, we’re left without much news on the Aaron Rodgers front, leaving us to speculate about his absence from his otherwise regular weekly appearance on the Pat McAfee Show, as well as the various contract and free agent demands Rodgers has made. by the Jets.
At the same time, it does not appear that we have been cleared of trade compensation for the Packers. That means the only thing holding up the deal is each part of the agreement.
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Rodgers’ silence on the matter and the Jets’ reluctance to confirm any trade meant a normally busy pre-free agency period was halted as minor deals were announced and the NFL world waited for the Rodgers saga to end.
And of course, it will apparently end on Rodgers’ terms, as he will have something to announce tomorrow The Pat McAfee Show.
New York Jets receivers
Rodgers submitted a “wish list” to the Jets, detailing who he wanted them to pursue in free agency. That list included a number of wide receivers, including Allen Lazard, Randall Cobb and Odell Beckham Jr. The Jets have already signed Lazard and are working with Cobb, creating a crowded receiver room.
One of the factors that made the Jets such an interesting organization for Rodgers to land with is their receiving talent. On top of offensive Rookie of the Year Garrett Wilson, they had an up-and-coming Elijah Moore, who looked great when someone other than Zach Wilson threw the ball.
Along with them and Corey Davis, they had a solid corps with a new star — one that could use a strong second receiver, but is starting to look crowded as more receivers are added to the group.
Knowing that Rodgers took it personally when the Packers cut some of his favorite players, including special teams role player Jake Kumerow, for more talented and higher-potential options on the roster, receivers like Moore and Davis will have good reason to worry about their roles on the team , even if they outperform an incoming Cobb or Lazard.
The Raiders made an intriguing move early on the second day of the legal tampering window by signing Jakobi Meyers, perhaps the best receiver on the market, to a deal worth just $11 million.
Pairing Meyers with Hunter Renfrow, Josh Jacobs, Davante Adams and tight end Darren Waller should mean the Raiders could be matchup-proof, with the ability to attack any defense anywhere.
Soon after, the Raiders orchestrated a trade that sent Waller to the New York Giants for just the 100th pick in the draft. Before Waller was injured last year, he managed to generate 70 yards per game as a receiver between 2019 and 2021, a three-year stretch that showcased the best an athletic tight end can do on the field.
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Even when he includes that year, his average drops to 65.3 yards per game — more than Julian Edelman, DK Metcalf and Deebo Samuel over the same span and every tight end except Travis Kelce and George Kittle.
That kind of production is hard to come by, and moving on from it for a late third-round pick seems abysmal, even after considering the injury history and age. But more than that, McDaniels may have lost the confidence of people in the building, with their star running back expressing sadness at the move on Twitter.
The fact that, per Vic Tafur at the Athletic, this apparently comes on the heels of McDaniels announcing Waller’s marriage to Las Vegas Aces guard Kelsey Plum against Waller’s wishes underscores the fact that McDaniels may not be doing the best job in the world of maintaining a peaceful locker room.
Running Backs who want out
Following the news that Austin Ekeler had been cleared to seek a trade from the Chargers, the number of running backs on the trade market has expanded to include him, Dalvin Cook and Derrick Henry.
Meanwhile, Miles Sanders is still in free agency after the Eagles decided to sign Rashaad Penny, meaning he and a number of other productive backs like David Montgomery, Devin Singletary, Kareem Hunt, Jamaal Williams and D’Onta Formann are available to sign.
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Add in the fact that this is a pretty solid class of running backs in the draft, and it would be hard to convince a team to part with a draft pick for a back on their second contract when they could just sign such a back to a cheaper deal or a draft pick in the middle or later rounds — or even upgrade from the trade market in the first or second round.
There’s a good chance that at least one team will be able to move a running back, but it certainly won’t be all of them, which means the RBs — and the teams looking to move on from them — will have to wait it out out.