NFL free agency is underway, as the league’s landscape reshapes itself for the season ahead and beyond.
Players cannot officially sign with new teams for a few more hours: Wednesday at 4 p.m., the start of the new league year. But the negotiation window started on Monday at 12 p.m., and we’ve seen a slew of big moves in the first two days of free agency, including a new home for Jimmy Garoppolo in Las Vegas and the Giants landing star tight end Darren Waller in a trade with the Raiders.
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For the Jets, free agency isn’t the biggest story on their radar at the moment.
Of course, the pursuit of Aaron Rodgers has overshadowed free agency this year, for good reason. But the first day of free agency produced no decision and plenty of angst for Jets fans, despite Rodgers hinting Saturday at a decision before the start of the free agency negotiation window.
“Stay tuned … it won’t be long,” Rodgers said. “There is a time limit on all of this.”
Apparently Rodgers meant the start of the new league year. And a few hours before that, he’s scheduled to go on the “Pat McAfee Show,” presumably to address the future.
Keep it here Wednesday for all the news, rumors and updates you need from Day 3 of Jets free agency.
Here’s everything to expect and what you need to know on what could be an important day for the Jets.
•The Jets had an easy first two days of free agency, with just two consecutive signings so far: they kept free-agent kicker Greg Zuerlein and added free-agent wide receiver Allen Lazard on a four-year deal worth up to $44 million.
•Only two of the Jets’ notable internal free agents have left so far: Mike White is headed to the Dolphins and guard Nate Herbig has signed with the Steelers.
The other names to watch? OT George Fant; C Connor McGovern; DT Sheldon Rankins; QB Joe Flacco; S Lamarcus Joyner; DT Solomon Thomas; K Greg Zuerlein; DE Vinny Curry; LB Kwon Alexander and DT Nathan Shepherd.
• Rodgers has a wish list for the Jets, and that includes a very big name: Aaron Rodgers has not publicly disclosed his desire to be traded to the Jets. Not yet, anyway. But apparently he has given the Jets a wish list of players he wants to team up with in New Jersey according to ESPN. That includes several of his Packers teammates who are now free agents: receivers Allen Lazard (who signed), Randall Cobb and tight end Marcedes Lewis.
Oh, and one more name: free agent Odell Beckham Jr. This is not a great look for the Jets, who appear to be accommodating Rodgers’ requests when he hasn’t even officially agreed to join the team. But there’s a big difference in Rodgers giving the Jets a list of preferred players after making it clear he plans to play for them (that would be relatively harmless). But if he pushes the Jets to make these moves before agreeing to play for them, it’s a disaster waiting to happen. It’s unclear which one it is, but the Jets are clearly going to have their hands full with Rodgers.
Here are the other big news from Monday and Tuesday.
• Jets lose o-lineman to Steelers: Guard Nate Herbig, who played a key role on the offensive line last year because of multiple injuries, found a new home Tuesday, agreeing to terms with the Pittsburgh Steelers according to the NFL Network. It’s a two-year deal worth $8 million, including $4 million guaranteed, according to the report, which said the Steelers believe Herbig could be a starter in Pittsburgh. Herbig started 11 games for the Jets after Alijah Vera-Tucker’s season-ending injury in October.
•The Jets restructured the contract of defensive lineman John Franklin-Myers on Monday night, freeing up $4.8 million in cap space by converting a portion of his base salary into a signing bonus.
Five players have restructured their contracts since Thursday, freeing up $21.5 million in cap space. Franklin-Myers joined tight end CJ Uzomah, cornerback DJ Reed, left guard Laken Tomlinson and tight end Tyler Conklin. And there will certainly be more cap-saving moves in the coming days.
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Andy Vasquez can be reached at [email protected].