Today at 4 pm eastern time the new NFL football season was upon us and NFL free agents were free to officially sign with either a new team or there old team. A lot of movement happened within the first couple hours of free agency as we saw big names signing big new contracts will new teams, and even saw veterans cut to save cap space. With plenty of big names still available either via free agency or trades here are just some impact players who will be on a new team this upcoming season.
Michael Johnson(Former team- Cincinnati Bengals; New team- Tampa bay Buccaneers)- The 27-year old defensive lineman played his first five seasons with the Bengals before signing a five-year $43.75 million contract with $24 million guaranteed. During his time with the Bengals Johnson racked up 203 total tackles with 26 sacks. With new defensive minded head coach Lovie Smith paring Johnson up for defensive tackle Gerald McCoy & Adrian Clayborn on the other side; the Buccaneers will have more sacks and pressure than last year.
Alterraun Verner(Former team- Tennessee Titans; New team- Tampa bay Buccaneers)- The 25-year old cornerback has been with the Titans franchise since 2010 until today with him signing a four-year $26.5 million contract with $14 million guaranteed. Eleven total interceptions since he has entered the NFL along with 287 total tackles. Verner gives Love Smith a more well rounded corner to fit his cover 2 defense that will be put in place than current cornerback Darrelle Revis(likely to be released tomorrow). At just 25 years old Verner could more than likely play out his entire contract or within the next few years cash in again either with the Buccaneers or with a new team.
Jairus Byrd(Former team- Buffalo Bills; New team- New Orleans Saints)- The highest rated safety on the free agent market has landed on a team that is coached by defensive coordinator Rob Ryan. The 27-year old safety signed a six-year $54 million contract with $28 million guaranteed. Byrd has played safety for the Bills since 2009 & has shown his displeasure with the franchise ever since free agency last year when given the franchise tag. With his chance to finally be on the open market Byrd got exactly what he wanted. A huge contract and is on a team that is a serious contender for the super bowl. Over his five year career Byrd has 22 interceptions with two of them resulting in a touchdown. He has also forced 11 fumbles and has recovered five. Byrd has totaled 356 tackles in his career, and pairing him up with young safety Kenny Vaccaro the Saints secondary could be one of the hardest hitting ones in the entire NFL.
Donte Whitner(Former team- San Francisco 49ers; New team- Cleveland Browns)- A homecoming is exactly what this 28-year old safety has in mind with his new contract. Whitner has signed a 4-year $28 million contract with $13 million guaranteed. With the loss of TJ Ward to the secondary the Browns need to replace his game with someone who has been stated as being better according to numerous people around the league. Whitner who was born and raised in Ohio is officially “coming home”. Whitner who has been in the league since 2006 has a total of ten interceptions, eight forced fumbles, and 668 total tackles. The veteran leadership and his winning perspective is something the Browns organization needs.
Karlos Dansby(Former team- Arizona Cardinals; New team- Cleveland Browns)- At the age of 33 Dansby has signed a 4-year $24 million contract with $14 million guaranteed. A player who is replacing D’Qwell Jackson Dansby contract appears to be something that will likely end up being just a 2-year stint with the Browns. Coming off of a season where he recorded 121 tackles, & 6 sacks; Dansby looks to bring his play making ability to the Browns defense. Throughout his career Dansby has racked up 1,012 tackles, with 37.5 sacks. Dansby is also coming off of a season where he recorded his most interceptions as an inside linebacker with 4. With an already stout defensive front Dansby looks to lead a good core of linebackers & an entire defense to that next level in the NFL.
Other noticeable signings- TJ Ward(Denver Broncos; 4-years $23 million, $14 million guaranteed). Aqib Talib(Denver Broncos; 6-years $57 million, $26 million guaranteed). Jared Veldheer(Arizona Cardinals; 5-years $35 million, $17 million guaranteed). Branden Albert(Miami Dolphins; 5-years $46 million, $25 million guaranteed).
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