Welcome to 2023 NFL free agency week. Free agency officially starts Wednesday at 4 p.m. ET, which coincides with the start of the new league year. Teams and free agents can begin to agree to terms on new deals before officially signing them, though. The legal tampering period starts Monday at noon ET. We are tracking all of the action, including free agent signings, notable trades, cap-saving releases and more.
First, a few quarterback updates: Derek Carr already has a new home, Geno Smith and Daniel Jones have re-signed with their respective teams, and Aaron Rodgers’ status is still up in the air. Meanwhile, the free agent class is loaded with playmakers on offense (Dalton Schultz, Jakobi Meyers and Jimmy Garoppolo) and defense (Javon Hargrave, Jordan Poyer and James Bradberry). And we’ve seen a few trades, including Jalen Ramsey going to Miami and the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft going to Carolina.
How much excitement awaits at the deadline? Which teams will be the most active? Who will be the next star to sign with a new team? And which player on the open market will be the next to break the bank with a huge new contract? Follow it all right here throughout March, with the most recent updates on top.
Ranking the top 100 free agents
Grading the biggest signings and trades
Barnwell: Winners from CAR-CHI deal
Monday, March 13
Per ESPN’s David Newton, the Carolina Panthers have offers out to RB D’Onta Foreman and C Bradley Bozeman. They have had preliminary discussions with QB Sam Darnold. Finding a vet QB and help at WR, since DJ Moore was traded to the Chicago Bears, are priorities.
The Bills are re-signing punter Sam Martin to a three-year deal and linebacker Tyler Matakevich to a two-year deal, the team announced.
The Detroit Lions kept Isaiah Buggs in the fold by re-signing him on Monday. “We’re going to build something great here, and I want to be a part of it when it happens,” Buggs said, adding he “always wanted to be back.”
The Cleveland Browns have restructured the record-setting contract of quarterback Deshaun Watson, clearing $36 million in cap space ahead of free agency, a source told ESPN.
The Browns signed Watson last offseason to a new five-year deal worth an NFL-record $230 million fully guaranteed. Before restructuring Watson’s deal, the Browns were roughly $14 million over the salary cap. Now, Cleveland has cap space heading into the free agency negotiating window, which begins at noon ET Monday.
From ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler: Running back Gus Edwards’ reworked contract in Baltimore reduces his pay by about $1 million (from $4.38 million) but includes incentives to earn that money back and more, per source.
The New York Giants are re-signing punter Jamie Gillan, who averaged a career-best 46.8 yards per punt in 2022. The team is also re-signing long-snapper Casey Kreiter to a one-year deal, according to sources.
The 2023 NFL free agent class is loaded, especially at defensive line, offensive line, defensive back and running back. We updated our ranking of the top 100 players on the open market — which originally posted last week — and included a few late additions to the pool.
Houston Texans general manager Nick Caserio knows things are different going into the upcoming season. Heading into Year 3 on the job, Caserio isn’t fazed by the heightened pressure to accelerate a complete rebuild of an organization that has won just 11 games in his past three seasons, and he also isn’t allowing the higher expectations to change his approach to how he envisions building his team.
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Sunday, March 12
Safety Tashaun Gipson joined the San Francisco 49ers just 20 days before the start of the 2022 season and claimed the starting free safety job when Jimmie Ward was lost to a training camp injury. Now Gipson is set to hold it for at least another season after agreeing to terms on a one-year deal worth up to $2.9 million on Sunday, a source told ESPN, confirming multiple reports.
While they wait on a decision from quarterback Aaron Rodgers, the New York Jets locked up linebacker Quincy Williams with a three-year, $18 million contract, a source told ESPN on Sunday. The deal can be worth as much as $21 million and it includes $9 million in guarantees, the source said.
Washington Commanders defensive tackle Daron Payne has reached agreement on a four-year, $90 million deal that includes $60 million guaranteed, sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter on Sunday. Payne had received the franchise tag from the Commanders before reaching agreement on his new deal.
The New York Giants are expected to sign wide receiver Sterling Shepard to a new deal, sources told ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler on Sunday.
Shepard has dealt with injuries the past few years with the New York Giants. He tore the ACL in his left knee back in September, after tearing his Achilles the previous season. He’s also dealt with knee, concussion, ankle, quad and hamstring injuries throughout his career.
The Los Angeles Rams are trading cornerback Jalen Ramsey to the Miami Dolphins for a 2023 third-round pick and tight end Hunter Long, sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter. The trade will be processed Wednesday, when 2023 league year officially begins.
Per ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, the New Orleans Saints are not expected to tender restricted free agent wide receiver Marquez Callaway. Returning to New Orleans is still an option, but he’s now set to hit unrestricted free agency. Callaway had 1,069 yards and seven TDs in three years with the Saints.
The Buffalo Bills made a move for now and the future, locking down All-Pro linebacker Matt Milano with a two-year contract extension through the 2026 season, the team announced on Sunday. The move also helps the Bills by creating approximately $6 million in cap space, sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter. The team entered the weekend $19 million over the 2023 cap. Defensive tackle Tim Settle’s contract was restructured to open up $600,000 space as well, ESPN’s Field Yates reported.
The start of the legal tampering period means conversations between agents and teams can begin in earnest on Monday afternoon, with deals becoming official starting on Wednesday. If history is any indication, the next few days will be a frenzy. ESPN’s NFL Insiders Dan Graziano and Jeremy Fowler will be there every step of the way, as weeks of buzz give way to a more official round of business.
When agent Drew Rosenhaus took his annual visit to New England Patriots training camp in late July of 2022, checking in with coach Bill Belichick and his various clients on the team, he had a strategic decision to make with receiver Jakobi Meyers.
He could push for a contract extension. Meyers was coming off a season in which he led the team with 83 catches and had been tendered at the second-round level as a restricted free agent ($3.9 million). He was underpaid and worthy of a bump. Or Rosenhaus could preach patience, reminding Meyers that he was one year away from hitting the open market, which is the ideal situation for players to land the most lucrative contract in a competitive bidding situation.
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Saturday, March 11
New Orleans Saints quarterback Derek Carr is ready to reinvent himself. The Saints introduced Carr in a news conference that spanned 45 minutes on Saturday. Carr sat next to Saints coach Dennis Allen, with his family and the Saints front office in attendance. He talked about his nine-year tenure with the Las Vegas Raiders, how the Saints convinced him to join their team and what’s next.
Preparing for free agency and the possible addition of quarterback Aaron Rodgers, the New York Jets created $13.1 million in salary cap room by restructuring three veteran contracts. They reworked the contracts of three players from their 2022 free agent class — guard Laken Tomlinson, cornerback D.J. Reed and tight end Tyler Conklin, a source told ESPN’s Field Yates on Saturday.
The Los Angeles Chargers have solved their salary cap woes without having to release any formidable playmakers ahead of the new league year that starts on Wednesday, enabling them to keep together the pillars of a roster that the organization hopes can challenge in the AFC West and make a deep playoff run.
For the past two years, the Cincinnati Bengals have enjoyed the luxury of having two of the NFL’s top young wide receivers. Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins have produced big plays when Cincinnati needed them. In seven playoff games over the last two seasons, the duo has combined for 1,045 receiving yards and six touchdowns. But of the Bengals’ top three young offensive players, Higgins is the most expendable.
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Friday, March 10
About a dozen NFL teams seeking flashes of the Odell Beckham Jr. of old attended his free-agency workout Friday in Arizona, a source told ESPN. According to the source, coaches and scouts from the Kansas City Chiefs, Buffalo Bills, New England Patriots, New York Giants and Baltimore Ravens were among the estimated 12-14 teams on hand to see Beckham, a three-time Pro Bowl wide receiver who sat out last season while recovering from a torn ACL.
The Houston Texans signed wide receiver Robert Woods to a two-year contract worth $15.25 million, with $10 million guaranteed. Houston will be Woods’ fourth team, as he played for the Bills and Rams before spending last season with the Tennessee Titans, where he caught 53 passes for 527 yards and two touchdowns.
Sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter that the Chicago Bears are trading the 2023 No. 1 overall pick to the Carolina Panthers for 2023 No. 9 overall, 2023 No. 61 overall, a 2024 first-round pick in 2024, a 2025 second-round pick and WR DJ Moore.
Bailey has been the punter for the New England Patriots since the 2019 season.
The Pittsburgh Steelers have released cornerback William Jackson III, creating $12,187,500 in cap space. The team also released defensive back Carlins Platel.
The Washington Commanders announce signing of T Drew Himmelman. He signed with team last offseason and was later cut.
The Denver Broncos are releasing RB Chase Edmonds, a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter. His release will save Denver $5.92 million against its cap. Denver also released cornerback Ronald Darby and guard Graham Glasgow on Friday.
The Carolina Panthers have released LB Damien Wilson. Saves the team about $3.6 million in cap space.
The Minnesota Vikings have waived CB Cameron Dantzler Sr.. He’ll clear $2.74 million from the salary cap.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have restructured Vita Vea’s contract, reducing his salary cap hit for 2023 by about $9 million, per source.
New England Patriots safety Devin McCourty announced his retirement from the NFL on Friday after 13 seasons, which included three Super Bowl championships.
The Green Bay Packers have restructured left tackle David Bakhtiari’s contract, converting $9.5 million into a March roster bonus and $5.5 million of his 2023 base salary into a guaranteed signing bonus, sources told ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler.
The Miami Dolphins have told quarterback Tua Tagovailoa that they will pick up his fifth-year option. He is guaranteed a $23.4 million salary for 2024.
The Los Angeles Rams are planning to release outside linebacker Leonard Floyd on Friday, a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
The New York Jets are not tendering running back James Robinson, a source told ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler. He will be a free agent.
The Dallas Cowboys have restructured the contracts of quarterback Dak Prescott and guard Zack Martin, creating nearly $30 million in cap space.
The Tennessee Titans are releasing center Ben Jones, saving the Titans $3.7 million in cap space.
Veteran defensive end Brandon Graham has agreed to terms on a one-year deal to stay with the Philadelphia Eagles, declining to enter free agency out of loyalty to the organization, he told ESPN on Friday. The deal is worth up to $6 million, according to a source.
The New Orleans Saints have offered quarterback Jameis Winston a restructured deal to stay with the team, sources told ESPN’s Dianna Russini on Friday. Winston has until Wednesday, the start of the new league year, to accept the offer or he will be released, sources said.
The Philadelphia Eagles have allowed cornerback Darius Slay’s agent Drew Rosenhaus to seek a trade, sources tell ESPN’s Dianna Russini.
Slay did not ask to be traded, the sources added, and the Eagles are still hopeful to find a solution where Slay remains an Eagle. Slay, 32, is entering the final year of his three-year, $50 million deal. He is slated to make a base salary of $17 million in 2023 with a cap hit of over $26 million, per Spotrac.
From ESPN’s Adam Schefter: The Miami Dolphins are converting wide receiver Tyreek Hill’s $10 million roster bonus and $16 million salary into a $24.835 million bonus and an $1.165 million salary, saving the team about $18 million against their salary cap, per sources.
The Minnesota Vikings will release receiver Adam Thielen on Friday, according to a source, concluding a storied tenure for the native Minnesotan that captured the hearts of fans throughout the region.
A native of Detroit Lakes, Minnesota, who played collegiately at Minnesota State, Mankato, Thielen signed with the team in 2013 after serving as a tryout player at rookie minicamp. By the end of the 2022 season, he had more career catches (534) than any player in team history other than Cris Carter and Randy Moss, both of whom are members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
From ESPN’s Dianna Russini: The New Orleans Saints are giving All-Pro Special teamer J.T. Gray a three-year extension, per sources.
With only days remaining before free agency commences, let’s find free agents whose reputations either over or underrate them. We’ll tackle one of each by position and, as always, we’ll rely heavily on our quantitative metrics largely from ESPN and NFL Next Gen Stats to help in our player evaluation.
The Dallas Cowboys have not made a financially significant outside signing in free agency since signing cornerback Brandon Carr to a five-year, $50 million deal in 2012. They attempted to make one a few years ago in receiver Sammy Watkins, but he joined the Kansas City Chiefs instead on a deal that averaged $16 million a year. They have been content to scrape around free agency’s edges, getting players at the Cowboys’ price.
While they want to avoid megacontracts in free agency, their stated goal every year is to retain their own with long, megacontracts before the player can hit free agency. Except that’s not exactly happened lately.
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Thursday, March 9
According to sources, Odell Beckham Jr., the No. 19 available free agent in ESPN’s top 100 rankings, will hold a workout Friday in Arizona, reports ESPN Giants reporter Jordan Raanan. The 30-year-old Beckham missed last season after tearing his left ACL in the second quarter of Super Bowl LVI while playing for the Los Angeles Rams.
The Tennessee Titans plan to release outside linebacker Bud Dupree at the start of the new league year next week, sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter on Thursday. The move will save the Titans $9.35 million against their salary cap. Dupree was set to hold a $17 million cap hit if he remained with Tennessee in 2023. Once Dupree’s release becomes official, the Titans will have around $23 million in cap space at the start of the free agency period.
The Seattle Seahawks releasing veteran guard Gabe Jackson creates $6.5 million in 2023 cap space, while leaving $4.7 million in dead money.
The Philadelphia Eagles have released offensive tackle Brett Toth.
According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the NFL is taking a 2023 fifth-round pick from the Texans and fining them $175,000 for what the league believes is a salary-cap violation and what Houston believes is an accounting error that dates back Deshaun Watson’s training during COVID. The Texans believe it gave them no salary-cap advantage and they were simply paying $26,000 for Watson to train at a local facility while theirs was closed during COVID.
The Texans appealed the league’s initial penalties, with some success. They had the NFL’s initial punishment reduced from a fourth-round pick and a $250,000 fine to a fifth-round pick and a $175,000 fine.
From ESPN’s Adam Schefter: There’s a real possibility the Minnesota Vikings and Adam Thielen will part ways in the coming days, allowing the two-time Pro-Bowl wide receiver to become a free agent, per sources. The two sides will talk in coming days, but his time in Minnesota could be coming to an end.
The New York Jets traded a 2024 seventh-round pick to the Ravens in exchange for Chuck Clark, a longtime starter who will add experience to the back end of an already strong defense. Clark, who turns 28 on April 19, spent six years with the Ravens, the last four as a starter. He became expendable because last offseason they signed Marcus Williams as a free agent and drafted Kyle Hamilton in the first round.
From ESPN’s Adam Schefter: The New York Jets will be releasing wide receiver Braxton Berrios at the start of the league year next week, per source. The two sides discussed a restructuring of his contract but were unable to reach agreement. His release will save $5 million against Jets’ cap.
The New York Jets are becoming more confident in their chances of landing quarterback Aaron Rodgers, sources close to the situation told ESPN’s Dianna Russini on Thursday.
The Jets’ increasing optimism follows their meeting this week with the Green Bay Packers quarterback. A contingent of Jets team officials — including owner Woody Johnson, general manager Joe Douglas, coach Robert Saleh and offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett — flew to California on Tuesday to meet in person with Rodgers, sources previously told ESPN’s Dan Graziano.
Free agency is just a few days away, and the 2023 class is loaded. Who are the top free agents, and where will they sign? Which teams should be watched closely over the next few weeks? And which quarterbacks could find a new home? To get you ready for all the action, our NFL team is here to break down everything you’d ever want to know for free agent frenzy.
From ESPN’s Mike Reiss: Veteran C/G James Ferentz has signed a 1-year deal to return to the New England Patriots. The deal includes a base salary of $1.165 million. He appeared in 12 games (three starts) last season. The 33-year-old provides depth behind the starting trio of Cole Strange (left guard), David Andrews (center) and Mike Onwenu (right guard).
When Washington Commanders owner Dan Snyder bought the team in 1999, he swung big on free agents. His first free agent class 23 years ago included future Hall of Famers Deion Sanders and Bruce Smith. Later, Snyder gave out the first $100 million contract, to Albert Haynesworth in 2009. Snyder will not exit the NFL in the same fashion, assuming the team indeed is sold this offseason, as multiple sources still believe will happen.
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Wednesday, March 8
The Arizona Cardinals have released wide receiver Chosen Robbie Anderson. This move will save Arizona $12 million in cap space.
The Jacksonville Jaguars have cut cornerback Shaquill Griffin in a move that will save the team $13.15 million.
According to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, the Dallas Cowboys are working on a resolution to bring eight-time Pro Bowler Tyron Smith back for a 13th season, which could include a reworked contract. Smith is due $13.6 million in the final year of his contract.
Who represents the best match for each team? Our friends at Football Outsiders suggest one important free agent signing for all 32.
Minnesota arrived at the NFL combine on a mission, at least when it came to the media portion of the event. Beyond discussing the hiring of defensive coordinator Brian Flores and a host of impending salary cap cuts, the team’s leaders were determined to express how much they love receiver Justin Jefferson as negotiations for a contract extension loom.
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Tuesday, March 7
The Dolphins will not be pursuing Lamar Jackson or any other starting QBs this off-season, multiple team sources tell ESPN’s Jeff Darlington. As one source said, “Mike fully believes Tua is the perfect fit for his system.”
The New York Giants have agreed to a four-year, $160 million deal with quarterback Daniel Jones, sources told ESPN, and have used their nonexclusive franchise tag on star running back Saquon Barkley.
The Giants made the moves just ahead of Tuesday’s 4 p.m. ET deadline for NFL teams to use their franchise and transition tags.
Jones will make $82 million guaranteed at signing as part of the deal, which also includes up to $35 million in incentives, sources told ESPN’s Jordan Raanan. Barkley will make make $10.091 million in 2023 under the nonexclusive franchise tender.
According to ESPN’s Dianna Russini, the Atlanta Falcons will not be pursuing QB Lamar Jackson.
Defensive end Frank Clark, third on the list of all-time NFL postseason sack leaders, was released by Kansas City on Tuesday.
The Atlanta Falcons are not franchise-tagging RT Kaleb McGary, per ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler. One of the top offensive linemen available is set to hit free agency.
The Baltimore Ravens have placed the $32.41 million nonexclusive franchise tag on QB Lamar Jackson. He now is free to negotiate with other teams, but the Ravens have the right to match any offer sheet he signs or take two first-round picks in return for him. The Ravens and Jackson have until July 17 to work out a long-term deal.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have released left tackle Donovan Smith. The Bucs will save $7.95 million against their salary cap by releasing him.
According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Miami Dolphins have informed cornerback Byron Jones that he will be released on March 15 and will have the opportunity to enter free agency. The Dolphins are expected to designate him a post-June 1 cut, saving Miami $13.6 million against its salary cap.
The New York Jets have had conversations with the Green Bay Packers and quarterback Aaron Rodgers this week regarding a potential trade of the four-time MVP, according to sources. The sources said some of those conversations were expected to take place Tuesday, but it was unclear as of Tuesday morning whether they will result in a trade.
Atlanta Falcons edge rusher Lorenzo Carter is expected to sign a two-year deal with the Falcons after being their most productive player at the position last season, a source confirmed to ESPN on Tuesday.
Monday, March 6
Geno Smith and the Seattle Seahawks are finalizing a three-year, $105 million contract, sources told ESPN on Monday. The deal includes $52 million in the first year, sources said.
The Las Vegas Raiders are using their franchise tag on running back Josh Jacobs. He finished the 2022 season with career highs in rushing yards (1,653) and carries (340).
The Chiefs and defensive end Frank Clark’s agent Erik Burkhardt were unable to find common ground on a reworked deal during several conversations at the combine, and the expectation now is that Kansas City will release him. Clark is third on the list of all-time NFL postseason sack leaders.
The Jacksonville Jaguars officially placed their franchise tag on tight end Evan Engram, a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Engram led the team’s tight ends in yardage (766), touchdowns (4) and receptions (73).
The Kansas City Chiefs will not be franchise-tagging left tackle Orlando Brown Jr, a source told ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler. Brown is set to be a free agent.
The former Atlanta Falcons receiver, now with the Jacksonville Jaguars, is back in the NFL a year after being suspended.
The Cowboys will use the second-round tender on restricted free agent right tackle Terence Steele ($4.3 million), as others have reported, and will not tender RB Rico Dowdle. Dallas would like to sign Steele, who is ahead of schedule on rehab from ACL/MCL injuries, per Stephen Jones, long term.
The Dallas Cowboys have placed their franchise tag on running back Tony Pollard. He is guaranteed $10.09 million for 2023 under the tag. Pollard suffered a high ankle sprain and had surgery in January but is expected to be 100 percent before training camp.
Former Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr is signing with the New Orleans Saints, sources told ESPN’s Dianna Russini on Monday. The Saints, who finished 7-10 last season, were among three teams, including the New York Jets and Carolina Panthers, to have pursued Carr for several weeks after the Raiders allowed the veteran quarterback to talk to teams to possibly facilitate a trade.
The Rams are expected to release outside linebacker Leonard Floyd if they cannot trade him first, league sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Floyd has a $22 million cap hit in 2023. If the Rams cut him before June 1, they’ll incur $19 million of dead money in 2023 and save just $3 million of salary-cap space.
The Minnesota Vikings released veteran linebacker Eric Kendricks on Monday as they work to get under the salary cap. Kendricks, 31, has spent all eight seasons of his NFL career with the Vikings, who selected him in the second round of the 2015 draft. Last season he started all 17 games and finished with 137 tackles to lead the team.
Sunday, March 5
We asked ESPN NFL insiders Dan Graziano and Jeremy Fowler to empty their notebooks from their week in Indianapolis. They hit the quarterback market — including the latest on Derek Carr, Daniel Jones, Geno Smith, Lamar Jackson and Aaron Rodgers — free agent sleepers and some draft risers.
New York Jets left tackle Duane Brown, 37, a five-time Pro Bowl selection who underwent recent surgery to repair a torn left rotator cuff, has decided to return for his 17th season, his agent, Kennard McGuire, told ESPN on Sunday.
Top news from last week
The New England Patriots informed veteran quarterback Brian Hoyer of their intention to release him before the start of free agency, league sources confirmed to ESPN on Saturday.
The Las Vegas Raiders are planning to use the franchise tag on reigning NFL rushing champion Josh Jacobs for the 2023 season, sources confirmed to ESPN on Friday. The franchise tag for running backs for the 2023 season will cost $10.09 million.
At the end of the season, Baltimore Ravens general manager Eric DeCosta said “it takes two to tango” when asked about the chances of getting a deal done with quarterback Lamar Jackson this year. Ravens defensive end Calais Campbell said this week that Jackson is a willing dance partner.
The Jacksonville Jaguars are expected to place the franchise tag on tight end Evan Engram, a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter on Thursday. The tight end franchise tag is $11.345 million.
Los Angeles Chargers general manager Tom Telesco on Wednesday ended speculation that the organization could move on from 10-year veteran wide receiver Keenan Allen this offseason.
“Keenan Allen isn’t going anywhere,” Telesco told reporters at the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis.
The Cincinnati Bengals emphatically let the rest of the NFL know that wide receiver Tee Higgins isn’t on the trading block.
During his annual session at the NFL scouting combine, team executive Duke Tobin refuted any notion that the team could be interested in shopping the standout receiver this offseason. The team’s longtime director of player personnel said teams haven’t presented any offers, and if they did, trading Higgins wasn’t a thought.
The New York Giants are “cautiously optimistic” that they can reach long-term deals with quarterback Daniel Jones and running back Saquon Barkley, who are both set to become free agents and are also candidates for the franchise tag. Barkley’s future remains more uncertain, but Giants general manager Joe Schoen reiterated Tuesday that Jones will return in some capacity — whether under a new deal or the tag.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers plan to release running back Leonard Fournette, a key contributor in their Super Bowl LV victory. The move will happen before the start of the new league year on March 15, a source told ESPN.
The Atlanta Falcons released quarterback Marcus Mariota on Tuesday in a move to free up salary cap space and move on from a player who had lost his starting position.
The Washington Commanders released quarterback Carson Wentz in a move that had been long expected. The move saves Washington $26.176 million on the salary cap this offseason. Wentz had two years remaining on his contract but had no guaranteed money.