NFL Free Agency: The winners and losers following moves for Darelle Revis, Steve Smith and Eric Decker

Week one recap

With the first seven days of the NFL Free Agency period done and dusted and over $1.52bn in contracts handed out, we look at some of the most notable moves of the week, the winners and losers as well as who's still available.


Darelle Revis, cornerback, Tampa Bay Buccaneers to New England Patriots

At first glance, this looks like a disastrous move for the Buccaneers. Only one year on from being traded by the New York Jets to Tampa Bay for a first round pick in last year’s draft, Buccaneers fans would be forgiven in feeling a little short changed. In reality, the real loser in this move is in fact nobody. With Lovie Smith now head coach in Tampa, it was obvious he wasn’t going to pay a player $16m who doesn’t fit his system, and with no guaranteed money to pay, it was an easy decision. For New England, Revis is a great addition, not to mention he doesn’t hold the same financial commitment the team would have had to pay for Aqib Talib. 18-months on from ACL surgery, the Patriots are hoping Revis will be back to the player he was in New York. Even if he’s not, there’s no significant financial risk in the move as his contract is in reality a one-year trial agreement. Revis is still one of the league’s top cornerbacks, and when healthy, the top cornerback. New England gives Revis a great chance for a Super Bowl, and if he stays healthy, another chance to re-establish Revis Island.

Steve Smith, wide receiver, Carolina Panthers to Baltimore Ravens

This decision is still making waves in the US. Steve Smith’s surprising divorce from the Carolina Panthers has left the team with a gaping hole at wide receiver. Smith formed a decent chemistry with quarterback Cam Newton, catching the ball 64 times for 745 yards, not bad for a 13-year veteran. Smith has moved on to Baltimore and promised the team they’re going to get “the best in shape 35-year-old they can get”. Despite his age, Smith should fit fairly well in Baltimore, with Joe Flacco commanding an offence that throws the ball more often than the Panthers did. Newton threw 473 times last season, in comparison to Flacco’s 614. The Panthers however are without any experience at wide receiver. At the moment, not a single wide receiver on the Panthers roster caught a pass last season so next month’s draft will be key for Carolina if they are to stay level with New Orleans.

Eric Decker, wide receiver, Denver Broncos to New York Jets

It’s difficult to see exactly how this will pan out for both the Jets and Decker. The former Broncos receiver enjoyed four good seasons in Colorado. His last two years saw him record over 2,300 yards, but his throws were coming from Peyton Manning and he also enjoyed the luxury of Demaryius Thomas drawing away much of the opposing coverage. Now his quarterback is Geno Smith, who had a mixed first season at best. Decker was by far the top receiver on the market and the Jets have done well to pick him up considering there would have been plenty of other potential suitors for Decker. Whether the Jets use him to his full potential will determine to just how good this move is.



The Patriots and Broncos

The Patriots and Broncos look set to continue their dominance atop the AFC after splashing out in this year’s free agency. For both teams, instant success is clearly the driving factor behind the majority of their moves, and with both Tom Brady and Peyton Manning approaching the tail end of their careers, who can blame them. Denver picked up Patriots cornerback Aqib Talib who was then quickly replaced by Darelle Revis in New England. The addition of Brandon Browner from Seattle has also made the Patriots secondary look considerably more formidable. For Denver, bringing in defensive end Demarcus Ware as well as safety T.J Ward shows that there defence could now be just as productive as their offence. When asked about the free agency splash from both teams, Denver’s VP of football operations John Elway described it as a “fun arms race”.



The Raiders

Despite having nearly $60m in cap space, $10m more than any other team in the NFL, their moves have been somewhat questionable. For a team with so much to work with, they appear to have squandered their opportunity on risky, overpriced players. Linebacker Lamarr Woodley hasn’t started a full 16 games since 2010 and the resigning of Darren McFadden is also puzzling. In his six NFL seasons, McFadden has only started more than seven games in each season twice. The most embarrassing move was that of offensive lineman Rodger Saffold. Saffold was signed to a five-year contract worth $42m, an absurd amount considering he was largely unproven since joining the league in 2010. He only started nine games in 2013 for St Louis. Just after the contract was agreed, it was then voided after Saffold failed a physical at the team’s training facilities. For any Raiders fans hoping this year would be the start of a new era in Oakland, you may have to wait a little longer.

The Jets

Only time will tell whether their move for Eric Decker will pay off, however the Jets’ search for a cornerback went from bad to worse on Monday. Before free agency, the Jets parted ways with Antonio Cromartie, a player who struggled last year but was still an asset on a team full of liabilities. His cousin, Dominique Rodgers Cromartie was courted by both the Jets and the Giants, over the weekend, with the former Broncos cornerback eventually signing with the latter, reportedly leaving head coach Rex Ryan “pissed”. To make matters worse, Ryan was also hoping to bring back Darelle Revis after he was cut by Tampa Bay. Not only did Ryan not get his wish but he will also be tormented by the idea of having to play Revis at least twice next season after the player signed with division rivals in New England. Although this free agency period is unlikely to be the defining factor of the Jets’ upcoming season, their almost comic fail in acquiring a top cornerback (one which they are in considerable need of) shows there may be some divisions between senior management and coaching staff.



Julius Peppers, defensive end, Chicago Bears to Green Bay Packers

Golden Tate, wide receiver, Seattle Seahawks to Detroit Lions

Jairus Bird, safety, Buffalo Bills to New Orleans Saints

Josh McCown, quarterback, Chicago Bears to Tampa Bay Buccaneers



Michael Vick, quarterback

Vick wants to be somewhere he can start. The Jets, Bills and Raiders are all reportedly interested.

Jared Allen, defensive end

Allen says he will retire if he doesn’t receive the contract that he wants. He has at least 11 sacks each season since 2007, so if his age is of no concern for a team wishing to sign him, he might just get what he wishes for.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Teeth should be brushed twice a day to prevent tooth decay
Bryan Cranston as Walter White, in the acclaimed series 'Breaking Bad'
footballChelsea 6 Maribor 0: Blues warm up for Premier League showdown with stroll in Champions League - but Mourinho is short of strikers
Those who were encouraged to walk in a happy manner remembered less negative words
Arts and Entertainment
Princess Olga in 'You Can't Get the Staff'
tvReview: The anachronistic aristocrats, it seemed, were just happy to have some attention
Renee Zellweger as Bridget Jones
Life and Style

Board creates magnetic field to achieve lift

There have been various incidents of social media users inadvertently flouting the law

Life and Style
Stack ‘em high?: quantity doesn’t always trump quality, as Friends of the Earth can testify
techThe proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
Bourgogne wine maker Laboure-Roi vice president Thibault Garin (L) offers the company's 2013 Beaujolais Nouveau wine to the guest in the wine spa at the Hakone Yunessun spa resort facilities in Hakone town, Kanagawa prefecture, some 100-kilometre west of Tokyo
CSKA Moscow celebrate after equalising with a late penalty
footballCSKA Moscow 2 Manchester City 2: Premier League champions let two goal lead slip in Russia
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

IT Project Manager

Competitive: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Chelmsford a...

Business Intelligence Specialist - work from home

£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and growing IT Consultancy fir...

Business Intelligence Specialist - work from home

£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and growing IT Consultancy fir...

IT Manager

£40000 - £45000 per annum + pension, healthcare,25 days: Ashdown Group: An est...

Day In a Page

Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals

'You need me, I don’t need you'

Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals
How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

How to Get Away with Murder

Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
A cup of tea is every worker's right

Hard to swallow

Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
Which animals are nearly extinct?

Which animals are nearly extinct?

Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
12 best children's shoes

Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
Anderlecht vs Arsenal: Gunners' ray of light Aaron Ramsey shines again

Arsenal’s ray of light ready to shine again

Aaron Ramsey’s injury record has prompted a club investigation. For now, the midfielder is just happy to be fit to face Anderlecht in the Champions League
Comment: David Moyes' show of sensitivity thrown back in his face by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

Moyes’ show of sensitivity thrown back in his face... by Ferguson

Manchester United legend tramples on successor who resisted criticising his inheritance
Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2015

UK city beats Vienna, Paris and New York to be ranked seventh in world’s best tourist destinations - but it's not London