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All those promises worth millions upon millions to free agents turned into paydays Wednesday when the NFL's business year began.
Of course Authentic Ryan Jensen Jersey , teams needed to clear salary cap space or rejigger their ledgers to make it work, and they'll still be doing so for months.
While the likes of Drew Brees, Malcolm Butler and Andrew Norwell cashed in bigtime, having reached agreements in the past two days before everything became official, some value entered the marketplace.
Arizona released safety Tyrann Mathieu when it couldn't rework his deal. On Tuesday, the Cardinals let running back Adrian Peterson go.
Baltimore cut receiver Jeremy Maclin. Detroit said goodbye to tight end Eric Ebron. Pittsburgh tore up a secondary that often was torn up by opposing quarterbacks, releasing Mike Mitchell, Robert Golden and William Gay.
But Carolina had more success with a veteran, completing a one-year deal with defensive end Julius Peppers.
The 38-year-old Peppers, who contemplated retirement after 17 pro seasons, remains with the Panthers for $5 million, with $2.5 million guaranteed, a person familiar with the situation said. The person spoke to The Associated Press on Wednesday on condition of anonymity because the team does not release financial terms of contracts.
"I am fired up to have him back," Panthers coach Ron Rivera said. "It was amazing to have him as part of what we are trying to build and I think he can help us get to the next level."
Cleveland, meanwhile, did nothing more than listen to one of its greatest players, tackle Joe Thomas , announce his retirement. The Browns save his $10.3 million salary for 2018 and a $3 million bonus but lose their best player and leader in the expansion era (1999-present) Cheap Uchenna Nwosu Jersey , a 10-time Pro Bowler.
"This was an extremely difficult decision, but the right one for me and my family," Thomas said. "Playing in the NFL has taken a toll on my body and I can no longer physically compete at the level I need to."
Mathieu was due for $18.75 million of his contract to be guaranteed when the league year officially begins. By cutting him, Arizona will save close to $5 million in cap space.
Mathieu became a star in the Arizona secondary after being selected in the third round of the 2013 draft following a troubled college career at LSU. He was an All-Pro in 2015, when he had five interceptions and 17 passes defensed.
But he also has been plagued by injuries and only last season did Mathieu appear in all 16 games.
Baltimore frees up an estimated $5 million in salary cap space by releasing Maclin, who signed on as a free agent in June. But Maclin missed two games with a shoulder injury, two more with knee issues, and finished with only 40 catches for 440 yards and three touchdowns. The 84 receptions he had over the past two seasons (2016 with Kansas City) are three fewer than he had with the Chiefs in 2015.
Then the Ravens agreed to deals with receivers John Brown and Ryan Grant.
Brown, 27, spent four years in Arizona and is a speedy deep threat, something Baltimore desperately needs. He can also return kicks.
Grant, also 27, was with Washington for four seasons.
San Francisco agreed to a four-year contract with running back Jerick McKinnon and a five-year deal with center-guard Weston Richburg. McKinnon replaces departing starter Carlos Hyde and Richburg could start anywhere in the interior line.
"We see Weston as one of the top young interior offensive linemen in the NFL," GM John Lynch said. "His athleticism, intelligence and attitude are a perfect fit for our scheme. Jerick has proven to be an extremely versatile football player whose speed, elusiveness and tackle-breaking ability make him a very difficult matchup for defenses. We can't wait to get them on the field with their teammates and coaches later this spring."
New York agreed with offensive tackle Nate Solder, late of the Patriots, to become its starter on the left side. Solder Rams John Kelly Jersey , 29, will get a four-year contract worth about $62 million.
The Giants can move 2015 first-round draft pick Ereck Flowers to the right side as they rebuild a line that has struggled for years.
Tennessee kept right guard Josh Kline and defensive end David King with new contracts after making a splash in free agency by getting Butler for $60 million over five years ($30 million guaranteed) and also taking running back Dion Lewis away from New England.
The Bills restocked their quarterback position by agreeing to a two-year contract with AJ McCarron.
The 27-year-old spent the past four seasons backing up Andy Dalton in Cincinnati after being selected by the Bengals in the fifth round of the 2014 draft.
McCarron's signing came five days after Buffalo traded three-year starter Tyrod Taylor to Cleveland. The trade left 2017 fifth-round pick Nathan Peterman as the only quarterback on Buffalo's roster.
Buffalo also added defensive end Trent Murphy from Washington and got a needed pass rusher, albeit a player coming off a major injury.
Murphy had 15 sacks in 47 games, including nine in 2016, then sat out last season after tearing two ligaments in his left knee in a preseason game.
The Bills finished tied for 30th in the NFL with just 27 sacks last season.
The Bills added defensive backfield depth by agreeing with safety Rafael Bush on a two-year contract, and got linebacker Julian Stanford on a two-year contract.
The Falcons addressed a need by signing offensive guard Brandon Fusco, who started 16 games for San Francisco last season, to a three-year deal. Fusco, who began his career with the Vikings, could immediately start at right guard.
Five-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh officially was released, when the trades to acquire defensive end Robert Quinn and se Brett Veach thought he was in good shape offensively after adding wide receiver Sammy Watkins in free agency, and that the Kansas City Chiefs‘ most pressing needs were entirely on defense.
So, he used the entire draft to address them.
After using their first three picks on that side of the ball, Veach used the final day of the draft to select three more on Saturday.
Texas A&M safety Armani Watts went in the fourth round, cornerback Tremon Smith went in the sixth round and defensive tackle Kahlil McKenzie went two picks later.
They joined Ole Miss pass rusher Breeland Speaks, Florida State defensive tackle Derrick Nnadi and Clemson linebacker Dorian O’Daniel in filling out the Chiefs’ defense-heavy draft class.
”Listen, all drafts are unique in their own way in regards to those players and the positions you feel the depth is,” Veach said. ”Every year is different.”
Evidently Authentic Denzel Ward Jersey , there was plenty of talent available on defense this year – so much so that the Chiefs think one of their picks can play the other side of the ball.
McKenzie worked out at guard for the Chiefs at the combine, and is talented enough that they want to give him a shot there.
The Chiefs figure to be one of the most explosive offenses in the league next season, even with new quarterback Patrick Mahomes II. Reigning rushing champ Kareem Hunt, speedy Pro Bowl wide receiver Tyreek Hill and star tight end Travis Kelce join Watkins in giving coach Andy Reid plenty of options.
But there were numerous holes on an aging defense, one that was gutted by the Tennessee Titans in the playoffs last season.
The Chiefs moved on from erstwhile linebackers Derrick Johnson and Tamba Hali, released safety Ron Parker and even traded their top cover corner, Marcus Peters.
They made a couple of moves in free agency, signing linebacker Anthony Hitchens and defensive tackle Xavier Williams, but chose to primarily fill out a defense in need of a nasty streak through the draft.
”Your expectations are always for guys to come in and compete for starting job, or see a lot of playing time, and the higher you pick the more confident you are in those guys coming in,” Veach said. ”You hope those guys will come in and play right away, or be part of a steady rotation.”
The Chiefs didn’t have a first-round pick, but Veach was high on the three defensive players he added on the second day. The trio of selections Saturday provides depth, special teams talent and massive upside.
Here is a closer look at the Chiefs’ draft class:
SPEAKING OF STARTING: Speaks probably has the best chance to get on the field right away, especially if outside linebacker Dee Ford’s recovery from a back injury takes longer than expected. Even then, Speaks is a better-rounded prospect and could soon find himself starting opposite Justin Houston.
”You want safeties and you want corners,” Veach said Joe Montana Jersey , ”but you have to affect the quarterback. You can’t go out there and play 7-on-7. And we looked at it as the last chance to get a guy.”
RIVAL ROOKIE: McKenzie’s father is Reggie McKenzie, the longtime NFL linebacker and the current GM of the AFC West-rival Oakland Raiders. ”I didn’t talk to the dad,” said Chiefs area scout Pat Sperduto,” but I’ve talked to the kid a bunch of times. It was kind of a chuckle when we took his son.”
DEFENSIVE LINE DEPTH: Nnadi also could slide into the rotation right away, and his development will be important in the near future. Allen Bailey, Rakeem Nunez-Roches and Jarvis Jenkins are free agents after next season, and Williams and Chris Jones hit free agency the following offseason.
THE LATE PICKS: Watts was a four-year starter for Texas A&M and could slide into Parker’s spot alongside star safety Eric Berry. He was a third-team All-American after making 82 tackles and four picks as a senior, and a name the Chiefs didn’t expect to fall to them.
Smith was a tackling machine at Central Arkansas, and at 6-foot and 190 pounds, possesses the kind of size the Chiefs covet in a man-press cornerback. McKenzie is a mammoth, 320-pound defensive lineman who has the talent, makeup and lower-body strength to transition to offensive guard.
”We try to make it not complicated. Just watch the tape,” Veach said, ”and these guys play hard. Sometimes you get cute. Every little test, agility test, bend and this and that. Just an old rule of thumb: Does he make plays? Does he play hard? And these guys do.”
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