NFL Free agency continues despite COVID-19


Design by Alyssa McKenna

Alyssa McKenna, Sports Writer

NFL free agency began on March 18. The legal tampering period is a two-day period, which allows teams to enter contract negotiations with players who are due to become free agents, according to NFL rules. Terms can be discussed and agreed, but any deals can only be made official at the start of the new league year.

The process was different compared to years prior due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Players were not allowed to travel and visit interested teams in the transfer period. Free agents were getting their evaluations in their hometowns by their own doctors, as well as signing contracts in their homes. 

It has only been a little over a week since the start of the NFL free agency, and many teams have already reached their pinnacle in spending for the season.  According to Over The Cap, the Miami Dolphins, Buffalo Bills, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys have decreased cap space within the time frame.

Tom Brady and Dak Prescott topped the quarterback position for free agents. However, other notable names include Teddy Bridgewater, Phillip Rivers, Jameis Winston and Drew Brees. Edge rusher Jadeveon Clowney, cornerback Byron Jones and wide receiver Amari Cooper also headlined this year’s free agency bill.

The new league year started with a blockbuster trade that involved star wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins being traded from the Houston Texans to the Arizona Cardinals. In return, the Texans received running back David Johnson, a 2020 second round pick and 2021 fourth round pick. 

Most of the talk within the league has been steered toward Brady moving on from the New England Patriots and signing with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Brady played with the Patriots from 2000-2019, and appeared or won the Super Bowl on a number of occasions.

“Patriots Nation is hurt, but long term it’s the best thing for the team,” UC junior and Patriots fan Jack Serrano said. “Tampa makes sense for him with the young talent around him and the money guaranteed.”

The six-time Super Bowl champion signed a two-year deal for $50 million. He also has $4.5 million a year available in incentives.  Along with the money, the contract includes language that does not allow the Buccaneers to trade him and there are no franchise tag provisions. 

Sports Illustrated said Brady also has some postseason incentives with the Bucs. He will earn $500,000 if he leads Tampa to the playoffs, $750,000 if he wins a single playoff game, $1.25 million if he takes them to the NFC Championship, and $1.75 million if he wins that game. 

The Super Bowl is in Tampa this coming year, and with Brady being a six-time Super Bowl champion, being traded to the Bucs could be big for the Tampa community.