While the free agency market is close to dead at this point of the offseason, only two weeks ago it was the Wild Wild West, with teams throwing guaranteed money at the top names like Malik Jackson, Kelechi Osemele and Olivier Vernon. There were quite a few big spenders this month, but no one quite like the Oakland Raiders, New York Giants and Jacksonville Jaguars.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers – $50 million in guaranteed money
The Buccaneers spent most of their money on the first day of free agency with two players: Holding on to running back Doug Martin on a five-year deal that includes $15 million in guaranteed money, while signing J.R. Sweezy from the Seattle Seahawks on a five year deal that includes $12 million in guaranteed money.
Atlanta Falcons – $53.3 million
The Falcons added center Alex Mack who bolted from Cleveland, giving him a five-year, $45 million deal that includes $28.5 million in guaranteed. Another big contract was to wide receiver Mohamed Sanu, getting $6.5 million a season over five years with $14 million in guaranteed money.
Philadelphia Eagles – $59.2 million
Spending big in free agency has come back to bite the Eagles in previous years, but it didn’t stop them this time, trying to fix the wrongs of the Chip Kelly experiment. Signing Brandon Brooks from the Houston Texans ($17 million fully guaranteed) and Rodney McLeod from the Los Angeles Rams ($13 million) took up most of that, but trading away LeSean McCoy and Byron Maxwell helped create $26 million in cap space to work with.
Houston Texans – $65.1 million
The Texans made a number of moves to improve their offense, but signing Brock Osweiler to a four-year deal worth $18 million per season, including $37 million in guaranteed money, stunned everyone and made things very complicated for teams around the league with their quarterback situation, reshuffling the cards and the perception of what should be spent on someone with just 7 career starts.
Oakland Raiders – $70.7 million
The Raiders felt they’ve gotten good enough to take a big plunge into free agency and push themselves a bit forward. Their big signings were left tackle Kelechi Osemele ($25.4 million in guaranteed money), cornerback Sean Smith ($15 million in guaranteed money) and linebacker Bruce Irvin ($14.5 million in guarantees), while also being able to hang on to Donald Penn, another tackle.
Jacksonville Jaguars – $74.4 million
Like the Raiders, the Jags seem to be feeling like it’s time for them to spend big after years of bottoming out. They went all out with Malik Jackson of the Broncos ($42 million in guaranteed money out of the $85.5 million contract) and also gave safety Tashaun Gipson $12 million in guaranteed money.
New York Giants – $106.3 million
The Giants outspent the next team on the list by 42%. Last season many criticized their front office for not being active in the free agency market. Turns out they were saving for this. Olivier Vernon got $40 million in full guarantees, Janoris Jenkins received $28.8 million in guaranteed money and Damon Harris with $20 million in guaranteed money, as the Giants emphasized defensive improvement so they can win the Super Bowl next season.