Jimmy Garoppolo is finally out of San Francisco, ready to start the next phase of his career wearing the Raiders’ silver and black. Sam Darnold is heading out West, where he’ll replace Garoppolo and join Trey Lance and Brock Purdy with the 49ers. Mike White, Case Keenum and Jarrett Stidham have new teams, too.
Deshaun Watson is staying in Cleveland, but with a restructured deal with the Browns.
As for Aaron Rodgers, who is not a free agent but whose name has widely been circulated in trade rumors, his future remains unclear because, well, he’s Aaron Rodgers.
Quarterbacks took center stage on Monday as NFL free agency began with teams allowed to negotiate — and agree to deals — with unrestricted free agents. The deals can’t be announced until Wednesday and therefore were confirmed to The Associated Press by people speaking on condition of anonymity.
Garoppolo was the highest-profile QB to change teams.
He agreed to a three-year, $67.5 million contract with Las Vegas, where he’ll replace David Carr, who signed with the New Orleans Saints earlier this offseason after being cut by the Raiders. Garoppolo’s contract includes $34 million in guaranteed money.
White is staying within the AFC East, leaving the New York Jets for the Miami Dolphins to back up Tua Tagovailoa. Keenum is rejoining the Houston Texans, where he went 0-8 as a starter back in 2013. Stidham is going to Denver to back up Russell Wilson.
The Browns restructured Watson’s record-setting guaranteed $230 million contract to create salary cap space.
But the day wasn’t just about quarterbacks. Several other big-name players agreed to join new franchises.
The Broncos were among the big spenders on Monday, addressing their offensive line by agreeing on a five-year, $87.5 million control with tackle Mike McGlinchey from the 49ers and a four-year, $52 million deal with guard Ben Powers from the Baltimore Ravens. Denver later agreed with former Arizona Cardinals defensive end Zach Allen on a $45.75 million, three-year deal.
But the Broncos couldn’t keep everyone.
The Seattle Seahawks agreed to terms with former Broncos defensive lineman Dre’Mont Jones, a deal reported to be worth $51 million over three years.
As usual, the first day of free agency negotiations meant some players cashed in.
Defensive tackle Javon Hargrave got a four-year, $84 million contract from the 49ers, adding more talent to what was already considered one of the best defenses in the league, and Jawaan Taylor will become Patrick Mahomes’ new blindside protector after agreeing to an $80 million, four-year contract with the Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs.
Former Cincinnati Bengals safety Jessie Bates got a four-year, $64 million deal from the Atlanta Falcons. Bates, an All-Pro in 2020, started 79 games in five seasons with the Bengals and had 14 interceptions, forced three fumbles and recovered two.
The Bengals’ other free agent safety, Vonn Bell, signed with the Panthers.
The Chicago Bears made two big additions at linebacker, agreeing to contracts with two-time Buffalo Bills Pro Bowler Tremaine Edmunds and former Philadelphia Eagle T.J. Edwards. Edmunds’ deal is worth $72 million over four years with $50 million guaranteed.
The New York Giants agreed on a four-year, $40 million contract with linebacker Bobby Okereke. Okereke spent his first four season in Indianapolis, where he started 49 games and had a career-high 151 tackles with six tackles for loss, five pass breakups, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries last season.
And the Pittsburgh Steelers landed cornerback Patrick Peterson.
Even some kickers got paid, with Greg Zuerlein agreeing to re-sign with the New York Jets.
Plenty of quality unrestricted free agents remain unsigned, including wide receivers Odell Beckham Jr., Jakobi Meyers and JuJu Smith-Schuster, offensive tackle Orlando Brown, cornerback James Bradberry and linebackers Bobby Wagner and Lavonte David.