2022 NFL free agency winners and losers: Jaguars begin on shopping spree on first day of legal tampering

2022 NFL free agency winners and losers: Jaguars begin on shopping spree on first day of legal tampering

The NFL’s legal tampering period kicked off at noon on Monday, and it didn’t take long for players to start “agreeing to terms” with other teams. The first big move of the day involved the reigning AFC champion Cincinnati Bengals, as they agreed to terms with former Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive guard Alex Cappa on a four-year deal. Shortly after, the Miami Dolphins reportedly stole running back Chase Edmonds from the Arizona Cardinals, agreeing to a two-year deal. Then, the Jacksonville Jaguars took over and started spending like there was no tomorrow.

It was certainly a wild first day, so let’s take a look at some winners and losers.

Winner: Jacksonville Jaguars

The Jaguars hit the ground running on Day 1, and they could afford to do so with the money they had at their disposal. They broke the bank for wide receiver Christian Kirk — who could be the third-highest paid receiver in the NFL if he receives all of the max $84 million deal he signed — and also reportedly landed the versatile Evan Engram and Zay Jones. The Jags also reportedly spent a combined $75 million on two defenders in Foye Oluokun and Foley Fatukasi.

Oluokun, the star linebacker formerly of the Atlanta Falcons, signed a three-year, $45 million deal, according to NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport. He led the NFL with 192 tackles last season, which was the seventh-highest total ever recorded in a single season. Fatukasi, the defensive lineman who has spent his career with the New York Jets, reportedly received a three-year, $30 million deal with $20 million guaranteed, according to Mike Garafolo. He recorded 46 combined tackles in 15 starts last season.

Another player the Jags reportedly grabbed was former Washington Commanders star offensive guard Brandon Scherff, who has made five Pro Bowls in seven seasons. He was one of the top interior offensive linemen available in this free agency class, and he reportedly got paid like one too. With the Jaguars placing the franchise tag on Cam Robinson and signing Scherff, maybe they will go pass rusher with the No. 1 overall pick.

The Jaguars shelled out a ton of money on the first day of legal tampering, but also landed legitimate starters. All six players are immediate-impact guys who will help Doug Pederson in turning this franchise around.

Loser: Indianapolis Colts

The Colts are looking for a new starting quarterback after trading Carson Wentz to the Commanders, but Monday took away some options. Teddy Bridgewater is reportedly headed to the Dolphins and Mitchell Trubisky is headed to the Pittsburgh Steelers. To make matters worse, the Houston Texans declined the Colts’ attempt to speak with Deshaun Watson, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. This wasn’t surprising in the slightest with Indy being a division rival, but notable nonetheless.

The Colts not signing Bridgewater or Trubisky isn’t heartbreaking, but what is Indianapolis going to do at quarterback? Trading for Jimmy Garoppolo probably isn’t going to light the fan base on fire, and they don’t have a first-round pick in the upcoming draft. If I was general manager, I’m targeting Marcus Mariota or Jameis Winston now. However, Winston could be set on re-signing with the New Orleans Saints if a Watson trade falls through. It seems more and more likely the Colts could be the last team in the NFL to figure out their quarterback situation.

Winner: WR Christian Kirk

Kirk was certainly seen as a free agent wide receiver who has his best football days ahead of him, but not many saw him as a player who deserved a deal that could potentially turn him into a top three highest-paid receiver in the NFL.

The Jaguars agreed to terms with Kirk on a four-year deal worth up to $84 million, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter. According to NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport, the deal is reportedly worth $72 million ($18M annually) with a max of $84 million. This means Kirk is now in the top 10 of highest-paid receivers when it comes to AAV, but if he is able to juice the Jags for the full $84 million, that would make Kirk the third-highest-paid receiver in the NFL, per Over The Cap. That $21 million per year would rank third behind DeAndre Hopkins and Julio Jones.

The Jaguars must really like Kirk, because they made him a wealthy man this week.

Loser: Seattle Seahawks

The Seahawks did agree to terms on a new deal with safety Quandre Diggs Monday to keep him in Seattle, but even that small win couldn’t be celebrated with fans still processing the Russell Wilson trade. Along with five picks, including two first-rounders, the Seahawks received three players from the Denver Broncos in quarterback Drew Lock, defensive lineman Shelby Harris and tight end Noah Fant. It’s Fant who is probably the player worth getting the most excited about since he’s a versatile tight end who can wear different hats in an offense if you want to feature him. Well, then why did the Seahawks reportedly re-sign tight end Will Dissly to a three-year, $24 million deal?

Dissly is a young, talented blocking tight end who hasn’t surpassed 262 receiving yards in a single season in four years, but is certainly worth an extension. Yet giving him $8 million a year — an AAV higher than Darren Waller — is pretty surprising. Dissly is going to get plenty of playing time as TE2, but this is an overpay.

Winner: Los Angeles Chargers

The Chargers are having just as impressive of an offseason as anyone, finding a way to retain wide receiver Mike Williams and trading for pass rusher Khalil Mack. We are only one day in, but it’s safe to say that success carried into free agency. The Chargers landed the best cornerback in the class in JC Jackson, who reportedly agreed to a five-year, $82.5 million deal with $40 million guaranteed.

LA had the third-worst run defense in the NFL last season and the Chargers tried to address that as well, reportedly landing Austin Johnson after a career-year (two-year deal, up to $14 million), and stealing defensive tackle Sebastian Joseph-Day from the rival Rams (three-year deal, $24 million, $15 million guaranteed). This fan base is excited.

Winner: Cincinnati Bengals

The Bengals made what was the first reported move of the legal tampering period, taking Cappa from Tom Brady and the Buccaneers. Not long after, they reportedly agreed to terms with Ted Karras of the New England Patriots. This was something the Bengals had to address this offseason, as Cincy’s offensive line allowed 19 sacks in the postseason, which broke a record. Joe Burrow was sacked a total of 70 times last year, which was the third most in a single season since the merger.

Cincinnati did lose Larry Ogunjobi to the Chicago Bears on Monday, but the Bengals were able to retain BJ Hill.