Every year at this time, the NFL takes full advantage of the lull in the sports world. Yes, the NCAA basketball tournament is afoot but with baseball meandering through the exhibition games and hockey and basketball still deep in the throes of their painfully long seasons, the NFL is poised to take center stage again in the country’s ever-growing sports media landscape.
This winter, the NFL free agent period has an even more spicier flavor as there have been a slew of trades leading up to the period that has been aptly dubbed a ‘frenzy’ that have deepened the intrigue and added to the interest.
At noon on Monday, March 12 NFL teams will be able to begin negotiating with the representatives of impending unrestricted free agents in order to secure their services when the new league year begins at 4:00pm on Wednesday the 14th.
The salary cap has been raised approximately $10 million per team, to $177 million per with the New York Jets leading the way with $92 million in salary cap space to burn on free agents. All tolled, there is nearly a billion dollars of open salary cap money to be used by the 32 NFL franchises.
The top free agents this March include QB Kirk Cousins, CB Truman Johnson, OL Andrew Norwell, WR Allen Robinson and TE Jimmy Graham but there are hundreds of names to choose from. Cousins has reported narrowed his choices down to the Jets and the Minnesota Vikings but other teams, such as the Denver Broncos and Arizona Cardinals are certain to make offers.
This period has become perhaps the most interesting and debated time of the year for NFL pundits and fans. The speculation is what eats at them, and the way the league has grown in breadth and popularity over the years, it is certain to pervade the the sports pages for the next few weeks.