The NFL free agency period got off to a fast start on Tuesday, as many of the top available players on the market reached agreements with new teams even before they could officially sign contracts on Wednesday afternoon.
While there were a number of free agents on the market this year, none received more attention and discussion than quarterback Kirk Cousins. While several teams engaged in a bidding war for the 30-year-old QB, Cousins announced that he intends to sign with the Minnesota Vikings, a move that will make the Vikings one of the favorites to reach the Super Bowl out of the NFC.
Quarterbacks Move Around League
ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that Cousins would receive a three-year, $84 million fully guaranteed contract with Minnesota. That would make him the highest-paid quarterback in the league.
Betting sites have reacted to the news by shortening the odds on the Vikings to win the 2019 Super Bowl. At Ladbrokes, Minnesota is now a 10/1 pick to win a championship this year, putting them behind only the New England Patriots (11/2) and the Philadelphia Eagles (8/1).
By signing Cousins, Minnesota signaled that they wouldn’t be sticking with Case Keenum at quarterback next season. But it didn’t take long for him to find a new home.
The Denver Broncos are expected to sign Keenum on Wednesday, with KUSA-TV’s Mike Klis saying that the deal would see the quarterback earn $36 million over two years. The move should solidify Denver at quarterback, though the Broncos (33/1) are still not considered a serious Super Bowl contender.
Signings Keep Green Bay Relevant
Not all of the biggest moves were related to quarterbacks, however. The Green Bay Packers already are pretty secure at that position with Aaron Rodgers at the helm, but gave him a new weapon with the signing of tight end Jimmy Graham. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that the two sides had agreed to terms on a three-year contract worth about $30 million in total.
The Packers also made a major addition to their defense, signing former Jets defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson to a contract. According to the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, Wilkerson agreed to a one-year deal with a base salary of $5 million and the potential for up to $3 million more in incentive bonuses.
The combination of these moves and having an elite quarterback in Rodgers has seemingly done more than enough to offset the loss of wide receiver Jordy Nelson, whom the Packers cut on Tuesday. The end result of all these moves has left the Packers squarely among the league’s top contenders at 11/1 to win the Super Bowl.
While the flurry of early action has taken several big names off the board, there are still plenty of significant free agents that have yet to agree to terms with a team. Some of the most prominent names on the market include defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson, safety Tyrann Mathieu, and Nelson, who has already seen interest from the New England Patriots and the Oakland Raiders.