NFL free agency has morphed into a movie. There’s now a beginning, middle, and end.
The beginning is past us. The showstoppers like Le’Veon Bell, Nick Foles and Earl Thomas have all signed.
The end is far in the future, all the way late into the season when injuries ravage teams and players like Dez Bryant get picked off the scrap heap.
Currently, we are in the middle of the plot with some big names still on the market, and plenty of teams with the need and cap space to sign them. But don’t expect any to sign immediately. It just doesn’t make sense for teams to rush.
Pro Bowlers like Ziggy Ansah, Eric Berry, Ndamukong Suh, and Muhammed Wilkerson are still available, but there’s no benefit for teams to rush to sign them. First off, there’s a May 7 cutoff where if some teams sign these players, it would count against the compensatory pick formula, which is awarded based on teams that lose eligible free agents. Second, the longer teams wait, the smaller the salary demands get for the player and their agent. Salary caps get pinched tighter following the draft and demand for specific positions dwindles while supply remains stagnant, thus driving down the price.
As has become tradition, the next big wave of free-agent signings will likely come during training camp, as most veterans prefer to avoid the malaise of practice in the summer heat while still getting the benefit of a full yearly salary. So buckle up for plenty of speculation and suspense until then, because the midway point of the main attraction is just getting going.