Get the latest news on top players with negotiating period open
14, Mar 2023
Get the latest news on top players with negotiating period open

NFL free agency doesn’t officially start until Wednesday, but a number of top players on the market are already spoken for.

While the league won’t mark the start of its league year until 4 pm ET tomorrow, Monday’s opening of the “negotiating period” or “legal tampering window” meant a flood of unofficial agreements between marquee players and franchises. Among the big names to strike agreements were QB Jimmy Garoppolo (Las Vegas Raiders), DT Javon Hargrave (San Francisco 49ers), OT Mike McGlinchey (Denver Broncos) and LB Tremaine Edmunds (Chicago Bears).

More are sure to follow Tuesday, so check back often with USA TODAY Sports throughout the day for all the latest updates:

Chargers bring back OT Trey Pipkins

The Los Angeles Chargers are addressing one question up front by bringing back a starter.

Right tackle Trey Pipkins is re-signing with the team on a three-year deal, a person with knowledge of the move told USA TODAY Sports’ Tyler Dragon. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal had not been announced.

Pipkins, 26, started 14 games for the Chargers last season. He was a third-round pick out of Sioux Falls in 2019.

– Michael Middlehurst-Schwartz

Titans find replacement for starting LB

The Tennessee Titans are expected to reunite general manager Ran Carthon with a familiar player.

The Titans will reportedly sign inside linebacker Azeez Al-Shaair to a contract in NFL free agency, per a report from ESPN’s Dianna Russini. Al-Shaair comes to Tennessee after four years in San Francisco, where he played for the organization where Carthon worked in the front office. Al-Shaair made 44 tackles in 12 games last season and has 199 tackles with two sacks and 11 tackles for loss in his career.

Bringing in Al-Shaair offsets some of the Titans’ losses at inside linebacker this offseason. The Titans released veteran Zach Cunningham and didn’t resign David Long Jr., who will reportedly sign with the Chicago Bears when free agency officially begins on Wednesday.

The Titans have a number of starters hitting free agency this offseason. In addition to players whose contracts are expiring like Long and offensive linemen Nate Davis and Aaron Brewer, the Titans also released or are expected to release offensive tackle Taylor Lewan, receiver Robert Woods, linebackers Zach Cunningham and Bud Dupree, center Ben Jones and kicker Randy Bullocks.

– Nick Suss, The Tennesseans

Eagles add running back Rashaad Penny

The Philadelphia Eagles made a move to boost their backfield amid some uncertainty.

Running back Rashaad Penny has agreed to a deal with the defending NFC champions, according to multiple reports.

Penny, 27, has shown promise in bursts during his career, averaging more than 6 yards per contact in each of the last two seasons. According to NFL Next Gen Stats, Penny has averaged the most yards after contact (4.6) and rushing yards over expected (+1.8) of any back with at least 100 carries in the last two years.

But the former first-round pick has struggled to stay healthy, playing in just 42 games in his five-year career, including 18 in the last three seasons.

There’s potential for a breakout behind Philadelphia’s formidable offensive line, which paved the way for the NFL’s fifth-ranked rushing attack (147.6 yards per game) and will return at least four starters after center Jason Kelce announced his return.

The move raises questions about the future of incumbent starting running back Miles Sanders, who is set to become a free agent Wednesday.

– Michael Middlehurst-Schwartz

Darren Waller trade shakes up receiving corps for Giants, Raiders

The Giants have added an offensive weapon for Daniel Jones, and it’s a blockbuster.

Star tight end Darren Waller is coming to Big Blue in a swap with the Las Vegas Raiders for the third round pick, No. 100 overalls, received from Kansas City in a package for Kadarius Toney, an individual with knowledge of the situation told the USA TODAY Network. The person spoke on condition of anonymity

The deal will be officially announced at the start of the league year Wednesday at 4 pm

Waller turns 31 in September and has battled injuries in recent seasons, but when healthy he remains one of the more dominant playmakers in the NFL. Giants coach Brian Daboll is a tight ends coach at heart – he’s been adamant about that, and was admittedly very hard on Daniel Bellinger last season because he saw so much promise in the rookie – so there’s little doubt that they’ll have a plan where Bellinger and Waller can co-exist in the offense.

– Art Stapleton, NorthJersey.com

Michael Thomas staying with Saints

The New Orleans Saints found a way to bring back a key target for Derek Carr.

Wide receiver Michael Thomas agreed to a restructured one-year, $10 million contract with the team, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports.

Thomas, who had already restructured his contract in January, had been under contract through 2024. But with the three-time Pro Bowl selection set to have his 2024 roster bonus of $31,755 million become guaranteed on Friday, there was pressure for both sides to come to a new agreement.

Thomas, 30, has played in just 10 games the last three years due to injuries. He appeared in just three games in 2022 and had 16 catches before a toe penalty sidelined him for the year.

– Michael Middlehurst-Schwartz

Dolphins bring back Raheem Mostert, Jeff Wilson

The Miami Dolphins are running it back with their backfield from a season ago.

Running backs Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson are both returning to Miami to play again under coach Mike McDaniel, whom they played for in San Francisco when McDaniel was the offensive coordinator in 2021.

Mostert agreed to a two-year deal, his agent, Brett Tessler, announced on social media Tuesday. Mostert’s contract could reach up to $7.6 million, according to ESPN. Before incentives, the deal was $5.6 million with $2.2 million guaranteed, according to NFL Network.

Wilson will also sign a two-year deal that could reach up to $8.2 million, according to ESPN.

The familiarity Mostert and Wilson provided in McDaniel’s offense helped the Dolphins to a 9-8 record last season before the team suffered a divisional-round playoff loss to the Buffalo Bills.

Mostert, who turned 31 next month, led the Dolphins with 891 rushing yards and three touchdowns. He also had 31 catches and 202 yards receiving with two touchdowns.

Wilson, who was acquired from the 49ers at the trade deadline last season, had 84 carries for 392 yards and three touchdowns, while catching 12 passes for 94 yards and a touchdown in eight games for Miami last season.

– Safid Deen

The Cowboys bring back Donovan Wilson

The Dallas Cowboys are keeping a key member of their secondary.

Safety Donovan Wilson agreed to a three-year deal worth up to $24 million.

Wilson, 28, led the Cowboys with 107 tackles last season while adding five sacks, both figures representing career bests. His return assures defensive coordinator Dan Quinn a downhill tackler while fellow safeties Jayron Kearse and Malik Hooker take on more expanded coverage roles.

– Michael Middlehurst-Schwartz

Jakobi Meyers gets his payday from Raiders

The wide receiver market was slow to materialize, but the top pass catchers are now off the board.

Meyers agreed to a three-year, $33 million deal that includes $21 million guaranteed, according to multiple reports.

The move is the latest by coach Josh McDaniels and general manager Dave Ziegler to reshape the offense. On Monday, the Raiders struck a three-year deal with quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.

Meyers joins Davante Adams, Hunter Renfrew and Darren Waller in Las Vegas’ crew of pass catchers.

His departure leaves a significant hole for New England, which now no longer returns any wide receiver who has more than 35 catches or 550 receiving yards.

– Michael Middlehurst-Schwartz

Buccaneers trade G Shaq Mason to Texans

More changes are coming for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The team is trading offensive guard Shaq Mason to the Houston Texans in a late-round pick swap, NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reports.

Reports emerged Monday that the Buccaneers would either try to trade or release Mason, who had a $9.576 million cap hit.

He became the second starting offensive lineman that the team has sent off this offseason after Donovan Smith’s left tackle was cut.

In Houston, Mason might need to provide stability on the interior for a team that is expected to have a rookie starter in 2023.

– Michael Middlehurst-Schwartz

Taylor Heinicke picks the Falcons

Washington Commanders quarterback Taylor Heinicke (4) throws the football during the second quarter against the San Francisco 49ers at Levi's Stadium.

Washington Commanders quarterback Taylor Heinicke (4) throws the football during the second quarter against the San Francisco 49ers at Levi’s Stadium.

The Atlanta Falcons’ quarterback plan might be coming into focus.

Taylor Heinicke agreed to a two-year deal worth $14 million million, per multiple reports.

His arrival likely further solidifies second-year signal-caller Desmond Rider as the starter. The Falcons also own the No. 8 pick and could select a quarterback, though it’s expected that the top three or four passers will be gone by that point.

Commanders coach Ron Rivera had left the door open for a possible return for Heinicke, who started nine games for Washington. Rivera maintained, however, that Sam Howell would have the lead for the starting position entering the offseason program.

– Michael Middlehurst-Schwartz

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: NFL free agency news, rumors: Latest buzz on top players, teams