The winners and losers from a crazy start to NFL free agency


Wednesday at 4 p.m. marked the official free-agent signing period, though negotiations were permitted prior to that. And, based on the flurry of activity in the past two days, particularly Tuesday, a lot of teams and players already have either bettered themselves or find themselves in a lurch.

Here’s a look at the winners and losers based on the early frenzy of activity leading into Wednesday’s official signing period.

2. Da Bears: Chicago added some key weapons to surround second-year quarterback Mitchell Trubisky, especially in landing Allen Robinson, the best receiver on the open market this offseason. He’s coming off a knee injury, but Robinson is a terrific route-runner who has the ability to break a game open and is highly productive.

The Bears also agreed to terms with former Eagles tight end Trey Burton, who’s best known for throwing that TD pass to Eagles quarterback Nick Foles in the Super Bowl. They, too, are bringing in receiver Taylor Gabriel, a speedster who can stretch the field.

The 27-year-old was serving life without parole for the 2013 murder of Odin L. Lloyd and had recently been acquitted of committing a double murder in 2012.

Baez, who insists the ex-NFL star was innocent, chose to come forward in a two-part docu-series on Oxygen titled, Aaron Hernandez Uncovered, which aims to explore the athlete’s secret double life before his sudden death.

It also features interviews with former teammates, detectives, as well as Shayanna Jenkins, his fiancée and the mother of his only child.

After his death, I can tell you it really disturbed me how many people were throwing out stories and saying certain things that were not only factually inaccurate, but just outright abusive, Baez told Fox News about his involvement with the show.

I thought and I felt, and I still do to this day, that the real story has to get out there. … No one has ever captured the true Aaron Hernandez. It’s been bothersome to me and that’s why I decided to take part of it.

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All the moves Giants made on a busy day of signings


At one time, the Broncos had big hopes for Cody Latimer, making him their 2014 second-round draft pick out of Indiana. Four years and not much impact on the field later, the Giants are taking a chance on him, adding a tall receiver to a room that includes Odell Beckham Jr., Sterling Shepard and, for now, Brandon Marshall.

Mauro joins linebacker Kareem Martin in coming to the Giants from Arizona, where new Giants defensive coordinator James Bettcher ran the defense the past three years. Mauro figures to challenge for a starting spot as an end in Bettcher’s three-man defensive line as the front office adds pieces to improve the run defense.

It’s shoot first, ask questions later, Mauro told the Giants website, describing Bettcher’s defense. It is an offensive defense. I like to play that type of way, just getting off the rock, being explosive, just causing mayhem in the backfield. There’s a lot of pieces that really fit that type of style, that type of mold. I think it’s going to be very effective.

Latimer’s most productive season was in 2017, when he caught 19 passes for 287 yards and two touchdowns.

The Giants are interested in overhauling their roster, but they did not turn their backs on all of their own unrestricted free agents. They brought back Wynn on a one-year contract.
Looking to fortify their depth, the Giants also signed Webb to a one-year deal.

You surrender three second-round picks and your sixth-overall pick to the Colts for the third pick of the NFL draft.

It means you are so desperate for one of the quarterbacks, so terrified that you might have been left standing in the game of quarterback musical chairs that you are willing to settle for the third-rated quarterback on your board.

There remains a danger, of course, that another quarterback-desperate team — the Bills at 12 for example, perhaps the Broncos at 5, perhaps the Cardinals at 15 — could leapfrog the Jets for the apple of their eye.

Maccagnan made a smart play signing Teddy Bridgewater to a one-year deal and bringing back Josh McCown, the 39-year-old godsend.

What those moves do, if the Browns choose Sam Darnold with the first-overall pick, is allow Todd Bowles and offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates to let Josh Allen or Josh Rosen or Baker Mayfield redshirt for most or all of his rookie season, à la Pat Mahomes II in Kansas City.

And there will be no mentor better for him than McCown.

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The space Giants can clear if they want Ogletree’s dream signing


Not long after he was traded to the Giants, linebacker Alec Ogletree took to Twitter to try to lure safety Tyrann Mathieu, recently released by the Cardinals:

Come to the big apple bro!!! It’s going to be lit bro I promise. #1 defense.

It has not reached a level of financial desperation for the Giants but they do not have much more to spend in free agency, edging ever closer to owning almost no space at all under the NFL-mandated salary cap of $177.2 million per team. The trade last week for Ogletree and the signing this week of left tackle Nate Solder trimmed a hefty $20 million off the cap, as each player will count $10 million on the 2018 salary cap. The expectation is the Giants will convert Ogletree’s $7 million roster bonus into a signing bonus, which would free up $5.25 million in cap space.

It is not possible for a down-to-the-dollar accounting of where the Giants are as far as cap space, given that contracts for their free-agent additions are being tabulated in real time. The Giants are about $5.3 million under the cap, according to Spotrac, but that does not include the contracts for linebacker Kareem Martin (expected to be in the three-year, $15 million range) and guard Patrick Omameh (three years, $15 million for a cap hit of $2.5 million).

The Giants can gain a decent chunk of cap space if they trim their roster. They would gain $7.5 million in cap space by releasing receiver Brandon Marshall ($5.1 million cap savings) and receiver/special teamer Dwayne Harris ($2.4 million cap savings).

Ostensibly, the former Minnesota Vikings starter will be the backup to incumbent Josh McCown, but the Jets are expected to select a quarterback with the third overall pick in the draft, acquired last Saturday in a trade with the Indianapolis Colts.

On Wednesday, coach Todd Bowles and the Jets’ top decision-makers attended Sam Darnold’s pro day at Southern California, and they will be in Wyoming on Friday for Josh Allen’s pro day. On the way home, they will stop in Oklahoma for a private workout with Baker Mayfield, the NFL Network reported. UCLA’s Josh Rosen also will have a private workout with the team.

Bridgewater’s contract includes only $500,000 in guaranteed money, so his roster spot can’t be considered secure. He’s a wild card, not having played a full game since the 2015 playoffs. The following training camp, he wrecked his knee in practice — a torn ACL, a dislocation and other structural damage. Some feared that his career was over.

Speaking on a conference call, Bridgewater, 25, wouldn’t say if he will participate in offseason practices, which begin in May.

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