Bay Area is in free agent frenzy: Raiders, 49ers sign new players
March 15, 2017
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Every year a month after the Super Bowl, the NFL enters a part of the season called free agency. Free agency is where players who are not under contract with their former team, either released or not resigned, are able to visit other teams to potentially find a new place to play with a new contract.
Unlike the NBA, where if teams are over the salary cap limit they can still sign players for a minimum contract, in the NFL you have to stay under the cap, which is determined every year by the commissioner’s office. Teams are not allowed to go over the cap and have to structure contracts in a way that is best for the team in order to keep their best players.
San Francisco 49ers
With a new head coach, general manager and just over $90 million in salary cap room to spend, the San Francisco 49ers were expected to sign some big name free agents this offseason.
The 49ers started the free agency period on March 6 through 8 when they released wide receiver Torrey Smith, center Marcus Martin and safety Antoine Bethea, which freed up more than $9 million. The organization had 31 free agents from the 2016 roster and as of publication time, resigned only three players in defensive tackle Mike Purcell, linebacker Carl Bradford and wide receiver Jeremy Kerley.
New 49ers general manager John Lynch did exactly what people expected — brought in free agents for meetings and did not let them leave the building without signing a contract. Some notable free agents they have signed so far are former Washington Redskins wide receiver Pierre Garcon for 5 years for $47.5 million, 2016 pro bowl fullback from the Baltimore Ravens Kyle Juszczyk for 4 years at $21 million and journeyman quarterback Brian Hoyer from the Chicago Bears to a 2-year $12 million dollar deal.
After the 49ers signings they still have over $70 million in salary cap space and are heading into the NFL Draft on April 27 in Philadelphia with 10 picks.
As for the Raiders, they are one of the most talented teams in the NFL and have $37 million in cap space.
The Raiders on the other hand only had eight free agents with only former first round pick D.J. Hayden signing with the Detroit Lions on a 1 year deal for $5.25 million. The team did sign former Pro Bowl kick returner and wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson from the Minnesota Vikings on March 13 and signed tackle Marshall Newhouse from the New York Giants.
The Raiders haven’t been as active in free agency this year as previously, as the team has contracts to extend for their younger players such as wide receiver Amari Cooper, quarterback Derek Carr and defensive end slash linebacker Khalil Mack.
One player who has been potentially linked to the Raiders is potential future Hall of Fame running back Adrian Peterson from the Minnesota Vikings, according to the San Jose Mercury News. Peterson has made the Pro Bowl seven times in his career with the last coming in 2015 and was also the Most Valuable Player in the league in 2012.
On the other hand, the Raiders are going into the draft with their seven original draft picks and just more than $35 million in salary cap space.