The NFL free agency period is now about a week old, and fans who have had Pro Bowl tickets over the last several seasons should be very familiar with some of the names that have been on the move. The position with the most changes for the top free agents was receiver, as several established stars will be suiting up with different teams in 2013. Mike Wallace was the biggest winner of the FA receivers, inking a five-year, $60 million deal with the Dolphins, who were in desperate need for another playmaker. The most surprising move was Wes Welker, who spurned the Pats to sign with Tom Brady’s longtime nemesis Peyton Manning and the Broncos, while Greg Jennings’ move from the Packers to the Vikings was nearly as shocking.Of course, receivers were not the only Pro Bowl players to cash in this past week. Left tackle Jake Long, coming off two injury-marred seasons with the Miami Dolphins, signed with the St. Louis Rams for four years and $34 million, and the Rams hope that a healthy Long can return to being one of the premier tackles in the game. Safety Dashon Golson, fresh off a Super Bowl appearance with the 49ers, took his talents to the Bucs, teaming with promising Mark Barron to form an intriguing safety duo. Re-signings typically are not that shocking, but Tony Gonzalez’ decision to forgo retirement for one more season with the Falcons was surprising considering how adamant he was that 2012 was his last season.
Despite the flurry of activity during the first week of free agency, there are a number of quality veterans still floating around unsigned. Safety Ed Reed is no lock to return to the Ravens, and has drawn interest from a number of teams, with the Houston Texans in particular looking to bring him into the mix. Pass rushing terror Dwight Freeney was cut by the Colts, and may look to join Manning in Denver as well, especially after the team cut DE Elvis Dumervil. There is sure to be a lot more player movement in the NFL, particularly before the draft in April, so expect more marquee players to change addresses in the coming weeks.
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