Recapping Biggest Moves in Free Agency

Retired NFL Head Coach Bruce Arians
Retired NFL Head Coach Bruce Arians
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

NFL Offseason -  


"My goal is to play 10 or 12 more years and hopefully win three, four more Super Bowls, that's the plan. That's the mindset. That's why I came here, to finish my career here and hopefully finish on top as a champion. And do it multiple times.''

—Denver Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson set an extremely high bar for himself during his opening introductory conference with his new team. Wilson waived his no-trade clause to confirm a trade to Denver, who sent two first-round picks, two second-round picks, and a fifth-rounder to Seattle along with quarterback Drew Lock, tight end Noah Fant, and defensive end Shelby Harris. (ESPN)

"Russell has been a tremendous player, leader, and member of our organization since the day we drafted him in the third round of 2012. His tireless work ethic has helped make him one of the most successful quarterbacks in NFL history and we thank him for his many contributions on the field and in the community. When it became evident that Russell was interested in playing elsewhere, we used that opportunity to explore the market, allowing us to acquire three quality players, tremendous draft capital, and create salary cap flexibility. We have a clear vision about the direction of this team, and this is an exciting time for our organization."

—Seattle Seahawks general manager John Schneider released a statement alongside head coach Pete Carroll and chair of the Seahawks Jody Allen during Wilson's inaugural press conference with Denver. The three Seahawks leaders also kept a unified front by all mentioning that Wilson wanted to be traded. (Seattle Seahawks via Twitter)

"Things change. There was a long period in there working it. I didn't have the intention of going crazy, but we looked at the opportunity. Once we got a good look at it, there was reason. We got a really good deal, so we went ahead and made it. It took a long time to get to that, though. We had a long process where I didn't think we would do it. It was such a complicated trade to make."

—Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll discussing the process of trading Wilson after he claimed the team had "no intention" of making a trade earlier in the month. (ProFootballTalk)

"We're so excited. Our room, an offense, team, we've had a lot of guys come in and contribute and every step that we've had, it's been appreciated. But to be able to have Russ come in and, having the success that he's had, having the knowledge that he has, for us as young guys, all the young talent that we have, that's what we need. We need that guy that's gonna come in and be, you know, him, who he is, what he already brings to the table. We're excited."

—Denver Broncos wide receiver Courtland Sutton shares his excitement about Denver's offensive upside with Wilson now in the fold. (

"Let's chill on the Drew Lock slander"

—Meanwhile, back in the Seahawks locker room, Seattle wide receiver DK Metcalf stands up for new quarterback Drew Lock amid an online beating. (DK Metcalf via Twitter)

"He thought he could get away from me, leaving [the NFC West], but I'm right here with him again. So, that's going to be fun, getting after him a little bit."

—After moving from the Arizona Cardinals to the Las Vegas Raiders, edge rusher Chandler Jones is excited to getting right back to sacking Wilson twice a season. (ESPN)


"These past two months I've realized my place is still on the field and not in the stands. That time will come. But it's not now. I love my teammates, and I love my supportive family. They make it all possible. I'm coming back for my 23rd season in Tampa. Unfinished business LFG"

—After 40 days officially in retirement, Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady announces he is coming back to play with Tampa Bay. (Tom Brady via Twitter)

"We had started to uncover as many stones as we possibly could. We would've turned over every stone. … [General manager] Jason [Licht] did his calls. We were in the midst of all that stuff when Tom decided to come back and thank God we could say, 'No thanks, brother. We're out of it.'"

—Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians discusses the contingency plans Tampa Bay was exploring prior to Brady's return. (ProFootballTalk)

"I wrote this long, you know, two-page [letter] and mailed it to him and sent him a bottle of wine. He [unretired], I want the letter back. He got to read all these nice things—I want it back. I want the bottle of wine back, too."

—Longtime rival Peyton Manning officially demands that the retirement letter he wrote to Brady be un-read and returned to sender. (Darren Rovell, Action Network via Twitter)

"THANK YOU! Throw that last touchdown on someone else."

—Los Angeles Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey, who allowed Brady's last career touchdown prior to his initial retirement, is thankful to see Brady back in the game. (Jalen Ramsey via Twitter)

"I told y'all … The game of football will have to walk away from him because he doesn't have the power to do so on his own."

—Tennessee Titans wide receiver A.J. Brown perfectly encapsulates what we've all thought about Brady thus far. (A.J. Brown via Twitter)


"[Derek Carr] said 'I will buy him a car if he comes and plays with me. Whatever I gotta do.' So, I've been feeling really Ferrari-ish lately. I've been looking at the F12 Superfast, it's really, really nice. If I want to downplay, maybe a Rolls Royce Cullinan. I don't know, something a little bit more modest."

—After the Las Vegas Raiders traded their 2022 first- and second-round picks for Green Bay Packers wide receiver Davante Adams and signed him to a new five-year, $141.3-million deal, Adams reminded Raiders quarterback Derek Carr that he'll also have a new car coming his way as well. (Las Vegas Raiders via Twitter)

"Sometimes you got to make some tough decisions. Certainly appreciate everything Davante brought to our team. I mean, he is the best receiver in the National Football League, so that was a tough one for me personally and for our organization."

—Green Bay Packers head coach Mike LaFleur reflects on trading Adams away. The Packers reportedly offered more money than the Raiders to extend Adams, but Adams chose to look elsewhere. (

"Oh so I'm not punting at all next year huh? Let's gooooooo"

—Raiders punter A.J. Cole's instant reaction to the Adams trade doubled as him finding out his 2022 workload got a whole lot lighter. (AJ Cole via Twitter)


"Just like they said in the Rams, man. Eff them picks, man. Eff them picks at the end of the day."

—Newly-acquired Miami Dolphins wide receiver Tyreek Hill gave a succinct summary of how he ended up in Miami after the team sent a total of five picks—including 2022 first- and second-rounders—to the Kansas City Chiefs. (NFL via Instagram)

"The 49ers, the last four or five years, have led the league in YAC. The reason is because we were addicted to getting our skill position players that are good with running the ball."

—Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel talks about his old roster in San Francisco and gave us a preview of the new-look Dolphins offense and how Hill could fit in nicely. (CBS Sports)

"Me restructuring my contract just to have Tyreek Hill burn me everyday in practice [clown emojis]"

—Dolphins cornerback Byron Jones helped facilitate his own demise by converting $13.3 million of his base salary into a signing bonus so Miami could sign Jones' newest practice nightmare to a four-year, $120-million deal. (Byron Jones via Twitter)

"What's up Chiefs Kingdom!!"

"My bad y'all, I'll hit y'all back later"

—New Kansas City Chiefs safety Deon Bush picked a bad time to introduce himself to his new fanbase. At least he's quick at taking a hint. (My SportsUpdate via Twitter)


"Succession has always been huge for me. With the organization in probably the best shape it's been in its history, with Tom Brady coming back … I'd rather see Todd [Bowles] in position to be successful and not have to take some [crappy] job. I'm probably retiring next year anyway, in February. So, I control the narrative right now. I don't control it next February because [if] Brady gets hurt, we go 10-7, and it's an open interview for the job … I got 31 [coaches and their] families that depend on me. My wife is big on not letting all those families down."

—Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians announced his retirement on March 30, choosing Buccaneers defensive coordinator Todd Bowles to fill in as head coach. Arians emphasized in his retirement how important giving Bowles a good opportunity to succeed was for him. (Jon Ledyard, Pewter Report via Twitter)

"Mostly, I'd thank the coaches. I mean, I really didn't do s**t. I just led the ship but you guys did it all."

—Arians to his coaching staff during his retirement press conference.

"A number of people have already asked, 'Why are you stepping away from a chance to go to the Hall of Fame? And win another Super Bowl?' Because I don't give a s**t about the Hall of Fame. Succession is way more important to me. This has been my dream for a long time. Guys that know me, they knew I wanted one of my guys to take over. That's more important to me than anything. And [to] have a place where I can go and be welcomed back.

"Obviously, I have a job now, and I kind of love—the title's pretty good. We'll figure out what the hell it means soon, but it's pretty damn good."

—Arians will be promoted to Senior Football Consultant within the Tampa Bay front office and inducted to the Buccaneers' Ring of Honor this upcoming season.

"We have a great relationship. All the players in here, there are a few in here, every one of them's gotten cussed out. Including him. That's just a part of me, you know? We've got a great relationship. I mean, as soon as he retired I think we text[ed] every week. 'Where you at?' 'What are you doing?' When you gonna play golf?' 'When you getting back down this way?' People gotta write s**t. It couldn't be further from the truth."

—After rumors had swirled about a souring between Arians and Tom Brady, Arians quickly put that notion to rest. Brady attended Arians' press conference.

"One more thing. It's been great working with you guys in the press. You've been fantastic, all over the country, alright? Florio, you can write what you want. It's OK."

—Arians returned to the mic after concluding his portion of the press conference to give a quick thank you to the media. The final comment comes at the expense of ProFootballTalk's Mike Florio, who had predicted Brady would force his way to another team if he un-retired and that Brady's return was contingent on Arians' exit. (Tampa Bay Buccaneers via YouTube)


[Chandler Jones] hear me out man! Last year you had 5 sacks against Tennessee! We play them twice a year! So if you got 5 sacks in one game imagine facing them twice a year! Boy that would be amazing!"

—Indianapolis Colts linebacker Darius Leonard gave his sales pitch to then-free-agent edge rusher Chandler Jones, promising Jones 10 sacks in two games every year if he signed with Indy. (Darius Leonard via Twitter)

"So [Casey Hayward] and [Stephon Gilmore] still FA. Welp I got some extra money from [Devin McCourty's] bank account"

—New England Patriots pass rusher Matthew Judon has picked up an extra role as head recruiter amidst a reshuffling of the Patriots' front office. Judon has relentlessly recruited any and all free agents, from the aforementioned Casey Hayward and Stephon Gilmore to Odell Beckham Jr. and Bobby Wagner. (Matthew Judon via Twitter)

"I got a bag of hot Cheetos or the regular ones and a dub for whoever sign to the Patriots."

—While his recruiting fervor still continues, Judon's offer price eventually went down slightly. (Matthew Judon via Twitter)

"All current NFL free agents we are looking to win and build and get paid get at us"

—Carolina Panthers wide receiver Robby Anderson may be a little late to the party, sending this message out well after the first wave of free agency has subsided, but the sentiment remains. (Robby Anderson via Twitter)


"I bet $1500 total I don't have a gambling problem"

"I couldn't even watch football at that point"

"Just gone be more healthy when I come back"

"I know I was wrong But I'm getting 1 year lol"

—Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Calvin Ridley tweeted through it after news broke that he would be suspended indefinitely for gambling on NFL games while on personal leave from the Falcons. Ridley had placed a number of long-shot parlays, including one that involved the Falcons beating the Jacksonville Jaguars. (Calvin Ridley via Twitter)


"I saw what makes Aaron Donald Aaron Donald, and it was hard to walk away from that. The only way you can walk away from that is to walk into something special. And what they're doing here is extremely special. [The Bills are] gonna win a Super Bowl with or without me. They've built an amazing team." (ESPN)

"It came to the very end. (Rams) coach (Sean) McVay, they did everything that they possibly could. It's unfortunate that I'm not a Los Angeles Ram, but I'm a Buffalo Bill. I'm excited to be here. I'm excited to go chase multiple Super Bowls with these guys. It's an honor and a privilege to be here." (

—Buffalo Bills linebacker Von Miller admits he was close to re-signing with the Los Angeles Rams, but the Bills' upside (and a six-year, $120-million contract) was enough to sway him to a new team.


"To be quite honest with you, I'm a sudden death advocate. I'm a traditionalist. I don't fear sudden death. I never have."

"I just think (over) 60 minutes, everybody has had a fair opportunity to win the game. When you're talking about changes as it pertains to competitive fairness, I speak to the first 60 minutes that we all had. So, win the game."

—Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin reflects on the new overtime rules for playoff games, which now guarantees both teams get a possession. (Pittsburgh Steelers via YouTube)


"I'm very confident in my potential and my ability. I feel like I have so much more left in the tank to be able to show and be able to keep proving, not only to others but to myself that I'm the player I know I am."

"I like pressure. To a 'T,' it motivates me. But that stuff is always going to be there, especially with free agency. ... Anybody who gets signed during this period, there's always going to be somebody that's going to say they're overpaid. Some of it is nonsense and you can use it as motivation, but my motivation is just to be the best player that I can be and reach all the goals and aspirations that I want to reach."

—Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Christian Kirk believes that the pressure and conversation surrounding his four-year, $72-million signing is the perfect motivation for him headed into next season. (Associated Press)


"They asked me to take a pay cut. The first one was fine. Then they asked me to take another one. The money changed after they signed Carson Wentz. I'll just take my chances in free agency."

—Former Washington Commanders safety Landon Collins asked for his release from the team after the Commanders asked him to take a second pay cut to facilitate the Carson Wentz trade. (CBS Sports)


"Who's this 99 guy on the Rams? I'm hearing he might be a problem for us."

—In another expose on the already-notorious Urban Meyer head coaching tenure, it was found that the former Jacksonville Jaguars head coach had very little knowledge of the NFL after making the leap from the college level. Despite conducting a "six-month deep dive" on the NFL that included interviews with former Florida and Ohio State players as well as a study of the salary cap, Meyer was apparently unfamiliar with star players around the league like Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald, Seahawks safety Jamal Adams, and San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Deebo Samuel. (The Athletic)


"I think that the most important thing guys would remember me for would be that they believe in themselves and that I believe in them and that nothing—absolutely nothing—is not attainable if they chase it and they want it and they believe in it enough."

—Los Angeles Rams tackle Andrew Whitworth (Los Angeles Rams via Twitter)


"The Falcons have signed RB Damien Harris to a one-year deal, per his agent [Ian Greengross]"

—In a since-deleted tweet, FOX Sports NFL posted a graphic claiming that current New England Patriots running back Damien Harris had just signed a deal with the Atlanta Falcon.

"Um, yeah, my client is Damien WILLIAMS. You know, the one who ran to 'immortality' on your network during Super Bowl LIV."

—Agent Ian Greengross, who was tagged in the tweet, corrected FOX Sports by informing them it was actually former Kansas City Chiefs running back Damien Williams who signed with the Falcons. In fact, Damien Harris is not even a free agent. (Ian Greengross via Twitter)


"Your new bodyguard is in town, no one's touching you."

—New Cincinnati Bengals tackle La'el Collins said that this was the first thing he told Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow after signing with the team. Collins joins guards Alex Cappa and Ted Karras in Cincinnati's attempt to beef up its protection around Burrow, who took the third-most sacks in NFL history last year. (Marisa Contipelli, Cincinnati Bengals via Twitter)


"As a freshman, I wasn't good enough to make the team. I had to take accountability and stop pointing the finger at everybody else. I've got to be better, and once I did that and used it as self-motivation and learned how to build that drive up in myself and not need anybody else to do it, I took that and ran with it. I've been self-motivated ever since and I think it's paid off for me."

—Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling (Adam Schefter, ESPN via Twitter)



—Without context, it may be hard to tell that this video is announcing center Jason Kelce's return to Philadelphia Eagles. In order to sway Kelce from retiring, Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni sent a keg to his house.


9 comments, Last at 04 Apr 2022, 9:26am

#1 by BillHouston // Apr 01, 2022 - 4:24pm

Nice pic of Tanier for this article!  Was this at the combine?

Points: 0

#2 by Aaron Brooks G… // Apr 01, 2022 - 5:03pm


Buffalo, NY does in fact have beaches.

Points: 0

#3 by Aaron Brooks G… // Apr 01, 2022 - 5:05pm

Meyer was apparently unfamiliar with star players around the league like Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald, Seahawks safety Jamal Adams, and San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Deebo Samuel.

While the first is unforgivable, FO would maintain Jamal Adams is in fact not a star, and Deebo wasn't a star until about halfway through this season.

Points: 0

#4 by Theo // Apr 03, 2022 - 1:29pm

Am I the only one who thinks that comment was probably a joke? I can imagine saying this in a sarcastic way "ok guys, we're playing the Rams. Who's this 99 guy?" as to jokingly refer to him. Then some reporter hears the story and makes it a clickbait article. Impossible scenario, I know.

I can not imagine that Meyer really didn't have a clue who Aaron Donald was. 

It was said "according to sources" which might as well mean "I pulled it right from my arse". 

Does the link to the Atlantic shine a clearer light on this? Bc it seems to be behind a paywall.


Points: 0

#8 by Led // Apr 04, 2022 - 9:24am

I can't imagine anybody has a lower opinion of Meyer than me, and I'm pretty sure that was an intentionally ironic comment.

Points: 0

#5 by IlluminatusUIUC // Apr 03, 2022 - 1:42pm

"Let's chill on the Drew Lock slander"

—Meanwhile, back in the Seahawks locker room, Seattle wide receiver DK Metcalf stands up for new quarterback Drew Lock amid an online beating. (DK Metcalf via Twitter)

Truth is a defense against a claim of slander. Drew Lock sucks.

Points: 0

#6 by young curmudgeon // Apr 03, 2022 - 3:38pm

“Fool me Wentz, shame on you” is a great headline. 

Points: 0

#7 by Pat // Apr 03, 2022 - 11:02pm

Russell Wilson is very likely to find out that not everyone is Tom Brady. I wouldn't be surprised if he doesn't make it to 40 as a high-end QB, much less 43-45.

Points: 0

#9 by Led // Apr 04, 2022 - 9:26am

Bruce Arians seems like a very cool, very interesting guy.  Good luck to Todd Bowles, whenever Brady really retires.  

Points: 0

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