NFL free agency tracker: Dolphins keep WR Kenny Stills
NFL free agency is almost here, but the news on possible destinations for top free agents is already flying as the league’s official tampering period has started.
Stay here throughout free agency for all the latest.
Dolphins keeping WR Stills
The Miami Dolphins are keeping wide receiver Kenny Stills on a four-year deal worth $32 million, according to multiple reports.
Quick take: Stills might have been a hot target for other teams looking for a deep threat, and he should remain an important part of Adam Gase’s offense. He fits well with Jarvis Landry and Devante Parker, giving Ryan Tannehill a formidable receiving corps for the near future.
Report: 49ers to land LB Malcolm Smith
Oakland Raiders linebacker Malcolm Smith is expected to make a jump to the other Bay Area team by joining the San Francisco 49ers at the start of free agency, according to NFL Network.
Quick take: San Francisco badly needs reinforcements on a defense that ranked last in the NFL in 2016. New defensive coordinator Robert Saleh’s 4-3 scheme demands speed from its linebackers, and the Super Bowl XLVIII MVP fits that bill. So far, new general manager John Lynch and coach Kyle Shanahan appear to be favoring low-cost upgrades rather than splashy signings.
Report: Patriots land TE Allen in trade
The New England Patriots acquired tight end Dwayne Allen in a trade with the Indianapolis Colts, according to ESPN.
Quick take: Allen’s arrival likely spells the end of impending free agent Martellus Bennett’s time in New England, as he gives the Patriots another weapon to pair with Rob Gronkowski. Jack Doyle now should have an even bigger role in Indianapolis after re-signing with the team, but the Colts also could look to a deep tight end draft class for a No. 2 threat at the position.
Report: Hoyer to 49ers
Brian Hoyer agreed to a deal with the San Francisco 49ers, according to NFL Network.
Quick take: Hoyer could be the ideal bridge quarterback for new coach Kyle Shanahan, who coached the veteran in 2014 as offensive coordinator of the Cleveland Browns. He can hold down a starting position until the team is ready to turn to a younger option, and Shanahan and new general manager John Lynch can be more discerning about when and how they invest long-term for the position. This could also be a blow to the Jets, who likely have dwindling options for a veteran quarterback.
Bills keeping Taylor
The Buffalo Bills announced Wednesday they had agreed to a restructured deal with quarterback Tyrod Taylor.
Quick take: The quarterback market is taking shape, as one fewer team has a need behind center and one fewer established veteran will be available on the open market. For the Bills, this offers the path of least resistance. Picking up Taylor’s massive option (the QB would have earned $27.5 million in 2017) was likely too off-putting, but starting from scratch with a rookie or bridge quarterback would have made new coach Sean McDermott’s job that much more imposing.
Report: Church to Jags
Safety Barry Church is leaving the Dallas Cowboys to sign a four-year, $22 million deal with the Jacksonville Jaguars, according to NFL Network.
Quick take: Church will replace Johnathan Cyprien on a talented defense that made great strides in 2016. It’s a blow for the Cowboys, who could also lose both of their starting cornerbacks in free agency.
Reports: Cowboys to release Tony Romo
The Dallas Cowboys are expected to release quarterback Tony Romo on Thursday, according to multiple reports.
Quick take: Now the fun begins. The Denver Broncos were prepared to pursue the veteran quarterback upon his release, according to a report from KUSA’s Mike Klis. Denver would obviously make a sensible landing spot, but the Houston Texans and other established playoff-caliber teams could also be a fit.
Ravens release LB Dumervil
The Balitmore Ravens are releasing five-time Pro Bowl linebacker Elvis Dumervil, according to NFL Network. Dumervil confirmed
Quick take: The Ravens have needed to get younger on defense for some time, and Dumervil is the latest to go. The 33-year-old played in just eight games last season and had three sacks for the team in 2016. He could catch on with a team looking for a pass rushing specialist. The Ravens, meanwhile, could be looking to address the position in the draft, especially with Terrell Suggs turning 35 next season.
Cardinals pay up for LB
The Arizona Cardinals are finalizing a “large” five-year contract for outside linebacker Chandler Jones, according to NFL Network.
Quick take: Having Jones play on a long-term deal rather than…