The NFL's legal tampering window opened up on Saturday. For the next three days, teams are free to negotiate with impending free agents from other teams, but cannot actually make a deal until the official free agent period starts on March 11.
With no signings imminent, there isn't much going on during this period other than idle talk, but players already released are free to sign deals. The Jacksonville Jaguars took advantage of that, signing defensive lineman Red Bryant to a four-year contract. Ian Rapoport says the deal is worth $17 million.
Bryant spent the first six seasons of his career with the Seattle Seahawks. He started as a defensive tackle, but Pete Carroll moved him to end after being hired in 2010. The Seahawks released him on Feb. 28, saving $5.5 million in cap space. Bryant wanted to find a team before the free agency starts on Tuesday, and he'll be reunited with old coach Gus Bradley.
Bryant is about to turn 30, but he remains a stout run defender and would be a much-needed boost to the talent-starved Jaguars. Alfie Crow of Big Cat Country expects him to play a rotational role and doesn't believe Tyson Alualu's roster spot is in jeopardy:
Rather than saving $1 million, it would likely better serve the Jaguars to let the 26-year old defensive lineman finish out his rookie contract and rotate with Bryant on the field, allowing both to stay more fresh on game day. Alualu played the third most overall snaps on the defensive line last season and it wasn't really until later on in the year that he began to get a breather in games. Coincidentally, Alualu had a better second half of the season than he did early on.
While Bryant and Alualu are defensive ends, neither is going to bring much of a pass rush nor would they be expected to in the current defensive scheme.
Here are some more news and rumors that took place on Saturday.
Vikings, Jets interested in Alterraun Verner
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SB Nation NFL
Verner is one of the top cornerbacks on the market and is expected to get a big paycheck after a career year in 2013. Still only 25 years old, he's not going to come cheap, but there are a couple of teams looking to sign him.
The Minnesota Vikings have shown interest in Verner, according to ESPN 1500. The move makes logical sense, given Verner's ties with defensive backs coach Jerry Gray. Gray was the Titans' defensive coordinator for three years before going to Minnesota.
The New York Jets are another team that's expressed interest in pursuing Verner. Despite fielding a solid defense last year, their cornerback position is in flux. Antonio Cromartie regressed sharply and could be a cap casualty, while Dee Milliner had major rookie struggles. Adding Verner would be an instant upgrade and allow the Jets to explore other positions in the draft.
Hakeem Nicks open to one-year deal
Nicks was hoping to land a big payday in his contract year, but his 2013 production left more questions than answers. He failed to score a single touchdown and nagging leg injuries remain a concern. He has little chance of seeing the multi-year deal he was hoping for at the start of the season.
Nicks appears to see the writing on the wall, as ESPN's Chris Mortensen reports he's willing to accept a one-year deal to prove his last two disappointing seasons were aberrations. Despite the injury red flags, he was medically cleared by his doctor and is out to prove that he can return to his top form of 2010-11.
The Bengals moved quickly to retain guard Mike Pollak, signing him to a three-year deal worth $5 million. Pollak missed half of the season with a shoulder injury, but was effective on his return, grading out No. 29 on Pro Football Focus. He's expected to compete with Kevin Zeitler and Clint Bolling for a starting job at either guard position.
The Bengals are looking to lock up many of their key players this offseason, including Vontaze Burfict, A.J. Green and Andy Dalton. All three are entering the final year of their rookie deals, with Burfict set to become a restricted free agent due to going undrafted.