What I’m Hearing: USA TODAY Sports’ Mike Jones on the teams looking to make big moves in NFL free agency and that have the cap space to do it.
USA TODAY Sports
The start of NFL free agency is almost here.
While the league year doesn’t officially begin until Wednesday at 4 p.m. ET, players with expiring contracts can begin discussing contracts with teams other than their current one starting at noon on Monday. And the market is already starting to take shape.
Stay with USA TODAY Sports to get the latest news and analysis on the day’s moves.
Signing: Former Buccaneers LB Kwon Alexander is set to join the 49ers on a four-year, $54 million contract, according to Pro Football Talk.
Analysis: One year after grabbing CB Richard Sherman as he came off a torn Achilles, San Francisco is betting big on another player who recently suffered a season-ending injury, as Alexander sustained a torn anterior cruciate ligament in October. Alexander is still only 24 and could complement with second-year linebacker Fred Warner, though this is quite a pricey deal for a player who has struggled with missed tackles. – Michael Middlehurst-Schwartz
Moving on: WR DeSean Jackson said his farewell to the Buccaneers in an Instagram post.
Analysis: If the Buccaneers are cutting or trading Jackson, the move would save the team $10 million in salary cap space. Though he’s 32, Jackson should still command significant interest after leading the NFL in yards per catch in 2018 at 18.9. Tampa Bay, meanwhile, can move on with Mike Evans and Chris Godwin as its top two targets at receiver. – Michael Middlehurst-Schwartz
Signing: Former Texans CB Kevin Johnson is expected to sign with the Bills, according to multiple reports.
Analysis: A former first-round pick, Johnson struggled to stay healthy and played in just 20 games the last three years. He has just one career interception, but he could help out a secondary that doesn’t have much at cornerback beyond Tre’Davious White. – Michael Middlehurst-Schwart
Signing: Former Patriots OT Trent Brown is set to agree to a four-year, $66 million contract with the Raiders (that also includes $36.75 million guaranteed), according to ESPN.
Analysis: Just one year after he was cast off by the San Francisco 49ers, Brown is now set to become the NFL’s highest-paid offensive tackle. The move will force second-year offensive tackle Kolton Miller to the right side, which might be the better fit for him after his struggles in pass protection as a rookie. For New England, Isaiah Wynn should slide into the starting role at left tackle after missing last season with a torn Achilles. – Michael Middlehurst-Schwartz
Signing: Former Jaguars DT Malik Jackson is set to join the Eagles on a three-year, $30 million deal, according to ESPN.
Analysis: Philadelphia had an opening at defensive tackle next to Fletcher Cox with Haloti Ngata set to hit free agency and Timmy Jernigan’s option not exercised, and Jackson could slide into a starting role nicely. Jackson had just 3 1/2 sacks last year, but he’s only one year removed from a Pro Bowl campaign and could see a resurgence working next to Cox in Jim Schwartz’s attacking scheme. He should see plenty of work, as Philadelphia also moved on from defensive end Michael Bennett, who would often crash inside. The move also could reshape the draft outlook in the first round for the Eagles, as they had been tied to several interior lineman at No. 25. – Michael Middlehurst-Schwartz