On March 15th, the NFL’s legal tampering period began, wherein teams could begin to come to agreements with unrestricted free agents. With the salary cap down to $182.5 million due to lost revenue that COVID-19 caused, the free agency market is as competitive as it’s ever been. We’ve already seen a handful of former Badgers sign deals:
- James White, RB: White signed a one-year deal on Wednesday to remain with the Patriots for an eighth season. The deal is worth $2.5 million and is fully guaranteed. White has had a successful seven-year run in New England that includes his legendary performance (14 catches, 139 total yards, three TDs) in Super Bowl LI.
James White has reportedly agreed to a 1-year deal with the Patriots, and no running back has been more productive as a receiver than White since his rookie season in 2014. pic.twitter.com/aod678PHU3— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) March 24, 2021
- Alex Erickson, WR: Erickson is headed to Houston on a one-year deal. The former walk-on showed flashes at wide receiver when given snaps (529 receiving yards in 2019) in Cincinnati, but there isn’t much of a proven track record. Erickson will likely compete for playing time as a return man in Houston.
Former Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Alex Erickson joins Texans on a one-year contract, according to league source. Strong special-teams contributor known for his work ethic— Aaron Wilson (@AaronWilson_NFL) March 19, 2021
- Kevin Zeitler, OG: Zeitler signed a three-year, $22 million dollar contract with the Baltimore Ravens that includes $16 million fully guaranteed. The nine-year veteran was released by the Giants earlier in the offseason after starting all 16 games at right guard for the G-Men last season.
Kevin Zeitler tells @GlennClarkRadio that signing with the Ravens "was actually a pretty tough call. A lot of teams came in, and they were all duking it out last night. But me and my wife, after we sat down and really talked about it, we thought Baltimore was the right fit."— Jonas Shaffer (@jonas_shaffer) March 15, 2021
- Vince Biegel, LB: Biegel resigned with the Dolphins on a one-year deal. After a promising 2019 season (10 starts, 59 tackles, 7 TFL) in Miami, Biegel tore his Achilles in August and was forced to miss all of last year. Assuming Biegel returns to the field this fall, we will see two Badgers (along with Andrew Van Ginkel) wreaking havoc in Miami.
The #Dolphins are close to finalizing a one-year deal with LB Vince Biegel, according to league sources.— Josh Tolentino (@JCTSports) March 15, 2021
Biegel led Miami in quarterback hits with 13 in 2019, but tore his Achilles during camp in August. Team is expecting Biegel to make full recovery and contribute in '21.
- Rick Wagner, OT: Wagner was released by the Packers in February after starting 11 games, including both playoff games, this past season. The eight-year veteran battled a knee injury late in the year and could be considering retirement. If Wagner does decide to come back for a ninth season, he’d be a great backup tackle option for any team needing depth up front.
- Corey Clement, RB: Clement becomes an unrestricted free agent after a four-year run in Philadelphia that included a clutch touchdown catch in Super Bowl LII. At this point in his career, Clement would almost solely be a special teams contributor if a team were to sign him.
- Dare Ogunbowale, RB: Ogunbowale appeared in 14 games for the Jaguars last season, primarily on special teams. The former walk-on started at running back the final two weeks of the season, rushing for 50+ yards in each game and averaging 4.32 yards per carry. Ogunbowale will be a valuable special teams player who can also contribute as a third-down back for any team that signs him.
- Jack Cichy, LB: After winning a Super Bowl ring with the Bucs, Cichy will become an unrestricted free agent on Wednesday. The former walk-on has struggled to stay healthy in his career, and a broken arm he suffered in the Bucs’ playoff win over the Saints ended his season prematurely. Cichy is a great special teams player but his inability to stay on the field hurts his overall value.
- Troy Fumagalli, TE: The Broncos did not tender Fumagalli’s contract this offseason, making him an unrestricted free agent. Fumagalli played in 19 games for Denver over the past two seasons and hauled in 14 catches for 118 yards and two touchdowns.
- Ryan Groy, OG: Groy is an unrestricted free agent after spending the past two seasons with the Chargers. The seven-year veteran started three games at guard last season, before being placed on the reserve/COVID list. Groy’s ability to play both guard and center could be enticing for a team that needs some depth on the interior of their offensive line.
- Natrell Jamerson, DB: Jamerson became an unrestricted free agent in February after being released by the Panthers. He played in just four games last season and spent most of the year on Carolina’s practice squad.
We will update this post as more players sign.