NFL free agents officially start to sign their new deals on March 14 at 4 p.m. EST. However, all NFL teams had a chance to begin contacting and entering into contract negotiations with all players set to become unrestricted free agents on March 12. As a result, with more than 24 hours to go before teams can sign an NFL free agent, the deals are starting to come in. With some big-name quarterbacks on the market this season, the first three major quarterback names have already found a new team, and the deals are coming in. Here are the top three quarterbacks to reach a new agreement the day before NFL free agency begins, according to ESPN.
Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings
After the Washington Redskins basically held Kirk Cousins captive for two seasons with the franchise tag, the quarterback became an NFL free agent in 2018 for the first time in his professional career. The team realized they needed an upgrade at quarterback, despite Case Keenum leading them to the playoffs.
The Kirk Cousins free agent deal with the Minnesota Vikings is a huge one. In one of the only instances of its type, the Vikings signed him to a three-year deal with $84 million, all of it guaranteed. The rash of injuries to quarterbacks makes the guarantee a risky deal, but at three years, Minnesota seems willing to pull the trigger on it.
Interestingly, the big Kirk Cousins contract might not come with considerable improvement. Cousins numbers are almost the same as Case Keenum’s numbers last year, with the only difference being that Cousins has averaged that over three years and Keenum was a breakout in 2017.
Sam Bradford, Arizona Cardinals
With the Minnesota Vikings going with Kirk Cousins, they likely will let at least two of their three quarterbacks go. Case Keenum is reportedly in talks with the Denver Broncos while Sam Bradford has agreed to a new deal to become Carson Palmer’s replacement with the Arizona Cardinals.
When it comes to pure talent, there aren’t many quarterbacks on Bradford’s level. However, the problem here is injuries, and Bradford played behind some terrible offensive lines, most notably with the St. Louis Rams, where he suffered a pair of severe injuries due to lack of talent around him.
With players surrounding Sam Bradford in Arizona like Larry Fitzgerald and David Johnson, as well as a good offensive line, the Vikings hope to keep their new quarterback upright. The Cardinals are paying Bradford $40 million over two seasons.
Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints
The third quarterback to reach an NFL free agent agreement on Tuesday is no surprise. Drew Brees is staying with the New Orleans Saints. The contract is a two-year deal worth $50 million, and most see this as a good deal for New Orleans, who keeps their on-field leader.