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Day Two Of Free Agency Slows Down But Still Brings Surprises

Day two of free agency is typically slower than day one is, but that didn’t stop certain teams from making big moves to improve for 2017

On the first day, teams go after players they have set their sights on since the season ended. Once they sign those players, they usually become more selective or they concentrate on their own players and their contracts. That was the case this year. There are some notable names still available, even after a little bit of action on Friday.

The defending Super Bowl champs may not be doing a lot of shopping in the free agency pool (they did sign CB Stephon Gilmore), but that doesn’t mean they aren’t making headlines. Once again, the New England Patriots showed that they are not a franchise that’s going to rest on its laurels. The Patriots bolstered their wide receiver depth by acquiring Brandin Cooks from the New Orleans Saints in a trade. The Patriots sent their first and third round picks to the Saints in exchange for Cooks and a fourth round pick. Cooks brings speed and big play ability to New England. He’s averaged over 80 receptions and 1,100 yards the last two seasons. Cooks also brings youth to the Patriots at a position where they need it. Both Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola will be 31 years old this year. New England wasn’t done there, as they also sent their second round pick to the Carolina Panthers to acquire pass rusher Kony Ealy.

One of the bigger names to find a new home on Friday was wide receiver Terrelle Pryor, as he signed a contract with the Washington Redskins. Make no mistake, after losing DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon on Thursday, this was a great and needed move by the Redskins. Pryor, however, only signed a one year deal for $8 million, and all of it is not guaranteed. After the big money that was given to similar wide receivers across the league on Thursday, this has to be looked at as a disappointing deal for Pryor.

The long NFL journey for 37-year-old Julius Peppers is leading back to where he started. Peppers was the second overall pick of the Panthers in 2002 and played eight seasons there, before splitting time the last six seasons with the Chicago Bears and the Green Bay Packers. The Panthers will add Peppers to their deep and talented defensive line depth chart. Even after losing Ealy, the Panthers will be every bit as good up front as they were in 2016, when they finished second in the league with 47 sacks.

Green Bay is usually not an active player in free agency, but the Packers made a signing on Friday that should make Aaron Rodgers happy. After negotiations broke down between the Packers and tight end Jared Cook, they decided to go a different direction and sign the top tight end available, Martellus Bennett. Cook was an effective tight end in the Green Bay offense, but he struggled staying healthy, and Bennett has proven to be a durable player over his career.

The Cleveland Browns announced they were releasing Robert Griffin III on Friday. Just four years removed from being the NFL’s Offensive Rookie of the Year, Griffin’s career has hit a turning point. After suffering a shoulder injury last season, he started only five games, and was ineffective leading the Browns’ offense. Surely another team will take a chance on Griffin, but a chance to be a starting quarterback this season is unlikely.

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