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Glauber's look at top NFL free-agent transactions

In this Jan. 10, 2010, file photo, Arizona

In this Jan. 10, 2010, file photo, Arizona Cardinals' Antrel Rolle is seen before the first half of an NFL wild-card playoff football game against the Green Bay Packers in Glendale, Ariz. Rolle signed a five-year, $37 million contract that has $15 million in guaranteed money. Credit: AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin

Well, that didn't take long.

In just a 24-hour span, sandwiched around major defensive back acquisitions by the Jets and Giants, the first wave of NFL free agency was completed with Apolo Ohno-like swiftness.

Between the time the Jets traded for Chargers cornerback Antonio Cromartie and the Giants signed former Cardinals safety Antrel Rolle, virtually all the big-name players in unrestricted free agency were gone.

A look at the 10 most important transactions, and the one team that didn't make free-agent news, for a change.

Julius Peppers to the Bears.

The usually budget-conscious Bears opened the vault for Peppers (six years, $91 million, including $42 million guaranteed). Sure, he was the best pass rusher on the open market. But he also is known to underachieve. When he's on, he's great. He'll have to be to make this deal worthwhile. Otherwise, it'll be perceived as a panic move.

And the Redskins sign . . . no one!

At least no free agent of consequence. This might have been the biggest stunner of all. Team owner Daniel Snyder has stopped at nothing to get the biggest names on the open market - see: Albert Haynesworth's $100-million deal last year. But with new coach Mike Shanahan and new GM Bruce Allen, the Redskins made more news by dumping 10 players than signing a big-name free agent. They would have gone after Peppers, but there was no way the Bears were letting him leave Chicago without agreeing to a deal. Also noticeably quiet on the free-agent front: Jerry Jones of the Cowboys.


Dansby to the Dolphins.

Out goes Joey Porter and in comes Dansby, a classic 3-4 inside linebacker. Porter, once a great pass-rushing outside backer, had outlived his usefulness. Dansby now adds to a defense that figures to be much improved.


Boldin to the Ravens.

The former Cardinals receiver has demanded a raise or a trade for two years, and finally got it. A perfect landing spot in Baltimore, where the Ravens desperately need an upgrade at receiver. He will love catching passes from Joe Flacco. Next big receiver news: whatever happens with Broncos restricted free agent Brandon Marshall, who has drawn interest from the Seahawks.


Cromartie to the Jets.

A classic risk-reward deal here. Cromartie is in the final year of his contract and has been hit with five paternity suits in the last two years, a situation he said now is under control. The talent is there; he had 10 interceptions in 2007 but only five in the last two seasons. All in all, it was worth a shot to pair him opposite All-Pro cornerback Darrelle Revis. Key point: Cromartie said his 10-INT season in 2007 was a function of playing more man-to-man coverage, something the Jets emphasize.


Rolle to the Giants.

With uncertainty surrounding Kenny Phillips' injured knee, the Giants made a wise deal, albeit an expensive one ($37 million over five years). Rolle can be a difference- maker. Big loss for the Cardinals, who got Kerry Rhodes from the Jets as a replacement.


Robinson to the Falcons.

This one makes all the sense in the world. Outstanding cover corner joins a team whose major weakness is pass coverage. Texans lose a good one.

Gary Brackett stays in Indy.

Too often we look at which players leave and not the ones who stay. Case in point: Brackett, who was re-signed by the Colts and remains at the heart of a very good defense. The middle linebacker would have gotten plenty of action on the open market, including a potential look-see from the Giants.


Delhomme released by the Panthers.

He still has $12 million in guaranteed money, but the Panthers opted to part ways with the interception-plagued quarterback. Keeping him would have been throwing good money after bad. Unheralded Matt Moore is the heir apparent.

Chad Clifton stays in Green Bay.

The Redskins were interested in signing the left tackle after Chris Samuels' retirement. But Green Bay wisely re-signed him to a three-year, $20-million deal.


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