53° Good Morning
53° Good Morning

Free agent frenzy, Day 1

Buffalo Bills free safety Jairus Byrd flexes his

Buffalo Bills free safety Jairus Byrd flexes his muscles during an AFC photo session for the Pro Bowl at a resort in Kapolei, Hawaii on Jan. 25, 2013. Credit: AP

We're just a little over six hours - six hours! - into the free agency signing period, and already there have been so many deals and so much money being spent, it's ridonkulous. 

And we haven't even gotten a final resolution to the Darrelle Revis situation in Tampa, so there's plenty more drama - and cash - to come in the next day or two. 

For now, here are the highlights from Day 1:

* Bills free agent safety Jairus Byrd was linked to any number of teams, but not the one he eventually landed with: the Saints. New Orleans swooped in and got the Pro Bowl safety for a whopping $54 million over six years, per multiple reports. Byrd will step in for Malcolm Jenkins, who signed with the Eagles earlier in the day. 

* The Bucs agreed to terms with Titans cornerback Alterraun Verner, who had been considered the best corner on the open market. It's a major coup for first-year coach Lovie Smith, who earlier in the day made it officials with Michael Johnson, the former Bengals' pass rushing defensive end. It also means a certain end for Darrelle Revis in Tampa. The Bucs have been trying to peddle Revis, and bringing in Verner seals the former Jets' corner's fate in Tampa. If they don't trade him by 4 p.m. tomorrow, when Revis is due a $1.5 million roster bonus, the Bucs will release him. And that's when a likely free agent bidding war will commence for Revis. We'll see if the Jets get into the mix and bring back their star cornerback less than a year after trading him for first- and fourth-round picks. 

* The Cowboys pulled off a stunner by releasing DeMarcus Ware, who has been one of the NFL's top pass rushers until injuries slowed him the past two seasons. It looks as if the Broncos are in the lead for his services, although multiple teams have expressed interest in the 31-year-old Ware. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said he ws open to bringing Ware back, but it's more likely that Ware moves on. 

* Vikings free agent running back Toby Gerhardt signed a three-year deal in Jacksonville, which could be a precursor to veteran Maurice Jones-Drew's departure. The Jets have been linked to Jones-Drew, so that could be good news for Rex Ryan. 

* The Saints appeared ready to set running back Darren Sproles free, but there was so much interst in the speedy running back that New Orleans has decided to trade him instead. 

* Rams free agent Rodger Saffold took full advantage of the Raiders' massive amount of cap space by signing a whopping $42.5 million contract over five years. That's more than the $34 million deal that Jake Long signed last year with the Rams. 

UPDATE: The Raiders kept up the spending spree by agreeing to a five-year, $30 million contract with Jets free agent right tackle Austin Howard. Big loss for the Jets, who wouldn't match that kind of offer. The Jets are now reportedly interested in Seahawks right tackle Breno Giacomini

* Julius Peppers is on the open market. Chicago saves $14 mil by making the move, and they shave $8 mil off the salary cap. Peppers just hadn't played up to his contract and was on the trading block before the Bears released him. 

* The Browns made a Day 1 splash by signing Cardinals free agent linebacker Karlos Dansby and 49ers veteran safety Donte Whitner. That's a big day for new head coach Mike Pettine, a top-flight defensive coach who now has two more quality players for a defense that was already pretty decent. Now if he can only get a quarterback. 

* While the Raiders lost running back Rashad Jennings to the Giants, who needed insurance because of David Wilson's neck injury, Oakland re-signed former first-round tailback Darren McFadden to a one-year deal. 

* Former Giants defensive tackle Linval Joseph inked a five-year, $31.5 million deal with the Vikings. The Giants had expected to lose Joseph. 

* The Broncos signed Browns free agent safety T.J. Ward to a four-year, $23 million deal. It's a major upgrade for a major need on Denver's defense. Now if they can find a corner or two. 

* The Colts breathed a sigh of relief by re-signing cornerback Vontae Davis, but they paid dearly for the privilege. Davis gets a four-year deal worth a whopping $39 million. 

* Baltimore re-signed left tackle Eugene Monroe after word spread over the weekend he was ready to bolt as a free agent. Monroe scored a five-year, $37.5 million deal. 

New York Sports