Tuesday marks the eve of free agency's official start, but also the second day of the legal tampering period, or the negotiating period. As we discussed here at Acme Packing Company yesterday, teams and agents may now discuss terms of contracts for free agents-to-be, which allows agents to gauge the market for those players' services.
Over the past several hours, however, the free agent depth at one of the positions which is a perceived need for the Green Bay Packers has thinned out considerably. Tight ends who were expected to hit free agency on Wednesday at 4:00 PM Eastern are not doing so.
First up was Colts tight end Dwayne Allen, who on Monday night signed a remarkably lucrative four-year deal worth nearly $30 million. It was always likely that the Colts would prioritize Allen over fellow free agent Coby Fleener, but an average value of nearly $7.5 million per year is huge money for a player who has averaged less than 25 receiving yards per game in his career and who caught just 16 passes over 13 games in 2015. Granted, Allen is an effective blocker, but at that rate you had better get a complete player.
Next up was this report this morning:
Jordan Cameron has restructured his contract with #Dolphins, team source said. Means pay cut to stay.— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) March 8, 2016
The Dolphins needed to free up a considerable amount of cap space going into the weekend, but the releases of Brent Grimes, Quinton Coples, and Greg Jennings - combined with a restructure of Ndamukong Suh's contract - meant that they are able to keep Cameron in the fold. That prevents yet another tight end from reaching free agency, since Cameron had been widely expected to be a cap casualty.
Stay tuned for more news and reports today, and who knows - we might even get a report that mentions the Green Bay Packers specifically!
UPDATE (9:13 AM CT): Until Tuesday, reports indicated that Baltimore Ravens guard Kelechi Osemele had been targeted and aggressively pursued by the Minnesota Vikings to help bolster the interior of their offensive line. However, NFL Network's Rand Getlin reports this morning that Osemele will instead sign with the Oakland Raiders instead when free agency opens.
UPDATE (10:32 AM CT): The Packers have made their second signing of a free agent-to-be, as reported by Ian Rapoport:
The #Packers signed G Lane Taylor to a 2-year deal worth $4.15M, source said. He gets $600K guaranteed.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 8, 2016
Lane Taylor joins Letroy Guion and Mason Crosby as Packers who have now re-signed prior to the opening of free agency. Taylor was previously scheduled to be a Restricted Free Agent. (See our full post on the signing here.)
UPDATE (12:32 PM CT): Adam Schefter is here to give good news to the multitude of Packers fans hoping for Matt Forte to come to Green Bay:
Packers expressing interest in Bears free-agent RB Matt Forte, per source.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 8, 2016
That's the first report of the Packers' interest in Forte from any reliable source, and it comes on the heels of yesterday's report of Julius Peppers trying to sway the free agent running back towards coming to Green Bay.