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Free-Agency Roundup: Conner Stays Put; Edmonds, Trubisky & More
The 2022 NFL free agent signing period began today, for all intents and purposes, with the first day of what's called the "legal tampering period." This is a two-day negotiating window that allows teams and available players to work -- and reach agreement -- with each other in advance of the start of the new league year on Wednesday, March 17.

Whatever the case, we'll be covering the pertinent as information as it emerges and today, that starts in Arizona, where the Cardinals told us bringing James Conner back was a priority and the running back had made it clear he wanted to stay.

The sides made sure that happened Monday, when the veteran agreed to a new three-year contract as the free agent negotiating period got underway early in the day.

Conner's deal is worth $21 million and includes $16 million over the first two years, NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reported, per a source.

Conner led the team with 18 touchdowns in 2021, along with more than 1,100 yards rushing and receiving. But he also gave the team an element it had been missing, a big back that could aid in goal-line and short-yardage situations. Conner also brought with him a toughness that also helped on and off the field.

The Cardinals were only able to keep half of their running back tandem. Chase Edmonds will reportedly receive a two-year deal and sign with the Dolphins (more on that below), leaving an opening for Eno Benjamin to step into a much larger role.

Also in Arizona. ... Tight end Zach Ertz, traded to the Cardinals from the Eagles last season, agreed to terms on a three-year contract to stay with his new club, the team announced Sunday night.

The deal is worth $31.65 million with $17.5 million guaranteed, a source told ESPN's Adam Schefter.

Ertz, who turned 31 last November, made an immediate impact after his Week 6 deal. He had 574 of his 763 receiving yards in Arizona, catching 56 passes and three touchdowns as a Cardinal.

In the process, he tied the Cardinals' single-season record for catches by a tight end, doing it in just 11 games.

Ertz finished ninth in receiving yards among tight ends last season, his ninth in the NFL. Last year was the first time Ertz played a full season since 2018 and just the fourth time in his career.

The three-time Pro Bowl selection had 579 receptions for 6,267 yards and 38 touchdowns in 123 games in nine seasons with the Eagles. Ertz, who caught the game-winning touchdown in Super Bowl LII, is ranked second in receptions, fifth in receiving yards and seventh in TD receptions in Eagles franchise history. ...

His return is fortuitous with Christian Kirk agreeing to terms with the Jaguars today (see more on that below).

In addition, the Cardinals announced that Colt McCoy is returning to the franchise on a two-year contract. According to Schefter, the deal is worth $7.5 million with $6 million guaranteed.

McCoy joined the Cardinals last March. He started three games in the middle of the season when Murray was sidelined by an ankle injury, compiling a 2-1 record. In all, McCoy completed 75 percent of his passes for 740 yards with three touchdowns and one interception eight games last season. ...

In Miami. ... As noted above, Edmonds reached agreement on a two-year, $12.6 million deal with the Dolphins that includes $6.1 million guaranteed, according to his agent Drew Rosenhaus.

Edmonds, didn't see much action early in his career. Working behind David Johnson, Edmonds amassed just 719 yards from scrimmage in his first two seasons combined.

Over the past two seasons, however, Edmonds proved worthy of a starting role in the NFL. As Pro Football Network recently suggested, he's not a proven three-down back, but Edmonds is talented enough to be the chairman of a committee backfield.

That's how he opened last season, working ahead of Conner in Arizona until a high ankle sprain allowed Conner to flip the script.

Edmonds is 26 years old, but he has just 461 career touches and is nowhere near the end of his career.

He could fare well in Mike McDaniel's 49ers style offense considering Myles Gaskin and Salvon Ahmed are currently the top back under contract in Miami. Duke Johnson could also return, but expecting Edmonds to be the lead component in a scheme that allowed multiple journeymen to succeed in San Francisco seems like a reasonable starting point. ...

Meanwhile, the Dolphins plan to sign wide receiver Cedrick Wilson Jr. to a three-year deal. Schefter reported the deal is worth $22.8 million with $12.75 million guaranteed.

Wilson, 26, spent the first three seasons of his career with the Cowboys where he totaled 837 yards and eight touchdowns on 67 receptions. Wilson also has some experience with punt returns which could be useful for the Dolphins.

But wait. ... There's more.

According to Schefter, the Dolphins also agreed to a one-year deal with former Broncos quarterback Teddy Bridgewater to back up Tua Tagovailoa.

Bridgewater started 14 games for Denver in 2021, throwing for 3,052 yards, 18 touchdowns, and seven interceptions while completing 66.9 percent of his pass attempts. He'll replace Jacoby Brissett, who will be allowed to move on as an unrestricted free agent. ...

One last note here. ... Mike Gesicki signed his franchise tag tender, according to Field Yates of ESPN.

That makes Gesicki the first player to sign the franchise tender this offseason.

For Gesicki, it's a guaranteed salary of $10.931 million for the 2022 season. Gesicki could still reach a long-term contract with the Dolphins, or he could play on the franchise tag and then hit free agency a year ago. But one way or another, he's set to play for the Dolphins in 2022. Gesicki caught 73 passes for 780 yards, both career-highs, last season. ...

In Jacksonville. ... Spend, spend, spend! As PFT put it, "Jacksonville continues to try to buy its way out of dysfunction."

The Jaguars started racking up their tab by agreeing to terms with Kirk. According to Schefter, it's a four-year contract worth up to $84 million.

Based on that contract, Kirk will be asked to play a major role as the Jaguars try to build a better offense around quarterback Trevor Lawrence in head coach Doug Pederson's first season with the team.

Kirk averaged 640 receiving yards over his first three years in the NFL before breaking through in 2021 with 982 yards on 77 catches. Not only were these career highs, but he averaged more yards per game that more proven teammates DeAndre Hopkins and A.J. Green.

It made him a key part of an offense that finished 10th in the NFL in passing yards and 11th in total points.

Arizona faded down the stretch after a hot start, finishing 11-6 before suffering a first-round loss to the Rams. Kirk was still a key part of the success as a consistent option who topped 50 receiving yards in 11 of 18 games, including the playoffs.

In addition, Evan Engram intends to sign a one-year, fully-guaranteed $9 million contract with the Jaguars that could be worth up to $10 million with incentives.

That's a lot of money. In fact, it's close to franchise tag-level compensation at the position.

That's notable because Engram, a 2017 first-round pick, has been woefully inconsistent in his five seasons with the Giants.

Injuries, drops and lack of concentration have been issues.

There's no doubt Engram has the speed, talent and athleticism to create mismatches. He's run predominantly out of the slot over the last two seasons, something that offers the Jags additional flexibility with Kirk also able to run out of the slot or work outside.

But the Jags weren't done.

In addition to Kirk and Engram, the Jaguars added Zay Jones to the mix tonight.

Jones' deal is reportedly worth $24 million over three years with a maximum value of $30 million.

I think it's fair to say this is a significant investment for a player who had 47 catches for 546 yards and one touchdown as a Raider in 2021.

And again, it probably shouldn't be viewed as a move that is going to make Jones a suddenly fantasy relevant or even viable play. But it's absolutely further indication the Jaguars are dead set on adding speed and playmaking ability that Lawrence lacked in his miserably unproductive rookie campaign.

It also makes you wonder how hard they'll be pushing to retain their own unrestricted free agent, D.J. Chark. ...

In Pittsburgh. ... The Steelers may have found Ben Roethlisberger's successor.

The team reached an agreement with Mitchell Trubisky.

Roethlisberger announced his retirement after the Steelers lost to the Chiefs in the playoffs, and multiple observers expect Trubisky, the former No. 2 overall pick, to be the starter over Mason Rudolph and former first-round pick Dwayne Haskins.

Indeed, Albert Breer of reports that Trubisky's two-year contract has a base value of $14 million. As's Mike Florio suggests, while the specific structure will shed more light on the situation, this is a deal that puts Trubisky ahead of Rudolph on the depth chart -- but that hardly guarantees that Trubisky will be the starter.

General manager Kevin Colbert said in February that Rudolph would be the starter if the season were starting, but Trubisky's arrival represents a big change. At the very least, they'll compete for the starting job and it's unlikely the Steelers would have made a multi-year commitment to the newcomer if they felt he was unlikely to give them an upgrade on what they've seen from Rudolph the last few years.

Trubisky spent his first four seasons in Chicago, making a Pro Bowl in his second season, but struggled down the stretch and fell out of favor with Bears fans. He spent 2021 in Buffalo rehabbing his image but hardly saw the field as Josh Allen's backup (eight pass attempts).

In his last season as a starter, Trubisky completed 67 percent of his passes for 205.5 pass yards, 16 passing touchdowns, eight interceptions, and 93.5 passer rating -- nine starts in 2020.After flashing potential early in his career, Trubisky struggled mightily with his accuracy downfield and never developed as a pocket passer. From footwork to reading defenses, Trubisky needed an overhaul in his fundamentals after his time in Chicago.

As suggests, what he does do well is connect on short, safer throws.

Trubisky's 114.4 passer rating on passes of fewer than 10 air yards in 2020 led the NFL among QB with at least 150 such attempts, which could fit well in Matt Canada's scheme.

The Steelers believe dormant talent remains in the former first-round pick, who does bring mobility coach Mike Tomlin desired in the position. That mobility and bootleg ability should help open up the offense in 2022.

With Rudolph proving he's nothing more than a backup at this point, the Steelers begin their offseason by adding a quarterback with more upside. Of course, signing Trubisky to a two-year contract does nothing to stop the Steelers from drafting a rookie high, perhaps someone like Malik Willis who might need time to develop. ...

In Dallas. ... On Sunday, the Cowboys finalized a five-year deal, $62.5 million deal with wide receiver Michael Gallup.

The deal includes a $10 million signing bonus.

Gallup's return comes a day after the Cowboys agreed to trade wide receiver Amari Cooper to the Cleveland Browns. That deal is pending a physical and can't be announced until the start of the new league year on Wednesday. Cooper's $20 million base salary would have been fully guaranteed by March 20, but the deal has instead opened up $16 million in salary-cap room.

As's Todd Archer reminded readers, Gallup was set to hit the free-agent market next week, but he opted to remain with the team that drafted him in 2018 and rehab with the athletic training staff he trusts after suffering a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in January.

Gallup, who turned 26 on March 4, had surgery in February to repair his ACL, but the expectation is he would be ready for game action in September.

He played in just nine games for the Cowboys in 2021 after suffering a calf strain in Week 1 and the ACL injury in Week 17, catching 35 passes for 445 yards and two touchdowns.

For his career, Gallup has 193 catches for 2,902 yards and 15 touchdowns. In 2019, he had his first 1,000-yard season, finishing with a career-high 66 catches for 1,107 yards and six touchdowns.

The Cowboys drafted Gallup in the third round of the 2018 draft and he immediately became a factor in the offense, developing into the team's best deep threat and averaging 15 yards per catch. Before 2021, he had missed just two games in his career.

With the Cowboys moving on from Cooper, the Cowboys are banking on CeeDee Lamb and Gallup, once he is healthy, to step into larger roles on the offense.

Lamb caught 79 passes for 1,102 yard and six touchdowns last season and was added to the Pro Bowl. Cooper caught 68 passes for 865 yards and eight touchdowns despite missing two games on the reserve/COVID-19 list.

The Cowboys expected to lose Wilson once free agency began (and they did, as noted above).

They were, however, able to keep Noah Brown on a one-year deal. They also used their franchise tag to secure the services of tight end Dalton Schultz this season, but the Cowboys could look to free agency and the draft for more wide receiver help. ...

In Tennessee. ... The Titans agreed to terms with tight end Geoff Swaim on a one-year contract extension.

Swaim started 16 regular season games for the Titans in 2021, when he recorded a career-high 31 catches for 210 yards and three touchdowns.

Since joining the Titans in 2020, Swaim has totaled 40 catches for 293 yards and four scores in 26 games, with 24 starts.

Two other tight ends on the team's roster in 2021 -- Anthony Firkser and MyCole Pruitt -- are scheduled to become free agents when the new league year begins on Wednesday.

In New York. ... Wide receiver Braxton Berrios made the All-Pro team as a kick returner for the Jets in 2021 and he'll be back to help the team in that area again in 2022.

Agent Drew Rosenhaus said his client has agreed to a two-year, $12 million deal to remain with the AFC East club. Berrios has $7 million of that money fully guaranteed.

Berrios led the league with 30.4 yards per kickoff return last season and he took one kick back for an 102-yard touchdown. He also averaged 13.4 yards per punt return and caught 46 passes for 431 yards while scoring four offensive touchdowns on the season.

Jamison Crowder and Keelan Cole remain set for free agency after playing wideout for the Jets last season.

Corey Davis, Elijah Moore, and Denzel Mims remain under contract.

In addition, the Jets added at a position of need by agreeing to terms with former Bengal C.J. Uzomah.

The veteran tight end, who gets a three-year, $24 million deal, is coming off a season where he set career highs in catches, yards and touchdowns.

Although he is capable of lining up wide or in the slot, Uzomah spends most of his time with his hand in the dirt, working as a traditional in-line tight end.

He's no George Kittle, but he fits the Shanahan-styled scheme in New York and clearly represents an upgrade at the position.

Uzomah has shown some ability to be a vertical or big play threat as four of his five touchdowns last season came from outside the red zone and 2021 was his best in terms of generating yards after the catch.

Still, in an offense already boasting youthful playmakers in Moore and Michael Carter, providing second-year QB Zach Wilson with a safety valve option seems like a solid enough move for the Jets.

But is moving away from Joe Burrow and the currently higher-powered Cincy offense the best move from a fantasy perspective?

Probably not. In the end, a greater role in a lesser offense seems like a push at best for Uzomah. ...

Also worth noting. ... Tevin Coleman, the running back who signed a one-year contract with the Jets a year ago, is signing another contract with the Jets now, according to Pelissero.

In Seattle. ... As PFT reported, the Seahawks won't have quarterback Russell Wilson as part of their offense during the 2022 season, but they will have tight end Will Dissly.

According to multiple reports, Dissly agreed to a three-year, $24 million contract to remain with the Seahawks. The Seahawks have Gerald Everett heading for free agency, but they are set to acquire tight end Noah Fant from the Broncos when the Wilson trade becomes official.

Dissly has played 31 games the last two years, though, and has 76 catches for 900 yards and nine touchdowns over his entire tenure with the Seahawks. ...

In Indianapolis. ... Jack Doyle has retired, but the Colts have retained another one of their tight ends.

The team agreed to a three-year deal worth $18 million with Mo Alie-Cox, according to multiple reports.

Alie-Cox caught 24 passes for 316 yards with a career-high four touchdowns for the Colts last season. He appeared in all 17 games with seven starts in 2021.

The tight end has 70 career receptions for 936 yards with eight TDs. ...

In addition, while the Colts have a significant question mark at quarterback after agreeing to trade Carson Wentz, they moved to retain another of their young offensive contributors.

According to Joel A. Erickson of the Indianapolis Star, the Colts tendered restricted free agent receiver Ashton Dulin at the right of first refusal level.

If Dulin plays on it, he'll make $2.433 million in 2022.

In Buffalo. ... As the team's official website put it, "The Bills are getting their Swiss army knife back."

Wide receiver Isaiah McKenzie agreed to terms on a two-year deal with Buffalo.

McKenzie has been a versatile weapon for Buffalo and his larger than life personality has played an influential role in the locker room.

The wide receiver played in 15 games in 2021 and totaled 20 catches, 178 receiving yards and one touchdown. McKenzie also returned 24 kickoffs for an average of 24.3 yards per return and 19 punts for 147 return yards this past season.

The Georgia product had career highs against the Patriots in Week 16 where he recorded 11 catches for 125 receiving yards in a 33-21 victory. ...

In New England. ... The Patriots are keeping Mac Jones' tutor in Foxboro.

The Pats agreed to a two-year contract with backup quarterback Brian Hoyer, his agent announced Monday morning.

The 36-year-old is essentially a player-coach at this stage of his 14-year NFL career. Hoyer backed up Jones last season, appearing in five games and attempting 11 passes. He last started a game in 2020 for New England -- a 26-10 loss at Kansas City.

Hoyer was a priority for the Pats to retain to ensure Jones is supported by a veteran presence who can help the young QB in the film room.

In Houston. ... The Texans secured some of their receiving assets over the last two days.

Chris Conley will stick around for another year after the veteran wideout agree to a one-year deal, according to the Houston Chronicle.

The Texans agreed to a one-year deal with Conley last season and he had 22 catches for 323 yards and two touchdowns, and was also credited for his run blocking.

The Texans also agreed to terms with Chris Moore on a one-year, $1.187 million contract, Aaron Wilson of SportsTalk 790 reported. The deal includes $1.047 million guaranteed with a $152,500 signing bonus.

Moore, 28, arrived in Houston last season after five seasons in Baltimore, following former Texans head coach David Culley. Moore played 240 snaps on offense and 158 on special teams. He caught 21 passes for 227 yards and two touchdowns in 2021, including five receptions for 109 yards and a touchdown in Week 4 against the Patriots.

Moore has 68 career receptions for 738 yards and six touchdowns.

Finally. ... Tight end Antony Auclair will also be staying in Houston.

Auclair is a solid special teams contributor and coach Lovie Smith has indicated he wants to keep role players from last year's roster. ...

In Minnesota. ... The Vikings are tendering kicker Greg Joseph, who will earn $2.433 million.

Joseph signed with the Vikings last February. He hit 33-of-38 field goals in 2021 along with 36-of-40 extra points. He also sent 81 percent of his kickoffs for touchbacks. After going undrafted in 2018, Joseph spent time with the Dolphins and Browns as a rookie. He hit 17-of-20 field goals for Cleveland in 2018. He also made nine extra points with the Titans in 2019.

In Los Angeles. ... The Chargers finally have some stability at kicker.

Los Angeles has agreed to extend Dustin Hopkins on a three-year deal worth $9 million that can escalate to $12 million, Adam Caplan of SiriusXM reported. The contract includes more than $4.6 million guaranteed.

Hopkins joined the Chargers in late October after the Commanders released him six games into the season. He hit 18-of-20 field goals for L.A. and 30-of-32 extra points. Hopkins' only field-goal misses for the Chargers were from more than 50-yards out. He also sent 71 percent of his L.A. kickoffs for touchbacks.

Overall, Hopkins hit 30-of-34 field goals in 2021. He's hit 84.6 percent of his career field goals and 94.1 percent of his extra points. Hopkins has also spent time with the Bills and Saints.