Free agency opened with a bang Tuesday afternoon, and NFL.com's free-agency tracker could barely keep up with so much activity around the league. As teams reached deals with players, their draft plans were naturally affected depending on whom they signed or lost.
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Draft impact: Miami's offensive line remains a work in progress despite the addition of Albert. As Mike Huguenin detailed, the signing doesn't automatically preclude the Dolphins from drafting an offensive lineman at No. 19, but the signing of free-agent safety Louis Delmas might free the team up from having to take Ha Ha Clinton Dix or Calvin Pryor if they're sitting there. With depth a bit deeper on the offensive line than on the defensive line, you might see Miami strongly consider a defensive tackle in the first round before finding offensive line help in the second.
Draft impact:Darrelle Revis appears well on his way out the door, but it's doubtful Lovie Smith is fazed after adding quality pieces to his defense in DE Michael Johnson and CB Alterraun Verner. That could allow the Bucs to upgrade at offensive tackle, or continue to find young defenders to help out in a division that faces off against Drew Brees, Cam Newton and Matt Ryan a combined six times a season. If the Bucs land somebody like former Bengals tackle Anthony Collins, it could send a strong signal they will draft either Khalil Mack or Anthony Barr at No. 7 if they don't trade back for a cornerback.
Draft impact: Well, that was quick. Atlanta moved swiftly to address its needs along the line and probably ended any talk of the team trading up to get Jadeveon Clowney. All four NFL Media analysts project the Falcons to draft one of the top three offensive tackles at No. 6 -- Jake Matthews, Greg Robinson or Taylor Lewan -- and it's doubtful the Falcons' free-agent moves will change that, but it might allow the team to focus on other areas on Day 2. With Tony Gonzalez's retirement, you can bet the team would be happy to grab a tight end such as Jace Amaro, Austin Seferian-Jenkins or Troy Niklas if they're available in Round 2, rather than reach for a pass rusher.
Draft impact:Darren McFadden's signing doesn't change the Raiders' draft plans much, especially in the first round, but the terms of his deal -- a one-year contract worth $4 million -- were the latest sign that running backs are being devalued by NFL teams. Chris Johnson will soon add his name to the deep free-agent ranks at the position, making it even more likely that running backs such as Carlos Hyde slip to the second day of the draft.
Draft impact:The biggest free-agent news Tuesday might not have been a signing but a cut. The Cowboys' defense already struggled mightily in 2013-14, and losing their best pass rusher in DeMarcus Ware doesn't help. While there are several good options at defensive tackle in the draft, the team's position in the first round, where they have the No. 16 pick, might be too low for an impact rush linebacker or defensive end. Ware's release might be the biggest sign yet the Cowboys might trade back to get other picks and address multiple needs, or they might consider trading down for a player such as Auburn's Dee Ford.
Draft impact: This move was expected because of a huge $20 million cap number, but it was still a bit shocking to see a big name like Julius Peppers hit the market after four seasons in Chicago. Of course, the Bears already have a replacement after agreeing to a five-year deal with Lamarr Houston. It's unanimous in NFL Media analysts' mock drafts that the team will go after Florida State's Timmy Jernigan with the No. 14 pick, but with a big hole in the secondary, it's possible Tuesday's moves combined with other needs might push defensive tackle down the list. At No. 14, the Bears could nab Ha Ha Clinton-Dix or Calvin Pryor first and then grab a big body to complement Houston later.
Draft impact: Jared Veldheer and Rodger Saffold both received sizable contracts, something NFL Media analyst Daniel Jeremiah spoke against early Tuesday because of the strength of this year's offensive tackles in the draft. With these signings, the Cardinals and Raiders probably crossed off offensive line as a position to target early in the draft. Don't be surprised if this allows Oakland, in particular, to grab a quarterback or hope Sammy Watkins falls to them at No. 5.
Colts' defense gets a lift
Draft impact: Indy doesn't have a first-round pick, so keeping their own guys, especially one of last year's top corners in Vontae Davis, was a must. Add in a pass rusher of Arthur Jones' caliber, and the defense should be better in 2014-15. The Colts' moves mean the team won't have to reach for a guy in the middle rounds on defense, and that should allow them to focus on finding an offensive lineman.
Three safeties find new homes
Draft impact: With top free agent Jairus Byrdsurprisingly on his way to the Saints, Donte Whitner headed to Cleveland and T.J. Ward headed to Denver, teams are nearly out of options to address a need at safety before the draft rolls around. For Cincinnati, Philadelphia, Green Bay, St. Louis or a number of others needing secondary help, the back half of the first round or early part of the second might be their only shot at an upgrade. Those teams had better do their homework on guys such as Washington State's Deone Bucannon or Northern Illinois' Jimmie Ward if the top three safeties are off the board by the second day.