It's safe to say the NFL never will go back to the midnight start time of free agency. After Tuesday's dizzying cascade of deals, the league might want to considering moving free agency's opening day into prime time. This was great theater, especially if you like watching money being spent.
Let's break down what we learned on Day 1:
The Miami Dolphins and Cleveland Browns are not messing around
Miami added linebackers Dannell Ellerbe and Philip Wheeler to huge contracts, then brought back safety Chris Clemons. Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland is in a contract year, and he's getting desperate. Ellerbe is a nice player, but he has started 13 career games. Wheeler is one year removed from a cheap one-year contract in Oakland. Ireland is buying high.
New Cleveland Browns GM Michael Lombardi wasn't as aggressive as Ireland, but he spent big dollars to fix his team's pass rush. Defensive end Paul Kruger and defensive tackle Desmond Bryant were paid $75 million for 32 combined starts. (I like both players. Just not that much.)
This is how the NFL works. A new regime in Cleveland spends big to get the fan base excited. A GM in trouble spends big to save his job. Maybe it will work, but free agency history tells us at least one of these teams will fall flat.
Day 2's big team: The St. Louis Rams
Not a good day for Ed Reed
Ravens fans had a worse day
I respect GM Ozzie Newsome so much that I can't criticize him for Tuesday's inactivity. But it had to be painful to watch Ellerbe, Kruger and Anquan Boldin (officially traded) leave town on the same day.
No one knows Bradley Fletcher's name
The Eagles quietly signed five solid veterans, including safety Patrick Chung, tight end James Casey and cornerback Bradley Fletcher. That's Bradley Fletcher, not Fletcher Bradley, as the team sent out in its press release and on Twitter. The former St. Louis Rams cornerback was our No. 56 free agent available overall, but he must not have great name recognition.
His name was repeated as Fletcher Bradley by no fewer than five other news outlets. Fletcher Bradley is the perfect symbol of this new, non-Dream Team Eagles squad.
Speaking of which ...
Nnamdi Asomugha was among the most high-profile cuts Tuesday, but he wasn't even the best cornerback released. Or the second best. Antoine Winfield and Michael Huff both are free to sign elsewhere after being released. Other big Tuesday cuts: Darrius Heyward-Bey, Kevin Walter, Sione Pouha, James Anderson and Ryan Fitzpatrick. Yes, the Buffalo Bills need a starting quarterback. Unless it's Tarvaris Jackson.
QB controversy preview
My favorite random signing: The Kansas City Chiefs picked up former Drew Brees caddy Chase Daniel on a three-year, $9 million contract to back up Alex Smith. Daniel is such an Andy Reid quarterback -- I already can imagine Chiefs fans calling for him to start after Kansas City goes 2-5 to start the season. (And then I can imagine Reid trading Daniel for a second-round draft pick next offseason.)
Plenty of talent available at cornerback and running back
The deep cornerback group could work against free agents such as Sean Smith, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Brent Grimes. The only cornerbacks signed Tuesday were mid-tier guys like Fletcher and Greg Toler (by the Indianapolis Colts). No running backs signed, although Reggie Bush is visiting Detroit on Wednesday and Rashard Mendenhall continues to be closely linked to the Denver Broncos.
Debate: Early winners in free agency?
Who made the best move at the dawn of free agency? Our analysts debate, and Miami earns praise for inking Mike Wallace. More ...