Follow all the developments on the NFL's open market with our up-to-the-minute tracking of 2014's free agents. **More...**
Our top 101 players available was chopped to our best 50 available. Our top 15 players originally available are all gone. The first few days of free agency were so frantic that we arrived in phase two of free agency early. Teams will be bargain hunting Friday and into the weekend. Here's what we learned as phase one wrapped up Thursday:
Loaded for Bear
Chip Kelly doesn't need Darren Sproles. But when the Eagles could acquire him for a fifth-round pick they picked up in a trade for Isaac freaking Sopoaga, well, why not? Sproles is a matchup nightmare and Kelly loves players that can win one-on-one. Defenses won't get a break when LeSean McCoy steps out of the game. With an offensive line signed through 2016 and a division full of defenses going backwards, the Eagles should put up huge numbers again.
End of an era
"I want to make sure that whatever team I go to, they're going to get the best, in-shape 35-year-old guy they can get," Smith told WFNZ-AM. "If that happens to run through Bank of America Stadium, put your goggles on cause there's going to be blood and guts everywhere."
My comrade Dan Hanzus projected some potential landing spots for Smith, who is visiting the Baltimore Ravens on Thursday night. At this point, it would be a surprise if he didn't sign with Baltimore. Joe Flacco needs a chain-mover on third down, and Smith would qualify from the slot. The Ravens don't go to Carolina, but they do host the Panthers next season. Get your goggles ready.
- Most of the big names in free agency are accounted for, but one big man will be added to the pool soon enough. NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport broke the news that Wilfork asked for his release from the Patriots.
Veteran defense day
Schein: Moves I love/hate
- This was the day that veteran defenders realized they weren't going to get the huge money they hoped for, so they better take what they can get. And yes, it's ridiculous to consider a world where $5 million-per-year is middle-tier money. Everything is amazing, and nobody's happy.
Odds and ends
The day in Revis
The Patriots still haven't officially announced the Revis signing. We also learned that Revis' one-year deal is really a two-year deal that is really a one-year deal when you look at it closely. (Got that?)
We also learned from the New York Daily News that Rex Ryan wanted to bring Revis back to New York badly and a return to the Jets was Revis' preference in free agency. But owner Woody Johnson and general manager John Idzik had no interest.
None of the above is particurly surprising, but stories like these don't bode well for Ryan. There's still too much drama in the media, and Ryan remains year-to-year. He likely needs a playoff appearance to keep his job in 2015.