DETROIT – The Detroit Lions are busy in the NFL Free Agency market, which just opened on Monday.
Amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, as the world deals with shut downs and quarantines, the NFL is conducting business as usual, even as most other active U.S. leagues have suspended operations.
The NFL Free Agency window opened at 12 p.m. on Monday, and the Lions made a handful of moves to kick it off.
Meet the newest Detroit Lions:
OT, Halapoulivaati Vaitai
After releases Rick Wagner and Graham Glasgow, the Lions clearly created a need on the offensive line. Offensive tackle Halapoulivaati Vaitai appears to be on of the solutions.
Former Philadelphia Eagles tackle Vaitai will reportedly sign a 5-year, $50 million deal with the team.
Meanwhile, Wagner joined the Chicago Bears and Glasgow joined the Denver Broncos.
LB, Jamie Collins
Another former New England Patriot joins the Lions! Linebacker Jamie Collins, reunites with Matt Patricia with a reported 3-year-deal worth $30 million, including $18 million guaranteed.
Three-years, $30M with $18M guaranteed for Jamie Collins, who was one of the most impactful defensive players in football early on last season. https://t.co/SAlKroc8zX— Field Yates (@FieldYates) March 17, 2020
Collins had seven sacks, three interceptions and 81 tackles last year with the Patriots.
DL, Nicholas Williams
In what is probably more of a depth move, the Lions reportedly signed former Bears defensive lineman Nicholas Williams to a reported 2-year-deal worth $10 million.
Other NFL News from AP:
Stefon Diggs is headed to the Buffalo Bills in a splashy trade intended to boost quarterback Josh Allen’s development.
Buffalo is set to acquire the big-play receiver and a seventh-round draft pick from the Minnesota Vikings in exchange for four draft picks, a person with direct knowledge of the move confirmed to The Associated Press on Monday night.
The Bills agreed to give up their first-round selection this year (22nd overall) and three other picks to land a fifth-year player who has topped 1,000 yards receiving in each of the past two seasons, the person said. The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the trade cannot be completed until the start of the new league year Wednesday.
The deal was first reported by FoxSports.com.
The Dallas Cowboys have an agreement on a long-term contract with receiver Amari Cooper. Now they’ll keep working to get a deal with Dak Prescott after putting the franchise tag on their star quarterback.
The Cowboys and their No. 1 receiver have agreed on a $100 million, five-year contract, a person with direct knowledge of the deal told The Associated Press on Monday night. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal hasn’t been announced.
Cooper was set to become an unrestricted free agent and was already free to talk to other teams because the Cowboys had to use the franchise tag on Prescott.
Dallas traded a first-round pick to get Cooper from Oakland midseason in 2018, and his addition did wonders for Prescott and the offense. But Cooper’s production tailed off in the second half of his first full season with the Cowboys as an underachieving team missed the playoffs.
The 25-year-old Cooper has 5,097 yards receiving and 33 touchdowns in five seasons. He was the fourth overall pick in 2015 by the Raiders. The $20 million average per season for Cooper is second to Atlanta’s Julio Jones ($22 million).
Prescott’s franchise tag is worth an estimated $31.5 million, but the two-time Pro Bowler is unlikely to sign the tender soon so he can maintain leverage in negotiations.
The Cowboys and Prescott have been working on a deal for about a year. He was one of the best bargains in the NFL last season with a base salary of $2 million as a fourth-round pick in 2016.
Kirk Cousins will be staying longer in Minnesota. Stefon Diggs is headed out.
The Vikings didn’t let limited salary-cap space deter them from making big moves as the two-day negotiating window prior to free agency opened on Monday.
Cousins and the Vikings agreed to a two-year, $66 million contract extension, giving the quarterback another eight-figure influx of guaranteed money and providing the team some immediate salary-cap relief.
Near the end of their busy day, the Vikings made a trade with Buffalo, fetching a haul of draft picks for Diggs, according to a person with knowledge of the deal. In between, they retained safety Anthony Harris, fullback C.J. Ham and punter Britton Colquitt.
Cousins was entering the final season of the fully guaranteed, three-year, $84 million contract he signed as a free agent in 2018. He was scheduled to count $31 million against the salary cap, but this new pact will reduce by $10 million the team’s charge for 2020, according to a different person with knowledge of the deal. That person spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the contract had not been finalized.
After months of hoarding resources for rebuilding, the Miami Dolphins finally started spending Monday when they sealed deals with four likely starters in the early hours of free agent negotiations.
Miami made Byron Jones the NFL’s highest-paid cornerback, surpassing his new teammate, Xavien Howard. The Dolphins upgraded their pass rush by reaching agreements with linebacker Kyle Van Noy and defensive end Shaq Lawson, and also swung a deal with offensive lineman Ereck Flowers.
It was the sort of splurge made possible by a roster dismantling a year ago, which left the Dolphins as the NFL leader in salary cap space when talks with free agents began Monday. They also have five picks in the first two rounds of next month’s draft, offering further chances to upgrade a team that went 5-11 last year and hasn’t won a playoff game since 2000.
Jones agreed to a five-year contract worth more than $76.5 million, a person familiar with the negotiations said. The person confirmed the deal on condition of anonymity because the signing period doesn’t begin until Wednesday.
The agreement surpasses the contract the Dolphins gave Howard last May when he signed the most lucrative deal ever for a cornerback.
It’s uncertain whether Jones will replace or be paired with Howard, who has had at least one operation on each knee, most recently in December.