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NFL Free Agency Moves With Impact

Tracking the Grade A Deals so far

NFL free agency is in full swing with deals flying off team shelves across the league. We weigh in on some of the noteworthy free agents that have made significant moves to greener pastures and the impact (if any at all) those have had on the NFL betting markets already.

Free Agent Moves Tracker

Raiders – Jimmy Garoppolo, QB

Quarterback Jimmy Garopplo goes from the NFC West frying pan into the AFC West fire, agreeing to a three-year deal worth $67.5 million with the Las Vegas Raiders as per the NFL news wire.

Jimmy Garoppolo #10 of the San Francisco 49ers - Ezra Shaw/AFP
Jimmy Garoppolo #10 of the San Francisco 49ers - Ezra Shaw/AFP

QB Derek Carr was benched by first-year head coach Josh McDaniels in the final weeks of the 2022-23 NFL season, thus signaling an end to the longtime Raider starter’s sojourn in Sin City. While McDaniels turned to backup Jarret Stidham for Las Vegas’ last few games, it was clear that the stand-in wasn’t the long term answer and that paved the way for Stidham’s signing with the Denver Broncos in the offseason.

Jimmy G and McDaniels go way back, to the sepia-toned glory days of the New England Patriots, who selected the quarterback in the second round of the 2014 NFL draft. Garoppolo spent 3½ seasons learning under McDaniels (then an offensive coordinator) and Tom Brady (the Goat), all while experiencing the thrills of two Super Bowl-winning campaigns during his time with the Patriots.

On his own merit, Garoppolo led the San Francisco 49ers to one Super Bowl (2019) and two NFC Championship games (2019 and 2021). He was also instrumental in the Niners’ NFC Championship Game run last season, going 7-3 in 10 starts before suffering a season-ending foot injury.

Garoppolo’s reunion with McDaniels was widely expected, even though he likely had several options as one of the top quarterbacks in free agency. What is more interestingl, however, is the fact that this move hasn’t moved the needle at all at the sportsbook exchange, where the Raiders are still the longshots at +1300 in a highly competitive AFC West and their Super Bowl LVIII odds, tipped at +4000 before signing Jimmy G, remain unchanged until today

Jets – Allen Lazard, WR

There is nothing subtle about the New York Jets’ attempts to lure quarterback Aaron Rodgers to join their ranks for the 2023-24 NFL season. From openly courting the four-time NFL MVP in Malibu to signing one of his longtime favorite wide receivers, Allen Lazard, the groundwork is being laid for what is likely an inevitable move to be announced in the coming days.

Lazard reportedly has agreed to a four-year, $44 million deal with the Jets, according to ESPN insiders who reported on the developing story on Tuesday evening. Lazard will be reuniting with former Green Bay Packers offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett, who was hired as the Jets OC this offseason following a failed run in Denver as the head coach of the Russell Wilson-inspired Broncos.

Ahead of the NFL free agency, which got underway on Monday, the Jets were priced at +1800 to win Super Bowl LVIII. Now, merely two days into free agency frenzy and on the heels of Lazard’s reported deal that gives New York a firm grip on the Rodgers sweepstakes, the Jets’ odds trimmed down to +1600 in this betting online market. A telling sign, if ever there was one.

Separately, there are additional reports of the Jets pursuing veteran wide receiver Randall Cobb, another longtime friend, ally and teammate of Rodgers.

Saints – Derek Carr, QB

Unlike other free agents, Derek Carr was able to flirt with would-be suitors in advance of the free agency window thanks to the Raiders’ move to cut the quarterback on Feb. 14, a day before the deadline that would have guaranteed him $40.4 million in future salary under his Las Vegas contract.

It didn’t take long for Carr to land a new home with the New Orleans Saints, a move that immediately catapulted the Saints to the top of a wide-open NFC South. Carr agreed to a four-year deal worth $150 million, which includes $100 million in total guarantees.

At the same time, veteran free agent Andy Dalton, who replaced Jameis Winston as the Saints starter last season, is in negotiations with the division rival Carolina Panthers. Winston, a former No. 1 draft pick in 2015, is signing a one-year deal to remain in New Orleans.

The Saints are currently priced as the +135 favorites to win the division. That said, the Panthers nip at their heels as the next-best bet at +250 while the Atlanta Falcons at +350 and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at +450 aren’t too far behind.

49ers – Sam Darnold, QB

San Francisco is the second-best priced franchise overall to win SBLVIII as we look at the latest NFL odds, despite having arguably THE most inexperienced quarterback room in the league. (True story!)

The NFC West defending champions intend to decide between Trey Lance and Brock Purdy for the No. 1 position after bidding adieu to Garoppolo. Though Lance and Purdy have shown promise as burgeoning NFL stars, the reality is that they have less than a dozen starts in the NFL combined.

But worst of all, San Francisco has signed Sam Darnold to a one-year deal as insurance to the pair – which, let’s face it, is an insurance policy not worth the paper it is written on.

Darnold’s resume as a starter includes two failed runs over five seasons with the Jets, who drafted him third overall in 2018, and the Panthers, who traded for him in April 2021. The stats say it all: 11,767 passing yards, 61 touchdowns and 55 interceptions through 56 starts.

The Niners successfully navigated a quarterback carousel like no other last season, until it finally caught up to them in the NFC Championship Game. Therefore, if there ever was a team that knows intimately the importance of a viable insurance plan, it has to be the Niners. But signing Darnold simply doesn’t square up.

Giants – Darren Waller, TE

The New York Giants pilfered tight end Darren Waller from the Raiders in a trade that includes a third-round draft pick (No. 100 overall) for Las Vegas. It’s somewhat interesting to see such a talented offensive weapon go out of the door, right on the heels of the Raiders adding Jimmy G and Jakobi Meyers in free agency.

The All-Pro tight end will provide newly signed quarterback Daniel Jones with a much-needed weapon in the passing game, an added dimension on offense and veteran leadership. However, if there is a knockback, it’s his recent challenges with injuries. Waller appeared in just 20 games in the last two seasons.

Thus, the Giants are chilling in third place to win the NFC East on the NFL betting odds board. Waller’s acquisition doesn’t do much for New York’s betting online value. One could argue, Jones’ massive deal just before last week’s deadline did little in that regard, either. After all, Jones has had one good season in his fledgling NFL career and, let’s face it, one good season doesn’t make for an elite player (right, Baker?).

The Giants are third overall to win the NFC East, tipped at +500. In the broader spectrum of the NFL sports betting markets, they’re middle of the pack at +4000 to win Super Bowl 58.

Buccaneers – Baker Mayfield, QB

From Tom Brady to Baker Mayfield – talk about coming down a peg or two in Tampa Bay. NFL Network’s Ian Rappaport and Tom Pelissero reported Wednesday that the Buccaneers have worked out a one-year deal worth $8.5 million that would see Mayfield, who’s been discarded by three teams already in his career, attempt to replace none other than THE GOAT. (Insert worried emoji!).

Granted, Mayfield is a former No. 1 overall draft pick (2018) and will get a chance to battle Kyle Trask for the starter position. But his stock is on the decline. Moving to his fourth team since the Cleveland Browns parted ways with him last summer and returning to the NFC South, where he endured a miserable run with the Panthers in 2022, isn’t a good look.

If there’s one positive for Buccaneers fans to hang their hats on, it’s the fact that Mayfield’s imminent arrival hasn’t made them worse off since we last looked at the NFL odds board. The NFC South odds remain unmoved. The Saints are tipped at +135, the Panthers at +250, the Falcons at +350 and the Bucs at +450.

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