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NFL free agency Day 2: A look at the top winners and losers

While Day 2 of NFL free agency wasn’t as active as the opener, there were a ton of transactions around the league. That included multiple trades involving Pro Bowl players.

The Las Vegas Raiders moved off stud tight end Darren Waller in a cost-cutting trade with the New York Giants.

As for the NFL free agent market, two of the top wide receivers on the board signed deals that will pay them north of $10 million annually. A certain running back in the NFC East now fully understands that his market will not be bullish. These are among the biggest winners and losers from the second day of NFL free agency.

Related: Top 400 NFL free agents of 2023

Winner: Wide receiver market finally gets going in NFL free agency

nfl free agency winners and losers, nfl free agent: allen lazard
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The opening day of the NFL free agent tampering period didn’t see a single big-name receiver go off the board. It represented the latest indication yet that this position just isn’t being valued on the open market. That changed once Tuesday came calling.

Jakobi Meyers (three years, $33 million) landed with the receiver-needy Las Vegas Raiders. Meanwhile, Allen Lazard turned a career-best performance into a four-year, $44 million deal with the New York Jets. He’ll now presumably join former Packers teammate Aaron Rodgers in the AFC East.

While no receiver is going to break the bank in NFL free agency, this does give us an idea about how the market will play out moving forward. The likes of Odell Beckham Jr., Juju Smith-Schuster and Mecole Hardman should all receive deals that start at north of $10 million annually.

Related: Winners and losers from Day 1 of NFL free agency

Loser: Las Vegas Raiders continue to scramble

winners losers, nfl free agency; las vegas raiders
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Vegas was a clear loser in Day 1 by replacing Derek Carr with Jimmy Garoppolo in a lateral move. It didn’t do much better as Tuesday came calling. While we loved the value of the Jakobi Meyers signing, trading Pro Bowl tight end Darren Waller for the 100th pick in the 2023 NFL Draft made absolutely no sense. Why sign a quarterback in Garoppolo who has a low ceiling, only to trade one of your most-skilled offensive players?

We have to be wondering what the Raiders are planning, because this certainly can’t be it. Perhaps, they are collecting draft assets for a move up in the 2023 NFL Draft after missing out on trading up for the first pick. Either way, the Raiders’ first two days of NFL free agency have been head-scratching.

Related: 2023 NFL free agency tracker and live grades

Winner: Detroit Lions continue to make solid moves in NFL free agency

NFL: San Francisco 49ers at Carolina Panthers
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Detroit’s ability to land a starter-caliber cornerback in Emmanuel Moseley was an underrated signing on Tuesday. Moseley inked a mere one-year, $6 million contract after several solid seasons with the San Francisco 49ers.

Despite coming off a torn ACL, Moseley is set to turn only 27 years old. Back in 2021, the former undrafted free agent yielded a mere 56.4% completion and 65.6 QB rating when targeted. He was about to duplicate those numbers last season before the aforementioned injury. Given what has taken place with the Vikings and Packers in the NFC North this offseason, Detroit has to be seen as odds-on favorites in that division. Bringing in Moseley on the cheap adds another layer to this.

Related: Top takeaways from Day 1 of NFL free agency

Loser: Miles Sanders

NFL: Super Bowl LVII-Kansas City Chiefs vs Philadelphia Eagles
Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

It’s now pretty obvious that the Philadelphia Eagles have opted to move off this Pro Bowl running back. The defending NFC Champions signed former Seattle Seahawks first-round pick Rashaad Penny on Tuesday. He’ll team up with Kenneth Gainwell and Boston Scott to handle Philadelphia’s ball-carrying duties next season.

Eagles’ general manager Howie Roseman firmly believes that he can win with a cheap group of running backs. We’re seeing this repeated over and over again throughout the NFL. With the exception of truly elite backs such as Christian McCaffrey and Derrick Henry, teams are not willing to spend at this position. Sanders’ NFL free agent market will dictate this moving forward during the week, leading to a smaller-than-expected contract.

Winner: Dallas Cowboys doing work on defense

NFL: Indianapolis Colts at New York Giants
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After an inactive first day of NFL free agency, the cash-strapped Cowboys did their thing on defense Tuesday. It started with Jerry Jones and Co. re-signing safety Donovan Wilson and linebacker Leighton Vander Esch on team-friendly deals. These two played a huge role on defense a season ago with Vander Esch starting all 14 games in which he appeared. Meanwhile, Wilson was the team’s leading tackler at safety with 101 while recording an eye-opening five sacks.

Though, it’s the blockbuster trade for five-time Pro Bowler Stephon Gilmore that stands out here. Dallas yielded a mere fifth-round pick to the Indianapolis Colts to get the trade done. Gilmore will now team up with fellow Pro Bowler Trevon Diggs to form one of the better cornerback tandems in the league. Getting someone of his ilk on the cheap was absolutely a win for Dallas.

Related: 2023 NFL trade tracker with grades

Winner: Daniel Jones gets another target

NFL: NFC Divisional Round-New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles
Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

New York didn’t sign Daniel Jones to a four-year, $160 million contract extension earlier this offseason so that he can waste away with a lack of weapons. Sure, wide receiver help is still a need for the Giants. With that said, acquiring Pro Bowl tight end Darren Waller from Las Vegas on the cheap has to be seen as a win here.

Prior to an injury-plagued 2022 campaign, Waller averaged north of 1,000 receiving yards over the previous three seasons. To acquire someone of this ilk for the 100th pick was an absolute steal, and it’s just going to help Jones take that next step.

Related: 2023 NFL salary cap tracker

Loser: Indianapolis Colts punting on 2023

NFL: Combine
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Releasing washed former MVP quarterback Matt Ryan isn’t such a big deal. Of course, the Colts don’t have an in-house candidate to replace him and won’t be able to find one on the NFL free agent market. But that’s a story for another time.

Rather, it’s all about Indianapolis opting to trade five-time cornerback Stephon Gilmore to the Dallas Cowboys for a mere fifth-round pick. Gilmore, 32, was darn good last season in Indianapolis, yielding a low 56.2% completion targeted. Regardless of the finances, a contending team isn’t moving off a player of this ilk. Indianapolis is now punting on the 2023 campaign. That’s as clear as day.

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