Every NFL free agency period, even the legal tampering window, comes with losers and winners that we tend to crown every spring. While the winners are well worth discussing, seeing how teams, players, or outside observers lost out gives us some level of balance on how free agency goes.
After all, it’s a zero-sum game. There are only 272 wins available in a season, and for someone to add one, someone else has to lose one. Let’s look at the NFL free agency losers from Day 2.
Looking for the most up-to-date information? Check out our Day 3 (Wednesday) free agency losers.
NFL Free Agency Losers
Aaron Rodgers Watchers
Once again, we’re left without much news on the Aaron Rodgers front, leaving us to speculate about his absence from his otherwise regular weekly appearance on the Pat McAfee Show, as well as the various contract — and free agency — demands Rodgers has made of the Jets.
At the same time, it doesn’t look like we have trade compensation ironed out for the Packers. Meaning that the only thing holding up the deal is every part of the deal.
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Rodgers’ silence on the issue and the Jets’ reticence to confirm any trade meant that a normally busy pre-free agency period was ground to a halt as minor deals were announced and the NFL world waited for the Rodgers saga to end.
And, of course, it seemingly will end on Rodgers’ terms, as he’ll have something to announce tomorrow on the Pat McAfee Show.
New York Jets Receivers
Rodgers submitted a “wish list” to the Jets, detailing who he wanted them to pursue in free agency. That list included a number of wide receivers, including Allen Lazard, Randall Cobb, and Odell Beckham Jr. The Jets already signed Lazard and are working on Cobb, making for a crowded receiver room.
One of the factors that made the Jets such an interesting organization for Rodgers to land with is their receiver talent. On top of Offensive Rookie of the Year Garrett Wilson, they had an ascendant Elijah Moore, who looked great when someone other than Zach Wilson was throwing the ball.
With them and Corey Davis, they had a solid corps with an emerging star — one that could use a strong second receiver but begins to look crowded as more receivers are added to the group.
Knowing that Rodgers took it personally when the Packers cut some of his favorite players, including special-teams role player Jake Kumerow, for more talented and higher potential options on the roster, receivers like Moore and Davis will have ample reason to worry about their roles on the team, even if they do outperform an incoming Cobb or Lazard.
The Raiders made an exciting move early in the second day of the legal tampering window in signing Jakobi Meyers, perhaps the top receiver on the market, to a deal that only costs $11 million.
Pairing Meyers with Hunter Renfrow, Josh Jacobs, Davante Adams, and tight end Darren Waller was supposed to mean that the Raiders could have been matchup-proof, with the ability to attack any defense anywhere.
Soon after, the Raiders organized a trade that sent Waller to the New York Giants for just the 100th pick in the draft. Before Waller was hurt last year, he managed to generate 70 yards per game as a receiver between 2019 and 2021, a three-year span that showcased the best an athletic tight end can do down the field.
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Even when including that year, his average drops to 65.3 yards a game — more than Julian Edelman, DK Metcalf, and Deebo Samuel over the same span and every tight end except Travis Kelce and George Kittle.
That kind of production is difficult to find, and moving on from it for a late third-round pick seems paltry, even after considering the injury history and age. But more than that, McDaniels may have lost the confidence of people in the building, with their star running back expressing sadness over the move on Twitter.
The fact that, per Vic Tafur at the Athletic, this seemingly comes on the heels of McDaniels announcing Waller’s marriage to Las Vegas Aces guard Kelsey Plum against Waller’s wishes underscores the fact that McDaniels may not be doing the best job in the world of maintaining a peaceful locker room.
Running Backs Who Want Out
After the news that Austin Ekeler had been given permission to seek a trade from the Chargers, the number of backs on the trade market has expanded to include him, Dalvin Cook, and Derrick Henry.
At the same time, Miles Sanders is still on the free agency market after the Eagles decided to sign Rashaad Penny, which means he and a number of other productive backs like David Montgomery, Devin Singletary, Kareem Hunt, Jamaal Williams, and D’Onta Foreman are available to sign.
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Add in the fact that this is a pretty solid class of running backs in the draft, and it would be hard to convince a team to part ways with a draft pick for a back on his second contract when they could just sign such a back to a cheaper deal or draft one in the middle or later rounds — or even upgrade from the trade market backs in the first or second round.
There’s a good chance that at least one team will be able to move a running back, but it certainly won’t be all of them, meaning the RBs — and the teams who want to move on from them — are going to have to wait it out.