Day 1 of the “legal tampering period” is in the books, and it was an active day across the NFL, despite a relatively quiet one from the Detroit Lions. We saw the receiver market blow up, tight ends get paid, and a couple of big defensive names come off the board. And just about every other player went to the Jacksonville Jaguars. I guess a lot of players are really swayed by the lack of income tax.
Anyways, I’ve seen some Lions fans complain about the team’s lack of moves, and I get it. Free agency is exciting, and we want in on the fun, too. Detroit did make the significant move of re-signing Tracy Walker. They also brought back some depth in Alex Anzalone and Evan Brown.
In order to be justifiably mad at the Detroit Lions for inaction, there logically needs to be a deal reported that you wish the Lions had made. The question is: were there any? Were there any deals struck on Monday where you went, “Gee, I wish the Lions had paid that much money on that free agent?”
So today’s Question of the Day is:
What was the best free agency deal agreed upon in Day 1 of the legal tampering period?
My answer: I hate to say it, but the Packers re-signing linebacker De’Vondre Campbell to a five-year, $50 million deal seems like the best value to me. Of course, it’s hard to fault the Lions for not making that deal because it’s not clear if Campbell ever truly tested the market. Still, I have to tip my cap to the Packers.
Though Campbell only has one good season under his belt, it’s an elite one. Last year, Campbell was arguably the best linebacker in football, earning a 85.0 PFF grade (second highest in the league). He also finished seventh in tackles, adding two interceptions and two forced fumbles.
$10 million a year for that kind of player is an absolute steal. If the numbers hold, the Packers just locked in an All-Pro linebacker for an average per year that ranks outside the top 10. That’s almost unheard of in free agency, where you usually must overpay to outbid other interested teams.
UPDATE: The contract details are out, and it’s an even better deal than it looks on the surface:
De'Vondre Campbell Packers deal: $50M, $15M signing bonus, salaries $1.05M, $1.45M, $6.95M, $7.75M, $7.775M; $3M roster bonus 3rd day 2023 lg yr, $2.9M roster bonus 3rd day 2024 lg yr, up to $2.45M in per game active roster bonuses over length of deal, $50K workout bonus 2022— Aaron Wilson (@AaronWilson_NFL) March 15, 2022
Not a lot of guaranteed money, low salaries in Year 1 and 2, and a lot of incentive-based bonuses. The Packers got themselves a steal of a deal.
Sure, there’s some relative risk here, too. Campbell will be 29 years by the time the season starts. With only one great season under his belt, there’s no guarantee he can repeat it again. However, he’s only been in Green Bay for a full year, and it seems like they’ve figured out the best way to apply his talents.
So, yeah, I’m a bit jealous of that deal. And for the Packers to do it while facing a tight cap situation only makes me more angry.
What do you think the best deal from Monday was?