2024 NFL free agency updates: Tracker for Tuesday buzz, notable moves with big names still unclaimed (2024)

Editor's note: This page captures the news from NFL free agency on Tuesday, March 12. For the latest news on NFL free agent negotiations, check our live updates page for Wednesday, March 13.

The NFL's 2024 free agency period unofficially entered Day 2 on Tuesday, when players with expiring contracts can continue negotiating with new teams. They can also still re-sign with their current clubs, though new deals can't be formalized until the league year officially begins Wednesday at 4 p.m. ET.

After a very eventful Day 1 saw QB Kirk Cousins, RB Saquon Barkley, DT Christian Wilkins and dozens of others signal their intentions to move into new situations, only a few big names remain unclaimed, with several - including pass rusher Danielle Hunter and running back Derrick Henry - reaching deals Tuesday. But more will doubtless be on the move, while further trades and cost-saving moves are almost inevitable ahead of Wednesday.

2024 NFL free agency updates: Tracker for Tuesday buzz, notable moves with big names still unclaimed (1)

USA TODAY Sportsprovided updates on all the latest deals and buzz throughout the day, with up-to-the-minute news from our staff and around the USA TODAY Network on the start of NFL free agency:

Patrick Mahomes restructuring contract with Chiefs

During the heyday of the New England Patriots’ dynasty, quarterback Tom Brady routinely played under his market value so the front office could bolster the rest of the roster.

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Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs still have a long way to go before their dynasty is comparable to the Pats', but they have clearly taken that page of the playbook to sustain success.

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Mahomes is restructuring his contract to create $21.6 million in cap space for Kansas City this offseason. This is the second restructuring of his deal in the past six months.

Mahomes inked a 10-year, $450 million extension with the Chiefs during the 2020 offseason. The three-time Super Bowl MVP and the team reworked the deal last September so that Mahomes would make $208.1 million from 2023-26. The details of this latest financial maneuver were immediately unknown. His deal was set to account for $58.6 million against the cap in 2024 prior to the restructure, per Spotrac.

Kansas City entered the offseason with $7,478,547 in cap space, which was 25th in the league.

The Chiefs unofficially started this free-agent cycle by re-singing defensive tackle Chris Jones to a five-year deal with $95 million guaranteed. They placed the franchise tag on cornerback L’Jarius Sneed as they try to work out a long-term deal with him.

Several of Mahomes’ peers have done deals in the intervening years that have secured more average annual value than Mahomes’ initial $45 million. According to USA TODAY Sports’ NFL salaries database, Mahomes entered the 2023 season ranked eighth on the list of top-paid QBs.

Steelers trading WR Diontae Johnson to Panthers

Wide receiverDiontae Johnson’s time in Pittsburgh has come to an end after five seasons.

TheSteelershave agreed to trade Johnson to theCarolina Panthers. Pittsburgh is sending Johnson and a seventh-round pick to Carolina. The Steelers will receive cornerbackDonte Jacksonand a sixth-round pick, a person familiar with the situation told USA TODAY Sports. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to discuss the trade.

Johnson is entering the final year of his contract that he signed in 2022.

Johnson was Pittsburgh’s primary target on the outside. He tallied 391 receptions, 4,363 receiving yards and 25 touchdowns in 77 career regular-season games. However, Johnson had streaks of inconsistency, once going 21 straight games without a touchdown catch. The Steelers’ struggles at the quarterback position also contributed to some up-and-down performances from Johnson.

In Carolina, Johnson is set to get a fresh start with new Panthers head coach Dave Canales and 2023 No. 1 overall pick Bryce Young at quarterback.

Austin Hooper to sign with Patriots

Veteran tight end Austin Hooper is expected to sign with the New England Patriots, NFL Media is reporting.

Hooper will get a one-year deal worth up to $4.24 million, per NFL Media.

The move will reunite Hooper with offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt, who also was the Browns' offensive coordinator during Hooper's time in Cleveland.

Hooper — a third-round pick in the 2016 NFL draft out of Stanford — spent his first four NFL seasons with the Atlanta Falcons and has bounced around since then. He spent two seasons with the Browns before joining the Tennessee Titans in 2022 and the Las Vegas Raiders last season.

Hooper played in all 17 games for the Raiders last season (making nine starts), and caught 25 passes for 234 yards. In his eight-year career, Hooper has 364 catches for 3,702 yards and 25 touchdowns. Hooper's best campaign came in 2019 when he had career highs in catches (75), yards (787) and touchdowns (six) in the second of back-to-back Pro Bowl seasons.

In New England, Hooper will team up with Hunter Henry to form a formidable tight end duo. — Jim Reineking

Eagles reunite with Chauncey (C.J.) Gardner-Johnson

Back to the “City of Brotherly Love” goes Chauncey (C.J.) Gardner-Johnson.

The former Detroit Lions safety agreed Tuesday to a three-year deal worth a maximum of $33 million with the Philadelphia Eagles, according to ESPN.

Gardner-Johnson played the first three seasons of his NFL career with the New Orleans Saints before enjoying a career year with the Eagles in 2022, when the team reached the Super Bowl. Gardner-Johnson tied for the league lead in interceptions (six) during the 2022 regular season.

Gardner-Johnson signed a one-year deal with the Lions for 2023 but suffered a torn pectoral muscle in Week 2 and missed most of the season. He had indicated he was seeking long-term security and Gardner-Johnson has it now in a place the 26-year-old had his best pro season.

Philadelphia tried to replace Gardner-Johnson, who can also play the slot corner position, with rookie Sydney Brown and Reed Blankenship. But the Eagles’ defense, particularly its spine up the middle, was abysmal for most of the season, especially as the team lost six of its final seven games, including playoffs.

The Eagles have been active in the opening days of the legal tampering window. Thus far they have agreed to terms with running back Saquon Barkley, edge rusher Bryce Huff, wide receiver DeVante Parker and linebacker Zack Baun.

Chiefs lose a piece in LB Willie Gay Jr.

The Kansas City Chiefs will return their core as they push for a historic Super Bowl three-peat, but the team is losing some of its pieces from last year.

Linebacker Willie Gay Jr. is joining the New Orleans Saints on a one-year deal worth $3 million, according to multiple reports.

Gay, 26, has been a starter since arriving in 2020 as a second-round pick out of Mississippi State, helping the team win two Super Bowl during that span. In New Orleans, he should join a linebacker group that includes Demario Davis and Pete Werner while serving as a replacement for Zack Baun, who left to join the Philadelphia Eagles.

Jordan Poyer lands with Dolphins

Last year, on his eponymous podcast, Jordan Poyer commented that he “would love to go to a state that doesn’t take half” of his salary via income taxes.

Moving from New York to Florida is a proven formula to make that happen.

Poyer agreed to a one-year deal with the Miami Dolphins on Tuesday, according to multiple reports. The 11-year pro spent the last seven seasons with the Buffalo Bills and was a first-team All-Pro selection in 2021. He made his first Pro Bowl the next year and has 26 career interceptions.

Miami has Jevon Holland as its other safety.

Texans shell out big money for Danielle Hunter

On Monday, the Houston Texans lost edge rusher Jonathan Greenard to the Minnesota Vikings. On Tuesday, the Texans answered back by grabbing the Vikings' marquee free agent to replenish their pass rush.

Danielle Hunter agreed to a two-year, $49 million contract with the Texans on Tuesday, according to multiple reports.

Hunter, 29, lands one of the biggest paydays in free agency after he tallied a career-high 16 1/2 sacks. His deal includes $48 million guaranteed, according to multiple reports.

He will slide into a Texans front four led by reigning NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year Will Anderson Jr., who recorded seven sacks in 2023.

Houston also added former Tennessee Titans defensive lineman Denico Autry in free agency.

Bears flip former Packers safety Jonathan Owens

Former Green Bay Packers safety Jonathan Owens is set to join an ex-rival.

Owens agreed to a two-year deal, a person with knowledge of the move told USA TODAY Sports' Tyler Dragon.

Owens, who is married to seven-time Olympic medalist Simone Biles, had 84 tackles last season for the Packers.

He joins a Bears defense that earlier reloaded at safety by signing two-time Pro Bowl selection Kevin Byard.

Buccaneers bring back LB Lavonte David for another season

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are returning another franchise fixture.

Linebacker Lavonte David will be back with the team for a 13th season after agreeing to a one-year contract worth up to $10 million, according to multiple reports.

David, 34, has been a starter ever since arriving as a second-round pick out of Nebraska in 2012. He led the team with 134 tackles.

The Buccaneers re-signed quarterback Baker Mayfield and wide receiver Mike Evans and franchise-tagged safety Antoine Winfield Jr., but the team also traded cornerback Carlton Davis to the Detroit Lions.

Commanders keep building on defense with Jeremy Chinn

The Washington Commanders continue to add pieces to their defense via free agency.

Safety Jeremy Chinn agreed to a one-year, $5.1 million deal with the team, according to multiple reports.

A versatile hybrid who also has seen time at linebacker, Chinn has seen his last two seasons derailed by injury, as he missed 11 games during that span.

In Washington, he'll be reunited with former Panthers linebacker Frankie Luvu, who agreed to a deal with the team Monday.

Colts re-sign CB Kenny Moore II

The Indianapolis Colts are keeping the key pieces of their defense in place.

The team agreed Tuesday to a three-year, $30 million deal with cornerback Kenny Moore II. He becomes the latest defensive player to re-sign with Indianapolis after the franchise also brought back defensive tackle Grover Stewart and linebacker Zaire Franklin.

A Pro Bowl selection in 2021, Moore has emerged as one of the NFL's most reliable nickel corners.

Josh Uche re-ups with Patriots

Josh Uche is getting another chance to get his career back on track with the New England Patriots.

The pass rusher is re-signing with the team on a one-year, $3 million deal, according to multiple reports.

Uche, 25, put together a breakout season in 2022 when he tallied 11 ½ sacks. But the designated pass rusher has operated in a limited role and only saw 33% of the team's defensive snaps last season, when his production dipped significantly.

With Jerod Mayo taking over as head coach and DeMarcus Covington leading the defense, however, Uche gets a chance at a fresh start with the franchise.

Commanders bring over another former Cowboys player

Dan Quinn is turning to another familiar face to assist in the Washington Commanders' reboot.

Defensive end Dante Fowler Jr. agreed to a one-year deal with the team, according to multiple reports.

Fowler becomes the third former Cowboys player to join the Commanders in free agency, following the lead of center Tyler Biadasz and defensive end Dorance Armstrong.

Fowler spent the last two seasons working under Quinn on the Cowboys, recording 10 sacks in that span. He has an extensive history with the coach, who recruited him to Florida and also coached him with the Atlanta Falcons.

Gerald Everett to sign with Bears

Tight end Gerald Everett plans to sign with the Bears on a two-year contract worth up to $14 million, a person familiar to the situation told USA TODAY Sports. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because they aren’t authorized to discuss the trade.

Everett spent the past two years with the Chargers. He produced 109 catches, 966 yards and seven touchdowns in 31 games. The Bears will be the fourth team Everett has played for in eight NFL seasons. The veteran, who is adept at gaining yards after the catch, gives Chicago a solid one-two punch at tight end with Cole Kmet.

Giants find their backup for QB Daniel Jones

Daniel Jones has a new backup.

The New York Giants reached a pact with quarterback Drew Lock on a one-year deal worth a maximum of $5 million, according to NorthJersey.com, part of the USA TODAY Network.

Lock was selected by the Denver Broncos in the second round of the 2019 draft and was part of the compensation the team sent to the Seattle Seahawks in exchange for Russell Wilson.

Lock started five games his rookie season and then led the league in interceptions over 13 starts in 2020.

In Seattle, Lock sat behind Geno Smith and will now provide a veteran presence behind Jones, who is coming off an ACL injury. The team also met with Wilson, who ultimately signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Jones' backup in the previous two years, Tyrod Taylor, agreed to a deal with the New York Jets on Tuesday. Tommy DeVito is the other quarterback on the Giants' roster.

New York also has the No. 6 pick in the draft, and general manager Joe Schoen said at the combine that bringing in a veteran “doesn’t preclude” the team from taking a quarterback.

Ravens lose LB Patrick Queen to rival

Another former Baltimore Ravens standout is linking up with a division rival.

Linebacker Patrick Queen is joining the team on a three-year, $41 million contract, according to multiple reports.

Queen, 26, enjoyed a breakout season working alongside Roquan Smith in the middle of the Ravens' defense, earning a Pro Bowl nod after racking up 133 tackles and 3 ½ sacks.

The 2020 first-round pick out of LSU becomes the second notable Baltimore defender to join an AFC North foe after safety Geno Stone agreed to a two-year deal with the Cincinnati Bengals.

In Pittsburgh, Queen will look to provide support to a unit that has struggled with its inside linebacker play, especially after Cole Holcomb and Kwon Alexander went down with injuries last November.

Derrick Henry lands with Ravens

Derrick Henryessentially said goodbye to Tennessee Titans fansfollowing the final game of the 2023 regular season, when Henry grabbed a microphone and told the crowd in Nissan Stadium, "I just want to say thank you for the greatest eight years of my life."

The farewell was for real.

The four-time Pro Bowl selection agreed to a two-year, $16 million deal with the Baltimore Ravens, according to NFL Network. The contract includes $9 million guaranteed and bonuses that could up the deal to $20 million total.

The Ravens were the NFL's top rushing offense last season, as Henry will join a backfield that includes reigning MVP Lamar Jackson at quarterback. Former Ravens running back Gus Edwards agreed to terms with the Los Angeles Chargers on Monday, and J.K. Dobbins is no longer under contract. Keaton Mitchell is recovering from a torn ACL the undrafted rookie suffered in December.

Falcons secure more help for Kirk Cousins

One day after landing Kirk Cousins, the Atlanta Falcons are still working to bolster his supporting cast.

Wide receiver Darnell Mooney agreed to a three-year, $39 million contract with the team that includes $26 million guaranteed, according to multiple reports.

Mooney, 26, brings a dose of speed and downfield playmaking to a Falcons attack that already features wide receiver Drake London and tight end Kyle Pitts as well as running back Bijan Robinson. He has struggled with inconsistent play in Chicago's passing game. After being held under 500 receiving yards in each of the last two seasons, he will be looking to recapture the early-career form he displayed in 2021, when he recorded 81 catches for 1,055 yards.

Dolphins bolster depth at edge rusher with Shaquil Barrett

The Miami Dolphins' offseason has so far been defined by the loss of several key players. On Tuesday, however, the team secured additional help at a key spot.

Edge rusher Shaquil Barrett will sign with the Dolphins, he told Bleacher Report's Jordan Schultz.

Barrett, 31, was a cap casualty for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after his five-season run with the team featured two Pro Bowls and a Super Bowl title in 2020. He has 59 career sacks, including 4½ last year.

In Miami, he could prove to be a key depth piece as Jaelan Phillips (torn Achilles) and Bradley Chubb (torn ACL) both work their way back from significant injuries. Andrew Van Ginkel, who recorded a career-high six sacks last season, left in free agency to sign the Minnesota Vikings.

Elsewhere, the Dolphins lost defensive tackle Christian Wilkins (Las Vegas Raiders), offensive guard Robert Hunt (Carolina Panthers) and safety Brandon Jones (Denver Broncos).

Joe Mixon on the move in trade to Texans

Joe Mixon won't be released after all.

After reports Monday evening indicated the Cincinnati Bengals would release their longtime starting running back, the team reached an agreement Tuesday to trade Mixon to the Houston Texans, a person with knowledge of the deal confirmed to USA TODAY Sports' Tyler Dragon. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal was not yet official.

NFL Network was first to report the news.

Mixon, 27, joins a Texans team that has made an avowed commitment to improving its run game after finishing last year ranked 29th in yards per carry (3.7).

"I think the running game will be significant for us to improve," Texans coach DeMeco Ryans said after the season. "As you go through the game, especially in postseason, teams that win (have) to be able to run the football and sustain it. We'll see where all the guys and all the positions on our team are. We'll look at the roster – me and Nick – and see where we have to improve. Our job is to improve our roster as best as we can."

Leading rusher Devin Singletary agreed to a deal with the New York Giants on Monday, leaving the team with little behind Dameon Pierce, who averaged just 2.9 yards per carry in a disappointing sophom*ore campaign.

Jameis Winston in at QB for Browns, Joe Flacco out?

The Cleveland Browns have their new backup QB behind Deshaun Watson.

Jameis Winston plans to sign a one-year deal with the team, according to multiple reports. The move would seem to all but finalize an expected split with Joe Flacco, the reigning Comeback Player of the Year who is set to be a free agent.

Winston spent his last four years with the New Orleans Saints, starting 10 games from 2021-2022 before being relegated to a backup role.

In Cleveland, Winston will take on the all-important role of working behind Deshaun Watson, who is working his way back from a season-ending shoulder injury.

Flacco, who threw for 300 yards in four straight games and helped push the Browns into the playoffs with his 4-1 mark, said last week on SiriusXM he would be interested in a return to Cleveland but was evaluating his opportunities.

Bengals lock up TE Mike Gesicki

The Cincinnati Bengals are bringing in a steady pass catcher at tight end for Joe Burrow to target.

Mike Gesicki and the Bengals agreed to a one-year contract worth a maximum $3.25 million, per NFL Network.

Irv Smith Jr., Tanner Hudson and Drew Sample were a tight-end-by-committee for the Bengals last season.

Gesicki was selected 42nd overall in the 2018 draft by the Miami Dolphins, and he caught 18 touchdowns over his five seasons there. The New England Patriots brought Gesicki in on a one-year deal, and he caught 29 passes for 244 yards and two touchdowns.

Commanders to sign QB Marcus Mariota

Marcus Mariota is staying in the NFC East.

The Washington Commanders are bringing in Mariota on a one-year, $6 million deal that could turn into $10 million, according to ESPN. Mariota was Jalen Hurts’ backup with the Philadelphia Eagles last season.

The No. 2 pick in the 2015 NFL draft, Mariota played his first five seasons in the NFL as the starter with the Tennessee Titans but was replaced by Ryan Tannehill. He was the backup for two seasons (2020-21) with the Las Vegas Raiders and then started the first 13 games of the 2022 season for the Atlanta Falcons. Mariota elected to have knee surgery to address a chronic issue after he was benched for Desmond Ridder for the season’s final four games. During that season, he was one of three quarterbacks (along with current Falcons QB Kirk Cousins and Kansas City Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes) to be featured in Netflix’s “Quarterback” documentary.

In Washington, Mariota will join a quarterback room that includes Sam Howell, who was the starter for most of last season. The Commanders are also expected to select one of the top quarterbacks in next month’s draft, with the team taking Jayden Daniels at No. 2 overall in the latest USA TODAY Sports mock draft -- signaling that Howell's time could be coming to a close.

Mariota, the 2014 Heisman Trophy winner at Oregon, appeared in three games last year.

Commanders add Clelin Ferrell

The Washington Commanders continue to collect pieces in free agency to remake their defense.

The latest addition is defensive end Clelin Ferrell, who agreed to a one-year deal Tuesday, per multiple reports.

Ferrell, 26, had 3 ½ sacks last season for the San Francisco 49ers.

The Commanders have also added edge rusher Dorance Armstrong and linebacker Frankie Luvu.

J.J. Watt's brother retires

No, not 2021 Defensive Player of the Year T.J. Watt, but FB Derek Watt.

Derek Watt played eight NFL seasons, mostly on the shadows of his higher-profile brothers, splitting his time between the Chargers and as T.J.'s teammate with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Derek Watt made the announcement on social media.

Vikings get new-look backfield for 2024

After Minnesota lost QB Kirk Cousins to the Atlanta Falcons on Monday, GM Kwesi Adofo-Mensah didn't take long to pivot to Sam Darnold as a replacement. And the Vikes remained busy Tuesday morning, striking a one-year, $7 million deal, per multiple reports, with RB Aaron Jones, who was cut by the division rival Green Bay Packers on Monday after they imported 2022 rushing champ Josh Jacobs.

Jones only played 11 regular-season games in 2023 but finished strongly, exceeding 100 rushing yards in his final five appearances – including both of the Pack's playoff games. Presuming he can stay on the field, Jones should be a significant upgrade from Alexander Mattison, whom Minnesota already jettisoned.

2024 NFL free agency updates: Tracker for Tuesday buzz, notable moves with big names still unclaimed (4)

Rams reunite with cornerback

CB Darious Williams, who was released by the Jacksonville Jaguars last week in a cost-cutting move, is apparently headed back to Los Angeles. Per NFL Network, he will re-sign for three years with the Rams, for whom he played for three seasons and part of a fourth. He was a member of the club that won Super Bowl 56 to cap the 2021 campaign. Williams started 17 games for the first time in his career in 2023, intercepting four balls for the Jags.

DaQuan Jones re-signs with Bills

The Buffalo Bills took care of one of their own, locking up DT DaQuan Jones on a two-year, $16.5 million contract. He'll get $10.5 million guaranteed.

The Bills spent Day 1 of free agency methodically restructuring contracts and re-signing free agents after freeing up cap space. GM Brandon Beane burned the midnight oil by retaining another player in a moveannounced by Jones and his agencyabout 1 a.m. ET Tuesday.

Jones had 38 tackles and two sacks in his first year in Buffalo in 2022. He continued to play at high level last year next to Ed Oliver on the line, making 10 tackles with 2½ sacks in the first four weeks, before before suffering a torn pectoral muscle and missing 10 games. He returned for the final two weeks of the regular season and two playoff games.

- (Rochester, N.Y.) Democrat and Chronicle

Titans bring in former first-round linebacker

The Tennessee Titanswill sign linebacker and former first-round pick Kenneth Murray to a two-year contract worth $18 million when the free agency signing window opens Wednesday,per an announcement from Murray's Instagram story.

The Titanswere looking for inside linebacker help and Murray, the former Los Angeles Chargers starter, represents a fresh start for the unit. He logged 321 tackles in four years with the Chargers, including a career-high 107 in 15 games in 2023. He also had career highs in sacks (three) and pass breakups (four) despite missing two games.

Murray, a 2020 first-round pick (No. 23 overall), replaces Tennessee's leading tackler from 2023, Azeez Al-Shaair, who has agreed to sign with the Houston Texans, per reports.

-Nick Suss, The Tennessean

Why are some free agents already signing deals?

The tampering window is open, however some players have already switched teams. Why?

In the case of S Kevin Byard, who reportedly agreed to a two-year deal with the Chicago Bears prior to Monday, for example, the Philadelphia Eagles terminated his contract early. That made Byard a "street free agent" and thus eligible to sign elsewhere immediately as opposed to waiting for Wednesday. Former Denver Broncos Pro Bowl FS Justin Simmons is in a similar situation, already eligible to join another club.

Early termination of contracts not only kickstarts the process of clearing cap space, but it's often a sign of good faith as clubs give veterans a head start on the free agent process.

In the case of QB Russell Wilson, hecan't officially sign with the Pittsburgh Steelersuntil later this week asthe Broncos have only announced his impending release, but it's not yet official.

When does 2024 NFL free agency start?

Free agency does not officially begin until 4 p.m. ET on Wednesday, March 13, which marks the start of the new league year. At noon on Monday, March 11, however, players who are pending free agents were permitted to contact and reach agreements with teams on contracts.

2024 NFL free agency updates: Tracker for Tuesday buzz, notable moves with big names still unclaimed (2024)
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