NFL free agency: Day 2 tampering period winners (Dan Quinn, Rashaad Penny) and losers (Elijah Moore, Colts)

The NFL free agency frenzy continued on Tuesday with more signings and more dollars being spent in the lead-up to the new league year starting on Wednesday. There's still no official word from Aaron Rodgers on his decision with the Jets and Packers, but there's the rest of the league to dive into. Here are a few winners and losers from the second day of the NFL's free agency period.


Whoever the Panthers draft

Frank Reich and the new-look Carolina Panthers are clearly going to draft a quarterback with the first overall pick, but they lessened the workload for their new quarterback by signing Andy Dalton to be a veteran presence for their new rookie. At this point, Dalton is a journeyman in his career and is a fine enough option to hold the fort down for a rookie quarterback while they get up to speed over the first few weeks of the season. Let's be real — the first overall pick is going to start a handful of games this season, but Dalton's presence helps ease the transition.

Rashaad Penny has been one of the NFL's premier big-play running backs when healthy, but he really needed to nail his next playing spot to maximize his talent. It's safe to say Penny did that by choosing to sign with the Eagles on the second day of free agency. Since 2018, Penny ranks third in yards per rushing attempt (5.7) amongst all NFL players with at least 330 carries — the only players with higher marks are quarterbacks Lamar Jackson (6.1) and Kyler Murray (5.8). Now, Penny gets to run behind arguably the best offensive line in the sport while playing next to Jalen Hurts. Penny should have plenty of room to do what he does best — rip off explosive runs. Penny's injury history has been concerning, but this is the best landing spot for him.

Desmond Ridder

The Falcons appear to have decided that Desmond Ridder is going to have a legitimate shot to be the team’s next long-term starting quarterback. Star guard Chris Lindstrom was extended on the first day of free agency, Jonnu Smith was acquired from the Titans, Kaleb McGary re-signed with the team and they added Taylor Heinicke to a clear backup-level quarterback contract. All signs are pointing to Ridder being the starting quarterback and they’re attempting to provide him with a stable supporting cast to help him grow. That’s good news for Ridder, who did show some promise in the final quarter of the 2022 season.

Dan Quinn

The Cowboys have been able to build continuity on defense and that all starts with being able to retain the services of defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, who could have bolted for other jobs over the past two offseasons. Quinn is staying and the Cowboys are making his life a bit easier in the secondary. First they re-signed stud safety Donovan Wilson to a three year-deal before trading for veteran cornerback Stephon Gilmore to play across from Trevon Diggs. To finish the day, they were able to re-sign linebacker Leighton Vander Esch to a one year deal. One of the league's best units is sticking together with more chances to add talent throughout the offseason, that's a good start to the offseason for Quinn.

Rashaad Penny


Buccaneers’ skill players

Who is going to block for the Buccaneers? Donovan Smith has been released (which is a replaceable move) and now Shaq Mason is on his way to Houston to start for the Texans' rebuild. The Buccaneers are in a weird spot where they have some young pieces, but those young players have played a lot of big-time football due to the presence of Tom Brady over the past few seasons. They need to do some retooling and rebuilding on offense and now their offensive line, besides Tristan Wirfs, needs a major overhaul. They weren't even really able to get in on the quarterback game, either. Now Mike Evans and Chris Godwin find themselves in a tough situation in the immediate aftermath of Brady retiring. At least they got a ring! That makes everything worth it, even catching passes from Baker Mayfield.

Elijah Moore

Is Elijah Moore going to put himself back on the trade market? With Aaron Rodgers seemingly one appearance on the Pat McAfee show away from coming to New York, the Jets have started getting the gang together for Rodgers. Allen Lazard is reportedly on the verge of signing a four-year contract and they're reportedly sniffing around the possibility of adding Randall Cobb to their offense. That's going to leave someone looking on the outside in for the Jets' receiver room, and that someone is not going to be Offensive Rookie of the Year Garrett Wilson. Moore might find himself below the others on the pecking order, and the Jets might not be willing to trade him based on how they've operated in the past with his trade request and their refusal to move fellow wide receiver Denzel Mims. Moore is a talented wide receiver, but he might find himself fighting to get on the field for this iteration of the Jets.

The Colts

Indianapolis' investment in Matt Ryan officially will officially backfire after he's released this week. Normally, doing so wouldn't matter much, especially considering Ryan's level of play last season, but after he was acquired from the Falcons they guaranteed $12 million for the 2023 season in his contract. Ryan won't be a Colt this coming season, but they still owe him the $12 million from his re-worked contract. Hopefully things start to get normal for the Colts soon! Or not, this is pretty fun too.