The 2016 NFL season came to a close Sunday evening with Super Bowl 51, and now all 32 teams are formally into the offseason. The end of the Super Bowl is the first of many important dates for veterans around the league. Rosters were frozen during the playoffs, which meant teams could not release players or sign free agents to contracts. Teams could sign players to reserve/future deals, but those are not the more formal contract we normally see.
This means, we can expect to start hearing about veterans getting released. I imagine it might take a few days to really get into full swing, but sooner rather than later, notable names will likely hit the market.
Among those is Buffalo Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor. The Bills signed Taylor to a six-year, $90 million contract extension last August, but it was effectively a one-year, $9.5 million contract with an option worth $27.5 million in guaranteed money. The Bills have until the start of free agency to make a decision.
Taylor said he has been in touch with new coach Sean McDermott and his offensive coaching staff “about five times” thus far. It sounds like he does not know what the Bills have planned for him, but he wants to be ready if management decides to keep him around.
Taylor is just one of many veterans who will be released between now and the start of free agency. The San Francisco 49ers have holes up and down the roster, and with a ton of draft picks and cap space, they should be plenty active this offseason. In some ways, they are like an expansion team with a chance to completely re-shape the franchise. I don’t expect a crazy spending spree in free agency, but virtually anybody could be on the radar this offseason.