NEW YORK — The Eagles gave away everything but the Liberty Bell to bring in players. The Seahawks couldn't get rid of some of their players fast enough. And a player just out of jail has a deal with the Jets for a guaranteed $3 million.
The biggest, wildest spending spree in NFL history is almost over, with several teams making headlines for their generosity. Others stood out for not being particularly active, even though they're not exactly world beaters.
Did all the trades and free agency signings swing the balance of power in pro football toward anyone? We won't find out for months, but here's a look at who went hog wild and who was reluctant to play the game before the real games are played.
Nobody outdid or outbid the Eagles, who swooped in late to grab the most prized free agent, cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha, away from the Jets and Cowboys. They also added yet another quality cornerback — the Eagles already have Asante Samuel — when they traded backup quarterback Kevin Kolb to Arizona for Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.
Altogether, Philly has made seven major acquisitions, adding defensive linemen Jason Babin and Cullen Jenkins, running back Ronnie Brown, offensive lineman Ryan Harris and quarterback Vince Young.
"When a team wants you, you can feel it," Asomugha said. "And when you feel that match, I don't think you can shy away from that."
Not for $60 million over five years, you can't.
The Colts had no choice but to open the vault for Peyton Manning, who says the five-year, $90 million deal ensured "I will be an Indianapolis Colt for my entire career."
Indianapolis owner Jim Irsay made sure the contract with the four-time MVP got done before his team began serious workouts.
"I think from my perspective when I said I wanted him to be the highest-paid player in the league, that was really a symbolic way of showing respect," Irsay said. "I didn't want there to be any debate about what Peyton's done for the franchise."
Also digging deeper than most were the Jets and Dolphins, who clearly understand how difficult it is to keep up with the Patriots.
New York guaranteed receiver Plaxico Burress $3 million even though he spent much of the last two years in prison and hasn't played since 2008. The Jets also re-signed their top wideout, Santonio Holmes, for $50 million over five years, and their No. 2 cornerback, Antonio Cromartie ($32 million, four years). Cromartie said there were no hard feelings that the Jets pursued Asomugha first, then backtracked.
"Just know that I have a big chip on my shoulder," Cromartie said, "and expect something really big this season."
Miami has done plenty of big things, from trading for Reggie Bush and reworking his deal (two years, $10 million) to signing tackle Mark Colombo, LB Kevin Burnett and bringing back longtime defensive star Jason Taylor for, perhaps, a last hurrah. There's still a chance the Dolphins could pull off a deal for a veteran quarterback, possibly Kyle Orton of Denver.
Fans might think such also-rans as the Bengals, Browns, Broncos and 49ers would dive headfirst into the signing extravaganza. They haven't.
Perhaps Cleveland, Denver and San Francisco thought changing coaching staffs during a year of unparalleled upheaval was enough, because none of them has been making headlines with any transactions.
The Browns' most notable move was bringing in Usama Young to start at safety.
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