One thing is apparent early on: Deals were not brokered before free agency this year the way they were in years past. With a few notable exceptions, deals are not exploding from the get-go.
A perfect example is Dallas free-agent defensive end Chris Canty. A year ago, he would have had a deal with Miami and his former coach Bill Parcells by now. This year he has got visits.
Canty is scheduled to go to the Redskins Friday, Titans Saturday, Seahawks Monday, and then the 49ers if he’s still unsigned. All visits are subject to developments and possible change, of course, but right now that is the big difference between last year and this year. Deals versus visits.
With that in mind, here are some early developments on Day One of free agency:
Ravens to host Foxworth: No position has demanded as much attention – and money – as cornerback. Now Baltimore is poised to make a move on one. The Ravens are hosting a visit with Atlanta free-agent cornerback Dominique Foxworth, who played at the University of Maryland. The Ravens are serious about signing Foxworth and a deal could be completed today.
Plan B for Bills:With Buffalo losing out to New England for the services of running back Fred Taylor, the Bills could turn to former Lions and Bears free-agent running back Kevin Jones, who has drawn interest from the Bills, Jets, Rams and Buccaneers.
Buffalo is keeping busy at other positions as well. On Thursday, Buffalo hosted a visit from former San Diego and Jacksonville cornerback Drayton Florence, who also is considering a return to San Diego.
And there is something about players going back to their original team. Guard Derrick Dockery, whom Buffalo released on Thursday, could return to Washington, where he still owns a home. Dockery also is thought to have drawn interest from Detroit.
Gaffney to visit Denver: Even though Denver demolished its defense after this season, the Broncos are seeking to improve their offense at the start of free agency.
Broncos coach Josh McDaniels reached out to his former Patriots wide receiver Jabar Gaffney, who is scheduled to be in Denver on Friday.
The Broncos also pursued Giants free agent running back Derrick Ward, who has received interest from Denver, the Buccaneers, Rams, Bengals and Lions.
While McDaniels reached out to one of his former players, Broncos defensive coordinator Mike Nolan did the same. Denver attempted to arrange a visit this weekend with San Francisco’s free-agent defensive tackle Ronnie Fields. St. Louis attempted to do the same.
Super dividends: Super Bowl XLIII between Pittsburgh and Arizona helped draw added attention for Steelers cornerback Bryant McFadden and Cardinals defensive end Antonio Smith. Now, each is busy fielding interest as a free agent.
Despite speculation that Detroit would pursue him, McFadden’s first visit could be to the same Cardinals team his Steelers beat in the memorable Super Bowl.
Smith, meanwhile, has received recent calls and offers to visit the Buccaneers, Giants, Eagles, Texans and Falcons. He now is in the process of prioritizing those teams, at which point he would be expected to finalize an itinerary.