The official start of NFL free-agency began at 4:00pm ET on Wednesday amid a flurry of activity. Some big WVUPro dominoes fell in the aftermath.
The biggest catch among former WVU players this offseason was Bruce Irvin. When Seattle chose not to pick up his fifth year option on his rookie contract, there was little chance they would have room under the salary cap to re-sign him. Although he said he would remain in the Pacific Northwest if the money was close, there were other teams vying for his services.
For months, the forerunners seemed to be his hometown Atlanta and Jacksonville. Both of their team’s head coaches (Dan Campbell, Dan Quinn) were formerly defensive coordinators for the Seahawks.
The wildcard was Oakland. Their defensive coordinator is Ken Norton, formerly Irvin’s position coach in Seattle. In Irvin’s first three years, the two built a strong relationship together. Norton was integral in Irvin’s transition from DE to OLB. Irvin signed a four-year contract worth $39 million with the Raiders.
“When you look up the picture of a linebacker, his face shows up,” linebackers coach Ken Norton Jr. said while coaching Irvin in Seattle. “He’s going to do it all. He’s going to be rushing the passer, he’s going to be playing the run, he’s going to be buzzing to the flats, he’s going to be flying around.”
When Oakland hired Norton last year, he compared Raiders’ star linebacker Khalil Mack to Irvin. Now he get to pair Mack and Irvin together to create one of the most formidable pass-rush duos in the AFC.
Elsewhere . . .
- After being pursued by several teams, Adam Jones re-signed with Cincinnati on a three-year deal reportedly worth more than $20 million.
- Keith Tandy re-signed with Tampa Bay for the next two seasons, worth $1.85 million.
- The Steelers are interested in re-signing FB Will Johnson, but will reportedly let him test the market. He has already talked with the New York Jets, Chicago Bears, Tennessee Titans, and the San Diego Chargers.
- In February, Najee Goode re-upped with Philadelphia.
- We have not heard any movement from Green Bay and unrestricted free-agent Don Barclay.