Every NFL player can’t wait to dip their toe into the free-agent waters.
It is an opportunity to cash in after years of hard work. Also beyond the money, it is a chance to relive the college days of being wined and dined as a top-level recruit by some of the best universities in the country.
Although we witnessed the darker side of free agency thanks to an interesting story on social media involving a top-flight New York Jets signee this week.
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What the Heck Man?
On March 17 the Jets signed veteran tight end CJ Uzomah to a three-year $24 million contract.
The 29-year-old had spent the first seven years of his career with the Cincinnati Bengals but was ready to change up the scenery in his life.
Despite agreeing to terms with the Jets on a new deal that apparently didn’t stop the Bengals from trying to bring him back home.
NFL Network Insider Mike Garafolo tweeted on Saturday, June 18, “yup, the Bengals were hoping he’d go back even after he agreed to terms with NYJ. We saw a few of those this free agency, but Uzomah was set on the Jets and the NY market.”
During an episode of the ‘Flight 2022’ docu-series the team produced, Uzomah said he was “happy about the things [the Jets] told me and how they’re going to utilize me personally. Also, as a team, the chemistry looks like it is there and with the pieces we got, the sky is the limit.”
Garafolo made an appearance on the series and reiterated, “Uzomah really wanted to be here with the Jets.”
It was a complete overhaul at the tight end position for the Jets this offseason.
On top of signing Uzomah to a big-money deal, they double-dipped by signing former Minnesota Vikings tight end Tyler Conklin to a three-year deal for $21 million.
If that wasn’t enough they added one final piece to the room in the 2022 NFL draft. Gang Green couldn’t help themselves with the insane value they seemed to get in the third round with the No. 101 overall pick selecting Jeremy Ruckert out of Ohio State.
Going back to the Uzomah story, after hearing this anecdote from an NFL insider a lot of fans got an eery deja vu flashback to a horrific free agent story from the past.
Back in March of 2019, Adam Schefter of ESPN shared that linebacker Anthony Barr had left the Vikings to sign with the Jets in free agency.
According to ESPN, he had agreed to terms on a massive contract that would pay him more than $15 million per season on a five-year contract.
Although shortly after agreeing to this deal he got cold feet and said, “I feel like I just made the worst mistake of my life.”
Despite verbally agreeing to a contract with the Jets, Barr ended up backing out of the deal and returned to his old team on a much lesser deal for $67.5 million total with $33 million of that guaranteed.
Bryan O’Really tweeted out that, “the Bengals were trying to Anthony Barr us” by stealing away a player after he already agreed to terms.
Fortunately this time the Jets were able to get this one done and Uzomah will now be a key part of the offense heading into 2022.
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