Tracking the NFL’s free agent frenzy

Pierre Garcon and Kirk Cousins celebrate after a touchdown. (Photo: Todd Olszewski/Getty Images)

NORFOLK, Va. – Happy New Year, NFL! The new league year begins Thursday at 4pm. With the 2017 salary cap increasing roughly $12 million from 2016 to $167 million, the league’s 32 teams have money to burn.

Prior to the start of the free agent signing window, the Redskins locked-up tight end Vernon Davis with a new three year contract.

However, as one of Kirk Cousins’ favorite targets returns to D.C., Washington loses another. According to ESPN’s Chris Mortensen, receiver Pierre Garcon will sign with the 49ers.

San Francisco has long been rumored as a destination for Cousins, despite the ‘Skins using the exclusive franchise tag on him last month. The reason the 49ers are linked to Captain Kirk is because Kyle Shanahan, the Redskins former offensive coordinator, is the new head coach in San Francisco.

The likelihood of Washington trading Cousins (due to the exclusive franchise tag, he can’t negotiate with another team) prior to the 2017 season decreased when the 49ers agreed to a two-year contract with free agent quarterback Brian Hoyer.

Another possibility is that Redskins wide receiver DeSean Jackson will sign with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

If Jackson leaves the Redskins, they face losing their top two wide receivers to free agency.

One player who will NOT be hitting the open market in free agency? Hampton native Tyrod Taylor. Just seven months after agreeing to a new contract with Buffalo, the former Hokies standout restructures his deal to remain with the Bills.

In other QB news, albeit an expected development, Tony Romo will be released by the Cowboys Thursday when the new league year begins.

The 49ers have added a few former Redskins to their stable, but they’ve moved on from safety Antoine Bethea. The Newport News native has quickly found a new home in Arizona though, as he and the Cardinals have agreed to a three-year deal.