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While You Were Sleeping: Free Agents Busy in the Wee Hours

Here we are at last. The free agent signing period has officially begun. It is 5:44 AM (CST) and I am up scouring the internet for free agency news and rumors. You should all consider yourselves fortunate to know a loser like me. Here are a few of the signings and rumblings you may have missed while you were sleeping.

Redskins at it again - As usual, Daniel Snyder was coiled back in the chute like rodeo bull, waiting for that gate to drop at midnight. About a half hour into the free agent signing period, the Redskins re-signed DeAngelo Hall to a six-year pact worth a maximum value of $55 million ($23 million guaranteed). This is not Nmamdi Asomugha money, but that's a pretty healthy chunk of change for a second-tier corner. Have fun with that Daniel.

The Redskins have also reportedly backed out of the Albert Haynesworth sweepstakes, and may be more intently focused on signing former Cowboy (can I just call him that now?) Chris Canty. The Redskins were in contact with Canty minutes after free agency officially begun, and have reportedly now set up a visit. The Redskins do however have a little more competition for Canty's services, as the Titans, Seahawks, and 49ers have all thrown their names in the hat as well.

The Redskins are also in negotiations with Buffalo Bills guard Derrick Dockery, whom they whiffed on before the 2007 season.

Ray Ray to Denver? - Ray Lewis walked away from a last-minute 3-year $25 million offer from the Ravens. The Baltimore Sun believes that Denver may be a more realistic landing spot for the linebacker than either the Cowboys or Jets. The Sun connects a set of dots that I had not thought much about. Ray Lewis did enjoy some of his best years under the command of former Ravens defensive coordinator Mike Nolan, who is now running the defense in Denver.

In other news out of Baltimore, Sports Illustrated's Peter King believes that the New York Jets have linebacker Bart Scott virtually in the bag. It will be interesting to see if the Ravens intensify efforts to retain Ray Lewis if Scott signs elsewhere.

Other free agency tidbits:

- The Giants are reportedly ready to throw about $5 million a year at Atlanta linebacker Michael Boley. Boley is a heck of an underrated player and could thrive in a defense that generates so much pressure with it's front four.

- The Dolphins are hosting Dallas reserve guard Joe Berger. It always makes me queasy when Bill Parcells starts rummaging through the bottom of our roster. I sure hope we didn't tender the wrong backup lineman.

- The Eagles have been listed among teams interested in the services of Bengals wideout T.J. Houshmandzadeh...Yipeee! They are also expected to make an attempt to sign Bengals offensive tackle Stacy Andrews.

Not a lot of other news that affects the Cowboys, or the NFC East at this point. We are however only about seven hours into this thing. I wouldn't look for the Cowboys to be very active for at least a few days, maybe a week. Look for Jerry Jones and company to jump on a few second-tier, or role player types after the prices come down. Let the games begin!

UPDATE: Albert Haynesworth has just signed a 7-year/$100 million deal with Washington.

UPDATE II:  Bart Scott has signed a long-term deal with the Jets.  Details to come.

Comment:  We have an early loser.  The Ravens have lost Scott and are likely to lose C Jason Brown to the Rams.  Ray Lewis is also out on the prowl, so this could be a black day for Baltimore.  -- rafael

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