Dansby, a target of the Giants and the top linebacker in unrestricted free agency, never gave anyone a chance to compete with the Dolphins’ five-year offer after making Miami his only stop.

The Giants then compounded the Cardinals talent drain by signing safety Antrel Rolle last night to a five-year deal that included $15 million guaranteed. That was after Baltimore acquired the disgruntled Boldin and a fifth-round pick in next month’s draft for a third- and fourth-round choice this year.

The Ravens swooped in at the last moment to pry Boldin away from the Patriots, who had been considered the favorites to get the three-time Pro Bowl selection.

“Anquan is such a competitor that I’d be remiss if I said you could easily replace a player of his caliber,” beleaguered Cardinals general manager Rod Graves said.

The Peppers signing was just one of several rapid-fire moves by Chicago yesterday in hopes of catching the Vikings quickly in the NFC North.

The Bears, who stumbled to a 7-9 mark last season, made it clear to potential lame-duck coach Lovie Smith that they want to win now by also signing former Vikings running back Chester Taylor to a four-year deal with $7 million guaranteed and agreeing to terms with ex-Chargers tight end Brandon Manumaleuna.

“Free agency wise and just looking at our roster right now, when you go 7-9 of course you need to make some changes,” the Bears’ Smith said. “You need to change some things up.”

The Jets’ acquisition Thursday night of former All-Pro cornerback Antonio Cromartie from the Chargers was the opener in what looks to be a flurry of trades prompted by the uncapped year.

Teams were reluctant to make a lot of trades under a capped system because of cap-related money reasons, but the handcuffs are off this year and clubs appear intent on taking advantage.

The only people who figure to be unhappy about a busy first day of free agency are the roughly 212 players who would have been unrestricted free agents under a capped system.

An uncapped year forced those players to revert back to restricted free-agent status, preventing the bigger names from cashing in. – Keith A. Baker

Keith is a sports agent in Stamford, Connecticut. His goal is to offer a unique insight to the world of sports. Comments in his columns are for entertainment purposes only and do not reflect the views and opinions of his firm or his clients.

Confused about the 2010 NFL uncapped season and what it means? You can get up to snuff here:

* NFL Free Agency / Uncapped Season Begins Today – What they are “saying”
* NFL Labor Issues Made Simple
* NFL Trades expected to increase in frequency
* NFL Labor isues to receive political attention
* NFL Franchise Players Announced

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