NFL free agency starts with a bang

The NFL free agency period opened with a flurry of activity last Friday, with several high profile players signing on with new teams. The early headliners were cornerback Nate Clements and linebacker Adalius Thomas

The 27-year-old Clements, who played for the Buffalo Bills for his first six NFL seasons, reached an agreement with the San Francisco 49ers on an eight-year, $80 million contract that makes him the highest paid defensive player in NFL history. Meanwhile, Thomas struck a deal of his own, coming to terms with the New England Patriots on a five-year, $35 million contract.

With the NFL salary cap increased this year to a record $109 million, it has long been expected that the 2007 free agent spending would be fast and furious as teams toyed with their new cap space. Other notable early signings included offensive linemen Eric Steinbach and Leonard Davis, who signed on with the Cleveland Browns and Dallas Cowboys, respectively, and running back Ahman Green, who joined the Houston Texans.