When the clock strikes noon, money will be thrown like crazy ... as usual. Even with the salary cap being set lower than many general managers expected and hoped for at $69 million and whats considered a shallow pool of top-end players available, this unrestricted-free-agent period figures to follow the familiar script of teams bidding up prices to keep up with each other. "You have to be prepared rightly or wrongly to overspend and to give more term than you probably would want to," Boston Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli said on a conference call last week. "That doesnt mean you dont make a good deal, its just the deal is probably pricier than you would like." Bad contracts of years past are being revisited now as theyre bought out, like the Buffalo Sabres getting out from the rest of Ville Leinos deal or the New York Rangers having little choice but to cut ties with Brad Richards. Last years madness included Mike Ribeiro getting $22 million over four seasons, and last week he was bought out. "It is a time where I think the day after some of these contracts are signed, people go, Hmmm, and sit back and think," Winnipeg Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff said last week in Philadelphia. "Thats the age were living in. Thats the nature of it." The teams that sign winger Thomas Vanek, centre Paul Stastny, defenceman Matt Niskanen hope their investments prove more sound. Those three players lead the crop, followed by wingers Matt Moulson and Jarome Iginla, centre Dave Bolland, defencemen Christian Ehrhoff and Dan Boyle and goaltenders Ryan Miller and Jonas Hiller. Already, before teams are free to sign players at noon Tuesday, over $1.1 billion has been spent to retain potential unrestricted free agents at an average cost of $3.57 million, according to CapGeek. Many of the top free agents will get more money than that on an annual basis, just based on the market value. Still, Chiarelli believes its possible to spend smart money in free agency. "As long as the expectations are in place and you know the player that youre getting, I wouldnt necessarily call it a bad deal," he said. "It may be in five years if it is a bad deal, but it is something that can help your team and you just have to be cautious of the hysteria that happens." The hysteria started early this year thanks to the new five-day window teams and pending unrestricted free agents have to talk before deals can get signed. Theyve been free to discuss fits and salary parameters, just not agree verbally or in principle. It seems to have given players more leverage than before because they can consider options rather than make a quick decision on July 1. For teams, the negotiating period is still a work in progress. "Its useful in that you can lay some plans and some groundwork," Toronto Maple Leafs GM Dave Nonis said last week in Philadelphia. "Whether it helps in getting players in or not, I think that remains to be seen.” Compliance buyouts have also changed the landscape, pouring more players like Richards, Ehrhoff, ex-Vancouver Canucks winger David Booth and ex-New Jersey Devils defenceman Anton Volchenkov into the market. Those players can double-dip on pay cheques, while their former teams can allocate the saved salary-cap space elsewhere. The Buffalo Sabres have the most cap space, according to CapGeek, with almost $39 million. They need to spend more than $20 million just to get to the $51-million floor. First-time GM Tim Murray isnt worried about needing to get to the floor, nor is he scared of the perils of free agency. "I dont think its dangerous. I go back to my old cliche: evaluate properly and its never dangerous," Murray said Saturday in Philadelphia. "If you fall in love with the flavour of the week, it could be very dangerous. "But do your homework. Evaluate players properly. Go after the right players, which doesnt mean its the top guy on somebody elses list. Its who you feel is the right guy." The negotiating window has shed some light on the idea that some guys are wanted by a lot of teams. Niskanens agent, Neil Sheehy, said in an email that more than 10 teams had shown interest in the 27-year-old defenceman and that they were planning to pare down that list before Tuesday. Thats a task many of the top free agents and their representatives have been going through because its still very much a players market. "Its kind of the double-edged sword," Cheveldayoff said. "Youre trying to find pieces that can maybe push you and the different depths of the free agent market in different years entices you or maybe doesnt excite you. "But its a way to add and if you can do it reasonably and maybe someone fits in your organization and maybe it becomes a long-term thing. You have to take a look at that regardless of the dollars." Follow @SWhyno on Twitter Matthew Slater Jersey . After rookie right-hander Alex Colome excelled in a 5-2 victory in the opener, the Rays fell to Chris Tillman and the Orioles 4-1 on Friday night. Rob Gronkowski Jersey . Hes even holding a bat on one of his 2014 baseball cards. So far, hes playing like his picture. https://www.patriotsjerseysale.com/561p-...y-patriots.html. Yet now its time for the most important pick of them all; the Grey Cup. The thought of going 5-0 with the correct choice is quite intoxicating, I dont think I have ever gone perfect in my CFL futuristic playoff speculations and would take great pride in guessing - I mean analyzing - correctly. Custom New England Patriots Jerseys . Next up, the Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, Pittsburgh Steelers, and Cleveland Browns in the AFC North. Baltimore Ravens In 2014, the 8-8 season that the Baltimore Ravens experienced was to be expected. Jake Bailey Jersey . Balotelli was out at dinner with his brother Enoch and came home to discover he had been burgled. The car was later found abandoned. Balotelli wrote Saturday on Twitter: "I feel empty! No emotions . PITTSBURGH -- As he lay on the Heinz Field turf last September, his right knee in tatters, Maurkice Pouncey admits there was a small part of him that feared his football career might be in jeopardy. The Pittsburgh Steelers never doubted. They signed him to a five-year contract extension Thursday that averages $8.8 million per season, making Pouncey the highest-paid centre in the NFL. Words cant explain it," Pouncey said while fighting back tears, barely nine months removed from a torn ACL that ended his 2013 season moments after it began. The only centre in league history to make the Pro Bowl in each of his first three seasons is nearly all the way back from surgery to repair the knee after teammate David DeCastro fell on it eight plays into last falls season opener against Tennessee. The 24-year-old Pouncey insists hes "totally fine." The new financial deal puts him just ahead of the agreement signed by Clevelands Alex Mack in April. However, getting paid was the least of Pounceys concerns. Entering the final year of the contract he signed after the Steelers took him with the 18th overall selection in the 2010 draft, Pouncey simply ordered agent Jason Segal to get to work. "I didnt have much role in it," Pouncey said. "I told my agent to get it done as soon as possible so we could move on to other things." Namely getting the Steelers back into the post-season. Considered one of the most athletic linemen at any position in the NFL, Pouncey provides Pittsburgh with a gifted anchor to protect quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. "That group up front is a special group as it is," Roethlisberger ssaid.dddddddddddd "Hes the glue that holds them all together." Even if the glue comes at a significant price. Pouncey has only played a full 16-game schedule once in his first four seasons and was forced to sit out Pittsburghs loss to Green Bay in the 2011 Super Bowl with a sprained ankle. Though he wont turn 25 until August, he finds himself as the linchpin of a unit whose oldest player is 28-year-old guard Ramon Foster. "Hes worked his butt off man," Foster said of Pouncey. "Its good to see his hard work is coming around to him. Were glad to have him back and the team commit to him like that." Its a commitment that never wavered as Pouncey underwent surgery and a grueling rehab last fall. Although Roethlisberger maintains Pouncey could have returned before the end of the 2013 season, the arduous recovery process isnt quite over. While Pouncey was a full participant in organized team activities that wrapped up on Thursday, he remains involved in near daily rehab work. The goal is to be 100 per cent by training camp in July. The contract means Pouncey wont have to deal with any potential distractions about his future. Besides, he never planned on leaving anyway. Free agency didnt appeal to him, particularly after the loyalty shown by the Steelers from the moment they chose him to follow in a line of great centres that includes Hall of Famers Mike Webster and Dermontti Dawson. Pounceys career arc is trending in that direction. Having the game taken away from him last September makes him eager to get back to work. "Ill do anything for this team," Pouncey said. "Theres true love here." ' ' '