The first two days of the NFL free agency period has been quite the spectacle. With the surprising signing, expected deals, and never seen before trades, the last 48 hours has not disappointed. It also has been the same trend of: the strong get stronger and the weak, well, rebuild yet again.
Winners so far have got to include:
New England Patriots
No surprise here, the Pats continue the road making the deals that other teams don’t think of, while continuing to put a Super Bowl contender on the field every year. Arguably the best DB in free agency signs a 5 year deal worth $65 million. The Stephon Gilmore signing is probably a slap in the face to all Buffalo Bills fans, because they are losing a very good defensive player, but to sign with the arch nemesis Patriots? Ouch! Belichick also pulled off a duo of outstanding trades: picking up the Colts TE Dwayne Allen and a 6th rd pickand only losing a 4th rounder to Indy and prying DE Kony Ealy and a 3rd rd pick from the Panthers for a 2nd rounder.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Bucs have made another step in the right direction to an NFC South championship. They shored up Gholston for the next 5 years for $27 million, keeping an improved defensive line intact, but the big winning move has to be an added weapon for Winston. DeSean Jackson signed a 3 year $35 million contract that will put him opposite of Mike Evans, which will open up Evans for more looks, and giving Winston an opportunity to show off that arm.
The Jags have really impressed me in the short time free agency signing has been available. They have made a good defense better by adding A.J. Bouye to the defensive backfield that already includes Jalon Ramsey and reeling in Calais Campbell to the defensive front. This could be a surprise team, but can you really count on Blake Bortles? This might be his last year to prove they can.
New York Giants
The Giants haven’t done much thus far, but what they have done is add a potential Hall of Famer to a WR core that already included Odell Beckham Jr. and a rising star Sterling Shephard. Brandon Marshall will add protection for ODB and give Eli Manning that big bodied physical receiver to go get the ball. Remember, this team won 11 games last year and beat the NFC East champs in both contests. Will this push them over the hump? I don’t know, but it should be fun to watch.
Losers of the last two days.
New York Jets
Well, the Jets seem to have to rebuild…again. The players that they lost to releasing is substantial. Longtime kicker, Nick Folk, C Nick Mangold, WR Brandon Marshall, and RB Khiry Robinson all released along with arguably the best Jet to ever wear the uniform, Darrelle Revis. I have also heard rumblings of them shopping Sheldon Richardson as a trade possibility. On top of all that, they are in a QB black hole. Fitzpatrick had his contract voided and apparently they have no confidence in their draft picks of the last half decade. Petty and Hackenberg are not slated to start and there is Geno Smith….enough said, right?
What a mess this team has been. You have a top 10 QB the last 2 years in Kirk Cousins and yet, you seem to be eager to get rid of him. Then you sign him to the Franchise Tag and pay him $23.94 million and let his whole WR core walk (Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson) …I just can’t make any sense out of what they are doing in the nations capitol.
The Bears have made a couple good defensive signings, but there is only one reason I have them in the loser section. They release Jay Cutler (I don’t blame them) and his massive contract to put themselves under another hit or miss QB contract?? Mike Glennon may turn out to be a franchise QB and the Bears better hope he is, because you don’t shell out $43.5 million contract to a QB that hasn’t done anything worth that price. Hello Chicago, did we not learn from Houston and that Brock Osweiler deal???
The two teams involved in the weirdest trade in the history of the NFL are officially on the bubble to me.
The Browns have made a splash in free agency signing, maybe, the best OL available this year in Kevin Zeitler (5 year, $60 million) extending DL Jaime Collins, WR Andrew Hawkins and P Britton Colquitt. The biggest story of the early market has to be the trade they made with the Houston Texans though. Bringing in Brock Osweiler and his massive contract and a 2nd and 6th rd pick. Knowing that Osweiler is not their future, why would they do this? THey essentially paid $16 Million for a 2nd and 6th rd. pick. Maybe the stockpiling of draft picks is their plan to unload a bunch of them for trade, or maybe they will use Osweiler as a 1 year gap and draft a QB out of a much better 2018 class of QB. Whatever they do, they better hope they draft better than they have in the last 3 or more drafts, or it won’t matter, and the Browns will stay in the basement of the NFL.
Bravo Houston for relieving yourselves of a horrible contract and recouping some cap space to make some deals. The trade with the Browns has reportedly made the Texans the front-runner in the Tony Romo sweepstakes. If they are able to land Romo, they better hope he can stay healthy, and hope their O-Line will be able to adequately protect him. If he makes it through the majority of the season, but still gets hurt, then they will be right back where they have been without a QB and a Super Bowl champion caliber defense. They may also think about adding to their secondary, with the loss of Bouye and Demps and having an aging Jonathon Joseph, help might be needed.
There you have it. Only 2 days in and the excitement has just started. Thanks for reading!