Shocking moves in NFL free agency set the scene for incredible 2018 season
The NFL is not usually the most widely discussed sport this time of year, but March has been an exception. Between free agent signings and trades, it feels like the NFL season is in full swing. Even with the draft still a month away, NFL teams started getting a jump on rebooting their rosters.
In the quarterback market, it all started in early February with the Washington Redskins acquiring Alex Smith from the Kansas City Chiefs.
The Arizona Cardinals followed by adding two QBs in hopes of replacing retiring Carson Palmer. Sam Bradford and Mike Glennon will be brought in to compete for the job in the desert. The Buffalo Bills traded away QB Tyrod Taylor to the Cleveland Browns. They then started to address the void this trade left by signing AJ McCarron from the Cincinnati Bengals.
The New York Jets have also been busy, trading three second-round picks to move up to No. 3 in this year’s draft, with most fans assuming that the team is preparing to draft its next franchise QB. The Jets also signed Josh McCown and Teddy Bridgewater to compete and start at QB until their future rookie is ready to take the job.
The Denver Broncos gave Case Keenum $36 million to come over from the Minnesota Vikings and re-signed linebacker Todd Davis. Ultimately, the biggest QB news of the offseason was Kirk Cousins signing the NFL’s first fully guaranteed contract for $84 million with the Minnesota Vikings to replace Keenum.
The craziness did not stop at one position, as wide receivers were also a hot commodity. It all started with the Browns trading for Jarvis Landry prior to the official start of free agency. Landry has been arguably the most productive WR in the league the last four years, never missing a game and averaging over 100 catches in each of those seasons. In addition to acquiring Landry and Taylor, the Browns also traded for Damarious Randall and signed both running back Carlos Hyde and cornerback Terrance Mitchell, among many others.
In more WR activity, Michael Crabtree was snatched up by the Baltimore Ravens after he was released from the Oakland Raiders. The Ravens also added John Brown to give Joe Flacco a viable deep threat.
The Chicago Bears added many WR options for second-year QB Mitchell Trubisky in the form of Allen Robinson, Taylor Gabriel and Trey Burton.
The Green Bay Packers, who usually do not spend money in free agency, went out and acquired tight end and wide receiver combo Jimmy Graham.
Lastly, the Chiefs added WR Sammy Watkins to become the top target for first-year starter Patrick Mahomes II.
Much free agency activity has also been occurring on the defensive side of the field. The Los Angeles Rams made the biggest defensive splash adding two of the top cornerbacks in the NFL, Aqib Talib and Marcus Peters. This duo could become the best cornerback tandem in the league during their first year together. The Houston Texans signed cornerbacks Tyrann Mathieu to a one-year deal and also brought in Aaron Colvin from the Jacksonville Jaguars to help out their secondary.
The Miami Dolphins acquired the once great Robert Quinn from the Rams via trade and then proceeded to cut five-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh. In Tennessee, the Titans signed cornerback Malcolm Butler from the New England Patriots for a $61 million deal, adding to an already great secondary. Finally, in a surprising move, the San Francisco 49ers agreed to terms with Richard Sherman after he was released from the Seattle Seahawks.
The other hometown team of the New York Giants has also been very busy, adding the best left tackle on the market Nate Solder and a very solid middle linebacker in the form of Alec Ogletree. With these two moves, the Giants addressed their two biggest positional needs this offseason.
With so many changes occurring in the offseason, there are sure to be a lot of surprises in the NFL standings come the 2018 regular season.