With the start of the new NFL year on March 16th and the beginning of free agency, teams across the league are scrambling to put themselves in a position to win this upcoming season. As players with expiring contracts receive offers from teams and unhappy star players get traded, several teams have significantly improved in just a few short days. Some fans are applauding their teams for bringing in new talent, while others, such as Giants fan Elliott Ewell, “like what the team is doing but worry about spending too much with limited cap space”. This offseason has already become one for the ages, with multiple huge moves already made and plenty more sure to come.
Unhappy with their previous teams, many star quarterbacks have found new homes where they will hope to compete with a better cast surrounding them. Former Super Bowl winning quarterback Russel Wilson, coming off a 7-10 season with the Seahawks which he spent much of injured, was traded to the Denver Broncos for a large package of draft picks. Former Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson, after being cleared of criminal charges for sexual assault, was traded to the Cleveland Browns, who now look to trade former #1 overall pick Baker Mayfield. After a short 2-month retirement, 7-time Super Bowl winning quarterback Tom Brady has decided to return to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for at least the upcoming 2022 season. Green Bay Packers quarterback and league MVP Aaron Rodgers, despite rumors that he would request a trade, signed a 3-year $150 million dollar deal with the team. However, his best receiver, Davante Adams, was given a 5-year, $140 million dollar deal by the Las Vegas Raiders after being traded, making him the highest-paid wide receiver in NFL history. Lightning-fast Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill was traded to the Miami Dolphins, securing his own big contract extension.
On the defensive side of the ball, several big-time names have already been signed, particularly among edge rushers. The Raiders, in addition to securing Davante Adams, signed veteran pass rusher Chandler Jones from the Arizona Cardinals. The L.A. Chargers, hoping to compliment their already talented offense, added 2016 Defensive Player of the Year/defensive end Khalil Mack and stud Patriots cornerback J.C. Jackson to their roster. They will join former #3 overall pick Joey Bosa and star safety Derwin James on a now-stacked Chargers D. Standout safety Tyrann Mathieu (AKA “The Honeybadger”) and former Seahawks linebacker Bobby Wagner are currently still free agents, and should soon receive large deals from teams who can afford them.
As April and the NFL draft approach, much of the attention around the league will turn to the Jacksonville Jaguars, who once again hold the draft’s first selection. Aidan Hutchinson, defensive end from the University of Michigan, has been rumored as their potential choice, but many other players could be selected then or with the many picks that follow. As fans around the nation watch their teams closely, many are feeling senses of hope as they look towards the upcoming season.
Graphic: Sunny Rhew