To say the least, it has been a very wild and sporadic off-season for the National Football League and there will be a lot of new faces on multiple teams starting next season, but which teams really made a splash and which teams are going crash?
After breaking it all down, I would say the biggest winners of the entire free agency period are: the Cardinals, Bills, and Buccaneers with the addition of some small victories for other teams.
The losers of free agency though this year were teams that simply just lost players and made no real stellar moves. The losing teams are the Patriots, Texans, and the Chicago Bears.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers by far had the largest win of the whole free agency and that is because they were able to sign former New England quarterback, Tom Brady, to a multiple year deal up to $60 million in total. This is exactly what they needed to go all in for next year. They are already retaining all of their stellar offense from last season, including Mike Evans and Chris Godwin who are arguably two of the top ten wide-outs in the league. Aside from that, they made a few changes on the defensive side of the ball and look like they are on the right track to make it to the Super Bowl next season.
Buffalo has sneakily become one of the top victors of all the teams this off-season. It did not seem that they were going to make many moves until out of nowhere it was reported that the Bills were going to be trading for star receiver Stefon Diggs from the Vikings. Diggs has been trying to find a new home for the past two seasons as he has made it pretty clear he was done in Minnesota. Now he has his wish and will be playing with up and coming quarterback Josh Allen who has a rocket arm to throw Diggs that deep ball. This was the perfect move for the Bills to beef up their offense to go along with their already top tier defense and are now looking like the favorites to win the AFC East.
The Arizona Cardinals is a team that has completely come out of the woodwork and surprised everyone in this 2020 off-season. For starters, what was maybe the biggest move besides Tom Brady going to Tampa, the Cardinals traded away David Johnson and two draft picks to the Houston Texans for Deandre Hopkins and a draft pick. Hopkins is the debatable top receiver in the game today and for the Cardinals to get him for what they gave up is simply amazing and the Texans were duped on this one. David Johnson is a very injury prone running back who also is now old for his position, coming into this season at age 31. In addition, the Cardinals strengthened their defense signing defensive lineman Jordan Phillips and linebacker Devon Kennard.
New England has been easily one of the top losers in this free agency period. Their only real big signings were retaining safety Devin McCourty and the addition of an old familiar face, quarterback Brian Hoyer who is no stranger to the team. Aside from that though, they have done nothing but lose players to other teams and they were all hits to the New England organization. They lost the face of their franchise in Tom Brady, they lost two star linebackers in Kyle Van Noy and Jamie Collins and most recently lost wide-out Phillip Dorsett. It is looking like this could be somewhat of a rebuilding type of year for the Patriots and definitely have some ground to make up with the losses they have suffered.
Houston may be the biggest loser of any team this off-season. Bill O’Brien traded away his best offensive weapon for a running back who has not played a full season in the last three seasons. It really does not make any logical sense as to why they traded Hopkins away, but one thing is for sure, they now have dug themselves in a hole. Analysts are even saying now they will not even make it into next season’s postseason all because of this one drastic move. The Texans will need multiple players to step up next season to fill the void that was Deandre Hopkins.
Chicago were also losers in this free agency because they did not improve where they needed to and overpaid certain players. Specifically, they paid tight end Jimmy Graham two years for $16 million dollars, which is way too much for how old he is at his position. Playing tight end at 33 means you might be looking at the vet minimum, but not in this case. In addition, the Bears added former Jaguars quarterback, Nick Foles. Foles has had one of the weirdest careers in history and does not deserve to be at the helm for the Bears, at least not until he proves he can stay on the field for an entire season.
On top of the winners and losers of this off-season there were plenty of other big moves made that will assist some teams and affect others. Tight end Austin Hooper was signed by the Browns to what was already a stacked offense on paper, but now is even deeper. Teddy Bridgewater got paid a hefty amount by the Panthers to become their starting quarterback most likely next season. Philip Rivers will finally suit up in another uniform as he signed a one year deal with the Colts. Byron Jones is now the highest paid cornerback after being signed for five years by the Dolphins and will be getting paid over $80 million in that deal.
In conclusion, this has been a wild free agency with a lot of players switching locations and it opens up endless possibilities with how the upcoming NFL season will pan out. If and when this next season starts, it will be one that fans will want to tune into.
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