NFL Free Agency: First Wave Recap

Image Courtesy of Chron.com

By Jack Cherico 

The first wave of the NFL offseason has finally passed, and it was quite possibly the craziest one yet. With blockbuster trades seemingly happening every day and players signing massive deals with new teams, NFL fans cannot wait for the new season to watch how these new acquisitions perform. This article will evaluate some of the best moves of the offseason so far and what it means for the respective teams.

The Cleveland Browns have had quarterback problems for the past 30 years, and with the draft pick of Baker Mayfield in 2017, they thought they had their guy. However, due to Mayfield’s poor performance in 2021, Cleveland explored another option and sent a whopping three first-round draft picks to the Houston Texans for troubled signal-caller Deshaun Watson. Watson was facing criminal and civil charges for sexually assaulting 22 different women and has been found not guilty so far. Watson sat out the entire 2021 season, but his play has been incredible when he is on the field. He is an easy Top-5 quarterback when clicking on all cylinders, and although Cleveland took a considerable risk, the Brown’s path to the Super Bowl is much brighter. 

The story of the early offseason was whether Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers was going to continue playing for the team or look for pastures anew. Once Rodgers decided to stay in Green Bay, everyone assumed his top receiver Davante Adams would follow suit and sign a massive contract extension. However, due to the Packers’ relative inaction in resigning Adams and what he viewed as an insulting franchise tag offer, Adams began to look for a trade partner. The Las Vegas Raiders and their new coach, former Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, decided to make a big splash and traded for Adams in exchange for 2022 first and second-round draft picks. Adams proceeded to sign a massive five-year $141.25 million contract and reunite with his former Fresno State quarterback Derek Carr. The addition of Adams adds fuel to the fire of an already stacked AFC West division, and it will be interesting to see which teams from the AFC West make the playoffs through such tough competition. 

In free agency, significant acquisitions that fill positions of need have been flowing, with massive amounts of money being spent. For example, the Los Angeles Chargers spent big on former Patriots cornerback JC Jackson, who had the second-most interceptions in the league this year with eight. Jackson’s addition and the trade acquisition of pass rusher Khalil Mack from Chicago make for a scary defense in Los Angeles, especially with safety Derwin James and pass rusher Joey Bosa already on the team. The Buffalo Bills also made a significant defensive acquisition by signing former Broncos and Rams pass rusher Von Miller to a six-year $140 million deal. 

The Miami Dolphins had the most recent splash acquisition with the trade for speedster wide receiver Tyreek Hill. Hill was Patrick Mahomes’ favorite target in Kansas City, but when the teams could not come to terms on an extension of Hill’s contract, he was traded to Miami in exchange for a first-round pick, second-round pick, and fourth-round pick in 2022, as well as day-two picks in 2023. Hill then proceeded to sign a four-year $120 million extension with Miami that includes $72.2 million in guaranteed money. The Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle wide receiver duo will give Dolphins fans something to look forward to and lead to a more explosive offense. Hopefully, the team exceeds expectations with newfound confidence in quarterback Tua Tagovailoa and more weapons on offense. 

This offseason is just getting started, and with players like Julio Jones and Odell Beckham Jr still unsigned, NFL fans have plenty of excitement left to see.

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