24 hours ago every team in the NFL had a chance to totally remake their roster. A day ago every fanbase in the US of A had hope. A short while ago every team had the chance to cut their own dead weight and pick up a bevy of talented players that would (ala’ Broncos) catapult their team into the playoffs and perhaps the Super Bowl.
With this season’s very talented pool of free agents, an organization could have added plus players at key positions up and down the roster.
Need a QB? More than one was available (Cousins & company). Stud WR or RB? A stable were on the market. Blindside protector? Unbelievably that was available as well (Nate Solder). Elite pass-catching TE (Jimmy Graham) was also on the menu. Interior behemoths to dominate in the run game? Available on BOTH sides of the ball but especially on the defensive side which is way wack. Top tier edge rusher? Adrian Clayborn is still out there. CB problems? If you didn’t blink your team had a shot at more than one elite cover man. There aren’t any elite safeties or linebackers available at this point but sue me. The draft is loaded at those two positions.
Bottom line a team could have remade itself from the ground up a few hours ago. No more. As of this writing:
- QB Sam Bradford made more bank with the Arizona Cardinals (1 yr/ $20 mil).
- DT Star Lotulelei found a home with the Buffalo Bills (5 years).
- WR Allen Robinson is a Chicago Bears now (3 yrs/ $42 mil).
- QB Case Keenum is with the Denver Broncos (2 yrs / $36 mil)
- TE Jimmy Graham will be a Green Bay Packer (3 yrs)
- WR Sammie Wakins is with the Kansas City Chiefs (3 yrs / $48 mil)
- QB Kirk Cousins is with the Minnesota Vikings (3 yrs / $84 mil)
- QB’s Josh McCown AND Teddy Bridgewater w/ New York Jets (1 yr each)
- CB Trumaine Johnson reportedly gets $15 mil a year from the NYJ’s.
- OC Weston Richburg signed for 5 years with the San Francisco 49ers.
- CB Malcolm Butler and RB Dion Lewis signed with the Tennessee Titans (4/5 yrs)
The cream is off the top.
The Cleveland Browns were animals this offseason using trades and free agency to put their team in a fantastic position heading into the draft. They were not alone.
The Vikings needed a permanent solution at QB and found one with Cousins. If he can stay on the field (a big if) Bradford is a plus signal caller for the Cards. Keenum HAS to be an upgrade over what the Broncos have trotted out since Manning retired. The Packers got a MUCH needed boost for their QB by signing TE Grahm, the 49ers got better where they were weak and the Titans added talent on both sides of the ball exactly where the club had issues. The Bears got their sophomore QB a much-needed upgrade in WR Robinson.
The Jet’s did awesome with the Trumaine Johnson signing but obtaining two FA QB’s is a clear indication they don’t believe in either one of them. It’s the Jets.
There are still a few elite players out there (DL Muhammad Wilkerson and Sheldon Richardson) and wildly enough as deep as the DT position has been in this free agency period and projected as a strength of the draft as well, Miami may cut DT Suh further depressing the DL market. It’s a great year to need interior defensive line help.
Did your team improve where it needed to, overpay for an aging veteran past his prime or sit pat taking care of their own with an eye towards the NFL Draft?
What say you Sports Nation?
Another Left Coast Sports Post: on Twitter – Steven Van Over