By Cameron Buford, whatsgoodinsports.com
Amid this Coronavirus Pandemic, which has infested our country in recent weeks, the NFL is the only professional league that has yet to shut down operations. Though they did have at least one coach diagnosed with the Coronavirus because it’s their offseason, they have decided to keep doing as normal, with some minor adjustments. With this week being the start of their season, the Free Agency portion of their season got many sports starved fans something to talk about and look forward to.
Teams in the National Football League have only a few ways to get better each season. Outside of natural player development, trades, or the NFL Draft when they can draft former college players and then Free Agency where they are able to acquire veterans that have played with other teams around the league. Not only did this past week kick off the season, but it was also the beginning of the NFL Free Agency period.
The biggest fish in this season’s Free Agency period was 6 Time Super Bowl Winner Tom Brady. The quarterback’s unceremonious departure from the New England Patriots where he played for 20 seasons and played in 9 Championships games made him the longing of many teams in the NFL. The Los Angeles Chargers have a vacancy in their quarterback depth chart appeared to possible destination for Brady, as did the Indianapolis Colts, Tennessee Titians or Miami Dolphins.
Surprisingly, Tom Brady chose to take his talents to Central Florida to play with the Buccaneers’ talented receivers. Those Tampa Bay Buccaneers fans are ecstatic to get a QB of his caliber seeing as they haven’t made the playoffs since 2007. By contrast, Brady has had 6 Super Bowl appearances in that same time frame. It will be interesting to follow this union to see if Brady, at his advanced age, can propel the Buccaneers to NFC supremacy as he’s done so often when he played for the Patriots.
Likely the most inexplicable move of the NFL offseason was the trade of Texans Leading Receiver, from the past 5 seasons, for an injury-prone running back. The Texans sent DeAndre Hopkins and a Round 2 Draft pick to the Arizona Cardinals in exchange for David Johnson and a Round 2 and a Round 4 Draft pick. By all accounts, there was no equity in this trade and there were some undisclosed reasons for the Texans initiating this trade. Either way, this will serve as another reason why the Texans will remain perineal losers being held back by their Head Coach who doubles as their General Manager.
Another reason that Texans trade was seen as so absurd is that the Minnesota Vikings broke up their solid Wide Receiver duo when they sent their 5th-year wideout Stephon Diggs and a 7th Round Draft to the Buffalo Bills for a 1st Round Draft Pick, a 5th and 6th Round pick this year and a 4th Round Pick next season. No one would ever rightfully compare Diggs to Hopkins, who’s been named All-Pro 4 times and been to the Pro Bowl 3 times. Diggs has yet to be named to either team, though the Vikings got much more in return in their trade.
The Chargers quarterback vacancy left open by the departure of Philip Rivers, who chose to team up with his former coaches in Indianapolis. By Brady choosing the Buccaneers, this left the Chargers to depend on the player development of Tyrod Taylor to fill that void. They will likely draft a quarterback in the upcoming NFL draft to be their long-term solution. Yet replacing Rivers as the face of that offense won’t be an easy task considering he’s line up as their quarterback while orchestrating 27 4th Quarter Comebacks and 32 Game Winning Drives in his 14 years under center for the San Diego and Los Angeles Chargers.
In preparation for the Free Agency period and the NFL Draft, teams are forced to make difficult decisions on some players for salary cap purposes. A couple of casualties of this process were two former Los Angeles running backs, Todd Gurley who cut by the Rams and Melvin Gordon who was not offered a contract by the Chargers. Oddly enough, both of these running backs were seen as the face of their respective franchises when their teams relocated to Los Angeles.
Todd Gurley will be returning to the town he played college football as he has signed with the Atlanta Falcons. While Melvin Gordon has signed with the Chargers division rivals Denver Broncos. Though Gurley will be double-dipping as he will get paid from the Rams and Falcons this season, Gordon will be making a couple of million dollars less than he would’ve if he signed the contract the Chargers offered him during his holdout at the beginning of last season.
Every team has and will have the opportunity to improve their teams through trade and free agency in preparation for the upcoming NFL Draft. I just wanted to highlight a few of the most impactful moves during the first week of this NFL season, let me know which roster moves you were impressed with by simply commenting in the comment section of this article on www.whatsgoodinsports.com or by following me on Twitter @whatsgoodnsport for immediate engagement. Additionally, be sure to subscribe to our weekly “Voice of the Fans Podcast” which is available for you on most podcasting platforms, Apple and Google Podcasts including Spotify, TuneIn, and iHeart Radio. As always, Thank You for making our voice, your choice!