With Week One in the NFL free agency finally over, everyone has their opinion about who did what and how well they worked the market. Well guess what, I do too! With many teams rearranging everything from contracts, trading players for picks or just cutting someone all together, this has been a very eventful week. Now as the dust settles, lets see who did it right and who not so much.
The Cleveland Browns have been a team that never seems to get it right. After a very bad 3-13 (had a typo that said 3-133 and for fans that may seem correct) season, the team has plenty of work to do to turn this thing around. Cleveland started their free agency by cutting ties of problem child Manziel. Then losing WR Travis Benjamin, C Alex Mack, RT Mitchell Schwartz, and FS Tashaun Gipson to the free agent market was not the way to get out of the bottom of the barrel. The Browns are in a downward spiral and it doesn’t look like there is a light on at the end of the tunnel. With so many holes, a smart move would be to trade out of the 2nd overall draft position to gain as many picks as possible in this years draft. The Browns are going to be in a rebuilding year no matter what their front office says, but if you ask the fans, they have been rebuilding for the last 20 years. Free Agent Losers
The New York Giants had a laughable 6-10 season with a defense that ranked in the top 3 against points/yards allowed a game and in total sacks. The Giants, for a lack of a better term, struggled on the defensive side of the ball. Getting play makers on defense were a must to turn this team around, and boy did they do that. Spending money like they had won the lottery, the G-Men picked up top DE Olivier Vernon and DT Damon Harrison to improve a lackluster defensive line. To prevent the pass, they spent a ton of money on arguably the top free agent on the market CB Janoris Jenkins. On paper, the defense is now a place of strength, not weakness. Did New York pick up top players to make this team better than before, YES. Did they spend money to make that happen, YES. Are they set up for success in the future, that one will have to be a time will tell question. This team did everything in their power to be a contender next year, and positive the fans are happy with the new defensive fire power their team takes into the 2016 season. Free Agent Winners.
In Florida, on the surface Miami Dolphins looked like a non factor in the free agent market. Only showing $2-3 million dollars in cap space, there was not much the team could do to make a big splash. Well, the front office understood the roadblock in front of them and took the challenge (accepted) to begin rebuilding this team to be a contender. Starting the transformation, Miami traded the #8 draft picks with Philadelphia Eagles #13 pick and took CB Byron Maxwell and LB Kiko Alonso off their hands. Then the fun began for the Dolphins. With plenty of reconstruction of contracts and cutting of players, they were able to sign veteran DE Mario Williams at a fraction of the price of star DE Olivier Vernon who left for the Giants. Miami has made a great effort to gain a credible defense to make things better for the 2016 season. They took something out of nothing and actually made it to a formidable defense for 2016. Free Agent Winners.
Whenever a team wins the Super Bowl, free agency is usually the best place for a team to continue their success. Unfortunately for the Denver Broncos, this was not the case. It seems like this was a one and done title run for the now Peyton Manning-less Broncos. The defense took a significant hit losing DE Malik Jackson and LB Danny Trevathan who accounted for 3 turnovers and a TD in the Super Bowl victory for Denver. With no additions to the defense, it looks like its next man up for the Broncos as well as some help in the NFL Draft. The defense wasn’t the only side of the ball to suffer for the champs, as the offense took a major hit by losing BOTH starting QB’s. With Manning retiring, it was time for Brock Osweiler to take over and become the next star in town, problem is he took the money and ran to Houston. With there not being a starter, they traded a conditional 7th round pick to the Eagles for Mark Sanchez to come in and take the reigns. This off season was definitely a hard one to take for fans still on high of winning it all, almost as hard as it is to think that Mr. Butt Fumble is your QB. Free Agent Losers.
With a “successful” 6-10 season (much better than 2-14 thank you) this team looks like its a season away from becoming a contender. The offense was moving the ball better than they have in years and things were clicking with rookie QB Jameis Winston at the helm and RB Doug Martin at his side. With the later hitting the market, Tampa wanted to keep The Dougernaught in town after a career year but didn’t want to over pay for the inconsistent back. The Bucs got their wish and signed him to a multi year deal. Tampa’s defense however was a weak point for this team, something that is rare in Tampa. With plenty of cap space, the Bucs were looking to add many players to fill the holes in this defense and they did just that. Spending smartly and not over paying for talent, they brought in DE Rober Ayers, CB Brent Grimes and resigned CB Chris Conte. The team is prepared to make a run, but adding more players for the future in the draft is a key to making this a team to be worried about for years to come. Free Agent Winners.
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