The NFL has a long, extensive offseason of about six-to-seven months, but that should not upset fans. Because during that span, there are multiple shifts and movements of players and picks to keep them entertained as well as hype for the upcoming season. There is just a constant notion every offseason where general managers and owners have to make critical decisions in order for their team to keep progressing. Let’s look at the top offseason moves, so far, and why they make sense.
10. Cowboys cut Dez Bryant
The most recent of moves is when the Dallas Cowboys decided to part ways with Bryant after eight seasons with the franchise. Bryant did have his moments with the Cowboys as a receiver, but lost his rhythm, if he had any, in the past three years. Some of it is due to his injuries, but at the same time he did have unacceptable behavior on the sidelines that affected his play. He has not eclipsed 900 yards in the past three years so the Cowboys felt it was time to move in another direction. Look for Dallas to draft a receiver in the first round like Calvin Ridley perhaps.
9. Redskins acquire Alex Smith
The Washington Redskins are almost like the Cleveland Browns when dealing with quarterbacks as they can never stay consistent with one. However, they probably got this one right. They acquired Smith from the Chiefs for cornerback Kendall Fuller and a third round pick for the 2018 draft. The Redskins have had mediocre quarterbacks minus Kirk Cousins who management could not trust even though he has given them the best shot in close games. Management felt it was time for another veteran to be behind center instead of starting with a young player to fill in such a significant position.
Smith is a 13-year veteran and he did some great things for the Kansas City Chiefs in the four years he was there. He recorded at least nine wins in each year as well as four playoff berths. He always met a wall in the AFC whether it was Tom Brady or Andrew Luck in Smith’s first year. At the same time, he was one of only three quarterbacks to record 50 regular season victories in that span, 2013-2017, along with Brady and Russell Wilson. That could help the Redskins towards a winning direction in a tough division.
8. Dolphins sign Danny Amendola
Is there anything better than taking away key pieces from your division rival? Let us go ask the Miami Dolphins! Amendola decided to leave the New England Patriots and join division rival Miami on a two-year deal worth 12 million dollars. This is a great move because the Dolphins are adding a veteran at wide receiver to go along with a young group featuring Kenny Stills, Albert Wilson, and DeVante Parker. With the Patriots falling after a loss in the Super Bowl, Brady aging, and questions of trust between management and Bill Belichick, can this be the year that the Dolphins make a run and dethrone Brady and the Pats? The other teams in the division like the Buffalo Bills and New York Jets have questions at quarterback position. The Dolphins have the pieces, but they have to put the puzzle together.
7. The Dawg Pound Adds an Underdog
Staying with the AFC, the Dolphins were able to find a destination for Pro Bowl receiver Jarvis Landry in the Cleveland Browns in exchange for a 2018 fourth round pick as well as a 2019 seventh round pick. This is a huge pickup for a franchise that has had mediocre receivers excluding Josh Gordon and young stud Corey Coleman. Landry put up 400 catches for 4,038 yards and 22 touchdowns while playing in all 64 regular season games over his first four years with the Dolphins. Landry is only 25 and is coming off a year where he caught 112 passes for 987 yards and nine touchdowns from decent quarterback play like Jay Cutler. The Browns have been active this offseason and with a young, stout receiving group now all they need is the right quarterback and a running back for them to win games next season as they do have two top five picks in the 2018 draft.
6. Giants acquire Alec Ogletree
The Los Angeles Rams traded linebacker Ogletree and a 2019 seventh round pick to the New York Giants for 2018 fourth and sixth round selections. Ogletree did sign an extension with the Rams in October, but because of his poor play they felt it was time to send him somewhere else. He is only 26 years old with speed and play-making ability. He will look to help a Giants defense regain their 2016 form as they have been lacking at the linebacker position. This will only upgrade the Giants on defense and possibly make them a top five defense again after a bizarre 2017 campaign.
5. Titans Snag Another Former Pats Corner
The Tennessee Titans made some noise last year when they were able to sneak into the Wild Card round and upset the Chiefs on the road. They eventually met the Patriots and collapsed. They did not stay quiet in the offseason as they landed a five-year 61.25 million dollar deal with cornerback Malcolm Butler. If there is any player that will be playing with a chip on his shoulder, it would be Butler because of his unexpected benching in the Super Bowl. Butler will be bringing physicality, competitiveness, and press coverage ability to challenge the best receivers in the game including DeAndre Hopkins who he will be seeing twice this year. He has had 36 pass breakups and eight interceptions since 2015 and he will be paired along with Adoree’ Jackson and Logan Ryan making the Titans secondary a force to be reckoned with for years to come.
4. Vikings sign Kirk Cousins
Washington acquiring Smith clearly wrote it out for Cousins to find another team as he signed with the Minnesota Vikings on a three-year deal worth 84 million. The quarterback finally got the pay day he deserved as he has completed 1,372 of 2,096 passes, (65.5 percent) threw for 16,206 yards, and had 99 touchdowns to 55 interceptions with a career passer rating of 93.7. The only reason he has not went far with these impressive stats is because of the lackluster team surrounding him in Washington. He is joining an extremely talented team on both sides of the ball and a team that has won their division two of the past three seasons. Cousins will have enough artillery in guys like Stefon Diggs, Adam Thielen, and tight end Kyle Rudolph along with an elite defense to go toe-to-toe with Aaron Rodgers twice a year.
3. Rivals Unite
Another division rival signing as Pro Bowl cornerback Richard Sherman decided to sign with the San Francisco 49ers after his release from the Seattle Seahawks . His decision in staying within the division exemplifies that he wants vengeance against his former team because of the way they let him go after seven years of his hard work as well as winning a ring in 2014 with the “Legion of Boom.” The Niners are being revived and a piece like Sherman instantly upgrades a young defense. They also have a top 10 pick in this year’s draft. They could look to draft Denzel Ward from Ohio State to beef up their secondary even more. In 105 regular season games with Seattle, Sherman put up 367 combined tackles, defended 99 passes, and had 32 interceptions. Unfortunately, that all came to an end last year as he suffered an ACL injury that ended his campaign with the team. Sherman will be out to prove his doubters wrong as he still believes he is an elite corner.
2. The Rich Get Richer
Staying with the NFC, the Seahawks let go of another elite player in defensive end Michael Bennett when they traded him to the Philadelphia Eagles for a fifth round pick and wide receiver Marcus Johnson. It seems like from the release of Sherman and the trade of Bennett that the Seahawks are headed a whole new direction. Bennett does have off field issues, but those will eventually clear and with a disciplined franchise like Philly they can get him focused on the season ahead. This only boosts a defensive line that now will consist of Bennett and Fletcher Cox on the inside with Derek Barnett and Brandon Graham on the outside. In this outstanding defense, the Eagles could be rotating on each down consisting of these high caliber players.
1. Rams Revamped Defense
If there is any team that can challenge the Super Bowl champs in Philadelphia, it would be this young and coming Los Angeles Rams team who made the most noise this offseason making a monster of a defense. They lost Ogletree and Robert Quinn but were able to add defensive backs Marcus Peters, Aqib Talib, and defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh. Of course you can add as much talent as you want, but you will always need a successful coach and the Rams have that in Wade Phillips.
Phillips has a phenomenal resume especially when he lead that 2015 defense of the Denver Broncos to winning the Super Bowl as Von Miller won MVP. The duo of Aaron Donald and Suh will wreak havoc as well as the secondary of Peters, Talib, Nickell Robey-Coleman, and LaMarcus Joyner. Peters has 19 interceptions since 2015, when he came into the league, and Talib has had 34 since 2008. They both are physical defensive backs and with a defensive line that consists of Suh, Donald, and Michael Brockers, the ball will be coming out fast. Speaking of fast the Rams added Brandin Cooks on offense too.
Teams only want to improve on their mistakes each offseason and these teams definitely made some changes not only player wise, but culture wise as well. These additions can only help or harm teams and anything can look good on paper, but when the ball is kicked off in September only then will we find out who made the best moves.