Sports

NFL free agency period supplies a shocking twist

Tom Brady ended his 20-year tenure with the New England Patriots, signing a two-year, $50 million guaranteed contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Void of any other sports news, the 2020 NFL free agency period — which has seen many stars depart from
their longtime teams — has not disappointed in providing drama for clamoring fans.
When the 2020 NFL season begins, longtime franchise faces of teams across the league will suit up in
different uniforms.
The most notable NFL stars who decided to sign contracts to play elsewhere include six-time Super Bowl
champion Tom Brady, who will play for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after 20 seasons with the New England
Patriots.
Other key departures include eight-time Pro Bowler Phillip Rivers heading to the Colts after 15 seasons with
the Chargers and DeAndre Hopkins being traded to the Arizona Cardinals after seven seasons with the
Houston Texans.
These high-profile moves have been widely debated and surrounded with drama — especially Brady’s move
to the Buccaneers when it was revealed that he took a slight pay cut from what the Patriots offered him to
change teams. Both Brady’s and Hopkins’ situations, rumors surfaced that there were rifts between the players
and their coaches that led to the departures.
While these moves grabbed the spotlight, some teams have made big moves that have gone slightly under
the radar.
The hometown Cincinnati Bengals, not traditionally big free-agent spenders, signed two players: defensive
lineman D.J. Reader and cornerback Trae Waynes.
Both should improve a defense that was not so good in 2019, but they paid around $95 million for both. The
Bengals likely overpaid for the players but their production in 2020 could support the investment.
These moves will likely be seen as positives by most Bengals fans as it shows for the first time in roughly
five years that they are willing to spend to bring in players.
The Browns made some big talent additions to their roster. They brought in Jack Conklin, a first-team all-pro
tackle and key cog in the Titans’ dominant running game last year. They also brought in a top tight end in
Austin Hooper.
There is no doubt the Browns have an abundance of talent on their roster. It’s simply a matter of when that
talent will come together to produce results on the field.
The Dallas Cowboys managed to keep the core of their team intact, re-signing wide receiver Amari Cooper
and franchise tagging quarterback Dak Prescott, whom they will continue contract negotiations with.
The Carolina Panthers successfully began their reboot of the roster under new head coach Matt Rhule as
they signed reliable veteran quarterback Teddy Bridgewater to a three-year deal to steal him away from their
division rival Saints.
This move came only a week prior to the team releasing former league MVP Cam Newton on Tuesday.
The Panthers also signed arguably the top quarterback from the XFL, P.J. Walker, to a deal to round out
their new quarterback room.
Yet, on the other hand, some teams made head-scratching moves.
In a shocking move, Todd Gurley was cut by the Los Angeles Rams, and was swiftly picked up by the
Atlanta Falcons.
Gurley was the NFL Offensive Player of the Year in 2017 and top players like Gurley do not often get
released.
After a disappointing season, the Rams had to deal with their poorly managed cap situation and likely had to
choose to release one of their four highly paid stars, either Gurley, quarterback Jared Goff, wide receiver
Brandin Cooks or defensive tackle Aaron Donald.
Both the Miami Dolphins and Detroit Lions, coached by former New England assistants, continued the trend
of signing ex-Patriots players to their roster for high-dollars, yet we haven’t seen much results by any team to
prove that this is an effective team-building strategy.
Time will tell if the big money signings of Kyle Van Noy, Jamie Collins, Danny Shelton, Ted Karras and
company will pay off on the field for these teams.
While most of the big acquisitions have passed for most teams, the free agency window for teams remains
open. The offseason has not disappointed fans so far and there is still more to come.

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