Early Free Agency Winners and Losers, by Bryan Dickie

Early Free Agency Winners and Losers, by Bryan Dickie
Reading Time: 3 minutes.

Who are the NFL Free Agency winners and losers so far this year?

There have been big signings, big trades and there are sure to be plenty more to come as the NFL begins it’s 2020 Season with it’s free agency signing period. Here’s a few of the winners and losers so far (As of Tuesday evening… this is just the beginning).

The Winners

Brian Flores

The Dolphins head coach finally gets to reap some of the rewards of his “tanking” first season. The defensive minded coach signs the best available defensive back in ex-Cowboy lock down corner Byron Jones to play opposite former Pro-Bowl corner Xavien Howard. As well as Jones the ‘Fins added Ex-Patriot Kyle Van Noy to join his former Defensive Coordinator Flores. The Dolphins still have $55m* to play with cap wise as well as 14 draft picks!

*As of Tuesday night, according to https://overthecap.com/

Steve Keim

Rewind 14 months and the Cardinals GM was on the hot seat after hiring Rookie NFL coach Kliff Kingsbury from Texas Tech and seriously considering drafting Kyler Murray – who many said should stick to baseball as he was “too small” for football.

Fast forward to the 16th of March 2020, just over a month after the Cardinals franchise QB Kyler Murray picked up his Offensive Rookie of the Year award, Keim gifts Kliff Kingsbury with future hall of fame receiver DeAndre Hopkins to play opposite Arizona legend Larry Fitzgerald. The deal, (which this writer and many around still can’t believe it’s true), for Hopkins and a 4th round pick cost the Cardinals a 2nd rounder and much past his best running back David Johnson… The term “coup” doesn’t quite cover it.

Derek Carr

As the Raiders have upped sticks from Oakland over to Las Vegas Derek Carr has been the model professional; breaking ground on their new HQ, talking up the teams exciting move and even buying his new Las Vegas house – right next to head coach John Gruden. Yet despite all Carr’s best behavior rumours of the Silver and Black making a big free agency splash with living NFL legend Tom Brady haven’t died down.

Fortunately for Carr the Raiders haven’t signed Brady and it certainly doesn’t look like they will. Rather than go for Brady the Raiders instead going for Marcus Marriota as “competition” for Carr – Marriota has NFL experience , starting 61 games over his 5 years in the league, but nowhere near the pedigree or skill of Brady. The move will allow Carr to breathe easy knowing it’d take a dramatic balls up for him to lose his starting job this year.

The Losers

The Cowboys

Dallas tagged Dak Prescott, signed Amari Cooper and unfortunately but not surprisingly lost Byron Jones to the Dolphins, all before Tuesday morning. Keeping Prescott and Cooper certainly keeps the main players in the Cowboys “band” together as new head coach Mike McCarthy starts his tenure in Dallas, however in doing so many of their talented “backing singers” are off elsewhere, the biggest two being receiver Randall Cobb (828 yards, 3 TDS) and defensive end Robert Quinn (team leading 11.5 sacks), both of which had looked like realistic “keepers” for the Cowboys. It wasn’t to be:

Cobb signed a $5m, 1 year deal last season and was tipped to rejoin former head coach McCarthy but headed to the Texans on a 3 year $27m deal instead. Quinn cashed in on his impressive season with a $70m, 5 year deal with the Bears.

It was always going to be a struggle to keep Cobb and/or Quinn but the Cowboys certainly could’ve made it easier on themselves by signing Cooper and Dak to deals much earlier – hindsight is a great thing but signing them last year could’ve really helped…

Texans

Sticking in Texas the aforementioned Hopkins and a 4th for Johnson and a 2nd has to be considered a loss for the Texans – yes maybe Hopkins didn’t get on with the Texans overload (not just head coach but GM too) Bill O’Brien but he’s a huge loss to the Texans and especially young star QB Deshaun Watson – Hopkins received over 30% of the teams targets and over 25% of their receiving yards, not easy to replace…

Patriots Fans

As with most other non-New England fans it’s hard, very hard, to feel any sympathy for Patriots fans – their prolonged success over the past two decades is something many doubt we’ll ever see again. Brady has signalled he’s leaving the Patriots for pastures new and breaking up the Brady-Belichick dynasty dream team. Belichick will be doing his best to make sure the Patriots are still challenging for superbowls – it’ll be interesting to see if they can – but if so it probably won’t be the same without Brady and his 12 jersey leading the way.

The DeAndre Hopkins trade was a puzzler for some. Image from bleedinggreennation.com


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