Early Free Agency Winners and Losers
Kirk Cousins is going to be the highest paid quarterback in the NFL. To me that’s just wrong, but good for him. He wanted to get paid, and boy did he get paid. Cousins and the Vikings agreed to a 3-year deal worth $84 Million. The best part for Cousins is that the deal is fully guaranteed. Fully guaranteed. That’s unheard of for a quarterback or any player, but somehow Cousins pulled it off.
Jimmy Graham and Aaron Rodgers
Jimmy Graham gets to play with Aaron Rodgers. Who wouldn’t want to catch passes from Aaron Rodgers? Rodgers get to throw the ball to Jimmy Graham. Who wouldn’t want to have him as a target? Jimmy Graham isn’t what he used to be, but he’s still a very good tight end. He’s probably best in the red zone, which is where Aaron Rodgers will love him. I can already see this being a very good and dangerous combo.
Jacksonville is expected to sign Andrew Norwell, who was the best guard and offensive lineman available. Norwell will make life easier for Blake Bortles in the passing game, as well as the running game. Norwell will help Leonard Fournette continue to be a dominant runner, which will lead to Blake Bortles having easier throws and more time in the pocket. Bortles also won because the Jaguars were able to get him some receivers. Marqise Lee and Donte Moncrief aren’t elite, but they’ll be good targets for Bortles. Bortles is already familiar with Lee, so he gets back a receiver he already knows how to work with.
Paul Richardson got a good chunk of money, especially for a receiver who’s best season resulted in 44 catches for 703 yards. Other than that, his highest receiving yard total was 288. Richardson has shown flashes of a potential, but he hasn’t been able to put it together. He’s got speed and the ability to out leap defenders, he just needs to do it more consistently. Not the best signing if you ask me, but it’s great for Richardson.
Kansas City Chiefs
It looks like the Chiefs really want Patrick Mahomes to succeed. He was already surrounded by Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce, and Kareem Hunt. Now he has Sammy Watkins too. Defense’s are going to have trouble covering all of these guys. This has to make Mahomes feel comfortable and confident running the offense, which is exactly what the Chiefs want. They also got Anthony Hitchens from Dallas, who is a very underrated player at linebacker. He’ll help this defense quietly, but efficiently.
Denver has been in need of a quarterback, and they got one, but I don’t think Case Keenum was what most people had in mind. Keenum is coming off his best season in the NFL by far. I think he can continue his good play, but he’s not a long term answer at quarterback. I don’t think Keenum is really going to fix the Broncos problems on offense. They’re not the biggest losers on my list, but I’m not a huge fan of the move.
Let me start this by saying the Dallas Cowboys are losers in free agency just about every year. They never sign anyone of significance, and they lose their starters. Anthony Hitchens is going to sign with the Chiefs, so now they have to find a way to replace him. They were in the mix for Sammy Watkins, but they probably didn’t have enough money to offer him. All they ever do is sign players who are good players, but not difference makers.
Paul Richardson and Jimmy Graham are out. They got rid of Michael Bennett, and Richard Sherman left. Not only did he leave, but he signed with the rival 49ers. The Seahawks are falling apart. It’s going to be a challenge replacing all of these guys.
Cam Newton needs to have better protection. His offensive line hasn’t done him any favors when it comes to protecting him. Today that protection got even worse with the departure of Andrew Norwell. It looks like Cam will be taking a few more hits this upcoming season.
New York Jets
The Jets wanted Kirk Cousins, and were probably willing to pay him a similar amount of money. Instead, Cousins goes to the Vikings and the Jets end up with Teddy Bridgewater. I’m not saying Bridgewater is bad, but he was their backup plan. They didn’t get the guy they wanted. I don’t think Bridgewater is a long term answer for the Jets, who should still be in the market for a quarterback in the draft.