The new league year, although young, has seen an unprecedented amount of movement of high-profile players in trades, as well as in free agency. Lets take a look at the biggest storylines of the new league year.
New York Jets busy week
In what will be his last major payday, Darrelle Revis certainly cashed in. NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport reported the five-year, $70 million deal, including $39 million guaranteed. The Revis signing suddenly gives the Jets a formidable secondary, to pair with one of the best defensive fronts in the NFL. This move gives the Jets some needed leverage in an increasingly competitive AFC East.
The Jets should be charged with robbery, seeing as they stole one of the best receivers in the NFL, only giving up a 5th round-pick. Brandon Marshall gives the Jets a legitimate receiving corps for the first time since the days of Keyshawn Johnson and Wayne Chrebet. With the addition of Marshall, the Jets now boast an offense with the best skill players (outside of quarterback) in the division.
On Wednesday morning, the Jets traded for Ryan Fitzpatrick. While the team may still look to upgrade the position through the draft, the Jets probably are skeptical about this year’s class of quarterbacks (like many other teams are). The Jets 2015 starting quarterback is likely on the roster at the moment.
With CJ Spiller and Antonio Cromartie likely to sign with New York, the Jets have drastically improved on paper.
On Tuesday afternoon, the Saints sent Jimmy Graham to Seattle in exchange for a first and fourth round-pick, as well as center, Max Unger. The Seahawks are getting one of the best tight ends in the NFL; however, he has struggled with injuries in the last few seasons. The Seahawks could have just lost a very good center and two draft picks for a player who is unable to stay on the field.
If Graham is able to stay healthy, though, the Seahawks will have a significantly improved passing game. In desperate need of playmakers at receiver and tight end, the Seahawks got some help. The duo of Jimmy Graham and Marshawn Lynch gives Seattle two of the most dangerous red-zone threats in the NFL, so maybe this won’t happen if they decide to pass on the goal line.
49ers roster in transition
The post-Harbaugh 49ers have shed their roster of several franchise cornerstones.
On Monday, All-Pro linebacker, Patrick Willis announced his retirement. The 30 year-olds retirement comes as a huge shock, as well as major blow to the 49ers. Despite having Navorro Bowman and Chris Borland at inside linebacker, the presence of the best linebacker in the game will be greatly missed.
Cornerstone defensive end, Justin Smith, is unlikely to be back with the team. Michael Crabtree is a free-agent, Ahmad Brooks already has a foot out the door, star guard, Mike Iupati, has signed with Arizona, and Frank Gore is in Indianapolis.
San Francisco has made a few key moves, signing Darnell Dockett and Torrey Smith. While these are good moves, they don’t do much to replace the talent and leadership that has left what was a title contending team not long ago.
Eagles roster in flux
Philadelphia has let go of Cary Williams, Trent Cole, Todd Herremans, and Jeremy Maclin. These moves make sense from a salary cap perspective, but have left big holes on the roster, as the team has done little in free agency other than the imminent pickup of cornerback, Byron Maxwell.
The biggest moves they have made, however, are the two blockbuster deals.
Exchanging LeSean McCoy for Kiko Alonso gives both the Bills and Eagles something they needed. The Bills needed offensive firepower, and they are getting it from a player who has rushed for the most yards in the NFL since he has been in the league. The Eagles needed help on defense, and they are getting it with one of the best young defenders in the NFL. Assuming he can stay healthy, the pairing of Alonso with Mychal Kendricks gives the Eagles the fastest inside linebacker tandem in the NFL.
It was clear that Nick Foles was not Chip Kelly’s quarterback; the holdover from the Andy Reid regime doesn’t seem to fit what Kelly wants to do. Still, swapping him for Sam Bradford was suprising. Bradford is clearly the more talented passer, but he is coming off of two consecutive ACL injuries. While a more mobile quarterback than Foles, it doesn’t seem like a good idea to have the injury-prone passer leave the pocket too much.
There has been some speculation that Bradford is just a trading chip for the Eagles to get Marcus Mariota. This makes little-to-no sense. A quarterback with little NFL success, who cost upwards of $12 million, coming off two ACL tears is going to be deemed worthy of a high draft pick? Logic would say no.
Other big moves: Haloti Ngata traded to Detoit, Suh to Miami, Jason Worilds, Cortland Finnegan and Jake Locker retire, Pats retain McCourty.