Faces Change in Free Agency
by Amy Lignor
Just this past week the National Football League’s brand new pre-season went into play, with deals and steals happening from one coast to the other. These days are all about transactions and transformations (hopefully positive ones) to teams that need help. The biggest news came in the form of quarterback changes. Tony Romo will say goodbye to his position in Dallas…yet, where he will be going is still anybody’s guess (all except Jerry Jones, most likely, who seems to know just about everything that happens in the NFL before any deals are signed). Whatever the case may be, it’s a given that when the announcement comes from Tony about which team he will lead, experts worldwide will have something to say.
The other QB issue came as not much of a surprise to most folks; not only that, but it offered Chicago Bears’ fans a sigh of relief and a new positive outlook for the team they love so much. Chicago cut QB Jay Cutler, who has played with almost no signs of life for a long time now, and replaced him with Mike Glennon. Glennon has landed a three-year contract with the Bears and, frankly, no matter how experts break this QB down they can all agree on one fact: Glennon will be no worse than the man that preceded him.
In the CB slot, Logan Ryan landed a very strong paycheck with the Tennessee Titans. This is one move that perhaps Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick will regret one day, but fans aren’t betting on it. (Belichick never seems to make one). Ryan played opposite Malcom Butler for the Pats and then ended up moving into more of a slot role, helping to bring home the Super Bowl ring. Trouble is, although he helped capture the Super Bowl title, he also moved into a free agency position that had teams lining up to land him. Perhaps his extraordinary talents will help the Titans achieve some success.
The biggest news in the WR area comes with Torrey Smith leaving the downtrodden 49ers and heading into Philadelphia – a place where experts say he is a truly stellar steal. Smith, being only 28 years-old, still has a future ahead of him, and most people assume that on a far better and more put together team like the Eagles Smith will be able to break out and show everyone his talent. Signing a three-year, $15 million dollar contract, he’s seeking redemption after unable to achieve his goals in 49ers territory. Can’t blame him, of course; after all, the entire 49ers’ team looked less NFL and more High School amateurish for the last two seasons.
The Miami Dolphins, on the flip side of free agency steals, made sure that one of their highly skilled WR’s was not going to be swooped up by any other team. Kenny Stills may wonder (as well as various NFL fans) why so many teams were interested in stealing him ahead of free agency. His numbers were okay, but lackluster, scoring 69 total receptions on 144 passes. However, the Dolphins reached out and retained him with a four-year deal worth $32 million ($20 million guaranteed) for the simple reason that Stills showed in college that he is a seriously dangerous deep threat. Yes, this young man is still developing, but Miami coach Adam Gase knows that Stills is a fantastic tool for the Dolphins’ offense and sees him breaking out in 2017.
Although a few other trades have happened, one of the most “famous” NFL names – Brandon Marshall – sets sail from the Jets and enters a two-year, $12 million dollar deal with the New York Giants. Marshall is walking directly into another famous WR clan that includes the more-than-colorful Odell Beckham Jr. and Sterling Shepard. This NFC clan, unlike their Dallas Cowboy rivals who built their winning season around runners instead of receivers, are all about throwing the ball downfield. The Giants love the air game and they are more than happy to have Marshall in their corner. With the Jets, Marshall chalked up his worst season since his rookie year back in 2006, yet the previous season Marshall had a league-high of 14 touchdowns. The Giants are most definitely looking for that Marshall who seemed to take a hiatus last season while being imbedded in the Jets’ offense. Fans and experts can’t wait to see if Brandon Marshall goes back to his success with Manning throwing the passes.
As free agency deals and steals continue, faces are bound to change even more, making next season in the NFL look more than interesting.
Source: GIG News