It’s been a busy offseason thus far, but things are just getting started. With NFL free agency well underway and only about a month until the draft, it’s time to take a look at some of the most notable offseason transactions.
The Giants were busy from the start of free agency, as they signed Jets wide receiver Brandon Marshall. Marshall has been regarded as one of the league’s top receivers in years past, but he’s currently 33 years old and coming off one of the worst seasons of his career. While much of that is due in large part to the Jets’ quarterback issues, it’s questionable as to whether Marshall could return to elite status. However, with Odell Beckham Jr. serving as the Giants’ top weapon, Marshall is able to slide into a more complementary role that better suits both him and the team. Expect to see a more potent offense from Manning and the Giants, who scored an average of under 20 points per game last season.
NFC East teams were certainly busy this month, as each team signed a top wide receiver on the market. The Cowboys only resigned Terrence Williams, but both the Redskins and the Eagles joined the Giants in acquiring some of the league’s best weapons. The Eagles signed Alshon Jeffery to a one-year deal. Jeffery is coming off an injury-plagued season with the Bears, but he should be able to regain his form beside the receiving core of Jordan Matthews and newly-acquired Torrey Smith. The Redskins, meanwhile, addressed the departures of DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon by signing Terrelle Pryor. Pryor is coming off a breakout season as the Browns’ top weapon, and with Kurt Cousins now throwing to him, expect a boost in both yardage and touchdowns for the young receiver.
It wasn’t just NFC East teams that made big moves, though. The New Orleans Saints are currently attempting to build a foundation for the future, and the Patriots were able to take advantage of this, trading for wide receiver Brandin Cooks. Cooks has been one the league’s top speedsters since his breakout campaign two years ago, but the emergence of Michael Thomas offered the Saints some flexibility. While early reports suggested that Malcolm Butler was involved in a potential deal, the Saints were unable to acquire the cornerback. This is important to note because not only did the Pats acquire Cooks, but they also signed Bills cornerback Stephon Gilmore. While they may have overpaid for him, the signing gives New England flexibility in dealing with Malcolm Butler, while still possibly having one of the best backfields in the league.
Some other notable moves this offseason include Andrew Whitworth to the Rams, who had one the league’s weakest offensive lines in the league a year ago, Calais Campbell and A.J. Bouye to the Jaguars, who will look to rebound from the third-worst record in the league and Brock Osweiler to the Browns. While this doesn’t appear to be significant, it could very well clear the way for Tony Romo to remain in Texas.