The NFL offseason has become a spectacle that has garnered an abundant amount of attention that has stolen the spotlight from the NBA and the NCAA tournament. So much movement has been made in this offseason and Free Agency is the pinnacle of it. But, due to COVID-19, this year’s free agency has been much more different than it ever has in the past. The salary cap went down a record $16.5 million and the first time it has gone down since the lockout offseason of 2011. So, in review, who won this janky first week of 2021 Free Agency?
- The Buccaneers
Retain, Retain, Retain. The Bucs almost all of their key guys back for next year at least. Chris Godwin signed his franchise tag, Shaq Barrett and Lavonte David came back on multi year deals and good ol’ Rob Gronkowski is back for at least another year. Would not surprise many if they find a way to re-sign Leonard Fournette and Antonio Brown as well
- Bill Belichick
The Emperor Palpatine of the NFL has had a very eventful free agency, spending more guaranteed money this year than he has at all in the last 10. Splash signings like EDGE Matthew Judon, TE’s Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith, former Patriot OT Trent Brown and WR Nelson Agholor made huge headlines as they have finally gotten competent skill players to surround Cam Newton with. But they also have made some savvy deals, such as resigning coveted C David Andrews and bringing back another familiar face in OLB Kyle Van Noy. Belichick took a lot of heat for this past season and he is gearing up for 2021 and getting the Patriots back into playoffs
- Urban Meyer
While signing CB Shaq Griffin to a monster contract stole headlines for the team with the most cap space in 2021, Meyer is gearing up for Trevor Lawrence on both sides of the ball. On top of retaining their biggest UFA, OT Cam Robinson, they have also signed WR Marvin Jones to bolster the receiving corps and DE Roy Robertson-Harris to build up the D-line and give the other Josh Allen some help at rushing the passer. They have not made any splash moves outside of Griffin, but Jags fans should be pleased with how he has kicked things off
- Bears Fans
The American tragedy of being a Bears fan. First it’s all in on Deshaun Watson, Second its Russell Wilson, and finally settling on Andy Dalton. All those hopes and dreams of Watson or Wilson heaving touchdowns to Allen Robinson gone in a flash. And on top of that, they have released standout CB Kyle Fuller to get themselves under the cap. So far a brutal offseason for Chicago
- Derek Carr
Just when Derek Carr feels like the Raiders and Jon Gruden are finally going to heavily support him, they cut or trade four of their five starting offensive lineman and he loses his best WR in Nelson Agholor. If I’m Derek Carr, I would ask for a trade at this point because this is ridiculous.
- The WR Market
Because of the salary cap, abundance of quality receivers currently in the league and coming from the draft, the receivers in free agency have been either getting team friendly deals or below market, stable contracts. Kenny Golladay and Juju Smith-Schuster were expecting long term deals in the $14-18 million range, but teams have been holding off on jumping at them to see if the asking price can go down. At the time of this writing on March 19th, the largest in per year money contract has been Corey Davis, who has gotten a $12 million a year deal from the New York Jets.