The NFL Free Agency Frenzy
Updated: Sep 18, 2022
By Benny Scheinmann
Features and Games Editor
Although this year's NFL Free Agency was nearly postponed due to the Coronavirus pandemic, on March 18th, Free Agency jumped into action. Since there were numerous moves this offseason, I will be analyzing the three best and worst transactions.
Starting with the best moves, on March 16, the Arizona Cardinals shocked the NFL world, by trading David Johnson, a one-time Pro-Bowl Running Back, to the Texans in exchange for superstar wide receiver, DeAndre Hopkins. The Texans and Cardinals also exchanged draft picks, with the Texans drafting defensive tackle Ross Blacklock with the pick they received. With Hopkins’ incredible route running, superb speed, and athletic ability to catch the ball with tight coverage or on a bad throw, Hopkins will certainly boost the Cardinals’ offensive power, possibly transitioning them into a playoff team. Many don’t understand why the Texans agreed to this deal, as this is a robbery of a trade, and the Cardinals are more than happy with their heist.
A name many may not know is Jack Conklin. Conklin is one of the league's most talented offensive lineman who recently signed with the Cleveland Browns. After receiving a great deal of hype, the Browns were disappointed last season with quarterback Baker Mayfield, who did not live up to expectations, and talented wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. unexpectedly performed poorly as well. However, one player who was a bright spot for Cleveland was running back Nick Chubb. Chubb ran for almost 1500 yards along with 8 touchdowns. With the addition of Conklin, Chubb has the chance to put up even better numbers next season, which will take a lot of the pressure off of quarterback Mayfield and the rest of the team’s pass-game. Hopefully, the Browns can live up to the expectations that many had for them last season by doing what everyone thought they could last season and making a playoff run.
With what was possibly the most notable move of the offseason, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers signed former Patriots quarterback, Tom Brady. Tampa’s prior quarterback, Jameis Winston was not the right fit in Tampa as the Buccaneers never sniffed a playoff spot with him as their QB, much to Winston’s poor decision making and inaccuracy. Although Brady is 42 years old, he has tremendous assets around him, and his veteran presence and incredible IQ should help secure a playoff spot for the Buccaneers and potentially snag a win in the NFL’s postseason.
While the Cardinals acquiring DeAndre Hopkins was a great move for them, the Texans made a huge mistake trading him away. Hopkins, a back to back 1500 yard receiver and a second straight First-Team All-Pro wide receiver, was traded for David Johnson, a player who has not been valuable in two years, due to injuries and ineffectiveness. Yes, the Texans were in need of a running back, but to trade their best player was totally unnecessary! Although the Houston Texans haven't had much success in the postseason in the last two years, they still made it to the playoffs, primarily because of Hopkins’ tremendous play. By trading their star player, they are throwing all their playoff and Super Bowl hopes away.
Although Tom Brady is arguably the best player of all time, and the Buccaneers were in need of a QB, the signing could also be seen in a negative light. In reality, Brady is 42, and is not the same player he was three years ago. Brady may only have a few years left in him. Meanwhile, wide receivers Chris Godwin and Mike Evans will be entering their prime soon, and could use a younger, more athletic QB, like Cam Newton. Due to his age, there is an injury concern for Brady. At his age with his performance history it could only take one injury to end his career. This signing may be a good move in some eyes but the Buccaneers could have gone many other routes.
Another disappointing move in the NFL Free Agency was the Detroit Lions trading away three-time Pro Bowl cornerback Darius Slay to the Philadelphia Eagles for two draft picks. Although Slay was begging the Lions to trade him this offseason, Detroit could have gotten much more out of a stellar player like Slay. He was also a huge part of Detroit's defense, an area that the Lions are now likely to struggle with. There is little-to-no chance the Lions will get close to a playoff appearance next season or in the immediate future.
As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, this year's NFL draft was scheduled to be held in Las Vegas, Nevada, the new home of the Raiders. Instead, it was held virtually by video conference. The first few picks went as expected with the Cincinnati Bengals selecting Heisman Trophy winner Joe Burrow from the 2019 FBS Champions LSU Tigers. Cincinnati hopes Burrow will be the guy to turn their franchise around. The Washington Redskins then picked Chase Young of the Ohio State Buckeyes. Young is a big, athletic defensive end, who Washington believes can lead their defense for the next several seasons. At pick 21, the hometown Philadelphia Eagles took a position of dire need, choosing speedy TCU wide receiver Jalen Reagor. Although the Eagles could have gone with Justin Jefferson, a WR from LSU, the Eagles selected Reagor hoping he becomes a favorite target of Carson Wentz and allows the Eagles to go to the next level and make another Super Bowl run in 2020.
Ultimately there were many moves in this year’s crazy Free Agency, but one mistake could cause the teams everything.