NFL free agency is underway and the offseason moves are like no other. The official “offseason” for football kicked off on March 13, however so many teams and players agreed to deals during the legal tampering period time on March 11 and 12. During these two days, the teams did not disappoint.
Moves were happening within minutes of each other and unlike baseball, the NFL wasted no time signing the players they wanted. With the official offseason now upon us, I’ll rank my top 5 teams who have had the best offseason so far.
1. Cleveland Browns
Notable moves: Odell Beckham, Olivier Vernon (trades), Kareem Hunt, Sheldon Richardson (signings)
This should come as no surprise. The Browns have made the biggest move this offseason so far. The great thing about NFL free agency and trades is that there are no rumors, the moves just happen. The trade for Odell Beckham and Olivier Vernon was just that and what a trade it was for Cleveland. Beckham is reunited with his old teammate from LSU, Jarvis Landry and is now paired with the best quarterback of his career, Baker Mayfield. Get ready for fireworks Cleveland.
The Browns also added a defensive lineman, Sheldon Richardson to a 3-year deal to boost their defensive line. In a move that surprised and created major pushback, the Browns agreed to terms with ex-Chief running back, Kareem Hunt. He was suspended and released by the Chiefs last season after a video surfaced of him pushing and kicking a young woman while she was on the floor. Hunt is one of the best young running backs in the league and if he can get his head back on straight, has the ability to take this Cleveland offense to another level.
2. New York Jets
Notable moves: Le’Veon Bell, C.J. Mosley, Henry Anderson, Jamison Crowder (signings)
The big offseason target for the jets was none other than Le’Veon Bell and they got their man. The contract is valued at 4 years for 52.5 million. The contact surprised many, myself included. Many speculated Bell would receive a bigger contract, but many teams were hesitant of Bell after he sat out last season. New York was his highest offer and the Jets should be more than pleased with the deal.
In addition to Bell, the Jets signed the best middle linebacker available, C.J. Mosley. Mosley, still very young at age 26, spent the first 5 years of his career with Baltimore and was a huge factor for their defense. The Jets also added a slot receiver in Jamison Crowder to a 3-year deal. Even with the loss of Anthony Barr, he committed to sign with the Jets but backed out and returned to the Vikings before making the deal official, the Jets signed their top offseason target and added a Pro-Bowl level linebacker.
3. New England Patriots
Notable moves: Michael Bennett (trade) Phillip Dorsett, Jason McCourty (signings)
The ever so quiet Patriots are quietly putting together another great offseason and doing it their way. They had the opportunity to resign defensive lineman, Trey Flowers but decided to move on. For context, the Lions will be paying Flowers 16 million per season for the next 5 years. They also moved on from a key offensive lineman in Trent Brown. Brown signed with the Raiders and they made him the highest paid offensive lineman in the game, something the Patriots would never even consider.
The Patriots have quietly traded for a very good replacement for Flowers with Michael Bennett. Bennett was a major contributor in the Seahawks’ defense in their past 2 Super Bowl appearances. They also resigned Phillip Dorsett and Jason McCourty, average players that the Patriots know how to get the most out of. The Patriots continue to play chess, while the rest of the league is playing checkers.
4. Green Bay Packers
Notable moves: Preston Smith, Za’Darius Smith, Adrian Amos, Billy Turner (signings)
Under the radar, but making big moves, this offseason is the Green Bay Packers. The Packers are not known for spending a lot of money in free agency but have made some very smart and beneficial moves so far this offseason. They have added 3 starters to their defense, always their major weakness with Aaron Rodgers as their quarterback.
Preston Smith and Za’Darius Smith will boost their linebacker play instantly. Adrian Amos, an underrated safety, will fill the void Ha Ha Clinton Dix left after the Packers traded him last season. Their defense has greatly improved from last year and with many rookies returning for their year second season, this Packer defense could be one of the best they have had in years.
5. Philadelphia Eagles
Notable moves: Brandon Graham, Malik Jackson (signings) DeSean Jackson (trade)
The Eagles’ strength of their team just got better, due to the their defensive line. They re-signed defensive end Brandon Graham to a 3 year 40 million dollar deal and have also added an ex-Jaguar defensive tackle, Malik Jackson. Their defensive line stands as one of the best in football and with these two signings make them arguably the best in football.
The Eagles also bring back an old friend this offseason, DeSean Jackson. The ex-Philly receiver spent the past 2 seasons in Tampa Bay. Jackson spent the first 6 years of his career in Philly and was a fan favorite the minute he got to town. The Eagles traded a 6th round pick for Jackson and after the deal became official quickly signed him to a 3-year extension. He will be a great deep threat target for the strong armed quarterback, Carson Wentz.