There has been plenty of action through the legal tampering period and the first day of free agency for everyone to enjoy. Whether its big names like Jordy Nelson and Tyrann Mathieu getting released or the largest fully guaranteed contract in NFL history going to Kirk Cousins, there has been plenty of drama for NFL fans to observe. I did a deep dive into all of the chaos and have come up with my 5 biggest thoughts and reactions to the start of free agency.
The Cardinals have no idea what they are doing
The San Francisco 49ers and the St. Louis Rams have made plenty of noise in the off-season and are so far the trendy picks to play at a high level in the NFC next season. To counter that, the Cardinals released a 25-year-old pro bowl safety because he didn’t want to take a pay cut and signed a quarterback that has never had a winning record in the NFL to a $20 million contract. Interesting. Maybe they are trying to maximize the last gasp of Larry Fitzgerald to try to get him a ring, but these moves make no sense and are lateral moves at best. Don’t expect much out of Arizona this season.
Kirk Cousins Deserves $84 million Guaranteed
For every other team in the NFL, this move makes no sense. But for the Minnesota Vikings, Kirk Cousins is worth every cent of this deal. Why? The window to win a championship in the NFL is small and the last piece they needed was an above average quarterback. The rest of their roster is as good as any in the league, and they have a really good chance at representing the NFC in Super Bowl 53. This move wouldn’t have made much of a difference for the other Cousins suitors (Jets and Cardinals) as the rest of their rosters are too inferior to be playing in February as it is.
The Number One Pick is Up For Grabs
Well, thanks Cleveland for making my last article utterly worthless! I was convinced the Browns would be taking Saquon Barkley after securing Tyrod Taylor in a trade last week, but now I have no idea. Sure, Saquon still could be the number one pick, but after signing Carlos Hyde to a 3 year $15 million deal, the odds are very slim. Now it has got me thinking whether Taylor is just a placeholder for their quarterback of the future in Josh Rosen or Sam Darnold, or if they will load up on the strong defensive talent in this class. Either way, the first pick in the draft is going to have lots of intrigue until the ticker says “the pick is in.”
The Jets Might Not Be Sold on a Quarterback at #6
It wasn’t long ago that first-round pick Teddy Bridgewater led the Minnesota Vikings to a playoff appearance. Before a devastating knee injury he was the Vikings franchise quarterback that was supposed to lead them to the promised land. The Jets signing him to a 4-year deal and Josh McCown to a one year deal worth $10 million tells me that they aren’t so sure their next franchise quarterback is in this draft. It is either that or they wanna pay McCown $10 million to compete for the backup job. This sounds odd, but the Jets had $90 million in cap space so it didn’t exactly hurt. I do think it would be foolish for Todd Bowles and this front office to push the goal posts back to finding their next quarterback again.
The Wide Receiver Draft Class is Weak
Remember when Odell Beckham Jr., Mike Evans, Allen Robinson, Brandin Cooks, and Jarvis Landry were all in that 2014 draft? Ahh, the glory days of wide receivers. I remember it like it was yesterday. Now we see Marqise Lee getting 4 years $38.5 million and Paul Richardson getting 4 years $50 million respectively. Sure, they are fine players, but this seems like an overpay on both accounts. This may be due in large part to the past couple wide receiver classes that have had relative duds like John Ross, Corey Davis, Corey Coleman, and other first round picks who didn’t have a big impact early on. Maybe it was teams over-valuing the position because of the outlier that was the 2014 draft, and teams are now doing a “over-correction” by going in the opposite direction on the position four years later. Or maybe it’s just a case of teams getting smarter. There is a reason that running backs are rarely taken high unless you are LEGIT. The league is so pass oriented and spread out that you can find quality receivers in the middle rounds of the draft and are better off sending a high first round pick on a linemen, corner, or linebacker instead of a receiver. Position groups that “matter more” for lack of a better term. I tend to think the reason for these contracts are directly correlated to the perceived quality of receivers entering the draft this season.