NFL free agency is in full swing with a bevy of trades and signings in the first wave. Big names have either re-signed or found new names like Bud Dupree, Jonnu Smith, Corey Linsley, and many more. Additionally, there are still plenty of names on the market in Kenny Golladay, Curtis Samuel, and Jadeveon Clowney. And the trade market is always there. Here are some early NFL free agent winners and losers.
Winner: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The band is sticking together for the reigning champs. Tom Brady received an extension, Chris Godwin was tagged, LBs Shaq Barrett (4 yr./ $72 million) and Lavonte David (2 yr./ $25 million) each received multi-year extensions. However, there are still some free agents from Tampa Bay’s original squad like Leonard Fournette, but the key pieces are back for Brady’s Bucs. For that reason alone, the Bucs are big winners.
Loser: Chicago Bears
Even as a Bears fan, it was pretty easy to peg them as early losers of free agency. Signing QB Andy Dalton to a one-year deal worth $10 million (could reach $13 million with incentives) would have been a perfect move for this team…last off-season. Now, the Bears have two aging veterans with Nick Foles as the other QB in the Bears arsenal. None of these guys are going to lead this team to a deep playoff run. Sticking with Foles would’ve saved the cap-strapped Bears some more spending money. Additionally, even reupping Mitchell Trubisky would have been wiser. There’s already a lot of disarray and confusion amongst Bears fans and the rest of the NFL with this move.
Winners: Justin Herbert and Cam Newton
Both these QBs are getting a bunch of help on either the line or with weapons. Patriots reupped Cam Newton for one year and gave him a lot of help with the signings of Jonnu Smith and Hunter Henry. They may have overpaid for both, but Coach Bill is not backing down after a postseason miss. In addition, they signed WRs Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne who will add speed and deep route running options for Cam. Moreover, they can also be good slot receivers. Furthermore, OT Trent Brown was reacquired from Oakland and he found great success in New England. The Patriots are trying to give Cam everything he needs for him and the Pats to bounce back.
Justin Herbert put together a stellar rookie season and will need help as he progresses. The Chargers have done a fine job giving him better protection heading into the 2021 campaign. Ex-Packer C Corey Linsley was signed to a massive five-year deal worth $62.5 million. To add more protection, ex-Steeler OL Matt Feiler was signed to a multi-year deal. Losing Hunter Henry will be a tough blow but there is still time for the Chargers to upgrade their receiving core.
Loser: Wide Receivers
This WR free agent class was stacked. Chris Godwin and Allen Robinson both got tagged. Nelson Agholor (Patriots) and Marvin Jones Jr. (Jaguars) were other WRs who came off the board. However, there are still big names out there in Kenny Golladay, JuJu, Will Fuller, and Curtis Samuel. Most of these guys are in line for big pay days, but so far none have really cashed in. The market is slow and these guys may have to wait longer than expected to find a team.
Winner and Loser: New England Patriots
Yes, the New England Patriots are both a winner and loser. They dished out A LOT of money to free agents that may or may not help them compete for a championship. On the offense, they re-signed Cam Newton, and signed Jonnu Smith, Hunter Henry, Kendrick Bourne, and Nelson Agholor. For the defense, the Pats signed Matt Judon, Henry Anderson, Jalen Mills, and Davon Godchaux. Some of these signings are good like Matt Judon and Nelson Agholor. Some of these signings are hit or miss like Hunter Henry and Jalen Mills. Either way, this roster is goin to a look significantly different next season. Can they compete with the rising Bills and Dolphins?