NFL Free Agency Frenzy


Tom Brady and other New England Patriots players face the Miami Dolphins at Gillette Stadium in Nov. 2009. (Courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

By Scott Stephens


As travel is either banned or highly discouraged around the country, some of the National Football League’s most high-profile names have been moved to different cities to play for different teams.

The sports world was on alert when six-time Super Bowl Champion Tom Brady announced that he would not be returning to the New England Patriots, where he has spent all 20 years of his career. There were many speculations as to where Brady was going to be playing for the 2020 season or even if there he was going to continue playing the game of football, and in the end, the star quarterback ended up signing a new contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The two-year deal is valued at $50 million, all of which is guaranteed, and up to an additional $9 million is available in incentives. Brady now joins a roster with talented receivers such as Chris Godwin, who is emerging as one of the most reliable targets in the league, and Mike Evans, who has been established now as a talented weapon. But Evans has had his struggles with drops in the past. This would mean that Florida State graduate and Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston will either be moved to the second string position or let go from the organization.

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick is now is tasked with continuing his reign in the AFC East division without his 20-year veteran. It is interesting to wonder who he will call upon to fill the role of quarterback and step into an offense still riddled with talent in the backfield with James White and on the outside with Julian Edelman.

In other news, there have been multiple trades that have shifted the landscape of the league and have raised eyebrows throughout the sport. The Buffalo Bills let go of four total draft picks (this year’s first, fifth, and sixth-round picks as well as a fourth-round pick in the 2021 draft) to the Minnesota Vikings in return for a 2020 seventh-round pick along with highly-touted receiver Stefon Diggs. This brought a lot of optimism to the Buffalo franchise, adding another weapon to an improving offense centered around the growth of quarterback Josh Allen, as well as a lot of disdain from many Minnesota faithful who are disappointed that the organization never fully found the proper formula to maximize Diggs’s capabilities.

Another eye-opening trade took place when the Houston Texans dealt a fourth-round pick and DeAndre Hopkins — arguably the most talented receiver in the game to date — to the Arizona Cardinals for a second-round pick in this year’s draft, a 2021 fourth-round pick, and running back David Johnson. Johnson had a few extremely impressive seasons for the Cardinals but has always been prone to major season-altering injuries. The most interesting part of this deal is the rumors of unpleasantries between Hopkins and the Texans head coach Bill O’Brien. They seemed to never see eye to eye, and Hopkins had requested a new contract to stay in Houston before being dealt in the trade to Arizona. Hopkins now joins a young and promising team, with Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Kyler Murray, returning for his second season in the league after a successful rookie campaign, and timeless wonder Larry Fitzgerald.

Last, another star quarterback, Philip Rivers, left his longtime home in with the Los Angeles Chargers and signed with the Indianapolis Colts. This is a very intriguing move for both sides, seeing as the Colts used Jacoby Brissett as essentially a place holder last season after Andrew Luck announced his retirement from the league. Rivers is a reliable, veteran presence to the team who has a very strong offensive line, a plethora of talented tight ends and a highly talented deep threat in T.Y. Hilton. There is less information available on the details of the new contract for Rivers, but it is supposedly one year in length for roughly $25 million.

These new faces will surely take some getting used to for the long term NFL fan and add depth to teams that are looking to push deeper into the playoffs and turn into top contenders in their divisions. These are interesting stories to keep up within a world that is full of stories of dark times and hardships, as well as the cancellation of almost every major sporting event to date, with no real plan or future dates to show any sort of optimism. Hopefully, when it is time for the NFL season to start back up, we as sports fans will be able to see these familiar faces in their new locations and uniforms.


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