All major sports leagues are shut down or postponed due to the COVID-19 situation. The NFL free agency is the only major sports related event that is going on right now. This year’s free agency has been nothing but exciting. There have been trades and big signings, and I am here to break down the major deals that have gone down.
Free agency officially started on Wednesday, March 18, but teams started making moves as early as that Monday. Many players were franchise tagged prior to or on Monday. Some of which include Broncos SAF Justin Simmons, Buccaneers LB Shaq Barrett, and Titans RB Derrick Henry. One key name not tagged was Patriots QB Tom Brady, which means he could leave New England.
There were some pretty big trades that happened on Monday, March 16. The first trade turned heads as the Texans traded four time All-Pro WR Deandre Hopkins and a 2020 fourth round pick to the Cardinals. In return, they received one time All-Pro RB David Johnson, a 2020 second round pick, and a 2021 fourth round pick. Another trade that happened later that night was the Vikings trading WR Stefon Diggs and a 2020 seventh round pick to the Bills. The Vikings received the Bills first round draft pick this year and three other late round picks.
Some notable players who agreed to sign on Monday include TE Austin Hooper, CB Byron Jones, and WR Amari Cooper. Former Falcons TE Austin Hooper agreed to a four year, $44 million deal with the Browns, which makes Hooper the highest paid TE in the NFL. Former Cowboys CB Byron Jones agreed to a five year, $82.5 million deal with the Dolphins, which also makes Jones the highest paid CB in the NFL. Cooper agreed to re-sign with the Cowboys on a five year, $100 million deal, which you guessed it, makes Cooper the highest paid WR in the NFL.
With all these big deals happening on Monday, one would think that Tuesday, March 17, was quiet, but it was not. The main position that received the most attention Tuesday was quarterback. The likes of Philip Rivers, Drew Brees, Teddy Bridgewater, and even Tom Brady agreed to deals on Tuesday. Drew Brees agreed to re-sign with the Saints on a two year, $50 million deal which keeps Brees in New Orleans, the Saints were unlike many other teams who could not re-sign their quarterbacks. One of those teams included the Chargers as they lost QB Philip Rivers to the Colts on a one year, $25 million deal. Another big QB signing was Teddy Bridgewater. The former Saints QB finalized a deal with the Panthers worth $63 million over three years.
And now, Tom Brady. He announced earlier on Tuesday that he would not return to the Patriots. He later then agreed to sign a deal worth roughly $30 million with the Buccaneers. This is the first time in his career that he will play for another team after a 19-year career with the Patriots.
With many players agreeing to deals Monday and Tuesday, it left few players available on Wednesday. Still, there were some big deals that went down on Wednesday. One deal was a trade between the Bears and Jaguars. The Bears traded a compensatory fourth round pick and the Jaguars traded QB Nick Foles. This move will likely give Bears QB Mitch Trubisky some competition next season. And for the Jaguars, this will clear up some cap room plus most likely give young QB Gardner Minshew ll the starting job next season. Some other notable signings from Wednesday were Saints signing SAF Malcolm Jenkins, Falcons signing LB Dante Fowler, and the Chargers signing CB Chris Harris Jr.
Overall, this has been a very eventful free agency, with blockbuster trades and big quarterback changes. This all comes with the NFL players agreeing to the new CBA and the COVID-19 situation halting the sports world. We will have to wait and see how this all pans out, but this free agency will definitely change the way teams draft coming this April.