NFL free agency is officially underway. The week is off to an extremely busy start, and it’s only Wednesday. In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the high-profile transactions and grade both sides of each deal.
Philip Rivers, QB, Indianapolis Colts
The deal: 1 year, $25 million
Philip Rivers is coming off one of the worst performing seasons in his 16-year career, hence why the Chargers wanted to move on. The news of his signing in Indianapolis doesn’t come at a surprise since his relationship with Frank Reich was well reported. The Colts ranked third in pass block in 2019 and did a solid job protecting Brissett which is exactly what Rivers will need in order to survive the pocket in 2020.
With Brissett signed through 2020, Philip will start and the Colts will have a legitimate back-up in Jacoby. Following Rivers’ 2019 season, Colts fans should be optimistically worried. Expect ticket sales and jersey sales to rise due to the arrival of Rivers in Indy.
Drew Brees, QB, New Orleans Saints
The deal: 2 years, $50 million
After leading New Orleans back to the playoffs in 2019, the Saints weren’t hesitant to bring back their future HOF quarterback on a team friendly two-year deal. Once Brees informed the team he wasn’t ready for retirement, the deal was basically done.
The Saints are built to win now, and with Bridgewater signing in Carolina earlier today, the deal makes complete sense for both sides.
Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Carolina Panthers
The deal: 3 years, $63 million
After granting Cam Newton and his representatives permission to seek a trade, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that the Carolina Panthers are giving quarterback Teddy Bridgewater a three-year deal worth roughly $63 million.
Bridgewater spent his last two seasons alongside Brees in New Orleans and did a fine job filling in while Drew was injured. Teddy went 5-0 as a starter in 2019 paving his way to roughly $63 million bucks. The panthers are easily this years sleeper team.
Randoll Cobb, WR, Houston Texans
The deal: 3 years, $27 million
If it wasn’t for the DeAndre Hopkins trade, this would have been a much better signing. That’s not saying Cobb isn’t a solid WR pickup, it’s just now were looking at him as Hopkin’s replacement.
Hopkins is considered by many as the best wide-receiver in the NFL, and Cobb is likely on his final contract. The Texans will look to Watson to carry the team as he’s done in the past, now just without his #1 weapon.
Kyle Van Noy, LB, Miami Dolphins
The deal: 4 years, $51 million
The Miami Dolphins are done tanking, and their showing it in a big way. One of their biggest splashes so far this offseason is the signing of former Patriot LB, Kyle Van Noy for a whopping $51 million.
The language in this contract is a little tricky. The deal is basically a 1-year deal worth around $15 million, with the other years only guaranteed by non-injury. Kyle will have to repeat his 2019 production if he wants to collect that whopping $51 million. Solid pickup for Miami if he can contribute.
Arik Armstead, DL, San Francisco 49ers
The deal: 5 years, $85 million
After trading away DeForest Buckner to the Indianapolis Colts, the 49ers needed Arik Armstead more than ever. The niners needed him so much they handed him a 5 year, $85 million deal. The defensive lineman/tackle racked up 10 sacks and 18 knockdowns in 2019 which lead to his massive contract. Solid, yet expensive pickup for the niners.
Amari Cooper, WR, Dallas Cowboys
The deal: 5 years, $100 million
Back in 2018, the Cowboys traded a first-round pick to get Cooper, so it makes sense that they’d do anything to keep him in Dallas. Amari becomes only the second wideout to breach the $100 million mark, the other being Julio Jones.
Cooper will have to stay healthy in 2020 in order for this massive deal to be worth it for Dallas. By overall value, this deal becomes the largest ever for a receiver. Another solid, yet expensive signing.
Vikings Trade Stefon Diggs to Bills
Minnesota Vikings get: 2020 first, fifth, and sixth-round picks, 2021 fourth
Buffalo Bills get: WR Stefon Diggs, 2020 seventh-round pick
We’ve heard rumors of discomfort between Diggs and the Vikings over the past few years, but the trade still came as a shock when it was announced. Diggs is a clear WR1 and the Bills were extremely happy to bring him in, especially Josh Allen.
Stefons’ contract is also team-friendly. The Bills will be acquiring the final four years of his extension, which have a total of $47.5 million remaining, none of which guaranteed. On the other side of the ball, the Vikings get a slew of draft picks, including the Bills 2020first-round pick. Look for the Vikings to try and find a replacement for Diggs in this years draft, which is full of quality WR’s.
Vikings Grade: B
Bills Grade: B+
Texans Trade DeAndre Hopkins to Arizona
Arizona Cardinals get: WR DeAndre Hopkins, 2020 fourth-round pick
Houston Texans get: RB David Johnson, 2020 2nd-round pick, 2021 4th-round pick
What is Bill O’Brien doing. Yet again, the football is stunned by another head-scratching trade orchestrated by the Texans head coach/GM. Hopkins is considered by many to be the best receiver in the NFL, and to not get a 1st -round pick in return is baffling.
On the hand, David Johnson was considered to be the best RB in the NFL just two years ago, and that’s what Houston is praying for. The Cardinals on the other hand look like winners as they land Hopkins and dump David Johnsons contract. Hopkins has three years left on his deal.
Cardinals Grade: A
Texans Grade: D