Noah Sanchez, Sports Editor
While most of the world has put their day-to-day functions on pause in the unprecedented times we are in, the NFL certainly hasn’t it and the 2020 free agency period for the league is more alive and well than ever before.
From teams breaking the bank on young star talent they hope to be the cornerstones of their teams for years to come, to grizzled veterans finding new homes, this year’s free agency period has been one like no other.
The considerably biggest move of all being that of Tom Brady’s shocking departure from New England and deciding to move down south to Tampa Bay, Florida joining the Buccaneers on a two-year deal.
The move came after an up and down system for Brady who now ends his 19-year tenure with the New England Patriots. The Patriots who drafted Brady back in 2000 will now look to second-year quarterback Jarret Stidham to take command of an offense who won six Super Bowls during the Brady era.
As for Tom Brady, the move comes as a surprise to many as NFL fans thought that he would finish his career with the Patriots after such a long and illustrious history with the team.
It’s not often that a man entering his 20th season in the league at age 42 soon to be 43 in August gets the opportunity to see another starting quarterback job, especially for another franchise. For the man they call “TB12” he now gets the chance to lead another team to the postseason in Tampa Bay.
Meanwhile, another veteran quarterback moves during free agency: former Chargers quarterback Phillip Rivers sign with the Indianapolis Colts on a one-year $25 million dollar deal. Rivers now entering his 16th year in the NFL at age 38 was a record-setter during his tenure with the Chargers franchise setting the record for passing yards, touchdowns and overall wins while with the team.
Rivers who despite not having a great statistical season in 2019 is still looked at as a premier quarterback in the league and will look to lead the Colts to a division championship a feat that Rivers achieved four times as starting quarterback in his career.
Staying in the AFC West division Los Angeles Chargers running back has also found a new home. This one not in Indianapolis but rather Denver. The Wisconsin University alumni inked a two-year deal with up to $13.5 million dollars guaranteed. The deal keeps Gordon in the AFC West where he will seek revenge against the Chargers when he plays them twice in the regular season.
Another highly touted Los Angeles running back on the move is Todd Gurley. Gurley who received NFL offensive player of the year honors in 2017 was cut by the Rams in a shocking move this offseason only two years after signing a $64 million dollar contract with the team. The sudden break-up from the two sides comes off as a bit of a shock considering the equity the Rams put in Gurley exemplified by the huge contract he signed in 2018. This leaves millions of dollars left on Gurley’s contract that will have to still partially be paid by the Rams. Gurley will now take his bag of money and return to the state of his alma mater Georgia; where he will play for the Atlanta Falcons.
Sticking with the theme of running backs one back in particular who secured the bag this offseason was third year running back Christian McCaffrey who signed a 4-year extension with the Carolina Panthers averaging $16 million dollars per year making him the highest-paid running back in NFL history. The deal is expected to pay out about $75 million dollars over six years. McCaffrey who is the son of New York Giants Ed McCaffrey will look to prove to change the narrative on runningback position who many executives believe is a position that should not wield large contracts.
Switching to the defensive side of the ball several star defensive players have found new homes this offseason. Some of these moves include former pro-bowl cornerback A.J. Bouye being shipped from Jacksonville and sent to Denver in exchange for a 2020 fourth-round pick.
The Indianapolis Colts acquiring star defensive tackle DeForest Buckner via trade from the San Francisco 49ers who are coming off a Super Bowl appearance this past season. The 49ers will be receiving the Colts first-round pick in 2020 in exchange for Buckner.
In what was considered a position of need for the Philadelphia Eagles, the Super Bowl LII champions acquired star veteran cornerback Darius Slay from the Detroit Lions in exchange for a third and fifth-round pick in 2020. Slay adds to a defensive backfield that was considered one the worst in the league last season and recently lost safety Malcolm Jenkins who was considered the defensive anchor of the team during his six-year stint with Philadelphia. The Eagles will now look to the future with Slay who is the star cornerback they have been searching for and clearly have invested in, extending Slay’s contract three years worth up to $50 million dollars.
Obviously the NFL has been busy this spring, stealing the headlines in the sports world amidst the current no active sports climate we are in. These moves are just a few among a vast array of intriguing moves destined to make the upcoming NFL season one we will never forget. While nobody knows what is in store for our world next one thing is certain when the NFL returns it will be back stronger than ever.