What’s happening in the NFL offseason?
Latest talking points ahead of the 2019 NFL season
Little over a month after the New England Patriots got their hands on the Vince Lombardi trophy for the sixth time in their history, the NFL trade window opened with many franchises looking to strengthen their challenge for a championship next campaign.
With rumours flying around prior to the window, which opened on 13th March, there have already been some blockbuster trades by teams looking to get themselves back to the big time.
In contrast, there are still some sides who are sat back and not acting on their great needs, with perhaps one eye on the 2019 NFL Draft, which takes place in Nashville on the 26th and 27th April.
What are the biggest deals that have already gone down? And what could be in the pipeline for those sides in desperate need? We take a look at all things NFL…
Confirmed blockbuster trades
In perhaps the biggest shock so far, former New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. was traded away from the MetLife Stadium just half a year after signing a five-year, $95 million contract extension.
Beckham Jr had sat out most of the previous season through injury, but had never been marketed for a trade by the Giants. Odell hadn’t asked for a trade and Giants GM Dave Gettleman had been adamant they’d not signed the WR to a new deal in order to sell.
However, after the Cleveland Browns initiated talks over a deal, and Browns GM John Dorsey sent through a ‘too good to be true’ proposal for the future of the Giants franchise, it was a deal they couldn’t be refused.
In return, the Giants took Safety Jabrill Peppers, Guard Kevin Zeitler, a first-round draft pick and a third-round draft pick.
On the other side on New York, the Jets were doing deals to bring superstars in rather than shipping them away from the Green side of the MetLife.
C.J. Mosley was the Baltimore Ravens franchise’s star name, and they’d been banking on negotiating a new deal with him to keep him as a linebacker.
However, Mosley saw his future elsewhere and decided that it looked brightest in the Big Apple, where he’ll now don the famous green and white of the Jets.
Another star name on the move is Antonio Brown, though this one is a little less of a surprise than the others.
On gameweek 17, after Brown skipped a team walkthrough meeting, he was left off the roster for their final game of the season. As time passed, Brown decided his future wasn’t in Pittsburgh and his stint with the Steelers was coming to a close.
With a few teams in for the league’s best wide receiver, it was the Oakland Raiders that were willing to do the most to secure the star name on their roster.
His sensational ability, which even at the age of 30 still hasn’t peaked, will give the Raiders an outlet like they’ve never had before.
Elsewhere, 2018 Super Bowl-winning quarterback Nick Foles left the Philadelphia Eagles for a starting spot elsewhere. He’s now on the Jacksonville Jaguars books.
Who needs to strengthen the most?
Whenever you lose the shining star of a franchise, you’re always going to end up considerably weaker. After trading Beckham Jr. the Giants did move to replace him with another star in Golden Tate, and while he does offer quality, it’s still a drop-off from Odell.
The Giants can rest easier on the WR issue, as Tate may be an adequate replacement, and Saquon Barkley will look to shine brighter at running back in his second season. But one place Gettleman should look to trade for is the QB role.
Eli Manning has been a sensational playmaker over the years, but his time is slowly drawing to a close and it’s hampering the Giants chances. With defensive units brought in already to strengthen another weakness, the QB slot is the only one that remains, though it could be solved with decent draft picks.
Thinking along the same lines, it could be time for New England Patriots to dip into the market and find the heir to Tom Brady’s throne, or they may use draft picks to find the natural successor.
Brady isn’t past it, and he’s still putting up career numbers and winning championships. But his time will come, and the Patriots should prepare for it rather than let it creep up on them and ruin their chances in the future.
For the Miami Dolphins to get back in the hunt for their third championship, they’ve slowly been progressing each season to put themselves back in contention for the play-off picture.
With a record of 7-9 last year, they finished three games behind in the race for a post-season place, but their issues have been put down to the quarterback role too.
Luke Falk was claimed by the Dolphins off waivers, after he’d been released from the Tennessee Titans in the offseason. He missed the entirety of last season due to a wrist injury, so he may step back into the action and be the quarterback they need.
However, it’s not a risk an ambitious side can take, so they should look to see who is available. If the Giants can replace Manning, the Dolphins should look to pick him up for a season to give them a fighting chance and help Falk in his recovery.
If not, they could look to the drafts like many others to pick a gem like Kansas City Chiefs found with Patrick Mahomes.
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