NFL offseason draws attention with chaotic beginning
By SHACOBE JOHNSON
The upcoming NFL offseason is geared up to be a chaotic one. Coming off arguably one of the most exciting Super Bowls of all time, late February through early March is usually a mundane time period. Luckily, NFL fans have been treated to a lot of drama. Starting with the Chiefs moving on from quarterback Alex Smith and cornerback Marcus Peters. Both moves were shocking and came out of nowhere.
Chiefs have disappointed in the playoffs for consecutive years and it was clear that it was time for some sort of drastic change. Meanwhile, Redskins finally decided to move on from quarterback Kirk Cousins but trading for Alex Smith seems like a lateral move instead of an improvement. To top that off, they gave Smith a huge contract that could have gone to Cousins, who was extremely popular in the city and this move definitely left a bad taste in the mouths of Redskin fans.
On the other hand, Chiefs trading Peters was just a mistake. There is clearly a rift between Peters and the front office in Kansas City, and that lead to this trade. Kansas City had a chance to have a top 10 secondary, on paper, if they stood still. The prospect of Peters, Berry, and new addition Kendall Fuller would put fear into most NFL quarterbacks. Instead, Kansas City decided to move him to a Rams’ defense was already something to be worried about and Peters takes them to the next level.
Another big headline is the Seattle rebuild. It was speculated that Seattle’s starting safety, Kam Chancellor, and defensive end, Cliff Avril, would both be retiring due to severe neck injuries. Earl Thomas, the starting free safety, has also been in trade talks. Seahawks went from one of the best defenses in history to a team in a deep rebuild. The one thing holding Seattle back from continuous years of greatness was their offensive line. Instead of improving that part of their team, the front office has decided to tear down and remove all the older players.
Seattle started off their rebuild by deciding not to re-sign tight end Jimmy Graham. They traded their other high profile defensive end, Michael Bennett, to the Philadelphia Eagles for a fifth round pick. Seattle could have received much more for this three time pro bowler but his attitude and baggage definitely decreased his value. In a stunning move, shutdown cornerback Richard Sherman was cut. This was a move that was described as a space saver. This may come to bite Seattle back because Sherman went right to their division rival San Francisco 49ers.
Cleveland shocked everyone by completing four trades in the span of twenty four hours. After much debate about his new home, Jarvis Landry was traded to Cleveland for a fourth and fifth round pick. Landry has had one foot out the door of Miami for a while now. Many Dolphin fans were confused when the team gave Landry a franchise tag because they have many positions to fill with limited cap to work with. I’m not sure if Miami got a fair return for their former pro-bowl receiver. Being on the opposite of Josh Gordon can only help Landry and the Browns.
Cleveland continued their train of transactions by shipping out quarterback DeShone Kizer to the Green Bay Packers for cornerback Damarious Randall. This move makes sense for Cleveland. They get a promising corner while getting rid of a failed experiment. Being down a quarterback, Cleveland then traded a third round pick for Buffalo Bills’ starting quarterback, Tyrod Taylor. This transaction can be seen more as a stop-gap than anything. Cleveland still has the first and fourth overall picks and it is not likely they skip on a promising quarterback talent. Tyrod will be the starter for a year or two while the new prospect is groomed. These moves put Cleveland in a great spot for the first time in years.
Free agency kicked off on Wednesday and Kirk Cousins signing with the Minnesota Vikings, leaving the Redskins, the franchise that drafted him. Several other signal callers followed in Cousins’ footsteps in leaving their former team for new beginnings else where. Case Keenum signing with the Denver Broncos, Teddy Bridgewater leaving for the New York Jets, and Sam Bradford agreeing to join the Arizona Cardinals, all left the Vikings following the Cousins signing. Other major moves include Allen Robinson signing with the Chicago Bears, Malcolm Butler and Dion Lewis leaving the Patriots to join the Titans and Sammy Watkins signing with the Chiefs.
The Green Bay Packers also stunned the league by cutting long time receiver Jordy Nelson who is now taking offers from other teams. The Miami Dolphins also cut star defensive tackle Ndamakong Suh.
The league year has just begun and there are many surprising transactions soon to come before next months draft.