NFL Free Agency Day One Recap

Givanni Damico | March 17th, 2020

Welcome to my recap of the first day of free agency, or at least tampering. A lot went down today. A lot of wholes were filled by some teams, and a lot were opened by others (*cough* Texans *cough*). Overall, this has been a really exciting day for the average football fan. Let’s get into it.

The biggest deal of the day was the DeAndre Hopkins blockbuster trade to Arizona for David Johnson, a second-rounder, and a fourth. The clear winner here was Arizona, as they add the best receiver in football to their air raid offense. Bill O’Brien should be jobless right now. The Texans did bring in Randall Cobb, but that does not fill the void of losing the best receiver in football.

Another substantial deal was Stefon Diggs to Buffalo, in exchange for a package of picks including Buffalo’s first-round pick at 22. This was a great deal for both sides because Buffalo gets a true number one receiver who is better than anyone they could have gotten at 22. The Vikings were not on great terms with Diggs, so to get a first-rounder with some other picks as well seems like a great move by Minnesota.

A lot of people were tagged today. Some may be traded, others may not, it’s kind of hard to tell what the teams want to do. Chris Jones, Dak Prescott, Derrick Henry, Yannick Ngakoue, Brandon Scherff, Justin Simmons, A.J. Green, Shaquille Barrett, Anthony Harris, Hunter Henry, Matthew Judon, Joe Thuney, Leonard Williams, Bud Dupree, and Kenyan Drake have all been tagged over the last couple days.

The Dolphins spent the most money today, bringing in four free agents. They brought in Ereck Flowers to play offensive guard, giving him $10 million per year. Is this an overpay? Probably. Do they have the money to do so? Yes. Is it an upgrade over what they currently have? Absolutely. I don’t hate it.

They brought in former Bills pass-rusher Shaq Lawson as well. Lawson was good in Buffalo last season, recording 6.5 sacks last year, but he hasn’t been elite. He fills another hole at edge rusher.

The Dolphins brought in former Patriots linebacker Kyle Van Noy as well. Van Noy has been a very underrated player throughout his career and will be a welcome addition to an already decent linebacker corps. Finally, they brought in Byron Jones. Jones was given the most money out of any cornerback in NFL history. He will join Xavien Howard and make the Dolphins’ secondary slightly more threatening.

The Cleveland Browns made three solid moves in free agency today. They brought in Case Keenum as a backup quarterback, which is the least significant move of the day for them, but they get a solid backup quarterback nonetheless.

They also brought in Austin Hooper. Hooper is a great athlete and he will fit very well in this Cleveland offense. David Njoku was actually excited about the competition. This offense might be scary next year, or it might flop again. Finally, they made a great addition to offensive tackle in Jack Conklin. Does this mean the Browns shouldn’t draft a tackle in the first round? No, I still think they should because there are always two tackles on the fields. I know that’s very profound of me to say.

The 49ers paid big money to get Arik Armstead back on the defensive line: a great deal for both sides honestly. The even bigger move of the day was San Francisco trading DeForrest Buckner to the Indianapolis Colts for the 13th overall pick. I like this deal for the 49ers. They now have two first-round picks to add at safety and potentially defensive line. The Colts brought back Anthony Castonzo at offensive tackle too, so they don’t have to worry about filling that hole. 

The Titans brought back Ryan Tannehill at quarterback on a ridiculous four-year, $118 million deal: very friendly deal for Tannehill. Meanwhile, Henry gets tagged when he did most of the work last year. Tennessee also brought back Dennis Kelly at offensive tackle.

The Philadelphia Eagles made a very nice move adding Javon Hargrave to the trenches. At 27 years old, Hargrave is one of the best young defensive tackles in football. Pair him with Fletcher Cox and Brandon Graham and you have one of the best, if not the best, defensive lines in football.

The Giants made a nice move bringing James Bradberry in at the cornerback position. His stats are actually very comparable to Byron Jones, who the Dolphins are paying much more. Good move to build the secondary. They also brought in Alec Ogletree 2.0, AKA Blake Martinez. Not a great move in my opinion, but I guess it’s better than what they have.

The Broncos brought in Graham Glasgow, which helps their interior offensive line a lot. Glasgow is very durable and should be a consistent piece for Denver.

The Lions brought in veteran linebacker Jamie Collins. He will help solidify a group that struggled last year. They also severely overpaid Halapoulivaati Vaitai at offensive tackle, giving him $10 million per year. He’ll replace Rick Wagner who was recently cut, but I’m not sure if this was an upgrade or not. Wagner ended up in Green Bay, replacing free agent Bryan Bulaga.

Speaking of overpaying offensive tackles, I raise you George Fant to the Jets for $10 million per year. Fant has only started 20 career games and has not been very good in those games.

The Redskins brought Kendall Fuller back (from a few years ago) at cornerback. He is definitely an upgrade over Josh Norman who recently signed with Buffalo. Jon Bostic also signed with the Redskins at linebacker, Bostic adds nice depth to the front seven.

Nick Kwiatkowski and Marcus Mariota end up in Vegas. Mariota will make the quarterback room more competitive and better as a whole. Kwiatkowski joins a depleted linebacker corps and I expect a big year out of him in 2020.

Hey Bears fans, you guys got Jimmy Graham. What do you have, like 10 tight ends now? Nice.

Finally, the Ravens solidify potentially the best defensive line in football by trading for Calais Campbell a few days ago and signing Michael Brockers today. This defense is really scary, and this team could be competing with the Chiefs (and maybe Buffalo?) for years to come in the AFC.

Here’s to hoping for more excitement on day two!

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