The NFL free agency period is in full force right now and several major moves have been made. I am going to recap what I think have been the most significant moves so far, and my reaction to them as well.
Patriots boost WR core and secondary
The New England Patriots wasted no time addressing their needs on the offensive and defensive side. The first step was resigning wide receiver Julian Edelman, the 27-year-old slot receiver who posted a 100 catch 1000 yard season last year to fill the void left by the departure of Wes Welker. The Patriots added more receiver depth with the signing of former Carolina Panther Brandon LaFell to a three-year $9 million deal. LaFell was Cam Newton’s #2 receiver in Carolina alongside Steve Smith and helps the Patriots stretch the field.
On the defensive side, the Patriots picked up cornerback Darrelle Revis on a one year deal after he was released from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Revis was once considered the best shutdown corner in the game while playing for Rex Ryan’s New York Jets, but injuries have made him inconsistent and sideline him for much of the past couple of seasons. If Revis stays healthy, this is a major boost to a Patriots secondary that has not been good in several years. Add in the addition of former Seattle Seahawks cornerback Brandon Browner on a three-year deal, and this defense is even better. If Browner can stay out of trouble with illegal substances, the Patriots secondary is shaping up very well.
The Patriots certainly are not done with their free agent moves yet. Having lost Aqib Talib to Denver and Brandon Spikes to Buffalo, with Vince Wilfork likely to be released as well, there is still work to be done. The latest rumors are that the Patriots and 49ers are in the conversation for acquiring Desean Jackson from Philadelphia. I would absolutely love this move as well.
Broncos improve on both sides of the ball
Denver’s defense is no doubt still having nightmares from the beat down that the Seattle Seahawks put on them in the Super Bowl. While Denver easily had the best offense in the league, their defense was far from perfect. That is why they went out and picked up Pro Bowl defensive end Demarcus Ware after he was released by the Cowboys. If Ware stays healthy, he gives Denver a formidable pass rush alongside Von Miller. In the secondary, the Broncos signed cornerback Aqib Talib to a six-year $57 million deal and added safety T.J. Ward after releasing Champ Bailey. After losing wide receiver Eric Decker, the Broncos signed former Steelers wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders to give Peyton Manning some help on the offensive side as well. It seems inevitable that New England and Denver will once again face off in the AFC Championship.
OTHER KEY FREE AGENT SIGNINGS
WR Eric Decker to the New York Jets
CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie to the New York Giants
WR Mario Manningham to the New York Giants
WR Anquan Boldin resigns with San Francisco 49ers
Philadelphia Eagles acquire RB/WR Darren Sproles from New Orleans Saints
Cleveland Browns sign RB Ben Tate
DE Julius Peppers to Green Bay Packers
WR James Jones to Oakland Raiders
WR Steve Smith to Baltimore Ravens
DE Justin Tuck to Oakland Raiders
WR Hakeem Nicks to the Indianapolis Colts
CB Cortland Finnegan to the Miami Dolphins
NT B.J. Raji resigns with Green Bay Packers
S Jairus Byrd to New Orleans Saints
To stay updated on NFL free agency, go this link: http://www.nfl.com/freeagency