NFL free agency gets underway Wednesday, although it certainly won’t be the major subject on everyone’s mind. The coronavirus is still occupying first place, but the league isn’t prepared to shut down. As plenty of deals are about to be made, some have already been seen and the next couple of days are going to be full of action.
Cousins Gets Paid With Extension
By now, most have probably heard that Tom Brady is done with the New England Patriots. It will be interesting to see what he can lend to his new team, wherever he lands, but his isn’t the only story making the rounds. Kirk Cousins gets paid by the Minnesota Vikings, thanks to a two-year contract extension that he just signed, and he’s hoping to make a deeper run in the 2020 season than what he saw last year.
There had been rumors that the San Francisco 49ers might want to pick up Cousins; however, his newly-printed contract has any chance of that happening off the table. This most likely means that Jimmy Garoppolo will also not be packing his bags, and will be looking to give the Niners another shot at the Super Bowl next season. To help with that goal, they re-signed defensive end Ronald Blair to a one-year deal, as well.
No one should really be surprised that the Carolina Panthers are getting rid of Cam Newton. His performances recently have been subpar, compared to his previous on-field talent, and the team needs some fresh blood. Newton, however, apparently wasn’t expecting to be let go, and even said that the team “forced” him into leaving.
It’s all for the better, as Carolina needs more strength under center. They have found it, too, signing former New Orleans Saints quarterback Teddy Bridgewater to a three-year deal worth $60 million. If Bridgewater can show the success with the Panthers that he did in his limited appearances for the Saints last season, Carolina fans are in for a great show.
Rivers Set for Indy?
Free agent Philip Rivers, who is prepared to step away from the LA Chargers, is reportedly ready for his next gig and already has a destination. It looks like Rivers is going to the Indianapolis Colts, and the final language of the contract is now being worked on. The Colts just spent $84 million to pick up DeForest Buckner from the Niners, but reportedly still have a lot of room to negotiate a major deal to pick up the QB, who boasts a 95.1 passer rating.
Robert Quinn is ready to pick up $14 million a year for the next five years. The pass rusher has now signed a five-year contract with the Chicago Bears, who are looking to bring back the powerful defense the team was once known for in the league. Quinn had a great season with the Dallas Cowboys last year, racking up 11.5 sacks and 34 tackles. As a result of his signing, the Bears are getting rid of linebacker Leonard Floyd. Floyd had a decent number of tackles – at 40 – on the season, but the Bears want someone that’s going to put pressure on the opposing team’s QB, and this is where Floyd was weak. Plus, Chicago also needed to free up some cash to pay Quinn his $70-million salary.
The Las Vegas Raiders will be inaugurating their new stadium with some additional defensive power this season. The team just signed linebacker Cory Littleton to a three-year, $36-million deal after pulling him away from the LA Rams. Not a bad salary boost for a guy who only earned $3 million on a one-year contract with the Rams last season.
The Jacksonville Jaguars had a little bit of difficulty last season, although the team showed a lot of talent. They’re now hoping that making a few changes will improve their odds this season and have decided to release tight end Geoff Swaim. Two of the finer components of the club will be sticking around a little longer, though, as wide receiver Keelan Cole and linebacker Austin Calitro have both had tenders placed on them – Cole, a second-round tender and Calitro, an exclusive rights tender.
NFL trades aren’t something that are taken lightly, especially when there are hundreds of millions of dollars at stake. Typically, a team will have an incoming candidate meet with its medical personnel for a proper physical, but that apparently isn’t going to happen this year, and teams could be more skittish than normal as a result. The league wants players to undergo physicals conducted by neutral physicians close to their current locations, although this isn’t an ideal solution. As a result, finalizing trades may not take place until teams can actually submit players to their own exams, which could mean delays before the season even gets started. Hopefully, COVID-19 fizzles away rapidly so the sports and online gambling world can return to normal.