Another weekend of sweeping negotiations in the NFL’s free agency has wrapped up, and, as usual, there are winners and whiners. There’s still a lot of work to be done and some teams are coming to grips with the fact that their best shot next season is to use their games as proving grounds for a better 2021 season. Questions still remain about who may end up where this year, but things are starting to come together.
Gordon Stays With Denver Broncos
Melvin Gordon wasn’t sure where he would play this year, but he knew that, no matter what happened, he wasn’t going to accept anything less than $10 million a year. The former LA Rams running back put his foot down and reportedly rejected a couple of offers that didn’t meet his demands. However, it appears that his ego was more valuable than his performance because he has now agreed to take a deal with the Denver Broncos that doesn’t quite reach his expectations. Gordon is ready to sign a two-year contract worth $16 million – giving him just $8 million a season – but he at least is getting a consolation prize. $13.5 million of that money is guaranteed.
The Baltimore Ravens have decided its defense can do without Chris Wormley in the end. The team struck a deal to ship him off to the Pittsburgh Steelers in exchange for a couple of NFL draft picks, and Pittsburgh is ready to start rebuilding its defensive line. Baltimore isn’t too concerned with the loss, though, as the team just picked up Calais Campbell and Michael Brockers to tow the defensive line.
The Steelers are also ready to add some strength to the offense. Tight end Eric Ebron is moving from the Indianapolis Colts after signing a two-year deal worth $12 million. The former Pro Bowler will have to step up his game if he plans on sharing a lot of field time with Ben Roethlisberger.
It now appears that Cam Newton’s time in the NFL might be coming to an end. The Carolina Panthers were hoping to trade the quarterback to another team, but can’t find any takers. Not too surprising, as Newton is suffering from Marino syndrome and has become more of a liability than an asset. With Teddy Bridgewater coming in to lead the team, Newton’s presence is no longer needed.
Former LA Chargers defensive back Jaylen Watkins either didn’t hear or chose to ignore the advice that players should stay away from the Houston Texans and head coach Bill O’Brien. Former players have called out the coach for his treatment, but Watkins is going to take his chances. Although nothing official has been released yet, it looks like he’s ready to sign a two-year contract worth $3 million.
Stefon Diggs didn’t exactly hide the fact that he no longer wanted to wear a Minnesota Vikings uniform last season. As the wide receiver’s prayers have been answered and he heads off to the Buffalo Bills, he turned around one last time like a cowboy riding off into the sunset in a Hollywood movie to wave goodbye to Vikings fans, and his now-former teammates, thanking them for the support they showed him during his run.
Devin McCourty is seeing his ego get a boost as the New England Patriots decided to bring him back, signing him to a two-year, $23 million contract, but that’s not why his ego gauge pegged out at maximum. While the Pats were working on finalizing the deal, both the Miami Dolphins and Detroit Lions were reportedly trying to steal him away. Caught up in a three-way struggle isn’t something many NFL players enjoy.
What about the Bucs?
With Tom Brady safely tucked away by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, thanks to a two-year contract with a $50-million price tag, the Bucs want to make sure they do everything they can to make the investment pay off. There has been a lot of talk about different players reaching out to the Bucs hoping to secure a spot alongside the new quarterback, and the team has already made preparations for one of them. Joe Haeg is heading from Colts territory to Tampa Bay for one year, and the offensive tackle is expected to protect Brady at all costs.
NFL players, and team owners, are possibly going to see something this season (perhaps later if the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) isn’t signed soon) that they probably never thought possible. While adding another week to the regular season has divided the league, there is definitely no separation on another provision – sports gambling.
As it reads now, the new CBA will allow players and owners to share revenue generated from sportsbooks that operate at NFL stadiums, which has the potential to give all parties a nice annual bonus. The CBA language on the subject covers “gambling on any aspect of NFL games, any performance of NFL players in NFL games or in any other NFL/Club-related activity,” and would even see revenue sharing from slot machines “located in or physically attached to an NFL Stadium.”