NFL Round-Up: End of an Era

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49ers NFL player is tackled by Seattle Seahawk

The new league year began this week to a flurry of trades and free agency moves.

Despite sport across the globe completely shutting down for the foreseeable future, the new league year officially began in the NFL, and the action was non-stop.

More importantly, we saw the end of an era for multiple players. Tom Brady’s 20-year stint at the New England Patriots came to an end in arguably the biggest free agency move in history.

Another player who spent his whole career at the same team is tight end Jason Witten, who leaves the Dallas Cowboys after 15 seasons.

Phillip Rivers, the LA Chargers quarterback since 2004, also moves on in a move that was announced just over a month ago.

The veterans will all begin the 2020 season at pastures new and it may take a while to get used to them all in different jerseys.

Free agency

The biggest story of the off season was that 42-year-old Tom Brady will become a free agent for the first time in his career. The questions were the same on everyone’s lips: will he re-sign for the Patriots? Will he leave for a new team? Will he retire?

The questions were answered on Tuesday, as the record-breaking QB announced he had played his last game with the Patriots. Reports quickly emerged the following day that he had agreed terms with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Brady will now have targets in two of the best wide receivers in the league, Mike Evans and Chris Godwin. Can Brady throw back the years with his new receiving corps? He is 25/1 to win the regular season MVP award in 2020.

On the flip side, the Miami Dolphins are making big moves on defence.

The Dolphins have signed cornerback Byron Jones, who is now the highest paid corner in the league. Jones will partner the second highest paid corner in the league, Xavien Howard.

Brian Flores’s team also snapped up pass rusher Shaq Lawson, former Patriots linebackers Kyle Van Noy & Elandon Roberts and defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah.

Following a dismal start to 2019, Flores rebuilt the team mid-season and is continuing the moves early in the off season. With the Patriots dynasty seemingly coming to an end, the Dolphins eyes will be firmly set on that elusive AFC East title.

Fancy the Dolphins to cause an upset in the AFC? They are currently 33/1 to be crowned AFC Champions.

A free agent who won’t be finding himself a new team is WR Amari Cooper, who will be staying at the Cowboys in a deal worth $100m.

Other big free agent deals include TE Austin Hooper to the Cleveland Browns, QB Ryan Tannehill re-signing with the Tennessee Titans and QB Teddy Bridgewater to the Carolina Panthers.

Trades

NFL fans and pundits alike were shocked on Monday when Houston Texans WR DeAndre Hopkins was traded to the Arizona Cardinals for just two picks and RB David Johnson.

Hopkins has consistently been an elite receiver, despite having to catch passes from Brock Osweiler and Tom Savage before the Texans drafted DeShaun Watson in 2018.

Another receiver on the move is Stefon Diggs, who joins the Buffalo Bills after making his intentions to leave the Vikings public.

It is a great pickup for the Bills however they have given up 1st round, 5th round and 6th round 2020 picks as well as a 4th round 2021 pick. It’s a lot to give away but Diggs has topped 1,000 yards in the last two seasons which bodes well for Buffalo.

The Bills haven’t won the AFC since 1993. If you think they can break the streak, you can pick them up at 12/1.

Just over a year since the Jacksonville Jaguars signed QB Nick Foles to a huge deal, they have traded the former Super Bowl MVP to the Chicago Bears.

Foles suffered an injury in his first game in a Jaguars jersey, and never really found his place, with thanks going to ‘Minshew Mania’.

Draft

Next month’s draft is still scheduled to go ahead, however, it will be behind closed doors.

The Cincinnati Bengals, who are looking to make some big off season moves, have the first pick and are likely to draft QB Joe Burrow.

The 2019 Heisman Trophy winner broke numerous NCAA records, including best passer rating (202.0) and most TD’s thrown in a season (60).

Burrow is the 7/4 favourite to win Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2020.

Left-handed QB Tua Tagovailoa, who was the recipient of teams ‘Tanking for Tua’, is 8/1 to win OROTY, but it’s currently unknown as to which team will draft him next month.

Jordan is a journalism graduate with a background in sports journalism covering football across a number of online publications, who now works in Gibraltar producing content for Mansion.
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