The NFL offseason is still in progress, but that doesn’t mean that some teams haven’t been working overtime since this last Wednesday when the free agency period begin. Instead, there has been a load of deals and transactions going on, which have all changed the outlook of the 2014-2015 NFL season. Here are some of the most influential and memorable free agent acquisitions and the expectations they’ll have with their new teams.
The Denver Broncos may have been one of the most active teams in free agency this year. Apparently they feel as if their window to win a Super Bowl is still open after last years run, and they want to capitalize on it now before Peyton Manning gets too much older. The biggest pickups for the Broncos were cornerback Aqib Talib, safety TJ Ward and defensive end DeMarcus Ware. After releasing Champ Bailey just a few days prior to free agency, Denver has reloaded their defensive weapons to assure they’ll have a reputable group of guys out there when Manning isn’t on the field.
The New England Patriots came up short last year against the Broncos in the AFC Championship game, so they are doing their best to keep up with Denver in free agency. After the Broncos signed their three new defensive studs, it was announced that the Patriots had picked up Darrelle Revis. After a quiet year in Tampa last year, Revis is still regarded as one of the top defenders in the league and he’ll do his best to shut down other teams top wide receivers. The Patriots are still looking for a few more offensive weapons to help out Tom Brady, and guys like Santonio Holmes, James Jones and Sidney Rice are still on the market.
Robert Griffin III’s second year in Washington was not nearly as enjoyable as his first. Instead, their three-win season last year caused for a load of internal shuffling that ended up with Mike Shannahan and other members of the coaching staff leaving the team. Now, RGIII will get ready for this upcoming year, and he’ll have a new target to pass to with Andre Roberts. As a member of the Arizona Cardinals, Roberts was a third option behind Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd. However, the Cardinals did note that they wanted to keep Roberts, but already had too much money tied up in the position. The Redskins also picked up Jason Hatcher, who will be coming over from divisional rival Dallas, after having 11-sacks for the Cowboys. The NFC East wasn’t particularly good last year, so the Redskins are hoping they are making the right moves in free agency to put themselves ahead of the pack.
Another bad team in 2013 was the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. However, new head coach Lovie Smith didn’t waste any time picking up new players in free agency to help him build his team. Michael Johnson, Clinton McDonald, Alterraun Verner and Anthony Collins are all defensive studs that will be suiting up in Tampa next season. This will certainly help ease any concerns that Bucs fans may have had over losing Revis, even though the Bucs were far from contenders even with him on the team. The Bucs also picked up quarterback Josh McCown, who was one of the top rated quarterbacks last year in place of Jay Cutler. Obviously the Bears had no need for two quarterbacks, but McCown visited with a variety of teams that were interested in his services for the upcoming year.
Don’t take your eyes off the New York Jets just yet. So far, the biggest splash that they have made was picking up Eric Decker after the Broncos didn’t resign him. However, a lot of momentum has been building about the potential of Michael Vick somehow ending up in New York and challenging Geno Smith for the starting spot on that team. Vick is still a free agent and he could be till the draft gets a bit closer, but you can bet that some teams will want to see if he has anything in him that resembles the Michael Vick of old.
Some other names that are still out there looking for a new team include:
And we’ve also seen some shifting for the odds to win Super Bowl XLIX. Some of the biggest changes include:
The Seahawks started at 7/1 after winning Super Bowl XLVII and now sit at 9/2.
49ers from 8/1 to 7/1.
Broncos from 8/1 to 15/2.
Patriots from 12/1 to 8/1.
Packers from 20/1 to 18/1.
Saints from 20/1 to 25/1.
You can check back with Sportspicks.com to find more free agent acquisitions in the coming weeks, as well as what handicappers will continue to think about teams chances in 2014-2015.