Updated: Mar 17, 2020
WHAt's going on, you guys! This will be a quick look at something I have not gone into any depth on Back Row yet, the NFL! I am a huge fan of the NFL, more specifically a Carolina Panthers fan. I've followed the NFL since about 2006 and the Panthers a year or so after that. Kaesen and I have discussed expanding the topics we discuss on the podcast and that may or may not come to pass. This may be one avenue that I explore, depending on how the future plays out. I figure to use this as an excuse for more content and an attempt at testing out expanding the topics discussed on Back Row and it's affiliated page(s.)
Update: Franchise tags always ruin the wild and fun scenarios I or anyone else can come up with and I forgot to mention that. A.J. Green, Joe Thuney, and more are examples of that. I was right about Byron Jones though! BOOM!!
The NFL off-season is actually almost as entertaining as the regular and playoff seasons for me. One of my favorite aspects is free agency. Signings, trades, the draft… I love the new and exciting feeling as everyone can really start their year off. Try to sign that one guy that will get a team over that championship hump, a team flush with cap space throwing everything except the kitchen sink to change their fortunes, teams dismantling a previous regime's structure… So much happens and it is really exciting to see the moves in the off-season. I scream and yell m way through Madden campaigns just to get to the off-season and try to finesse the cap, the free agent market, and the first round of the draft.
This article will serve as a brief on a few of the best and most well known players that are dream matches for a team (and vice versa) as well as possibly making the most sense. I also really enjoy when teams with cap space stack up on solid players, so you'll see that a couple times here.
Tom Brady (quarterback) and Chris Harris Jr. (cornerback) to the Indianapolis Colts: Brady would be best served to stay in New England and Chase down a final championship or two. Still, if he signs elsewhere, I think Indy makes sense. They have a strong running game, good or even great offensive line, young and spry defense, good pieces at receiver, a coach they can help Brady's transition to a new offensive system after 20+ years on one team, and they can win now with Brady. With better injury and retirement Luck (I hate myself for that joke), the Colts would have been realistic contenders last year. Harris can add some more legitimacy to a Colts secondary that was alright last year. Rock Ya-Sin is young and developing while Rashaan Melvin isn't great enough to not look for additional pieces. Harris still has a lot of elite football left in him. He can be a shut-down defender in the slot or out wide. Another win-now piece for a team with most of the pieces and the cap space to really go for it.
A.J. Green to the Baltimore Ravens - Odds are against this happening for several reasons, but I like it. Green has been one of the best and most consistent receivers in best aspect since he came into the league. The only question that has arisen is his health, which has been an issue the past two years. As long as he can get back to being healthy, he probably has 2-3 years of dominance left in him. Lamar Jackson and the Raven's gaggle of running backs will open up the downfield passing game that would suddenly become a formidable one with Green joining Marquise Brown, Willie Snead, and Mark Andrews.
Derrick Henry to The Tennessee Titans - Odds are that Henry is franchise tagged. O wouldn't personally give him the big extension. Henry took four years to finally break out for a full season, yet he still has a lot of carries. He has been relatively healthy, so I guess that is a good sign. I have dreams of him joining a team such as Baltimore or Philadelphia, but in reality the best fit is in Tennessee. Ryan Tannehill was signed to a four year extension, so Henry should stick around for at least a year.
Jack Conklin (tackle), Joe Thuney (guard), James Bearberry (cornerback), and Trae Waynes (cornerback) to The J-E-T-S JETS JETS JETS - The Jets are, once again, littered with holes at important positions. Conklin had a great start to his career, fell to an injury in his third year, and came back strong in his contract year. The Titans success and their important pieces with contracts expiring limit their options of resigning Conklin. Conklin is an absolute road grader at the tackle spot and brings a good, competitive edge to a team lacking backbone. The Jets could use an upgrade or just someone at every position on the line. They have oodles of cap space, so they could and should make a run at the Patriots stand out guard, Joe Thuney. The Patriots are paying one guard big money already (Shaq Mason), so it's unlikely he stays. Those two, plus, a first round player in the draft, and this team may show some real improvement this year. They were also one of the worst teams in terms of pass coverage and their corners were not a group that you would expect to see making up an NFL team's secondary. Waynes isn't spectacular, but it's nice to have a reliable second corner. Bradberry isn't regarded as spectacular either, but he stacked three good seasons up in Carolina. he was a true number one corner, often shadowing the other teams top receiver. I'd like to see them resign him or make a run at Byron Jones (who would be good in Jacksonville if they had the cap space), but Bradberry may have an opportunity to get paid to go to a team like New York, just as Trumaine Johnson did a few years ago (eesh.)
Jadeveon Clowney to… The highest bidder - Clowney, to me, first almost anywhere. Lots of teams could use his skills. I wouldn't call him a dominant pass rusher (not many would, I'm not that special or smart,) but his physicality and athleticism can take over games. He provides push in the pocket and a great presence in the run game on every down he plays. Seattle is a strong contender to retain him. They traded a first round pick for him last year and he was good for them even when fighting through a core injury for most of the year. He has stated that he wants to play for a contender, but we all knows he wants to make bank while doing it. So, Seattle may be the answer. My other choices would be The Ravens (salary cap may be an issue and they just got Calais Campbell and Mathew Judon signed for now,) The Giants, The Jets, The Jaguars (flip Yannick Ngakoue and a late round draft pick for a first rounder and use that cap space for Clowney,) and The Bills (salary cap is once again an issue.)
Marcus Mariota and Bud Dupree to The Arizona Cardinals - Kyler Murray is here to stay after an outstanding rookie season, but why not upgrade backups from Brett Hundley (who I do like) to Marcus Mariota? He has the athleticism to thrive in Kingsbury's offense. He certainly has experience in big games and plenty of starts under his belt. He knows enough and has experienced enough to help elevate Murray's game and rehab his reputation. I liked Mariota coming out of college. I thought The Buccaneers made a mistake choosing Winston over him. I can't necessarily say that I am correct in that evaluation now, but Mariota still has a future as an above average, maybe even great, starter in the league. Dupree is another guy that didn't do much of anything for three years, then had a pretty darn good season in his contract year. He may not have been worth his first round selection those years ago, but Dupree is a nice piece to this team that already has Chandler Jones wreaking havoc on one side.
Byron Jones, Bryan Bulaga, and Jimmie Ward to The Miami Dolphins - Jones started out as safety in the league. He struggled for two years before settling in at cornerback the past two. He played like a pro-bowl worthy corner this past year and remained mostly healthy. Jones is a better corner, but versatile enough to play in the slot or drop back at safety sometimes. His skill, smarts, and versatility will do Brina Flores and the dolphins well. They are another bad team flush with cap space and they can use impact players at every position. Jones would serve as a second punch to Xavien Howard and maybe spend time in the role that Flores wanted Minkah Fitzpatrick to fill last year. Still, he is better at corner. Take it easy, Brian. Also, Bryan Bulaga would be a great addition to this team. Their offensive line was one of the worst last year. Bulaga spent a little too much time injured recently, but he is still a great offensive lineman at 30 years old. He won't come cheap, but he will be cheaper than Jack Conklin (and probably almost as effective.) I am not as high on Ward as some seem to be, but he is a solid piece that can actually truly be the chess piece that Flores seems to want. If they get Jones and him, then all of a sudden their secondary is more of a strength than a liability.
Anthony Harris to The Cleveland Browns - Demarius Randall is out after being one of many pieces that fizzled out in Cleveland. He ran his mouth a lot and spent some time on the bench. He still brings value to a team (such as The Seattle Seahawks,) but Harris is an upgrade on him. Harris finally broke out in his fourth year. He led the Vikings secondary and he also tied for the most interceptions in the league last year. He would follow The Vikings former offensive coordinator, Kevin Stefanski, now the Browns head coach.
Ronald Darby to The Carolina Panthers - The Panthers are in full rebuild mode now. Can Newton may be the only big name, not-at-the-top-of-his-game player that Matt Rhule keeps around. Trai Turner, the best offensive lineman on the roster, has already been tentatively shipped to Los Angeles (Chargers) for a late round draft pick. Darby would be a nice addition because he won't have a high price tag, but he has a high ceiling. He looked like a future all pro in his first couple seasons in Buffalo. Now he is coming off of three injury filled seasons in Philadelphia. Philly is a more logical landing spot. I could imagine Amy NFC West team making a run at him as well. The Jets make sense as well. You know? The Titans too. Logan Ryan is presumably gone (expensive) so why not replace him with a cheaper and possibly comparable player in terms of impact on the field.
Dante Fowler Jr. and Corey Littleton to the New York Giants - I doubt that Fowler will thrive as the pass rushing queen on a team's chess board, but they have money to spend and Fowler will at least provide sparks. He has played his best football late in the season and in the playoffs, so he is at least seemingly clutch. Littleton is another guy who spent the entire duration of his rookie contract developing and is ready to cash in. Littleton thrives in all game situations and still has his prime ahead of him if he gets the right coach teaching him. Joe Judge and his staff seems like a good bet for that.
Amari Cooper to the Philadelphia Eagles or Washington Redskins - Both teams would possibly fatally wound Dallas while getting a true number one receiver to help lead their offense. Cooper seemed to be trending down in his third year in Oakland, but came back nicely the past two years. He is in his prime. He will come at a price, but worth it for an Eagles team that can't stay healthy. Alshon Jeffrey should be a number one receiver, but his bones are made of glass. Washington has some good receivers, hell Terry McLaurin seems like a number one option. Still, while he and Dwayne Haskins (or someone else) develops, Cooper would be a great target all over the field.
James Winston to The New England Patriots - Winston is who we thought he was. I don't know if he will ever be elite, but if anyone can maximize him, Belichick can. Bruce Arians was supposed to be that magical wizard that pulls Winston out of hell, but all he did was send him packing (I assume.) If New England doesn't get their boy Brady back, then why not gamble (for once) on the ceiling of Winston. He may not even need a long term commitment. A one or two year deal around $25 million sounds relatively reasonable. It gives Josh McDaniels more room to work with bargain buys at receiver and running back for the 80th year in a row.
Thank you for reading this one! Share it, compare it with other sites and actual experts! See how I stack up against their knowledge and insight! Check out the most recent episodes of Back Row: Movie News on YouTube or almost anywhere you get your podcasts and get ready for the NFL tampering period to open, Monday at 12pm ahead of free agency beginning on Wednesday at 4pm, I believe. Sometimes you just have to go for the run-on sentence, you know? Check back for another article, my reaction to the first wave of free agency. Expect that on Wednesday or Thursday (or if I'm lazy, Friday)!