The new league year in the NFL has yet to even begin, but thus far in the offseason we have already seen a flurry of moves. From veterans being released to players that could potentially be impact players on teams being traded, it’s clear that we are set for a busy offseason.
Olivier Vernon and Kevin Zeitler are traded for each other
Last season the Cleveland Browns overall had a pretty good defense, but they didn’t rank very well when it came to rushing the passer. Adding Olivier Vernon should really help, because while he does have a bit of a bloated contract, he is still a pretty productive outside linebacker and is good at getting to the quarterback, even though he doesn’t pick up the most sacks, if he stays healthy he can get to the quarterback a good amount whether it’s picking up sacks or at least hitting the quarterback.
Losing Kevin Zeitler for the Browns is less than ideal because he is one of the top guards in all of football, it is still a nice move because adding to that pass rush is valuable and while they lose some cap space with this move, they have plenty of it to go around this offseason.
For the Giants this is huge. Vernon has missed some games the past few seasons and they don’t have nearly as much cap space as the Browns do and even more importantly they have really struggled up front the past couple of seasons and getting one of the top guards in football should instantly make them better up front, which is a good place to start if they want to get back to prominence.
Overall I do like this move a little bit more for the Giants just because they really need help along the offensive line and because Olivier Vernon does have a contract that is more than what his production would lead you to believe he makes, but I do think this trade is useful for both teams.
Jaguars release five players
A lot of rumors have been going around that once the new league year begins the Jacksonville Jaguars are going to be signing former Eagles quarterback Nick Foles. In preparation for that, the Jaguars are having to go to work on clearing cap space and they’ve done just that by releasing running back Carlos Hyde, defensive tackle Malik Jackson, safety Tashaun Gipson, guard Jermey Parnell and long snapper Carson Tinker.
Malik Jackson is the only player that was really productive for the Jaguars last season, but he also saw a downslide in his play last season from the year before, so overall none of these losses should prove to be too big, but guys like Malik Jackson, Tashaun Gipson and Carlos Hyde could be useful to other teams.
The most important part for the Jaguars is that they cleared $30.01 million in cap space by making these moves, clearing the way for the signing of Nick Foles.
Lions release T.J. Lang
Detroit parted ways with veteran guard T.J. Lang. Lang is still ranked as an above average guard by Pro Football Focus, but cutting him does clear $8.8 million in cap space. The Lions are in a bit of a no-mans land when it comes to contention in the NFL. They aren’t a legit contender, but they also aren’t a bad team and they are a team who is capable of beating anyone, case-in-point when they beat the Patriots last season, but giving themselves more cap space and trying to get younger is a wise move for the Lions in my opinion.
Lang should also get scooped up pretty quickly in free agency as he is a veteran guard, but he is still a productive player who can definitely help another team.
Cardinals make three moves
The chatter around Kyler Murray and if the Cardinals will draft him and move on from Josh Rosen after one season has been what’s surrounded the Cardinals so far this offseason, but they were horrible last season and they still have a lot of tinkering to do to the roster to try and improve.
The moves they made yesterday were trading for Steelers tackle Marcus Gilbert and releasing safety Antoine Bethea and quarterback Mike Glennon.
None of these are significant moves, as Gilbert is on the second half of his career and was only ranked as the number 41 offensive tackle last season by Pro Football Focus, and releasing Bethea and Glennon only clears $5.75 million in cap space, but in the NFL every million dollars in cap space is important.
The Cardinals do have a good chunk of cap space going into this offseason and adding nearly $6 million to that helps, plus not too many people on that roster should be safe after last season.
Eagles trade Michael Bennett to New England
The rich get richer here. The Patriots pick up a very good defensive end and a seventh-round pick for just a fifth-round pick. Michael Bennett has been a fairly controversial figure over the course of his career, and say what you want about some of his off the field actions like the situation in Las Vegas, but he is still a very good defensive end and he should be able to come in and help the Patriots.
Bennett has 63 career sacks and on top of that he’s very consistent each season in how many tackles for loss he picks up and how many times he’s able to hit the quarterback.
The Patriots don’t have much cap space and they lost some here, but they’re still in a position to possibly win another Super Bowl and New England was not good at getting to the quarterback last season, so this should help that aspect of the team.
Chargers sign Denzel Perryman
The Chargers have been very in and out on Denzel Perryman and they actually cut him during this past season in November, but they have signed him to a new two-year deal, with the terms of the deal being undisclosed.
Perryman is a slightly above average linebacker when he plays, but it’s unsure what plans the Chargers have for him going forward.
Dolphins release Danny Amendola
After just one season, the Dolphins have released wide receiver Danny Amendola, clearing $6 million in cap space.
After a pretty good run in New England, Amendola saw a drop in production this past season in Miami.
I have no doubt that Amendola will get scooped up fairly quickly, but he needs to play on a team with a better quarterback in my opinion.
Rams sign Eric Weddle
It was pretty questionable in my opinion when the Ravens decided to release safety Eric Weddle, and unsurprisingly, he got scooped up in about three days. The defending NFC champion Rams have decided to boost their secondary by going out and getting the 34-year old on a two-year, $10.5 million deal.
This is a really nice move for the Rams because they are likely looking at losing Lamarcus Joyner, and despite being 34-years old, Eric Weddle is still one of the top safeties in the league and even though Joyner is a good player, Weddle is an upgrade.
Pairing Weddle with John Johnson on the back end of the secondary should make a very talented defense that played really well during the teams’ run to the Super Bowl, even better.
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