Expect the unexpected in the NFL offseason. Every offseason, we expect certain things to happen, and they just don’t. Last year, many people expected Kirk Cousins to sign with the Jets or Broncos, and he ended up on the Vikings. Nobody expected Sammy Watkins or Jerick McKinnon to get the type of money they made, considering neither of them are in the top-20 at their position. Nobody realized that the Legion of Boom would finally come to an end, and it did.
Things happen for reasons that will never be explained, and that’s a part of sports. Owners and general managers don’t need to go in depth why they made certain decisions, just like most other businesses. So, fans sit there lost not knowing what went wrong.
We’ve seen the coaching cycle nearly complete, which means we’re getting that much closer to the offseason. The beginning of March is when free agency officially begins, which is when you see players sign with teams. Before that, you can see players get traded around the league, but it doesn’t become official until the designated date. That happened a lot last season and should be expected to happen a lot again so teams can jump the ball.
The offseason isn’t as exciting as the season itself, but it’s a lot of fun to see where some of these players go. Talented players may choose to enter free agency and see what other opportunities there are. Some players will have no choice, and get traded. We will break down some blockbuster trades and signings that will occur.
20 Trade: LeSean McCoy To The Eagles
Injuries held LeSean McCoy back from rushing over 1,000 yards, but even without, he struggled. A team that was rumored to be interested to trade for him was the Philadelphia Eagles. A trade to Philadelphia would send McCoy back to where his career began, which is what many consider a storybook ending.
McCoy’s age and injuries give the Eagles advantage, as they can trade a fifth-round pick to acquire him. The Bills will start fresh, and the Eagles get their elite running back in Philly again. Not a bad move, considering they gave up a day three pick. Eagles fans will be happy to see this.
19 Signing: Dante Fowler Jr. To The Jets
It was talked about all season how the Jets were interested in trading for Dante Fowler Jr., but instead, he was traded to the Rams. Considering the Rams have a lot of decisions to make, Fowler Jr. should likely hit free agency. The Jets knew this was going to happen, so they held on to their draft pick and awaited Fowler Jr. to be a free agent.
The Jets are willing to buy in the most, even after Fowler Jr. wasn’t all that great this season. With Nick Bosa likely off the boards before the Jets draft, they can turn to free agency for a defensive end.
18 Trade: Case Keenum To Miami
As a former quarterback star of the Broncos, John Elway has to be disappointed in himself on his recent quarterback decisions. Three seasons have passed since Peyton Manning has retired, and the Broncos still haven’t found his replacement. Case Keenum was expected to be the guy to possibly changes things around, but he continued to turn the football over.
From the looks of it, the Broncos will draft a quarterback, and maybe even look to trade Keenum. Look out for the Dolphins, who could trade a fourth-round pick for Keenum. ESPN reported that Miami is already eying the 2020 QB draft class, so they'll likely go with a veteran to hold the fort for the 2019 season. Keenum still has value, as he’s just a year off from his magical season in Minnesota.
17 Signing: Golden Tate To The Seahawks
When teams trade for players before they hit free agency, they usually expect that player to re-sign with them. Considering the Eagles really don’t have much money to spend, Golden Tate is going to look elsewhere. Not only do they not have money to spend, but they didn’t properly utilize him.
In Seattle, he will be a much better fit, much like he was in his first stint with the team. Imagine, Tyler Lockett, Doug Baldwin, and Golden Tate. That would be one of the toughest receiving corps to cover in the NFL. They all have speed, all with the ability to play all throughout the field. This should definitely help a struggling Seahawks pass offense.
16 Trade: DeSean Jackson To The Cardinals
Don’t think that because Kliff Kingsbury had a losing record at Texas Tech, that he’s not going to build a strong offense in Arizona. There’s a good chance the Cardinals lose Larry Fitzgerald to free agency, so Kingsbury’s going to have to get creative with this offense. For starters, he can trade a fourth-round pick to the Buccaneers for DeSean Jackson.
Jackson has been one of the best deep ball threats throughout his career. Obviously, this move isn’t for the future, but for Kingsbury to make an immediate impact on Josh Rosen. There will be other big moves made by him, but this one is pretty big to help Rosen grow as a deep ball passer. The Bucs have said they're not looking to trade Jackson, but they'd certainly listen to offers if teams want him.
15 Signing: Ndamukong Suh To The Texans
Just watch, teams are going to go after former Rams players. The Texans are going to go for a pretty big name on the defensive line in Ndamukong Suh. Just imagine a defensive line with Jadeveon Clowney, J.J. Watt and Ndamukong Suh. Offensive linemen will be frightened to play the Texans.
Luckily, the Texans have a lot of money to spend, so they may sign Suh to a two or three-year deal. They could build up this defense even more, and then maybe draft offensive weapons. The defense is aging, so the hurry to win a championship might be approaching.
14 Trade: Nick Foles To The Jaguars
With Blake Bortles out, someone’s coming in to Jacksonville. Dwayne Haskins will likely be off the board at seventh overall, so the Jaguars can trade a second and two third-round picks to acquire Nick Foles.
It’s not a bad deal for the Eagles, nor the Jaguars. Jacksonville still keeps their first-round draft pick, while getting their quarterback. As good as Foles has been in the playoffs, the unknown of a full season under him will hurt his stock. Regardless, the Jaguars would be making a move that should make them playoff contenders once again. With John DeFilippo coming in as offensive coordinator, Foles's former QB coach in Philly, this pairing makes perfect sense.
13 Signing: Mark Ingram To The Browns
Cleveland can get themselves their own nice little tandem of running backs. Mark Ingram and Nick Chubb would a pretty good running back committee to have for a young team. The Browns, could run their offense similar to the Saints, making Ingram the power back, with Chubb playing an Alvin Kamara-type role.
The Browns have enough cap space to sign Ingram and they appear to be a team on the rise, at least from a talent standpoint. Ingram would be guaranteed a large role on this team but wouldn't be required to take the full workload. Basically, Ingram would have to do the same thing he’s doing in New Orleans but get paid more for it.
12 Trade: Antonio Brown To The 49ers
A pretty reliable source in Jerry Rice revealed that Antonio Brown wants to play for the 49ers, and his wish just might come true. The 49ers could send multiple draft picks to Pittsburgh, including this year’s second-round pick or possibly next year's first rounder (they won't want to give up the no.2 overall pick). It’s probably not the best decision considering his age and what they’re giving up, but it can excite the fan base and give Jimmy Garoppolo a No. 1 receiver.
Brown helps take this offense to the next level, as they haven’t had a true No. 1 receiver. Marquise Goodwin was expected to be the guy, but he dealt with injuries this season. Brown, a healthy scratch, is a huge improvement for this receiver corps.
11 Signing: Earl Thomas To The Texans
Earl Thomas may not get to go back home to Dallas, but we think he will come back to his home state. Instead, the Houston Texans will likely have to move on from Tyrann Mathieu and sign the soon to be former Seahawks safety. The Texans could be willing to pay him around $10 million a year, which is fair, considering he gets to play for a winning team and makes a good amount after going down with a major injury.
Thomas would be a great addition to a defense that could be stacked with stars, especially if the Texans do, in fact, sign Ndamukong Suh.
10 Trade: A.J. Green To The Patriots
Imagine Tom Brady throwing the football to A.J. Green. That’s a realistic dream if the Patriots are willing to send a first-round draft pick over to Cincinnati (they usually don't part with draft picks easily). Green’s foot injury will cause some concern, but the Patriots are looking for a true no.1 on the outside.
While a first rounder sounds like a lot to give for a receiver over 30, it’s all about giving Brady the team he can win a Super Bowl with. Considering they will likely lose Rob Gronkowski to retirement this offseason, Green would help boost this offense. Plus, a Patriots first-round pick isn’t going to be as valuable because of how late it will be.
9 Signing: Le'Veon Bell To The Bills
Everyone has these fantasies of Le’Veon Bell playing for a specific team. All kinds of scenarios have been thought out, from Bell playing with the Chiefs to replace Kareem Hunt, simply taking the most cash to play for the Jets, or the Colts overpaying him and demoting Marlon Mack to sign Bell. One team that many may be overlooking is the Buffalo Bills.
Le'Veon Bell not only provides reliable production in the running game, but he also adds to the receiving game, as he caught 85 passes in the 2017 season. Having Bell as a check-down option out of the backfield would be an enormous help for Josh Allen, who struggled to move the ball through the air. With the Bills having $87 million in cap space to work with, and more if they trade LeSean McCoy, this is definitely a plausible move.
8 Trade: Olivier Vernon To The Jets
If the Giants had to go back and pick which defensive end they would trade, they probably would’ve picked Olivier Vernon. The Giants traded Jason Pierre-Paul last offseason to the Buccaneers, where he continued to play at a high level. Vernon played at a high level as well but continued to sustain injuries.
Within the last two seasons, Vernon hasn’t been very reliable. At this point in his career, he's likely not going to get any better. The Giants could trade Vernon to the Jets in exchange for a fourth-round pick. Vernon is still young and could have a few more good years on him, but the Giants don’t want to deal with his injuries.
7 Signing: Ezekiel Ansah To The Browns
This past offseason, we saw the Los Angeles Rams spend a lot of money to push for success this season, and look at how it’s worked out. The Browns organization needs to do something to really get fans excited for the future and the present, and we saw a glimpse of that last season with Baker Mayfield.
They could make a big acquisition, signing Ezekiel Ansah to a one-year, make-or-break type of deal for a defensive end who has went down with injuries of late. When Ansah is on the field, he can be as dominant as anyone. While some feel he could land the largest contract as far as defensive players go this year, we saw Alshon Jeffery, the NFL's best WR free agent in 2017, take a one-year deal for the ideal situation.
6 Trade: Danny Trevathan To The Chiefs
Andy Reid and the Chiefs' front office knows they’re a solid defense away from potentially dominating the NFL for years to come. They have the most explosive offense in the league, so all they need is a serviceable defense. Add some talented players to that defense, and no one is going to want to compete with Kansas City.
Considering the talent Chicago has put together on defense, expect them to part ways with Danny Trevathan soon. He’s one of their older starters who’s really good but isn’t a critical part of this defense. The Chiefs can trade a fourth-round pick to acquire a talented linebacker to help improve one of the weaker parts of their defense.
5 Signing: Thomas Davis To The Packers
As the Packers are expected to part ways with Clay Matthews, the Panthers will likely part ways with Thomas Davis as well. The difference between the two players is Matthews is more of a pass rusher, whereas Davis is really good against the run and has been terrific in coverage in the past.
With Aaron Rodgers within the last few seasons of his career, don’t be surprised if the Packers go after Davis for a one-year deal. They can see how he plays in their scheme and if it brings out the best in him. The Packers would love to go younger, but the reality is Davis isn’t getting any younger.
4 Trade: Chris Harris To The Redskins
Even though Alex Smith may never play football again, this Redskins team isn’t going to just give up on their immediate future. They may have to find a quarterback now, but there are other weaknesses they could address. They were leading the NFC East for half of the 2018 season, and that’s going to be the goal next season as well.
The Redskins defense was much improved this season, especially up front, so they can go and trade for one of the better cornerbacks in the league in Chris Harris. They give up a third-round pick, which isn’t bad considering his success. Harris has had at least two interceptions each year since his rookie season.
3 Signing: Jared Cook To The Rams
Why should it come as a surprise that the Rams are going to be very active in free agency once again? They went after everyone they could last offseason, and even though they can’t do that this season, they’re still going to find ways to improve.
There’s a deep tight end class in the draft, and they will likely draft one. They want to win now though, so they could sign Jared Cook, who’s proved to become one of the best pass catching tight ends in the league. Cook will likely sign for a reasonable deal if it means joining a Super Bowl contender, and this would make the Rams offense even more difficult to stop.
2 Trade: Jacoby Brissett To The Buccaneers
In a quarterback-needy league, Jacoby Brissett should find some trade value. When Andrew Luck was hurt in 2017, Brissett stepped in and threw for 3,098 yards, 13 touchdowns, and seven interceptions. The numbers weren’t great, and a big part of that is because of the pressure up front.
Quarterback-needy teams saw what they liked, and will acquire for Brissett. The Colts stated that they would need to be blown away by an offer to trade him, but a third-round pick will do. The Buccaneers can bring in Brissett to add some quarterback competition next season and see what the future is like for Jameis Winston.
1 Signing: Randall Cobb Signs To The Colts
Speaking of the Colts, they have a lot of money to spend this offseason at around $100 million. Both sides of the ball could use a little work, but both sides of the ball also look pretty good going into this offseason. The organization can give Andrew Luck another weapon to throw to in Randall Cobb. He can sign a three-year deal, giving this team some stability on offense.
Seeing how successful the Chiefs were with an explosive offense, has to have the Colts feeling they need more firepower. The Colts can do the same with the right pieces. Cobb is a solid second option to T.Y. Hilton and helps this offense spread the football even more, opening things up for Marlon Mack as well.