The NFL is in a very unique space right now. It’s the offseason, so there are no games to suspend (NBA, NHL, MLS) or schedules to re-do (MLB).
In fact, it’s the only major US league where anything at all is happening, primarily because free agency has arrived.
And while it might seem strange to talk big moves and big money during a global crisis, perhaps it helps take our minds off the uncertainty of the coronavirus pandemic.
So here are the five biggest moves so far, with more to come.
1. Tom Brady leaves New England
In a number of social media posts overnight, the six-time Super Bowl champion quarterback announced that he was leaving New England for an undisclosed (or yet to be determined) team. New England owner Robert Kraft made it clear that this was Brady’s decision.
What it means: The Patriots will need a quarterback. There are still more QB dominoes to fall.
Patriots Super Bowl odds: $15
ESPN: “We have nothing to air without sports.”
ESPN for next 12 days: https://t.co/EjvZ6H7QWg
— Frank Pallotta (@frankpallotta) March 17, 2020
2. DeAndre Hopkins traded to Arizona
Probably the biggest surprise of the offseason – maybe more so than Brady – was Houston trading Hopkins, one of the best receivers in the league, to Arizona for running back David Johnson and draft picks. Texans GM/Head Coach Bill O’Brien is getting roundly smashed in the media for pulling the trigger on this deal.
What it means: Arizona gets one of the NFL’s top three receivers. Houston gets a running back whose best season was three years ago.
Cardinals Super Bowl odds: $46
Texans Super Bowl odds: $36
Huh??? The Texans trading DeAndre Hopkins!?
Bill O’Brien the coach, needs to go slap the hell out of Bill O’Brien the GM, immediately!!!
— Emmanuel Acho (@thEMANacho) March 16, 2020
3. Philip Rivers signs with Indianapolis
This was a long-predicted move, with the 38-year old signing a one-year, $25 million deal with the Colts. Jacoby Brissett is still under contract and will either be the backup (one of the NFL’s best) or get traded to save $15 million against the cap.
What it means: The Colts want to win now and felt that Brissett wasn’t the guy.
Colts Super Bowl odds: $21
4. Teddy Bridgewater signs with Carolina
The Saints’ backup, who played so well in Drew Brees’ absence last season, signed a three-year, $20 million deal with the Panthers.
What it means: Cam Newton’s time is Charlotte is surely over. His injuries, inconsistency and attitude don’t mesh with the current rebuild. In New Orleans, Brees gets a new deal to retire as a Saint, and Taysom Hill becomes the full-time backup.
Panthers Super Bowl odds: $61
Saints Super Bowl odds: $12
5. Stefon Diggs traded to Buffalo
Minnesota dealt Diggs, who is in the second year of a five-year, $72 million deal, to Buffalo for four draft picks. He’s a super talented playmaker, but also created plenty of turmoil in the locker room last season.
What it means: Bills’ QB Josh Allen gets a serious weapon at receiver. The Vikings gets some off-field peace.
Bills Super Bowl odds: $23
Vikings Super Bowl odds: $18
After seeing that Diggs haul for Minnesota, I have no doubt in my mind that if Bill O’Brien held a yard sale, you could walk away with his actual house for like 300 dollars.
— Jim Murray (@bigjimmurray) March 17, 2020
Titans re-sign Ryan Tannehill: One of Tom Brady’s rumoured landing places disappeared when Tennessee gave Tannehill an extension worth a minimum of $62 million guaranteed.
Kirk Cousins re-ups: The Vikings gave Cousins a new three-year, $96 million deal.
Mariota now a Raider: Marcus Mariota, who lost his starting job in Tennessee to Tannehill, has signed with the Las Vegas Raiders and will challenge Derek Carr for the #1 spot.
Browns sign two: Cleveland made Austin Hooper the highest paid tight end in the league ($23 million per season first two years) and also signed Case Keenum as a backup (we think!) to Baker Mayfield.