BY REED SHALLUE
Even though the NFL is in its offseason, many exciting trades and free agency signings have occurred before the iconic NFL Draft. Free agency is an unbelievable opportunity for all available free agents to be shown the “big bucks” and to try to land on a potential Super Bowl winning team. This year’s NFL free agency had a handful of twists, turns and unexpected releases that resulted in major player movement. Some teams were more aggressive than others, but here is a quick report card for some of the major moves at the halfway point of the offseason.
After the Denver Broncos embarrassing shellacking at the hands of the Seahawks, they finally realized that defense CAN win championships! Major signings including LB DeMarcus Ware and CB Aqib Talib, demonstrate that Denver isn’t messing around. The signings by the Broncos so far deserve a B+ but could be raised higher if they find a replacement for WR Eric Decker.
After their surprising emergence in the NFC South, the Carolina Panthers took a huge step back this offseason by cutting or trading all of their wide receivers. Steve Smith’s signing with the Baltimore Ravens left Cam Newton with sixth or seventh round junkies at best that probably can’t even catch a cold. This offseason the Panthers deserve an F but can raise it higher if they play their cards right in the upcoming NFL Draft.
Quarterback controversies can get really annoying, but the ones in Philadelphia and New York will nott stop until the NFL season is underway. The Philadelphia Eagles and the New York Jets pretty much exchanged backup quarterbacks and now believe that their quarterback issues will finally be solved. Michael Vick ended up with the Jets, while Mark Sanchez landed with the Philadelphia Eagles. Drama-loving Rex Ryan will have all the media’s attention for the next five months until he announces that Geno Smith is their starter for the season and never talks about the quarterback controversy again. Even though Chip Kelly has a star in quarterback Nick Foles, I can’t understand why he would want the butt fumbler. As embarrassing as that was for Mark Sanchez, it doesn’t look like he has a shot at winning the job over Nick Foles and instead will end up standing on the sidelines twiddling his thumbs all season. Both teams deserve a C this offseason, and watch the drama unfold!
Of course, it would not be right to have an article without the Green Bay Packers. Much needed re-signings of B.J Raji, Sam Shields and Mike Neal were fantastic moves by the Packers and they even surprised Packer Nation by signing Julius Peppers. With Peppers’ help, the Packers defense can begin to rebuild along with some help from the draft. Overall, the Packers deserve an A- and already look to be a favorite to head to the Super Bowl.