Christmas came incredibly early for some NFL teams as free agency officially began on Wednesday. NFL media had their heads on a swivel with all the movement of players from team to team. Some moves were expected like Alex Mack going to the Atlanta Falcons. Others left us all in shock like Bruce Irvin deciding to stay on the left coast and sign with the Oakland Raiders.
There are still many players to be had – for the right price – but most of the big names have new homes and fans from across the league excited about new beginnings.
As we catch our collective breaths, there are a few moves that have me downright puzzled.
Brock Osweiler proved that his heart wasn’t in Denver after all agreeing to a $72 million deal with the Houston Texans, who also grabbed Lamar Miller from Miami to replace the released Arian Foster. Houston already has a solid defense and the parts to a stellar offense. The addition of both players may have made Bill O’Brien’s team the favorite in the AFC South.
Now, everything centers round the development of Osweiler, who looked good in a limited role as the starter with the Broncos. Was the audition for a better gig, as this has proven to be, or was it only a glimpse of potential?
The move by Miller to Houston helps to solidify the Texans running game that has been hampered at times by Foster’s injuries in the past.
There were other teams that benefitted from the first day of “action” in a busy time of year. Here are some general thoughts…
JACKSON A HIT IN JACKSONVILLE.
When word came over the radio on Tuesday that Malik Jackson was coming to Jacksonville, I about ran off the road. The defensive lineman will help this team on the outside as an edge rusher and inside as a tackle. The defensive line got exponentially better with this acquisition.
Jackson played in a 3-4 defense in Denver, but will play in a base 4-3 unit for the Jaguars. Alongside Sen’Derrick Marks, the middle of the Jaguars defense looks solid. Add Dante Fowler on one end and Jared Odrick on the other and Jacksonville could a surprise team in 2016.
VERNON GOES NORTH UP 1-95
Olivier Vernon chose the New York Giants over the Jaguars on Wednesday, much to the dismay of Jacksonville and to the delight of the NFC East team. An $85 million contract would make anyone move to the cold weather team.
The Giants also announced they re-signed defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, which makes the defensive front exciting. New York also added Janoris Jenkins on the back line to help the secondary.
Those moves alone might make the G-Men the favorites in the division in 2016.
IS KAP DENVER BOUND?
Now that Peyton Manning has called it quits and Osweiler moved east, the Denver Broncos are left in a precarious situation of not having its top two quarterbacks on the roster. Will John Elway go after Colin Kaepernick to replace a legend and his understudy?
According to the Sacramento Bee, that might be the case.
As Matt Barrows wrote, “With Osweiler heading to Houston, Kaepernick becomes Denver’s top target at quarterback. The Broncos and 49ers would have to work out a trade; San Francisco’s long-held public stance is that they want Kaepernick on the roster this year, which is their only leverage in negotiations. Kaepernick’s agents requested permission to seek a trade last month.”
Kaepernick’s style is unlike the two aforementioned signal callers on Denver’s roster in 2015. He gives the team more athleticism and more options – should the team trade for him.