This 2013 NFL off-season has shaken up the league in a hurry. As always, some teams more active than others, but some mediocre teams have transformed into serious contenders. Teams continue to unload cash prior to the draft in hope of making a run for the Lombardi. Who has made the biggest splash in Free Agency? See for yourself.
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-Matt Shaughnessy (DE)
Lost Kerry Rhodes and Adrian Wilson
Losing their complete Pro Bowl secondary was huge this off-season. They had to save some cap space and just made a move for a “franchise quarterback” in Carson Palmer, aka Señor Drama. They dumped Kolb and Skelton in hopes to find a seasoned QB that can help on the offensive side of the ball. Is Palmer the man for the job? Stay tuned. In terms of the run game, Mendenhall was definitely an upgrade from Beanie if he can stay healthy.
-Tony Gonzalez (re-signed)
Lost John Abraham, Michael Turner
Upgrading their run game to a more consistent running back in Stephen Jackson, the Falcons are poised to make a run in the playoffs for once. Losing veteran Abraham for Umenyiora was about even, and luckily for the organization they were able to keep Gonzo for another season.
Lost James Anderson
Losing Anderson at LB was taking a hit, but adding to their secondary and keeping Captain around was big. We’ll see how the defense does without Chris Gamble though. Eek. Getting some speed in the slot and opposite of Steve Smith with Ted Ginn will surely benefit Cam Newton and the offense. Though, I’m sure they’re still counting down the days to the draft since they haven’t made much of a splash in free agency.
Lost Brian Urlacher, Geno Hayes, Nick Roach
Losing the Jesus of Linebackers, Brian Urlacher, is surely going to give the defense a different look. Urlacher is aging and nursing injuries, so the move was probably for the best. Tillman and Peppers will have to step up as leaders on the defensive side of the ball. As a matter of fact, the Bears lost their entire linebacker core (minus Lance Briggs), but they’re on their way to giving it a different look by acquiring DJ and Anderson.
Lost Dan Connor, Victor Butler, John Phillips, Kevin Ogletree, Marcus Spears
Butler is one of a few guys to follow his former D-coordinator, Rob Ryan, down to New Orleans. Losing pivotal targets/decoys Ogletree and Phillips doesn’t benefit the investment the organization made in Romo. Guy has won one playoff game—surely not deserving of $108 million, 55 million guaranteed. Jerry Jones has entirely slipped into senility.
Lost Justin Durant, Cliff Avril, Jeff Backus (Retired), Drayton Florence, Gosder Cherilus
The Lions and Martin Mayhew made an unexpected, but much needed splash in free agency this off-season. Reggie Bush is a perfect fit to replace the injury-riddled Jahvid Best. Locking up Delmas for a new contract and adding Quin in the secondary is going to improve their pass defense greatly, pending everyone can stay healthy. Losing a couple key members of the offensive line and defense will hurt briefly, but hopefully they can make it up with the acquisition of Jason Jones and in the upcoming draft.
Green Bay Packers
Lost Charles Woodson, Tom Crabtree, Greg Jennings
Looks like the Packers are holding off for the draft. Losing both defensive and offensive captains in one fellow swoop doesn’t help. Lock in Rodgers long term and build around him. The longer you wait, the sooner the rest of the division catches up.
Lost Percy Harvin, Michael Jenkins
I understand Percy wasn’t the healthiest or happiest, but as an organization, you need to do whatever it takes to keep a player of his caliber on your roster—AP knew it, we know it. Harvin was having a career year before his injury last season. Look for him to get revenge on his old team as he joins a high-powered Seahawk offense at a bargain. Greg Jennings is a great addition, but an entirely different receiver. Hopefully Cassel can instill some knowledge in Christian Ponder to save his career and help develop his skills and those around him.
New Orleans Saints
Lost Chase Daniel, Jermon Bushrod, Turk McBride
Adding a blocking Tight End in Watson will benefit the other receivers, especially Jimmy Graham. They better hope Breesy doesn’t go down with an injury as his apprentice Daniel has relocated.
New York Giants
Lost Osi Umenyiora, Martellus Bennett, Chris Canty, Kenny Phillips
Losing two Pro Bowl defensive lineman in the same off-season never helps, but they made additions to the secondary that will benefit them greatly, especially after the loss of Kenny Phillips. Canty and Osi were forces to be reckoned with. They will truly be missed, especially against an improved division rival in Philadelphia.
Lost Nnamdi Asomugha, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie
Ok, so they made the decision to let two key cornerbacks walk, but they transformed the defense with style and grace. Chip Kelly is ready to take this city by storm and revamp the Eagle tradition of making it to the NFC championship and then shitting the bed. Adding James Casey helps provide Vick with a great bailout player for passing, as well as someone who can cover his ass. By adding Barwin, Chung, Sopoaga, etc. the Eagles look to make an impact on the defensive side of the ball for once. Gotta spend money to make money. In my opinion, they’ve had the best off-season thus far.
St. Louis Rams
Lost Stephen Jackson, Danny Amendola, Brandon Gibson, Craig Dahl
Jared Cook gives Sam Bradford a great target as Jake Long covers his ass by watching his blindside. Losing offensive threats Amendola, Gibson, and Jackson really leaves this team praying for a break in the draft.
San Francisco 49ers
Lost Alex Smith, David Akers, Isaac Sopoaga, Delanie Walker
John Harbaugh really gave Jim a consolation prize for cheap as he dealt his brother Superbowl stud, Anquan Boldin for a late pick in the draft. Maybe now every time he takes a glance at his championship ring, he won’t feel so bad…not. Jim lost some serious offensive threats in Ginn, Walker, Akers, and Smith, but he’s prepared to revamp the offense behind his new franchise quarterback after the successes of last season. To replace Smith in holding the clipboard and Kaepernick’s hat, the Niners have acquired former Texas standout Colt McCoy this week.
Lost Jason Jones and Leon Washington
I am loving the addition of Percy Harvin. The owners and management clearly have their eyes set on a ring after last season’s cock tease of a run at a championship. Losing Jones to the Lions and gaining a Lion cancels out. But adding Bennett to benefit Irvin and Bryant at the ends only makes their D-line stronger.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Lost Michael Bennett, EJ Biggers, Jeremy Trueblood
Making a very minor splash in free agency, the Bucs picked up some quiet offensive players in Crabtree, Leonard, and Ogletree. Ogletree is good for an unexpected spurt here and there, while Leonard joins an already crowded backfield. Look for Blount to be on the move, possibly prior to the 2013 NFL Draft in late-April.
Lost Lorenzo Alexander
I’m sure Shannahan and DeAngelo have had their disagreements, but they have finally come to an agreement to keep Hall around for at least one more season. As a Lions fan, I was hoping he was Detroit bound after his visits here, but it wasn’t to be. Other than re-signing Hall, the ‘Skins have done very little this off-season to make any difference in their success. Better hope RGIII and Garcon are healed up and ready to roll.
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