Free Agency Winners and Losers

Free Agency 2015 has been headlined by more blockbusters than I can count. From Ndamugong Suh’s huge contract to the reigning rushing leader signing with a divisional foe, this has been the most exciting free agency in recent memory. In this article I’ll be taking a look at some of the winners and losers from some of Free Agency 2015’s biggest deals.

Winners

  • Ndamukong Suh – Suh took the Dolphins for $60M in guaranteed money as part of his 6yr/$114M contract. As the NFL’s premier interior defensive lineman, Suh has been unstoppable over the past 5 seasons. He cashed in on the free agency spending frenzy and is getting the chance to pair up with defensive end Cameron Wake to form what will be the league’s most intimidating defensive front for years to come. Suh is likely to see the field even more with Bill Lazor’s up-tempo attack speeding through possessions on the other side of the ball which should contribute to an even greater uptick in production. This guy will be in the Hall of Fame. You heard it here.
  • Philadelphia Eagles – Hats off to Kelly who, after dealing away his top running back, allowing his top receiver to walk for the second consecutive year, and trading his starting QB for one with a higher price tag and a history of injury, has engineered one of the most masterful offseasons in recent memory. In the span of three days the Eagles have acquired a recent #1 overall pick (Bradford), a recent #12 overall pick( Alonso), a starting member of the Legion of Boom (Maxwell), and the reigning rushing champ and single-season rushing leader for the Dallas Cowboys (Murray), among re-signing the top backup QB in the league and a breakout-poised linebacker. What did they give up? A receiver who was paid beyond his worth, a running back that didn’t quite fit the scheme, and a QB who often looked lost and missed open receivers last season and was likely to be gone after 2015 anyway. Don’t get me wrong, the sacrifices weren’t small for this team, but the value gained is just what they need to challenge Seattle for the NFC’s slot in the Superbowl.
  • Andrew Luck – Get this guy some help! That’s exactly what Colts GM Ryan Grigson did this week. Andrew Luck has shown what he can do with mediocre talent around him, carrying his team to the AFC Championship game before the wheels fell off the wagon against the Patriots. With the addition of a big-bodied chain-mover and red zone threat in Andre Johnson and a reliable bruiser in Frank Gore, Luck finally has the weapons around him to improve on his already impressive play in 2014.

Losers

  • Drew Brees – Any time a quarterback loses an explosive playmaker like Jimmy Graham there are going to be some tears shed. Breesus is no exception. Pair that with the fact that the Saints just traded away Kenny Stills and Brees’ arsenal of weapons is growing thin. Despite re-signing Mark Ingram to a 4 year deal and bringing in C.J. Spiller, I have trouble seeing Brees as better off than he was with Graham and Stills on the roster. Any talk of Brees falling off the statistical cliff may be accelerated after this season with this lackluster corps.
  • Dallas Cowboys – A lot of Dallas Cowboys have made a lot of money in Free Agency this season. Too bad it’s with other teams. This could be seen as a compliment to Jason Garrett’s program, increasing the value of his players and creating interest in them around the league. The list of departures is large, headlined by names like Murray, Durant, and Melton. The big names incoming? Darren McFadden and Jed Collins. Hopefully those guys can have a big season behind the league’s toughest offensive line.
  • 49ers – Jim Harbaugh had the right idea jumping ship for Michigan when he did. Patrick Willis retired, Frank Gore left for Indy, Justin Smith is eyeing retirement, Chris Culliver left for Washington, Mike Iupati left for a division rival, and Crabtree looks to be going elsewhere. The Rams got upgrades to their already dominant defensive line with Fairley and added some consistency on offense with Nick Foles, the Seahawks added touchdown machine and matchup nightmare Jimmy Graham to Russell Wilson’s repertoire, and the Cardinals have been quietly making improvements. The Niners look to be the odd men out in an extremely competitive division and it may be safe to say their better days are behind them. Hopefully the addition of homerun-threat Torrey Smith can spark a team that is suddenly looking for an identity.

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