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Five of the Biggest Moves in NFL Free Agency



Deshaun Watson

There have been some crazy signings and trades that have happened during this offseason. Multiple trades involving quarterbacks, other star players getting traded, and signings that no one saw coming. With hopefully most of the big deals being done, it’s time to point out some of the trades and signings that stand out from the others.

Just so that everyone knows, if a trade happened before free agency began, it won’t be included. So the Carson Wentz, Russell Wilson, and Khalil Mack trades will not be on this list. Any signings that were agreed on during the tampering window were eligible, however.

  • Browns Trade for Deshaun Watson: The Carson Wentz and Russell Wilson trades happened before Free Agency began, so Watson is the choice for the biggest trade during this time. The Browns gave up three first-rounders along with a ‘23 third and two fourths (‘22, ‘24) for Watson and a ‘24 sixth-rounder. They also signed him to an extension that pays him $46 million a year and is fully guaranteed. Making this trade also means that Baker Mayfield’s time with the organization has come to an end. With two first-round picks in the next three drafts, the Texans need to take advantage of this opportunity and get some young talent on the team. The Browns, meanwhile, are hoping that Watson will do for them what Matthew Stafford did for the Rams last year, turn a good team into a Super Bowl-winning team. This is a major risk, though, as Watson is still dealing with 22 civil lawsuits against him and could still be suspended by the league. The Browns will either be celebrating or being laughed at come next offseason.
  • Raiders Trade for Davante Adams/ Tyreek Hill Traded to Dolphins: It was tough to pick just one of these trades, so both of them are put here. Adams was traded from Green Bay to Las Vegas for a first and second-rounder in this year’s draft. The Chiefs, meanwhile, got five picks from the Dolphins, headlined by Miami’s first and second-round picks in this year’s draft. The Raiders and Dolphins also gave both of these players big contract extensions with Adams signing a five-year/ $141.25 million extension, and Hill getting a four-year/ $120 million deal. The Raiders needed a number one receiver for Derek Carr and got just that in Adams. He, along with fellow receiver Hunter Renfrow and tight end Darren Waller, give the Raiders a complete receiving core. The Packers, meanwhile, now have to search for more help at the wide receiver position, as they also lost Marquez Veldes-Scantling to the Chiefs. The Dolphins showed how much they believe in Tua Tagovailoa with how they have conducted their entire offseason. This trade, plus the signings of receiver Cedrick Wilson, tackle Terron Armstead, guard Connor Williams, and running backs Raheem Mostert and Chase Edmonds, means they think Tua is ready for a breakout campaign. He has no excuses in 2022. The Chiefs can use the picks they got from Miami to get more talent on their quest to get back to the Super Bowl after losing in the AFC Championship game to the Bengals.
  • Bills Sign Von Miller: One thing that the Bills needed to add this offseason was leadership on the defense after the late-game breakdown against the Chiefs in the divisional round last year. Von Miller will bring that and then some after being traded to the Rams during the 2021 regular season and helping them win the Super Bowl. He also showed that he still has something left in the tank after recording 9.5 sacks last year. Having him on the other side of 2021 first-round pick Gregory Rousseau gives the youngster someone to learn from. However, giving a 33-year-old a six-year contract worth $120 million might hurt the Bills. This signing might have also helped guys like Randy Gregory and Za’Darius Smith get larger-than-expected deals. If Miller proves to be the piece the Bills need to get by the Chiefs and the other top contenders in the AFC, then it’s a good signing. However, if things don’t work out that way and Miller isn’t what the Bills are hoping for, this is seen as a mistake.
  • Chargers Sign JC Jackson: No way around it the Chargers had problems on defense last year. The team ranked 29th in points allowed, giving up 27 per game, 30th in rushing yards allowed, and 22nd with 11 interceptions in 2021. The trade for Khalil Mack was to help in the run game and get another pass rusher to go with Joey Bosa. The JC Jackson signing was to help get the team’s interceptions number to go up and shut down a side of the field in the passing game. Since joining the league as an undrafted rookie in 2018, Jackson has had 25 interceptions, including 17 in the past two seasons. The only surprising thing about this signing is that Jackson is now tied for sixth in top cornerback salaries with Byron Jones after signing a five-year, $82.5 million deal. If Jackson can immediately improve the Chargers’ defense and help them get back to the playoffs, the deal might be a bargain at the season’s end.
  • Ravens Sign Marcus Williams: The Ravens gave up the most passing yards by any team in 2021. Their struggles in the passing game were on full display when Joe Burrow passed for over 500 yards against them. Part of the issue was with the injuries in the secondary, however, they also didn’t have the center-fielder that the team has been known for. No one made teams second guess when thinking about throwing the deep ball. That’s why the Ravens signed Williams to a five-year, $70 million contract. The team is also not known for making splash deals this early in Free Agency, rather waiting a few days and looking for cap causalities. However, this was something that just had to happen, and Williams fits the mold of what they want at free safety. He’s still young, not turning 26 until September, and only allowed eight catches on 16 targets in 2021, according to PFF. With Williams now at free, Chuck Clark at strong, and starting corners Marlon Humphrey and Marcus Peters returning from injury, Baltimore’s secondary may go back to what we are used to seeing from them.

I started watching sports when I was 7 years old and saw my first football game. From that day on I have loved sports, especially football.