The quarterback market was always going to dominate the 2020 free agency season, but as always, there is a large pool of standout skill position and lineman who will also alter the course of franchises for upcoming seasons.
Here are the non-quarterback free agency moves which made a big splash;
GERALD McCOY (Dallas, Defensive Tackle)
McCoy’s NFL CV was built in Tampa before a stopover in Carolina. He lands in Dallas and can add quality snaps to the Cowboys defensive line, which is in need of more playmaking. The former All-Pro is 32, so his best seems behind him but on a limited number of snaps, he can make a difference in Dallas at the modest cost of $6.4 million.
KENDALL FULLER (Washington, Cornerback)
Fuller has been burned by excellent receivers in the past. But in this era of offensive explosions, who hasn’t!?!
His best days are outstanding and the former Bear should fit nicely into new coach Ron Rivera’s defensive system.
TODD GURLEY (Atlanta, Running Back)
There seems to be no doubt that Gurley’s knee will never fully heal and allow him to be the explosive, dual-threat we’ve seen in the past.
But, his best days are still as good as any running backs in football and the Falcons will try and minimise Gurley’s workload and give him a chance to shine when they need him most. The former Georgia Bulldog lands in his native state for $6 million on a one-year deal, which is great shopping from the Falcons.
DANTE FOWLER JR (Atlanta, Edge)
Fowler Jr was a lottery pick in Jacksonville before ending up on a loaded Rams squad. Consistency can elude the former Florida Gator but he’s elite when on song.
$48 million for three years is pricy but Atlanta was in desperate need of playmaking on the defensive side as coach Dan Quinn tries to save his job.
JOSH NORMAN (Buffalo, Cornerback)
Norman rose to prominence with his big mouth and big play in Carolina before signing a huge free agent deal in Washington.
That relationship did not prosper as much as many thought and now Norman is on a ‘prove it’ deal with the Bills. He will play alongside star young CB Tre White which will give the western New Yorkers a dominant CB tandem.
ROBERT QUINN (Chicago, Edge)
Quinn was drafted by the Rams and forged a strong career alongside some great defensive players. He joins Chicago and will again team up with one of the premier defenders in football.
5-years, $30 million guaranteed is a team-friendly deal for a guy who is under 30 but has bounced around the past couple of seasons.
JACK CONKLIN (Cleveland, Offensive Tackle)
$10 million per season to make QB Baker Mayfield’s life just that little bit easier. Seems worth it to me. He was a first team All-Pro in 2016 and the Browns will be hoping he can return to that level in a division loaded with pass rushers.
JASON WITTEN (Las Vegas, Tight End)
Witten has only a little tread left of his tyres and it was a surprise to see him decide to play for anyone else. Witten’s real value will be in the locker room where the Raiders will need guidance and leadership as the team relocates to Sin City.
He should also make the game easier for whichever quarterback starts.
CHRIS HARRIS (Los Angeles Chargers, Cornerback)
Harris was a lockdown CB in Denver’s ‘No Fly Zone’ secondary and will join another defensive unit loaded with talent. Derwin James and Casey Hayward complete what will be a fierce group. Harris just turned 30 and will add versatility and experience.
EMMANUEL SANDERS (New Orleans, Wide Receiver)
Sanders adds to an already loaded Saints offence and you’d imagine his synergy with Drew Brees would not take long at all.
Mike Thomas and Alvin Kamara are out-and-out superstars but Sanders will make many big plays in the Big Easy this season.
DARIUS SLAY (Philadephia, Cornerback)
Statistically, Slay has ranked among the top cover corners in the NFL for a few seasons now. Most of us think of others when discussing the elite defensive backs in the league but Slay’s performance speaks volumes.
That’s why the Eagles gave him 3-years, $50 million with $30 million guaranteed.
ERIC EBRON (Pittsburgh, Tight End)
Ebron was a top 10 selection for the Lions and took his time to develop. Eventually, he became a red zone talent but never fully emerged as a dominant tight end.
In Pittsburgh, he gets another pass-happy QB so should continue to catch passes in the paint.
GREG OLSEN (Seattle, Tight End)
Olsen, like Jason Witten, is/was synonymous with his former franchise so it’s going to be strange seeing him in a new uniform.
Olsen probably has more to give than Witten and Russell Wilson will enjoy having a reliable short-yardage pass catcher to deal with.
Health has been Olsen’s major adversary in recent times.
VIC BEASLEY (Tennessee, Edge)
Beasley led the NFL in sacks a few years back but has been half the player since.
The Falcons defence fell away after their Super Bowl run and the former round one pick has struggled with health and consistency.
Joining Mike Vrabel’s squad could be the perfect landing spot for an ultra-talented pass rush. He gets a one-year-deal to prove he’s still worthy of max dollars for a premium position.
Names like Jadeveon Clowney, Jameis Winston and Robby Anderson remain unsigned so the free agent news is not done just yet.
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