As the new NFL league-year comes, on March 14, more and more teams are making their pushes for picking up player options. With each passing hour, teams across the NFL are announcing big decisions for their rosters moving forward. Here are seven teams making the biggest free agency moves as the new league-year approaches.
Packers: Dropping Jordy Nelson, Adding Jimmy Graham, Trading for Deshone Kizer, Dropping Sam Shields & Trading away from Damarious Randall
After nine years in Green Bay, they Packers are in the process of releasing Jordy Nelson. With four 1,000 yard receiving seasons and three 10+ touchdown seasons for the Green and Gold, Nelson will be missed. This season, facing a major injury from Aaron Rodgers, Nelson was limited in his ability to impact the team on the field. By releasing Nelson, the Packers are opening up $12 million, enough to go after star tight-end Jimmy Graham from the Seahawks. Formerly with the Saints, Graham was in a close competition with Rob Gronkowski for the league-best tight-end. Coming off of three mediocre seasons with Russell Wilson and the Seahawks, Graham and the Packers (with a healthy Aaron Rodgers) could be in for a good season.
Three minor roster changes for the Packers are the release of cornerback Sam Sheilds and trade of cornerback Damarious Randall for quarterback DeShone Kizer. Shields was sidelined in the season-opener and placed on IR for the remained of the season, ending his 7 years with the Packers. Kizer is coming from the Browns in exchange for Randall to back up Aaron Rodgers.
Rams: Adding Marcus Peters, Adding Aqib Talib, Trading Robert Quinn, Franchise-Tagged Lamarcus Joyner, Adding Sam Shields
Big names are headlining free agency for the league-best offense, on the defensive side of the ball. With addition of (current and/or former) All-Pro cornerbacks Marcus Peters, Aqib Talib and Sam Shields will improve a stingy defense. Unfortunately, the Rams are trading star defensive end Robert Quinn, the 2017 Defensive Player of the Year, to the Dolphins in exchange for a “mid-round pick.” What the Rams will lose from Quinn on the defensive line, they will make up for in the secondary. By franchise-tagging safety Lamarcus Joyner, the Rams will have one of the strongest defensive secondaries in the league.
Redskins: Adding Paul Richardson, Trading for Alex Smith, Trading away from Kendall Fuller
With the major addition of Alex Smith to replace Kirk Cousins, the Redskins also added a mid-level receiver from the Seahawks in Paul Richardson to play opposite Josh Doctson. Attempting to recreate what he had in Kansas City, Alex Smith and the Redskins are hoping to add more depth at receiver and running back before the league-year starts. Along with the Alex Smith trade, the Redskins lost Kendall Fuller, a low-level cornerback.
Stay tuned for another update on NFL free agency, specific to the AFC in a few days! Until then, follow me on Twitter (@mlashpr) and let me know what you’re most looking forward to about the upcoming season.