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Free Agency Quick Hits

As the NFL's league year officially opened on Wednesday night, now seems like a good time to check back in with my takes around some of the big moves, with a particular focus on superstar quarterbacks.

  1. I like Tom Brady's impending move to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers... for the player and the team. I am fascinated to see what kind of career encore Brady can deliver. He will be blessed with much better weapons in Tampa and we will see a better version of Brady even at age 43 than we did in 2019. As for the Bucs, they ranked third in total offense a year ago even with Jameis Winston being an interception machine. This offense could be even more effective with the more-cautious Brady at the helm under the guidance of Bruce Arians.
  1. So where do New England go now in replacing Brady? At the time of writing this article, Andy Dalton, Cam Newton and the aforementioned Winston are the quarterbacks left without a chair in this NFL free agency game of musical chairs. But it could be that the Pats stay in house because Bill Belichick is believed to really like Jarrett Stidham, a fourth-rounder in 2019 who many felt had first-round skills and arm talent. Those are big shoes to fill in New England and I wonder if a veteran like Dalton might be better suited to cope from an emotional point of view. Mind you, Drew Bledsoe was a massive figure in New England back in 2001 before being ousted by a little-known quarterback called Tom Brady. Will history repeat itself?
  1. A move that I have been calling for ever since he got released by the Los Angeles Chargers came to fruition this week when Philip Rivers inked a one-year deal with the Indianapolis Colts. This is a very good situation for Rivers as he knows the offense being run by Frank Reich and he will now get to operate behind arguably the best offensive line in the league. That is a world removed from 2019 when he was forced to throw the ball up for grabs time and again behind a very shaky group of tackles.
  1. I think Super Bowl winner Nick Foles is going to have every shot at securing the starting quarterback's job in Chicago when NFL training camps (hopefully) open later this summer. The Bears don't want to totally give up on Mitchell Trubisky, but they are keen to create competition at the position and to potentially light a fire under their former first-rounder. Foles is a good fit for this offense and has a chance to resurrect his career after his time in Jacksonville never really got started.
  1. Speaking of the Jags, they are obviously all-in on Gardner Minshew at quarterback but the rebuild is officially on for a team that was just five minutes from reaching the Super Bowl just two seasons ago. In addition to Foles, Calais Campbell and A.J. Buoye are gone via trade and this team also traded Jalen Ramsey away mid-season in 2019. The one to watch is what the Jags do with pass-rusher Yannick Ngakoue - he wants away in the worst possible way but Jacksonville might need to keep him and pair the Pro Bowler with the emerging Josh Allen.
  1. The end is proving to be pretty ugly for Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers. The team gave Cam 'permission' to seek a trade but the former league MVP insists they have left him no choice and are forcing him out of the door. The Panthers are wiping their slate clean and will no longer have Cam, Luke Kuechly or Eric Reid on their team. But they will have newly-signed quarterback Teddy Bridgewater under center and his career comeback has been nothing short of sensational. Everyone will be wishing Bridgewater the very best as he comes all the way back from the devastating knee injury that almost cost him his leg in 2016.
  1. The Los Angeles Rams have suffered some serious losses on the defensive side of the ball and will have a completely new look in 2020. Coordinator Wade Phillips was fired at the end of last season and gone now are safety Eric Weddle (to retirement), as well as linebackers Cory Littleton and Dante Fowler Jr defensive lineman Michael Brockers and defensive back Nickell Robey-Coleman. That is a lot gone in one offseason. It could be a tough ride for Sean McVay's men in the competitive NFC West.
  1. I like what the Los Angeles Chargers have added to their team during this offseason, bolstering the offensive line with the signing of Bryan Bulaga and the trade for Trai Turner. Linval Joseph boosts the defensive front, particularly against the run and the trade for Chris Harris Jr. brings in one of the best slot corners in the league. But is this team really moving forward with Tyrod Taylor at quarterback? I have to believe the Chargers are in the market for a first-round passer in April's NFL Draft.
  1. While they may not have 'won the offseason'like they did a year ago, there have been some positive moves in Cleveland. Austin Hooper is a very productive tight end who will team nicely with David Njoku, even if he shouldn't be the highest-paid at his position in the NFL. And Jack Conklin is a rock solid addition on the right side of a line that must be a priority in the offseason. The Browns have more work to do and need more linemen in the draft, but this is a good start.
  1. Now, after a flurry of activity, we wait. Like so much of the sports world - and life in general - the NFL is now in a weird state of limbo. Many of these deals that have been agreed cannot be ratified until players have taken and passed physicals. And how can those happen when NFL facilities are closed and America's medical personnel will, quite rightly, be focused elsewhere?

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Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert (10) rushes during an NFL football game between the between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Los Angeles Chargers, Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020, in Inglewood, Calif. (AP Photo/Peter Joneleit)

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