Thank the Lord for NFL Free Agency
Over the past decade, the NFL has become more and more vilified because of various practices and initiatives that the league has had. People will still watch the league regardless, because everyone in America loves football, but there is sharp disagreement between those who support what the NFL does and those who don’t. However, yesterday and today are moments to be thankful for the NFL.
Contrary to popular advice, the NFL decided against delaying the start of free agency. Initially, the league was criticized for endangering people, but that was quickly retracted when people realized that negotiations wouldn’t be happening in person. Still, there were people who believed it to be irresponsible. Personally, I don’t agree with that stance. We’ve always known that the NFL does free agency in the second half of March, and that really doesn’t need to change even with a pandemic going on. Now, holding practices and OTAs would be inappropriate, but thankfully, the NFL has pushed those back, along with announcing that the NFL Draft will take a different, sans audience, form this year. But free agency was exhilarating. It was full of deals and trades and announcements of players being able to seek trades and players announcing that they’d be moving on from their old team.
There are a few stories that shook the sports landscape that we need to talk about, however. First, the Houston Texans traded away DeAndre Hopkins. Yeah. THAT DeAndre Hopkins (as if there was another one). Probably the NFL’s best wide receiver was traded in a boneheaded move to the Arizona Cardinals, who gave up a couple of draft picks and running back David Johnson, who used to be a terrific player, but has declined significantly in recent years thanks to a few injuries.
There was also the contrasting Stefon Diggs trade from the Minnesota Vikings to the Buffalo Bills. This trade was heralded as an example of what a top-flight receiver should net their former team in compensation, as the Diggs trade brought four draft picks to the Vikings, including this year’s #13 pick. As the Hopkins and Diggs trades happened almost back to back, the Texans got hit with a lot of criticism for bungling the trade and not getting the requisite compensation for such a talent.
But that was yesterday (Monday, March 16th). Today (Tuesday, March 17th), the football world got two big pieces of news. The first, less significant one, is that Cam Newton, longtime quarterback of the team and chronic injury-sufferer, has been given permission to seek a trade away from Charlotte. This also comes on the heels of news that the Panthers are negotiating a 3-year, $60 million deal with Teddy Bridgewater, which would certainly make Newton a non-factor.
But the biggest news came in the form of what someone’s not going to do. Tom Brady, who has led the New England Patriots for nearly 20 years, announced that he will be leaving the team and seeking to play somewhere else. This is honestly shocking, even though most people knew that Brady would be moving on. Considering he’s won six Super Bowls with the team, some people thought that he’d never leave. Alas, that day has come.
Phew! That’s a lot of news to take in, but considering that all other sports are stopped, it’s both comforting and overwhelming to get all this shocking news from the NFL, but I’ll take it.