Winning and losing doesn’t just take place on the football field, it also takes place months before practices even commence. The front office of a given NFL team can drastically affect the fate of the roster, which in return, directly correlates to the overall record that year.
There were some great trades and free agent signings this off-season, and there were some downright awful choices. With the NFL season commencing next week, we thought it would be a good idea to take a look at the best and worst moves made in 2017.
Eric Decker- Tennessee Titans
Signed to a one year deal, for just 3.85 million dollars, the Titans found tremendous value by landing Decker. He battled injuries in 2016, but he should be able to make a full recovery and provide a reliable target for quarterback Marcus Mariota to rely on. Decker has three 1,000 yard receiving/10+ touchdown campaigns in the last five seasons.
Marshawn Lynch- Oakland Raiders
“Beast Mode” has taken his talents to the Bay Area. After retiring for a season, he wanted to play for his hometown team, so the Seahawks traded him to Oakland for a late round pick. Lynch will make a modest 4.5 million in 2017, not a bad salary for a potential Pro Bowl player.
At 31 years of age, the norm is for a running back to not be as good as they once were. Don’t expect Lynch’s production to dip. He should be refreshed and in great shape, ready to plow through whatever is in his way. He could lead the Raiders, along with Derek Carr, deep into the playoffs.
Brandin Cooks- New England Patriots
The Patriots just won a Super Bowl, and they’ve done a lot to make their team even better for 2017. The Pats traded first and third round draft picks to acquire Cooks and a 4th round pick.
One of the fastest and most versatile receivers in the league, Cooks will make this offense the most explosive its been since Randy Moss was on the roster. Cooks should have no trouble racking up over 90 receptions. He will be used out wide, in the slot, and everywhere else. Great move by New England.
Terrelle Pryor- Washington Redskins
Signed to a one year, 8 million dollar deal, Pryor could wind up being a major bargain for Washington. After losing Pierre Garcon to free agency, Pryor will slide right into that role in the offense, giving Kirk Cousins a talented target. Last year on a lowly Browns team, Pryor had 77 receptions for 1,004 yards, and 4 touchdowns.
Sammy Watkins- Los Angeles Rams
The Buffalo Bills traded Watkins and a 6th round pick away for cornerback E.J. Gaines, and a 2nd round pick. The Rams were the major winners of this deal. E.J. Gaines is a mediocre cornerback, while Watkins has the potential to be one of the finest receivers in this league for years to come.
The only obstacle that has been in Watkins way thus far in his career has been injuries. Injuries aside, Watkins has all the tools a team wants in a wideout. At only 24 years old, Watkins will be part of the Rams future, and don’t be surprised if he helps them get to the playoffs in the next year or two.
Mike Glennon- Chicago Bears
Mike Glennon? Who? Yet the Bears give this guy a three year, 45 million dollar contract. A backup to this point in his career, Glennon has looked downright awful in preseason action. A team should never pay an unproven quarterback that much money. To further complicate matters, the Bears drafted quarterback Mitchell Trubisky number two overall, and traded up to get him.
Bears fans are clamoring for Trubisky to start, as he’s looked far better this preseason. This signing will not end up well for the Bears, a team who could have used that big contract to sign talent at other positions they need better depth at. Glennon isn’t a good decision maker, cannot read zone coverage, and has a tendency to throw balls either right to a defender, or with power into the dirt. Horrible move, Chicago.
Josh McCown- New York Jets
The Jets are going to be one of the worst teams in football this season. So why in the world would they sign 38-year-old quarterback Josh McCown to a 6 million dollar guaranteed contract? It defies all logic. It would be one thing if McCown was good, but he isn’t, and he gets hurt a lot.
McCown only completed 54.5 percent of his passes in 2016, with 6 touchdowns and 6 interceptions. The Jets would have been better served to sign Colin Kaepernick, trade for another teams backup… basically, any other idea would have been better than trotting McCown out there as the week one starter. Wow.
Malcolm Smith- San Francisco 49ers
A five year, 26 million dollar contract, with 13 million guaranteed for a bad linebacker. Malcolm Smith couldn’t cover a tight end or receiver to save his life for the Oakland Raiders, now the 49ers are rewarding him for it.
The signing would have been bad enough if Smith suited up for all the Niners regular season games, but he won’t be playing at all! Out for the season with a torn pectoral. Talk about adding injury to insult.
Matt Kalil- Carolina Panthers
Offensive tackle Matt Kalil was a Pro Bowl player as a rookie in 2013 for the Minnesota Vikings, but he’s been a liability ever since. Allowing more than a dozen sacks in a season has become the norm for Kalil. But the Panthers decided to sign Kalil to a 5 year, 55 million dollar contract, with an insane 25 million guaranteed. Kalil didn’t even manage to stay healthy in 2016, appearing in only two games.
These are the types of decisions that get general managers fired. Nothing about Kalil’s prior history indicates he is going to turn anything around and be able to protect Cam Newton.
Jay Cutler- Miami Dolphins
Dolphins starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill is out for the year with a knee injury, so Miami decided to get Jay Cutler out of retirement to lead their team. Cutler is a decent quarterback at times, has a rocket for an arm, but the leadership abilities of Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh. He’s been known to be a cancerous part of a team, and his pessimistic attitude can be seen on the sidelines and even on the playing field. There have been many times when Cutler has looked disinterested during a game, and he throws the football as if he really doesn’t care what the outcome will be.
This leads to costly interceptions, and a deflated football team because of his actions and demeanor. The Dolphins have one of the best backups in all of football in Matt Moore, and they should have rolled with him instead of Cutler. The only thing Jay Cutler is capable of leading is his own two feet into a bank to cash his paychecks. He’s in this for the money, not for the love of the game. The Dolphins will find this out soon enough.
These are only ten of hundreds of transactions that transpire this NFL off-season. The above list will be proven to be more true than false. Once the season is over, the numbers and results won’t lie, the best and worst will be obvious. Cheers to football season.