The NFL has been enjoying a recent resurge in popularity throughout the 2019 season. While never unpopular, football viewership had dropped for a few years prior to last season. However, things are definitely back on the upswing, with regular-season broadcasts seeing the highest number of viewers since 2016 across all major broadcasting networks. The season even saw the most-watched game of Sunday Night Football ever, when 23.3 million people tuned in on the 29th of December to see the San Francisco 49ers play the Seattle Seahawks. The 49ers made it all the way to Super Bowl LIV, where they were defeated on the 2nd of February 2020 by the Kansas City Chiefs with a score of 31-20.
The new season is scheduled to kick off on the 10th of September 2020, with the Houston Texans traveling to play the champion Chiefs. There have been several exciting pre-season signings and transfers that should help keep NFL betting lines competitive and maintain the high viewing figures of 2019.
Tom Brady –Tampa Bay Buccaneers
One of the most shocking signings of the season so far has to be Tom Brady, who has been signed to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for $50 million for two seasons. While New England Patriots’ manager Bill Belichick has always been willing to make big transfers, many expected Brady to be the exception to that rule. The two-year contract may well be the last of Brady’s professional career as, aged 42, he most likely only has a few good seasons left. However, at $30 million a year and with teammates now including O.J. Howard, Chris Godwin and Mike Edwards, there is definitely strong potential for Brady to go out with a bang.
Teddy Bridgewater – Carolina Panthers
Teddy Bridgewater joining the Carolina Panthers could well be a more long-term arrangement that starts with a three-year contract for the standout quarterback. The contract is rumored to be in the $60 million range, according to a spokesperson from ESPN. Aged just 27, Bridgewater could solidify his position as a starter for the foreseeable future. Bridgewater suffered a devastating injury to his knee in 2016, but recent play suggests that this is completely behind him now.
Drew Brees – New Orleans Saints
While not technically a new signing, the New Orleans Saints have secured a further two years with quarterback Drew Brees in a deal worth around $50 million, according to Rapport. This is an excellent deal for the Saints as it is far below market value, leaving the team with plenty in the budget for other positions. Bringing back a Hall of Fame quarterback will certainly not hurt the Saints’ chances of a second chance at winning the Super Bowl.
Ryan Fitzpatrick – Miami Dolphins
The Miami Dolphins recently traded Ryan Tannehill to the Tennessee Titans, leaving them with an opening for a veteran quarterback. The opening has now been filled by Ryan Fitzpatrick, nicknamed Fitzmagic for his expertise on the field. Fitzpatrick, a former Ivy League Player of the Year, has signed a two-year deal with the Dolphins worth $11 million.
Calais Campbell – Baltimore Ravens
Calais Campbell has been traded to the Baltimore Ravens from the Jacksonville Jaguars in exchange for a fifth-round pick in the 2020 draft. Campbell has signed on with a $27 million two-year contract, with $20 million guaranteed. The five-time Pro Bowler was arguably responsible for the Ravens’ best defense line in the last NFL season and has a solid reputation for inspiring teammates to play their best game.
Darius Slay – Philadelphia Eagles
The Philadelphia Eagles signed cornerback Darius Slay in a $50 million, three-year extension with $30 million guaranteed, in exchange for a third-round pick and a fifth rounder in the 2020 draft. Despite having played for the Detroit Lions, who famously have never won the NFC North, Slay still made his third consecutive Pro Bowl in the 2019 season and has the potential to shore up the Eagles’ cornerback group, which was noticeably lacking last season.
DeForest Buckner – Indianapolis Colts
Defensive tackle DeForest Buckner has signed on to the Indianapolis Colts from the San Francisco 49ers on an $84 million, four-year contract extension, in exchange for a first round pick in the 2020 draft. Aged just 26, Buckner had already made his first Pro Bowl by 2018 and finished the 2019 season for the 49ers with a career high of 12 sacks, 67 tackles, a fumble recovery and three pass deflections. The Colts already have a reputation for a quality defense and Buckner will solidify this moving into 2020.
Cory Littleton – Las Vegas Raiders
Linebacker Cory Littleton has signed a three-year contract with the Las Vegas Raiders for up to $36 million, starting in 2020. Littleton is still very much in his prime at the age of 26 and a natural-born leader who has the potential to drive the Raiders to new heights of success. Littleton finished last season with the Los Angeles Rams with 134 tackles, a career high, which included a team high of 14 tackles in one game against the San Francisco 49ers.
The upcoming 2020 NFL season will be the league’s 101st season, ending in Super Bowl LV, which is scheduled for the 7th of February 2021, to be hosted at the Raymond James Stadium, home of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. It remains to be seen from the fall how the new signings will affect the fortunes of all the teams.