Since the new league year for the NFL began on March 13, there have been several offseason moves worth noting. Many teams have stayed very active in free agency in hopes to win a championship in the coming year. Whether it is finding a franchise quarterback or adding talent to the defensive side of the ball, teams are making moves to enhance the future of the franchise. Here are the top five offseason moves that have taken place so far in 2019.
5. Colts Sign Defensive End/Linebacker Justin Houston
The Indianapolis Colts headed in the 2019 offseason with over $100 million in cap space. The team was anticipated to be one of the most active in the free agent market. But so far, the Colts have only added two newcomers to their roster, Justin Houston being one of them.
In need of a pass rusher, the Colts signed Houston to a two-year deal worth $24 million. Over the course of his career, Houston has proven to be elite at his position. Although he may not be as dominant as he once was, Houston still continues to put up impressive numbers. In 2018, the pass-rusher totaled 37 combined tackles, nine sacks and an interception to top it off.
With the Colts defense being so young, adding this veteran gives the team the experience to progress immensely. In addition, pairing Houston with 2018 Defensive Rookie of the Year Darius Leonard creates a duo that will be a nightmare for offensives. Overall, a great addition to the Colts roster and a good use of cap space.
4. Jets Sign Running Back Le’Veon Bell
Le’Veon Bell held out from signing his franchise tag a season ago in hopes to land a long-term contract from the Steelers. In the end, the Steelers let their star running back walk and Bell become one of the top free agents of 2019.
The New York Jets were one of the favorites to land Bell from the beginning and ended up signing him to a four-year, $52.5 million deal. The contract also includes $35 million guaranteed, which is more than he was offered by his former team in Pittsburgh. The Jets came into offseason with just over $100 million dollars in cap space, so it was expected for the team to make a big splash in the free agent market.
The Jets selected quarterback Sam Darnold with the third overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. The organization seems to be building around Darnold as their franchise quarterback. If Le’Veon Bell can return to his All-Pro running back form, then Darnold’s job will become much easier. Bell has been known for his versatility and unique running style, making it impossible for defenses to ignore him. With Bell in the backfield, Darnold’s development will progress much quicker.
3. Browns Sign Defensive Tackle Sheldon Richardson
The Cleveland Browns have been, arguably, the most active team in the 2019 NFL offseason. The team decided to beef up their defensive line by adding Sheldon Richardson on a three-year, $39 million deal.
Richardson played for the Vikings last season where he collected 49 combined tackles, 4.5 sacks and 16 quarterback hits. Only being 28 years old, Richardson still has a few years left to make a real impact while playing. Having been to the Pro-Bowl and being in the league for six years now, he has the experience to be a great addition to the Browns.
Richardson will play alongside Myles Garret, Oliver Vernon and Genard Avery. The Browns have created a stellar defensive line by signing a play-making defensive tackle.
2. Raiders Acquire Wide Receiver Antonio Brown via Trade
Antonio Brown requested a trade earlier in the offseason. Even though it costed approximately $21 million in dead cap space, the Steelers let go of the wide receiver. The Steelers traded Brown to the Raiders in return for a 2019 third-round pick and a fifth-round pick.
The Raiders are the definite winners of this trade as they add the offensive weapon their team lacked all of last season. All for the cost of a third and fifth-round draft pick. Brown has proven to be one of the best receivers in the NFL and has shown no signs of slowing down. In 2018, the pass catcher had a total of 104 receptions for 1,297 yards. In addition, Brown led the league in receiving touchdowns with 15.
Adding a play-maker like Antonio Brown at such a low cost gives the Raiders an advantage as the team still has three 2019 first round draft picks. So not only will the Raiders have an incredible player in Brown, but the team also has the opportunity to improve through the NFL Draft.
1. Browns acquire Odell Beckham Jr. via Trade
What may be the biggest splash of the 2019 offseason, the Cleveland Browns receive one of the most electric players in the NFL. In the trade, the New York Giants gave the Browns Odell Beckham Jr. in return for 2019 first- and third- round picks and safety Jabrill Peppers.
After selecting quarterback Baker Mayfield with the first overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, the Browns seem determined to surround him with talent. With the blockbuster trade taking place. the Browns pass-catching core now consists of Odell Beckham Jr., Jarvis Landry, Antonio Callaway and David Njoku. There is no question that Mayfield now has plenty of offensive weapons to spread the field.
Beckham Jr. caught 77 passes in 2018 and totaled 1,052 receiving yards. The receiver also brought in six touchdown passes. In his five seasons in the NFL, Beckham Jr. has had four 1,000+ seasons. In addition, he has been selected to three Pro-Bowls.
After adding Odell Beckham Jr. to their roster, the Browns are now the fifth favorite to win the Super Bowl. All just 2 seasons out from going 0-16. This is a fantastic move for the Browns that improves the offense greatly and pairs their young quarterback with a key play-maker.
Featured Image Credit: Grant Halverson / Getty Images
You can like The Game Haus on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles from great TGH writers!