With the start of the new league season in early March, NFL teams have been extremely active in the free agent market. Many have also made some landmark trades in preparation for the upcoming 2019 season. Which teams have done the best so far?
Raiders Land A.B. Oakland head coach Jon Gruden continues to rebuild the Raiders roster. He picked up one of the best wide receivers in the league in former Pittsburgh Steeler Antonio Brown. The Raiders traded third- and fifth-round picks to obtain Brown, a tremendous bargain for a player of his capabilities. Brown has had six straight seasons of at least 1,200 receiving yards and led the NFL with 15 touchdown catches last season.
OBJ to Cleveland The Cleveland Browns have been very active this offseason. The Browns put together one of the blockbuster trades of 2019 when they sent S Jabrill Peppers and first- and third-round draft picks to the New York Giants in exchange for WR Odell Beckham Jr. The trade gives the Cleveland offense a superstar wide receiver to pair with second-year quarterback Baker Mayfield and RB Nick Chubb. Cleveland is now favored to the win the AFC North.
Ingram Signs with Baltimore Former New Orleans RB Mark Ingram signed a three-year, $15 million deal with Baltimore. The Ravens are well-known for their love of running the football. With Lamar Jackson at quarterback, head coach John Harbaugh and his staff is going run-heavy on offense. Ingram is a powerful veteran running back that shared the load with Alvin Kamara in New Orleans, so he hasn’t had a huge workload. Paired with Jackson, Ingram should make Ravens offense difficult to stop in 2019.
Howard to Philly Last season, the Eagles didn’t have a one running back that gained 85 yards in a single game. After losing Jay Ajayi to a knee injury, Philadelphia simply didn’t have a running game. That should change in 2019 with the addition of former Chicago Bear Jordan Howard. In three seasons in the NFL, Howard just missed a third straight 1,000-yard season last year (935 yards). The best part of the deal for Howard? The Eagles only had to spend a sixth-round draft pick in 2020 to get him.
Safety Help in Chicago While the Bears said goodbye to Howard, they upgraded their defense significantly by signing free safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix. Originally drafted by Green Bay, Clinton-Dix was traded to Washington last season before the trade deadline. The Redskins decided not to resign the five-year veteran and the Bears are the happy beneficiary. New Bears defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano inherits a Bears defense that returns virtually intact from 2018 and now adds a Pro Bowl caliber safety.
Niners Get a RB San Francisco was all-in on former Steeler Le’Veon Bell, but he chose to sign with the New York Jets. The 49ers, in need of running back depth, went off the board and signed former Atlanta RB Tevin Coleman. The four-year veteran shared the Falcons backfield with Devonta Freeman and is a dynamic back that can catch as well as run. At $10 million for two years, Coleman is a bargain that may allow the Niners to keep Jerick McKinnon and last year’s sensation Matt Breida (814 yards rushing).