The 2018-2019 NFL season was one of the most entertaining season to date. Between all the games, controversies and new records set it was hard to keep my eyes off the pig skin.
However, there’s something even more entertaining about football and it’s not the Super Bowl commercials. It’s the NFL offseason. The NFL offseason consists of free agency signings, team resignations and trading of players and this year’s offseason is shaping up to be the best one yet.
You may not think something like this would be entertaining; however, each signing means something to each team, with a story behind every signing. Meanings range from trying to strengthen a defense, looking for a new franchise quarterback or trading away your star wide receiver.
There have already been a multitude of signings and trades this offseason. For instance, former Philadelphia Eagles backup quarterback Nick Foles has signed a four-year, $88 million contract with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Foles’ career has been through ups and downs, but ever since he led the Eagles to a victory in the Super Bowl and won Super Bowl MVP in the 2017 season, he’s had teams intrigued.
The Jaguars have had a disappointing 5-11 season compared to their 10-6 season a year ago. Part of the reason their record has dropped so low had to do with their former quarterback, Blake Bortles, who threw only 13 touchdowns but 11 interceptions in 13 games last season. Foles, who only played five games last season, threw seven touchdowns and four interceptions. This was a smart move by the Jaguars as they hope to win their conference in an increasingly competitive sport.
There are some free agency signings that are way more complicated than that; for example: Le’Veon Bell. Bell was the Pittsburgh Steelers’ star running back, and a nightmare to NFL defenses. In the 2017 season, Bell rushed for 1,291 yards and had a career high in nine rushing touchdowns. He also had 655 receiving yards and two receiving touchdowns. It’s safe to say he is one of the best running backs in the NFl. So why would the Steelers not resign him?
Bell didn’t play in any games last season. This is not because of injuries, but because he demanded more money and refused to play until he got a new contract. The Steelers offered Bell a five-year, $60 million contract at the beginning of the 2018 season but Bell declined. At the end of last season, the Steelers upped the offer to a five-year, $70 million contract with $33 million guaranteed, even after their backup running back James Conner had a very good season. Bell still declined and decided to let other teams make him some big dollar offers.
Here’s the part that doesn’t make any sense at all. Bell signed a contract with the New York Jets. It was a four-year, $52.5 million contract with $25 million guaranteed. This was a very bad career move by Bell. The Steelers went 9-6-1 last season compared to the Jets’ 4-12, and the Steelers offered him more money. Next season is going to be a tough one for Bell and his ego to swallow.
Wide receiver Antonio Brown has also moved on from the Steel City. Brown spent nine years with the Steelers, and in those nine years had 837 catches for 11,207 yards and 79 touchdowns. Those are very impressive stats for a wide receiver in a nine-year career, and he will definitely be a first ballot NFL Hall of Fame candidate when he retires.
Despite his great career with the Steelers, Brown felt it was time for him to move on. He demanded a trade from the Steelers and plenty of teams came sniffing around for the receiver. Many people thought that Brown would be traded to the Buffalo Bills; however, these rumors were false. The team that actually secured the trade with Steelers was the Oakland Raiders. The Raiders traded away their third fifth round picks in the upcoming draft for the star receiver.
The Raiders were a very controversial team last season. Their new head coach, Jon Gruden, had coached the Raiders before retiring and even brought them to Super Bowl 37. The Raiders offered Gruden the head coach position again, hoping he could bring them back to the Super Bowl. This plan did not work; at least, it hasn’t yet. Gruden has made headlines for other reasons, such as trading away wide receiver Amari Cooper and linebacker Khalil Mack during the 2018 season. Those are very confusing trades because the players were young desirable for a team looking for a Super Bowl win. Gruden must be hoping that Brown will help them in time because they signed the already 30-year-old wide receiver to a three-year, $50 million contract. Hopefully, Brown can continue his great career in Oakland, and he can eventually be one of the greatest wide receivers in history.
There are too many other offseason moves to write about. However, all of them are just as entertaining and include their own stories. This offseason will have you on the edge of your seat.
By: Stone Hogan, Feature Writer
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