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NFL Free Agency 2020: Ranking of the five teams that have improved the most so far this off-season



The 2020 NFL off-season was a wild one. Tom Brady left the New England Patriots for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Arizona Cardinals won one of the most one-sided trades in the recent past, and the Carolina Panthers kicked out almost every player the fans were interested in.

Although we can all agree that there have been some clear losers in the free hand, identifying “winners” is somewhat subjective. We don’t necessarily know how certain players fit different teams, we don’t know which contracts are bargain or whether a team pays too much for someone.

Let’s try to identify five teams that have improved the most in recent weeks, starting with the obvious.

1
. Arizona Cardinals

Notable additions: WR DeAndre Hopkins (trade), DT Jordan Phillips, OLB Devon Kennard, OLB De’Vondre Campbell, DT Trevon Coley
Notable losses: RB David Johnson (trade), DE Rodney Gunter, ILB Joe Walker

The Cardinals may have lost 5-10-1 last season, but they appear to have a franchise quarterback in Kyler Murray and a decent coach in Kliff Kingsbury. You now have one of the most talented broadband receivers in the NFL, thanks to what Houston Texan’s head coach and general manager Bill O’Brien can only call mental failure. DeAndre Hopkins was sent to the Cardinals for running David Johnson back, a pick from round two, and basically a swap of picks from round four. Johnson’s contract has also been stressful for the Cardinals, so the fact that they are getting rid of it while getting a real number 1 in the wideout is absolutely incredible. The Cardinals also kept several offensive linemen and signed linebackers Devon Kennard and De’Vondre Campbell. They still have some defense to do, but the Cardinals may surprise some people this season. The Hopkins trade alone makes them a winner this off-season, no matter how the design goes.

2. Miami Dolphins

Notable additions: CB Byron Jones, LB Kyle Van Noy, DE Shaq Lawson, RB Jordan Howard, LB Elandon Roberts, OL Ereck Flowers
Notable losses: None.

The Dolphins went into the off-season with more money than any other team, and they weren’t shy about spending it. You have taken several big steps, including Byron Jones to highest paid cornerback in the NFL. They also made some underrated signatures like Ted Karras, Shaq Lawson, Emmanuel Ogbah and Kyle Van Noy. While I probably wouldn’t pay for Ereck Flowers $ 10 million a yearWhen he was with the Washington Redskins last season, he proved he was a start guard. Miami has room to overpay for certain players when they really feel they are worth it. Depending on what the dolphins are doing at the quarterback position, they could see a quick turnaround in 2020.

3. Buffalo Bills

Notable additions: WR Stefon Diggs (trade), DE Mario Addison, LB A.J. Klein, DE Vernon Butler, DE Quinton Jefferson
Notable losses: DE Shaq Lawson, DT Jordan Phillips and LB Lorenzo Alexander

Most people will remember the 2019 Bills campaign as the one they choked on in the AFC wildcard game, but that’s not fair. They improved in every way, had one of the best defenses in the NFL, and went 10-6. They seem to be a team on the upswing and have used the off-season early on. The bills were traded for former Minnesota Vikings wideout Stefon Diggs – which gives quarterback Josh Allen a real No. 1 wideout for the first time in his career. The defense of the Bills also got better as they added additions such as Quinton Jefferson, Vernon Butler and Mario Addison to the defensive front. This squad really has no bad holes and they should be the favorite to win AFC East with Brady, who is now out of the division.

4. New Orleans Saints

Notable additions: WR Emmanuel Sanders, S. Malcolm Jenkins
Notable losses: QB Teddy Bridgewater, WR Ted Ginn Jr., LB A.J. Klein, CB Eli Apple, S. Vonn Bell

The Saints are all in when it comes to 2020. They felt they had the team to go all the way last year before being upset by the Vikings at home – just the last of the many post-season problems the Saints’ fans have experienced recently . You got Drew Brees back for another try and signed an important weapon in Emmanuel Sanders. With the San Francisco 49ers, the 33-year-old experienced a kind of rebirth. In 10 regular season games, Sanders scored 36 passes for 502 yards and three touchdowns. Sanders helped reinforce the 49ers’ offensive when San Francisco made it to the Super Bowl LIV, where they fell victim to the Kansas City Chiefs (31-20). The addition of Sanders should take some pressure off Michael Thomas, who broke Marvin Harrison’s 2019 record for most receptions in a single season. Brees orchestrated the seventh best offense in the NFL last year, and this unit should take another step forward with this addition. On the defensive side of the ball, the Saints may have lost Vonn Bell, but they won Malcolm Jenkins and D.J. Swearinger. This gives New Orleans two experienced and talented security guards who are able to defend themselves. The Saints got better this off-season – not that they had to. Now the only thing that matters is the execution in the off-season.

5. Los Angeles chargers

Notable additions: CB Chris Harris, OT Bryan Bulaga, DT Linval Joseph, LB Nick Vigil, RG Trai Turner (trade)
Notable losses: QB Philip Rivers, RB Melvin Gordon, FB Derek Watt, S. Adrian Phillips, LB Thomas Davis, WR Travis Benjamin

After a disappointing 5:11 campaign, the Chargers decided to switch from quarterback Philip Rivers. While this will be the headline this off-season, the chargers have actually taken some important steps that could conflict with them in 2020. They contracted Austin Ekeler again, let Melvin Gordon run, franchise Hunter Henry, and made some key defensive additions like Linval Joseph and Chris Harris Jr. The Chargers’ 2019 campaign was derailed due to injury. So you should expect them to improve in 2020. Like everyone else, I wonder if Anthony Lynn really wants to roll with Tyrod Taylor. This defense will support everyone next season who plays quarterback for the Chargers next year.




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