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Top Acquisitions and Trades of the NFL Off-Season

Brendan writes about the trades, free agent signings, and draft picks that shaped this NFL Offseason

March 13th marked the kickoff of the 2024 NFL offseason and with it, free agency. Players across the league have found new homes and have gotten paid handsomely for their talents. The two-time defending champion Kansas City Chiefs made waves early with their re-signing of star defensive tackle “Stone Cold” Chris Jones, who was expected to garner a lot of interest in free agency as one of the league’s top defensive players. By locking Jones up with a massive 5-year $160 million contract, Jones is expected to anchor the Chiefs’ dominant defense for half a decade as they look to forge a dynasty. The Chiefs have also signed wide receiver Marquise Brown on a 1-year contract to give superstar quarterback Patrick Mahomes a consistent target in the receiver room.

Meanwhile in the North, the team that lost to the Kansas City Chiefs, The Baltimore Ravens fulfilled their seemingly vacant spot at running back, with the all pro running back Derrick Henry. At the beginning of the season, week 1 the Ravens lost their RB1 J.K Dobbins due to an injury against the Houston Texans. The Ravens have had struggles keeping the ball on the ground, luckily their quarterback is extremely mobile but it has not been sufficient enough to find playoff success. Derrick Henry signed a 2-year, 16 million dollar contract with the Baltimore Ravens and hopefully the team can find similar success and amplify it with their new RB1. 

The Ravens’ division rivals, the Pittsburgh Steeers, signed veteran QB Russell Wilson from the Denver Broncos on a 1 year, 1.2 million dollar contract with an extension possibly in the future.The Steelers also traded for Bears starting quarterback Justin Fields to be Wilson’s backup, hopefully setting the Steelers up with the quarterback of both the present and the future. In other Steelers news, they also acquired FA linebacker Patrick Queen from their rival Ravens, giving the franchise another solid piece to their star-studded defense. 

The Texans down south also had a busy free agency, signing running back Joe Mixon from the Bengals, and Defensive End Danielle Hunter from the Vikings. The Texans had an excellent season especially considering their team's history. However, most notably, the Texans acquired superstar wide receiver Stefon Diggs. This puts the Texans receiving core and debatably the best in the entire league, setting them up for potentially, their first ever Super Bowl appearance and even better, their first Super Bowl victory. Rookie QB C.J Stroud won the Offensive Rookie of The Year and several other teammates had awards last season as well. Their division rivals are also highly active. The Jacksonville Jaguars shocked a lot of people by signing Patriots QB Mac Jones as their back-up. The Colts also got a new back-up QB with Super Bowl MVP turned journeyman Joe Flacco after his unlikely resurgence with the Browns. The Titans also acquired their WR1 in Calvin Ridley. People were a bit confused at this deal considering that they refused to pay star wide receiver A.J Brown, but pay DeAndre Hopkins and Calvin Ridley a similar price. The AFC South is more competitive than ever and is going to be a heated race for a playoff spot in 2024. 

In the NFC, The Washington Commanders seem to be taking the veteran approach by signing new head coach Dan Quinn, among various other veterans such as Bobby Wagner, Austin Ekeler, Zach Ertz, and Dorance Armstrong. The Commanders entered the offseason with a mountain of cap space, and they didn't hesitate to use it, With the #2 overall pick in the draft, The Commanders are looking to be a dark horse with rookie quarterback Jayden Daniels. Also in the east, their division rivals, the Philadelphia Eagles are also making moves. After letting running back D'Andre Swift go, many wondered who would step up to bat. They shocked hundreds of thousands of fans when they acquired their division rival Giants’ star running back Saquon Barkley. The Giants meanwhile seemed to have found their replacement rather quickly by signing Texans RB Devin Singletary. The Giants also made a splash through trading for Pro Bowl edge rusher Brian Burns, who along with Dexter Lawrence and Kayvon Thibodeaux, will become a problem for opposing offenses. Contrary to the rest of the division, the Dallas Cowboys have made minimal signings and lost quite a significant amount of key players. This is especially confusing as fans were expecting more moves after GM Jerry Jones made a claim of being, “all in.” The rest of the NFC however is making many moves, particularly, the Chicago Bears. The Bears are notorious for middling passing offenses, however this offseason has snapped that narrative to pieces. The Bears have built what is potentially the best offense we’ve seen so far. The Bears acquired veteran star wide receiver Keenan Allen for dirt cheap, it only cost them a 4th round draft pick. They have an excellent receiving core and a good running back. With the selection of quarterback Caleb Williams 1st overall in the NFL Draft, they could be on track to win their second Super Bowl in the coming seasons.

Finally down south, The Tampa Bay Buccaneers wasted no time getting Baker Mayfield and Mike Evans contract extensions, and are looking to claim the NFC South for the 4th time in a row. However the Falcons definitely had something to say about that. The Falcons acquired veteran QB Kirk Cousins to a 4 year deal. They also signed WR Darnell Mooney to get Kirk some help. With these offensive additions, the Falcons are looking to overthrow the Buccaneers who have been on top of the division for the past few seasons. 

With these new teams being built, it only builds suspense for the 2024 season and gives fans a whole lot to look forward to.

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