NFL Off-season: Highlighting the Winners

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With the start 2015 NFL season less than 60 days away, teams throughout the league are staying active this off-season by seeking and attaining free-agents from around the league in order to create the best team they can put forward in their pursuit of Super Bowl 50. Some teams have been more active than others, which raises the questions; which teams are the true winners during this off-season? This article will highlight the teams that I believe have done very well this off-season to bring in or re-sign players that will look to help them this upcoming season.

Let’s start by taking a look at the teams that can be deemed as ‘winners’ so far this off-season.

 

Indianapolis Colts

The Indianapolis Colts are coming off yet another impressive season with QB Andrew Luck at the helm, however, they fell short of earning a spot in the Super Bowl after a massive loss to the New England Patriots in the AFC Title Game. This off season, the Colts addressed positional issues from last season by attain key veteran free agents.

Key Additions

  • WR Andre Johnson
  • RB Frank Gore
  • G Todd Herremans
  • OLB Trent Cole
  • LG Nate Irving
  • DT Kendall Langford
  • RB Dan Herron (Re-sign)

More important than the additions, the Colts really didn’t have to part-ways with any big name players. The only considerable losses for the Colts would be players such as; DT Ricky Jean-Francois and the under-productive, RB Trent Richardson. On paper, the Colts appear to have a great mix of young talent and veteran experience making up their roster going into the 2015 season.

 

 

New York Jets

The New York Jets are coming off a brutal 2014 season where they finished with a painful 4-12 record. However, the Jets have a completely different look to their team coming into 2015. They have parted ways with former Head Coach Rex Ryan and brought in former Arizona DC, Todd Bowles as his replacement. The Jets also made some player moves this off-season, which has helped them fill holes left over from the 2014 season they wish to forget.

Key Additions:

  • WR Brandon Marshall
  • CB Darelle Revis
  • CB Buster Skrine
  • CB Antonio Cromartie
  • G James Carpenter
  • S Marcus Gilchrist

They loaded up on a defense that was already very good, they also did that through the draft. That being said, my only major criticism is that they should have looked to sign another offensive playmaker to compliment Brandon Marshall because Percy Harvin won’t be there to do that. The Jets also added QB Ryan Fitzpatrick to their lineup thanks to a trade, so it will be interesting to see how he fits into the mix with the Jets.

 

Philadelphia Eagles

The Eagles are coming off of a 10-6 season, which saw them miss out on the playoffs for the second time in three years, after they lost a few important games in the final stretch of the season. Though they finished the season with a winning record, the Eagles were a team with plenty of defensive problems to address. The Eagles became the talk of the NFL just weeks after the Super Bowl because of the trades and transactions that they were apart of which saw them lose key players such as; LeSean McCoy, Jeremy Maclin and Nick Foles. The mad scientist, Chip Kelly is proving that he runs the team, not the players. However, the Eagles did manage to bring in quite a bit of talent this offseason.

Key Additions

  • CB Byron Maxwell
  • CB Walter Thurmond III
  • RB DeMarco Murray
  • RB Ryan Matthews
  • QB Tim Tebow
  • QB Sam Bradford (trade)
  • ILB Brad Jones
  • LB Kiko Alonso (trade)
  • WR Miles Austin

The Eagles weren’t shy about making any sort of moves this offseason, whether it was new signings or releasing players. It’s going to be very interesting to see how this QB situation unfolds in Philly because all three QB’s were firm starters on past teams they played for. The Eagles also did well in the draft as they selected basis on positional needs more so than the best overall players available, which is important when addressing specific positional needs. Only time will tell how affective these moves will be.

 

Tennessee Titans

The Titans of Tennessee are coming off of a rather awful 2014 season which saw them carry a terrible 2-14 record into the offseason. The Titans had several problems to address during the off-season and so far they’ve done well in both the draft and through Free Agency. The Titans seem to be in good hands under coach Whisenhunt, you can sense that he is doing well and taking the right steps to build a competitive team.

Key Additions:

  • OLB Brian Orakpo
  • S Da’Norris Searcy
  • CB Perrish Cox
  • TE Anthony Fasano
  • WR Hakeen Nicks
  • WR Harry Douglas

Aside from the Free Agent additions, the Titans also did a good job in the draft by selecting really talented athletes that have a ton of upside potential, so it will be fascinating to see how Whisenhunt puts them to work. The hope is that their first round selection, QB Marcus Mariota will be the starter, however, we cannot simply discount Zach Mettenberger or Charlie Whitehurst from the mix.

 

 

Jacksonville Jaguars

Yes, your math is correct, I have featured 3 AFC South teams in this article but hey, they’ve done well in the off-season and they deserve the credit. In 2014, the Jaguars finished the season with a tough 3-13 record and lost out on the playoffs for a seventh straight season. The Jags did show some potential in 2014, however, they also showed their youth quite a bit, which means they are still a season or two away from being competitive in the division. The Jags made some solid moves this off-season by bringing in some experienced players that will help shape the team.

Key Additions:

  • TE Julius Thomas
  • DT Jared Odrick
  • CB Devon House
  • OT Jeremy Parnell
  • S Sergio Brown
  • OLB Dan Skuta
  • RB Bernard Peirce

The Jaguars didn’t want to fall even further behind in their division, so they did the smart thing by going out there and bringing in talented and experienced players in order to build a team that has a mix of youth, experience and talent. I’m not saying these moves will make the Jags immediate contenders, however, they will provide some depth, which in turn can make them more competitive within the division and eventually in the conference.

 

Matt Kassabian

Twitter: @passdakassabian

Author: Matthew Kassabian

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