Last week in my LeSean McCoy article I noted how rare NFL trades were, which is what added to the shock of that trade. So having not just three trades, but three huge trades is something I don’t think we’ve ever seen. Couple that with all of the free agent signings becoming official (albeit some were previously reported) and you’ve got yourself one crazy NFL day.
It started off as a pretty ordinary day in the NFL. Like the past few days, more agreements were reported, the most notable being Shane Vereen heading to the Giants and the Packers retaining Bryan Bulaga. Most were just waiting for 4:00 P.M. EST, when the new season started and all signings and trades could be official. As the new season neared however, NFL fans were thrown a curveball when Ian Rapoport tweeted that the Saints were shopping several players including star tight end Jimmy Graham.
Graham is an elite player, leading many to ponder why exactly Graham was being shopped and who would be willing to part with the return he’d net. The answer? None other than John Schneider, Pete Carroll and the Seattle Seahawks. Just 10 minutes after the initial rumor, the Seahawks agreed to send their 31st overall pick and center Max Unger to New Orleans for Graham and a 4th round pick. Fans everywhere were shocked. Had the defending NFC Champions really just gotten even better? Yes, yes they had. Losing Max Unger will hurt the Seahawks, but it is a need they can address in the draft, perhaps in the form of Hroniss Grasu. The 1st rounder was likely to be used on a receiver such as Jaelen Strong or Sammie Coates and the Seahawks just addressed their need for a receiver with Graham. It was also reported by Alex Flanagan that John Schneider had been targeting Graham for a while, and had hoped to nab him in the 2010 draft when Graham was coming out of college.
Not long after that deal was announced, more madness ensued. First off, Baltimore dealt Haloti Ngata to Detroit for a 2015 4th round pick and a 2015 5th round pick. Baltimore’s 7th round pick this year also went to Detroit in a move that was made clearly to replace Ndamukong Suh who agreed to a ludicrous deal with Miami, though it’s not official quite yet. Then just 20 minutes after the Graham rumors sparked, this bombshell was dropped, as Adam Schefter reported the Rams and Eagles were close to a trade swapping Nick Foles and Sam Bradford.
The final trade ended up being Bradford and a 2015 5th round pick to the Eagles in exchange for Foles and a 4th round pick in 2015 and a 2nd round pick in 2016. The Eagles can also receive a 4th round pick if Bradford plays less than 50 percent of snaps. If he doesn’t play at all, it’s a 3rd round pick and if he plays over 50 percent of snaps there’s no pick involved. However, many speculate that Bradford won’t be playing a single snap for Philadelphia and that he could be a piece in a much larger deal which would land the Eagles Marcus Mariota.
It wasn’t just a day of trades though, as plenty of free agents found themselves new homes, and the day also included numerous retirements. The peculiar free agent hot bed of Jacksonville made a big addition, snagging Julius Thomas for 5 years and $46 million. Oakland and Philadelphia are also rumored to be joining the Jaguars in that hunt. Percy Harvin was released by the Jets, and it appears Dwayne Bowe will have the same fate from Kansas City tomorrow.
Now late in the day, we have another huge deal as according to his agent, Darrelle Revis has signed with the Jets, pending a physical. Revis returns to where he started his career, and according to Jason Cole the deal will be for 5 years and 70 million with 39 million dollars guaranteed . Adding a superstar cornerback along with Brandon Marshall and Buster Skrine gives Jets fans hope that they’re headed in the right direction, especially if they can address the quarterback position.
It was a bad day to be a 49er fan though. The departure of Frank Gore is now official, as after backing out of signing with Philadelphia, Gore has signed at 3 years and 12 million with Indianapolis and is likely to be followed by former Miami teammate Andre Johnson. The 49ers then made a puzzling signing of Torrey Smith. Smith is a solid receiver, but isn’t even close to being worth the 8 million a year they’ll be paying him for the next 5 years. The biggest blow though came when Middle Linebacker Patrick Willis officially announced his retirement due to injuries. With Justin Smith likely following suit, a large void has been left in the front seven of San Francisco. The icing on the cake for San Francisco is fullback Bruce Miller being arrested yesterday.
So that wraps up a crazy day in the NFL. The best part is that it’s only day one and there are still so many questions to be answered. Where will unsigned players such as DeMarco Murray, Brian Orakpo, Greg Hardy, and Terrance Knighton end up? Will starting quarterbacks such as Colin Kaepernick and Jay Cutler will be moved? Does Chip Kelly have something up his sleeve to snag his former quarterback at the University of Oregon? We’ll see these questions answered as the season is now officially underway.