Patriots come in first again
OK, folks. Gather ’round as we hand out some early “NFL Free Agency Frenzy!!!” awards while trying to not look into the camera and frantically scream the words “Tony Romo!!” Oops. We tried.
TOP BULLY: Apparently, a fifth Lombardi Trophy in 16 years wasn’t enough. In the first two days of free agency, the Patriots signed Bills cornerback Stephen Gilmore and traded for Colts tight end Dwayne Allen, Saints receiver Brandin Cooks and Panthers linebacker Kony Ealy. Why would Bill Belichick, who turns 65 on April 16, ever retire when he’s the living antidote to parity in the NFL? The greatest got better this week.
MOST BIZARRE MOVE: Leave it to the “Moneyball” kids in Cleveland. They’re giving Brock Osweiler $16 million not to play for them while yet another one of their talented young players, Terrelle Pryor, leaves to play for half that amount in Washington. Taking Osweiler’s $16 million salary in a trade buys the Browns another draft pick, a second-rounder in 2018. Eventually, the Browns need to stop patting themselves on the back for stockpiling picks and start selecting good players they intend to keep.
BEST PICKUP: There have been a lot of impactful moves, but the nod here goes to the Giants for signing Brandon Marshall to a two-year, $12 million deal before free agency even started. It’s the perfect fit schematically and intangibly for a point-starved offense and a great talent who’s hungry, happy and finally humbled because he knows his QB carries more clout than he does. Marshall, Odell Beckham and Sterling Shepard together in New York’s three-receiver sets will be something to watch.
MOST OVERPAID: In this episode of “As the Desperate QB-Starved NFL Team Turns,” Chicago acquired Mike Glennon on the same day Houston dumped Osweiler. A year ago, it was the inexperienced Osweiler who robbed the Texans. This year, it’s the inexperienced Glennon getting a three-year, $45 million deal in Chicago. That’s $9 million for each of the five victories Glennon posted in Tampa Bay. He’s 5-13 as an NFL starter and hasn’t started a game in two years. And he became Chicago’s starter when Jay Cutler was released. Of course, if things don’t work out, maybe the Moneyball kids in Cleveland will be looking to buy another draft pick next year.
MOST DYSFUNCTIONAL: Boy, Washington is a mess. And so are the Redskins. General Manager Scot McCloughan got fired among reports of a relapse in his battle with alcohol abuse. Two 1,000-yard receivers — DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon — bolted in free agency. Quarterback Kirk Cousins asked for a trade and then told the team he won’t sign a long-term deal under team President Bruce Allen. Talk about a swamp that needs draining.