NFL football, to the market: New England and Tampa Bay the most active

The first day of free agency has seen New England unleashed: taken, among others, tight end Smith, wide receiver Agholor and linebacker Judon. Champions re-sign Gronkowski, Barrett and David

Massimo Orani

& Commat; Massimooriani

In the fairy tale, at midnight, Cinderella’s concert turns into a pumpkin. Actually, at the stroke of noon (yesterday’s time on the East Coast of the United States), Bil Belichick became King Midas.

In fact, the official opening of the NFL market (that of free agents) was marked by an entry on foot by the Patriots, who in a few hours hired up to 7 players, spending more than 200 million dollars (obviously spread over more seasons). and re-launch with force in the elite of the league after a year to be forgotten. That’s the first of the post-Brady era. That for his part, after having restructured in recent days the agreement with Tampa to create space under the salary cap, he has seen his Bucs reaffirm the backbone that led them to success in the Super Bowl, effectively proposing themselves as a team to beat also in 2021. But let’s see the main hits of these first hectic hours of the market.


The Pats’ first signing was to fill the tight end box, sadly left empty by the departure of Rob Gronkowski two years ago. From Tennessee comes Jonnu Smith, who along with Hunter Henry was considered one of two prized pieces among freedmen in the role. Belichick then wanted to greatly delay the defense (where Dont’a Hightower and Patrick Chung, who had chosen to skip 2020 due to Covid fears, will return). Here’s linebacker Matt Judon (Ravens), safety Jalen Mills (Eagles), tackle Davon Godchaux (Dolphins) and lineman Henry Anderson (Jets). The confirmation of Cam Newton (but it is not certain that he is the incumbent) has left many stumped. I’m sure he’ll have plenty of other weapons at his disposal next season. In addition to Smith, here is, in fact, the missing receiver, Nelson Agholor, reborn in the Raiders after the failure with Phila. Who will be joined by Kendrick Bourne (49ers). The exchange with Las Vegas in recent days had already strengthened the front line thanks to the return of Trent Brown. Although the firing of Joe Thuney, passed to the Chiefs (who, as the SB showed, were in dire need of protection for Pat Mahomes, even more so after having to cut Eric Fisher and Mitchell Schwarz), it will weigh. Whether they can re-sign center David Andrews remains to be seen. Dietrick Wise Jr. and Justin Bethel confirmed in his place.


The renewals of Rob Gronkowski, Shaquil Barrett, Lavonte David, Kevin Minter and Chris Godwin (franchise tag) leave the essence of the title intact. There are still Antonio Brown and Leonard Fournette to sign, until it is decided to go in another direction. But Brady’s message is clear: The road to Los Angeles (site of the next Super Bowl) still leads through Tampa.


Washington, after renewing Taylor Heinecke and saying goodbye to Alex Smith, has opted for veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick as a starting point, who will act as a bridge while waiting -supposedly- for someone from the draft to arrive. The Raiders have signed the prized piece of the rush to the quarterback, getting their hands on Yannick Ngakoue (last year he went from the Jags to the Vikings and then to the Ravens). Instead, the Jets have taken one of the most sought-after receivers on the market, Corey Davis, who is leaving the Titans. And they beefed up the defense with former Bengals defensive end Carl Lawson. And speaking of Cincinnati, Lawson’s replacement will be Trey Hendrickson, 13.5 sacks with the Saints last season. Good shot by the Browns getting safety John Johnson off the Rams. Which in turn confirms one of the two great stars of the defense, Leonard Floyd (4 years, 64 million).


The Texans are very active, even with the black cloud of DeShaun Watson hanging over their heads (he has sworn he will never step on the grass with Houston again, but he has no intention of selling it). Rb Mark Ingram (Ravens), receiver Andre Roberts (Bills), offensive tackle Marcus Cannon (in trade with the Pats), defensive end Shaq Lawson (borrowed from Miami for linebacker Benardrick McKinney), defensive tackle Maliek Collins (Raiders), linebackers Kamu Grugier-Hill (Dolphins) and Christian Kirksey (Packers) and safety Terrance Brooks (Pats). Green Bay signs running back Aaron Jones but loses center Corey Linsley to the Chargers. Wide receiver Philipp Dorsett (Colts) signs with the Jaguars, as does rb Carlos Hyde (Seattle). The Titans snatch linebacker Bud Dupree from the Steelers. Finally, the Saints, who after the withdrawal of Brees, confirm both qb on the roster in 2020, Jameis Winston (annual from 5 million) and Taysom Hill (4 years at 120 million but in fact only on paper) . Notable names yet to have a team include wide receivers JuJu Smith-Schuster, Kenny Golladay, Will Fuller and Curtis Samuel, tight end Hunter Henry, cornerback Shaquill Griffin and veterans like Richard Sherman and Jadeveon Clowney.

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