by Nick Borgia
Public Relations Manager
The NFL remains as one of the very few sports organizations in the world not to be drastically affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, as the league is currently in the middle of the offseason. As franchises prepare for the draft in April, teams have already made major acquisitions and trades.
Perhaps the biggest news from the NFL offseason so far is quarterback Tom Brady signing a two-year deal worth 50 million dollars with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Brady, a six-time Super Bowl champion, has been a part of the New England Patriots franchise since he was drafted in 2000. At age 42, many expected him either to retire or play one final year as a Patriot; however, Brady feels like he has something to prove playing on a different team. With coach Bill Belichick and New England without their hall of fame starting quarterback, the Patriots are currently in the market to sign a new player to lead their offense.
On the subject of quarterbacks, former LA Chargers quarterback Phillip Rivers signed a one year, 25 million dollar contract with the Indianapolis Colts. Rivers, who is also considerably older for an NFL player at 38 years old, had been with the Chargers since 2004.
The Arizona Cardinals and the Houston Texans came to terms on likely the most baffling deal of the offseason. The Texans traded away superstar receiver DeAndre Hopkins and a 2020 fourth-round draft pick in exchange for running back David Johnson, a 2020 second-round pick, and a 2021 fourth-round pick. In other words, the Texans essentially got rid of arguably the best receiver in the NFL for a mediocre running back who struggled to bring anything to the Cardinals this past season. Arizona fans definitely aren’t complaining though, as the Cardinals may now have the offensive power to be dominant with second-year quarterback Kyler Murray, running back Kenyan Drake, and a solid receiving core of Larry Fitzgerald, Christian Kirk, and of course, DeAndre Hopkins.
The New Orleans Saints’ front office has also been hard at work. With veteran quarterback Drew Brees returning for what may be his final season, the Saints have hopes of bringing home a title before the future hall of famer retires. The Super Bowl has been within reach for the past 3 years as the Saints haven’t missed the playoffs since 2016. First, New Orleans picked up safety Malcom Jenkins after the Philadelphia Eagles chose not to re-sign him. Fun fact, Jenkins was on the Saints for their last Super Bowl win in the 2009 season, and head coach Sean Payton regrets ever letting the star safety go. On top of that, the Saints signed receiver Emmanual Sanders, who had a breakout year last season after being traded from the Denver Broncos to the San Francisco 49ers. Sanders will join stars like Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara as weapons at the disposal of Drew Brees.
On March 31, the NFL announced that they will be changing the existing playoff format for the 2020 season. The NFL will raise the amount of playoff contenders to 14, instead of 12. Also, only one team from each of the two conferences will secure a first-round bye, instead of two teams from each conference. With the total raised to 14 teams, there will be one additional Wild Card slot for each conference. Hopefully we actually get to see this new playoff format, assuming the regular season isn’t compromised due to COVID-19.
(Sources: CBS Sports, ESPN)