When the new NFL league year opened on Thursday, big money flew at talented people at a dizzying rate. Let’s check out who won big in the early round of the sweepstakes.
#1 Philadelphia Eagles
Rarely does a team address its primary off-season issues in kind before the draft but the Eagles did just that on Thursday.
The addition of wideouts Torrey Smith and Alshon Jeffery gives quarterback Carson Wentz two new targets to play with that have different skill sets.
They also brought in former Alabama offensive guard Chance Warmack to bolster their offensive line.
These moves allow Philly to go young and talented on the defensive side of the ball in the draft.
#2 Jacksonville Jaguars
Honestly, the Jags could sit in the top spot after their trio of big defensive moves on Thursday. The addition of defensive lineman Calais Campbell, safety Barry Church and cornerback A.J. Bouye instantly transforms Jacksonville into the best defense in the AFC South.
Throw in a trade that brought home Branden Albert to shore up the offensive line and you a winner.
If this does not end Jacksonville’s rebuilding project, owner Shad Kahn should fire the entire front office and coaching staff.
#3 New England Patriots
If the Patriots make a significant move in any respect it is always heralded as the most significant of all.
On Thursday, they made two moves that are worthy of that designation. Coach/GM Bill Belichick made cornerback Stephon Gilmore the second-highest paid player on the team with his five-year, $65 million deal with $40 million in guaranteed money.
A trade for tight end Dwayne Allen fills the gap left with the departure of Martellus Bennett.
However, the Patriots also suffered losses with running back LeGarrette Blount not expected to return and offensive lineman Logan Ryan shipping out to the Tennessee Titans.
If linebacker Dont’a Hightower ships out, the Pats may fall from this ranking.
The Browns made a potentially shrewd move by temporarily taking Brock Osweiler off the Houston Texans hands.
If they made good on their promise to trade or release him, they will have earned vital draft positioning, jettisoned a headache and also set the stage for the dismissal for RG3.
The Browns also took note of the fact that they were getting quarterbacks killed at an alarming rate and inked deals with linemen JC Tretter and Kevin Zeitler.
The Browns also brought in journeyman receiver Kenny Britt who still has a lot of gas in the tank.
Of course, this is the Cleveland Browns and they are one-two stupid moves away from spoiling the soup, but thus far it’s all good.
#5 Baltimore Ravens
Safety Tony Jefferson was one of the most underrated pieces of the Arizona Cardinals secondary. Now he gets to a fantastic mentor in Eric Weddle to learn from in Baltimore.
Although the Ravens lost a lot, the addition of Jefferson instantly keeps opponents honest with the long ball which is important in the AFC North.
Honorable Mention: Tampa Bay Buccaneers for bringing in playmaker DeSean Jackson.