The under craziness that came with the official start to free agency is behind us, but the NFL offseason is still in full force. Obviously, everyone knows about all of the big signings, but let’s try to catch up on the meaningful moves you may have missed.
Half the Year
The Cleveland Browns will be without new running back Kareem Hunt for the first eight games of the 2019 season. The NFL has suspended Hunt for half the season for violating the league’s personal conduct policy in a video released last season that showed him pushing and kicking a woman at his residence. The Kansas City Chiefs released Hunt soon after the video came to light, although no formal charges were ever filed against the running back. The eight games are in line with what the Browns were expecting when they signed Hunt, although an eight-game suspension for an act of domestic violence doesn’t seem like much compared to some of the suspensions the NFL has handed out for positive drug tests.
Another member of the Kansas City Chiefs is in the headlines for all of the wrong reasons. This time it’s wide receiver Tyreek Hill, who is being investigated for an alleged battery that took place at his home and involved a juvenile. No charges have been filed at this point, but officers have been called to Hill’s home twice this month. Keep in mind that Hill was convicted of domestic assault while in college.
The Miami Dolphins have officially parted ways with quarterback Ryan Tannehill, trading him to the Titans along with a 6th-round pick in exchange for a 4th-round pick in 2020 and a 7th-round pick this year. In Tennessee, Tannehill will serve as the backup to Marcus Mariota. With Mariota yet to start 16 games in a single season, the Titans should benefit from having a backup with extended experience as a starter.
Meanwhile, Miami helped fill their void at quarterback by signing veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick to a two-year deal worth $11 million plus incentives. Fitzpatrick had his moments with the Bucs last year but ultimately conceded the job back to Jameis Winston. Of course, the Dolphins are likely to be in the market for a quarterback in this year’s draft, setting up Fitzpatrick to possibly serve as a backup and mentor.
One More Year
For a minute, it looked like the Dolphins had signed Teddy Bridgewater to be Tannehill’s replacement. However, Bridgewater spurned his hometown team in favor of re-signing with the Saints on a one-year deal worth $7.25 million. Still just 26, Bridgewater will likely spend another season serving as the backup to Drew Brees, who could potentially retire after the 2019 season, opening up the job for Bridgewater if he wants to extend his stay in New Orleans even further.
Landing on his Feet
Soon after being released by the Jaguars, Blake Bortles has found a job with the Los Angeles Rams, agreeing to a one-year deal with last season’s NFC champions. Bortles will serve as the backup to Jared Goff, replacing Sean Mannion in that role. Mannion is a free agent who never really impressed the Rams when given a chance in the preseason, meaning Bortles is likely an upgrade in the backup role.
Just one day after sending Odell Beckham Jr. to the Browns, the Giants signed his replacement, agreeing to a four-year, $37.5 million deal with Golden Tate. Obviously, there’s a drop-off between Beckham and Tate, but the latter did have four straight seasons with at least 90 catches prior to the 2018 campaign when he was traded from Detroit to Philadelphia midseason.
The Cleveland Browns are officially favorites to win the AFC North. Yes, you read that right. With all of the moves the Browns have made since the new NFL year officially began, the Browns have moved from 25-1 to 14-1 win the Super Bowl while also surpassing the Steelers as betting favorites to win the AFC North. It’s crazy but true.
Going Out the Right Way
Defensive tackle Haloti Ngata announced his retirement from the NFL this week, and he did so while standing on top of Mount Kilimanjaro. Following his 13th season in the league, Ngata climbed up the world’s highest free-standing mountain and held a banner announcing his retirement. He will not only go down as a great player but he’ll also be remembered for having one of the most creative retirement announcements.