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Green Bay’s Defense
Packers defensive coordinator Mike Pettine received a substantial boost to his defense in the first few days of free agency. The Packers defense finished eighth in the NFL with 44 sacks during the 2018 season, but that didn’t stop general manager Brian Gutekunst from reaching deals with former Raven Za’Darius Smith and former Redskin Preston Smith. Combined, those two players generated 16 sacks and 72 quarterback hits. Green Bay also plucked highly-rated safety Adrian Amos from division rival Chicago to solidify the back end of their defense.
Kwon Alexander/Jordan Hicks/C.J. Mosley
Advanced statistics will tell you that linebackers aren’t a value position, but apparently NFL GMs don’t share those views. Alexander, Hicks, and Mosley signed contracts for the combined value of $173,000,000. Alexander was, for a short time, the highest-paid inside linebacker in NFL history, only to be passed by Mosley less then 24 hours later. It’ll be interesting to see if this trend continues into next offseason or if 2019 was an aberration.
Foles signed a four-year, $88,000,000 contract. He’s the 13th highest paid player in the NFL. I don’t have anything else to say.
Bell turned down a reported five-year deal with $70,000,000 from the Steelers. At the time Bell stated that he wanted to be paid like a quarterback and to reset the running back market. Predictably, Pittsburgh placed the franchise tag on Bell for the 2018 season, unable to reach a long-term deal Bell elected not to sign the tender and instead sit out 2018 in hopes of hitting a big payday in free agency. Those hopes were dashed when the free agent market was less than what Bell and his agent expected. Bell eventually signed a four-year, $52.5 million with the New York Jets. The difference between offers and the $14.5 million Bell passed on with the franchise tender cost Bell $32,000,000.
The Bills entered free agency hoping to add weapons around second year quarterback Josh Allen. They initially reached a tentative deal with the Pittsburgh Steelers for disgruntled wide receiver Antonio Brown, but that deal fell apart when Brown let it be known that he would refuse to report to Buffalo. Turning their eyes to the free agent market, Buffalo came away with two middling receivers (John Brown and Cole Beasley), a starting tight end who is really a back-up (Tyler Kroft) and former 49ers great Frank Gore, who was probably the best addition to their offense. Allen is going to have his work cut out for him if he wants to improve on his disappointing rookie season.
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