NFL Free Agency Preview

Abigail Hubbard Copy Editor and Treasurer |

This NFL offseason is promising to be an interesting one. Major players like Deshaun Watson and Orlando Brown are looking to be traded due to disagreements within their organizations and the quarterback carousel has begun to spin with the trade of Matthew Stafford and Jared Goff. Throughout this offseason, the free-agent market will be bustling as many big-name players’ contracts will end, allowing for some major shifts.

Dak Prescott, the quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys, had a season-ending injury in week five during their game against the New York Giants. He suffered a compound ankle fracture after being sacked and was carted off of the field. While his injury ended his season, his contract with the Cowboys also expired. Prescott failed to sign a multi-year offer by the Cowboys in mid-June, leading to his contract ending at the close of the season. Rumors have begun to fly in the aftermath of the Cowboys’ 2021 season hype video, which lacked Prescott. He is expected to be healed in time for the start of the season, but whether or not he will return a Cowboy is yet to be seen.

Two key players for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are set to become free agents. Tampa Bay’s wide receiver Chris Godwin and linebacker Shaquil Barrett , wide receiver and linebacker, respectively, for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have reached the end of their contracts. [8] Godwin put up some decent numbers during the 2020-21 season, with 81 receptions, including the postseason, and an average of 13 yards per reception. He had the second-best record of the Buccaneers’ receivers, with Mike Evans at number one. It seems unlikely that Godwin would not be a part of Tampa Bay’s offense next season. Barrett is a dominant player in the Buccaneers’ defense, ranking twenty-first in defensive stats. However, he is outranked by fellow Tampa Bay linebackers, Jason Pierre-Paul and Devin White. As for the salary cap, the maximum that a team can spend for the season becomes a bigger issue for teams, it will be interesting to see who stays and who goes.

Another key defender whose fate rests in the salary cap is Buffalo Bills linebacker, Matt Milano. Having missed a few games early on the season due to injuries, Milano’s absence was felt across the field. The Bills defense, statistically, played better when Milano was on the field. Of the 13 total games that Milano played, both in the regular and postseason, the only loss was the AFC championship game against the Chiefs. It is a well-known fact in Buffalo that Milano is a man that the team wants back, but if the salary cap doesn’t work in the Bill’s favor, that may not be a reality. If it does, however, Milano will be worth the cost to re-sign him.

As of Feb. 12, J.J. Watt is a free agent. The former Houston Texans defensive end asked to be released following a disappointing 4-12 season. Both Watt and the McNair family decided that it was time to part ways. Watt publicly expressed his frustration with the organization’s lack of focus and drive in a press conference after Week 16’s game against the Bengals, which resulted in a 37-31 loss. As a five-time Pro-Bowler and a three-time Defensive Player of the Year, Watt’s stats make him a highly desirable addition to any team. Despite being plagued by injuries throughout his career, Watt has continued to put up impressive stats, getting his third career pick-six during the week 12 Thanksgiving game against the Lions. While players like Aaron Donald, the 2020 Defensive Player of the Year, and Watt’s own brother, T.J., have been rising up in the stats, Watt remains one of the most impressive defensive players in the game. Teams will be making offers toon him, it’s just a matter of who will win the chance to have J.J. Watt on their side.

The NFL community will be watching closely as the offseason begins. Many teams will begin vying to stack their offenses and defenses to become Super Bowl contenders in the upcoming season.

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