Top Five Off-Season Moves of NFL Teams in 2009
Let me upgrade ya! What teams were the biggest winners during the off season? Buffalo with T.O? Seattle with TJ Houshmandzadeh?
The ranking may surprise you, as off-season transactions are analyzed to depict which teams had the biggest upgrade. Based upon free agent signings, off-season trades, and draft selections the list is as follows:
1. Philadelphia Eagles: A
Through major trades, the draft and free agent acquisitions the Eagles were able to upgrade many positions.
In a trade with Buffalo, the Eagles acquired Jason Peters who is one of the most talented young offensive tackle in the league. Peters will protect McNabb’s blind side with his long arms and quick feet.
Within another trade the Eagles gained another solid corner from New England in Ellis Hobbs.
Hobbs has the ability to cover many of the talented receivers within the league as he has elite speed and he is also an above average kick returner.
Stacey Andrews was also added to the offensive line, via free agency, to pair with his brother Shawn at offensive guard.
The Eagles may have lost one of their most dominant defensive players in safety Brian Dawkins, but the acquisition of Sean Jones in free agency gives the secondary youth and another solid tackler.
The draft brought three talented skill position players in Jeremy Maclin, LeSean McCoy, and Cornelius Ingram. Maclin will bring athleticism and speed to the receiving corps as well as kick return ability.
While McCoy brings youth to the backfield and will relieve Brian Westbrook at times trading off on carries and also used as a back that can get to the outside.
Although Ingram is injured he has a lot of potential to become a great receiving tight end.
Finally, let us not forget about the most controversial signing of the off season in Michael Vick.
Although Vick may bring a lot of baggage to the locker room he also brings excitement, versatility, and a strong arm. Vick can be used as a wildcat option alongside McNabb.
2. New York Jets: A
First of all, Woody Johnson and Co. did a great job in selecting Rex Ryan as the new head coach. Ryan was the mastermind behind one of the best defenses year in and year out with the Baltimore Ravens.
Ryan will implement his defensive blitz schemes to a team which was ranked in the middle of the pack last season.
Ryan then went and brought a few of his pieces from Baltimore with Bart Scott, Marques Douglas and Jim Leonard. Scott and Leonard will bring veteran leadership and run stopping ability to an already good defensive group.
Through a trade with the Eagles receiving Lito Sheppard, the Jets were able to upgrade their secondary, which finished 29th in the league.
Trading up within the draft caused the Jets to get better in an addition through subtraction sense as they sent a few role players to the Browns in exchange for the fifth overall pick in which they got a future franchise quarterback in Mark Sanchez.
Within the third round they also got a good inside runner in Shonn Greene. If those selections pan out then they could have a near perfect off season.
3. New England Patriots: A-
The Patriots’ front office continued their tradition with their stock market management style, buying low and selling high. The Patriots may have lost many vital parts of their team, but re-upped gaining more veteran experience and draft picks.
The Patriots struggled last season against the pass, this must have set off alarms as they addressed the problem substantially in the off-season acquiring Shawn Springs and Leigh Bodden in free agency and Darius Butler and Patrick Chung within the draft.
The offense also gained veteran running back Fred Taylor, wide receiver Joey Galloway, and tight ends Alex Smith and Chris Baker who can all be major contributors to an already high quality offense.
Taylor will bring more consistency to a backfield which was a complete let down last season. While Smith and Baker will upgrade the group of tight ends which contributed less than 300 yards and two touchdowns last season.
Galloway will bring more speed to a deep receiving corps and may revitalize his long career.
Through a trade with the Eagles the Patriots also gained another receiving option for Brady in Greg Lewis.
4. Chicago Bears: B+
For years the Bears have been missing the most vital piece to their team in a big time quarterback. The question mark at quarterback is now resolved through a trade which sent Jay Cutler to the Bears.
The Bears also signed former All-Pro OT Orlando Pace off of waivers; if Pace can stay healthy the offensive line will have a major face lift. The signing of Josh Bullocks will give the Bears an option to replace Mike Brown.
The Bears drafted Juaquin Iglesias, a fundamentally sound receiver who can run smooth routes and present Cutler with an open target.
Jarron Gilbert, an athletic defensive end, was also drafted which can learn and gain experience behind veteran Adewale Ogunley.
5. Houston Texans: B
Following last season, the Texans needed a lot of defensive help as they were middle class in every defensive category. Through strategic free agent signings and draft picks, the Texans upgraded their defense.
Antonio Smith will take off a lot of pressure off of Mario Williams as he has great pass rushing ability, while defensive tackle Shaun Cody will bulk up the middle of defense assisting in the defending the run.
Second round draft choice Connor Barwin will bring plenty of versatility to the line as well as he possesses unique athletic ability.
The position group which received the most attention was the linebacking corps. Brian Cushing should bring solid playmaking ability teaming up with DeMeco Ryans.
The Texans also signed Cato June and Buster Davis, June will add coverage while Davis will add blitzing and run stopping skills.
Buffalo Bills: B
Key new arrivals: (WR) Terrell Owens, (DE/OLB) Aaron Maybin, (OL) Eric Woods, © Geoff Hangarterner and (RB) Dominique Rhodes
Not only did they gain a play making receiver, but revamped the line through the draft and free agency.
Kansas City Chiefs: B
Key New arrivals: (QB) Matt Cassel, (LB) Mike Vrabel, and (DE) Tyson Jackson
If Cassel can show the same talent as last season Scott Pioli packed a solid starting quarterback and a veteran linebacker for his Kansas City move.
Washington Redskins: B
Key new arrivals: (DT) Albert Haynesworth, (DE) Brian Orakpo, (P) Hunter Smith
The Redskins gained a heavy duty run stopper in Haynesworth through free agency and also an outside pass rusher in the draft with Orakpo.
St. Louis Rams: B
Key new arrivals: (OT) Jason Smith, (LB) James Laurinaitis, (OT) Jason Brown, and (S) James Butler
Following a lackluster offensive season the Rams upgraded their offensive line to hopefully aiding Stephen Jackson on the rush.
Seattle Seahawks: B-
Key new arrivals: (WR) T.J. Houshmandzadeh, (DT) Cory Redding, (DT) Collin Cole, and (CB) Ken Lucas
After several disappointing wide receiver signings, the Seahawks finally landed their bird with Houshmandzadeh, and also added bulk to the middle of their defensive line.