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#pounditThursday, August 13, 2020

5 best NFL moves of the offseason

Tom Brady

While there are definitely still moves to be made, the bulk of the big free agents and trades in the NFL are behind us. Most stars have new teams, and some moves have definitely been bigger than others. Some have been smarter than others, too — the NFL is full of big-money signings that don’t work out, and huge trades that fall short of their intended impact.

We’re betting these moves won’t fall in those categories. Here are five of the best and sharpest moves of the NFL offseason so far.

5. Ravens trade for Calais Campbell

Campbell has a reputation as a quality teammate, not to mention an excellent pass-rusher. He had 31.5 sacks in three seasons with Jacksonville, and it’s an absolute coup for Baltimore to be able to land him in exchange for only a fifth-round pick. Campbell will solidify Baltimore’s defense and improve their pass rush. The acquisition was even more important now that the Michael Brockers signing fell through.

4. Colts land Philip Rivers

There’s nothing exceptionally wrong with Jacoby Brissett as a quarterback, but his 2019 performance indicated that the Colts need more out of that position. That’s why they went out and got Rivers. Yes, there are concerns after the veteran quarterback threw 20 interceptions last season, but he’s an upgrade over Brissett and should improve the offense. This is, after all, a guy with 397 NFL touchdown passes. Rivers playing with the Colts’ existing talent should make them better immediately.

3. Browns’ signing of Jack Conklin

The Browns desperately needed offensive line help. It was their biggest, most obvious need, and a big reason for their underwhelming 2019 season. They went out and addressed that by bringing in Jack Conklin, the top tackle on the free agent market. Conklin should immediately prove beneficial to Baker Mayfield just by keeping the quarterback on his feet more and allowing him to make plays. It may not fix all of Cleveland’s line issues overnight, but it’s a huge step forward.

2. Cardinals stealing DeAndre Hopkins in trade

In what is clearly the steal of the offseason so far, the Cardinals essentially landed one of the game’s best receivers for a second-round pick and a player in David Johnson who is on a big-money contract and wasn’t really in their plans anyway. Hopkins’ arrival gives Kyler Murray an incredibly dangerous weapon, and a new toy for coach Kliff Kingsbury to play with. Hopkins is an elite talent with five 1,000-yard seasons to his name, and it’s a clear statement of intent on Arizona’s part, too. If nothing else, Hopkins is going to make Arizona very exciting to watch in 2020, and could even put them in the playoff discussion.

1. Buccaneers sign Tom Brady

There are great moves and there are franchise-changing ones. Tom Brady joining the Buccaneers fits neatly into the latter category. The franchise immediately has more credibility than it has over the past decade, and they are suddenly being discussed as a possible contender. That’s what Brady’s presence means. The veteran quarterback still has one of the sharpest minds in the game, and his physical tools have not abandoned him yet. He has weapons to work with on offense, and he doesn’t turn the ball over, which is much more than his predecessor Jameis Winston can say. This is well worth the risk for the Bucs, who are suddenly one of the league’s most talked-about franchises. That’s just the way they’d want it.

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