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Shah on Sports: Winners and Losers of NFL Free Agency

Sahil Shah, Sports Editor

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Winner: Houston Texans

People are blowing up over the fact that the Texans paid so much money for Brock Osweiler. But consider the crop of quarterbacks available this offseason: Robert Griffin III, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Colin Kaepernick and Johnny Manziel. The Texans started four different quarterbacks (Hoyer, Mallett, Yates and Weeden) last year. By signing Osweiler, the Texans secured a consistent, young quarterback that can ride his defense when the going gets tough, which is exactly what he did with the Broncos. Imagining DeAndre Hopkins finally catching passes from a competent quarterback will give the Colts’, Titans’ and Jaguars’ defensive coordinators’ nightmares for years to come. However, the Texans weren’t done yet. Dumping oft-injured, aging running back Arian Foster was a sound move, and they quickly replaced him with Lamar Miller. Miller is a dual rushing and receiving threat, who is healthy and coming off his best season as a pro. Even without these upgrades, remember that the Texans were a playoff team last year, largely due to a top-five defense. With these offensive upgrades, the Texans look downright scary.

Loser: Denver Broncos

Undoubtedly, the Denver Broncos are the big losers at this point in time. Losing a first ballot hall-of-famer in Peyton Manning to retirement stings, but losing backup Brock Osweiler to the Houston Texans is brutal. While relatively unproven, Osweiler was able to lean on his defense and as a starter, went a respectable 4-2. Everyone in the Broncos organization appeared to assume that Osweiler would be coming back, but apparently 18 million dollars a year from the Texans was simply too much to say no to. In more expected moves, star linebacker Danny Trevathan left to greener (read: colder) turf, accepting a four-year, 28 million dollar deal with our Chicago Bears. The bleeding didn’t stop there, however. Another star, defensive end Malik Jackson, skipped town to sunny Jacksonville, on a massive, six-year, 90 million dollar deal. Running back C. J. Anderson has signed an offer sheet with the Dolphins. Mark Sanchez is the current number one quarterback on the Broncos’ roster. Sanchez, taking the field as a starting quarterback? That’s like sending out a toddler to do your taxes. Enough said.

Winner: Oakland Raiders

4-12. 4-12. 3-13. For three long years, at least you could say that the Raiders were consistent. Consistently horrible, that is. Last year? Jack Del Rio turned the franchise around, going 7-9 in his first season as a head coach. I’m not sure what exactly is in the Gatorade in Oakland, but it sure is working. Players are buying into the system, the roster is packed with fresh, young talent and the team seems to have more money than they know what to do with. They threw some of that money at ex-Seahawk Bruce Irvin, which was respectable (even though they overpaid), offensive lineman Kelechi Osemele (say that ten times fast, I dare you), and corner Sean Smith (stolen away from division rival Kansas City). Irving, coupled with defensive end Khalil Mack, will terrorize opposing quarterbacks next season. Existing talent will also spearhead the Raiders’ push for a division title. Derek Carr has thrown more touchdowns in his first two seasons (53) than Peyton Manning (52), Russell Wilson (52), Andrew Luck (46) did in their own first two years. Latavius Murray is easily the most dangerous Murray in the league right now (sorry, Demarco) and just had is first 1,000 yard season. Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree may be the best wide receiving tandem in the entire league. Adding more talent is just icing on the cake. Raiders fans, the days of being the laughingstock of the NFL is over- that title now belongs to the Cleveland Browns.

Now that the other teams have been covered, I dedicated a special section for our Chicago Bears. Here’s exactly what the Bears need to do this offseason.

Sign Alshon Jeffery to a long term contract- The Bears’ leading receiver last year (54 catches on 807 yards and four touchdowns), Jeffery just signed a franchise tender that will pay him $14.6 million for the 2016 season. Those numbers seem unimpressive, but they become impressive when taking into account that Jeffery only played in nine games all year. In the games that Jeffery did not play in, the Bear’s offense looked abysmal at best. The Bear’s current number two wide receiver is first-round pick Kevin White, who did not play a single down last season with a stress fracture to his leg.

Get rid of Martellus Bennett- Heading into last season, Bennett was adamant about signing a long-term extension that would keep him a Bear for the foreseeable future. The Bear’s philosophy was simple: produce this season and prove that you are worth the big bucks, and we will pay you. The problem is, Bennett didn’t hold up his end of the bargain. Last season, Bennett sat out injured for five games while catching 53 passes for 439 yards and three touchdowns. The year before that? He caught 90 passes for 916 yards and six touchdowns, playing in 16 games. Those numbers are way down, and the Bears should cut ties immediately.

Add a 3-4 defensive talent- Last year, defensive coordinator Vic Fangio had a moderately decent season considering the heap of injuries the squad had to endure. Now imagine what he could do with some more talent. The New England Patriots’ Akiem Hicks could be a fantastic fit, with lots of strength and bulk, but he also has explosiveness off the snap and has genuine play making ability. If the Bears can add him, Rodgers, Stafford and Bridgewater had better beware.

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1 Comment

One Response to “Shah on Sports: Winners and Losers of NFL Free Agency”

  1. Molly Manley on September 18th, 2017 10:52 pm

    Hey Sahil

Give us your input on stories you would like to see in the paper for upcoming issues!

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Shah on Sports: Winners and Losers of NFL Free Agency