Onside Kick: Brady Becomes a Buccaneer

Welcome back to the Onside Kick column. Since my last entry, many huge deals have been made across the NFL. Here, we will take a look at some of the biggest ones.

The biggest story since the last Onside Kick column is definitely Tom Brady signing with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Brady announced he was leaving the New England Patriots on Tuesday morning, and then confirmed he would be playing in Tampa Bay later that day.

It was surprising seeing the six-time Superbowl champion finally leave Foxborough, considering the events surrounding Jimmy Garoppolo’s trade to the San Francisco 49ers. That storyline suggested that Brady believed he could be the starting quarterback for the Pats for years to come, so they didn’t need Garoppolo.

However, that said, Tampa Bay is a great place for him to go, from both his and a fans perspective. Bruce Arians is one of the best head coaches in the league, and he’s had plenty of success with veteran quarterbacks before. Case in point, Carson Palmer in Arizona. Also, the weapons he will have are far superior to the ones he had last year in New England. Mike Evans and Chris Godwin are the best receiving tandem in the league, and OJ Howard at tight end is a huge upgrade on Matt Le Cosse.

From a fans point of view, this situation is extremely exciting. We will now have a Tom Brady v Drew Brees QB matchup twice a year. We will also see how Brady fairs without Bill Belichick on the side-lines and vice versa. Overall, this will one of the most exciting storylines in the 2020 season.

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TB ✖️ TB

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Speaking of veteran quarterbacks finding new teams, Philip Rivers signed with the Indianapolis Colts on a one-year contract. The Colts are clearly trying to capitalise on the high-quality roster they have by getting an experienced short-term fix at quarterback.

However, whether the 16-year veteran will be the player they expect remains to be seen. He was not great for the Los Angeles Chargers last year, a team who also had a top-tier roster despite several unfortunate injuries. Ultimately, the Colts aim is the Superbowl, but at this stage in his career, Philip Rivers doesn’t look capable of leading a team to the promised land.

Todd Gurley was released by the Los Angeles Rams, only two years after leading the league in rushing touchdowns. While he is still considered one of the better backs in the NFL, this move is fairly reasonable from a Rams point of view.

The value of the running back position has plummeted in recent years, with teams realising they can get a similar level of production from an average back as an elite one. On top of that, Gurley was on a huge $15million per year contract and didn’t play up to that figure at all last year, only clocking up 857 rushing yards.

Almost as soon as Gurley hit the open market, the Atlanta Falcons pounced, securing the 2015 first round pick’s services for a single season. The Falcons were looking for a new starter in the backfield after releasing Devonta Freeman on the 16th, and Gurley is as good a player as they’re going to get in free agency. Only signing him for one year is sensible too, as it allows them to see whether his disappointing 2019 season was a temporary blip or the start of a gradual decline.

Months of uncertainty surrounding Nick Foles’ future came to an end on the 18th when the Chicago Bears traded for him in return for a fourth-round pick. Mitch Trubisky has started for the Bears for the last three years, but has not played well for the majority of that time. 2019 was particularly awful.

While, the Bears have not yet said which of the two will be their starter in week one, Foles is clearly the better player, and it would be surprising to see Trubisky under centre at Soldier Field come September.

The Carolina Panthers were another team who added a starting quarterback so far this offseason, as they signed Teddy Bridgewater to a three-year contract. The Panthers have struggled at the quarterback position since it became clear that injuries had caught up with Cam Newton at the start of last season. Kyle Allen looked like an early answer, but after a good start, his play quickly deteriorated.

Now Bridgewater has arrived in Charlotte, Matt Rhule’s team will have stability under centre for years. There is speculation that the Panthers will draft a quarterback high this year or next year to sit behind the 2014 first -round draft pick, but that seems unlikely.

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Teddy time. @panthers @teddyb_h2o

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For more NFL content and News, listen to the Onside Kick podcast here: http://www.overtimeonline.co.uk/onside-kick-podcast-trades-free-agency-and-coronavirus/

Subedited by Callum Ferguson

Feature image by Andrew Campbell, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

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