Offseason Winners and Losers

Welcome to the first edition of The Onside Kick, a weekly column by me, Sam Carroll. This week we will be taking a look at the winners and losers of the offseason so far. We have already seen multiple blockbuster moves since the season ended, and many more are sure to come. Now let’s get into who are the biggest winners and who are the biggest losers so far this offseason.

WINNERS

Cleveland Browns

This time last year, the Cleveland Browns were coming off a winless season, and were the laughing stock of the league. Now, however, things are different, as characterised by signing one of the biggest names in the league; Odell Beckham Jr. He will be a fantastic addition to an already good receiving core. The Browns have also signed ex-Chiefs running back, Kareem Hunt and defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson, both of whom will be great assets to a revived team.

Sam Darnold

The New York Jets quarterback had an up-and-down rookie year in 2018, not helped by the Jet’s inconsistent running game and lack of reliable receivers. However, both those issues seem to have been solved. The signing of Le’Veon Bell is a huge step in the right direction. An elite running back is always good to help young quarterbacks, for example Zeke Elliot with Dak Prescott and Todd Gurley with Jared Goff. Darnold will also enjoy throwing to Jamison Crowder who proved himself as a reliable slot receiver during his time with the Washington Redskins.

Oakland Raiders

Trading Amari Cooper to the Dallas Cowboys midway through last season left the Raiders with no true number one wide receiver. However, general manager Mike Mayock has fixed that issue by trading for Antonio Brown, arguably the best receiver in the league. The California-based team also added another wide receiver in the form of Tyrell Williams along with left tackle Trent Brown and safety LaMarcus Joyner to form what looks to be a much-improved roster heading into the draft.

LOSERS

Pittsburgh Steelers

The Pittsburgh Steelers have already lost two of their best players this offseason. Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell will both be difficult to replace. They have also had to part ways with tight end Jesse James and safety Morgan Burnett. Couple these losses with an ageing Ben Roethlisberger who is forever being criticised by ex-teammates, and the Pennsylvania-based franchise don’t look good heading into the draft.

New York Giants

The Giants were criticised for taking Saquon Barkley instead of a quarterback in last year’s draft, and now they’re still stuck with an ageing Eli Manning under centre. However, the main reason they make this list is because they traded away Odell Beckham Jr. The wide receiver has been their star player over the last five years, and brought so much fan attention to the franchise. The Giants need to find a replacement before the season starts. They have signed Golden Tate in free agency, who is a decent receiver, but is not good enough to be considered a suitable replacement for Odell Beckham.

Jay Gruden

After finishing with a losing record for the second year in a row, Washington Redskins head coach Jay Gruden knows he needs a successful season to keep himself off the hot-seat. However, with starting quarterback Alex Smith out for the entire season, that looks increasingly difficult. The Redskins overpaid and over-committed to Landon Collins by signing him to a six year, $84million contract and haven’t made any other noticeable moves other than trading for Case Keenum to fill in for Smith.

Sub-edited by Callum Ferguson

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