Offseason NFL Moves That Will Make The Most Impact in 2021
Each NFL offseason, a number of players change teams. There are trades as well as teams that simply release players who can then be signed by other teams in the league. There is also the draft which is held each offseason. Teams look to select college players they believe can best serve their needs heading into a new season.
Here is a look at the offseason moves in 2021 that will have the biggest impact on the new season.
JULIO JONES to TENNESSEE
As if the Titans offense wasn’t good enough already. They’ve got the NFL’s leading rusher in Derrick Henry. He ran for 1,540 yards in 2019 and 2,027 last year. Both totals led the league. QB Ryan Tannehill moved into a starting role in 2019 and went 7-3 completing over 70 percent of his passes in the process. Last season, he threw for a career-best 33 touchdown passes.
Now, in addition to A.J. Brown, Tannehill will have one of the NFL’s best receivers on the other side in Jones. The 6-3, 230-pound Jones had a streak of six consecutive 1,000-yard-plus receiving seasons broken last year after he only played nine games due to injury. The Titans averaged 396.4 yards per game, second in the NFL, and 30.7 points (fourth) last season. Jones makes them even scarier.
CARSON WENTZ to INDIANAPOLIS
If Tennessee doesn’t repeat as AFC South Division champions, it will be because of Indianapolis. The Colts lost QB Philip Rivers when the aging veteran announced his retirement after the 2020 season had ended. Head coach Frank Reich went out and got a guy he knew he could count on – Wentz.
Reich coached Wentz as his offensive coordinator when Philadelphia won a Super Bowl just a few years ago. Wentz had fallen out of favor in Philly and was looking for a move out. He did suffer a foot injury in the preseason, but Wentz should be back in the Colts lineup early in the season.
If that’s the case, the Colts have an elite defense and quite possibly the best running game in the NFL. The offensive line is the best unit in the business and with Wentz leading the offense, the Colts have a real shot at not just a division title, but a Super Bowl as well.
MATTHEW STAFFORD TO LA RAMS
If there was one thing the Rams lacked last season (or the previous one), it was an elite quarterback. Jared Goff was serviceable, but trading for a guy like Stafford makes the Rams an instant contender for the NFC title and Super Bowl LVI. Stafford will go down as one of the most prolific quarterbacks in NFL history.
Stafford became the fastest player in NFL history to throw for 40,000 yards and his 4,084 last season put him over 45,000. He has had eight 4,000-yards-plus seasons in his 12-year career. In an offense like Rams head coach Sean McVay’s, Stafford will thrive. He’s got plenty of weapons on offense and the Rams have the NFL’s best defense.
If McVay and the Rams win a Super Bowl this season, it will be because of their upgrade at the quarterback position.
ORLANDO BROWN/JOE THUNEY to KANSAS CITY
When Eric Fisher tore an Achilles tendon in last year’s AFC Championship game, it essentially sealed the fate of the Chiefs in Super Bowl LV. Fisher was then released after season’s end as was Mitchell Schwartz, who underwent back surgery in February.
Down two quality starting offensive linemen, the Chiefs did what any Super Bowl contender would. They promptly went out and recruited help. And, they got it. The Chiefs signed OT Orlando Brown and OG Joe Thuney. The pair will line up on QB Patrick Mahomes left side. The addition of the two will ensure that the Chiefs don’t get run over like they did by Tampa Bay’s defensive front in Super Bowl LV.
TEDDY BRIDGEWATER to DENVER
It has been a minute since the Denver Broncos had a quality starting quarterback. They have drafted, signed free agents, and more but nothing seems to fill the void left after Peyton Manning retired. Drew Lock, a second-round draft pick two years ago, had been the starter but had to battle Teddy Bridgewater in training camp this year.
Bridgewater has suffered a few injuries that have derailed his career, but he has always been a quarterback that coaches and front offices have coveted. The Broncos traded Carolina for Bridgewater and, ultimately, he won the starting job to start the season.
Remember, it was Bridgewater who went 5-0 when he replaced Drew Brees for five games in the middle of the 2019 season. Last year in Carolina, Bridgewater set career bests in attempts, completions, completion percentage (69.1), yards (3,733), and touchdowns (15). He also rushed for a career-high of 279 yards and five touchdowns (another career-best).
The Broncos will no doubt have a strong defense. That is head coach Vic Fangio’s forte. If the offense can come around with Bridgewater leading the way, the Broncos could be the surprise team of 2021.
WILL FULLER to MIAMI
Brian Flores has slowly built Miami into a winner. Now, Flores wants to take the next step. After going 10-6 last season but missing the postseason, Flores needed an upgrade at wide receiver. He and the offense needed a true No. 1 receiver. They got one. Maybe two.
The Dolphins signed former Texan Will Fuller, who caught a career-high 53 passes for 879 yards and eight touchdowns in Houston last season. Fuller has outstanding speed and will become QB Tua Tagovailoa’s go-to guy. Miami also drafted Jaylen Waddle, a wide receiver from Alabama with outstanding speed. Waddle will also serve as a punt/kick returner.
The boost in offense may be just what Flores and the Dolphins need to take the next step. That would be a deep 2021 playoff run.
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2022 NFL Football Season