The Butterfield Breakdown: NFL free agency edition

Laptop displaying the NFL free agency. Ethan Butterfield

Looking at developments in the NFL.

The offseason for the NFL has been really heating up as of late, with some of the trades and events that have taken place recently really turning the heads of football fanatics (such as myself) everywhere. So, in the spirit of the Butterfield Breakdown, I’ll be doing a rundown of the NFL free agency and all of the developments that have occurred. So, without further ado, you can find the news just below:

So, the biggest event which took place was the retirement of more-or-less guaranteed future Hall of Famer, Drew Brees. Brees, who was well known as the starting quarterback (QB) for the New Orleans Saints, hung up his number nine jersey after 20 seasons in the NFL. Interestingly enough, despite Brees’ association with the New Orleans Saints, they were not always his team. Brees spent the early years of his career as a part of the then San Diego Chargers (now Los Angeles Chargers) before suffering an injury and being put onto the free agency. From there, he would sign with the Saints and spend the next 15 years of his career setting records and winning a Super Bowl title. Famed QB Phillip Rivers (who also retired this year) would replace Brees in San Diego and go on to really accomplish nothing of any relevance (to be fair, he did set a bunch of Charger franchise records).

Brees retirement not only comes about because he felt he gave all he could give, but also (according to an Instagram post on his account) to spend more time with his family.

Chicago Bears offensive tackle Kyle Long was also supposed to retire in 2020, but is now officially returning for another year.

From Brees’ retirement to another legends extension, we reach that of Tom Brady. Tom Brady, QB for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and winner of Super Bowl 55, has officially signed on for a four-year contract with a locked-in first year. Like me just say this to Mr. Brady personally (‘cause I know he’s reading University of Regina articles in his spare time): what more do you have to prove?! I say again: what more do you have to prove?! You have won the Super Bowl 7 times! You have almost every QB record out there! You can stop, you’re the best – go home and enjoy Netflix and eat chips or something! But anywho, yes, expect more Tom Brady moving forward.

Moving away from the legacy players, we move to the bigger re-signings that are occurring around the league. A notable one being a one-year contract extension for Cam Newton to continue his QB position in the New England Patriots organization. Despite Newton’s lacklustre performance with the Patriots, the extension gives the impression that Newton will have (at the very least) one more season to make things work. Another couple of major re-signings took place in the Buffalo Bills with main defender Matt Milano and tackle Daryl Williams coming back to the franchise with four-year and three-year extensions, respectively. The return of both players will keep that all-important depth in the Bills organization.

As well, Dak Prescott was also solidified as the starting QB for the Dallas Cowboys with a huge four-year, $160 million contract. This does leave backup Andy Dalton in a bit of a tricky spot with his place moving forward after having been the main playmaker last season. However, those developments are still yet to come.

With re-signings looked at, let’s take a look at some actual signings. First and foremost, Ryan Fitzpatrick (FitzMagic as he’s known) is now officially a member of the Washington Football Team! Signing a one-year deal with the team, he will suit up with the organization next season. Another of the bigger ones that had occurred (and a bit under the radar) is that of veteran running back (RB) Mark Ingram. Formerly part of the Baltimore Ravens, Ingram was signed as a part of the Houston Texans in an effort to add more depth to the position. The Detroit Lions also brought in some offensive depth with two veteran signings of tight end (TE) Josh Hill and wide-receiver (WR) Tyrell Williams. Of course, all these signings pale in comparison to the mega-signing that was defensive all-star J.J. Watt, who joined the Arizona Cardinals during the offseason. Watt will be spending two years as a Cardinal and earning $31 million overall.

Re-signings and signings aside, there comes the unfortunate reality that players must face with regards to the cut. Notable cuts during the offseason include that of Malcolm Butler, who the Tennessee Titans released. The Miami Dolphins released line-backer Van Noy after failing to find a landing place for him. The New Orleans Saints also ended up cutting veteran WR Emmanuel Sanders, saving $6.5 million in cap space for the organization. Lastly, veteran defensive lineman Carlos Dunlap was released by the Seattle Seahawks.

So, that should be it, right? There’s a ton of updates about what’s going on around the league and plenty of information to keep any NFL fan excited. Well, there are a couple of interesting rumours worth addressing, such as Ryan Fitzpatrick’s retirement and the Philadelphia Eagles trading Zach Ertz. As well, the landing spot of QB’s DeShaun Watson and Russell Wilson is also a big hot topic going on in the league right now. Of course, these are all just rumours at the end of the day, and the end result will be whatever it ends up being.

So, there you have it! All of the retirements, comebacks, signings, re-signings, and extensions that you can handle. I hope there was enough useful information in this article for you to get caught up on the goings-on of the NFL free agency and where things currently stand for numerous franchises. Here’s hoping for a busy week of NFL trades and signings so that I can bring this edition of the Butterfield Breakdown for one more week.

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