Just about all the NFL’s best free agents have found homes now that the offseason is a few weeks old. Several big names have changed teams, improving the Super Bowl chances of teams that were already contenders a season ago.
Let’s take a look at the three biggest moves of the 2018 NFL offseason, thus far.
Kirk Cousins signs with the Minnesota Vikings
Cousins was the No.1 free agent on the market, and he’ll likely make the Vikings Super Bowl contenders for the next few years. You can debate just how good Cousins is, but there’s no denying that he’s a borderline top-10 quarterback, at the very least. That should be good enough to make Minnesota one of the NFL’s best teams, considering they had the league’s first-ranked defense in 2017.
Case Keenum had a career-year last season, leading the Vikings to the NFC Championship Game. Minnesota chose not to use their franchise tag on the quarterback—he signed with the Denver Broncos—going after a sure thing in Cousins, instead. The Vikings gave Cousins a three-year contract worth $84 million, all of which is guaranteed.
The L.A. Rams trade for Aqib Talib and Marcus Peters
Minnesota isn’t the only division winner that got better this offseason. After an 11-5 season that ended with a first-round playoff exit, Los Angeles added not one, but two stud cornerbacks. The Rams sent a 2018 fourth-round pick and a 2019 second-round pick to the Kansas City Chiefs in exchange for a 2018 sixth-rounder and Peters. Less than two weeks later, the Rams acquired Talib from the Denver Broncos for a 2018 fifth-round selection.
Peters, 25, has 19 career interceptions in 45 games and is just one season removed from being a First-Team All-Pro. Talib, 32, is coming off his worst statistical season since 2012, though he has made the last five Pro Bowls. The Rams ranked fifth in opponents’ passer rating last year.
The New York Jets and Buffalo Bills move up in the draft
The 2018 NFL Draft could be unlike any other when it comes to the number of quarterbacks that are taken early in the first round. If history is made, it’ll likely happen because of trades made by the New York Jets and Buffalo Bills. New York sent the No.6, No.37 and No.49 overall picks, as well as a 2019 second-rounder, to the Indianapolis Colts for the No.3 overall pick. The Bills landed the No.12 pick and the Cincinnati Bengals’ fifth-rounder in exchange for the No.21 pick, Buffalo’s sixth-rounder and left tackle Cordy Glenn.
The Jets likely gave up that many assets to go from No.6 to No.3 because they are targeting a quarterback. The odds are they’ll end up with Josh Allen or Baker Mayfield with Sam Darnold (Cleveland Browns) and Josh Rosen (New York Giants) projected to go with the first two picks. Lamar Jackson might be the best available quarterback at No.12, though Buffalo could trade up even further to get one of the top-four quarterbacks.