Arguably, American Football is the closest sport to rugby, so whilst there’s no rugby being played let’s go across the Atlantic and find out how the NFL is getting on.
Not many sports are continuing during the COVID-19 period, but the NFL free agency is booming and becoming very interesting with many players switching between franchises. This free agency has been marketed as the craziest in NFL history. So what is the free agency and who are the players we need to know about?Embed from Getty Images
What is the free agency?
The free agency is the movement and signings of players across the NFL. Essentially, their version of the football transfer window.
For a player to become a ‘free agent’ they have to be legible to sign freely with any franchise, i.e. Is no longer under contract with any club.
What happens during the free agency?
As we already know, the free agency allows players to move to different franchises (clubs) once their contract has expired. There are many ways that a player can sign for a new franchise.
Being released is the same as any other sport. The player has been released by his current club and his contract is terminated. This usually comes with a small punishment to the salary cap and allows movement within a clubs budget.
Trading players in the NFL means that two clubs trade a player for a player OR trade for picks in the upcoming draft or future draft. Trading draft places usually indicates that the team will get a better draft pick if they trade their current player.
The player has come to the end of his contract and will now be known as a free agent. He can be picked by any franchise for the upcoming season.
Tagging can become a little confusing, but once you understand it, you start to realise how important it is.
Franchise tagging means that when a player is reaching the end of his contract, his club can keep him even if the player wants to leave for an extra year by paying him the average salary of the top five players in the squad.
Who are the players you need to know about?
Now that we understand the various ways a player can move during the free agency, lets look at some of the big names and what method they have used during this free agency.
Derrick Henry – Franchise tagEmbed from Getty Images
The Tennessee Titans have placed a franchise tag on Derrick Henry for a 2020 salary of $10.278 million. The Titans have until July 15th to sign Henry to a long-term deal or he will be payed the $10.2 million during 2020.
Henry has led the NFL last season with a career-best of 2,540 rushing yards, as well as 303 carries. Not only this, but he was the only running back in the NFL to average more than 100 rushing yards per game throughout last season. Not only this but Henry single handily carried the Titans to the AFC Championship (one game before the Super Bowl) and ended the New England Patriots 20 year dynasty.
Tom Brady – Free agentEmbed from Getty Images
After a poor season for Tom Brady the Bill Belicheck and the Patriots announced that they were not going to extend Brady’s contract any further. Following this news, he has now signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Brady is known across the NFL as the G.O.A.T. At the age of 24 he won his first Super Bowl with the New England Patriots and went on to win six throughout his time with them and playing in nine. Not only this, but he has won four MVP awards for Super Bowls XXXVI, XXXVIII, XLIX and LI. He has helped Patriots win 249 games and going to more Super Bowls than any other team in NFL history.
The 42 year old Quarterback has signed a two year $50 million contract with Tampa Bay. Given his age, and already impressive record within the NFL it is most likely that he will end his playing career with Tampa once his contract is up, however, the the Quarterback has previously said he wants to continue playing until he is 45.
Philip Rivers – Free agentEmbed from Getty Images
Philip Rivers is another free agent big name, however his lengthy career with the Los Angeles Chargers is over. It was mutually agreed by both the club and the 38 year old quarterback that he would enter the free agency and not return to the club for the 2020 season.
After spending 16 years with the LA Chargers, Rivers has chosen that he will play his football with the Indianapolis Colts next season, signing on a one year contract.
Nick Foles – TradedEmbed from Getty Images
The winning Super Bowl Quarterback, Nick Foles has been traded from the Jacksonville Jaguars to The Chicago Bears for a fourth-round draft pick. Foals has had 48 starts over eight seasons with four different franchises and has completed 61.8% of his passes for 11,901 yards and scoring 71 touchdowns.
The Bears received the pick based on a net loss of free agents in 2019, meaning it is the 34th selection in the fourth round of the draft. With Foles departure, Gardner Minshew will step up and replace him as starting QB.
DeAndre Hopkins – TradedEmbed from Getty Images
Houston Texans have traded wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins and a fourth round pick for Arizona Cardinals Wide Receiver David Johnson and a second round pick this season and a fourth round pick in 2021.
Hopkins is one of Houston’s most valuable players so the trade came as a shock as he was traded with the often injured running back.
Cam Newton – ReleasedEmbed from Getty Images
The Carolina Panthers have released Cam Newton, who was the teams No 1 overall pick in the 2011 draft. Newton is currently still in rehab following his foot surgery.
It is not known where the quarterback will be playing his football next season, but he says he is ready and hungry for whoever will take him.
Todd Gurley – ReleasedEmbed from Getty Images
The Los Angeles Rams have released their running back star, Todd Gurley. When he signed for the Rams, his four-year deal of a $60 million contract extension with a staggering $45 million in guarantees made him the highest paid running back at that time.
Due to the timing of his release his former club are left with $20.15 million ‘dead-cap’ meaning, that the moment will still go to Gurley despite him not playing for the team anymore.
The running back will play his football with the Atlanta Falcons next season and decided on the move, just a day after he was released.