NFL

Five Best NFL Offseason Moves

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It may not seem like it, but we’re only two months away from action on the gridiron. As all 32 teams prepare for the upcoming season, it’s time to analyze the five best moves of the offseaso.

Redskins signing Josh Norman – After winning a less than stellar NFC East a year ago with a record of (9-7), many felt Washington was unworthy of a playoff berth.

Unfortunately for head coach Jay Gruden and company, they weren’t able to prove the naysayers wrong as they fell to the Green Bay Packers in the wildcard game to the tune of 35-18.

In an effort to make sure they improve this season, Washington shocked the football world by signing Pro Bowl cornerback Josh Norman. The contract is worth $75 million over five years with $51.1 million of it being guaranteed.

Following his Super Bowl appearance with Carolina, Norman is thirsty for more.

“I want to win the Super Bowl,” Norman stated. “And I’m not going to stop until I get back there. Because I know I will one day and then make the wrong a right.”

For a team that finished 25th in pass defense in 2015, adding a player of Norman’s caliber is absolutely enormous.

Cardinals trade for pass rusher Chandler Jones – Sure, the Arizona Cardinals reached the Super Bowl back in 2008, but even that team didn’t experience more regular season success than this past year’s squad.

Arizona finished with a franchise best (13-3) record.

However, they were a game short from appearing in their second Super Bowl as they were bounced by Carolina in the conference championship game.

In that game, Arizona allowed MVP Cam Newton to have all day in the pocket, which helped ensue the onslaught.

To make sure this doesn’t happen again, Arizona went out and traded for Chandler Jones, who led the New England Patriots with 12.5 sacks last season.

“I think Coach Arians and Mr. Keim, they knew what they were getting when they decided to trade for me,” Jones explained. “I’m a pass rusher, and I’m labeled as a pass rusher.”

Falcons go all in for Alex Mack – For years now, Atlanta has dealt with a major hole in the middle of their offensive line.

Finally, that hole has been filled with the signing of 3-time Pro Bowl center Alex Mack.

Yes, it’s going to take time for Mack and Matt Ryan to establish chemistry, but on the bright side, Mack spent the 2014 season under current Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan. 

“It’s nice that it’s the same offense that I’ve been through,” Mack admitted. “We really haven’t worked much as a whole offense yet. But knowing the offense and having all of the calls, it’s like ‘oh yeah, I remember that.’ A lot of those moments are happening. It’s going really good.”

Bruce Irvin brings leadership to Oakland – The things linebacker Bruce Irvin gives Oakland go much further than his own the field ability.

Since being drafted to the Seattle Seahawks, Irvin knows what it takes to compete at the highest level and he’s going to bring that championship mentality to Oakland.

“You wouldn’t think we were a 7-9 team last year,” Irvin said. “Talent is cool, but when you have a group of guys that can work and want to get better, it’s scary. Being in Seattle, I know the formula. I know what it is to be on a No. 1 defense. I know the grind of a 16-game season. I know when you get in the playoffs, it’s way harder.

“So, I’ll tell you this, when you get a bunch of guys believing in one thing, putting each other before they put themselves, it’s scary. You can see it in Seattle. The past three, four years, a bunch of guys playing for each other, a bunch of ‘us,’ not a bunch of ‘me’ guys.”

Although Irvin is the new kid on the block, don’t expect him to change his personality.

“They didn’t bring me here to be a follower,” Irvin revealed. “I’m a very outspoken guy. You guys will learn that about me. I’m coming to be a leader. I’m not stepping on any toes, but if I have something to say, I am going to say it.”

Chicago Bears improve in the middle with Trevathan – In 2015, the Bears used six different inside linebacker combinations.

Now, this organization seems to be set in the middle after picking up Danny Trevathan and Jerrell Freeman. 

“We can feed off each other,” Trevathan mentioned. “You know, I’ve seen him around the league, and I’m like, I like the way he plays. I know he played in Canada for a bit, but I like his attitude and the way he hits the linemen, and you know he hits fullbacks and he’s just aggressive. You know that’s what you want in a Mike (middle) linebacker and a linebacker as well.

“You know he thinks he’s faster than me, but I doubt that. He’s quick though, you know, and we’re going to feed off that, and we’re definitely going to eat out here on this field.”

Chicago’s lone Super Bowl title came in 1985.

Of course, Trevathan is fresh off a Super Bowl victory with the Denver Broncos, so he knows what it’s all about.

“I’ve been to the Super Bowl two times; one time I lost, but to win it’s a different feeling. You want that feeling every year. It’s hard work, but after being around some of the guys I was around, like Peyton Manning and DeMarcus Ware, I know what it takes. The attitude has got to spread like wildfire. These guys have got to be hungry, like I said. They are. I feel like we’ve got a great group of guys. We’ve just got to keep pushing it and keep having great days.”


About Mark Gunnels

Mark Gunnels

Mark Gunnels is an NFL columnist for Football Insiders. He has several years of experience covering the NFL and NCAA football. He's the radio color commentator for Lincoln University football. Mark's work has been featured on Sports Illustrated, Fox Sports and Yard Barker.