Due to the effects of the Coronavirus on the NFL’s revenue, the salary cap has dropped by 8% from $198.2 million to $182.5 million. Sports betting has been down; however, online gambling and casino sites have seen an increase. An example would be the best online casino NJ where many gamblers have been able to bet from the safety of their homes. With the unfortunate drop in the cap limit for the upcoming NFL season, many teams have had to make tough decisions towards keeping or cutting players during free agency. Some teams have re-structured player’s contracts to save money for the team, and/or allocate the money towards free agents. Other teams have had to franchise tag their players to maintain their services this season.
However, there have been teams able to positively capitalize on the 2021 NFL free agency this year. Whether it has been due to having cap space, developing a winning culture, or having a championship team. Before the upcoming 2021-22 season begins, we can look back and acknowledge that these three teams won free agency.
The Top Three Teams To Win The 2021 NFL Free Agency
New England Patriots
Was there a more aggressive team during free agency than the New England Patriots? The Patriots had a little under $70 million in cap space to work with and they used it to remake the team. The signings of talented tight-ends Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith will provide a major boost for the offensive line through both defense and offense. Henry was part of an offensively minded Los Angeles Chargers team and made 60 receptions of 613 yards with four touchdowns. At 6’5 250lbs and being only 26, Henry is a great investment for the three years signed. At only 25 years of age, Smith is another great investment as he provided the Tennessee Titans with 41 receptions of 448 yards with eight touchdowns last season.
Re-signing Cam Newton is a gamble; however, he not only ingratiated himself to his coach and team but is now being supplied with multiple weapons unavailable to him last year. With the upcoming entry draft having good young quarterbacks, Newton makes a perfect transitional piece to play until the future is ready. Newton’s throwing accuracy is a question mark, but with the acquisitions of both tight-ends and wide receiver Nelson Agholor, his offense should see a major uptick this season. Agholor will provide Newton with high-end catching ability and somebody who can break away from defenders with his speed and quickness.
Boosting the defense, linebackers Matt Judon and Kyle Van Noy provide high-end defensive ability. After a surprising release from the Miami Dolphins, Van Noy returns to the Patriots on a two-year deal and was part of their previous Super Bowl-winning teams in 2016 and 2018. Judon is a tough, physical player who is able to provide stability to the defense and has recorded at least 20 quarterback hits in the last three years.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
After winning Super Bowl LV many were wondering how the Tampa Bay Buccaneers would be able to keep their roster together with many players coming up for free agency. The Buccaneers have managed to bring back key pieces while negotiating to keep others on shorter-term contracts. The defense was the key factor in the Buccaneers winning the Super Bowl, so being able to bring back two key pieces in Shaquil Barrett and Lavonte David maintain that championship-level defense. In the post-season, Barrett completed nine tackles and eight quarterback hits while David had 26 tackles, one sack, and one quarterback hit.
Being able to bring back Rob Gronkowski adds to the effectiveness of the offensive line with a tight-end who not only showed he is an effective blocker, but also one of Brady’s most trusted and relied upon targets. Gronkowski has proven that at age 31, he is still one of the most dominant tight ends in the league with his size and football IQ. Kicker Ryan Succop showed perfect accuracy in the postseason going nine for nine on-field goals and being one of the most accurate kickers in Buccaneers’ history. Having that reliability is key for planning out situations and being able to utilize the defense more effectively.
The Buffalo Bills made the AFC championships last season but fell to the Kansas City Chiefs. The Bills made a splash in free agency by bringing back key pieces of that team, as well as adding some valuable depth to their quarterback and wide receiver positions. Linebacker Matt Milano was resigned to a four-year contract, and at age 26 has shown how valuable he is on defense. Last season Milano completed 45 tackles, three and a half sacks, and nine quarterback hits. When Milano was in the lineup the Bills were 12-1 including the playoffs. Cornerback Levi Wallace provides a steady presence on defense with having had 48 tackles and two interceptions in 12 games. There is very little risk on a one-year deal that will maintain most of the Bills defense from last year.
The signing of Mitchell Trubisky was a surprise to many but gives the Bills options in case of a Josh Allen injury. Trubisky and Allen’s styles of play are similar so the offense doesn’t have to be dramatically changed. Also, Trubisky’s past as a starter provides experience and reliability that a typical backup wouldn’t have. Similarly, the same can be said for the signing of wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders who provides Stefon Diggs with a reliable backup, and Allen with another number two option along with Cole Beasley. Sanders provides veteran experience and will replace John Brown who signed with the Las Vegas Raiders. Sanders had 61 receptions of 726 yards with five touchdowns last season with the New Orleans Saints.
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