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Bump and Run

Pre-Free Agency Moves

by Ryan McDowell
Updated On: March 6, 2020, 9:37 am ET

We are now less than two weeks away from the scheduled start of the NFL’s new league year. That means what looks like the wildest free agency period on record is just around the corner. Teams around the league are clearly prepping for the big day as anticipated roster moves are being reported and rumors continue to swirl.

While fantasy players are on the edge of their respective seats awaiting the possible movement of QB Dak Prescott, RB Derrick Henry, WR Amari Cooper and more, it has been the offensive linemen who have dominated the news cycle in recent days. While those headlines might not be exciting, they can have a major impact on every facet of a team’s offense.

An NFL Network report Thursday suggested the Eagles plan to let long-time LT Jason Peters hit the open market as a free agent. Speculation just days ago was that Peters would be willing to take a similar deal to the one he played under last season, but the Eagles evidently have other plans. If Peters does not return, that would presumably leave former first-rounder Andre Dillard to fill that role. The Browns have a huge need on the offensive line and have already been linked as a possible suitor for Peters, who, even at age 38 should garner plenty of interest on the open market. 

After over a year of butting heads, the Washington Redskins finally seem ready to end their standoff with star LT Trent Williams. ESPN reported that the team has granted Williams permission to seek a trade and Williams later confirmed he would do just that. Williams sat out the entire season in 2019 after demanding a trade that never happened. After Washington cleaned house following the season and brought in new HC Rob Rivera, it appeared there was a chance Williams would reconsider his hardline stance. We should expect Williams to be on a new roster sometime in the next two weeks.

Finally, the Chargers and Panthers pulled off the rare player-for-player trade, exchanging offensive linemen. The Chargers moved on from LT Russell Okung, flipping him to the Panthers for G Trai Turner. Okung reportedly wanted out but now finds himself on a Panthers team that looks to be rebuilding after a disappointing 2019 season. 

 

Brady Update

Although many players who could change teams in the coming weeks will have a larger impact, none will be able to steal the headlines from QB Tom Brady. The future Hall of Famer is being viewed as the first domino to fall in what will be a hectic free agency period. The general consensus coming out of last week’s NFL Combine was that Brady would not be returning to the Patriots. In recent days, the defending NFC champion 49ers have even been linked to Brady. Of course, San Francisco currently has Brady’s former backup, Jimmy Garoppolo, as their starter. The Boston Herald reported that Brady and Patriots HC Bill Belichick recently spoke by phone and “it didn’t go well.” This is more fuel for the fire that suggests Brady will be in a new uniform in 2020. 

 

Quick Hits

WR DeSean Jackson (core surgery) confirmed he is fully healthy. … A Giants beat writer suggested free agent DE Jadeveon Clowney is interested in playing for the Giants. … The 49ers re-signed RB Jeff Wilson, TE Ross Dwelley and QB Nick Mullens each to one-year contracts. … ESPN reported RB Melvin Gordon will test the free-agent market. This is no surprise after his holdout last season. He surely won’t be back with the Chargers. … Veteran RB LeSean McCoy reportedly will not return to Kansas City, but has been reported as a possible option for the Lions. … The Packers are expected to part ways with veteran TE Jimmy Graham. Cutting Graham would open $8 million in cap space. … Despite rumors to the contrary, NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo reported that the Jaguars are not shopping veteran QB Nick Foles. … RB Frank Gore is planning to continue his playing career. … Patriots WR Mohamed Sanu underwent ankle surgery.