The biggest story that hit the NFL the first day of free agency came via a trade. There were some significant re-signings for some teams, and a certain player came out of retirement to join last year’s NFC Championship runner-up (which sounds so much better than NFC Championship game loser… that’s PC for you) to help them get over that hump to the Super Bowl this year. Also the best available free agent across the board, Vincent Jackson went to the Buccaneers, where he will make somewhat of an impact but that team needs more help than they can get this year. The trade the Redskins pulled off to acquire the #2 spot in the draft was staggering, and I thought immensely benefited the Rams. I still have that train of thought, but Snyder is setting himself up to have a pretty nice team for 2012. Their defense was fairly solid last year, one could argue that the only reason they were not above .500 was the poor quarterback play. With the ‘Skins being able to draft RGIII and signing Pierre Garcon (Indianapolis) and Josh Morgan (Cleveland) to contracts they have built somewhat of a formidable offense. It will be interesting to see how they fare in the improving NFC East.
As for @BMarshall and #dabears. The success of a passing game that contains Brandon Marshall and Jay Cutler has been well documented. It is also common knowledge that those two have wanted to play together since Cutler was traded to Chicago. Knowing this and being an avid Bears fan I also wanted Marshall in town. I was sorely disappointed when the former Bears GM failed to sign him and he landed in Miami. My feelings aside, here is how Marshall can affect the Chicago Bears.
Security blanket for Jay Cutler. How often was Cutler sacked the past few seasons? A LOT. This is in no small part due to the fact that he has not had a tall, strong receiver who is not afraid to and can jump up and pull the ball down when needed. Earl Bennett is a solid receiver that has become Cutler’s go-to guy (they played together at Vanderbilt, #6 seems to develop chemistry with players easily when they are in similar situations) and Hester can do amazing things with the football in his hands. Knox is a good receiver who is best suited for a #2 role, once he comes into this role (if he can recover from his back injury) he will thrive. This trade is huge for the Bears passing game.
It has come to pass that now everyone knows who Matt Forte is and that he is a great runner and even better receiver out of the backfield. With Marshall drawing double-teams and safeties worried about Knox and Hester blowing the lid off the offense this should open up holes sizes my bed-ridden grandmother could get through.
With sustained drives the defense will be on the field less and with more points on the board there will be much less pressure to perform. This should let the defense go out and have fun, run around and make plays. I’m just as excited to watch this defense as I am this brand new offense. I only say brand new because there is a new OC in Mike Tice and having Brandon Marshall should help open things up for everyone on the field.
Now if they could only get Greg Olsen back…