The Hot Box: The 5 Best Moves in NFL Free Agency So Far


NFL free agency is in its second week, and the action has already died down considerably.

To be fair, the first week of the new league year was absolutely WILD.

There were big-money free-agency deals, jaw-dropping trades and some fun drama throughout the week that made the NBA and the upcoming March Madness seem like afterthoughts.

But what are the best moves that franchises made so far? We’ve ranked the top five.

1. Patriots trade for Michael Bennett

Don’t get us wrong: Michael Bennett isn’t the same player he was with the Seahawks when Seattle won the Super Bowl with their legendary defense. But the pass rusher still has a lot of gas in the tank. And at the cost of $7.2 million and swapping 2020 late-round picks, Bennett is an absolute steal — and the perfect replacement for the departed Trey Flowers, who signed a massive five-year, $90 million contract with the Detroit Lions.

The Patriots run circles around the league because of championship-winning moves like this.

2. San Francisco 49ers trade for Dee Ford

The Niners desperately needed a pass rusher, and the franchise filled their biggest hole by trading for PFF’s highest-rated sack artist in the NFL last year. It cost the team a 2020 2nd rounder, which means the team gained an elite pass rusher without jeopardizing their draft capital in 2019.

If the 49ers can stay healthy, this move could be one that defines the NFC West next year.

3. Jets sign Le’Veon Bell

The running back position is so devalued now that it’s becoming an underappreciated aspect of football. Good players are still valuable, no matter the position. And Bell is one of the better backs in the league.

Now, there are obviously concerns about the former Steelers star after he sat out the season, but the Jets got good value on a player who should be extremely valuable to a second-year starter Sam Darnold.

The Jets might not compete for a Super Bowl next year, but the franchise should be much improved.

4. Ravens sign Earl Thomas

The Ravens lost Eric Weddle this offseason, but replaced him with a younger, more talented player. That’s always good in free agency.

After the Browns’ major upgrades this offseason, the Ravens countered with the best free safety in the league.

Ravens and Browns matchups should be a lot of fun next year.

Speaking of the Browns…

5. Cleveland Browns trade for Odell Beckham

The Browns committed robbery when they acquired Odell Beckham from the Giants for the lowly price of Jabrill Peppers, the 17th and 90th overall picks in the upcoming NFL Draft.

With an already talented offense, the Browns will take a massive step next year with the help of ODB. Nick Chubb will have more room to operate in the run game, David Njoku and Jarvis Landry can prowl the wide-open middle of the field while Baker Mayfield enjoys all the riches.

ODB should have a Randy Moss-like effect on opposing defenses, and the Browns must now be considered Super Bowl contenders.


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