With the 2020 seasons of many of the leagues in jeopardy, the NFL continues to run on pace. With the first wave of free agency having completed, many teams have made several changes. Of those teams, many have made themselves much better. So much so, that the playoffs are now in sight. In saying that, let us look at three teams that may have made the jump into the 2020-2021 NFL Playoffs.
The Broncos finished the 2019 season winning four out of their last five games. That gave them a record of 7-9 and a second-place finish in the AFC West. Therefore, General Manager, John Elway recognized that the team needed to make some changes. Therefore, he did.
RB Melvin Gordon – Gordon comes over on a two-year deal worth about $16m from the Los Angeles Chargers. He will add a power bell-cow back to the Broncos backfield. This is something that will go a long way in helping with the development of QB Drew Lock.
C/G Graham Glasgow – Glasgow comes to the Broncos as a free agent signing from the Detroit Lions. The Broncos gave him a four-year deal worth about $44m. Glasgow can play both guard and center. With the loss of Connor McGovern, Glasgow could plug right in at the middle spot. On the other hand, the Broncos could plug him in at RG and fill center in the draft.
TE Nick Vannett – Vannett comes over to the Broncos as a free agent signing from the Pittsburgh Steelers. He will be a solid addition to the TE room. Vannett will also add another solid receiving option for Lock.
These additions along with a trade for Jacksonville Jaguars CB A.J. Boye will be just what Vic Fangio and the doctors ordered to help get the Broncos over the hump and into the 2020-21 playoffs.
The Cardinals are a team that 5-10-1 in a tough NFC West division. However, they were working with a rookie QB, inconsistent play – mainly due to injury, and rookie head coach. Now that they have had a year to work in the system, I believe that with the moves they made in free agency the Cardinals could sniff a playoff berth.
DL Jordan Phillips – Phillips comes over as a free agent signing from the Buffalo Bills. Last year with the Bills, he appeared in all 16 games starting 9. He recorded one forced fumbles and 9.5 sacks. Rushing the passer and getting the ball back to the Cardinals high-powered offense will be key to them making the playoffs.
LB Devon Kennard – Kennard played last season with the Detroit Lions. Although they chose not to retain his services in 2020. The Cardinals jumped on him to improve their defense. Last year with the Lions, he had seven sacks. Adding another piece to get to the QB will help Kliff Kingsbury’s defense get off the field in a timelier manner.
WR DeAndre Hopkins – Acquiring DHop was probably the surprise move on the first day of the new league year. While he is not a free agent, he is a big addition to an already fast offense. Putting “Nuk” next to the likes of Christian Kirk, Kenyan Drake, and Larry Fitzgerald gives the Arizona Cardinals one of the best offenses in the NFL. That should help give them a chance at making the 2020-21 playoffs.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Buccaneers finished the 2019 season with a record of 7-9. That was good enough for third in the NFC South. While they were not far off in 2019, the moves they made in the 2020 free agency period should put them over the edge. Especially given the fact that each conference will now have an added playoff team.
The Buccaneers probably made the biggest splash of the free agency period. Landing one of the biggest free agents ever, QB Tom Brady. Nonetheless, it is not just Brady that will help the Buccaneers make the playoffs. Well, maybe it is.
QB Tom Brady – Brady’s stats alone will improve the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Gone are the 30 INTs. Staying will be the 30 TDs. Brady throwing to the likes of Mike Evans, OJ Howard, and Chris Godwin only makes this offense very lethal. If they could add a bell-cow RB, the Bucs would just be that much stronger. Brady is a game and a record changer. If that is the case, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers just may win the division in 2020-21.
OL Joe Haeg – Haeg comes over as a free agent signing from the Indianapolis Colts. He adds immediate help at the RT position. While this is on the front side of Tom Brady, it is protection nonetheless. The offensive line is a strong position of need for the Tampa Buccaneers even after the addition of Haeg. Look for them to address this in the draft as well.
While the Bucs only have added two free agents, they filled a great void within the franchise. Ones that should give them a solid chance at making the playoffs again in 2020-21. Somewhere the Bucs have not been since 2007.
These three teams have helped themselves make a strong turn in 2020 with their free-agent additions. Are there others that you can think of? Leave a comment below.
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