Some big names went elsewhere in this year’s NFL free agency frenzy. Von Miller made his intentions clear to win his third ring with the Bills, J.C. Jackson took his talents to a contending Chargers franchise, and DE Randy Gregory accepted a late bid from Denver while shunning his former team, the Cowboys, in the process.
Other players were perhaps given more money than expected, notably Christian Kirk who was given $72 million by the Jaguars. Below are the quiet signings that teams have made that will make a big difference in the landscape of the NFL next season.
Alex Cappa, OG (Tampa Bay to Cincinnati)
The 27-year-old has experience protecting the best, so why not and go protect one of the only QBs who have the potential to become what Brady has been. Joe Burrow needed protection, and the media made sure that the Bengals wouldn’t get away with cheaping out over the offseason when it came to protecting their franchise leader.
Cappa has been paid as the thor highest OG in free agency, behind only Brandon Scherff and Laken Tomlinson. The deal is team-friendly for a team with plenty of cap space to shore up their roster.
The Bengals gave the lineman $35 million over the next four years, with the last year is by far the cheapest at just $7 for the season. There is also a potential out after just two years should it not work out for the two sides; only $20 is guaranteed.
This is a chance for Cappa to work with the up-and-coming Bengals, while the franchise gets protection for their quarterback, the last missing piece for this roster.
Ted Karras, C (New England to Cincinnati)
A couple of years older than Cappa, Karras is another phenomenal signing by the Cincinnati Bengals front office who have been more aggressive than ever over the last few free agency periods.
Karras is best when he plays guard, but played center in the past for the Patriots and is very capable of succeeding at that position. Bengals head coach Zac Taylor announced that Karras would be the center snapping the ball to Burrow next season, replacing Trey Hopkins who was cut in a corresponding move.
He has experience and a high football IQ from his time with the Patriots. These attributes will make his chemistry with Burrow very smooth and easy.
Karras is owed just $6 million a year for three years, a contract that is only guaranteed for the first year of the deal. Cincinnati is building their O-line through free agency, while keeping plenty of cap space available for other free agents, or just to hold onto for later.
Mitchell Trubisky, QB (Buffalo to Pittsburgh)
The former number two overall pick is now joining his third team on the two-year $14 million deal. This is a fantastic deal for both parties.
For Trubisky, he sat a year in Buffalo and learned, and now he gets the chance to be the starting QB for a historic franchise in a tough division. He will have time to prove that he has improved and deserves to be a starter.
For the Steelers, it’s a rather cheap deal for a starting quarterback which allows them to build the rest of their roster to the standard it requires. They can see if Trubisky is the answer at the QB position to succeed Big Ben, and they also have the ability to draft a young QB to come in and take his place without feeling like they’re wasting too much money.
The deal is also only two years, so they aren’t tied to the NVP for all that long. It’s a huge win-win for everyone involved.
Myles Jack, LB (Jacksonville to Pittsburgh)
Yes, all four of these underrated signings enter the AFC North, specifically the Bengals and Steelers.
This deal is another team-friendly contract negotiated by the Steelers. It’s a two-year $16 million contract with only the first year being guaranteed. Jack has been a fantastic contributor to an otherwise terrible Jaguars team for a while now. He was their leading tackler and he’s in his prime. He’s 26 and has a lot of good football left.
He now will be with Pittsburgh for two years should everything work out, on an incredibly inexpensive deal for a starting-caliber linebacker, and if he wants to stay for more time, they can renegotiate in a couple of years.
Jack may have not gotten the offers he was hoping for, so he went to a thriving defense where he can prove he deserves big money.
Learn about some other great NFL offseason moves here.
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