It’s not often valuable and productive players switch teams in the NFL. Most teams carve out enough cap space to ensure they are able to keep their best players. This offseason we saw All-Pro caliber players switch teams in hopes of being the player that brings their new team over the hump.
Arizona Cardinals: Chandler Jones
Bill Belichick shipped Jones to Arizona before he had to pay him, receiving a second-round pick and Jonathan Cooper in return. Jones now will anchor the pass-rush for one the league’s best defenses, joining a unit of Patrick Peterson, Tyrann Mathieu, Calais Campbell, and Deone Bucannon.
Houston Texans: Lamar Miller
Many people believe the Dolphins did not use Miller the right way and now joins a retooled Texans offense with Brock Osweiler leading the way. Miller will be the man in Houston and will benefit off of the attention DeAndre Hopkins gets on the outside.
Jacksonville Jaguars: Chris Ivory
Blake Bortles took major steps forward last season all without a presence of a run game. Ivory is a old school, run between the lines type of back, who can also be used in the passing game with screens. Ivory can be a reliable workhorse for an up and coming Jags team.
New England Patriots: Martellus Bennett
Bill Belichick was busy on the phones this offseason and may have pulled off the trade of the year. The addition of Bennett for the Patriots, who stands at 6’6”, gives Brady another huge red zone target. Bennett showed his pass-catching potential two season ago, recording 90 catches for 916 yards with the Bears. Look for Josh McDaniels to wipe the dust off the Rob Gronkowski-Aaron Hernandez playbook and let the big boys roam wild.
New Orleans Saints: Coby Fleener
Fleener came into the league with high expectations, as he was drafted by the Colts with his college roommate Andrew Luck. Fleener was solid, but never was a game changer for the Colts. The Saints hope they can unlock Fleener’s potential and throw him in the same formations and schemes as Jimmy Graham, shooting for similar success.
New York Giants: Olivier Vernon
Vernon is the centerpiece of Jerry Reese’s expensive revamped defense, which also includes Damon Harrison and Janoris Jenkins. At $85 million, the Giants are looking for Vernon to be part of a lethal 1-2 punch on the edge with Jason Pierre-Paul.
New York Jets: Matt Forte
The signing of Matt Forte couldn’t make it anymore clearer that the Jets are in win-now mode. Forte brings another veteran presence to an offense that includes Brandon Marshall, Eric Decker, Nick Mangold, and Ryan Fitzpatrick. If the Jets can use Forte wisely to keep his legs fresh, he can be a playmaker for the entire season.
Oakland Raiders: Kelechi Osemele
An offensive lineman signing will never make the lead in the sports section or sell more Raiders tickets, but it was necessary for the Raiders. Osemele headlines an offseason where GM Reggie McKenzie went out and signed proven veterans, a sign that he believes the Raiders can contend in 2016. Osemele is one of the best guards in the league and beefs up a line who will protect Derek Carr moving forward.
San Diego Chargers: Travis Benjamin
Benjamin has been a burner in his career, averaging 17.3 yards per catch in his career. Benjamin will now serve as Philip Rivers’ deep threat, a component the Chargers’ offense desperately needed.
Tennessee Titans: DeMarco Murray
Many people have forgotten how talented of a player Murray is. There’s no questioning that he was misused in Chip Kelly’s offense in Philadelphia and now gets to press the reset button in Tennessee. Murray will go back to a player who runs with his shoulder down and set the tempo for the offense, just like he did with the Cowboys.
Washington Redskins: Josh Norman
In a shocking move, the Carolina Panthers rescinded their franchise tag on Norman, making him an unrestricted free agent. The Redskins jumped on the opportunity to add the All-Pro corner and will now throw him at Odell Beckham and Dez Bryant twice a year.