The NFL offseason is in full swing as teams try to make the necessary adjustments to put them into title contention ahead of the 2021-22 season. And already, there have been some interesting moves across the league with players cashing in big to either return to their team or start a new path somewhere else. In today’s roundtable, the DC Sports Section will be going over our takes for the most surprising NFL signing that may be the difference-maker between a team missing the playoffs, and hoisting the Lombardi Trophy come February. Let’s get into it:
The biggest surprise so far this season has to be J.J. Watt deciding to reunite with DeAndre Hopkins down in Arizona. The man had narrowed his list down to the Packers, Bills and Browns but outright decided to turn all of those offers down and fulfill the Tweet sent out by Hopkins. It’s not even that the Cardinals needed some extra defensive pieces to go along Chandler Jones after losing Haasan Reddick and Patrick Peterson, it’s more the fact that Watt decided to play for what might be considered a mediocre team right now. Who knows, maybe the Cardinals rebound strong in 2021 and qualify for a playoff spot with a record above .500, but only time will tell as well as the continued development of Kyler Murray.
With everything that went on for the Pittsburgh Steelers this past NFL season, it is very surprising to see wide receiver Juju Smith-Schuster return to the team. With much higher offers from other teams, including the Baltimore Ravens with star Lamar Jackson at the helm, Smith-Schuster decided to take the smaller deal and return to a team that made no major moves and even lost Bud Dupree this offseason. While it’s admirable to see the star wide receiver choose loyalty over money, it’s hard to imagine the Steelers being able to truly compete with no major action in the current free agency period. It’s a confusing move that has Smith-Schuster putting everything on the line in the upcoming 2021-22 season.
I could name any one of the many moves the New England Patriots made because I was just surprised they were so active in free agency. But the move that was most surprising to me was Hunter Henry. The move made so much sense that I assumed it wouldn’t happen. The Patriots desperately needed tight end help, but I figured Henry would fall through the cracks and he’d end up elsewhere. Especially when it was announced earlier in the same day that the Patriots signed Jonnu Smith. It seemed like that would be New England’s one move at tight end, but then they went and gave Henry, probably the best tight end on the market this year, a contract as well. It’s so weird for the Patriots to be willing to spend so much in free agency. But they saw how bad last season went with no weapons on offense, and they’re trying to fix that. Henry will be a huge help next season, no matter who the Patriots have at quarterback.