As the league marches towards the future, and the NFL draft, because that’s how time works, it’s time to start taking stock of the teams around the league. In order to keep it short, and to the point, we will go division-by-division and take a snapshot of each team and the overall state of the division. We start with the NFC West because if I wait any longer, the Rams will get the rest of the players.
The Arizona Cardinals
It’s been a rough off-season for the Cardinals, who let pretty much every single free agent leave. It’s okay though, they kept… *checks notes* …the long snapper? Outside of the LS, they only re-signed Josh Bynes (LB), Vinston Painter (T) and Daniel Munyer (C), who I’m not entirely sure aren’t Madden randomly-generated player names). They let everyone else go. Both J. Browns, Honey Badger, Xavier Williasm, Jared Veldheer, Justin Bethel and future HOF QBs Drew Stanton and Blaine Gabbert. To replace this talent loss, they snagged Justin Pugh (missed 17 games the last two years) and Sam Bradford (missed 42 of his last 80 games). Things could go well for them (well, 8-8), but more than likely, Mike Glennon is taking over after Sam Bradford snaps in half week two. What a terrible end to Larry Fitzgerald’s career.
The Los Angeles Rams
The Rams are certainly redefining all-in on 2018. The Rams traded for Marcus Peters, Aqib Talib and Brandin Cooks. Then, they signed Ndamukong Suh, took a flier on Sam Shields, and let everyone with a potential long-term contract take a hike. Los Angeles is clearly interested in maximizing the value of Jared Goff’s rookie deal while eschewing any long-term deals to make sure they can keep guys like Aaron Donald around after 2018. They’ve quickly become NFC contenders right alongside the Eagles and Vikings through a handful of short-term deals. They’re all-in, baby.
The Seattle Seahawks
Times certainly are a-changin’ in Seattle. Michael Bennett is an Eagle, and even worse for 12s, Richard Sherman is a San Francisco 49er. Thomas Rawls, Jimmy Graham, Paul Richardson and Luke Willson are all gone as Russell Wilson’s weapons. Sheldon Richardson defected to Minnesota. There are rumors that Cliff Avril and Kam Chancellor may literally never play again. The Seahawks are reportedly interested in Josh Rosen, which means even golden boy Russell Wislon may not be safe. Richard Sherman says that the Seahawks have, “lost their way.” It’s hard to keep your way when the only players that you didn’t move this offseason were your garbage offensive line.
The San Francisco 49ers
The 49ers made their big, splashy move last year when they traded for “Handsome” Jimmy “G”Q”” Garoppolo. They tossed him a short-lived highest-ever contract, and have him around for the next five years. They allowed holdovers from the prior administration to walk (Eric Reid, Carlos Hyde, Tank Carradine, Aaron Lynch) to make room for some additional players. Namely, their biggest franchise rival, former Seattle Seahawk Richard Sherman. They also made a splashy move for Jerick McKinnon and paid big money for Weston Richburg. At this point, it’s hard to tell how good they can actually be, but they’re certainly feeling themselves right now… even if that might be a bit premature.