By: Robert Bishop
Back again, and less than a day after being dumped by the Los Angeles Rams, running back Todd Gurley signed a one-year deal with the Atlanta Falcons. Gurley joins a backfield desperate for talent, so he’ll be given every opportunity to prove he has something left in the tank following an injury-plagued season. Even at his worst, Gurley remained a solid enough runner, though his skills as a receiver and ability to create big plays disappeared. This is a decent low-risk signing for the Falcons, but Atlanta likely isn’t done adding pieces to its stable of running backs.
Cornerback Quinton Dunbar of the Redskins requested a trade in February, but the team has yet to act. Dunbar is coming off a breakout season that saw him rank among the elite at his position, and he is seeking a raise as a result. Washington seems uninterested in paying Dunbar, and indications are a mid-round pick would be enough to entice the Redskins into a trade. There are few teams in the NFL that couldn’t use Dunbar’s services, making a trade likely, though a bidding war between suitors could—or at least should—come before any deal.
New Orleans looks intent to continue to surround Drew Brees with weapons, locking up veteran receiver Emmanuel Sanders to a two-year deal. Sanders may not be an elite play-maker, but he is consistently solid, and his presence with the 49ers transformed the team’s passing attack following a mid-season trade in 2019. The Saints have long needed a reliable option alongside superstar Michael Thomas, and Sanders is perfectly-suited to fill the role. New Orleans continue to make small-scale moves to address big needs.
In a large-scale move, the New Orleans Saints committed $57.5 million ($33 million guaranteed) to left guard Andrus Peat. One of the more polarizing players in the league, Peat consistently draws ire from Pro Football Focus for his play, though other notable judges of offensive line play rank Peat among the league’s best interior blockers. New Orleans obviously sides with the latter viewpoint, and the Saints are betting big he’ll remain among the better offensive guards in the NFL for the next half decade.
Running back Melvin Gordon’s disastrous 2019 began with a contract holdout and ended with a handful of games with disappointing production. On Friday, Gordon officially gave up his hope of a lucrative long-term deal, opting instead to join the talent-rich backfield in Denver on a two-year deal. This is a difficult move to rationalize, as Gordon is obviously inferior to incumbent runner Phillip Lindsay, and the money used to sign Gordon could have been used to fill the many needs elsewhere on Denver’s roster.
New England signed veteran quarterback Brian Hoyer toa one-year deal, marking the 34-year old’s third stint with the franchise. Familiarity with New England’s system is Hoyer’s greatest quality, and it also is an indicator that the Patriots are more than content to enter next season without landing a clear replacement for Tom Brady. As it stands, Hoyer will likely be competing with Jarrett Stidham for the team’s starting job, though New England could add a third player to the mix in the upcoming draft. Either way, it is becoming abundantly clear the Patriots are not looking to make a run at the playoffs in 2020.
As the Patriots seemingly ignore a need at quarterback, a solid enough option sits ignored on the open market. With Brady taking his gig in Tampa Bay, Jameis Winston remains without a home. It is easy to see Winston’s flaws as a quarterback, but it is worth noting that he is also a big-play machine. He would be an excellent fit with the Los Angeles Chargers, a team loaded with offensive weapons. Otherwise, it is tough to see an obvious fit for Winston. Coming off a season in which he eclipsed the 5,000-yard plateau while also racking up 33 touchdowns, Winston’s list of suitors is quietly—and quickly—whittling down.