The short-lived 2013 NFL offseason has already brought big trades, surprising signings, and inevitably comforting dysfunction from the New York Jets. A number of significant moves have brought excitement to an offseason that does not usually see such a high level of movement for noteworthy players.
Take last year, for instance. There was the biggest free agent in NFL history—Peyton Manning—who courted several teams in the NFL’s edition of The Bachelor. If you didn’t care to read about that, Indianapolis’s former starting quarterback was looking for a new home. And if none of that interested you, I heard a rumor that Eli Manning’s older brother was briefly in search of a team.
Last year was the Peyton Manning show, and it was truly significant because of the irregularity of big NFL free agency splashes. 2013 might not have brought one single free agent who measured up to the circus surrounding Manning, but a number of star players joined new organizations in numbers that are inconsistent with previous offseasons.
Vincent Jackson was the darling of last season’s crop of receivers, but he constituted the lone big-name pass catcher to venture to a different city. This year the likes of Percy Harvin, Wes Welker, and Mike Wallace have all gone elsewhere, three of the most prolific receivers in the league. Steven Jackson and Reggie Bush highlight a running back class that is more star-studded than most years, while the defensive end market was so flush with talent that it actually drove down the price for top quarterback-killers.
Perhaps the most intriguing development in the 2013 NFL offseason has been where players are going. Talent-needy teams like Miami and Kansas City regularly make some noise during the offseason, but it is contenders that have shaped this year’s market. Seattle has been the busiest team when it comes to big-name players, as they traded for Harvin and signed defensive ends Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett to add to an already talent-heavy roster.
The Denver Broncos performed the coup of the year by snatching Wes Welker away from New England, but the Patriots were prepared and responded by signing Danny Amendola, formerly of the Rams.
San Francisco possesses arguably the NFL’s deepest roster, and despite the losses Dashon Goldson and Ricky Jean-Francois they have already re-upped on both positions. The 49ers also added trusty veteran Anquan Boldin to their group of receivers, giving Colin Kaepernick a set of dependable hands to punish with his 238 MPH fastball.
A number of teams have gotten in on the free agency fun, but the NFL’s formidable contenders have been at the forefront of the bigger moves. This trend showcases the brutal reality of the NFL: every season is a fresh start, and even great teams feel under pressure to do whatever they can to get an edge. With powerhouses like the Broncos, Patriots, and Seahawks fine-tuning their rosters, the 2013 offseason has found a way to up the ante from PeytonFest 2012. If anyone encounters a reliable method of cryogenic human freezing, please let me know; I don’t think I can wait ‘til August.