NFL Free Agency Day 2 – Winners and Losers

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The first day of NFL free agency was all about the money. Big contracts for big names who will make big impacts, and none was bigger than the $180 million given to quarterback Kirk Cousins by the Atlanta Falcons.

On Day 2, teams tend to catch their breath, and start looking at holes on their rosters that aren’t as glaring, but still important to fill.

Backup and Bridge Quarterbacks – Winners

There weren’t any Kirk Cousins left on the board, but there were several Jacoby Brissetts. He was good last year for the Washington Commanders. He was great the year before as a Deshaun Watson placeholder with the Cleveland Browns. And he is now returning to the New England Patriots, who originally drafted him in 2016.

The Patriots have the third pick in the NFL Draft, and Massachusetts online sportsbooks have them picking a quarterback – either Drake Maye or Jayden Daniels – and Brissett will work as a bridge to the rookie and a veteran mentor for him.

Sam Darnold continues to change teams, going from the New York Jets to the Carolina Panthers to the San Francisco 49ers. Maybe he now has a fit, as he moves on to the Minnesota Vikings. Darnold isn’t behind an incumbent, and he should benefit from working with quarterback coach Josh McCown, a former teammate of his. He just watched Baker Mayfield go from high draft pick bust to bridge quarterback to a $115 million contract. Maybe Darnold can do the same.

It won’t be the most scintillating training camp battle, but Gardner Minshew has joined the quarterback room of the Las Vegas Raiders, which also features Aidan O’Connell. The Raiders pick 13th in the first round, and Nevada online sportsbooks have them possibly adding another quarterback. They are +425 to draft Oregon’s Bo Nix, and +475 to select Washington’s Michael Penix Jr.

Other quarterback signings include Jameis Winston to the Browns, Tyrod Taylor to the Jets, Drew Lock to the New York Giants, and Marcus Mariota to the Washington Commanders.

Jimmy Garoppolo – Loser

With Minshew and O’Connell in Las Vegas, and the possibilities of a rookie joining them, Jimmy Garoppolo is the odd man out. He will be leaving Las Vegas, and doing it after most of the teams who needed a quarterback have already grabbed one.

Plus, when you consider that Jimmy G is going to miss the first two games of the 2024 season because of suspension, his market shrinks even further. If you don’t know for certain that your rookie will be ready by Week 1, Garoppolo is not your bridge. He’s also unlikely to be the first QB on your list for potential backups.

Baltimore Ravens – Winners

Last year, the Baltimore Ravens wanted to trade for Derrick Henry. No one loves running the ball more than Baltimore, and no one over the last six years has been a better running back than Henry. It is a match made in heaven, and now we get to see it for 2024.

Since 2018, the combination of Henry (8,268) and Lamar Jackson (5,258) have rushed for 13,526 yards. That’s a total of 7.68 miles between these two great players that are now teammates. Maryland online sportsbooks already have a prop bet for Henry and Jackson, and are paying +350 if the two go over 2,000 combined rushing yards in the 2024 regular season.

You can get +550 if Henry scores at least 15 rushing touchdowns.

Justin Fields and the Bears – Losers

Last week, and before free agency began, NFL online sportsbooks posted odds on the most likely next team for Justin Fields. The Falcons were the leader, followed by the Pittsburgh Steelers, Vikings, Raiders, Giants, and Patriots.

All of those teams have since acquired new quarterbacks, leaving one to wonder what is the current market for a Fields trade. These same sportsbooks are convinced that the Bears are drafting Caleb Williams with the No. 1 overall pick, so what is going to happen to Fields?

According to the odds, he is staying in Chicago for 2024. They are now the favorite to be his team next year, paying +175. The Denver Broncos are just behind them at +200. The Raiders gave Gardner Minshew $25 million over two years. They could also draft a QB, but they are third, paying +600 to trade for Fields.

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