The NFL season ended with Ray Lewis riding off into the New Orleans sunset and the Baltimore Ravens capturing the Super Bowl XLVII championship. Meanwhile, the dejected San Francisco 49ers walked off the field of the Superdome dejected and frustrated about a game changing pass interference no call. Then the 2013 NFL free agency was set off with the 49ers acquisition of All-Pro Anquan Boldin, trade of Alex Smith to Kansas City and the most recent trade for Colt McCoy. The 49ers look like big winners this offseason and the pieces are in place for another Super Bowl run. Without further introduction, here are your winners from the 2013 NFL free agency frenzy.
Manning and his Broncos are the clear cut winners of free agency. The signing of Wes Welker adds another weapon at WR to an already potent passing game. Alongside Decker and Demaryius Thomas, the addition of Welker opens up the passing game and creates mismatches that he can exploit. Expect Manning to replicate his MVP type season.
The loss of Michael Turner is the gain of this bruising and physical running back. He’s got great ability to earn the tough yards and is best at red zone and short-yardage situations. Jackson’s tread is wearing a little thin, but he’s realistically got another couple solid seasons left in the tank and with a high octane offense like Atlanta, owners can expect more TDs.
This is a high risk/high reward move for the Seahawks. Harvin is extremely talented and he’s expected to become QB Russell Wilson’s new favorite target. His versatility to line up anywhere on the field will definitely help his stock and the spread offense will suit his style of play. If the migraines and other nagging injuries are kept to a minimum expect a big difference maker in Seattle.
Myers will be changing coasts and that change in scenery should help him continue his breakout campaign from last season. While in Oakland he had his most successful season last year with over 800 yards receiving. Expect his TDs to go up and be a safety valve for Eli and the Giants offensive attack.
This might not be a popular pick by many, but Bush has the potential to be a three-down running back in that Lions offense. With LeShoure and Best’s injury concerns, Bush could see most of the rushing yards and red zone carriers. He’s always a threat to catch it out of the backfield as well. Many doubters point to his age, but he’s only 27 and he’s got at least a few more seasons before he can be labeled over the hill in RB years.
The addition of Mike Wallace via free agency from the Steelers gives the Dolphins a WR who has top flight burner speed and All-Pro abilities. In his rookie campaign Tannehill steadily improved, but with the addition of this elite talent, Ryan is definitely worth taking a flier on later in the draft.
Locker is coming off his first season in which he saw a majority of the snaps for the Titans. While losing Jared Cook doesn’t help with that part of the passing game, the departure of Matt Hasselbeck to Indianapolis effectively hands the reigns to him. He’ll be relied on heavily and with the new wrinkle of the read-option offense in effect.
Dawson is one of the most accurate kickers in NFL history. His leg is booming and is very much capable of connecting from 60 yards, but he’s been a bit of an unknown in Cleveland where the ball doesn’t move past mid-field much. The shift to the NFC West champions and Super Bowl runner-up will certainly give him more chances to connect for 3 points or at the very least extra points.