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NFL Free Agency - Day 1 Quick Hits

As expected, it was a wild opening day to the NFL's legal tampering period, which began on Monday. The new free agency signing period does not officially open until Wednesday night but the deals are being lined up in a big way. Here are some of my key takeaways from a busy Monday.

  1. What was Bill O'Brien thinking? You build around Deshaun Watson in Houston, you don't trade away his number one target in DeAndre Hopkins. And you certainly don't give him away for peanuts. No matter how much closer reflection I give this one, it will never make sense to me.
  1. The Vikings also traded away a star receiver but they at least got a first round selection - and other draft picks - from the Buffalo Bills. The Bills are going all in and are overlooking the tantrums that Diggs is capable of producing. Josh Allen is about to get his ear bent in Buffalo in 2020.
  1. Two out of three isn't bad. Dallas came into free agency with three superstars up for grabs' quarterback Dak Prescott, wide receiver Amari Cooper and cornerback Byron Jones. They kept Prescott (in a less-than-ideal franchise tag situation) and Cooper but now have a lot of money (around $60m this season) tied up in Dak, Zeke and Amari.
  1. The Baltimore Ravens always seem to do good business and the defense is shaping up very nicely indeed. Calais Campbell (trade) and Michael Brockers (free agency) are mouth-watering additions and Baltimore also kept pass rusher Matthew Judon in house via the franchise tag.
  1. When is Jamie Collins going to learn that the grass isn't always greener away from New England? He failed as a free agent in Cleveland before thriving on his 2019 return to the Patriots. Collins has inked a three-year, $30 million deal with Detroit. I'm not confident that is going to work out.
  1. The 49ers had a plethora of defensive line talent and couldn't afford to keep them all. But I do think the better player has left the building with DeForest Buckner traded to Indianapolis while Arik Armstead was given an extension. I like this move from the Colts point of view.
  1. It was a mixed bag from the Miami Dolphins. Ereck Flowers had been an offensive line disaster before being steady in Washington and Shaq Lawson was a one-year wonder in Buffalo. But I do like the defensive additions of Kyle Van Noy and Byron Jones.
  1. The Eagles adopted the San Francisco approach that you can never have too many good defensive linemen when they won the Super Bowl and they are doing so again after the signing of Pittsburgh's Javon Hargrave. Teaming him with Fletcher Cox and Brandon Graham is scary.
  1. It was a quiet opening day for veteran quarterbacks' Tom Brady, Philip Rivers, Drew Brees, Andy Dalton (who is attracting interest from the Bears) and Jameis Winston all have business to take care of. Stay tuned to your phones because these guys are about to hit the news on Tuesday.
  1. What are teams around the NFL still seeing in Jimmy Graham? Sure, he has some mismatch skills at tight end but he was far from a resounding hit in Seattle or Green Bay. In fact, he has been a shadow of the player we knew in New Orleans. But Chicago are paying him $16 million over the next two years. He has one heck of an agent.
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