Following the frenzied first day of NFL free agency, I was able to catch up with league insiders to get their impressions. Below is some of what I’m hearing.
Fallout from the blockbuster trade between Texans and Cardinals
The condemnation over the trade which sent DeAndre Hopkins to the Arizona Cardinals is just about unanimous from all for a number of reasons. First, everyone believes Texans head coach Bill O’Brien should have put aside his personality issues with Hopkins because the receiver always showed up to play. Second, many felt taking on the contract of running back David Johnson was equally insane.
From the Arizona point of view, this trade could spell the end of Hakeem Butler’s short career with the franchise. Last fall I was told the team was not happy with their fourth-round pick from the 2019 draft and the Cardinals were relieved they had to place him on injured reserve rather than face the embarrassment of cutting him before the regular season. I heard further confirmation of this during the Scouting Combine three weeks ago.
SEC scouts want to work out draft-eligible players
One note not directly related to free agency is about the NFL Draft. Multiple sources tell me area scouts in the SEC have told draft-eligible players they hope, and even intend, to work them out before the draft. Where these workouts take place or in what form they happen remains to be seen, but there is an element of the scouting community that wants to make it happen before the draft gets underway.
Other news and notes from the start of free agency
Contrary to my tweets from yesterday, a source tells me he believes the Atlanta Falcons are still in the hunt for Dante Fowler. Fowler is asking for a lot of money and if he comes down from his asking price, sources tell me it’s likely either a return to the Los Angeles Rams or the Atlanta Falcons for Fowler. There was no mention of the Jets, who wanted to sign Fowler last year and who are rumored to be interested in him this go-round.
Additionally, I spoke with someone inside the league earlier today and this is what their reflections were after the first day of free agency:
- The Raiders overpaid everybody, but they said they were going to overpay everybody.
- The Chicago Bears are spending like drunken sailors and not doing a good job. Almost every time a move was announced yesterday the reaction was, “Why would they do that?”
- Dave Gettleman is being Gettleman active. In other words, he’s signing the players he likes and not necessarily the best players for the Giants.
Like everything, the proof will be determined by the results on the field.