2013 NFL Players With New Digs
NFL PLAYERS WITH NEW DIGS
By Dennis Stagliano
The NFL season is approaching quickly, and it has been a busy off-season with a number of key players changing teams. After many successful years in New England, Wes Welker will be catching passes from Peyton Manning in Denver. The Miami Dolphins added a much needed deep threat to their passing game with the addition of Mike Wallace. The Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens made Joe Flacco the league’s highest paid player and added an elite pass rusher by signing former Bronco’s Elvis Dumervil, but the heart of their defense and leadership of Ray Lewis’ (retirement) and Ed Reed’s (departure) will be difficult void to fill. Those aren’t the only Pro Bowl defenders with new digs next season, as the Jets sold Revis Island and Darrelle Revis moved south to the Tampa Bay Bucs for a first round pick.
Let’s take a look at a few of the NFL teams and their respective personnel changes
New England Patriots
Even before the shocking murder charges against TE Aaron Hernandez, it had been a rocky off-season for the Pats. Wes Welker left for Denver, Gronk (Rob Gronkowski) underwent back surgery (the fifth surgery in his short career), Brandon Lloyd was released while Deion Branch and Danny Woodhead were given their walking papers.
This leaves New England without their top five receivers from last season — although the addition of Danny Amendola should help to ease the burden. But does it even matter who’s on the receiving end when the passes are coming from Tom Brady? Belichick always seems to come up with players that can catch the laser accurate passes from Brady. Despite all the turmoil surrounding the team, the Patriots are still highly favored to take home the Lombardi Trophy in 2014.
New York Jets
After a tumultuous 2012 season in which the Jets won just five games, it seemed like a given that NY would begin their rebuilding efforts. They quickly confirmed that suspicion by dealing away All-Pro defensive back Darrelle Revis. In addition, they cut veterans Bart Scott and Calvin Pace, and drafted a potential franchise quarterback in former West Virginia signal caller Geno Smith.
After struggling to find a competent starter at QB last season, Arizona traded a 6th round pick to the Raiders for Carson Palmer. The Cards also lost a number of key defensive players including Pro Bowl safety Adrian Wilson. With the addition of rookie Tyrann “Honey Badger” Matthieu to a secondary including former LSU teammate Patrick Peterson, the secondary seems like the least of Arizona’s concerns.
The biggest concern for the Cardinals would probably be the continued improvement of their NFC West rivals as the Seahawks were able to add an explosive playmaker in Percy Harvin, while the 49ers landed another target for Colin Kaepernick in the form of Anquan Boldin.
After Russell Wilson led the team to an improbable 11-5 record and a playoff berth, the team looks poised to take the next step towards greatness. The addition of former Vikings WR Percy Harvin gives Seattle the explosive receiver the team desperately craved while providing additional value in the run and return game.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Seahawks made a number of solid under-the-radar moves to improve an already stout D. Cliff Avril, Michael Bennett, Jordan Hill and Jesse Williams not only make them younger up front, but also improve the pass rush dramatically — especifically with Avril coming off the edge and Bennett in the inside.
Although the loss of Brian Urlacher undoubtedly hurts, there are a number of other factors in play. Cornerback D.J Moore signed with the Panthers while receiver Johnny Knox abruptly retired, leaving the team with limited depth at both positions. So will the Bears to able to retain their Monsters of the Midway persona on defense is something we will have a wait and see approach.
We’re only a few weeks away from the Hall of Fame Game that will be kicking off August 4th, as the Miami Dolphins take on the Dallas Cowboys on NBC at 8 ET. As we move toward the start of the NFL season, I’ll be back often with articles giving you some insight into changes taking place with each NFL team. For now, let’s concentrate on opening weeks at Del Mar and Saratoga.
About the author: Dennis is an award winning handicapper, and is regarded as one of the nations most respected sports handicappers since 1981. Dennis owns Gridiron Gold, Gridiron Gold Sheet and Horse Race Tip Sheets. You can buy Dennis’ Del Mar and Saratoga Tip Sheets in this website.