NFL free agency has all but wound down, as most of the top available players are off the board. Here's a look at the biggest winners from free agency this year after we looked at the biggest losers yesterday.
Even if they did nothing else this offseason, the Cardinals are winners for swinging the biggest blockbuster trade of the year. Arizona received DeAndre Hopkins and a fourth-round pick, and only needed to send back David Johnson's bloated contract, a second-round pick and their own fourth-rounder. I don't know how they pulled it off. They picked up one of the best receivers in the NFL (who happens to be under contract for the next three years) as a legit No. 1 target for Kyler Murray and didn't have to give up a first-round pick.
The Cardinals also re-signed D.J. Humphries to a three-year, $45 million deal ($29 million guaranteed). While he's been inconsistent at left tackle, Humphries was much better in 2019 and still has a ton of upside. Arizona then went out and added defensive tackle Jordan Phillips and linebacker Devon Kennard, along with some depth signings.
Obviously, the Hopkins deal was the big move and it sets head coach Kliff Kingsbury and his quarterback up to do some big things in 2020.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Tampa Bay scored the biggest free agent signing of the offseason by landing Tom Brady on a two-year deal. The 43-year-old quarterback may not be the player he once was, but he's easily the biggest star the Buccaneers have ever had and will immediately bring credibility to the franchise. Given the weapons Tampa Bay will put around him, this looks like a perfect fit.
The Buccaneers were also able to bring back Ndamukong Suh on a one-year, $8 million deal, franchise-tagged 2019 NFL sack leader Shaq Barrett, and made some depth signings. Their only losses of note were the redundant Peyton Barber and third receiver Breshad Perriman. Neither was a big departure.
Brady has a plethora of weapons available to him, plus the Bucs still own the 14th pick in the 2020 draft and have five picks in the first four rounds. That's a decent amount of ammo to get even better.
Cooper landed a huge deal from the Cowboys in free agency after avoiding the franchise tag. If the team had managed to sign Dak Prescott when it should have last summer, Cooper might have been stuck playing under the tag. Instead he received a five-year, $100 million deal with $40 million guaranteed.
The 25-year-old receiver was seen as approaching bust status after the 2017 season, but a trade to Dallas during the 2018 campaign revitalized his career. In 2019, he caught 79 passes while setting career highs in yards (1,189), touchdowns (eight) and yards per reception (15.1). He made himself an integral part of the Cowboys' future, and his contract now reflects that.
With Prescott likely signing an extension soon, Cooper's position as the team's top receiver is likely secure for a long time. It was a big win for the Alabama product to get a big deal done.
New Orleans Saints
The biggest moves the Saints made were who they didn't let walk away. Franchise icon and future Hall of Fame quarterback Drew Brees is back on a two-year deal-- and he still has plenty of gas left in the tank. The Saints also re-signed left guard Andrus Peat to a new five-year, $57.5 million contract. Both were great moves, even if they were largely expected.
New Orleans also welcomed back a former franchise stalwart, as Malcolm Jenkins returned home following six seasons in Philadelphia. The 32-year-old safety spent the first five years of his career with Saints (he was a rookie during their Super Bowl XLIV win) before departing for the Eagles in 2014. Since then he's gone to three Pro Bowls and won a second Super Bowl ring. He'll be a tremendous leader at the back of the team's secondary.
The Saints also went out and grabbed Emmanuel Sanders to replace Ted Ginn as the team's second wideout. It could pay off big-time for both parties. Sanders caught 66 passes for 869 yards and five touchdowns for the Broncos and 49ers in 2019 and should be a great complement to Michael Thomas. It gives Brees another legit target with some veteran savvy.