NFL offseason: Which franchises have fared best?

The clock is really ticking down for the start of the 2021 NFL season. The offseason is well and truly underway now that the 2021 NFL Draft has concluded and most free agency deals have been finalized.

With that in mind, now is the ideal time to pinpoint the NFL franchises that have conducted the best business in the offseason. Will the movers and shakers listed below have transformed their Super Bowl LVI chances?

New England went on a significant spending spree

It’s taken some time for New England Patriots to clear the decks after the departure of Tom Brady last year, but the Patriots’ salary cap space has been created to enable Bill Belichick and co. to make big waves in this year’s offseason. As a matter of fact, the Patriots have set a new record for the amount of guaranteed income dished out to new recruits in free agency. This includes a brace of new tight ends in Jonnu Smith and Hunter Henry, who will earn $50m and $37.5m apiece.

The Pats have strengthened all over the field, with defensive tackle Davon Godchaux signing up for two years, defensive back Jalen Mills nailed down for four years, and pass rusher Matthew Judon secured on a $56m four-year contract. In addition, New England dipped into the NFL Draft to secure 15th overall pick, quarterback Mac Jones, who could be the eventual long-term replacement for Brady.

The Bucs retained all their 22 starters

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers were dragged to Super Bowl success by Brady, Gronkowski and co. against the Kansas City Chiefs earlier this year. Despite the lucrative signing of Brady, few predicted that the Bucs had the roster to challenge all the way for the Lombardi Trophy, and they proved the analysts and sportsbooks wrong. Given their unprecedented success, it’s perhaps no surprise to see the Bucs retain all 22 starters from the 2020 season. In doing so, Tampa Bay become the first reigning Super Bowl champions since 1993 to retain all starters from the previous season.

In addition, the Bucs also entered the NFL Draft to secure pass rusher Joe Tryon, who has the attributes to assume Jason Pierre-Paul’s mantle, while college quarterback Kyle Trask has the perfect mentor in Tom Brady to develop in Florida. The Bucs are second favorites to claim back-to-back Super Bowls, available at a best price of 7/1 with bet365, who also boast one of the leading welcome promotions for new sign-ups to their sportsbook.

New York Jets happy to switch up their quarterback options

The biggest recruitment issue for the Jets this summer was their quarterback conundrum. Previous first-round draft pick Sam Darnold failed to impress and has been promptly shipped out to the Panthers. In Darnold’s place comes the Jets’ number-two overall 2021 Draft pick Zach Wilson. Wilson enters a Jets roster that appears to have the ingredients to enable him to shine.

General manager Joe Douglas secured the services of guard Alijah Vera-Tucker, as well as 34th overall pick Elijah Moore, who is a promising wide receiver. Edge rusher Carl Lawson could also be a shrewd free agency selection, given that he ranked eighth in the entire NFL last year for quarterback pressures.

Jacksonville’s dismal 2020 pays off after securing prospect Trevor Lawrence

The benefits of the NFL draft system once again came to the fore just a few weeks ago as the Jacksonville Jaguars managed to secure the most sought-after quarterback college prospect in the shape of Trevor Lawrence as number-one overall pick. The Jaguars’ new head coach Urban Meyer also sought to lay the groundwork for Lawrence to flourish, bringing his former Clemson teammate Travis Etienne as 25th overall pick. Etienne is a powerful running back, while tackle Walker Little should also increase Jacksonville’s physicality.

New York Giants recruit multiple wide receiver weapons for Daniel Jones

It’s very much “now or never” for Giants’ quarterback Daniel Jones. Now entering his third season with New York, Giants fans are still waiting for Jones to fulfill his undoubted potential. General manager Dave Gettleman has made it his number-one priority in the offseason to arm Jones with the weaponry he needs to hurt the opposition next season. A double act of wide receivers have signed on the dotted line, with Kadarius Toney and Kenny Golladay tipped to slot seamlessly into the roster.

Whether any of these franchises will be riding high in the postseason showdowns remains to be seen, but this recruitment activity is sure to whet the appetite for NFL 2021 among gridiron fans across the nation.

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