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The Sideline Observer

Sports and Culture Commentary

Scenes from the Sideline 3.20.19

Biggest WTF Moment: Odell Beckham traded to the Cleveland Browns.

In one of the most shocking moves in NFL history, the New York Giants sent star receiver Odell Beckham to the Browns for safety Jabrill Peppers, the No. 17 pick, and a 2020 third-rounder. The Giants decided to trade Beckham even after GM Dave Gettleman said, “We didn’t sign Odell just to trade him,” after backlash from the Giants fan base on what they received. They were left wanting much more. Heck, even Madden thinks the Giants got fleeced.

But for the ordinary football viewer, a wide receiver core of Jarvis Landry and Odell is must-watch TV – much like their days at LSU together. And, in what seems like forever, your Cleveland Browns are now Lombardi trophy contenders.

Best Fit Signing: Landon Collins to the Redskins

Now I may be a little bit biased in this selection, however, the more you look into the Redskins signing of Landon Collins, the more you realize how perfect the two parties are for each other. It is no secret that the Redskins have had a question mark at safety ever since Sean Taylor was murdered. In the last 12 years, the Redskins have started 29 different safeties failing to find one who would patch the massive hole left by Sean Taylor’s death. Many fans like myself believed DJ Swearinger was going to be the one to solve the Redskins safety issues.

However, after multiple instances where Swearinger called out coaches and the lack of Redskins practice intensity, Swearinger was released before the end of last season. So the hole at safety was back again and this time the Redskins are hoping to close it – for good.  The Redskins signed All-Pro safety Landon Collins to a 6-year 84 million dollar contract, a risky move, but also a move that could solve a decade long question mark. Collins grew up a Redskins fan-idolizing Sean Taylor.

Collins wore 21 for the Giants because of Taylor and after watching Landon Collins’ press conference and talk about the gift Dan Snyder gave him, you can truly see how happy Landon Collins is to be here.

Another reason this signing is such a good fit is that Landon Collins went to Alabama, a trend for the Redskins defense. Collins gets to team up with former college teammates Jonathan Allen, Ryan Anderson, Reuben Foster, and Shaun Dion Hamilton, along with another former Alabama defender Da’Ron Payne. Thanks to Alabama, Collins should have no problem getting acclimated with the defense. Roll damn Tide.

Biggest Head-Scratching Move: Trent Brown Record Deal

It is a yearly tradition in the NFL that free agents from the Super Bowl winning teams get wildly overpaid by bad teams. It proved true when the Oakland Raiders signed former Patriot LT Trent Brown four-year 66 million dollar contract, making him the highest paid offensive linemen in NFL history when looking at average annual value.

While Brown had a breakout year with the Patriots a season ago and virtually shut down Joey Bosa and Dee Ford during the playoffs, the Raiders have invested record money in a player who has had injury problems in the past and has never really been considered an elite talent. We’ll see if it pans out for the new-look Raiders.

Free Agency Winner (Player):  Le’Veon Bell

Yeah, you read that right. People were quick to roast Le’Veon when he signed his four years, 52.5 million dollar contract with the Jets after turning down 70 million over five years with the Steelers; however, there is a small percentage of people who believe Le’Veon Bell accomplished everything he wanted to. The Steelers’ five years, 70 million dollar offer sounds too good to be true – because it was. In that contract, the Steelers only guaranteed Le’Veon Bell around 17 million dollars in total.

The Jets, however, gave Le’Veon Bell 35 million guaranteed, doubling the Steelers offer. Sure, Le’Veon missed out on 14.5 million by sitting out the 2018 season but he got what he always wanted: guaranteed money and lots of it.

Free Agency Winner (Team): Cleveland Browns

The Browns were winning free agency before it even started when they were able to sign Kareem Hunt to a very cheap deal. Hunt will rightfully be suspended for the first eight games of the season, but the Browns will get one of the best running backs in the NFL as soon as he steps back on the field. And no further explaining is needed because, you know, Odell. Two years after going 0–16, the Browns now have an offense that could win you your fantasy football league:

QB: Baker Mayfield

RB1: Kareem Hunt

RB2: Nick Chubb

WR1: Odell Beckham

WR2: Jarvis Landry

TE: David Njoku

Flex: Antonio Callaway / Duke Johnson

They also landed a solid edge-rusher when they traded for Olivier Vernon, and signed DT Sheldon Richardson to sure-up their defensive line. Most of the moves the Browns made had nothing to do with actual free agency, but Cleveland is still atop the free agency period hierarchy as they went from a feel-good seven-win team to a perennial contender.

Free Agency Loser (Team): New York Giants

If it’s not obvious already, the Giants are, without a doubt, in the worst spot following free agency. Giants GM Dave Gettleman ripped out Giants hearts fans not once, but twice. Their best young defensive player in Landon Collins is now playing for their division rival; their Hall of Fame receiver has been traded to the Cleveland Browns of all places; and their fanbase is losing hope fast, but hey, there’s nowhere to go but up, right?

Well, earlier this week, Dave Gettleman made it official that the Giants would be picking up Eli Manning’s $5 million bonus. The future does not look very pretty in New York.

-Sean Hannegan, Jackson Parker

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