Rookies and Roundabouts: The biggest 2012 NFL player movements
Robert Griffin III: Helped Washington to victory in pre-season action for the Redskins (Image: AP)
For a competition with the sheer volume of players, teams, hot dog sales and mega dollars as the NFL contains, talent movement is fairly minimal compared to many other sports.
Sure there will be plenty of wheeling and dealing at the lower end of the market as free agents ricochet between the league’s squads like the world’s muscliest and surliest pinballs, however the majority of teams have long ago tied up their franchise players to long term deals and cheesy car dealership appearances.
In saying this though, the 2012 NFL season still has thrown up a couple of transfers that are worth keeping an eye on for those counting down to season kick-off, or just trying to cobble together a Fantasy Football squad that won’t have you doing a nudey run sometime in early summer.
The biggest noise coming from the off-season was of course Peyton Manning’s magical mystery tour that saw him land at the resurgent Denver Broncos, which in turn had Typhoon Tebow besetting New York.
Both players have significant mountains to climb, and while Manning will be welcomed with open arms by pass hungry teammates in the Mile High city, cult figure Tebow could quiet rightly have incumbent NY Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez feeling a little dirty.
To date Manning’s pre-season form has been solid rather than spectacular, while Tebow has continued the bad stretch of form from his final game of the play-offs in a Jets team as ugly as Rex Ryan’s phone messages.
Elsewhere in quarterback land, Manning’s movements have allowed Matt Flynn to find a home in Seattle and Alex Smith to keep sleeping on the couch at San Francisco, while number one and two rookie draft picks Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin the third (RG3) will be handed the keys to the Colts and Redskins souped up offences respectively.
Only time will tell which of these rookies will go onto be the Eli Manning (boom) and who’ll be the Ryan Leaf (bust) out of this deal, but in two teams where the only way is up they’ll be interesting to watch if nothing else.
Aside from the quarterback shuffles, the Buffalo Bills have made some big signings on their defence after leaking more than forty points per game in the second half of last season, with former Texan Mario Williams looking to lead the ‘D’, provided he packs the thermals for the trek north.
New Orleans, who have had an off-season of biblically-bad proportions thanks to the bounty gate fallout, have at least managed to swipe a decent linebacker to ease the pain (and put the boot into divisional rivals Atlanta) by signing Curtis Lofton.
Shame though they don’t have a coach, a general manager or now guard Carl Nicks, who has moved to Tampa along with problem child wide receiver Vincent Jackson.
And in proof that the Madden curse is alive and kicking (for fans anyway) star Cleveland running back Peyton Hillis is headed to Kansas, just to make sure the Browns fans officially have nothing to cheer about.
All in all though some interesting moves, and it looks as if the majority of NFL teams are heading in the right direction.
Which is more than we can say for some of their college counterparts…
What do you think will be the most significant player movement of 2012?
Chris Chard is a sports humour writer commenting on the often absurd nature of professional sport. A rugby league fan boy with a good blend of youth and experience taking things one week at a time, Chris has written for The Roar, Rugby League Player Magazine, US Sports Downunder, the QRL and People. Tweet him @Vic_Arious