From the Press Box: NFL Free Agency offered brief reprieve from COVID-19


While the 24-hour news cycle, even locally, has been occupied by the infamous COVID-19 virus, the NFL gave us a brief break from all of the horror.

Monday began the legal tampering (yes, it’s a term in NFL offseason) period where upcoming free agents could negotiate with potential new teams.

For the Dallas Cowboys, tight end Jason Witten signed with the Las Vegas Raiders and wideout Randall Cobb signed with the Houston Texans.

Dallas tagged quarterback Dak Prescott, as expected, and they re-signed linebacker Sean Lee and picked up defensive tackle/end Gerald McCoy.

The biggest domino to fall in free agency was the legendary, greatest-of-all-time Tom Brady. 

Brady signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and joins a loaded offense. If the Bucs shore up their offensive line, this could be a good move and make them at least playoff contenders.

Brady joins an offense stacked with weapons including Mike Evans (who has three Pro Bowls to his name), Chris Godwin (who had a break-out year with 86 catches, nine touchdowns and 1,333 yards) and formidable tight end O.J. Howard.

I don’t feel like the move makes Tampa Bay an automatic playoff contender, however, as the NFC has traditionally been stronger in recent years. Usually three teams usually come out of the NFC West, two who could come out of the NFC East, two come out of the NFC North and the NFC South, which Tampa Bay belongs two, is always a crap shoot sans New Orleans.

But Brady’s other stacked option was Los Angeles Chargers, who play in the AFC West which has been controlled by Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs the last two years. I don’t find the “threat” of facing Mahomes a factor in Brady’s decision because he faces two of the best quarterbacks in the NFL with the Saints’ Drew Brees and the Falcons’ Matt Ryan in the NFC South.

There was a lot of quarterback movement in free agency this year as Phillip Rivers (formerly of the Chargers) is now with the Indianapolis Colts, the Carolina Panthers are planning to move on from Cam Newton after they signed former Saints’ back-up Teddy Bridgewater and the Jacksonville Jaguars traded Nick Foles to Chicago.

The latest big move in free agency came down on Thursday when the Los Angeles Rams released Toddy Gurley, who had a big contract and a troublesome knee.

As for the Draft, the NFL says it will go on as planned, which is good news for those of us looking for a break in April.

As for the rest of the summer and the start of the season, that remains to be seen as the COVID-19 situation is expected to continue through early May.

Until then, find fun things around the house to do and enjoy time with your family as now we will head into another lull for sports news.

John Lee is the editor of The Pampa News and can be reached at or find him on Twitter: @jcl1987.

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