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Here’s how all those trades ruined all of your NFL free agency predictions

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The NFL offseason has been a busy one so far, even before free agency has started.

We’ve seen Marcus Peters traded to the Rams and Alec Ogletree shipped to the Giants. Michael Bennett was sent to the Eagles, and we’re expecting the beginning of the end for the Legion of Boom, with Richard Sherman’s release.

Each of those moves are like dominoes, great big, hard-hitting dominoes, that will have ripple effects on how the free agent market and the draft unfold this year.

So which of these pre-free agency moves are changing the landscape for the new league year on Mar. 14, and how will they happen?

Washington traded for Alex Smith

Washington had three choices with Kirk Cousins this year: tag him for a third season, let him walk, or lock him up with a long-term deal. As predicted, they let him walk. But instead of bungling their QB situation any further, they opted to make a trade for Smith.

Now Kirk Cousins is the hottest name on the free agency market. Teams like the Jets, Browns, Cardinals, and Vikings should be willing to throw a record deal at Cousins. If Washington hadn’t traded for Smith, Cousins might be facing yet another season of playing under the tag. Sam Bradford, Teddy Bridgewater and AJ McCarron would be the top targets in free agency, and Jimmy Garoppolo might be holding onto that highest-paid NFL player designation a little longer.

The Rams loaded up at cornerback

Trumaine Johnson received the franchise tag in each of the last two years, making it unlikely that the Rams would be able to hammer out a deal in the 2018 offseason. That was bad news with Kayvon Webster going down with an Achilles injury late in 2017, leaving the Rams with little cornerback depth.

They solved the problem by brokering trades with the Chiefs and Broncos to land Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib — two of the NFL’s best cornerbacks.

That’s good news for the entire cornerback market. By addressing their cornerback question marks via trades, the Rams did every team interested in upgrading at the position a favor. It: A) Took one of the teams most desperate for cornerbacks out of the free agency market, and B) Guaranteed that Johnson would become available. That’s more talent to pick from and less competition to parse through it.

The Seahawks are rebooting on defense

All good things must come to an end, and that’s currently happening to the Seattle Seahawks. They traded defensive end Michael Bennett to the Eagles in exchange for draft picks in an effort to get younger. Friday, they released Richard Sherman, a staple on Seattle’s defense and Legion of Boom secondary. There are rumors that Earl Thomas’ time in the Pacific Northwest could be coming to an end soon, too, if any potential suitors make them a lucrative offer.

It’s a reset button that was going to have to be hit eventually, and now the Seahawks are officially Russell Wilson’s team.


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