NFL free agency is supposed to be a time for optimism and joy.
Perhaps your favorite team landed that pass rusher or cornerback you were hoping it would sign. Or maybe it got a new receiver and you’re refreshing the team store’s page to see when you can order a jersey. You can’t wait until the start of the season.
There’s a flip side to free agency. Some teams have seen a lot of talent walk out the door. Others have made some signings that everyone knows won’t work out. And for some truly unfortunate fans, Bill O’Brien is running their franchise.
There has been a remarkable amount of noteworthy player movement since Monday, when the so-called legal tampering period started. And some fan bases are mad.
Which fans are the most upset? Let’s check:
Los Angeles Chargers and Jacksonville Jaguars
Just kidding, these teams have no fans. Headlines like “Chargers plan to start Tyrod Taylor” and “Jaguars lose yet another key player” just disappear into the ether. Actually the Jaguars do have fans and they’re quite vocal, so please take the joke and don’t message me. But the part about the Chargers is true. They have no fans.
New England Patriots (sorry, no)
You’ve won like a billion championships this century. You have no right to be mad, even if Tom Brady is gone and there’s no word on a replacement. So let’s get to the teams that have really tortured their fans ...
Bears fans went from being angry about Mitchell Trubisky to angry about practically everything. Jimmy Graham? Ask Packers fans about him. Robert Quinn is coming off a nice year, but had four so-so years before that and just got $70 million to replace Leonard Floyd, another failed top-10 pick. And then, after being connected to every quarterback possible for a couple days, the Bears traded for Nick Foles. Foles takes on the title of the next guy Chicago fans will be complaining about by Halloween.
Los Angeles Rams
Todd Gurley. Dante Fowler. Michael Brockers. Eric Weddle. Cory Littleton. Nickell Robey-Coleman. Clay Matthews. All of them gone this offseason. Leonard Floyd was signed, but he’s mostly been a disappointment since he was a top-10 pick. The Rams couldn’t find a trade partner, so they cut Gurley. Brandin Cooks has also been mentioned in trade rumors. This is what it looks like when you go all in and miss. And the Rams won’t have a first-round pick for the fourth (!) straight year. This is a serious talent drain.
Matt Patricia’s infatuation with former Patriots players is funny to most, and a nightmare for Lions fans. The Lions signed defensive tackle Danny Shelton and linebacker Jamie Collins, then traded for defensive back Duron Harmon. All former Patriots. They’ll go with defensive end Trey Flowers, cornerback Justin Coleman and receiver Danny Amendola, more former Patriots. At this rate, Steve Grogan will be Detroit’s quarterback by April. In news that doesn’t include former Patriots players, the Lions signed former Eagles tackle Halapoulivaati Vaitai (four starts the last two years) for $50 million over five years and were close to trading top cornerback Darius Slay to Philadelphia. Yikes. Lions fans have been through a lot, but nothing could have prepared them for the Matt Patricia Era.
Three of the biggest stars the Panthers have had over the past decade were Cam Newton, Luke Kuechly and Greg Olsen. There was nothing the Panthers could do about Kuechly’s retirement after the season, but Newton and Olsen got pushed out of the door unceremoniously. Both Newton and Olsen had to set the record straight that it was not their decisions to go. It made the organization look like it was misleading its fans.
In addition, the Panthers traded guard Trai Turner, cut safety Eric Reid and let defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, cornerback James Bradberry and pass rusher Mario Addison walk in free agency. Teddy Bridgewater was a fine signing, though plenty of people question if he can be more than an average quarterback. At this point, new owner David Tepper seems like one of those impatient owners who prefers change for the sake of change.
The Texans have gotten so bad at everything that someone leaked that DeAndre Hopkins was seeking $18 million-20 million per season to presumably make him look greedy and their instantly infamous trade look better ... and most right-minded people figured out that $18 million-20 million for Hopkins was totally fair, making a horrible trade look even worse. The Texans can’t even sling mud without screwing it up. Not to mention Michael Irvin’s claims about Bill O’Brien’s comments to Hopkins before he was traded. Sorry Texans fans, by the time ownership comes out of hibernation and figures out that giving O’Brien endless power over the organization was a bad idea, the franchise will be set back by years. Poor Deshaun Watson. He deserves better. So do all Texans fans.
So which fan base has the most angst after a few days of free agency?
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