The NFL offseason is in full swing and a number of signings and trades have resulted in some big moves. Teams are starting to take shape and the majority of the big names are off the market.
One of the great aspects of free agency is that it helps build storylines for next season, as rivalries can be enhanced when big players go to a divisional foe.
The first rivalry is between the Indianapolis Colts and the Houston Texans. The two have traded division titles over the past few seasons with a season at the bottom of the league mixed in. The Colts made a big move when they signed receiver Andre Johnson to a three-year deal after the Texans cut him.
Indianapolis needed another wide receiver for quarterback Andrew Luck and it just so happens to be the leading receiver in Texans history. These two teams both have star players the league wants in the spotlight and this move will make their games worth watching.
Heading over to the NFC East, the Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys have each won the division in the past two years. The big move occurred when the Eagles signed running back DeMarco Murray to a five-year deal.
Murray was the leading rusher in the NFL last season and is going to a team with just as good of an offensive line as the one he left. Murray will probably be used more often in the Eagles’ offense than he was with the Cowboys. Some rivalries need something good to get them going again and Murray could be that catalyst for the ‘Boys and the Eagles.
The biggest move on the rivalry front is between the New England Patriots and the New York Jets. There was some thought that the rivalry would begin to cool off after the Jets got rid of Rex Ryan. So far this offseason, the two teams are going at each other harder than ever.
This began with the tampering charges the Pats filed against New York in January for comments the owner said about Darrelle Revis while he was under contract with New England. Once Revis was cut by the Patriots, he signed with the Jets. That would be enough to rekindle any rivalry, but it’s gotten bigger since then.
The Jets took the tampering charges the Patriots made and threw it right back in their faces. New York wants the league to look into possible tampering charges that Patriots owner Robert Kraft made this past Monday. Even though nothing is expected to come from this, it is an interesting move for the Jets to make.
Unfortunately, not all rivalries have improved this season. One of the biggest rivalries over the past couple years looks like it is going to be a one-sided affair for some time now.
The Seattle Seahawks and the San Francisco 49ers have played in some big games over the past couple of seasons, but the Seahawks have gotten better while the 49ers have gotten worse. San Francisco lost a number of key players like Frank Gore, Patrick Willis and Mike Iupati. Wide receiver Michael Crabtree is still a free agent and was one of the bigger instigators in the rivalry.
There are going to be so many great divisional storylines for next season. The NFL is the most profitable league in North America and one of the contributing factors to its popularity is the storylines.