Breaking down teams’ moves for newly acquired players via trades and free agency signings during the start of the 2024 offseason. 

Following Super Bowl LVIII the 2024 NFL off-season has featured Franchise Tags, contract extensions, free agent signings, releases and even trades. The decisions made by teams allow for anticipation and opportunities to strengthen their talent to improve and for some teams, recover from this past season. 

This year’s free agency period has made an immediate impact on the upcoming season with teams making moves left and right. Ranging from convenient minor signings that are tailored to specific teams’ needs to abrupt major signings that alter the entirety of the offense and defense, multiple big-name players in the league have been assigned to new teams for the 2024-2025 season. 

Derrick Henry Signs With Ravens 

The biggest move currently is generational running back Derrick Henry joining an explosive Baltimore Ravens offense led by MVP quarterback Lamar Jackson. The two sides agreed to a two-year $16 million deal with the potential of expanding to $20 million on Tuesday after the ex-Titan was replaced by Tony Pollard one day prior. 

“Good luck stopping the Ravens’ new duo,” Pro Football Focus stated on X following the bombshell. 

Henry’s accolades consist of a Heisman trophy, four Pro Bowls, a first-team All-Pro selection, and a 2020 NFL Offensive Player of the Year award as one of the best running backs of all time joins a Baltimore squad that boasted the NFL’s best record last season.  

The unparalleled strength and power of Derrick Henry in the same backfield with the untouchable speed of Lamar Jackson could repair the missing link for the Ravens to win a Super Bowl. The duo of the most rushing yards since 2018 in Derrick Henry and Lamar Jackson for a running back and quarterback respectively will dominate the rushing attack on an already run-heavy team, allowing Henry to fit like a glove in the Ravens’ offense. 

Saquon Barkley Joins Division Rival 

Another member of the league’s top running backs, former New York Giant Saquon Barkley made his presence known when division rival and fellow NFC East competitor Philadelphia Eagles signed Barkley to a three-year $37.35 million deal. 

“In adding Saquon Barkley, they now have arguably a top-5 running back, a top-5 receiver in A.J. Brown, another arguably top-10 receiver in [DeVonta Smith], [Jalen Hurts] has shown he can be top 5. You add this type of weapon to the offense, it’s going to make everybody better,” said Elliot Shorr-Parks following the signing. 

Despite collapsing during the final stretch of last season, this signing should ensure success throughout the entire season for the Eagles as their running back upgrades from rising upcoming young player to superstar status improving their offense overall. Following another 1,000 yards from scrimmage season, the offensive line Barkley will play alongside with the Eagles is arguably the best in the NFL which will easily play to his advantage in his production. 

Giants Trade for Brain Burns 

Regardless of the departure of Saquon Barkley, the New York Giants decided to bolster their defense with the acquisition of Brian Burns from the Carolina Panthers in exchange for a 2nd and 5th-round draft pick followed by an immediate five-year $150 million contract. 

Being one of the few bright spots in an underwhelming league-worst Panthers team, Burns generated eight sacks and 16 tackles-for-loss last season. Although inconsistent with the contract offered based on the statistics, New York’s need for a pass rusher is crucial for their defense as a total of 34 sacks and an average of 134.2 rushing yards landed them the No.27 ranked defense last season. 

Pairing Burns with fellow young pass rusher Kayvon Thibodeaux will increase the number of sacks complementing the decrease in rushing yards allowed per game due to the addition of their front seven. 

At the age of 25, Burns has plenty of more seasons ahead of him with the potential to produce at the highest level which resonates with the young Giants’ defense. 

Falcons Land Kirk Cousins 

The successor to Matt Ryan has potentially been found for the Atlanta Falcons with the signing of former Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins to a four-year $180 million contract. The deal was done despite Cousins being 35 years old and coming off a season-ending injury back in October.

Cousins provides Atlanta with above-average quarterback play needed for them to generate success offensively for the first time since 2020. When healthy, Cousins has been one of the best statistical and overall quarterbacks in the league, constantly finishing in the top 10 MVP voting every season. 

The addition of Kirk Cousins instantly sparks the hopes and expectations Falcons fans have for young star receiver and tight end Drake London and Kyle Pitts. The two first-round picks have produced underwhelming statistics due to poor coaching and quarterback play that limited their opportunities. With a new head coach and now new quarterback, Cousins will aid the two rising stars to achieve a glimpse of their full potential similar to what Cousins was able to do with superstar Vikings’ wide receiver Justin Jefferson. 

Steelers Become “Dangeruss”

Veteran quarterback Russell Wilson was picked up by the Pittsburgh Steelers on a league minimum contract of $1.21 million one year contract following a disappointing tenure with the Denver Broncos.

“Year 13. Grateful. @Steelers” Wilson posted as a hype video for the upcoming season on X

Coming off a bounce-back season from a dreadful 2022 campaign, the combination of the veteran quarterback and one of the best head coaches of all time in Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin will serve as motivation for the entire team. 

Similar to the Falcons’ situation, an upgrade at quarterback is what’s needed for the Steelers to contend for a championship as the addition of Wilson provides the young offense a leader to rely on and assist in generating points. 

The start of free agency has generated much anticipation for numerous teams with a handful of big-name superstars changing scenery with potentially more on the way.