Every year in free agency we tend to focus on each team and how well they did bringing in new star players for the next season, and sometimes we overlook how the moves will affect the players themselves. Some players leave a team only to learn that they aren’t nearly as good without their former teammates. Some players move out of horrible situations and turn into superstars. Let’s take a look at some players who won big and some others who weren’t so lucky:
Frank Gore, San Francisco 49ers to Indianapolis Colts: Gore dodged a bullet by choosing the Colts over the Philadelphia Eagles. Gore’s fantasy value will be much better in 2015 in Indianapolis; and he will still get all the playing time he wants in Pep Hamilton’s offense. Gore really hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down, and the Colts certainly need someone to run the ball so Luck doesn’t have to throw the ball 60 times a game. It’s a perfect match.
Jordan Cameron, Cleveland Browns to Miami Dolphins: The real winner here may be Ryan Tannehill, but Cameron definitely deserves to be on this list. Cameron is one of the better tight ends in the NFL right now, and having a decent quarterback throwing him the ball is better than anything the Browns were able to offer. As long as he can stay healthy, Cameron could have his best NFL season yet.
Owen Daniels, Baltimore Ravens to Denver Broncos: Joe Flacco is no Peyton Manning. Daniels made the best decision possible by going to Denver, especially with Julius Thomas leaving for the Jacksonville Jaguars. Daniels will most likely be the go-to tight end for Manning this season, and he is already very familiar with Gary Kubiak as well from their time together in Houston and Baltimore.
DeMarco Murray, Dallas Cowboys to Philadelphia Eagles: Murray was by far the best running back in the NFL last season, but he also had 449 touches and the best offensive line in the NFL. In Philly Murray will be under a better offensive system with Chip Kelly in charge, but he will also be forced to share carries with Darren Sproles and Ryan Matthews. Also, Murray has shown himself to be relatively injury-prone, so after such a big workload in 2014 he may be due for another let down this season.
Jimmy Graham, New Orleans Saints to Seattle Seahawks: Poor Jimmy. After spending his entire professional career catching passes from Drew Brees, Graham is on his way to Seattle to play with Russell Wilson. Graham is going to see a sharp reduction in his numbers this season, going from a team who threw 690 times (second most in the NFL) to the Seahawks who were dead last in passing attempts with 496. It looks like his 1,200 yard, 15 touchdown seasons are over.
Julius Thomas, Denver Broncos to Jacksonville Jaguars: J. Thomas decided he was tired of living in Peyton Manning’s shadow and wanted to venture out and be the big dog on the Jaguars. Well, Thomas will most likely be the Jags best offensive weapon this season, but that really isn’t saying much. Thomas has scored 24 touchdowns over the past two seasons—only five less than all the passing touchdowns the Jags have scored as a team over the same amount of time. Going from the best quarterback ever to pick up a football to Blake Bortles is possibly the worst decision a player could make if he has any championship aspirations at all. The Jaguars are the laughingstock of the league, and unfortunately Thomas will be a part of that as he watches his numbers fall dramatically in 2015.