OLB Chandler Jones (traded to Arizona from New England). The addition of Chandler Jones to the Cardinals makes for an even more formidable pass rush as he has averaged 9 sacks a season over the last 4 years with New England. The Cardinals were already a top 5 fantasy defense before the move but have also added Robert Nkemdiche in the draft. The Cardinals registered 36 sacks last season and will likely improve on that mark.
CB Josh Norman (signed by Washington in Free Agency). I’m not as high on Norman as most of the football community. However, he is still a great corner and will provide plenty of controversy now that he is in the same division as Odell Beckham Jr. His presence instantly improves Washington’s defense.Pass Rusher Bruce Irvin (signed by Oakland in Free Agency). Irvin, along with several other acquisitions on the defensive side of the ball puts the defense on par with the additions that Oakland has made in the last two seasons on the offensive side of the ball.
FS Eric Weddle (Baltimore in Free Agency). Eric Weddle’s departure from San Diego was ugly but now he finds himself in a defense that has been looking for a high caliber safety ever since the departure of Ed Reed. Weddle brings some stability to a secondary that managed only 6 interceptions last season.
ILB Danny Trevathan (Chicago in Free Agency). The Chicago Bears have always been known for defense and at the heart of their success has always been great linebackers from Dick Butkus, to Mike Singletary, to Brian Urlacher, and now Danny Trevathan. With the addition of Jerrell Freeman to play alongside Trevathan the Bears are once again solid up the middle.
Jacksonville – S Tashaun Gipson
San Diego – NT Brandon Mebane
Tampa Bay – CB Brent Grimes
Bonus: Addition by Subtraction
Sometimes a team gets better by adding new talent, sometimes they get better by getting rid of liabilities. And that is what I am projecting for two teams.
CB Byron Maxwell (Miami from Philadelphia). Byron Maxwell has not been the player many believed he was when he played for the Seahawks. It seems as though he was a product of a system and did not fit in the defensive scheme of the Eagles.
CB Brandon Browner (signed with Seattle after being released by New Orleans) Browner had a very unsuccessful season with the Saints last year after winning back to back Super Bowls with Seattle and New England. He was penalized more times last season than any other player in the league since this statistic began tracking in 1999 (Orr, Conor, May 31st 2016, “Brandon Browner took ‘millions and ran with it.”)