The NFL rumors have been swirling around NFL free agency, especially the future of running back Jerick McKinnon, quarterback Kirk Cousins, and offensive guard Andrew Norwell. The free agent frenzy has died down a bit, but rumors around how these players will fare with their new teams will continue to grow all offseason. There were a ton of signings around the NFL this offseason, but which three players were the biggest winners? Here are the three biggest winners so far this offseason:
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1.) Jerick McKinnon, RB, San Francisco 49ers
The 49ers signed Jerick McKinnon to a four-year $30 million deal with $15.7 million guaranteed, which makes McKinnon the fourth-highest paid running back in the NFL on a yearly basis. McKinnon is a clear winner because he has yet to show that he deserves that type of money. In his four-year career has carried the ball only 474 times for 1,918 yards and seven touchdowns. 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan believes McKinnon can be a productive three-down running back, which has to be a great feeling for a player who has never surpassed 160 carries in a season.
2.) Kirk Cousins, QB, Minnesota Vikings
The Vikings lost in the NFC Championship game last year to the Eagles, but signing Cousins may be what puts them over the hump in 2018. The Vikings offense is dynamic with talented players like Stefon Diggs, Adam Thielen, Dalvin Cook and Kyle Rudolph which should help Cousins' transition into the offense. Cousins has called Washington home for the past six seasons and played under the Redskins' franchise tag the last two years. Over the last three seasons Cousins has averaged 67% completion, 4,392 yards, 27 TDs, and 12 INTs. He has also been sneaky good with his legs, rushing for 13 touchdowns the last three years. Signing Cousins to a three-year $84 million, all of which is guaranteed, is a lot of money but if he is their franchise quarterback it's well worth it.
3.) Andrew Norwell, OG, Jacksonville Jaguars
Norwell and the Jaguars have agreed to a five-year, $66.5 million, with $30 million fully guaranteed deal. Per Over the Cap, the deal set new highs for guards in total value, average per seasons, and guarantees. Norwell was regarded as the top offensive lineman in free agency. The Jaguars want to establish themselves as one of the toughest teams on offense and defense. Norwell will bring the toughness and elite blocking it takes to have running back Leonard Fournette and this Jaguars offense excel in 2018.
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