DeAngelo Hall: Cam Newton. Hands down. We’re talking about a guy who’s going to get to throw to a pair of stud tight ends (Jonnu Smith and Hunter Henry), exploit mismatches with the Patriots’ improved roster and ultimately play 11-on-11 football with designed runs. For backup money! The fact that the Patriots aren’t paying Newton $20-30 million is the reason they can go out and WIN free agency.
Marc Ross: It’s Jameis Winston. In his last season as a starter in Tampa Bay, what got lost in the negativity of his 30 INTs was that he eclipsed 5,000 yards and 30 touchdowns through the air. From the “QB moves” list this offseason, only Matthew Stafford and Ben Roethlisberger have accomplished this feat — each has done it just once in their combined 29 years in the NFL. Having done something most others can’t match, having received a year of tutelage under future Hall of Famer Drew Brees and Sean Payton, and having the support of a talented core from a 12-win Saints team, the 27-year-old passer can regain peak form as the starter. It’s smart money to bet on Winston at just $5.5 million base salary.
Maurice Jones-Drew: When the Rams played the Packers in this past January’s Divisional Round, Sean McVay saw what his system could be with a player like Aaron Rodgers. That’s one of the big reasons why the trade for Matthew Stafford happened. As talented as Jared Goff is, he has limitations. Stafford has elite arm talent and the experience to put up points and go toe-to-toe with the top offenses in the league. Combine that with a dominant defense, and the Rams could once again become Super Bowl contenders.