Fans, media and peers alike join in the buzz when a professional sports team makes a splash in free agency.
Spurred by Lebron James’ recent deal with the Lakers, NFL.com’s Nick Toney had some fun putting together a list of the top 10 “most shocking free-agent signings” in league history, saying that “it’s always strange to see a household NFL star walk out of the tunnel in a different team’s jersey.”
Coming in at No. 10 on the list was Kirk Cousins, who signed with the Vikings in March. Toney pointed out that the quarterback’s fully guaranteed contract “hasn’t happened before in the NFL, but Cousins might’ve ushered in an entirely new era of quarterback compensation.”
Topping the list at No. 1 was Brett Favre joining the Vikings in 2009 after being a longtime division foe. Toney wrote:
If Brett Favre couldn't join ’em, he wanted to beat ’em. After a season in the AFC, the Packers’ quarterbacking legend shockingly returned to his NFC North stomping grounds – this time as a Viking. Those rematches were both a Cheesehead’s worst nightmare and appointment television. We may never see a legendary NFL quarterback turn heel quite like that again.
Non-Vikings included on Toney’s lineup, listed at Nos. 2-9, respectively, were as follows: Deion Sanders joining the 49ers in 1994; Curtis Martin signing with the Jets in 1998; Reggie White going to the Packers in 1993; Albert Haynesworth signing with the Redskins in 2009; Peyton Manning becoming a Denver Bronco in 2012; Jerry Rice signing with the Raiders in 2001; Sanders signing with the Redskins in 2000; and Rod Woodson joining the Ravens in 1998.
ESPN reporters debate ‘best newcomer’ to NFC North
With free agency and the 2018 NFL Draft well behind us and teams preparing for training camp, which fresh faces will make the biggest impacts?
ESPN reporters recently were asked to name the “best newcomer” in the NFC North. Bears reporter Jeff Dickerson and Lions reporter Michael Rothstein each opined Cousins as the most talented newbie in the division. Rothstein wrote:
While other teams also added really good players, Cousins is the biggest one at the game’s marquee spot, so he’s going to make the most difference – good or bad. He’s thrown for more than 4,000 yards for three straight seasons and has been over 64 percent passing during that span. He’s also thrown at least 25 touchdown passes each season from 2015 on. If he is able to improve upon what he did in Washington – and he should, because he has a better group of players offensively and defensively around him – it should be a positive experience for Cousins.
Packers reporter Rob Demovsky stuck with the team he covers, identifying tight end Jimmy Graham as the NFC North’s best newcomer. Vikings reporter Courtney Cronin tabbed a group of players, the Bears new receivers, as the best; Chicago added Allen Robinson, Taylor Gabriel and TE Trey Burton in free agency and drafted WR Anthony Miller out of Memphis.
Son of former Vikings QB following in father’s footsteps
Todd Bouman spent just the first two seasons (2001-02) of his NFL career with the Vikings, but the native of Lyon County, Minnesota, has remained in his home state since retiring.
Now, Todd’s son is following in his footsteps. Aidan Bouman, who also plays quarterback, is entering his junior season at Buffalo High School – where Todd is the head coach – and has already committed to play football at Iowa State.
“I see him starting as a true freshman at Iowa State,” senior Buffalo receiver Treyton Welch told KSTP about Aidan.
Added senior receiver Jack Munsterteiger: “He looks like an NFL player, he plays like an NFL player and he acts like an NFL player.”
Todd said that Aidan has a vision of where he wants to be.
“I don’t think he’s ever going to stop working as hard as he can or turning over every stone … to try to get there,” Todd said. “He’s got that work ethic and that character that he just wants to be great, and hopefully he can instill that into a bunch of his teammates, as well.”