This article is part of our The Reddit Madden League series.
It’s been awhile since I last touched on the Reddit Madden League. Blame that on Dan absolutely butchering a perfectly good “Best Game Ever” article idea, and then a trip to Dallas utterly destroying my pre-written “Stats are Overblown” argument.
A lot has happened since then. The Colts took home a Super Bowl win – a complete surprise to no one since KentuckyCupcake was unceremoniously booted (I mean, left on his own accord) out the door. I once again made the playoffs, and once again lost in the playoffs, this time winning a game against the Bears in the Wildcard round before puking my way (literally) out of the Divisional Championships against the Redskins. Time constraints also forced me to miss out of my favorite columns every RML season – “Bad Scouting Reports” – and believe me there was plenty of worthwhile Madden generated names that I could have made a three-part episode.
However, the RML offseason alone had enough storylines develop that would have made the NBA offseason and MLB Winter Meetings froth at the mouth. Just look at some of these numbers that piled up during the downtime:
- 26 trades were consummated, with another three still waiting approval.
- 49 picks for the 2019 Draft were moved throughout the course of the offseason, along with another 14 picks for the 2020 Draft going to different teams next year.
- Of the 49 picks moved this year, 18 of which were first-round picks.
- A top-10 draft pick was traded on six separate occasions (the No. 2 pick was moved twice).
- 57 players were traded in the offseason, of which 15 had a 90 or higher overall rating (there are only 111 players with a 90+ rating in the entire RML).
And that’s not counting a free agency period that seemed to have some activity (I wouldn’t know for sure, as I was away during the designated signing period). So yeah, there was a lot of player movement. I won’t be able to touch on all 26 trades, but I thought it would be interesting to highlight a handful of teams that I felt made the best moves of the offseason, as well as a few teams (and trades!) that had me scratching my head. Without further ado, let’s highlight a few winners of the 2019 RML offseason.
WR Odell Beckham Jr. (99 overall), LG Andrew Whitworth (91 overall), SS Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (89 overall), CB Byron Jones (89 overall), HB Derrick Henry (86 overall), 2019 first-round pick (28 overall), 2019 first-round pick (No. 32 overall)
FS Earl Thomas (95 overall), TE Zach Ertz (92 overall), RE Jurrell Casey (89 overall), WR Tyreek Hill (89 overall), LB Leonard Floyd (86 overall), CB Jamar Taylor (83 overall), 2019 first-round pick (No. 11 overall), 2020 first-round pick (to Browns), 2020 second-round pick (to Colts).
Analysis: I’m fairly certain you could mark the Bears as offseason winners every year, similar to how the Redskins or Dolphins receive that honor in real life every season. And we all know how the Redskins and Dolphins have developed into perennial powerhouses. But even as a jaded division rival, there’s absolutely no way you could argue Bears didn’t have a fantastic offseason. They somehow managed to trade away not one, but four aging and diminishing players (Earl Thomas, Zach Ertz, Jurrell Casey and Jamar Taylor) for multiple first-round picks, two star safeties both under the age of 27, and the crown jewel of offseason moves, Odell F**KING Beckham Jr. With an offense that exclusively likes to throw 50-yard bombs, Beckham should be an improvement over Hill, even with his immense speed, and at least in the NFC North division, having better safeties is likely more important than star linebackers. Oh and one of the late first-round picks yielded quick dev ROLB Patrick Bartu (79 overall). After making the playoffs last season, it wouldn’t be a surprise if Chicago makes a return trip to the postseason.
WR Mike Evans (96 overall), FS Earl Thomas (95 overall), DT Geno Atkins (91 overall), WR Tyreek Hill (89 overall), CB Eli Apple (81 overall), TE Jonnu Smith (78 overall), SS Dixon Buchanan (72 overall), Lonnie FS Ballentine (70 overall) Rams 2020 fourth-round pick
SS Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (89 overall), DT Grady Jarrett (89 overall), CB Cordrea Tankersley (88 overall), CB Byron Jones (88 overall), WR Zay Jones (83 overall), TE Tramon Roberts (80 overall), 2019 first-round pick, 2019 third-round pick, 2019 fifth-round pick, 2019 sixth-round pick, 2019 seventh-round pick, 2020 second-round pick
Analysis: Blessed with one of the deepest secondaries in all of the RML, the Cowboys overhauled their team in a unique way, jettisoning much of their depth for an aging star at FS, while also still acquiring young unproven talents in the form of Eli Apple, Dixon Buchanan and Lonnie Ballentine. There will always be “that” player in a given Madden fantasy draft that believes in the mantra, “players or picks,” and while I don’t personally subscribe to the thought process, this is about the best case scenario that strategy can yield. Mike Evans and Tyreek Hill instantly become the better version of the RML Bears offense of yesteryear, with Evans acting as the big-bodied deep threat while Hill represents the do-it-all speedster. And given the Cowboys are located in arguably one of the toughest divisions in (pretend) football, star players might just be the difference maker for a playoff push. Much like the Giants did in the 2018 offseason, it remains to be seen whether all of this wheeling and dealing will help or hurt the team. My gut says it will help, hence why Dallas wound up in the positive side of the offseason moves, but that might be more so based on my assumption that the new owner is a top-flight player.
WR Amari Cooper (91 overall), DT Grady Jarrett (89 overall), CB Cordrea Tankersley (88 overall), WR Zay Jones (83 overall), TE Tramon Roberts (80 overall), 2019 first-round pick (No. 6 overall), 49ers 2019 second-round pick, Redskins 2019 second-round pick, Patriots 2019 third-round pick, 2020 Cowboys second-round pick, 2020 Giants third-round pick, Patriots 2020 fifth-round pick
WR Mike Evans (96 overall), DT Geno Atkins (93 overall), LOLB Bud Dupree (84 overall), Eli Apple (81 overall), LT Tre Jackson (80 overall), TE Jonnu Smith (78 overall), RG Zach Banner (77 overall), LG Sean Harlow (77 overall), WR Dede Westbrook (76 overall), FS Tedric Thompson (75 overall), 2019 first-round pick (No. 1 overall)
Analysis: Mike Evans is a marvelous player, but good lord did the Ravens walk away with a haul as part of that trade with the Cowboys. Save for Amari Cooper, every single player the Ravens acquired via trade was a part of that deal, with the oldest of those players being 26-year-old DT Grady Jarrett. The tight end, Tramon Roberts who already boasts 84 speed, is also a quick development, making it an even more lopsided deal in favor of the Ravens. And on top of that, the Ravens were able to trade six flotsam bench options for a cornucopia of draft picks which turned into 78 overall RE Jordan Agramonte (91 strength!), 77 overall CB Howard Hogan (was original pick, but still, superstar development!), 75 overall LG Sean Kocher and 70 overall WR Heston Barry (92 speed, 22-year-old) in the first three rounds of the draft. It’s debatable who had the best 2019 RML Draft, but the Ravens easily put together the best offseason. And oh by the way, Baltimore may soon be in possession of another top overall pick, as more bench flotsam is expected to be dealt to the Chargers in exchange for the organization's 2020 first-round pick. The rich only seem to get richer.
RML Offseason losers can be read here!