The NFL’s first week of free agency began Friday with more than 100 draft picks already signed, and many are still in play.
That’s the first week that the league will start the season without the league’s two marquee free agents, Dez Bryant and Brandon Marshall.
The draft is in full swing, with the first picks taken Saturday, and then Thursday night the first day of the NFL’s free-agency period.
That includes some intriguing players like UCLA cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, the No. 8 pick in the 2016 draft, and Alabama offensive lineman Dalvin Tomlinson, the second pick in 2017.
But the biggest surprise at the start of the free agency period is wide receiver Sammy Watkins, the former Bills standout who was a top-five pick in 2016 but has struggled to make an impact since then.
Watkins was a third-round pick last year, but he’s been one of the league best receivers for years, and it’s unclear if the Bills will have a chance to get him for the price they wanted to get in the first round.
It’s been a long offseason for Watkins, who signed a five-year, $80 million deal with the Bills last March.
Watkins is in his second season in Buffalo, but the Bills are still searching for their franchise quarterback.
They traded for Geno Smith in the offseason, but both have struggled.
Watkins has two seasons remaining on his deal.
The Bills could also use a running back, especially if they need a backup after cutting LeSean McCoy.
There are other options, including Ohio State wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster, Alabama wide receiver Jaron Brown, USC quarterback Mitch Trubisky, UCLA defensive end Sheldon Rankins and Alabama defensive end Derek Barnett.
The NFL is still in full transition to the new season, and there will be plenty of players to watch, including the New Orleans Saints, Atlanta Falcons and Cleveland Browns.
The biggest question for the Patriots is if quarterback Tom Brady will be ready to start the playoffs, as he did in 2017 and again in 2018.
Brady is expected to be ready in time for the Super Bowl, but there are questions about his durability and whether he’s ready to play for the New England Patriots.
If Brady doesn’t have the best year of his career, he’ll likely be asked to step in and take the reins when the team needs him most.