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NFL Week 10 roundtable: Which offseason moves now look wisest of all?

usatoday– The shrewdest moves of the NFL offseason aren’t always immediately apparent.

Free agency, trades and the draft all tend to provoke volatile, knee-jerk reactions. And while sometimes those first assessment can be spot on, there are countless other instances in which the first take is later proven to be a bit off. 

This past spring and summer saw several big names move around in surprising fashion. Plenty of those decisions have paid off handsomely, but not all of the most fruitful transactions were immediately recognized as beneficial. 

With more than half the season now in the books, USA TODAY Sports asked its NFL reporters and columnists: What was the best team move of the offseason?

Their answers:

Jarrett Bell

Although last weekend’s showing might suggest otherwise, it’s still Tom Brady signing with the Bucs. Despite all of the uh-oh moments, we’ve still seen flashes. It takes time. You’ve got to expect that by the end of the season, TB12 and the Bucs offense will be in better sync. And throughout the process, they’ll win enough games to get Tampa Bay to the playoffs for the first time since 2007. You can’t forget the turnover saga that last season was with Jameis Winston. Brady has had his share of INT mishaps, but by and large there’s a marked difference when it comes to protecting the football. It will add up to more W’s. Can Brady lead the Bucs to the Super Bowl? The more pertinent, but-first question, may be whether he can get the best of Drew Brees if they happen to face the Saints again in January. The fact that the Bucs are even in the speculative Super Bowl chatter is another reason why signing Brady to a two-year, $50 million free agent contract was such a hit. With TB12, the Bucs are back on the NFL radar for relevance. That in itself counts for a whole lot, including the bottom line of local revenues.

Nate Davis

Jets GM Joe Douglas’ decision to trade S Jamal Adams in July seemed reasonable in the moment, but it might prove even smarter given the season New York has had. There’s no doubt Adams is an exceptional talent, but he plays a position that’s essentially the defensive version of running back — eminently replaceable and almost never worth the outlandish financial commitment Adams sought. Sure, he might have helped the Jets win a game or two, but he’s been limited by injuries in Seattle — where even his stellar play hasn’t prevented the Seahawks from fielding what could be a historically bad defense. Meanwhile, it’s clearly apparent the Jets — their 7-9 finish in 2019 has proved an aberration — require a massive overhaul. By getting two first-rounders and a third in the package for Adams, Douglas should be in a good position to quickly rebuild his franchise.

Jori Epstein

Yes, yes, the Bucs just got embarrassed on national television in a 38-3 throttling courtesy of the Saints. Still, Tampa Bay’s coup for Tom Brady was a massive win for the Buccaneers’ relevance, competitive acumen and energy. Bruce Arians infamously said of Jameis Winston: “If we can win with this one, we can definitely win with another one.” Even after the Saints picked off three Brady balls last week, Brady’s on pace for fewer than 13 interceptions compared to Winston’s whopping 30 last season. Brady has had some growing pains to his first new organization in 20 seasons, but he lifts those around him and has shown the competitive fire to respond to losses like his latest against New Orleans. The 6-3 Bucs are on pace for their best record in a decade, and that’s far from a Brady feat alone. Tampa Bay’s defense is excellent, the stoutest in the league against the run (77.9 yards per game), fourth in total yards allowed (312.9) and ninth in scoring (22.6). Landing a quarterback to help the offense complement that defense, and elevate the standards of the organization, was a sharp move by Tampa Bay.

Mike Jones

In my book it’s Buffalo’s acquisition of wide receiver Stefon Diggs, who leads the NFL with 63 catches and 813 yards. His presence has helped open things up for the entire offense, and Josh Allen is thriving as a result. Buffalo now has a well-rounded offense to match their quality defensive unit. Meanwhile, Diggs’ former team, Minnesota, has struggled offensively in his absence. Buffalo had to give up a first, fourth, fifth and sixth-round pick to get Diggs, but Bills brass and their fans would all agree that their star wideout was worth the price

Lorenzo Reyes 

Anytime a team can add the greatest quarterback of all time, that will certainly make waves. But no disrespect to TB12, that Buccaneers roster was already fairly strong and made some other key additions. I’m also tempted to go with the Dolphins drafting Tua Tagovailoa or the Chargers drafting Justin Herbert, but the sample size for them is still too small to determine whether they’re legit future franchise QBs. So I’m going to go with a move that flew a little under the radar. The Bills trading for former Vikings receiver Stefon Diggs has injected speed and a deep threat to the offense that has also helped quarterback Josh Allen take the next step in his development. Diggs leads the league in receptions (63) and yards (813) and has added three scores.

The Bills rank seventh in the league in passing offense (277 yards a game) and fifth in yards per pass (7.8). Compare that to last year’s rankings of 26th (201.8) and 20th (6.3). More importantly, the scoring average of the Bills (7-2) has jumped by about a touchdown this season. And most importantly, that offensive firepower has helped the team rise to third place in the AFC and blossom into an outside contender in the conference

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