The New England Patriots have had a rather busy third offseason weekend: It all started on Friday, when veteran linebacker David Harris announced his retirement from the NFL after 11 seasons. Later the same day, the team was then awarded an additional fourth round draft pick as part of the league's free agency compensation. And finally, on Saturday, the Patriots re-signed special teams ace Brandon Bolden to a one-year contract.
Still, as busy as the weekend was it pales in comparison to what two of the team's AFC rivals did:
Kansas City Chiefs trade away cornerback Marcus Peters
Marcus Peters is one of the NFL's top cornerbacks, a shutdown defender that is only entering his athletic prime – and on Friday it was reported that the Chiefs will trade him to the Los Angeles Rams for a “package” of yet to be disclosed draft picks. The move certainly is a surprising one considering that the 25-year old is a) still having up to two years left on his rookie contract, and b) Kansas City's best defender.
So, why would the Chiefs trade him away? It certainly looks as if the team felt that Peters' value was at its highest right now and that the odds of signing him to a long-term deal were stacked against them – the same the Patriots felt when moving defensive lineman Chandler Jones in 2016. Furthermore, there are rumors coming out of Kansas City that Peters wanted to leave town and was causing trouble within the organization.
[UPDATE 02/26, 1:35 p.m. ET] The Chiefs traded Peters and a 2018 sixth round pick to the Rams for a 2018 fourth round selection and a 2019 second rounder, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.
Jacksonville Jaguars sign quarterback Blake Bortles to a contract extension
No matter if you look at the film or the statistics, Blake Bortles has been a rather mediocre quarterback through his first four years in the NFL: He has a career completion percentage of under 60% and a 3:2 touchdown-to-interception ratio. However, the soon-to-be 26-year old has also been able to lead the Jaguars to the playoffs in 2017 season and performed comparatively well during the tournament.
As a result, the team awarded him with a three-year, $54.0 million contract extension that will keep him in Jacksonville through the 2020 season. While giving Bortles that amount of money is a gamble considering his inconsistent performances in the past, it ensures stability within the franchise as the contracts of head coach Doug Marrone, general manager Dave Caldwell and executive vice president of football operations Tom Coughlin have also recently been extended.
While the Chiefs, who also traded away quarterback Alex Smith (a move that will become official on March 14, just like the Peters trade), are currently in a state of turnover, the Jaguars are more stable on top with Bortles and other core players secure. From the Patriots' perspective, it will be interesting to see how each offseason approach impacts its respective team – and whether or not it ultimately challenges New England's reign atop the AFC.