1 of 13Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images; David Bergman/SI
After two seasons of Rex Grossman under center, the Redskins were willing to sacrifice the future of the franchise for a quarterback. According to some pundits, that is exactly what Bruce Allen and Mike Shanahan did. The bounty the Redskins sent to St. Louis for the right to eventually draft RGIII was the biggest in NFL history, but Washington had to be bold to get some stability and star power under center.
2 of 13Nam Y. Huh/AP
Perhaps the most high-profile free agent in NFL history, Peyton Manning settled in Denver after a frenzied courtship that came down to the Broncos, Cardinals and Titans. The Broncos won a playoff game with Tim Tebow under center last year, but couldn't resist adding the legend. It's a bold move that, if it works, will put the Broncos in Super Bowl contention. But tha could be a big if, considering the neck injury that sidelined the 36-year-old for all of 2011.
3 of 13Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images
The Seattle Seahawks were criticized for selecting former Wisconsin quarterback Russell Wilson with the 75th pick. At 5-foot-11, he was considered too small and not worthy of being taken that early. Wilson silenced his critics by impressing in training camp and in three preseason games to beat out free-agent signee Matt Flynn for the starting job.
4 of 13Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
The Dolphins signed Marshall to a four-year, $47.5 million extension in 2010, but the mercurial receiver brought too many headaches in the locker room and in the police blotter. The Bears are counting on the fact that a reunion with Jay Cutler can keep Marshall in line and give them the top No. 1 option they've lacked for years. It's a gamble for both teams, as Marshall's attitude could sabotage Chicago; meanwhile, Miami left itself precariously thin at receiver.
5 of 13Joe Robbins/Getty Images
Already with a starter in place in fourth-year quarterback Mark Sanchez, the choice to barter for Tim Tebow, probably the most polarizing player in all of football, seems like a curious one by head coach Rex Ryan. It hasn't helped his cause that the Jets offense hasn't scored a touchdown in three preseason games. The saga has guaranteed that the Jets will dominated the front page headlines over the Giants, their defending champion roommate at the Meadowlands.
6 of 13AP
Buffalo gave Mario Williams the richest deal for any defensive player in NFL history, even though the 2006 No. 1 pick missed most of last season with a torn pectoral. But the Bills have missed the playoffs for 12 straight years, and the locals are getting restless as doubts over the team's long-term future in Buffalo have risen, meaning the Williams deal was a necessary big splash.
7 of 13Michael Conroy/AP
Janoris Jenkins was perhaps the most intriguing draft prospect of 2012, a player with seemingly limitless talents and a litany of off-field issues. With multiple arrests (three), children (four) and failed drug tests (enough to get him kicked off Florida), Jenkins was viewed as toxic by some teams. But Jenkins dominated in the draft combine and showed the glimpses of greatness that he routinely did while playing for the Gators and North Alabama. St. Louis coach Jeff Fisher, who has dealt with difficult characters before (Albert Haynesworth, Cortland Finnegan), decided to select Jenkins with the 39th pick of the NFL draft.
8 of 13Lenny Ignelzi/AP
After a long contract battle with star receiver Vincent Jackson, the Chargers let him walk and put their faith in former Saint Robert Meachem. Meachem has always been high on potential, but a bit low on production as the Saints' No. 3 WR. It's no lock that Meachem will come close to replicating Jackson's success in San Diego, which is a little troubling for a team that has a quarterback in his prime and is trying to end a two-season playoff-less drought.
9 of 13John Rivera/Icon SMI
The No. 2-ranked defense last season by many statistical categories allowed two potentially significant pieces leave in Mario Williams, the No. 1 pick from the 2006 Draft, and fellow two-time Pro Bowl selection DeMeco Ryans. Williams missed 11 games with a torn pectoral muscle and Ryans had a diminished role when defensive coordinator Wade Phillips switched to a 3-4 scheme, but both are undoubtedly talented and were considered team leaders. Perhaps the most surprising move was cutting Winston, a 16-game starter five seasons running at right tackle, which was seen as simply a cost-cutting decision.
10 of 13Chris Graythen, Al Bello/Getty Images
The Jaguars' leading receiver in 2011 was tight end Marcedes Lewis, and the passing game has been a mess for years now, a deficiency that made it harder for Blaine Gabbert to succeed as a rookie. So the front office had no trouble trading up two picks to draft the highly touted Justin Blackmon out of Oklahoma State. Unfortunately for the Jaguars, Blackmon was arrested for a DUI not even two months after the draft, then held out the start of training camp, becoming the last first-rounder to sign.
11 of 13Carlos M. Saavedra/SI
Coming off his second consecutive 1,000-yard season in his first three seasons, 26-year-old receiver Mike Wallace, a restricted free agent, chose to hold out from joining the Steelers until after the third preseason game. He wanted more than the $2.72 million one-year tender, also balking at an estimated $42 million, five-year offer Pittsburgh is thought to have previously extended. Rather than set a precedent for giving into player demands, the Steelers instead stuck it to Wallace by giving a five-year, $42.5 million deal to fellow receiver Antonio Brown. Wallace finally gave in and reported to the team.
12 of 13Damian Strohmeyer/SI
Allowing their starting tailback to sit out rather than renegotiate MJD's current contract, Jacksonville is trying to send a message to the league's reigning rushing champion. Meanwhile, for his forthcoming seventh season, Jones-Drew wants more than the two years and $9 million remaining on the original five-year, $31 million contract. If this impasse continues, expect a direct impact on the Jags record, not to mention it stunting the development of second-year quarterback Blaine Gabbert without the Pro Bowler behind him to relieve pressure from opposing defenses.
13 of 13Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Having seemingly already invested in a starting signal-caller in Texas' Colt McCoy just two years ago, the late-first-round selection of 28-year-old Brandon Weeden out of Oklahoma State in 2012 is clearly a statement that the Browns are once again in rebuild mode. President Mike Holmgren and head coach Mike Shurmur have already named Weeden the starter over McCoy and are hoping that, along with the drafting of running back Trent Richardson, the decision will rescue Cleveland from the 4-12 record during Shurmur's first season in 2011. The team wasn't scared off by Weeden's age, which was a knock on him entering the draft.
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