With Week 11 underway, there is more than enough of a sample size to reflect on the past offseason and whether a team’s new additions have paid off. Every team makes moves – whether that’s within the front office, coaching staff or on the player side – but not every one ends up being beneficial. But because Thanksgiving is less than a week away, let’s discuss the positive side of this equation.
We asked USA TODAY Sports’ NFL experts: Which offseason move has made the respective team the most thankful? Just like side dishes on the plate of a Thanksgiving meal, one was more popular than the others.
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Dolphins: Trading for Tyreek Hill
The acquisition of Tyreek Hill. What a win-big scenario for Miami, which sent a package of five draft to the Chiefs in exchange for the dynamic wide receiver. Hill leads the NFL in receptions (81) and receiving yards (1,148), while igniting the No. 3 offense that has brought to life new coach Mike McDaniel’s X’s and O’s and Tua Tagovailoa’s talent. And by the way, the Dolphins (7-3) are in first place in the AFC East. Hill, aka “The Cheetah,” has splendidly transferred his game-breaking ability from Kansas City, always a threat to strike from anywhere on the field. And he’s rather thankful, too, given the four-year, $120 million extension he received from Miami upon his arrival. — Jarrett Bell
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Thanksgiving should be all about spreading the wealth – getting your fill but ensuring your neighbor does, too. In that spirit, surely Tyreek Hill has created the most to be thankful for in the NFL this season. The Dolphins star receiver is a major reason Miami’s offense has reached a new level, and he’s clearly helped third-year QB Tua Tagovailoa turn the corner. Hill still has a realistic shot at being the NFL’s first 2,000-yard receiver in a single season. The Fins also reside in first place in the AFC East and have to be considered a legitimate Super Bowl threat. As for the club that traded Hill, the Kansas City Chiefs? They’re doing fine, too, thank you very much. K.C. loosened its cap, picked up five draft picks (including a first- and second-rounder) and currently owns the league’s top-scoring offense and the AFC’s best record (7-2). Please pass the playoff berths. — Nate Davis
The most obvious answer is the Dolphins’ acquisition of Tyreek Hill. Hill has exceeded expectations ever since he was traded from Kansas City. Hill leads the league in catches (81), targets (106) and yards (1,148) through 10 weeks. The speedy wide receiver has vaulted himself into the MVP conversation and has made life easier for quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, who also finds himself in MVP chatter. Simultaneously, it’s had a domino effort on the AFC West. The Broncos, Chargers and Raiders are all thankful that they don’t have to deal with the fastest player in the NFL twice a year. The Chiefs are still the top team in the division, but they aren’t as explosive without Hill.
Miami’s extremely thankful to have Hill, and every team in the AFC West sans Kansas City is glad he’s in another division. — Tyler Dragon
No team is more thankful than the Miami Dolphins for signing Tyreek Hill to the richest contract for a wide receiver in league history this offseason. Because so far, he’s been worth every single penny, even at $30 million annually and $72.2 million guaranteed. Hill has rejuvenated the Dolphins franchise. He has inspired quarterback Tua Tagovailoa to be more confident about himself. He has elevated his teammates the same way. And he’s the NFL’s leading receiver by a wide margin. Hill’s presence in Miami has turned the Dolphins into a playoff contender. And any opposing team that sees Miami in the postseason won’t be excited to defend Hill either. — Safid Deen
Eagles: Trading for A.J. Brown
The obvious answer is Tyreek Hill, but I’ll zag with another receiver who moved east this offseason. A.J. Brown has given quarterback Jalen Hurts a deadly downfield option and, alongside DeVonta Smith, is part of a 1-2 receiver punch only the Dolphins can currently match. The ex-Tennessee Titan – traded on draft night for picks No. 18 and 101 – helped the Eagles to an 8-1 start with 44 catches, 725 receiving yards and six touchdowns (including three in one game). Brown suffered an ankle injury on the first drive of Philadelphia’s first loss of 2022 on Monday, and has been limited in practice this week.
Even at 25, Brown has emerged as a locker-room leader in his first season (of a four-year, $100 million contract) in Philadelphia. At the moment, that looks like money well spent. — Chris Bumbaca
Giants: Hiring Brian Daboll as coach
I’m tempted to say Tyreek Hill, for how his speed and vertical threat have opened up Miami’s passing game, but I’m going to go with the Giants tabbing rookie coach Brian Daboll to lead the franchise.
The reality is that New York’s roster has significant holes and lacks star talent at the skill positions, absent running back Saquon Barkley. Take quarterback Daniel Jones, who had a reputation for turning the ball over far too often. Daboll has worked with him to make smarter plays, rely on check downs, use his legs effectively and Jones hasn’t thrown an interception in the past six games, the longest streak by a Giants passer since Phil Simms was under center. Ultimately, Daboll is changing the culture and expectations in New York, and there’s no other person in the NFL who is doing more in a new environment. — Lorenzo Reyes