This is my first time playing Madden in a handful of years. I lost my desire to pay $60 every year for nearly the same experience with updated rosters but I recently had a desire to grab the game. It may or may not have something to do with my favorite team (Carolina Panthers) becoming somewhat relevant in the last couple years, but the result is now I’m a proud owner of Panthers in a connected franchise.
The removal of the human element in these digital sports titles will always lead to some pretty interesting roster moves within seasons and Madden 2016 has provided me with some solid laugh-out-loud moments only halfway into the first year.
A few teams around the NFL have some interesting QB competitions at hand and Madden addresses them in oft hilarious fashion. For example, the Eagles only have Matt Barkley at starter with Tim Tebow as backup on the roster with Sam Bradford and Mark Sanchez both out for a few weeks due to injury, E.J. Manuel won out the QB comp in Buffalo, Johnny Manziel gets the start over Connor Shaw in Cleveland, and Ryan Mallet snatched the start for the Houston Texans.
In an interesting turn of events, the St. Louis Rams have Austin Davis starting over Nick Foles and Case Keenum. It also seems like EA Sports decided to dish out some digital karma, somehow having Tom Brady’s digital counterpart out for four weeks (the length of his pending NFL suspension) after suffering a forearm fracture in the 3rd pre-season game. Jimmy Garoppolo gets the start.
Some players that were grabbed in the Free Agency period this year were swiftly given walking papers in the Madden franchise. CB Walter Thurmond, signed in March of this year and locking up the backup Free Safety position in actual events, finds himself unemployed as the Eagles release him at the end of preseason. Eagles also dropped Kenjon Barner which definitely won’t be happening with the real life counterpart having an impressive pre-season. The Chargers also let go of Jacoby Jones following the pre-season, who was picked up for a 2-year deal in March this year.
Other notable releases having the Falcons parting ways with Devin Hester, the Raiders dropping the legend Charles Woodson, Texans releasing RB Alfred Blue and rookie Lynden Trail (whom I went and snatched up myself), and the Vikings cutting Matt Asiata.
The Colts lead the charge, trading a 4th round pick to the Patriots for RT Cameron Fleming. It’s no surprise the digital Colts recognize that their offensive line is shoddy and there will probably be more similar moves throughout the year. The Falcons took steps to improve the defense, trading a 2017 3rd round pick to the Eagles for defensive end Vinny Curry, and 2016 3rd rounder for 49ers LB Ahmad Brooks (which they’d regret in real life considering recent allegations).
Free Agent Scavenging
Character issues and proneness for injury doesn’t often weigh too often with the digital owners of NFL teams, so of course many teams snatched the high profile unemployed guys. The Ravens grabbed Wes Welker in week 2 of the preseason in exchange for dropping Darren Waller. The Texans grabbed WR James Jones for a 1 year deal. The Bills grab LT Jake Long to shore up the offensive line (wish I’d have grabbed him for the Panthers).
Ray Rice, Knowshon Moreno, Reggie Wayne (who just signed with the Patriots), and a few other notables remain unemployed at this point in the season.