2020 NFL free agency is well underway and so far there are a few examples of players reuniting with former coaches and execs on new teams.
Note – in parenthesis are the years each player played for the former/noted team
Buffalo “Carolina Panthers” Bills
Bills head coach Sean McDermott was the Panthers defensive coordinator from 2011-2016, before coming to Buffalo. McDermott works in tandem with GM Brandon Beane, who worked in Carolina’s front office from 2008-2016 (specifically as assistant GM in 2015-2016).
So it makes sense that the Bills would add players whom both men are familiar with. Guys like Mario Addison (2012-2019), AJ Klein (2013-2016), Vernon Butler (2016-2019), and Josh Norman (2012-2015). The latter three were drafted by the Panthers, specifically.
Those four join Star Lotulelei, a 2013 first round pick who has been in Buffalo since 2018.
Detroit “New England Patriots” Lions
Lions are in win-now mode to save the jobs GM Bob Quinn and head coach Matt Patricia. Their strategy to build the best roster is to add as many former Patriots as they possibly can. Quinn worked for the Patriots from 2000-2015, and has been Lions GM since 2016. Patricia worked as a Patriots assistant coach from 2004-2017, including serving as defensive coordinator from 2012-2017.
This off-season, the Lions have acquired three former Patriots – LB Jamie Collins (2013-2016, 2019), S Duran Harmon (2013-2019), and DT Danny Shelton (2018-2019).
Those three joins DE Trey Flowers, who joined the Lions in 2019 after winning Super Bowl XLIII, LB Christian Sam, and WR Danny Amendola.
Miami “New England Patriots” Dolphins
Hey, if you can’t beat em, be them. Dolphins are employing the same strategy as the Lions – they hired Brian Flores as their head coach in 2019. Flores won 4 Super Bowls as a Patriots assistant from 2004-2018.
Joining him in Miami in 2020 is center Ted Karras (2016-2019) and LB Kyle Van Noy (2016-2019). They join CB Eric Rowe (2016-2018).
Carolina “Temple Owls” Panthers
Panthers will enter 2020 with 3 former Temple Owls, who reunite from Temple’s 2-10 team in 2013.
Coach Matt Rhule coached Temple from 2013-2016, before moving on to Baylor. He went 28-23 and led the Owls to back-to-back AAC Championship Game appearances (lost both).
QB PJ Walker was signed out of the XFL, and he is expected to serve as QB2 behind new starter Teddy Bridgewater. Walker was a four-year starter for Rhule and Temple, throwing 20 TD and 8 INT as a freshman in 2013 and finishing his career with 74 TD and 44 INT
WR Robby Anderson had 20 TDs in four years with the Jets (including 11 the last two seasons. In 2013, he caught 44 passes for 791 yards and 9 TDs (all team-highs) from Walker as a freshman at Temple, playing for Rhule. In 2015, he had 939 yards and 7 TDs.
Las Vegas “Dallas Cowboys” Raiders
Long-time Cowboys defense coordinator Rod Marinelli left Dallas to join the Raiders as DL coach. With him, comes DT Maliek Collins, a former third round pick with 14.5 career sacks.
Also joining the Raiders are safety Jeff Heath and TE Jason Witten.