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Madden NFL 15: Here's some highlights of the first offseason in Connected Franchise

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I think my favorite part of football might be what happens in the offseason. Players get traded, drafted and signed, and there's nothing but hope that your team can improve enough to win a Super Bowl next season. A rookie QB can lead to playoff appearances or set you back a few years. 

So when it comes to Madden, there's nothing like playing GM after the season is over. In my Connected Franchise in Madden NFL 15, I'm playing as the Denver Broncos. Week 4 rolls around and Peyton Manning suffers a broken collarbone. Now he's back during Week 13 and I'm sitting at 7-4 and third place in the AFC West. But even in the midst of a hopeful playoff spot run, I'm already looking toward the offseason. I simulated a season as the Dolphins without making any moves, just to see what to expect from the first offseason in Madden NFL 15

First, you can see the list of players who retired right HERE. Surprisingly, both Tom Brady and Peyton Manning are still playing. That said, there's some unexpected twists and turns in ratings and free agents. 

Here are the notable free agents by position, and the number to the right of the name is the overall rating for that player:

QB

  • Andy Dalton 83

HB

  • Demarco Murray 87
  • Knowshon Moreno 85
  • Shane Vereen 85
  • Steven Ridley 85

FB

  • Bruce Miller 94
  • David Johnson 91

WR

  • Wes Welker 94
  • Percy Harvin 91
  • Stevie Johnson 89
  • Pierre Garcon 89
  • Hakeem Nicks 88
  • Roddy White 88
  • Reggie Wayne 84

TE

  • Jermaine Gresham 85
  • Antonio Gates 81

LT

  • Tyron Smith 99

LG

  • Logan Mankins 85
  • Orlando Franklin 80

C

  • Mike Pouncey 86

RE

  • Jerry Hughes 92
  • Cameron Jordan 92
  • Jason Pierre-Paul 90

DT

  • Terrance Knighton 87

LOLB

  • Akeem Ayers 85
  • Bruce Carter 83

MLB

  • Brandon Spikes 90
  • A.J. Hawk 85

ROLB

  • Vontaze Burfict 87

CB

  • Brandon Flowers 90
  • Byron Maxwell 89
  • Brandon Carr 87
  • Prince Amukamara 86
  • Morris Claiborne 82

K

  • Phil Dawson 91

After free agency concludes, make sure to check what free agents are still available. You can find some real bargains, as some high-rated players don't get signed. In this offseason, a few marquee free agents didn't sign: Brandon Spikes, Byron Maxwell, Hakeem Nicks, Prince Amukamara.

What really boggled my mind is how ratings adjusted in the offseason. Since it's a quarterback-driven league, I'll focus on the QB position. Arguably the best two QBs in the NFL, Tom Brady and Peyton Manning, dropped in overall ratings. Brady dropped to an 81, and Manning to a 90. For comparison, Johnny Manziel was rated 82; so Manziel will be a better QB than Brady in a year? Brady isn't as bad as Joe Flacco, who dropped to a 77 overall. That's embarrassing. Colin Kaepernick was the highest rated QB in the NFL with a rating of 99! And Andrew Luck was just behind him at 97. Nick Foles came in at 90, Alex Smith at 89, Russell Wilson at 91, and both Kirk Cousins and Robert Griffin III were tied at 78. Blake Bortles was rated 78. 

If you're wondering about the first overall pick of the 2014 NFL draft, Jadaveon Clowney was rated 91. Teamed up with J.J. Watt, that's just scary.

I'd also like to point out that by the end of the offseason, the Browns had the following weapons for Johnny "I'm Now Better Than Tom Brady" Football: HB Ben Tate (80), WR Josh Gordon (95), WR Percy Harvin (91), and TE Jordan Cameron (87). 

You can read our full review of Madden NFL 15 HERE

You can follow Features Editor Lance Liebl on Twitter @Lance_GZ. Or you can email him at LLiebl@GameZone.com.

 
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Lance Liebl Gamer, Disney enthusiast, opinionated sports fan, movie buff, and a father of two. You can follow Lance on Twitter @Lance_GZ.
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