Andrew Ites 06 APR 2017
With almost all of the NFL’s big-name free agents signed and ready to start the offseason with their new team, it’s time to take a look at how every organization fared during the free agency period by grading each teams’ signings. Some, of course, graded much higher than others.
32. San Francisco 49ers: B
The 49ers came into this offseason with a ton of cap room and no quarterbacks on their roster. They signed two solid bridge QB’s from the Bears in Brian Hoyer and Matt Barkley while they look for their QB of the future. New GM John Lynch also added some much-needed talent to their skill positions with WR Pierre Garcon and FB Kyle Juszczyk.
31. Chicago Bears: C
The Bears missed out on a couple big-name free agents, and let all three of their QB’s from last season walk. They gave $15 million a year to untested QB Mike Glennon, which is a big risk for a player who was benched for Josh McCown. Their best signing was safety Quintin Demps, who earned a grade of 85.2 out of 100 with the Texans last season, according to Pro Football Focus.
30. Cincinnati Bengals: D-
The Bengals’ offensive line was a problem last season, and they made it even worse by letting their top two O-Linemen walk in free agency. They brought back tackle Andre Smith, who had a rough year with the Vikings, and re-signed six of their free agents this offseason, including CB Dre Kirkpatrick and WR Brandon LaFell.
29. Buffalo Bills: C-
Buffalo began the offseason by signing two Pro Bowl fullbacks in Patrick DiMarco and Mike Tolbert. The Bills brought in versatile defensive back Micah Hyde but failed to upgrade their receiving corps by only signing WR Andre Holmes from the Raiders.
28. Denver Broncos: C-
The Broncos were very quiet during free agency, only adding five new players to their roster. They made a minor upgrade to their offensive line by bringing in guard Ronald Leary from the Cowboys, but the rest of their signings were fairly uninspiring.
27. Cleveland Browns: B+
The Browns came into the offseason with the most cap room in the NFL, and they made good use of it. They’ve built a very solid offensive line by bringing in guard Kevin Zeitler and center J.C. Tretter. They gained a second-round pick by taking on Brock Osweiler’s contract from the Texans, and also re-signed LB Jamie Collins. Their most questionable move was letting WR Terrelle Pryor sign with Washington for only $8 million after a very promising season.
26. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: A-
Like many NFL teams, Tampa Bay had plenty of money to spend in free agency and they made a couple really solid moves signing DT Chris Baker and WR DeSean Jackson. Jackson will be a perfect compliment to Mike Evans in the receiving corps, and Chris Baker will make the Buccaneers’ defensive line one of the strongest in the NFC.
25. Arizona Cardinals: C
The Cardinals spent most of their cap room re-signing OLB Chandler Jones, who played very well in his first season with Arizona in 2016. They weren’t able to hold on to safety Tony Jefferson, replacing him with Antoine Bethea, and swapped LB Kevin Minter for LB Karlos Dansby.
24. Los Angeles Chargers: C-
The Chargers were able to keep two of their key defenders by franchise tagging OLB Melvin Ingram and re-signing safety Jahleel Addae, but they didn’t do much more than that. They signed Russell Okung to a monster four-year, $53 million contract after he was an average tackle for the Broncos last season.
23. Kansas City Chiefs: C-
The Chiefs didn’t have much cap room coming into the offseason, especially after re-signing safety Eric Berry to an enormous six-year, $78 million contract. Their only other notable signing was bringing in Eagles defensive tackle Bennie Logan to replace Dontari Poe in the middle of the defense.
22. Indianapolis Colts: B+
The Colts made a few low-key signings that should improve a defense that ranked 29th last season. Edge defenders Jabaal Sheard and John Simon will help against both the run and the pass, and Darius Butler is a solid addition to the secondary. They were also able to gain a fourth-round pick by trading away TE Dwayne Allen after re-signing TE Jack Doyle.
21. Dallas Cowboys: D
The Cowboys were another team that was lacking in cap room, which caused them to lose G Ronald Leary, S Barry Church, CB Morris Claiborne and CB Brandon Carr in free agency. The Cowboys re-signed WR Terrance Williams and RB Darren McFadden, and brought in CB Nolan Carroll from the Eagles, but lost much more than they gained. They also failed to gain anything in a Tony Romo trade after his retirement.
20. Miami Dolphins: D
The Dolphins re-signed Kiko Alonso and brought in Pittsburgh’s Lawrence Timmons, which will hopefully upgrade their LB corps. Their biggest impact signing, safety T.J. McDonald, will be suspended for the first eight games of his career in Miami. They also re-signed WR Kenny Stills, who had a solid season for the Dolphins in 2016.
19. Philadelphia Eagles: C+
The Eagles made some much-needed additions to their receiving corps in bringing in Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith. They brought in DE Chris Long from the Patriots, who should fit in better in the Eagles’ 4-3 scheme. Philadelphia’s most questionable move was swapping Nick Foles for Chase Daniel at the backup QB spot, which cost them millions in precious cap room.
18. Atlanta Falcons: C
The Falcons re-signed two key players from last season’s NFC Champion team: tackle Ryan Schraeder and CB Robert Alford. Atlanta beefed up their defensive line with their only big-time free agent signing DT Dontari Poe, who will need to re-gain his form of 2015 to earn his one-year, $8 million contract.
17. New York Giants: B
The Giants added a big target to their talented group of receivers by bringing in Brandon Marshall on a very affordable two-year, $11 million contract. Jason Pierre-Paul proved he can still be very effective after his fireworks accident and earned a huge four-year, $62 million contract. They also re-signed G John Jerry, who played well last season.
16. Jacksonville Jaguars: A
The Jaguars made two of the best signings of the offseason, beefing up an already impressive defense with DL Calais Campbell and CB A.J. Bouye. Jacksonville also brought in safety Barry Church, who played very well for Dallas last season, but can the Jags finally turn shrewd offseason moves into wins in 2017?
15. New York Jets: C-
The Jets didn’t think they had enough bad quarterbacks, so they added Josh McCown to take away reps from their young QB’s Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg. However, the Jets may have found a Darrelle Revis replacement in Morris Claiborne, who finally lived up to his high draft position with Dallas last season before getting injured.
14. Detroit Lions: A-
The Lions are another team that used free agency to build a very solid offensive line by upgrading at guard and tackle with the signings of T.J. Lang and Ricky Wagner for a reasonable price, replacing Larry Warford and Riley Reiff.
13. Green Bay Packers: C-
The Packers are notoriously quiet in free agency, but they did dip their foot in the water by signing tight end Martellus Bennett as a replacement for Jared Cook. They also added DT Ricky Jean-Francois as a solid run defender and re-signed OLB Nick Perry, but they lost G T.J Lang, C J.C. Trotter, DB Micah Hyde, DE Julius Peppers, DE Datone Jones, and RB Eddie Lacy in free agency. They have some work to do in the draft.
12. Carolina Panthers: C+
The Panthers kept their strong defensive line intact by franchise-tagging Kawann Short and re-signing defensive ends Mario Addison and Charles Johnson. Carolina also brought back a blast from the past in Julius Peppers, who is still a productive player, but lost Ted Ginn Jr. to the Saints.
11. New England Patriots: B+
The rich keep getting richer as the Patriots had a ton of cap room to spend this offseason. They signed CB Stephon Gilmore to be their new No. 1 corner and re-signed some key pieces of their defense in LB Donta Hightower, DT Alan Branch, and S Duron Harmon. New England gained a couple of weapons via trade in Brandin Cooks and Dwayne Allen after losing Martellus Bennett to the Packers.
10. Oakland Raiders: C
After a busy offseason before a successful 2016 season, the Raiders were relatively quiet in free agency this year. They brought in Jared Cook as an upgrade at the tight end position, added another weapon in WR Cordarrelle Patterson, and signed E.J. Manuel to backup Derek Carr.
9. Los Angeles Rams: B
The Rams made some major upgrades to their offensive line bringing in one of the league’s best tackles in Andrew Whitworth, and John Sullivan, who is a very solid center when healthy. LA also franchise tagged their No. 1 cornerback in Truman Johnson.
8. Baltimore Ravens: B
The Ravens will now have one of the league’s best safety duos after the signing of Tony Jefferson to go along with Eric Weddle at the back end of their defense. Baltimore also brought in RB Danny Woodhead and CB Brandon Carr, who will be solid role players on this team, but lost some key pieces of their offensive line in free agency.
7. Washington Redskins: B-
After losing DT Chris Baker and DeSean Jackson to the Buccaneers and franchise tagging Kirk Cousins for the second straight season, Washington made some very shrewd moves. They brought in safety D.J. Swearinger and LB Zach Brown to improve a defense that struggled in 2016 and signed Terrelle Pryor to a very affordable one-year, $8 million contract.
6. New Orleans Saints: B-
The Saints made their focus on improving the league’s 30th-ranked defense clear this offseason by signing LB Manti Te’o, S Rafael Bush, and LB A.J. Klein to go along with the re-signing of DT Nick Fairley and CB Sterling Moore. New Orleans also brought in G Larry Warford to make their offensive line one of the league’s best.
5. Seattle Seahawks: C
The Seahawks were in the running for guard T.J. Lang but had to settle for Luke Joeckel, who has been a major draft bust. Seattle did make a couple solid signings in bringing in safety Bradley McDougald and running back Eddie Lacy, who they hope will help fill the Marshawn Lynch-sized hole in the offense.
4. Pittsburgh Steelers: C-
The Steelers’ biggest move of free agency was franchise tagging RB Le’Veon Bell, who had an MVP-caliber season in 2016. Pittsburgh didn’t do much else in free agency as they re-signed the ageless wonder in James Harrison, who will be counted on yet again to provide a pass rush for this defense.
3. Houston Texans: D+
The Texans successfully got rid of Brock Osweiler’s ugly contract but had to part with a second-round pick in the process. They were extremely disappointed to hear of Tony Romo’s retirement as they may be forced to go into 2017 with Tom Savage under center.
2. Tennessee Titans: C+
The Titans improved a pass defense that ranked 26th last season as they brought in CB Logan Ryan and safety John Cyprien to upgrade their secondary. Unfortunately, the Titans have yet to address their issues at wide receiver, but they have plenty of draft picks to spend on that position.
1. Minnesota Vikings: D-
The Vikings have not had an impressive offseason so far, and you can read more about that here. They signed RB Latavius Murray as Adrian Peterson’s replacement, but he’s failed to gain more than 4-yards per carry the last two seasons. They desperately needed to upgrade their offensive line, but tackles Mike Remmers and Riley Reiff both struggled in pass protection last season.