2019 NFL Free Agent Team Grades



You can access all individual NFL Free Agent Signing Grades via the link. Overall NFL Free Agent Team Grades will be posted below.



2019 NFL Free Agent Team Grades: NFC East

Dallas Cowboys: A
Acquired: WR Randall Cobb, DE Robert Quinn, DE Kerry Hyder, DT Christian Covington, S George Iloka.
Lost: WR Cole Beasley, DE Randy Gregory, DT David Irving.

The Cowboys were expected to pursue Earl Thomas in free agency, but the star safety signed with the Ravens instead. The Cowboys simply couldn’t afford the money Thomas was asking for, yet they were correct in not paying that price. There are just way too many quality safeties available to dedicate that much salary to them.

Despite not getting Thomas, the Cowboys had a solid offseason. They obtained two talented defensive linemen in Kerry Hyder and Christian Covington to replace the skilled front-line players they lost to off-the-field issues. The Cowboys also saw Cole Beasley depart, but Randall Cobb should be a solid replacement.

I’m giving Dallas a “B” grade for now. If the team signs a decent safety – there are some still available – I’ll raise this grade into the A-/B+ range.

Update: The Cowboys signed George Iloka, who is a decent upgrade. I’m going to bump this up to a B+.

Update No. 2: The Cowboys acquired Robert Quinn for basically nothing, so I’m going to bump this up to an “A” grade.

New York Giants: C-
Acquired: WR Golden Tate, OT Mike Remmers, G Kevin Zeitler, DE/DT Olsen Pierre, DE/OLB Markus Golden, S Jabrill Peppers, S Antoine Bethea.
Lost: WR Odell Beckham Jr., G Jamon Brown, DE/DT Josh Mauro, DE/OLB Olivier Vernon, CB B.W. Webb, S Landon Collins.

Dave Gettleman has done some good things this offseason. Turning disgruntled, aging edge rusher Olivier Vernon into Kevin Zeitler, a top-10 guard, was a sharp move. Vernon will be replaced by Markus Golden, who is a great bounce-back candidate for 2019. Gettleman also signed Golden Tate, who will be a reliable receiver for whichever quarterback the Giants draft over the next couple of years.

Despite the quality decisions Gettleman made, the Giants have to be graded poorly for what they’ve done this offseason. Dealing a top player at his position during his prime is usually a poor decision, unless there are financial or off-the-field considerations at hand. Odell Beckham has never gotten into trouble, so dealing him was not wise, especially when considering that the Giants did not get enough in return. Also, New York should have moved on from Eli Manning. Instead, the team will keep the decrepit quarterback for another season. This decision prevented the Giants from retaining Landon Collins, which makes me wonder if the Manning family has something on Giants’ ownership or management.




Philadelphia Eagles: A-
Acquired: QB Cody Kessler, RB Jordan Howard, WR DeSean Jackson, DE Vinny Curry, DT Malik Jackson, LB Zach Brown, LB L.J. Fort, S Andrew Sendejo.
Lost: QB Nick Foles, RB Jay Ajayi, RB Darren Sproles, WR Golden Tate, WR Mike Wallace, DE Michael Bennett, DE Chris Long, DT Haloti Ngata, ILB Jordan Hicks.

Another year, another strong offseason by Howie Roseman. The Eagles entered free agency with a lack of cap room, but that didn’t stop them from making some key acquisitions. The one everyone is talking about was DeSean Jackson, who is the first potent speed threat Philadelphia has had at the position since, well, Jackson himself. Jackson was acquired for nothing and will make Philadelphia’s offense more explosive.

That said, the “other” Jackson was the more-significant haul. Malik Jackson was a stellar defensive lineman for the Jaguars prior to 2018. He struggled last year, but should bounce back. If so, the Eagles will have one of the top defensive fronts in the NFL again, with Vinny Curry also returning. L.J. Fort and Andrew Sendejo were solid signings as well.

The one issue with Philadelphia’s offseason was the regression of the linebacking corps. Losing Jordan Hicks is a huge deal. Perhaps the Eagles will find a proper replacement in the 2019 NFL Draft. If not, they’re going to have major issues covering tight ends and pass-catching running backs.

Washington Redskins: C-
Acquired: QB Case Keenum, OT Ereck Flowers, CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, S Landon Collins.
Lost: WR Jamison Crowder, WR Maurice Harris, OT Ty Nsekhe, DE/DT Stacy McGee, DE/OLB Preston Smith, LB Zach Brown, S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix.

The Redskins made one of the most expensive signings in free agency, spending $14 million per year on Landon Collins. This, however, was not a very good move, as Washington could have retained a slightly lesser player at the position (Ha Ha Clinton-Dix) at a far less rate ($3.5 million in 2019). Paying lots of money to a safety seems like an egregious error that will hurt the team’s salary cap in the future.

Washington lost some key players as well, as Ty Nsekhe, Preston Smith and Zach Brown all departed. The Redskins didn’t really replace them, aside from perhaps Nsekhe with Ereck Flowers. On the bright side, the Redskins were able to find a capable veteran quarterback in Case Keenum to manage the team for practically nothiing. Remember, the Redskins were 6-2 when Alex Smith got hurt, so perhaps they’ll be able to duplicate that feat with Keenum.





2019 NFL Free Agent Team Grades: AFC East

Buffalo Bills: B+
Acquired: RB Frank Gore, WR John Brown, WR Cole Beasley, TE Tyler Kroft, TE Lee Smith, OT Ty Nsekhe, OT LaAdrian Waddle, G John Feliciano, G Quinton Spain, C Mitch Morse, C Spencer Long, OLB Eli Harold, CB Kevin Johnson, CB E.J. Gaines, S Maurice Alexander, KR Andre Roberts.
Lost: QB Derek Anderson, TE Charles Clay, TE Logan Thomas, OT Jordan Mills, G John Miller.

Buffalo’s primary goal entering free agency was obtaining as many play-makers and blockers for Josh Allen as possible. The Bills still have some work to do in that regard, but they’ve done a good job of accomplishing their mission.

Neither John Brown nor Cole Beasley are superstars, but they fit well into Buffalo’s offense. Brown is going to catch numerous deep passes from Allen, thanks to his blazing speed, while Beasley will be a reliable, third-down safety valve. Meanwhile, Mitch Morse offers a huge upgrade at center. Ty Nsekhe should offer better play at right tackle as well, though that’s not as certain.

I really like what the Bills did this offseason. Outside of the Tyler Kroft and Spencer Long signings – both of which were overpays – Buffalo made smart moves this offseason and should be much more competitive in 2019 as a result.

Miami Dolphins: F
Acquired: QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, RB Mark Walton, TE Dwayne Allen, TE Clive Walford, G Chris Reed, CB Eric Rowe.
Lost: QB Ryan Tannehill, RB Frank Gore, WR Danny Amendola, OT Ja’Wuan James, G Josh Sitton, DE Cameron Wake, DE Robert Quinn, DE William Hayes.

I get that the Dolphins are trying to tank for Tua Tagovailoa, but they could at least add some promising, young players who could help them in 2020 and beyond. This is just one example, but signing Blake Bortles over Ryan Fitzpatrick would’ve made so much more sense. While Bortles’ floor is much lower than Fitzpatrick’s, his ceiling is much higher. Bortles still has potential, though he’ll probably be terrible. That would just help Miami accomplish its goals, however.

The Dolphins have done nothing this offseason to help them for the present or the future. This is an easy “F.”




New England Patriots: C+
Acquired: WR Maurice Harris, WR Dontrelle Inman, TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins, DE Michael Bennett, DE John Simon, NT Mike Pennel, OLB Jamie Collins, S Terrence Brooks.
Lost: WR Chris Hogan, TE Dwayne Allen, OT Trent Brown, DE Trey Flowers, CB Eric Rowe, KR Cordarrelle Patterson.

The Patriots haven’t done much this offseason, but they were able to make two high-quality moves. The first was trading for Michael Bennett. They didn’t get much out of Adrian Clayborn, so Bennett, despite his age, should be an upgrade. It was nice that New England basically got him for peanuts. The second was signing Mike Pennel to a very cheap deal. Pennel is a premier run-stuffer and should’ve been able to obtain a better contract in free agency.

Outside of those two transactions, the Patriots made some small moves to obtain role players. However, they lost two big-time talents in Trent Brown and Trey Flowers. Aside from Bill Belichick and Tom Brady, Brown was atop the list of reasons why the Patriots were able to win their sixth Super Bowl, as he kept the elite Chargers and Chiefs edge rushers out of the backfield. Flowers, meanwhile, was the team’s best pass-rusher, and the defense wasn’t nearly the same when he wasn’t on the field (i.e. at Jacksonville and Detroit.) Losing those two players will severely hurt New England’s chances of repeating.

New York Jets: A-
Acquired: QB Trevor Siemian, RB Le’Veon Bell, RB Ty Montgomery, WR Jamison Crowder, WR Josh Bellamy, G Kelechi Osemele, G/OT Tom Compton, ILB C.J. Mosley, CB Brian Poole.
Lost: QB Josh McCown, RB Isaiah Crowell, RB Bilal Powell, NT Mike Pennel, CB Morris Claiborne.

The Jets had the second-most cap space in the NFL entering the offseason, thanks to their quarterback being on a rookie contract. They made good use of their available finances, obtaining three prominent players who will bolster their roster tremendously.

The biggest name of the three was Le’Veon Bell, who was signed for less than the Steelers offered him a year ago. Bell took a year off from football, so his legs should be fresh. His running and receiving ability will help Sam Darnold’s development tremendously. Kelechi Oseleme’s presence will aid Darnold as well; Osemele was banged up last year, but when he’s healthy, he’s one of the top guards in the NFL. Last and probably least, C.J. Mosley will be a terrific presence to help in run support, but was overpaid because he doesn’t do all that well in coverage.

Despite the Mosley overpay, the Jets had a very good offseason. They spent lots of money, but they were in a position to do so because of Darnold’s rookie deal. They’re much better right now than they were a month ago, and the 125:1 Super Bowl wager than Kenny and I have on them (via the video below) is looking pretty good!







2019 NFL Free Agent Team Grades: NFC North

Chicago Bears: C
Acquired: RB Mike Davis, G/C Ted Larsen, CB Buster Skrine, S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, K Chris Blewitt, K Eddy Pineiro.
Lost: RB Jordan Howard, G Eric Kush, CB Bryce Callahan, S Adrian Amos, K Cody Parkey.

The Bears had the top defense in the NFL last year, but the odds of that happening again diminished in free agency. Chicago took two downgrades in the secondary, going from Bryce Callahan to Buster Skrine and Adrian Amos to Ha Ha Clinton-Dix. The latter wouldn’t be such a big deal if Amos didn’t go to rival Green Bay. Clinton-Dix was a great bargain, but Amos is the better player. Meanwhile, Skrine is an atrocious slot corner who will be a severe downgrade from Callahan.

This was not a good offseason for the Bears. Again, the Clinton-Dix signing was tremendous, but Chicago suffered two downgrades and saw its arch rival improve at its expense.

Detroit Lions: C-
Acquired: RB C.J. Anderson, WR Danny Amendola, TE Jesse James, TE Logan Thomas, DE/OLB Trey Flowers, CB Justin Coleman, CB Rashaan Melvin, CB Marcus Cooper, S Andrew Adams.
Lost: WR Bruce Ellington, G T.J. Lang, DE/OLB Ziggy Ansah, DE/OLB Kerry Hyder, CB Nevin Lawson, S Glover Quin.

The Lions obtained three former Patriots this offseason, signing Trey Flowers, Justin Coleman and Danny Amendola. Flowers and Coleman are good players, but you have to wonder what Detroit’s plan is exactly. If it’s to win now, that’s not going to work, as there is too much money dedicated to Matthew Stafford, who isn’t an elite quarterback. If it’s to become like the Patriots, then that’s a mistake as well because New England has been a dynasty because of Tom Brady and Bill Belichick; not anyone else. And the last time I checked, the Lions don’t have Brady or Belichick.

Detroit will be more competitive in 2019 with Flowers, Coleman and Rashaan Melvin, but it won’t be good enough to reach the playoffs. In fact, the Lions are still probably the worst team in the NFC North. With that in mind, they should be tanking, rather than trying to scrape their way to an 8-8 record, which still may not be attainable.

Green Bay Packers: A-
Acquired: G/OT Billy Turner, DE/OLB Za’Darius Smith, DE/OLB Preston Smith, S Adrian Amos.
Lost: WR Randall Cobb, DE/DT Muhammad Wilkerson, DE/OLB Nick Perry, DE/OLB Clay Matthews, ILB Jake Ryan, CB Baushad Breeland, S Kentrell Brice.

The Packers have been very conservative in free agency, but those days are over. Ted Thompson is no longer the general manager, and that’s absolutely clear in the aggressive approach the new front office has taken.

Green Bay made three outstanding additions to its defense. The team struggled to get to the quarterback in 2018, and that appears as though it’ll be a thing of the past, thanks to the Za’Darius Smith and Preston Smith signings. Those were two key acquisitions, and yet neither was the best move Green Bay made this spring. That would be Adrian Amos, whom the Packers stole from the rival Bears. Amos will provide a much-needed upgrade to the secondary.

I’d consider grading this offseason as an A+ for the Packers if it wasn’t for the signing of Jody, I mean, Billy Turner, who was severely overpaid. Still, this was an outstanding free agency period for a Green Bay team going “all in” to win now, as Aaron Rodgers’ window is closing quickly.

Minnesota Vikings: D
Acquired: G Josh Kline, DT Shamar Stephen.
Lost: RB Latavius Murray, DT Sheldon Richardson, S Andrew Sendejo, S George Iloka.

The Vikings signed just one new player of note this offseason, Josh Kline. The former Titan guard thrived in the past, but struggled mightily in 2018 after signing a new contract. Kline should’ve been available cheaply, but Minnesota ended up overpaying for him. That’s not the end of the world, however, as the Vikings may just have obtained an upgrade to their offensive line.

Minnesota couldn’t do anything else because of Kirk Cousins’ obscene contract. The team lost stellar defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson, thanks to the Cousins deal. It appeared as though Anthony Barr would be gone as well, but the Vikings retained him. This was actually a bad decision, as Barr is miscast in the Vikings’ defense. He would be better off in the 3-4, where he can utilize his edge-rushing ability. By staying in Minnesota, his poor coverage skills will continue to be exposed. Barr should be a two-down player in a 4-3, so he’s been severely overpaid.

This was a poor offseason for the Vikings. Their roster has worsened, and yet they added two bad contracts to their payroll.


2019 NFL Free Agent Team Grades: AFC North

Baltimore Ravens: D-
Acquired: RB Mark Ingram, DE/OLB Shane Ray, DE/OLB Pernell McPhee, CB/ST Justin Bethel, S Earl Thomas.
Lost: QB Joe Flacco, WR John Brown, WR Michael Crabtree, DE/DT Brent Urban, DE/OLB Za’Darius Smith, DE/OLB Terrell Suggs, ILB C.J. Mosley, S Eric Weddle.

If this is what the post-Ozzie Newsome era looks like, the Ravens are in a ton of trouble. They lost some key veterans this offseason, and yet every significant player they signed was an overpay.

Earl Thomas was the big name, but he was given way too much money, given his age and poor durability. Better bargains were available at safety, including Eric Weddle. Mark Ingram was a slight overpay, but the primary offender in this category was tight end Nick Boyle, who was given $6 million per year even though blocking tight ends grow on trees. Literally. I’m looking outside right now, and the tree in my backyard has eight blocking tight ends on it.

Meanwhile, the departures are going to really hurt Baltimore. The defense will be far worse without Za’Darius Smith, Terrell Suggs and C.J. Mosley, while all of the talent in the receiving corps is gone. The Ravens are going to be far worse in 2019 than they were last year.

Cincinnati Bengals: F
Acquired: G John Miller, DE Kerry Wynn, CB B.W. Webb.
Lost: TE Tyler Kroft, OT Jake Fisher, ILB Vontaze Burfict.

I considered giving “F” grades to the Vikings and Ravens, but in the back of my mind, I always knew there was this. The post-Marvin Lewis Bengals are an abomination, as predicted.

Cincinnati spent its entire offseason paying tons of money to backup-caliber players. It’s been an absolute disaster. You can read more in my individual grades, but in short, the Bengals are on their way to becoming the perennial 3-13 Bungles once again.



Cleveland Browns: A+
Acquired: QB Garrett Gilbert, RB Kareem Hunt, WR Odell Beckham Jr., TE Demetrius Harris, OT Kendall Lamm, G Eric Kush, DE Olivier Vernon, DT Sheldon Richardson, OLB Adarius Taylor, S Morgan Burnett.
Lost: QB Tyrod Taylor, WR Breshad Perriman, TE Darren Fells, OLB Jamie Collins, CB E.J. Gaines, CB Briean Boddy-Calhoun, S Jabrill Peppers.

It’s hard to believe that just 15 months ago, the Browns were close to wrapping up an absolutely humiliating 0-16 season. Now, they’re legitimately considered Super Bowl candidates. It’s amazing how much has changed in such a brief period of time.

Odell Beckham Jr. is the most obvious reason why the Browns are expected to make a huge leap this season. Beckham is one of the top wide receivers in the NFL, yet the Browns obtained him for just two draft choices, only one of which was a first-rounder, and an above-average safety. Baker Mayfield played tremendously as a rookie last year, yet he didn’t have anyone nearly as talented as Beckham to throw to.

Beckham and Kareem Hunt will both provide explosive play-making ability, once Hunt returns from his eight-game suspension. Meanwhile, the Browns suddenly have one of the top defensive lines in the NFL, thanks to the additions of Olivier Vernon and Sheldon Richardson. The Browns gave up Kevin Zeitler, but they have faith in second-year blocker Austin Corbett to take his place. Richardson, meanwhile, was obtained reasonably. He and Vernon will take lots of pressure off Myles Garrett, who is poised for a huge 2019 campaign.

The Browns have enjoyed a truly amazing offseason. It’s difficult to grade what they did as anything but an A+.

Pittsburgh Steelers: B-
Acquired: WR Donte Moncrief, LB Mark Barron, CB Steven Nelson.
Lost: RB Le’Veon Bell, WR Antonio Brown, TE Jesse James, OT Marcus Gilbert, LB L.J. Fort, CB Coty Sensabaugh, S Morgan Burnett.

The narrative surrounding the Steelers is that they lost two of the top offensive players in the NFL this offseason, as Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown are now with the Jets and Raiders, respectively. As we all know, the media tends to be wrong about many things, and as a result, the demise of the Steelers has greatly been exaggerated. Pittsburgh still has Ben Roethlisberger, JuJu Smith-Schuster, a couple of talented running backs, a stellar offensive line and a potential No. 2 receiver in Donte Moncrief, who was obtained at a reasonable price.

Losing Brown will hurt for sure, but Pittsburgh was able to unload a troublesome locker room character and shed salary in the process, so it wasn’t all bad. Adding Steven Nelson and Mark Barron at reasonable rates were good moves as well. I would’ve liked to have seen the Steelers firmly replace Ryan Shazier, but perhaps the plan is to do that via the 2019 NFL Draft.

The media may not agree, but the Steelers had a fine offseason. The offense should still be potent, while the defense has improved in the wake of the Nelson and Barron signings.




2019 NFL Free Agent Team Grades: NFC South



Atlanta Falcons: B-
Acquired: RB Kenjon Barner, TE Luke Stocker, G Jamon Brown, G James Carpenter, DE Adrian Clayborn, DT Tyeler Davison.
Lost: RB Tevin Coleman, G Andy Levitre, G Ben Garland, DE Brooks Reed, DE/OLB Bruce Irvin, DT Terrell McClain, CB Robert Alford, CB/ST Justin Bethel, K Matt Bryant.

It’s difficult to like what the Falcons have done this offseason. They lost better players than the ones they obtained, so if coaching upgrades and players returning from injuries were to be excluded, it’d be safe to say that Atlanta wouldn’t be as good in 2019.

That, of course, is silly because of the sheer number of injuries to key players the Falcons suffered last year. Still, it was disappointing to see them barely do anything. They signed a couple of guards, but both Jamon Brown and James Carpenter are mediocre linemen who were slightly overpaid. On the bright side, the Falcons didn’t lose anyone overly significant, save for the ultra-clutch Matt Bryant.

Update: I’m bumping this up from a “C” to a B- in the wake of the Adrian Clayborn signing.

Carolina Panthers: A
Acquired: WR Chris Hogan, WR Aldrick Robinson, C Matt Paradis, DT Gerald McCoy, DE/OLB Bruce Irvin.
Lost: WR Devin Funchess, OT Matt Kalil, C Ryan Kalil, DE Julius Peppers, DT Kyle Love, OLB Thomas Davis, S Mike Adams, S Da’Norris Searcy.

The Panthers didn’t get much media attention for what they did in the offseason, but that’s usually a good thing. And in this case, it certainly was, as Carolina made three terrific decisions this spring.

With Ryan Kalil retiring, the Panthers had to replace their long-time center. They actually found an upgrade in Matt Paradis at a reasonable price. Elsewhere on the offensive line, Carolina re-signed talented, but oft-injured Daryl Williams to a 1-year “prove it” deal, which looks great on paper. On the other side of the ball, Bruce Irvin will fill a big need at edge rusher in Carolina’s new 3-4 defense.

The Panthers lost some well-known players like Kalil, Julius Peppers and Thomas Davis, but all three players were aging, declining veterans. Carolina is better off now than it was entering the offseason and didn’t hurt itself financially in the process, so a positive grade is warranted.



New Orleans Saints: C
Acquired: RB Latavius Murray, RB Buck Allen, TE Jared Cook, OT Marshall Newhouse, C Ryan Groy, C Nick Easton, DE Mario Edwards, DT Malcom Brown, CB Marcus Sherels.
Lost: OT Jermon Bushrod, C Max Unger, DT Tyeler Davison, ILB Manti Te’o, S Kurt Coleman.

The Saints had a mixed offseason. Beginning with the positives, Jared Cook will serve as a potent intermediate target for Drew Brees, which is something he hasn’t possessed since the Jimmy Graham days. The Saints were also able to retain their next potential franchise quarterback, Teddy Bridgewater, when it seemed as though he would sign with Miami. Defensively, New Orleans found a short-term replacement for Sheldon Rankins in Malcom Brown, a quality run-stuffer.

On the other end of the spectrum, the Saints uncharacteristically panicked when they received word that Max Unger would retire. They signed former Viking Nick Easton as their new center in response. Easton was horrific in Minnesota, so he was a clear overpay. Elsewhere, the Saints signed Latavius Murray when they could’ve kept Mark Ingram, a better player, for a bit more money.

The Saints had a middling free agency period overall. I’d probably grade them with a “B” or higher if it wasn’t for the Easton debacle, but that was a completely irresponsible move by a front office that usually makes good decisions.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: D+
Acquired: WR Breshad Perriman, G Earl Watford, NT Ndamukong Suh, DE/OLB Shaq Barrett, LB Deone Bucannon, S Kentrell Brice, P Bradley Pinion.
Lost: QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, WR DeSean Jackson, WR Adam Humphries, DE Vinny Curry, DT Gerald McCoy, LB Kwon Alexander, CB Brent Grimes, S Andrew Adams.

The Buccaneers didn’t do anything overly positive or negative this offseason, save for one thing. That one thing was one of the worst contracts of the entire free agency period.

I still don’t understand why Tampa gave Donovan Smith $41.25 million over three years with $27 million guaranteed. It would make more sense if the decimal points on both figures were shifted over one place. A $4.125 million deal with $2.7 million guaranteed sounds about right for Smith, who has been one of the worst left tackles in the NFL over the past several seasons. Smith hasn’t been motivated, so giving that much money to a lazy player seems like an insanely stupid decision.

The Buccaneers didn’t really sign anyone to improve very much; they added a couple of decent role players, but they also happened to lose some as well. The best player of the bunch, Adam Humphries, will be missed as Jameis Winston’s third-down safety valve. Thus, the overall grade has to be poor because of the severe salary cap ramifications that’ll happen in the future in the wake of the Smith contract.




2019 NFL Free Agent Team Grades: AFC South



Houston Texans: C+
Acquired: QB A.J. McCarron, TE Darren Fells, OT Matt Kalil, CB Bradley Roby, CB Briean Boddy-Calhoun, S Tashaun Gipson, S Jahleel Addae.
Lost: RB Alfred Blue, WR Demaryius Thomas, TE Ryan Griffin, OT Kendall Lamm, DT Christian Covington, CB Kareem Jackson, CB Kevin Johnson, CB Kayvon Webster, S Tyrann Mathieu.

The Texans had two tasks entering free agency: bolstering their offensive line and finding some help for their secondary. The first goal was not accomplished, while the defensive backfield saw some talented players entering and exiting Houston.

Beginning with the front, the only blocker the Texans added was Matt Kalil, who is one of the worst offensive linemen in the NFL. The secondary, meanwhile, will welcome Bradley Roby and Tashaun Gipson, but said farewell to Kareem Jackson and Tyrann Mathieu.

I’d say this was a fairly disappointing free agency period for the Texans. It doesn’t seem like they’ve improved at all, though I wouldn’t say they’ve gotten worse either.

Indianapolis Colts: B-
Acquired: RB Spencer Ware, WR Devin Funchess, DE/OLB Justin Houston.
Lost: WR Dontrelle Inman, WR Ryan Grant, G Matt Slauson, S Mike Mitchell.

The Colts entered free agency with the most cap space in the NFL, yet for a while, they didn’t do anything outside of ink Devin Funchess to a 1-year “prove it” deal. They re-signed their own players, but they didn’t make the big splash everyone was expecting.

That changed later on when they agreed to terms with Justin Houston. The former Chief is a declining player, but he can still be a potent edge rusher in the short term. Indianapolis sorely needed to improve this area of its roster, so Houston looks like an outstanding acquisition.

I like that the Colts were able to sign Houston and retain their talent, but why couldn’t they make some other moves? For example, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix received $3.25 million from the Bears. Why didn’t Indianapolis offer him $5 million? Perhaps Indianapolis plans to do something else with the $70-plus million it still has remaining to spend, but I just don’t see what that is at the moment.




Jacksonville Jaguars: A-
Acquired: QB Nick Foles, WR Chris Conley, TE Geoff Swaim, OT Cedric Ogbuehi, OLB Najee Goode, ILB Jake Ryan, ILB Ramik Wilson.
Lost: QB Blake Bortles, RB T.J. Yeldon, RB Carlos Hyde, WR Donte Moncrief, TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins, OT Jermey Parnell, DT Malik Jackson, S Tashaun Gipson, K Kai Forbath.

The Jaguars gained and lost two key players each this offseason, but the players they obtained will prove to be far more important than the ones who departed.

Of course, that’s because one of the new Jaguars is a quarterback. Nick Foles was the top signal-caller by far on the open market, and Jacksonville managed to obtain him. It could be argued that Foles was overpaid a bit, but the fit is a great one because offensive coordinator John DeFilippo used to be Foles’ quarterbacks coach in Philadelphia. Meanwhile, Jake Ryan was signed on to be a two-down run-plugger at linebacker.

The prominent ex-Jaguars in this exchange are Malik Jackson and Tashaun Gipson. Both players are very talented, but Jacksonville recently drafted players to replace them in Taven Bryan and Ronnie Harrison, respectively. If Bryan and Harrison live up to expectations as early-round choices, the Jaguars won’t miss Jackson or Gipson one bit. Thus, Jacksonville enjoyed a very lucrative offseason.

Tennessee Titans: A
Acquired: QB Ryan Tannehill, WR Adam Humphries, G Rodger Saffold, DE/DT Brent Urban, DE/OLB Cameron Wake.
Lost: TE Luke Stocker, G Josh Kline, G Quinton Spain, DE/OLB Derrick Morgan, DE/OLB Brian Orakpo, NT Bennie Logan.

Tennessee entered free agency desperately needing to upgrade Marcus Mariota’s blocking. Finding a receiver to complement Corey Davis was also a high priority, but making sure Mariota isn’t sacked 11 times in a single game again was more important than anything else.

With that in mind, the Titans made a very important signing by obtaining Rodger Saffold, formerly of the Rams. Saffold used to be frequently injured, but his durability has improved of late. If that continues, he’ll be a tremendous upgrade in the interior of the offensive line. Adam Humphries, meanwhile, will be a reliable, third-down safety valve for Mariota.

I love Tennessee’s offseason thus far. The two offensive upgrades will prove to be huge, while Ryan Tannehill will be a nice insurance policy, should Mariota get hurt again. The Titans overpaid a bit for Cameron Wake, but edge-rushing help was needed.




2019 NFL Free Agent Team Grades: NFC West



Arizona Cardinals: B
Acquired: QB Brett Hundley, TE Charles Clay, OT Marcus Gilbert, G J.R. Sweezy, C Max Garcia, DE Brooks Reed, DT Darius Philon, DT Terrell McClain, DE/OLB Terrell Suggs, ILB Jordan Hicks, CB Robert Alford.
Lost: QB Mike Glennon, G Mike Iupati, DE/DT Rodney Gunter, DE/DT Olsen Pierre, DE/OLB Markus Golden, LB Josh Bynes, LB Deone Bucannon, LB Gerald Hodges, S Tre Boston, S Antoine Bethea, K Phil Dawson.

It certainly seems as though the Cardinals will draft Kyler Murray first overall this April, so they need to make sure he’s protected as well as possible. Arizona added three offensive linemen, though two – J.R. Sweezy and Max Garcia – may not be starting-caliber players. Right tackle Marcus Gilbert definitely is, but he’s had issues staying healthy in recent years. It’s obvious to say that the Cardinals still have lots of work to do regarding their blocking, or lack thereof.

On the bright side, the Cardinals added some quality players to improve their horrible defense of a year ago. Jordan Hicks is an outstanding linebacker; Darius Philon is a young, emerging defensive lineman; while Terrell Suggs will add some much-needed veteran leadership to the locker room.

The Cardinals deserve a solid grade for their offseason thus far. They’ve done a good job of improving their roster, and the only truly negative move they made was overpaying the mediocre Robert Alford.

Los Angeles Rams: C
Acquired: QB Blake Bortles, DE/OLB Clay Matthews, S Eric Weddle.
Lost: RB C.J. Anderson, G Rodger Saffold, C John Sullivan, DT Ndamukong Suh, DT Dominique Easley, LB Mark Barron, S Lamarcus Joyner.

The Rams lost three very important players this offseason: Rodger Saffold, Ndamulong Suh and Lamarcus Joyner. They managed to replace Joyner with the cheaper, albeit older Weddle, but there are new holes on what some deemed the best roster in the NFL last year.

Los Angeles has a talented defensive line, so Wade Phillips should be able to plug Suh’s spot somewhat adequately. However, the Saffold departure will hurt. Jared Goff needs an elite offensive line; otherwise, he tends to melt down. Saffold’s absence will create a huge hole in the interior that will need to be addressed in the draft.

The Rams haven’t been able to counter these departures, outside of the Joyner loss. The only significant player they added outside of Weddle was Clay Matthews, who is a shell of his former self. Thus, the Rams’ offseason has to be deemed a disappointment at the moment.





San Francisco 49ers: B+
Acquired: RB Tevin Coleman, WR Jordan Matthews, G Ben Garland, C Wesley Johnson, DE Dee Ford, LB Kwon Alexander, LB David Mayo, CB Jason Verrett.
Lost: RB Alfred Morris, WR Pierre Garcon, P Bradley Pinion.

It initially seemed as though the 49ers made a couple of dubious signings, severely overpaying Kwon Alexander and Tevin Coleman. The overall numbers of the deals were absurd, but when the contract details were revealed, it became known that San Francisco made smart, financial deals with some players with upside. Alexander is oft-injured, but has plenty of potential. Coleman, meanwhile, has enjoyed success in Kyle Shanahan’s system in the past.

The other significant move the 49ers made this offseason was trading a 2020 second-round pick for Dee Ford. While Ford has some risk attached to him because he’s a 1-year wonder, he’s a former first-round selection with plenty of talent. San Francisco sorely needed to upgrade its edge rush, and it appears as though they have done so in the wake of the Ford trade.

With all that in consideration, the 49ers definitely improved their roster this spring. They did so without risking much for the future, aside from their second-round choice in 15 months. Their transactions should help them compete for the NFC West title.

Seattle Seahawks: C
Acquired: G Mike Iupati, DE Ezekiel Ansah, CB Jamar Taylor.
Lost: WR Doug Baldwin, DE Frank Clark, CB Justin Coleman, S Earl Thomas, K Sebastian Janikowski.

The Seahawks added just one new player this offseason, acquiring Mike Iupati. The former Cardinal used to be a talented guard, but injuries have derailed his career. Still, he was a nice signing, as it’s possible that he could get healthy again.

Seattle, otherwise, didn’t do much. It managed to re-sign talented linebacker K.J. Wright, but lost skilled slot cornerback Justin Coleman in the process. Earl Thomas also left, but that was expected.

There isn’t much to say about the Seahawks’ offseason. Given that they’ve barely done anything, I’m just going to mark them down with a “C” grade.


2019 NFL Free Agent Team Grades: AFC West



Denver Broncos: C+
Acquired: QB Joe Flacco, OT Ja’Wuan James, CB Kareem Jackson, CB Bryce Callahan.
Lost: QB Case Keenum, OT Jared Veldheer, C Matt Paradis, NT Domata Peko, DE/OLB Shaq Barrett, DE/OLB Shane Ray, LB Brandon Marshall, CB Bradley Roby, S Darian Stewart.

The Broncos could’ve opted for a full rebuild mode this offseason, but they’ve decided to attempt to compete for a playoff spot in 2019, as indicated by the Joe Flacco trade. The former Super Bowl MVP has been a shell of his former self for the most part over the past few years, but showed improvement last season until he suffered some injuries.

Denver must make sure that Flacco is well protected, which would explain the Ja’Wuan James signing. James will provide a huge upgrade at right tackle, but a big void at center was created as a result of Matt Paradis’ departure. At least the secondary improved; Kareem Jackson and Bryce Callahan are enormous upgrades to a defensive backfield that struggled last year.

While the Broncos’ defense will be much better in 2019, it’s difficult to say if the same can be said on the other side of the ball. Flacco is a clear upgrade over Case Keenum when healthy, but how long will it be until he’s injured yet again? I can understand Denver’s plan this offseason, but I wonder if the full rebuild should have been the strategy instead.

Kansas City Chiefs: C
Acquired: RB Carlos Hyde, DE Frank Clark, DE/OLB Alex Okafor, ILB Damien Wilson, CB Bashaud Breeland, S Tyrann Mathieu.
Lost: RB Spencer Ware, WR Kelvin Benjamin, C Mitch Morse, DE/DT Allen Bailey, DE/OLB Dee Ford, DE/OLB Justin Houston, CB Steven Nelson, S Eric Berry.

I had lots of hope for the Chiefs entering the offseason. I said on the WF Podcast that I thought the Eagles-Chiefs matchup was my early pick for Super Bowl LIV. After what has transpired this offseason, I’m far less bullish on Kansas City.

The Chiefs already had a poor defense, yet now it’ll be without its top two edge rushers, Dee Ford and Justin Houston, as well as solid cornerback Steven Nelson. Tyrann Mathieu’s presence will definitely help, but Kansas City’s inability to get to the quarterback will be a problem. Meanwhile, on the other side of the ball, Patrick Mahomes won’t have center Mitch Morse snapping the ball to him anymore.

I don’t like what the Chiefs have done this offseason at all. They were inches away from winning the Super Bowl – quite literally – yet, it now seems like they’ve taken a big step backward.

San Angeles Chargers: D
Acquired: QB Tyrod Taylor, LB Thomas Davis.
Lost: QB Geno Smith, WR Tyrell Williams, TE Antonio Gates, DT Darius Philon, DT Corey Liuget, CB Jason Verrett, S Jahleel Addae.

The Chargers added a new backup quarterback and a depth linebacker this offseason. That’s it. They lost far more than they gained, which would upset their fans if, well, they had fans.

That said, San Angeles didn’t really take a big loss outside of Darius Philon, a young, promising defensive tackle. Corey Liuget was once described as such, but he has suffered way too many injuries over the years. Cornerback Jason Verrett has been stricken with the same problem, while wide receiver Tyrell Williams is an inconsistent deep threat. In all, the Chargers haven’t lost much outside of Philon.

Still, this is a negative offseason for the Chargers. They had one of the top records in the NFL last year, but caught some lucky breaks. They’re now a bit worse than they were last year, so if the breaks don’t go their way again, they could end up missing the playoffs in 2019.

Oakland Raiders: B+
Acquired: QB Mike Glennon, RB Isaiah Crowell, WR Antonio Brown, WR Tyrell Williams, WR J.J. Nelson, WR Ryan Grant, OT Trent Brown, DE Benson Mayowa, DT Josh Mauro, ILB Brandon Marshall, ILB Vontaze Burfict, CB Nevin Lawson, S Lamarcus Joyner, S Curtis Riley.
Lost: QB A.J. McCarron, RB Marshawn Lynch, WR Jordy Nelson, TE Jared Cook, OT Donald Penn, G Kelechi Osemele, DE Kony Ealy, CB Rashaan Melvin, S Reggie Nelson.

The Raiders saw many players come and go in free agency this offseason, as Jon Gruden attempts to build his new team in his image. Of the 10 new Raiders, the three who stand out are Antonio Brown, Trent Brown and Lamarcus Joyner. All three are Pro Bowl-caliber talents who will make Oakland much more competitive.

Antonio Brown has his warts, of course. He was banished from Pittsburgh for creating problems in the locker room. He’s also a declining player. However, he was obtained for very little, and he could be motivated to prove the Steelers wrong. The other Brown, Trent is a very talented left tackle who shouldn’t see a decline like other former Patriots who leave New England, given that he thrived in San Francisco beforehand. Meanwhile, Lamarcus Joyner will provide an enormous upgrade in the secondary.

The Raiders lost some key players as well, namely Jared Cook, who was a reliable weapon for Derek Carr, and Kelechi Osemele, who was a great blocker prior to his injury-plagued 2018 campaign. However, this offseason was definitely a net positive for the Raiders, whose win total will surely increase as a result in 2019.



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