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2020 NFL Free Agent Team Grades: NFC East
Dallas Cowboys: B-
QB Andy Dalton, OL Cam Erving, DE Aldon Smith, DT Gerald McCoy, DT Dontari Poe, S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, K Greg Zuerlein.
WR Randall Cobb, TE Jason Witten, G Xavier Su'a-Filo, C Travis Frederick, DE Robert Quinn, DT Maliek Collins, CB Byron Jones, S Jeff Heath.
The Cowboys lost several key players this offseason, mainly on the defensive side of the ball. They saw their top cornerback, Byron Jones, depart for Miami. Dallas also lost two key defensive linemen, though Maliek Collins has been replaced by Gerald McCoy and Dontari Poe. Robert Quinn, meanwhile, could be missed, but Aldon Smith possesses a ton of upside. He once recorded 19.5 sacks in a season. He's been out of the league for a few years, but he has apparently turned his life around.
In addition to Jones, the greatest loss the Cowboys suffered this offseason was the retirement of Travis Frederick. Though Frederick wasn't quite the same since his return from the auto-immune disease, he'll still be greatly missed. He's someone Dallas will have to replace in the 2020 NFL Draft.
The Cowboys didn't have a very good offseason. They suffered regression at some positions, but there's some upside if Smith pans out. The Ha Ha Clinton-Dix signing also provided a nice upgrade at safety.
New York Giants: B+
QB Colt McCoy, RB Dion Lewis, TE Levine Toilolo, OT Cameron Fleming, DT Austin Johnson, DE/OLB Kyler Fackrell, LB Blake Martinez, CB James Bradberry, S Nate Ebner.
QB Eli Manning, WR Corey Coleman, OT Mike Remmers, DE/OLB Markus Golden, LB Alec Ogletree, LB Deone Bucannon.
The Giants' stock is pointing up. I had hope for them entering the offseason because Daniel Jones would have more experience, but the team had to address some big holes on the roster. General manager Dave Gettleman made a couple of terrific signings, bringing in James Bradberry and Blake Martinez to fix the cornerbacks and linebacking corps, respectively.
New York still has some work to do. The team must upgrade its offensive line and pass rush, plus find some more help in the secondary. It sounded like the Giants were interested in Jadeveon Clowney, but Clowney was asking for too much money. If the Giants find a way to obtain Clowney, this grade will soar into the "A" range.
Philadelphia Eagles: B
WR Marquise Goodwin, NT Javon Hargrave, LB Jatavis Brown, CB Darius Slay, CB Nickell-Robey Coleman, S Will Parks.
QB Josh McCown, RB Jordan Howard, WR Nelson Agholor, OT Jason Peters, OT Halapoulivaati Vaitai, DE Vinny Curry, DT Timmy Jernigan, LB Nigel Bradham, LB Kamu Grugier-Hill, CB Ronald Darby, S Malcolm Jenkins.
The Eagles lost several key players this offseason, including Nigel Bradham and Malcolm Jenkins. The latter, in particular, will be missed, as he was a vital part of a secondary that already had its struggles. Bradham's departure will also be very impactful because Philadelphia's linebacking corps is pretty dreadful at the moment.
There is good news, however, and that came in the wake of the Darius Slay trade. Philadelphia acquired a No. 1 cornerback from the Lions in exchange for two mid-round selections. This was a steal, and it'll help mitigate the Jenkins departure. Javon Hargrave and Nickell Robey-Coleman were also nice additions.
This seemed like a decent free agency period for the Eagles. They could have done better - the Jenkins loss will hurt, and no receiver was acquired - but they were able to add some nice talent to help them compete for the Super Bowl in 2020.
Washington Redskins: C+
QB Kyle Allen, RB Peyton Barber, RB J.D. McKissic, WR Cody Latimer, TE Richard Rodgers, G Wes Schweitzer, LB Thomas Davis, LB Kevin Pierre-Lewis, CB Ronald Darby, CB Kendall Fuller.
QB Case Keenum, RB Chris Thompson, WR Paul Richardson, TE Jordan Reed, OT Trent Williams, G Ereck Flowers, CB Quinton Dunbar, CB Josh Norman.
The Redskins had a particularly embarrassing moment in March when they traded away Quinton Dunbar, one of the top cornerbacks in the NFL last year, for virtually nothing. The Redskins did this because they didn't want to meet Dunbar's financial demands, which seems like a gross miscalculaton of his talents.
Otherwise, the Redskins did just fine in free agency. They added a couple of promising cornerbacks in Ronald Darby and Kendall Fuller, while linebacker Thomas Davis will provide some needed leadership in the locker room.
Washington can't be graded too poorly overall because it did some positive things, but the Dunbar trade is a huge blight on its offseason.
2020 NFL Free Agent Team Grades: AFC East
Buffalo Bills: A
RB Taiwan Jones, WR Stefon Diggs, OT Daryl Williams, DE Mario Addison, DT Quinton Jefferson, DT Vernon Butler, LB A.J. Klein, LB Tyler Matakevich, CB Josh Norman.
RB Frank Gore, DT Jordan Phillips, CB Kevin Johnson.
There aren't too many teams that had a better offseason than the Bills. The front office made some nice signings to bolster an already-stout defense. Obtaining Mario Addison and Quinton Jefferson will strengthen the pass rush, aiding a stellar secondary that didn't even need any help.
However, the big move this offseason was the Stefon Diggs trade. The Bills acquired a No. 1 receiver for a fair price to give Josh Allen all the talent he needs to make a huge leap in his third year. Additionally, Daryl Williams was acquired to improve Allen's pass protection.
Things are looking very bright for the Bills at the moment. Not only did they make some sharp transactions in March; they also witnessed the downfall of the Patriots.
Miami Dolphins: B-
RB Matt Breida, RB Jordan Howard, G Ereck Flowers, C/G Ted Karras, DE Shaq Lawson, DE Emmanuel Ogbah, LB Kyle Van Noy, LB Kamu Grugier-Hill, LB Elandon Roberts, CB Byron Jones, S Clayton Fejedelem.
WR Jakeem Grant, TE Clive Walford, G Evan Boehm, CB Aqib Talib, S Reshad Jones.
Thanks to the purge of their own roster last year, the Dolphins had tons of money to spend this offseason. Unfortunately, they didn't seem to use it very wisely at times, as they massively overpaid Byron Jones, Ereck Flowers and Shaq Lawson. Jones is at least a stellar player, but the contract they gave him - five years, $82.5 million - was far too much. I could at least understand the Jones deal, but the Flowers and Lawson signings were horrible. Miami overpaid for pedestrian talents, which was a big mistake.
That said, there were some positives this offseason. I liked the signings of Kyle Van Noy, Ted Karras and Emmanuel Ogbah. All three will help the Dolphins win more games in 2020, and at a reasonable price to boot.
While I didn't like the three bloated contracts, I can at least appreciate what the Dolphins have done this offseason. They're definitely better than they were in 2019, though that's not really saying much.
New England Patriots: F
QB Brian Hoyer, FB Dan Vitale, WR Marqise Lee, WR Damiere Byrd, DT Beau Allen, LB Brandon Copeland, S Adrian Phillips.
QB Tom Brady, WR Phillip Dorsett, OT Marshall Newhouse, C Ted Karras, DT Danny Shelton, LB Kyle Van Noy, LB Jamie Collins, LB Elandon Roberts, CB Justin Bethel, S Duron Harmon, S Nate Ebner, K Stephen Gostkowski.
"Lost: QB Tom Brady" really sticks out, doesn't it? Patriot fans knew this day would come eventually, but I imagine most of them believed it would be because Brady decided to retire. Instead, the Patriots simply didn't want Brady back, which seems like an automatic failure grade. Brady can still perform at a high level, and a Super Bowl victory would be possible with him. It's unclear why they were so eager to move on from him, but perhaps we'll find out one day.
Brady's departure wasn't the only huge loss the Patriots incurred. They lost most of their linebacking corps, as Kyle Van Noy, Jamie Collins and Elandon Roberts won't be back in 2020. Duron Harmon was also traded, though he'll at least be replaced by Adrian Phillips.
New England's offseason must be graded as an "F." Needlessly losing Brady is a huge blunder, and aside from Adrian Phillips, the Patriots didn't strengthen their roster at all.
New York Jets: B
RB Frank Gore, WR Breshad Perriman, OT George Fant, G Greg Van Roten, C Connor McGovern, LB Patrick Onwuasor, CB Pierre Desir.
RB Bilal Powell, WR Robby Anderson, OT Kelvin Beachum, OT Brandon Shell, G Tom Compton, CB Trumaine Johnson, CB Maurice Canady, P Laclan Edwards.
The Jets entered the offseason needing to improve Sam Darnold's protection. They made three transactions in an attempt to do so, and I like two of them. Greg Van Roten and Connor McGovern were nice, reasonably priced signings. I didn't like the George Fant move, which was a colossal overpay, but Fant has some upside at least.
New York had some other goals, namely upgrading the receiving corps and edge rush. That didn't happen at all, but given all the talent at wideout in the 2020 NFL Draft, I imagine the Jets will address that position at the end of April.
This has been a solid free agency period for the Jets. Despite the Fant blunder, they've made some upgrades to the offensive line, which will be imperative for Darnold's progression.
2020 NFL Free Agent Team Grades: NFC North
Chicago Bears: F
QB Nick Foles, WR Ted Ginn, TE Jimmy Graham, OT/G Germain Ifedi, DE Robert Quinn, DE/OLB Barkevious Mingo, CB Artie Burns, S Tashaun Gipson, S Jordan Lucas.
QB Chase Daniel, WR Taylor Gabriel, TE Trey Burton, DT Nick Williams, DE/OLB Leonard Floyd, DE/OLB Aaron Lynch, LB Nick Kwiatkoski, LB Kevin Pierre-Louis, S Sherrick McManis.
The Bears must believe it's 2015. Think about it, and it'll make sense. Nick Foles was considered a promising quarterback worth a big contract back then. Jimmy Graham was actually able to walk properly in that year. Robert Quinn was coming off a monstrous season. Germain Ifedi, Artie Burns and Barkevious Mingo were in the range of being described as hot, young prospects. If we were grading the Bears in 2015, they'd get an "A."
Unfortunately for the Bears, it's not 2015. They've taken on Foles' terrible contract and gave up resources to do so. Graham can't walk properly. Quinn is a known failure in the 3-4. And Ifedi, Mingo and Burns have all failed in the NFL.
I don't understand what Ryan Pace is doing, but no one should be surprised. This is the man who not only passed on Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson for Mitchell Trubisky, but traded up to do so.
Detroit Lions: C
QB Chase Daniel, WR Geronimo Allison, OT Halapoulivaati Vaitai, DT Danny Shelton, DT Nick Williams, LB Jamie Collins, LB Reggie Ragland, LB Elijah Lee, CB Desmond Trufant, CB Darryl Roberts, S Duron Harmon, S Jayron Kearse.
RB J.D. McKissic, TE Logan Thomas, OT Ricky Wagner, G/C Graham Glasgow, DT Mike Daniels, DT Snacks Harrison, DT A'Shawn Robinson, CB Rashaan Melvin, S Tavon Wilson.
The Lions need to reach the playoffs this year - or at least come very close - for the Lions' front office and coaching staff to keep their jobs. However, this crucial offseason saw them lose their top cornerback, as well as countless offensive and defensive linemen, so Detroit needed to replenish those areas.
I'd say the Lions did well to help their defensive front, bringing in Danny Shelton and Nick Williams. However, it seems as though the offensive line and cornerbacks were downgraded, which won't help Detroit win in 2020. However, the Lions were able to focus on the linebacking corps, signing Jamie Collins, who will be familiar with Matt Patricia's scheme.
Overall, I don't think the Lions did enough to help them reach the playoffs in 2020. Of course, that really hinges on Matthew Stafford's ability to stay healthy, which is a huge question mark at the moment.
Green Bay Packers: D
WR Devin Funchess, OT Ricky Wagner, LB Christian Kirksey.
FB Dan Vitale, WR Geronimo Allison, TE Jimmy Graham, OT Bryan Bulaga, DE/OLB Kyler Fackrell, LB Blake Martinez, LB B.J. Goodson, CB Tramon Williams.
The Packers made a massive spending spree in the 2019 offseason, so considering that, as well as the Xi pandemic, it's understandable that a publicly owned team would spend less money this spring. In fact, Green Bay brought in just three players, and one of them was Devin Funchess, so they really just signed two players.
The "big" signing was Ricky Wagner. The former Raven and Lion is a talented tackle, but gets hurt too often. He'll need to replace the San Angeles-bound Bryan Bulaga. It's unlikely that he'll be a quality substitute, and the same can be said of Christian Kirksey with Blake Martinez.
The Packers have to be graded poorly overall, as their roster has gotten worse this offseason.
Minnesota Vikings: F
WR Tajae Sharpe, DE Anthony Zettel, NT Michael Pierce.
WR Stefon Diggs, G Josh Kline, DE Everson Griffen, DT Linval Joseph, CB Xavier Rhodes, CB Mackensie Alexander, CB Trae Waynes, S Jayron Kearse.
Everyone makes mistakes, and yet most of those mistakes can be forgiven. What cannot be forgiven is failing to learn from these errors and compounding them with more blunders. That's exactly what the Vikings did this offseason.
Most fans and people around the league knew that signing Kirk Cousins to his fully guaranteed contract was an awful move, but the Vikings doubled down on it with an extension for Cousins this offseason. Because of the Cousins signing, they had to get rid of some talented players this offseason, and they managed to replace just one of them, as they signed Michael Pierce to take Linval Joseph's place.
The Vikings are far worse right now than they were last year, and they'll continue to struggle financially as long as Cousins is on the roster. Viking fans can only hope that the front office realizes that soon.
2020 NFL Free Agent Team Grades: AFC North
Baltimore Ravens: B
G D.J. Fluker, DE Derek Wolfe, DT Calais Campbell.
TE Hayden Hurst, OT James Hurst, G Marshal Yanda, DT Michael Pierce, DT Chris Wormley, LB Josh Bynes, LB Patrick Onwuasor, CB Brandon Carr, S Tony Jefferson.
The Ravens took part in three trades this offseason, obtaining Calais Campbell from the Jaguars and shipping Hayden Hurst and Chris Wormley to the Falcons and Steelers, respectively. Campbell is clearly the best player of the three, as he's a dominant presence on the defensive front. Despite this, the Ravens secured more draft capital for Hurst than they surrendered for Campbell, which is truly remarkable.
However, things weren't all positive for the Ravens this offseason, as a Michael Brockers signing of theirs was negated because of a failed physical. More importantly, future Hall of Fame guard Marshal Yanda retired. A big reason why Lamar Jackson had an MVP campaign in 2019 was because of his elite protection. That won't be the case in 2020, as Yanda will be missed.
If it weren't for the Yanda retirement, the Ravens would receive a high mark for their acquisitions of Campbell and Derek Wolfe, but the Yanda departure - as well as the failure to replace him - must weigh down this grade a bit.
Cincinnati Bengals: B
WR Mike Thomas, G Xavier Su'a-Filo, DT D.J. Reader, LB Josh Bynes, CB Trae Waynes, CB Leshaun Sims, S Vonn Bell.
QB Andy Dalton, TE Tyler Eifert, OT Cordy Glenn, DT Andrew Billings, LB Nick Vigil, CB Darqueze Dennard, CB Dre Kirkpatrick, S Clayton Fejedelem.
This was truly a bizarre offseason. A virus canceled everything, Tom Brady left the Patriots, and the Bengals actually spent some money.
Mike Brown is known as one of the cheapest owners in all of sports, so it was shocking to see Cincinnati sign so many players. The team even gave nose tackle D.J. Reader a $53 million deal over four years. I didn't fully agree with most of the signings, but I can't help but give the Bengals a decent grade for what they've done because they usually don't do anything.
Let's make it a "B" grade. I wish the Bengals spent more resources on the offensive line, but perhaps they'll do so in the 2020 NFL Draft.
Cleveland Browns: A-
QB Case Keenum, FB Andy Janovich, TE Austin Hooper, OT Jack Conklin, DE Adrian Clayborn, DT Andrew Billings, LB B.J. Goodson, CB Kevin Johnson, S Karl Joseph, S Andrew Sendejo.
OT Greg Robinson, G Justin McCray, LB Joe Schobert, CB T.J. Carrie, S Damarious Randall, S Juston Burris, S Morgan Burnett, S Eric Murray.
Cleveland's offseason got off to a rocky start when the team signed Austin Hooper to an expensive contract. Many praised this move because they were familiar with Hooper's excellent fantasy stats, but most of Hooper's production came in garbage time last year. It was a clear overpay.
However, I really like what the Browns have done otherwise. Their best move was signing Jack Conklin to serve as an enormous upgrade at right tackle. They also added some nice defensive pieces like Adrian Clayborn, Andrew Billings, Kevin Johnson and Karl Joseph for reasonable deals.
It looks like the Browns' new regime might just turn things around. The team still needs help on the offensive line and in the linebacking corps, so we'll see what they do in the draft.
Pittsburgh Steelers: C+
FB Derek Watt, TE Eric Ebron, C/G Stefen Wisniewski, DT Chris Wormley.
TE Nick Vannett, G Ramon Foster, C B.J. Finney, DT Javon Hargrave, LB Mark Barron, S Sean Davis.
The Steelers didn't do very much in free agency. They brought in a fullback, added a tight end who drops lots of passes, found a replacement for departed center B.J. Finney, and acquired a mediocre defensive tackle to replace a better one in Javon Hargrave.
That said, I don't think the Steelers needed to do much in free agency. They have an elite defense, while their offense will improve if Ben Roethlisberger is 100 percent. Perhaps Roethlisberger can even make good use of Eric Ebron, though I have my doubts.
2020 NFL Free Agent Team Grades: NFC South
Atlanta Falcons: B
RB Todd Gurley, WR Laquon Treadwell, TE Hayden Hurst, G Justin McCray, DE Dante Fowler.
RB Devonta Freeman, TE Austin Hooper, OT Ty Sambrailo, G Wes Schweitzer, DE Adrian Clayborn, DE Jack Crawford, DE/OLB Vic Beasley, DT Tyeler Davison, LB De'Vondre Campbell, CB Desmond Trufant, S J.J. Wilcox, P Matt Bosher.
The Falcons had a great finish to their 2019 season, going 6-2 down the stretch. They were able to add some pieces in free agency to help them parlay the second half of their year into a bright 2020 campaign.
The big name that sticks out is Todd Gurley. There's no doubt that Gurley is one of the most talented players at his position in the NFL. The major concern is how his knees will hold up, but Atlanta signed him to a cheap deal to mitigate the risk. Meanwhile, Dante Fowler, who blossomed into a devastating pass rusher in 2019, was added to improve the defense.
I'm not completely high on the Falcons' offseason, however. They gave up too much for Hayden Hurst, and they didn't replace Desmond Trufant. Still, I'm willing to give them a positive grade overall.
Carolina Panthers: F
QB Teddy Bridgewater, QB Phillip Walker, WR Robby Anderson, WR Seth Roberts, TE Seth DeValve, OT Russell Okung, G Michael Schofield, G John Miller, DE Stephen Weatherly, DT Zach Kerr, LB Tahir Whitehead, S Juston Burris.
QB Cam Newton, QB Kyle Allen, TE Greg Olsen, OT Daryl Williams, G Trai Turner, G Greg Van Roten, DE Mario Addison, DT Gerald McCoy, DE/OLB Bruce Irvin, CB James Bradberry, CB Ross Cockrell, CB Javien Elliott, S Tre Boston.
The Panthers had a great run under Ron Rivera, but those days are already long gone. New owner Bobby Axelrod has stepped in and already ruined everything.
It's hard to count how many blunders Carolina has been guilty of this offseason. The team destroyed its own leverage with Cam Newton when Axelrod said he wanted to get rid of Newton, so the end result was Carolina getting nothing for its franchise quarterback. The Panthers also traded talented guard Trai Turner for declining tackle Russell Okung. They lost multiple skilled offensive linemen and pass rushers, and they also said goodbye to their No. 1 cornerback without replacing him.
The Panthers managed to replace Newton with Teddy Bridgewater, but I think it's fair to be skeptical of the move, considering that Bridgewater won't have Sean Payton coaching him in Carolina. The Panthers also needlessly overpaid for Robby Anderson when there are countless tremendous talents available at the position in the 2020 NFL Draft.
This offseason has been a complete failure for the Panthers. They looked like they were tanking for Trevor Lawrence initially, but that was thrown out the window in the wake of the Bridgewater signing. Axelrod may never lose his billions, but he's well on his way to completely derailing the Panthers.
New Orleans Saints: A
QB Jameis Winston, WR Emmanuel Sanders, S Malcolm Jenkins.
QB Teddy Bridgewater, FB Zach Line, G Larry Warford, G Patrick Omameh, CB Eli Apple, S Vonn Bell.
The Saints signed just two players this offseason, but wow, they made them count. Emmanuel Sanders was a tremendous signing, as he'll finally provide New Orleans with a solid No. 2 receiver they've been seeking for a couple of years. Malcolm Jenkins, meanwhile, will be a huge upgrade in the secondary. He's a big problem-solver in what has been the weakest aspect of the Saints' stop unit.
New Orleans' offseason can be defined as short and sweet. Very sweet, that is. The Saints, by retaining Drew Brees and adding these two players, have continued to remain in the discussion as one of the teams that can represent the NFC in the Super Bowl. That is, of course, if they don't get screwed by the officials again.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: A+
QB Tom Brady, OT/G Joe Haeg.
QB Jameis Winston, RB Peyton Barber, WR Breshad Perriman, OT Demar Dotson, DE Carl Nassib, S Andrew Adams.
The Buccaneers made just one major signing in free agency, but they secured the crown jewel. They landed Tom Brady. If that's not worth an A+, I don't know what is.
And yes, Tampa deserves an A+. It signed Brady to a relatively cheap deal, automatically becoming one of the top Super Bowl contenders in the conference. The Buccaneers also did a great job of retaining some key players, including Ndamukong Suh, so I don't see anything worth criticizing.
2020 NFL Free Agent Team Grades: AFC South
Houston Texans: F-
RB David Johnson, WR Brandin Cooks, WR Randall Cobb, OT Brent Qvale, DT Timmy Jernigan, S Jaylen Watkins, S Eric Murray.
RB Carlos Hyde, RB Lamar Miller, WR DeAndre Hopkins, NT D.J. Reader, S Jaleel Addae.
Bill O'Brien is the dumbest person in the NFL, and yet he's running an entire NFL franchise. It's truly amazing that he has all the power in Houston. It's quite sad, really, as the Texans had the pieces in place to compete for a Super Bowl over the course of a decade. Instead, O'Brien ruined everything with nonsensical trades.
O'Brien's true masterpiece was created in March in what will go down as one of the most lopsided trades in NFL history. O'Brien dealt an elite receiver in his prime for a decrepit running back and a second-round pick. This itself was bad enough to warrant an "F" grade, but O'Brien also overpaid for Randall Cobb, who can't stay healthy either.
It's a shame that O'Brien has destroyed the Texans' franchise, but hopefully ownership will soon come to its sense and find a replacement for O'Brien.
Indianapolis Colts: A+
QB Philip Rivers, TE Trey Burton, DT DeForest Buckner, DT Sheldon Day, CB Xavier Rhodes, CB T.J. Carrie.
QB Brian Hoyer, RB Jonathan Williams, WR Devin Funchess, TE Eric Ebron, OT/G Joe Haeg, DE Jabaal Sheard, CB Pierre Desir, S Clayton Geathers, K Adam Vinatieri.
The Colts have one of the better front offices in the NFL, so it's no surprise that they enjoyed such a terrific offseason. They made three crucial moves that could help them compete for a Super Bowl in 2020.
First and foremost, they signed Philip Rivers. The long-time Charger struggled in 2019, but he played behind an offensive line missing three starters most weeks. He'll have much better protection in Indianapolis. The Colts also acquired DeForest Buckner via trade and Xavier Rhodes in free agency. Rhodes also had a down season, but he's set to rebound now that he's healthy. Buckner, meanwhile, is an elite defensive tackle who will bolster the defense as a whole.
Given that the Colts made some amazing transactions and didn't really lose anyone too important, they certainly deserve an A+ grade for their efforts.
Jacksonville Jaguars: B+
RB Chris Thompson, TE Tyler Eifert, DE Cassius Marsh, DE Aaron Lynch, DT Al Woods, DT Rodney Gunter, LB Joe Schobert, CB Rashaan Melvin.
QB Nick Foles, WR Marqise Lee, TE Seth DeValve, OT Cedric Ogbuehi, DT Calais Campbell, DT Akeem Spence, CB A.J. Bouye.
The Jaguars had already lost Jalen Ramsey and Telvin Smith from their great 2017 defense heading into this offseason. They continued to purge the roster, sending Calais Campbell and A.J. Bouye packing. Yannick Ngakoue could be next.
Something like this would ordinarily warrant a poor grade, but the Jaguars have a plan, which is "losing for Lawrence." They're attempting to put themselves into a position to select Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence atop the 2021 NFL Draft, which is a great plan (and one I have coming to fruition in my 2021 NFL Mock Draft
. Considering that, as well as the fact that the Jaguars were able to get rid of Nick Foles' horrible contract, I almost have to give them a decent grade.
Tennessee Titans: D
OT Ty Sambrailo, DE Jack Crawford, DE/OLB Vic Beasley, LB Nick Dzubnar, CB Johnathan Joseph.
QB Marcus Mariota, RB Dion Lewis, TE Delanie Walker, OT Jack Conklin, DT Jurrell Casey, DE/OLB Cameron Wake, LB Wesley Woodyard, CB Logan Ryan, CB Tramaine Brock, CB Tye Smith, K Ryan Succop.
The Titans made an unexpected run to the AFC Championship last year, but it's difficult to envision that happening again in 2020 after the offseason they endured.
Tennessee said goodbye to two of its better players this spring, as Jack Conklin signed with the Browns and Jurrell Casey was traded to the Broncos. Conklin's absence means Derrick Henry won't get great blocking again, while the Casey departure will have a huge, negative impact on the defense. Both players will sorely be missed.
Making matters worse, the Titans gave Ryan Tannehill an absurd 4-year, $118 million contract. Tannehill did a solid job last year, but what transpired was very fluky. I can't envision the same thing happening in 2020, especially with a worse supporting cast.
2020 NFL Free Agent Team Grades: NFC West
Arizona Cardinals: A
WR DeAndre Hopkins, NT Jordan Phillips, DE/OLB Devon Kennard, LB De'Vondre Campbell.
WR Damiere Byrd, TE Charles Clay, C A.Q. Shipley, LB Haason Reddick.
The Cardinals made one of the best trades we'll see in our lifetime, as they dealt a decrepit, injury-prone running back and a second-round pick to the Texans for one of the top receivers in the NFL. DeAndre Hopkins will help Kyler Murray's development immensely, so this automatically makes Arizona one of the winners of free agency.
I would've given the Cardinals an A+ if they managed to address their offensive line or defense more than they did. I liked the Devon Kennard signing, but De'Vondre Campbell doesn't really solve the issues the Cardinals had as far as covering the middle of the field is concerned. Still, this is something they can take care of in the 2020 NFL Draft with Isaiah Simmons at No. 8 overall.
Los Angeles Rams: D
DT A'Shawn Robinson, DE/OLB Leonard Floyd.
RB Todd Gurley, WR Brandin Cooks, DE/OLB Dante Fowler, DE/OLB Clay Matthews, LB Cory Littleton, K Greg Zuerlein.
The Rams handed out a pair of poor contracts recently when they re-signed Jared Goff and Todd Gurley. They began to pay the price last offseason when they failed to re-sign two starting offensive linemen. Things have gotten worse now, as the Rams had to say goodbye to some key defenders.
Cory Littleton emerged as one of the better linebackers in the NFL last year, while Dante Fowler also blossomed into the player the Jaguars thought they were getting with a top-three pick several drafts ago. They're both gone, and neither was replaced properly. With Wade Phillips no longer with the team as well, the Rams' defense will take a major step backward in 2020.
As for the offense, the blocking still hasn't been repaired. Todd Gurley, meanwhile, is gone. Gurley is a shell of his former self, but he was still better than Malcolm Brown and Darrell Henderson last year. Gurley is now playing in Atlanta, so the offense has taken a hit as well.
San Francisco 49ers: B-
WR Travis Benjamin, OT Trent Williams, G Mike Person, G Tom Compton.
RB Matt Breida, WR Emmanuel Sanders, WR Marquise Goodwin, TE Levine Toilolo, OT Joe Staley, G Mike Person, DT DeForest Buckner, DT Sheldon Day.
I can't grade the 49ers highly because they lost someone as great as DeForest Buckner this offseason. Buckner is one of the top defensive tackles in the NFL, so his absence will hurt in 2020.
That said, I was very impressed with what general manager John Lynch did concerning Buckner. Lynch was slated to lose Arik Armstead to free agency because of a tough cap situation, only netting a compensatory pick in return. Instead, Lynch re-signed Armstead and dealt Buckner for the No. 13 overall pick, so it was a great move because Lynch basically upgraded a third- or fourth-round compensatory choice into the No. 13 overall selection.
Otherwise, the 49ers didn't really do very much besides lose Emmanuel Sanders. I imagine they'll replace Sanders and Buckner with their first two draft choices.
Seattle Seahawks: B-
WR Phillip Dorsett, TE Greg Olsen, OT Brandon Shell, OT Cedric Ogbuehi, G Chance Warmack, C B.J. Finney, DE Benson Mayowa, DE/OLB Bruce Irvin, CB Quinton Dunbar.
RB Marshawn Lynch, WR Josh Gordon, OT George Fant, G Mike Iupati, G D.J. Fluker, C Justin Britt, DE Jadeveon Clowney, DE Ezekiel Ansah, DT Quinton Jefferson, DT Al Woods, OLB Mychal Kendricks, S Tedric Thompson.
There's one piece to the Seahawks' offseason puzzle tha hasn't been solved yet, which is what will happen with their edge rushers. Jadeveon Clowney is currently a free agent, but there's a chance he'll return to the team. If not, Seattle seems like a candidate that could trade for Yannick Ngakoue.
With edge rusher not being addressed, the Seahawks had a mixed offseason. They also didn't really address their offensive line, so Russell Wilson will once again endure poor blocking, pending what transpires in the 2020 NFL Draft. Losing Quinton Jefferson will hurt, too. On one hand, they stole cornerback Quinton Dunbar from the Redskins for a mere fifth-round pick. They also made a nice signing by bringing in Bruce Irvin.
I'm going to give the Seahawks a B- grade for now, but that could change depending on what happens with Clowney and Ngakoue.
2020 NFL Free Agent Team Grades: AFC West
Denver Broncos: A
QB Jeff Driskel, RB Melvin Gordon, TE Nick Vannett, G/C Graham Glasgow, DT Jurrell Casey, CB A.J. Bouye, P Sam Martin.
QB Joe Flacco, RB Theo Riddick, G Ronald Leary, C/G Connor McGovern, DE/DT Derek Wolfe, CB Chris Harris.
I love what the Broncos have done this offseason. The big name on the "acquired" list is Melvin Gordon. It was assumed that Gordon would sign for a big contract this offseason that would rival what Le'Veon Bell earned last spring. Instead, Gordon was added on very cheaply. Denver didn't need an upgrade at running back, but Gordon will provide a nice boost for the offense. Graham Glasgow will help the scoring unit as well.
As for the defense, it lost Chris Harris, but the Broncos made up for that by trading for A.J. Bouye. They also stole Jurrell Casey from the Titans in a lopsided trade. Casey will be a big difference-maker in the trenches to help Von Miller and Bradley Chubb.
There's no doubt that Denver improved its roster in free agency. It's all up to Drew Lock to make a big jump in his second year. If he does, the Broncos will have a great chance of making the playoffs.
Kansas City Chiefs: B
QB Jordan Ta'amu, TE Ricky Seals-Jones, OT Mike Remmers, DE Taco Charlton, CB Antonio Hamilton.
QB Matt Moore, RB LeSean McCoy, TE Blake Bell, C/G Stefen Wisniewski, DE Emmanuel Ogbah, DE Terrell Suggs, DT Xavier Williams, LB Reggie Ragland, CB Kendall Fuller, CB Morris Claiborne.
The Chiefs didn't really add anyone of significance this offseason. Their best acquisition was Mike Remmers, who will be a solid backup swing tackle.
With that in mind, this offseason was more of Kansas City maintaining its roster, which seems like a good strategy in the wake of President Xi's pandemic. The Chiefs retained most of their key players, save for Kendall Fuller and Emmanuel Ogbah. The team should be able to find replacements for those two players in the 2020 NFL Draft, so I'm down for grading Kansas City relatively favorably.
Las Vegas Raiders: A
QB Marcus Mariota, WR Nelson Agholor, TE Jason Witten, TE Nick O'Leary, G Eric Kush, DE Carl Nassib, DT Maliek Collins, DT Daniel Ross, LB Cory Littleton, LB Nick Kwiatkoski, S Damarious Randall, S Jeff Heath.
QB Mike Glennon, RB DeAndre Washington, G/OT Denzelle Good, DE Benson Mayowa, NT Johnathan Hankins, LB Vontaze Burfict, LB Tahir Whitehead, CB Daryl Worley.
The Raiders made numerous acquisitions in free agency, so there's a lot to unpack. The first thing that stands out to me is the amount of attention they paid to their linebacking corps. Oakland's linebackers had been hideous in recent years, but Las Vegas' will be far better. Cory Littleton and Nick Kwiatkoski will make for a terrific tandem, and both were acquired reasonably.
The next thing that stands out is the Maliek Collins signing. Collins was obtained very cheaply when considering how much upside he has. Collins should help the pass rush and thus will aid the secondary, which wasn't really addressed.
Finally, there's Marcus Mariota, who could become the Raiders' starting quarterback at some point in 2020. It would not be surprising if Mariota did to Derek Carr what Ryan Tannehill did to him last year. Carr is not a bad quarterback, but he's very sub par and has no upside. Mariota unquestionably possesses more potential.
The Raiders enjoyed a tremendous free agency period overall. They made a number of sharp moves, and they didn't really lose anyone of consequence, so I believe Mike Mayock deserves an "A" grade.
San Angeles Chargers: A+
OT Bryan Bulaga, G Trai Turner, DT Linval Joseph, LB Nick Vigil, CB Chris Harris.
QB Philip Rivers, RB Melvin Gordon, FB Derek Watt, OT Russell Okung, G Michael Schofield, DT Brandon Mebane, LB Thomas Davis, S Adrian Phillips, S Jaylen Watkins.
No one really cares about the Chargers, so hardly anyone recognizes how great of a general manager Tom Telesco happens to be. Telesco put together a masterpiece of an offseason that is worthy of an A+ grade.
The Chargers had three objectives this offseason: 1) Find a successor for Philip Rivers. 2) Upgrade the offensive line so that the rookie quarterback can have a chance to succeed. 3) Fix one of the worst run defenses in the NFL. Telesco didn't address the first objective yet because that will be fixed with the sixth-overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. However, he certainly made sure the other two were fulfilled. Telesco added two talented offensive linemen, Bryan Bulaga and Trai Turner, so either Tua Tagovailoa or Justin Herbert will be able to avoid the same trouble Philip Rivers endured last season. Meanwhile, Linval Joseph is the big body the Chargers needed to improve their run defense.
It's odd that I'm giving an A+ grade to a team that lost its starting backfield, but the Chargers will be so much better once their rookie quarterback is ready to play. Not only did Telesco fill dire needs with major upgrades; he also further boosted an already-strong area of the roster by adding Chris Harris. Though the secondary was already stout, Harris will give the Chargers a better chance of containing Patrick Mahomes, at least everyone gets tired and Mahomes takes over, of course.
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