We are two weeks removed from the beginning of the legal tampering period, and for the most part, NFL free agency has been settled. Sure, there are still some impact veterans on the open market, but most teams have already spent a large amount of their cap space, and there is no way to know when Jadeveon Clowney, Prince Amukamara, Logan Ryan, Everson Griffen, and Jason Peters will find new homes. Today, we’ll recap and analyze each NFC team’s moves in free agency; we’ll highlight their best and worst moves, look at needs they did and did not address, while also giving them an overall grade for their free agency performance. We’ll go in alphabetical order by city.
Additions: WR DeAndre Hopkins (Trade-HOU), WR Larry Fitzgerald (Re-Sign), LB De’Vondre Campbell, EDGE Devon Kennard, OT Marcus Gilbert (Re-Sign), IDL Jordan Phillips, RB Kenyan Drake (Transition Tag), OT DJ Humphries (Re-Sign)
Losses: RB David Johnson (Trade-HOU), IDL Rodney Gunter (JAX), WR Damiere Byrd (NE), WR Pharoh Cooper (CAR), LB Joe Walker (SF), EDGE Brooks Reed, TE Charles Clay, IOL A.Q. Shipley
Remaining Cap Space: $14,383,375
BEST MOVE: Acquiring DeAndre Hopkins While Shedding David Johnson’s Contract
The Cardinals’ main priority this offseason was to supply Kyler Murray with a #1 receiver, as although they have plenty of depth at the position, the offense lacked a game-changing playmaker. Also, running back David Johnson’s $11.156 millions cap hit was a clear burden for them, so they definitely were looking to shed themselves of it. So, naturally, they cleared Johnson’s salary, and by doing so, they acquired arguably the best receiver in the NFL in DeAndre Hopkins. Hopkins is this offseason’s most impactful addition, and will elevate Arizona’s offense, while allowing them to go a different route through the draft. It may have taken a second-round pick to free themselves of Johnson’s salary, but instead, they sent that pick and Johnson to Houston for Hopkins, along with a fourth-round pick swap. This may be the most lopsided trade I’ve ever seen.
WORST MOVE: Most of Their Other Signings
The Cardinals got off to a great start by acquiring Hopkins, but, unfortunately, they didn’t really improve the team much after that. They fell into the trap of buying into interior defender Jordan Phillips’ 9.5 sacks last season, giving him a three-year, $30 million contract, despite the fact he’s never earned an overall grade above 60 from Pro Football Focus. Meanwhile, linebacker De’Vondre Campbell and edge rusher Devon Kennard are below-average players at their respective positions, yet the Cardinals are entrusting them to be starters for them. Heck, even transition tagging Kenyan Drake wasn’t the proper move, as head coach Kliff Kingsbury’s system is built for any running back to produce- it spreads out the defensive line.
TOP NEED(s) ADDRESSED: WR and OT
Obviously, when you add a player of Hopkins’ caliber, your receiving corps is going to be significantly better. However, I also liked what they did on the offensive line, re-signing two starting-caliber tackles in DJ Humphries and Marcus Gilbert. Assuming Murray takes the next step in his progression, this offense is going to be a lot of fun to watch next season.
TOP NEED(s) NOT ADDRESSED: Pass Coverage
I really want to be a believer in the Cardinals’ playoff hopes, but at the moment, they’re lacking defensive talent at all three levels. They’ve done little to improve upon their pass coverage, which graded out as the second-worst from Pro Football Focus, as they need help at cornerback, safety, and linebacker. Without a second-round pick, it’s going to be difficult for them to address these needs, which is why they needed to smarter about how they spent their money on defensively.
OVERALL GRADE: B+
The Hopkins trade was sensational, but outside of that, this was a weird offseason for the Cardinals. They spent around $45 million on three subpar defensive players, and, as a result, still haven’t upgraded their pass defense and don’t have the financial resources to do so. I’m really excited about how effective Kingsbury’s offense can be next season, but I still believe Arizona missed a prime opportunity to become a definite playoff-caliber team.
Additions: EDGE Dante Fowler, RB Todd Gurley, TE Hayden Hurst (Trade-BAL), IDL Tyeler Davison (Re-Sign)
Losses: TE Austin Hooper (CLE), CB Desmond Trufant (DET), EDGE Adrian Clayborn (CLE), EDGE Vic Beasley Jr. (TEN), LB De’Vondre Campbell (ARI), OT Ty Sambrailo (TEN), OG Wes Schweitzer (WSH), S Jonathan Cyprien, TE Luke Stocker, RB Devonta Freeman, RB Kenyon Barner, WR Justin Hardy
Remaining Cap Space: $7,530,188
BEST MOVE: Nothing
I really tried to find a positive from the Falcons’ offseason, but I simply couldn’t. I disagreed significantly with all of their moves, and do not like the direction they’re heading in.
WORST MOVE: Signing EDGE Dante Fowler and RB Todd Gurley After Their Cuts
The Falcons cut cornerback Desmond Trufant and running back Devonta Freeman in order to save around $8 million in cap space, yet spent three times that without getting better. Dante Fowler benefitted greatly from cleanup sacks/pressures in Los Angeles, and is a less valuable player than Trufant. Meanwhile, Freeman and Gurley are each running backs with injury issues, but Gurley is the more expensive option. Essentially, Atlanta paid extra to get worse, which I just can’t comprehend.
TOP NEED(s) ADDRESSED: TE and EDGE
The Falcons definitely needed an extra edge rusher, but they should’ve done so with a cheaper option, as they’ve made investments already in their front four, and it’s not like it was going to take much to upgrade from Vic Beasley Jr. Additionally, a second-round pick was pricey, but they did replace Austin Hooper with tight end Hayden Hurst, who actually may be an upgrade from Hooper based on his ability to win versus single coverage.
TOP NEED(s) NOT ADDRESSED: CB, WR, LB
The Falcons are fine at linebacker, but if possible, they could use another coverage player at the position. Where they need massive improvements, however, is at cornerback, as Isaiah Oliver is the only cornerback on their roster capable of starting. Rather than pay Fowler and Gurley $21 million, they should’ve been more aggressive adding multiple cornerbacks, and definitely should’ve retained Trufant. Also, Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley are a great receiver duo, but Atlanta runs a lot of 11-personnel, so they could use a third option in the passing game.
OVERALL GRADE: F
The fact that I listed the Falcons’ best move as “nothing” tells you all you need to know about their offseason- it was disastrous. They only addressed needs at non-valuable positions, while downgrading their pass coverage. They were in a tough position heading into the offseason, yet only made it worse. As far as free agency is concerned, it’s safe to say they’ve flunked the early stages.
Additions: QB Teddy Bridgewater, WR Robby Anderson, S Tre Boston, OT Russell Okung (Trade-LAC), EDGE Stephen Weatherly, LB Tahir Whitehead, WR Keith Kirkwood, WR Pharoh Cooper, OG John Miller, TE Seth DeValve, WR Seth Roberts, QB PJ Walker, S Juston Burris
Losses: QB Cam Newton, LB Luke Kuechly (Retirement), CB James Bradberry (NYG), OG Trai Turner (Trade-LAC), EDGE Mario Addison (BUF), TE Greg Olsen (SEA), QB Kyle Allen (Trade-WSH), EDGE Bruce Irvin (SEA), OG Greg Van Roten (NYJ), OT Daryl Williams (BUF), S Eric Reid, S Collin Jones, IDL Vernon Butler (BUF), IDL Dontari Poe (DAL), WR Chris Hogan, CB Ross Cockrell, IDL Kyle Love
Remaining Cap Space: $16,832,122
BEST MOVE: Their Reshuffling of The Offense
I’m a huge fan of the head coach-offensive coordinator duo of Matt Rhule and Joe Brady, and this offseason, the Panthers have done an admirable job putting together Brady’s offense. Brady, who is a Sean Payton disciple, needs an accurate, precise quarterback to execute his offense, and that’s not what Cam Newton is. Moreover, Teddy Bridgewater has experience running this type of offense, has upside/untapped potential, and only comes with guaranteed money attached to the first two seasons at a below-average rate of $42 million. This is also an offense that will use spread concepts, and between stealing Robby Anderson, while also adding Keith Kirkwood and Pharoh Cooper, Carolina has established a deep receiving corps for Bridgewater to utilize. Heck, even replacing guard Trai Turner with tackle Russell Okung is an upgrade, even though the trade initially looked like a poor move for them.
WORST MOVE: Signing EDGE Stephen Weatherly
Weatherly has been a below-average pass rusher for his entire career, yet, even if released after the first season on his two-year contract, he’ll cost the team $6.65 million. It’s a pretty small signing, but Carolina should’ve looked for a better edge rusher with a greater upside.
TOP NEED(s) ADDRESSED: QB, S, WR, OL
Bridgewater provides Carolina with stability, and maybe even a long-term answer at the position, while Anderson rounds out a very strong receiving corps; they even improved the offensive line. Defensively, Tre Boston is one of the more underrated safeties in the NFL, and he’ll provide tremendous value for the Panthers making just $6 million per year over the next three seasons.
TOP NEED(s) NOT ADDRESSED: Everywhere On The Defense Besides Safety
This offseason, the Panthers lost practically their entire front seven, in addition to cornerback James Bradberry. The only monumental loss is long-time linebacker Luke Kuechly, but still, their pass defense could be very poor next season if they don’t add some help at every level of the defense.
OVERALL GRADE: A-
Some have criticized the Panthers for not picking a direction, but although they’re not “tanking”, they’ve gone about their offseason the right way. With a defense as poorly constructed as it is, they aren’t going to win many games next season. However, Bridgewater, Anderson, and a revamped offensive line will allow Brady to not only implement his offensive scheme, but do so with success. Bridgewater probably isn’t their long-term quarterback, but they only signed him to a modest “bridge quarterback” contract, and I still expect them to pick high in the 2021 NFL Draft- they’re still probably a bottom-three team in the NFC, which means their rebuild is still intact.
Additions: QB Nick Foles (Trade-JAX), EDGE Robert Quinn, LB Danny Trevathan (Re-Sign), TE Jimmy Graham, OT Germain Ifedi, S Deon Bush, CB Artie Burns
Losses: S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (DAL), CB Prince Amukamara, LB Nick Kwiatkoski (LVR), IDL Nick Williams (DET), QB Chase Daniel (DET), EDGE Leonard Floyd (LAR), LB Kevin Pierre-Louis (WSH), OG Kyle Long (Retirement), WR Taylor Gabriel, CB Sherrick McManis
Remaining Cap Space: $21,798,587
BEST MOVE: Their Depth Signings
The Bears desperately needed depth at cornerback and on the offensive line, and to do so, they brought in a pair of former first-round picks. Artie Burns was an above-average cornerback in Pittsburgh for the first two seasons of his career, while tackle Germain Ifedi at times was a productive pass protector in Seattle. These aren’t flashy moves, but both, especially Burns, have upside, which is exactly what Chicago needed to be targeting when filling out their roster.
WORST MOVE: All of Their Free-Agent Signings
Similarly to the Falcons, the Bears saved $26.5 million in cap space by cutting Prince Amukamara, Taylor Gabriel, and Leonard Floyd, but they probably should’ve just kept the first two for a combined $13.5 million. Especially when you have an edge rusher of Khalil Mack’s caliber, who plays opposite of him shouldn’t be a major focus, yet the Bears gave Robert Quinn a contract worth $14 million per year. Even worse, Quinn has struggled as a stand-up rusher, which he’ll have to be in Chicago- he probably won’t even be that productive. Also, tight end Jimmy Graham has been a shell of himself for some time now, yet he signed for more (2/$16M) than Eric Ebron (2/$12M). Heck, even bringing back linebacker Danny Trevathan on a three-year, $24 million deal was a little pricey, considering they cut Amukamara to save around the same amount of cap space. The Bears acquired older players at less valuable positions, and, as a result, no longer have as well-rounded of a roster as they once had.
TOP NEED(s) ADDRESSED: QB, Depth
Chicago’s depth signings were nice, but ultimately, their offseason performance was going to come down to how they addressed the quarterback position. Personally, I believed that Jameis Winston and Andy Dalton were much better fits, but for just a fourth-round pick, Nick Foles should have success in Matt Nagy’s offensive scheme; it’s the same scheme he thrived in with the Eagles. As long as he starts in Week 1, he has some upside, though, unfortunately, the front office’s belief in Mitch Trubisky makes me a skeptic of them making the right choice under center.
TOP NEED(s) NOT ADDRESSED: Secondary
The Bears have two tremendous players in their secondary in cornerback Kyle Fuller and safety Eddie Jackson, but there aren’t any starting-caliber players besides them. They needed to, and still must find replacements for Amukamara and safety Haha Clinton-Dix.
OVERALL GRADE: D
Foles is a fine quarterback and a nice fit in Nagy’s offensive scheme, but he’s not the type of quarterback that’s going to win shootouts or elevate a team. Had this been the 2018 version of the Bears, that would’ve been fine, but as their pass coverage has been depleted of talent, they needed to take a chance on a player with more upside, such as Winston. Plus, their three other major acquisitions all didn’t make much sense, and overall, they failed to make their team much better. As currently constructed, they’re the frontrunners to finish with the worst record in the NFC North.
Additions: QB Dak Prescott (Franchise Tag), WR Amari Cooper (Re-Sign), S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, IDL Gerald McCoy, CB Anthony Brown (Re-Sign), TE Blake Jarwin (Re-Sign), IDL Dontari Poe, EDGE Aldon Smith, LB Sean Lee (Re-Sign), IOL Joe Looney (Re-Sign), S Darian Thompson (Re-Sign), K Greg Zuerlein, K Kai Forbath (Re-Sign)
Losses: CB Byron Jones (MIA), WR Randall Cobb (HOU), C Travis Frederick (Retirement), EDGE Robert Quinn (CHI), IDL Maliek Collins (LVR), S Jeff Heath (LVR), OT Cameron Flemming (NYG), OG Xavier Su’a-Filo (CIN), EDGE Michael Bennett, TE Jason Witten (LVR), WR Tavon Austin
Remaining Cap Space: $28,560,313
BEST MOVE: Signing S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix
The Cowboys have been looking for a playmaker at safety for years, and for just $4 million, they’ve finally found one. Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, as well as many other players at the position, has been overlooked, which is why he’s on his fourth team in three seasons. Yet, he has consistently produced in pass coverage, and should pair excellent with Xavier Woods at the back-end of the defense.
WORST MOVE: Re-Signing CB Anthony Brown
Brown has been an average player at best in Dallas, and seemed to fall out of favor last year. Plus, he’s more of a slot corner than an outside corner, which wasn’t a need with Jourdan Lewis on the roster, and there were plenty of better options on the open market. $15.5 million over the next three seasons is too much, as although they were right to address their pass coverage, needed to do so with more of a proven player.
TOP NEED(s) ADDRESSED: QB, WR, S, IDL
The Cowboys had three major free agents this offseason in quarterback Dan Prescott, receiver Amari Cooper, and cornerback Byron Jones, and rightfully prioritized them in that order. I’m guessing they’ll come to an agreement with Prescott on a long-term extension soon, and even though $100 million is a lot of money, Amari Cooper was more than worth it. Meanwhile, between Clinton-Dix and interior defender Gerald McCoy (3/$18M), they’ve added a pair of defensive veterans on very reasonable contracts.
TOP NEED(s) NOT ADDRESSED: CB, WR, TE, EDGE
Losing Jones opens up a major hole in the secondary, which means it would be a colossal surprise for Dallas not to select a cornerback with their first-round pick. Additionally, even though they brought back Cooper, they’ll need a new third option in the passing game after Randall Cobb left for the Texans, though it’s unlikely they’ll be able to do so at the tight end position. Also, this is a far less pressing need since they’ve already invested a lot in edge rusher Demarcus Lawrence, but they should be on the lookout for a serviceable player to line up across from him.
OVERALL GRADE: B+
Prescott still needs a long-term deal, but keeping Cooper in Dallas was a must, and they were able to do so- the wide receiver market is only going to go up. Add in their signings of Clinton-Dix and McCoy, and there’s a lot to like about how the Cowboys managed their tough situation. Now, the reason they’re in this position is because they unwisely spent big on Lawrence, running back Ezekiel Elliot, and linebacker Jaylon Smith, but as far as this offseason is concerned, they’ve done a nice job so far.
Additions: CB Desmond Trufant, LB Jamie Collins Sr., S Duron Harmon (Trade-NE), OT Hal Vatai, S Jayron Kearse, QB Chase Daniel, IDL Nick Williams, IDL Danny Shelton, LB Reggie Ragland, WR Geronimo Allison, S Miles Killebrew (Re-Sign)
Losses: CB Darius Slay (Trade-PHI), OT Rick Wagner (GB), OG Graham Glasgow (DEN), EDGE Devon Kennard (ARI), S Tavon Wilson, CB Rashaan Melvin (JAX), IDL A’Shawn Robinson (LAR), QB Jeff Driskel (DEN), IDL Damon Harrison, WR Jermaine Kearse, RB JD McKissic (WSH), P Sam Martin (DEN)
Remaining Cap Space: $31,369,450
BEST MOVE: Their Additions In The Secondary
If head coach Matt Patricia really wants to become the “Patriots 2.0”, then the Lions needed to be aggressive about adding to the secondary. Not only have they done so, but they’ve acquired three players at reasonable prices. Desmond Trufant (2/$21M) comes from a man-heavy scheme in Atlanta, which makes him an excellent fit, and is an above-average cornerback. Meanwhile, safeties Duron Harmon (late-round pick swap) and Jayron Kearse (1/$2M) were acquired for nearly nothing, yet are productive players that fill specific roles in Patricia’s defense. I expect Patricia to have an easier time implementing his principles into this unit next season.
WORST MOVE: The Mismanagement of The Offensive Line
I’ve liked what the Lions have done for the most part defensively, but their inability to properly assess the offensive line is concerning. They had two starting-caliber players in Graham Glasgow and Rick Wagner, and instead of retaining them, spent $10 million per year on Hal Vatai, who is both unproven and has struggled when he’s played. Considering that Matthew Stafford will be trying to come back from a back injury, he needs ideal protection, and I’m afraid he won’t be getting that with the way Detroit has put together the offensive line.
TOP NEED(s) ADDRESSED: Secondary Depth, Backup QB, IDL, LB
As mentioned, Trufant, as well as the two safeties they added, give the Lions much more depth in the secondary than they had last season. They weren’t done there though, as they also added depth along the interior defensive line with Danny Shelton and Nick Williams, while Chase Daniel is the perfect affordable veteran backup quarterback in case Stafford goes down with an injury. Lastly, the Lions have been searching for a linebacker/edge rusher hybrid in their scheme, which Devon Kennard couldn’t fill. With that, they signed Jamie Collins Sr. to a three-year deal, and although I have my concerns, he could definitely fill that role.
TOP NEED(s) NOT ADDRESSED: CB, OL
The Lions did add Trufant, but they also trade Darius Slay, which once again opens up a major need at cornerback. Slay clearly didn’t fit the scheme well, but it would have been ideal to keep him in the fold, especially since they only received a third-round pick and fifth-round pick for his services. Luckily for them, Ohio State’s Jeffrey Okudah is the perfect press-man cornerback for their scheme, which could explain the Lions’ motivation to trade Slay; still, keep an eye on Stephon Gilmore in New England, who also could eventually become available via trade. After cornerback, Detroit certainly needs to improve the offensive line, which needs help as both guard spots even if Vatai is considered a starting right tackle.
OVERALL GRADE: C
The Lions had a very fascinating offseason, as for every smart signing they made, they seemed to balance it out with a puzzling move. Even with Slay traded, I expect the defense to be better, assuming they draft Okudah, and the depth they’ve added on both sides of the ball is important. Still, it’s concerning how thin they’ve become on the offensive line, and overall, I’m not sure there’s more talent on the roster than last season.
Green Bay Packers
Additions: OT Rick Wagner, LB Christian Kirksey, WR Devin Funchess, TE Mercedes Lewis (Re-Sign)
Losses: OT Bryan Bulaga (LAC), CB Tramon Williams, EDGE Kyle Fackrell (NYG), TE Jimmy Graham (CHI), LB Blake Martinez (NYG), WR Geronimo Allison (DET), OT Jared Veldheer
Remaining Cap Space: $12,996,433
BEST MOVE: Signing OT Rick Wagner
At the start of free agency, the Packers had no way to know that Bryan Bulaga would only cost $10 million per season to retain, given how high of a demand teams have for starting tackles. Therefore, I still agree with their decision to move quickly to find his replacement, as Rick Wagner is a solid pass protector, and will cost nearly half the price (2/$11M). Therefore, Green Bay prevented there from being any weak link on the offensive line, but didn’t overspend; that’s important, given their limited cap space.
WORST MOVE: Signing LB Christian Kirksey
Coming into the offseason, it was expected that the Packers would sign a linebacker. However, rather than going for a much more productive player, such as Cory Littleton, or a budget option like Josh Bynes, they brought in Christian Kirksey on what will either be a one-year, $6.125 million deal, or a a two-year pact worth $12.5 million. Considering that the 27-year-old has only played 586 combined snaps over the past two seasons, and has been a below-average player, it’s confusing why Green Bay was so adamant on bringing him in- I don’t believe he stabilizes the linebacker position at all.
TOP NEED(s) ADDRESSED: OT
The Packers didn’t make many moves in free agency, so signing Wagner to replace Bulaga was the only example of them filling a need.
TOP NEED(s) NOT ADDRESSED: WR, LB, CB, TE
Even though Green Bay didn’t fill many needs in free agency, it’s not as though they have a flawless roster. They don’t just need one impact receiver, but two, considering that Davante Adams is their only starting-caliber player at the position, while a field-stretching tight end like Eric Ebron could’ve really helped Aaron Rodgers. Defensively, I just don’t see Kirksey as an actual solution to their problems at linebacker, while they quietly still need some more cornerback depth- Kevin King hasn’t proven himself yet as the team’s #2 cornerback.
OVERALL GRADE: C-
You never want to fault a team too much from not spending much in free agency; oftentimes, teams with holes to fill overspend and hurt their long-term outlook. However, Green Bay failed to even add low-cost budget options with upside, and now, have too many needs remaining heading into the draft. They had a chance to assert themselves as the clear-cut favorites in the NFC North, but instead, may enter next season with the same flaws on both sides of the football.
Los Angeles Rams
Additions: OT Andrew Whitworth (Re-Sign), IDL Michael Brockers (Re-Sign), EDGE Leonard Floyd, IDL A’Shawn Robinson, IOL Austin Blythe (Re-Sign)
Losses: LB Cory Littleton (LVR), CB Nickell Robey-Coleman (PHI), EDGE Dante Fowler Jr. (ATL), S Eric Weddle (Retirement), QB Blake Bortles, EDGE Clay Matthews, K Greg Zuerlein (DAL)
Remaining Cap Space: $16,357,084
BEST MOVE: Re-Signing OT Andrew Whitworth
The Rams graded out as the fourth-worst pass-blocking offensive line last season, per Pro Football Focus, so the last thing they needed was to lose their only above-average offensive lineman. However, they don’t have to worry about that, as they were able to retain tackle Andrew Whitworth on a three-year deal worth $30 million, which is a modest amount for a player of his caliber- only $12 million is guaranteed. Los Angeles still has a lot of work to do upgrading in the offensive trenches, but Whitworth was easily their most critical addition.
WORST MOVE: Everything Else
Not only have the Rams put themselves in a rough state with little cap space and no first-round pick for the next two seasons, but they only made matters worse this offseason. Between Michael Brockers, Leonard Floyd, and A’Shawn Robinson, they’ll be spending around $27 million on three run stoppers, which is a clear lack of oversight with positional value. That’s especially true when considering they felt the need to save $5 million bu cutting one of the premier slot cornerbacks in Nickell Robey-Coleman, while they let linebacker Corey Littleton at a price (3/$35.5M) they clearly could’ve paid.
TOP NEED(s) ADDRESSED: OT
Ironically, despite signing those three defensive players, I’m not sure the Rams got better defensively, as run-stuffing players in the front seven was not something I saw as a need for them. However, as mentioned, they desperately needed to keep Whitworth, so at least they should get competent play from their tackles.
TOP NEED(s) NOT ADDRESSED: IOL, Pass Defense
As things currently stand, the Rams don’t have a starting-caliber player at any of the three interior offensive line spots, which is extremely alarming- the offensive line was a major reason why they regressed last season. Also, after losing Robey-Coleman and Littleton, the team’s pass defense needs help; they don’t have a starting linebacker, must find more depth at cornerback, and still don’t have much of an edge rush.
OVERALL GRADE: D-
If it weren’t for them signing Whitworth, the Rams would’ve completely failed this free agency period. Run defense is definitely not where they needed to get better, but they did so at the expense of their pass defense, while they opted not to improve their offensive line. General manager Les Snead continues to hamper the team’s short-term and long-term future; as the rest of the division got better, they only dug themselves in a deeper hole.
Additions: QB Kirk Cousins (Extension), S Anthony Harris (Franchise Tag), IDL Michael Pierce, WR Tajae Sharpe, LB Eric Wilson (Re-Sign), OT Rashod Hill (Re-Sign), FB CJ Ham (Re-Sign), RB Ameer Abdullah (Re-Sign), QB Sean Mannion (Re-Sign), K Dan Bailey (Re-Sign)
Losses: WR Stefon Diggs (Trade-BUF), CB Trae Waynes (CIN), EDGE Everson Griffen, CB Mackenzie Alexander (CIN), S Jayron Kearse (DET), EDGE Stephon Weatherly (CAR), OG Josh Kline, S Andrew Sendejo (CLE), CB Xavier Rhodes (IND), IDL Linval Joseph (LAC), WR Laquon Treadwell (ATL)
Remaining Cap Space: $12,495,433
BEST MOVE: Signing WR Tajae Sharpe
The Vikings were in desperate need of any receiver, and they got an absolute steal in Tajae Sharpe, who signed with them for just over $1 million. In a similar style offense in Tennessee, he had a career year last season, and is a serviceable third option in the passing game. From a pure value perspective, this one stands out as a positive for them.
WORST MOVE: Not Having Any Sort Of Direction or Understanding Of Positional Value With Their Moves
The Vikings didn’t just make one poor decision this offseason, but continuously compounded it with even worse moves. When they extending quarterback Kirk Cousins on a three-year, $96 million extension that cleared enough cap space for them to tag star safety Anthony Harris, they appeared committed to winning in the 2020 season; even then, Cousins’ $45 million cap hit in 2022 is brutal. Then, however, they traded star receiver Stefon Diggs for a first-round pick, along with some late-round picks, which just doesn’t make sense. After all, they’re now almost forced into drafting a receiver in the first round anyway, and trading him only saved $9 million in cap space. So, what did they used that extra cap space on? A run-stuffing nose tackle in Michael Pierce, who has as replaceable of a skillset (run defense w/little pass rush) as you can have. It gets better; they signed their fullback and punter to contracts worth around $4 million per year, yet claimed that they couldn’t pay the same amount for a talented slot corner in Mackenzie Alexander. Simply put, practically every move Minnesota made this offseason was disastrous.
TOP NEED(s) ADDRESSED: S
It was expected that the Vikings would lose Harris this offseason, so franchise-tagging him keeps in place one of the top safety tandems in the NFL with him and Harrison Smith.
TOP NEED(s) NOT ADDRESSED: CB, WR, IOL, Pass Rush
Minnesota has an excellent safety duo, but it won’t matter with their current cornerback situation. They didn’t have a single cornerback even earn a 65 coverage grade from Pro Football Focus last year, and lost a lot of depth between Alexander and Trae Waynes. Furthermore, when you trade away one of the most well-rounded receivers in the NFL, you’re obviously going to have a major need at wide receiver, which is exactly why the Diggs trade was pointless for Minnesota. There’s more, however, as Minnesota’s interior offensive line needs multiple new starters, and between the interior defensive line, along with edge rusher, they have no sort of pass rush threat outside of Danielle Hunter.
OVERALL GRADE: F
What are the Vikings trying to accomplish? If they’re trying to win, trading an elite receiver to re-sign your fullback and punter, along with a nose tackle, isn’t the way to do it. Meanwhile, if they’re trying to rebuild, then there’s no reason to sign Cousins to a massive extension, as all it did was open up immediate cap space for them. The Texans are getting a lot of attention for having a putrid free agency period, but Minnesota is right up there with them- I don’t see them having a winning record next season, and I definitely don’t trust them to do much with their two first-round picks.
New Orleans Saints
Additions: QB Drew Brees (Re-Sign), WR Emmanuel Sanders, S Malcolm Jenkins, CB Janoris Jenkins (Extension), IDL David Onyemata (Re-Sign), OG Andrus Peat (Re-Sign), QB/UTILITY Taysom Hill (RFA Tender), S DJ Swearinger (Re-Sign), CB PJ Williams (Re-Sign)
Losses: QB Teddy Bridgewater (CAR), S Vonn Bell (CIN), CB Eli Apple, LB AJ Klein (BUF), WR Ted Ginn Jr.
Remaining Cap Space: $9,237,537
BEST MOVE: Signing WR Emmanuel Sanders
A major reason the Saints came up short again last season was their lack of a receiving threat outside of Michael Thomas- they were a team that wasn’t the same against man-heavy teams last season. It didn’t look like they were going to be able to sign a receiver, yet somehow, they managed to accumulate the funds necessary to sign Emmanuel Sanders. The 33-year-old Sanders’ route-running, ability to play outside or in the slot, as well as his abilities as an occasional deep threat, mesh perfectly with New Orleans; he should develop an instant connection with Drew Brees. The best part? The Saints were able to sign him on a two-year deal worth $16 million, which is less than Randall Cobb got from the Texans, and is the same contract the Broncos gave to a running back in Melvin Gordon.
WORST MOVE: Re-Signing OG Andrus Peat
Not only was re-signing guard Andrus Peat the worst move the Saints made, but it may have been the worst signing of the entire offseason. The 26-year-old has been a below-replacement level player over the past two seasons, and was a major reason why New Orleans struggled down the stretch- when he got hurt, the Saints offense performed much better. Yet, they felt the need to sign him to a whopping $57.5 million with $33 million guaranteed over the next five seasons. For a team that has already invested a lot in their offensive line, this was a deal they didn’t need to make- they could’ve found a much cheaper player, and honestly would’ve gotten an upgrade.
TOP NEED(s) ADDRESSED: WR, S, CB
As mentioned, Sanders fills a major need for New Orleans offensively, and makes that offense even more lethal. He wasn’t the only veteran addition they made, however, as on the defensive side, they were able to upgrade from the departed Vonn Bell with Malcolm Jenkins at an affordable $8 million per season. Plus, although it technically wasn’t an “addition”, they were able to keep Janoris Jenkins on the roster by lowering his cap hit with an extension, which prevents them from having to look for a #2 cornerback.
TOP NEED(s) NOT ADDRESSED: QB, WR, CB, LB
The Saints still need to be on the lookout for more help at receiver and cornerback, as they still lack depth in both areas, while another coverage linebacker would be beneficial for their offense. Mostly, however, the loss of Teddy Bridgewater means they’re still searching for not only a long-term answer at quarterback, but a competent backup behind Brees. Taysom Hill is the only other quarterback on the roster, and despite some believing he’s their future quarterback, he’s more of a utility player than an actual quarterback. Whether it’s by signing Jameis Winston or Andy Dalton (if released), or perhaps by drafting Utah State product Jordan Love in the first round, it’s practically a must that they add a quality quarterback to their roster.
OVERALL GRADE: C+
Emmanuel Sanders and Malcolm Jenkins are impactful additions that I didn’t think the Saints could make, but by re-signing Andrus Peat and interior defender David Onyemata to a combined $21 million, they kind of neutralized their good moves with some head-scratchers. They continue to push the can down the road in terms of the salary cap, and with players like cornerback Marshon Lattimore, tackle Ryan Ramsczyk, and safety Marcus Williams needing extensions, that will at some point prove to be costly. Yes, they’re focused on winning now, but they’ve seen first-hand how fluky the postseason can be; at some point, they can’t continue to leave their long-term prospects neglected.
New York Giants
Additions: CB James Bradberry, LB Blake Martinez, IDL Leonard Williams (Franchise Tag), LB/EDGE Kyle Fackrell, OT Cameron Fleming, LB David Mayo (Re-Sign), QB Colt McCoy, TE Levine Toilolo, TE Eric Tomlinson, RB Dion Lewis, S Nate Ebner
Losses: OT Mike Remmers (KC), EDGE Markus Golden, S Antoine Bethea, LB Deone Buccanon, LB Alec Ogletree, WR Cody Latimer (WSH), QB Eli Manning (Retirement), CB Antonio Hamilton (KC)
Remaining Cap Space: $19,556,709
BEST MOVE: Signing LB/EDGE Kyle Fackrell
New defensive coordinator Patrick Graham will likely implement a “Belichick” style defense, which means they’ll need to find their own version of Kyle Van Noy and Jamie Collins Sr- hybrid players who can be edge rushers or off-ball linebackers. Kyle Fackrell struggled with Green Bay this season, but he was productive as both a pass rusher and in coverage the season prior; he’s well-equipped to fill that role. It’s somewhat of a projection, since he’s never been a full-on hybrid player, but he’s only in New York on a one-year, $4.6 million- it’s a reasonable bet on his abilities.
WORST MOVE: Completely Wasting Their Finances and Not Upgrading The Roster
The Giants came into the offseason in need of an overhaul with their pass defense, and despite spending around $41 million per year on three players, they failed to properly improve their defense. The last thing they needed was to continue to address their run-stuffing defensive line, yet they’re spending over $16 million on Leonard Williams on the franchise tag- he’s been an okay pass rusher, but not someone you give that type of money to. Furthermore, cornerback James Bradberry, signed for $15 million per year, is a slower, zone corner, and is going to be an awful fit with what is likely to be a man-heavy scheme; he’ll get exposed in this scheme, while Blake Martinez is the type of non-athletic linebacker that they definitely should not have been targeting. Somehow, New York’s defense hasn’t gotten any better, and they no longer have the finances improve the unit further.
TOP NEED(s) ADDRESSED: OT
He’s not an upgrade over Mike Remmers, but Cameron Fleming has shown at times to be an adequate pass protector, and he’s a fine “weak-link” on the offensive line. At this point, it would be a mistake for New York to select an offensive tackle with the 4th overall pick.
TOP NEED(s) UNADDRESSED: Pass Defense, WR, OL
Right now, the Giants don’t have anyone in their scheme that I’m comfortable in to cover wide receivers or rush the passer; cornerback, safety, linebacker, and edge rusher all remain pressing needs. At this point, it’s impossible to think that New York’s defense will be anything more than a bottom-five unit, but it’s not as though the offense is much better. It’ll be a decent unit next season, but New York could’ve looked to add a true #1 outside receiver or more protection for Daniel Jones, and they did neither.
OVERALL GRADE: F
It’s very hard to not get better while using most of your resources, but that’s what the Giants did. They failed to improve the roster on either side of the ball, and they shouldn’t be expected to do much in the draft. Sure, Isaiah Simmons is the perfect versatile playmaker for a defense, but he can’t cover up all the unit’s flaws. Heck, could we even trust this team to use him correctly? General manager Dave Gettleman continues to fail to display any sort of direction with regards to team building- there isn’t any reason to be optimistic about this franchise moving forward.
Additions: CB Darius Slay (Trade-DET), IDL Javon Hargrave, CB Nickell Robey-Coleman, S Jalen Mills (Re-Sign), S Rodney McLeod (Re-Sign), LB Jatavis Brown, S Will Park, QB Nate Sudfield (Re-Sign)
Losses: S Malcolm Jenkins (NO), OT Jason Peters, CB Ronald Darby (WSH), WR Nelson Agholor (LVR), LB Kamu Grugier-Hill (MIA), OT Hal Vatai (DET), EDGE Vinny Curry, IDL Timmy Jernigan, QB Josh McCown, RB Darren Sproles, LB Nigel Bradham
Remaining Cap Space: $27,868,177
BEST MOVE: Smartly Overhauling Their Secondary
The Eagles didn’t have one cornerback last season play 300 snaps and earn a coverage grade from Pro Football Focus of 50+, which is just absurdly poor. Darius Slay struggled in Detroit’s man-heavy scheme, but his strength is to play zone coverage and keeps his eye on the quarterback; he’ll be a true #1 cornerback in their scheme, and for a third-round pick and a fifth-round pick, as well as on a three-year, $50 million extension, was well worth the price. They didn’t stop there, though, as they also signed one of the top slot corners in the NFL (Nickell Robey-Coleman) to a one-year deal worth $1 million, which has to be the best signing of the offseason with regards to value. Add in them re-signing safeties Rodney McLeod and Jalen Mills, and Philadelphia’s secondary suddenly figures to be a strength for them. That’s quite the turnaround in just a few weeks.
WORST MOVE: Once Again Spending Big On Their Defensive Line
It’s become pretty clear by now that pass defense is more predicated on having a strong secondary than a solid pass rush, and between Brandon Graham, Fletcher Cox, Maliek Jackson, and Derek Barnett, Philadelphia has already invested a lot in their defensive line. Javon Hargrave is one of the top nose tackles in the NFL given his pass-rushing ability, but $13 million per year is a major price to pay; why not go cheaper on the defensive line, and use that money on a receiver (Emmanuel Sanders or Robby Anderson) or a coverage linebacker (Cory Littleton)?
TOP NEED(s) ADDRESSED: Pass Defense
Slay and Robey-Coleman, as alluded to, are major upgrades over Philadelphia’s top cornerbacks last season, and Hargrave’s pass-rushing skillset can only help. After being one of the worst pass defenses last season, the Eagles have made plenty of moves to dramatically improve this upcoming season.
TOP NEED(s) NOT ADDRESSED: WR, CB, LB
Even with Slay and Robey-Coleman on board, Philadelphia still needs another outside cornerback on the roster, since Robey-Coleman will strictly play in the slot. On the bright side, with another cornerback and one or two coverage linebackers, this could be one of the most complete defenses in the NFL; they’d be rich in coverage talent and pass rushers. Offensively, however, Philadelphia did fail to address their receiving corps, which is a shame- Anderson was affordable, and was the perfect deep threat for them. Receiver almost certainly will be the position they select with the 21st overall pick, but in an ideal world, they’d allow themselves to be a bit more flexible in the draft.
OVERALL GRADE: B+
I commend general manager Howie Roseman for making it a priority to acquire as much talent in the secondary as possible, as Philadelphia fixed what was clearly their #1 need. Yet, they don’t receive an “A” grade for free agency, as I really wished they would’ve used the money on Hargrave on one of the impact receivers on the open market. A strong draft would put this team in position to be one of the top contenders in the NFC, but they didn’t quite do enough to not be pigeon-holed into drafting a specific position.
San Francisco 49ers
Additions: EDGE Arik Armstead (Re-Sign), S Jimmie Ward (Re-Sign), IOL Ben Garland (Re-Sign), OG Tom Compton, EDGE Ronald Blair (Re-Sign), WR Travis Benjamin
Losses: WR Emmanuel Sanders (NO), IDL DeForest Buckner (Trade-IND), TE Levine Toilolo (NYG), TE Garret Celek (Retirement), CB Jason Verrett, IOL Mike Person
Remaining Cap Space: $15,064,239
BEST MOVE: Trading IDL DeForest Buckner To Colts For 13th Overall Pick
DeForest Buckner is a great player, but he plays a non-valuable position, and isn’t worth the $21 million per year he’ll make with his new extension with the Colts. For just one year of team control of a good-not-great interior defensive lineman, San Francisco not only lands a top-15 pick, but a selection that’ll allow them to likely draft one of the top receivers in an elite draft class. San Francisco couldn’t afford to continue to invest in their front four, and with three excellent players, they’ll be able to replace Buckner with a far cheaper player. I’d trade a solid interior defender for a cost-controlled receiver with tremendous upside any day of the week; this was one of the best moves of the offseason so far.
WORST MOVE: Extending EDGE Arik Armstead
The 49ers made it seem like they had to choose between Buckner and Arik Armstead, but in my opinion, they shouldn’t have signed either to a long-term extension. With cap hits of just $6 million and $12.5 million over the next two seasons, Armstead’s five-year, $85 million deal was structured to accommodate their limited cap space. Yet, back-loaded contracts are always risky, and the guaranteed money is too spread out amongst the deal for my liking- he’ll be tied to the 49ers for the next five seasons. When you have two prolific edge rushers in Dee Ford and Nick Bosa, there’s no reason to continue to invest heavily in the pass rush. That’s what San Francisco did with Armstead, which is an ill-sighted way of team building.
TOP NEED(s) ADDRESSED: S
Jimmie Ward was tremendously productive in his new role as a pure versatile safety in defensive coordinator Robert Saleh’s defensive scheme, and it was nice to see the 49ers find a way to keep him. Safeties are traditionally an undervalued position, and as long as Ward a) stays healthy and b) proves 2019 wasn’t a fluke, he’ll more than live up to his new three-year contract with San Francisco.
TOP NEED(s) NOT ADDRESSED: WR, CB, TE, IOL
Rather than re-sign Armstead, the 49ers should’ve made it a priority to bring back Emmanuel Sanders, who signed a very affordable contract with the Saints. The offense really opened up when they traded for the veteran receiver, though luckily for them, Alabama’s Jerry Jeudy may fall to pick #13 and is a perfect scheme fit. Although they got adequate production from their cornerbacks last season, the 49ers could also afford to add more depth in case they regress this season; a second tight end and interior offensive linemen are other “luxury” needs.
OVERALL GRADE: B+
Had the 49ers not extended Armstead, this would’ve been a flawless offseason for them. Yet, they signed him to a lofty deal, and as a result, may have hurt their long-term cap situation. Still, trading Buckner for the 13th overall pick was a stroke of genius, and as long as they add a receiver in the draft, they’ll probably still have the most well-rounded roster in the NFC. I’m a little worried about them falling into the trap of prioritizing short-term ambitions over building a sustainable winner, but that extra first-round pick surely will help prevent that from happening.
Additions: CB Quinton Dunbar (Trade-SEA), WR Phillip Dorsett, TE Greg Olsen, IDL Jarran Reed (Re-Sign), EDGE Benson Mayowa, TE Jacob Hollister (RFA Tender), IOL BJ Finney, OT Brandon Shell, OT Cedric Ogbuehi
Losses: EDGE Jadeveon Clowney, OT George Fant (NYJ), OT Germain Ifedi (CHI), IDL Quinton Jefferson (BUF), IDL Al Woods (JAX), LB Mychal Kendricks, EDGE Ezekiel Ansah, OG Mike Iupati, WR Jaron Brown, WR Josh Gordon, RB Marshawn Lynch, RB CJ Prosise, QB Geno Smith
Remaining Cap Space: $11,317,846
BEST MOVE: Acquiring CB Quinton Dunbar For Nothing
Quinton Dunbar was Pro Football Focus’ 2nd-highest-graded cornerback last year, and has the length and zone ability to thrive in Seattle’s cover-three scheme. Yet, all Seattle had to pay for him, and his super cheap cap hit, was a fifth-round pick, which was absurd. Cornerback was a gaping hole when free agency opened up, and for essentially nothing, Seattle was able to fill that need.
WORST MOVE: Re-Signing IDL Jarran Reed
Many see Reed as an impact pass rusher due to his 11 sacks in 2018, but for the most part, he’s been a serviceable player in that regard, and really struggled in 582 snaps this past season. Sure, maybe his production was hampered by missing the first six games due to suspension, but $9.35 million on what is essentially a one-year deal (2/$23M with no guaranteed money for the second season) is a lot for an inconsistent, average interior defender.
TOP NEED(s) ADDRESSED: CB and OL Depth
Dunbar and Shaquill Griffin make up one of the more underrated cornerback tandems in the NFL, which is part of the reason I’m becoming more optimistic with the Seahawks’ 2020 prospects by the day. Quietly, they also improved their offensive line depth, as BJ Finney and Brandon Shell are serviceable players- they’re better than what they previously had.
TOP NEED(s) NOT ADDRESSED: OL, Slot CB, Pass Rush, WR
Even with the depth they added, the Seahawks could afford to further improve their offensive line, as, at some point, they need to commit to protecting Russell Wilson. Similarly, on defense, despite bringing in Dunbar, they desperately need a nickel cornerback, which they’ll be able to find in the draft with a player like Louisiana Tech’s Amik Robertson or Wake Forest’s Essang Bassey. Once they do that, they’ll then need to address their pass rush, as they struggled to pressure the quarterback with Jadeveon Clowney, so they’ll have to get better in that area. To top of it off, this isn’t a major need, but I’m not sure Phillip Dorsett is an ideal third option in the passing game, so a receiver who can more of a prototypical intermediate slot weapon could be ideal.
OVERALL GRADE: B
The Seahawks improved their secondary and added depth on the offensive line, so they accomplished some major objectives this offseason. Still, one could wonder if they did enough, especially since they entered the free agency window with a lot of cap space. They’re still a team with a lot of holes, which isn’t ideal, though I appreciate that they so far haven’t overcommitted to any players on true multi-year contracts.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Additions: QB Tom Brady, EDGE Shaquil Barrett (Franchise Tag), EDGE Jason Pierre-Paul (Re-Sign), IDL Ndamukong Suh (Re-Sign), OL Joe Haeg, IDL Rakeem Nunez-Roches (Re-Sign), LB Kevin Minter (Re-Sign), CB Ryan Smith (Re-Sign), QB Blaine Gabbert (Re-Sign)
Losses: QB Jameis Winston, WR Breshad Perriman (NYJ), EDGE Carl Nassib (LVR), OT Demar Dotson, RB Peyton Barber (WSH)
Remaining Cap Space: $14,836,167
BEST MOVE: Signing QB Tom Brady
Is Tom Brady going to play beyond his two-year contract? Probably not. However, is he a clear upgrade over Jameis Winston right now? Certainly, and for only $25 million per year, you have to like the value of this contract for the Bucs. Tampa Bay is still left searching for their long-term quarterback, but it’s not like Winston was going to be that, and with more weapons around him, I expect Brady to have a much better season.
WORST MOVE: Re-Signing EDGE Jason Pierre-Paul
Pierre-Paul earned a modest 67.7 pass-rush grade from Pro Football Focus, and his production was skewed from one elite game against the Jaguars last season. He certainly didn’t prove himself enough to warrant a two-year, $27 million contract, and it’s clear Tampa Bay didn’t see the opportunity to really try to improve their defense.
TOP NEED(s) ADDRESSED: QB, Pass Rush
Even if Brady isn’t the perfect fit in Bruce Arians’ offensive scheme, they definitely will be able to adapt, and it’s clear they’ve upgraded at the quarterback position. Plus, although Pierre-Paul doesn’t move the needle, franchise tagging Shaquil Barrett (rather than extending him) and hoping for a bounce-back season from Ndamukong Suh gives them a solid enough pass rush, especially with how well their young coverage defenders are developing.
TOP NEED(s) UNADDRESSED: OT, S, WR
The elephant in the room regarding the Bucs roster has to be their situation at right tackle, as Joe Haeg is more of a sixth offensive lineman than a starter- it’s almost a certain that they spend the 14th overall pick on a tackle. Also, with Breshad Perriman departing, a new #3 receiver would be beneficial, as Brady could use more of a sure-handed, intermediate receiver in the slot. Defensively, although Tampa Bay has a pretty well-rounded defense, they could’ve afforded to get better at the safety position, as someone like Ha Ha Clinton-Dix would’ve been a great fit.
OVERALL GRADE: A-
Getting Brady to a below-market deal was great, and I also applaud the Bucs for not giving Barrett a multi-year extension- it’s better to have him prove his 2019 production was legitimate. Right now, Tampa Bay has a very well-rounded roster, as Brady will be complemented by plenty of young, cost-controlled impact players at important positions. It’s hard not to like the direction they’re heading in, as they’re a premier contender in the NFC.
Additions: CB Kendall Fuller, CB Ronald Darby, OG Brandon Scherff (Franchise Tag), S Sean Davis, LB Kevin Pierre-Louis, LB Thomas Davis, WR Cody Latimer, QB Kyle Allen (Trade-CAR), OG Wes Schweitzer, RB Peyton Barber, RB JD McKissic, OT Cornelius Lucas
Losses: CB Quinton Dunbar (Trade-SEA), QB Case Keenum (CLE), CB Josh Norman (BUF), OG Ereck Flowers (MIA), TE Vernon Davis (Retirement), QB Colt McCoy (NYG), TE Jordan Reed, OT Donald Penn, CB Kayvon Webster, CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, CB Aaron Colvin, RB Chris Thompson, WR Paul Richardson
Remaining Cap Space: $31,468,435
BEST MOVES: Their Signings In The Secondary
Nickel corners are a very important position, which is what the Redskins recognized by signing Kendall Fuller to a four-year contract worth $40 million. The 25-year-old has had three straight productive seasons, and even though he’s much better in the slot, showed the capabilities to play safety if needed to. Additionally, buying low on Ronald Darby (poor performance), a talented zone corner, and Sean Davis (injury), the perfect single-high safety to complement Landon Collins, was super smart. There’s still more work to be done, but head coach Ron Rivera has definitely made it a priority to construct his ideal secondary.
WORST MOVE: Trading CB Quinton Dunbar For a 5th-Round Pick, Only To Use One To Acquire QB Kyle Allen
The fact that Dunbar, who as mentioned was the second-graded cornerback from Pro Football Focus, cost the same amount as Kyle Allen, a quarterback who proved to be a liability, is simply insane. Dunbar had made his displeasures with the Redskins organization known, but a new contract could’ve satisfied things, and at the very least, they could’ve gotten proper value. Meanwhile, Allen has familiarity with Rivera, but that’s about all he offers. Washington made a lot of smart decisions this offseason, yet this series of trades made me lose a little faith in them.
TOP NEED(s) ADDRESSED: Defensive Depth and OL Depth
Between the defensive backs and linebackers they signed, Washington has made a concentrated effort to bolster their defense. Quietly, though, between franchise-tagging guard Brandon Scherff and swing tackle Cornelius Lucas, they’ve prevented their offensive line from being a drastic need, especially if star tackle Trent Williams is eventually traded.
TOP NEED(s) NOT ADDRESSED: WR, OT, CB, TE
If Dwayne Haskins is going to succeed in Washington, he needs a lot more help. Terry McLaurin is the only established receiver on the roster, there isn’t a starting-caliber tight end, and if Williams leaves, left tackle becomes a major hole as well- this is precisely why Washington must trade back from the #2 overall pick in the draft.
OVERALL GRADE: B-
The Redskins made some nice depth signings, which is what free agency is about, but they failed to add enough offensive talent, while trading Dunbar for nothing cancels out their cornerback additions. Robby Anderson, Emmanuel Sanders, or even Amari Cooper (who they were rumored to try to sign) would’ve been huge for Haskins, who isn’t in a position to succeed at the moment. I was intrigued by Washington heading into free agency, and they still have plenty of cap space, but I was left feeling unsatisfied.