NFL Free Agency Grades

I posted an article earlier on my five favorite and five worst free agent signings. Now I’d like to talk about my thoughts on free agency through each NFL team. In basic terms, I am going to grade each team based on their overall signings and trades during the free agency period.

It was tough to put some teams where they were grade-wise, but overall, there is no doubt that I have graded them to perfection based on the moves they have made. Without further ado, let us get started.

Arizona Cardinals

Overall Grade: A

This team shocked the world when they acquired elite wide-out DeAndre Hopkins from the Houston Texans WITHOUT GIVING UP A FIRST ROUND PICK. Not only that, but they managed to get the transition tag on Kenyan Drake. They also acquired Devon Kennard from the Lions, Jordan Phillips from the Bills and De’Veondre Campbell from the Falcons to increase the power of the defense.

Atlanta Falcons

Overall Grade: B+

The Atlanta Falcons were graded a B+ here. They were able to cut Devonta Freeman essentially making some much needed cap space room. As for their free agent adds, this team was almost an A due to the signing of Todd Gurley and Dante Fowler, but the trading for tight end Hayden Hurst from Baltimore raises my eyebrows a bit. He’s good, but is he good enough to give up a second round pick for? Not so much.

Baltimore Ravens

Overall Grade: B

The Ravens did us Steelers fans dirty when they were able to acquire former Jacksonville Jaguar defensive end; Calais Campbell. His strength and tenacity is going to be a strong add to this Ravens defense. Another impressive move by them was getting free agent defensive tackle Michael Brockers to a three-year contract as well. Both these moves drastically increase their defense. Finally, getting a second round pick for one of their many tight ends in Hayden Hurst was a good move as well.

Buffalo Bills

Overall Grade: A

Buffalo surprised me with a lot of free agency moves they made. The big one that made every Buffalo fan put themselves through a table was the trading for Minnesota’s Stefon Diggs. Finally, Josh Allen has an elite receiving group to work with. They had to give away a lot including a first round pick, but man it’s going to be worth it. Other names added include defensive end Mario Addison, defensive tackles Vernon Butler and Quinton Jefferson, and finally cornerback Josh Norman.

Carolina Panthers

Overall Grade: C-

I was really tempted to give the Panthers a “D” here, but I am feeling rather generous with the recent signing of Teddy Bridgewater to be their new quarterback. However, a lot of talent was released from this team here especially on the defensive side of the ball including James Bradberry, Eric Reid, and Gerald McCoy. Not only that, but Cam Newton remains on the team as of now. However, the way Carolina has played this out, it looks like Newton will find himself a new home soon enough. Some additions to this team include wideout Seth Roberts from Baltimore and Stephen Weatherly from Minnesota.

Chicago Bears

Overall Grade: D-

Chicago has done an alright job in free agency which is mostly due to the signing of Robert Quinn from Dallas. However, there are a lot of issues I have with some of the free agency options they decided to roll with here. For one, signing Jimmy Graham to a two-year deal worth $16 million was dumb in my honest opinion and they just want a security blanket for Trubisky to throw the ball to. Two, why trade for Nick Foles to take on that massive contract. Now your cap space is thrown out of the loop. Hopefully, they’ll impress this year, but I am not confident.

Cincinnati Bengals

Overall Grade: C

The Bengals while not my favorite team have it good because they have the number one pick in the draft and will likely go for LSU’s quarterback Joe Burrow. I mean you have to figure that’s why they used the franchise tag on A.J. Green right? In terms of free agency they some good things and bad things. The major good thing they did was acquire D.J. Reader. Putting him next to Geno Atkins means not a lot of good things for opposing quarterbacks and running backs. I’m very questionable on the Trae Waynes signing though, as he was vastly overpaid. We’ll see what happens, but for right now it’s a C from me.

Cleveland Browns

Overall Grade: B+

Man it is hard to hate the Browns here for some of the moves they made here. The only thing I am questioning a little to keep them from giving them an A is the signing of tight end Austin Hooper. On one, hand I really love it despite him being overpaid. However, we have seen this before with Cleveland having too many pieces on offense to figure out what to do with them. Some other great signings though include Jack Conklin, and safeties Karl Joseph and Andrew Sendejo.

Dallas Cowboys

Overall Grade: C-

No one can argue the main goal of the Dallas Cowboys was to keep Dak Prescott and Amari Cooper. While one got a boat load of money, the other got franchise tagged and sadly the one that got tagged was Prescott. Whether or not he comes back to the Cowboys next year will depend on him honestly. However, in order to pay Cooper a lot of pieces had to be sent away. Both sides suffered here as names like Randal Cobb and Jason Witten were taken from the offense and names like Maliek Collins, Robert Quinn, and Byron Jones left the defense. Even the signings of Gerald McCoy and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix can’t make up for this man.

Denver Broncos

Overall Grade: B

The Broncos had some good offseason moves made here, but enough to get them a B+ or even put them in the A- category. Big moves made here were essentially stealing both corner A.J. Bouye to replace Chris Harris and Jurrell Casey for little to nothing. They also tagged their safety Justin Simmons and got center Graham Glasgow. The big question mark here was the signing of Melvin Gordon. I know why they did it, but it’s dumb in my honest opinion. They don’t score touchdowns in the endzone with the rushing attack and that is something Melvin Gordon excels at. Overall reaction; not bad Denver.

Detroit Lions

Overall Grade: E

I don’t understand what Matt Patricia is doing here. Detroit fans deserve better in my honest opinion as his record alone has not done anything to make me think this team is going to get better. While bringing in some decent ex-Patriots players in Jamie Collins, Duron Harmon, and Danny Shelton might improve their defense and try to convert everybody to the “Patriot” way it still does not excuse two things. One, the trading of Darius Slay hurts this team so much even with the addition of Atlanta’s Desmond Trufant. Two, the massive contract given to one Halapoulivaati Vaitai on the offensive line is absurd to say the least.

Green Bay Packers

Overall Grade: C

The Packers defense took a bit of a hit here with the departures of two linebackers; Blake Martinez and Kyle Fackrell. Also I am not a fan of the decision to try to upgrade their left tackle position by signing Rick Wagner to replace Bryan Bulaga. Honestly, more of downgrade in my opinion. However, they did get Christian Kirksey which I love him in Green Bay just to be clear.

Houston Texans

Overall Grade: F

The Texans get the first F on my grade scale and it is hard to argue why. This team is now in shambles on the offensive side of the ball with the trading of star wideout DeAndre Hopkins. Getting David Johnson for him and a second round pick was by far one of the dumbest moves by this organization. Signing Randall Cobb does not fill this hole at all and also losing D.J. Reader to the Bengals hurts the defense a lot. Not good at all from my standpoint.

Indianapolis Colts

Overall Grade: A-

We go from one of the worst to now one of the best with the Colt’s free agency moves. Trading for Deforest Buckner was a huge move by the Colts and their defense gets even better with having him there. Only bad thing was that they gave up a first round pick for him. It won’t be a bad move down the stretch though. Keeping left tackle Anthony was essential to the offensive line especially since they signed Philip Rivers to a one-year deal. It is very low risk move by the Colts and I very much appreciate.

Jacksonville Jaguars

Overall Grade: C

The Jaguars look to be selling major stock here as they have traded the likes of A.J. Bouye, Calais Campbell, Nick Foles. It’s a bold strategy being is that they are clearing out some major cap space, and are on the sense of making a rebuild here. I like it cause Garnder Minshew gets his team, but they are moving out a lot of talent here which hurts this team’s grade immensely.

Kansas City Chiefs

Overall Grade: C-

I didn’t expect the Chiefs to make a lot of big moves here so my overall grade was my overall grade was going to be a neutral C. However, they failed to reach a contract extension with defensive tackle Chris Jones, and they lost cornerback Kendall Fuller to free agency. Those things coupled with the eventual trade or release of Sammy Watkins (it’s gonna happen people) makes this a downgrade, but like I said not a lot of moves being made here.

Los Angeles Chargers

Overall Grade: B+

The Chargers failed me in the fact that Tom Brady wasn’t signed here, but all personal bias aside their free agency moves have been pretty well done. Tagging Hunter Henry was the right move here as they get to keep their star tight end. Getting Chris Harris was an absolute steal in the free agency period as they finally get some help in the secondary. The offense line also gets a boost with new lineman Bryan Bulga and Trai Turner. As for quarterback they are going with Tyrod Taylor and I imagine them taking Justin Herbert in the draft.

Los Angeles Rams

Overall Grade: F

The Ram’s new logo is just as bad as their free agency moves here. This team is on the verge of heading back to where they were before their big run with losses of Todd Gurley and Dante Fowler to the Falcons, cutting Clay Matthews, Cory Littleton to the Rams, Michael Brockers to the Ravens, and finally Eric Weddle to retirement. The names they have signed don’t do enough so as far as I am concerned this team might as well be done.

Las Vegas Raiders

Overall Grade: B

The Raiders made a lot of really decent moves in free agency. However, there were some moves I have questioned that prevent this team from getting into the B+ or A- range. The moves I thought were great were the signings of linebackers Nick Kwiatkoski and Cory Littleton, and there was the signing of defensive tackle Maliek Collins and quarterback Marcus Mariota. Some moves that make me question though are the signings of cornerback Eli Apple, tight end Jason Witten, and wideout Nelson Agholor. Other than that not bad okay man.

Miami Dolphins

Overall Grade: A-

The Dolphins didn’t do too bad for tanking man. They loaded up on the amount of cap they had to pay some serious pieces to the defense. Names like Byron Jones, Kyle Van Noy, and Shaq Lawson come to the mind to finally give Brian Flores the defense he finally deserves. When it comes to the draft, they will focus more on the offensive side of the ball.

Minnesota Vikings

Overall Grade: D

The Minnesota Vikings continue to disappoint me here. Extending Kirk Cousin’s contract for more money is a little odd, but the real problem here is they traded away Stefon Diggs. It makes sense since his frustration led him to be traded and they got a boat load of picks to compensate including the Bill’s first round pick. However, they lost Everson Griffin to free agency and that isn’t the best for business fella.

New England Patriots

Overall Grade: E

The only thing saving this from being an F is that Bill Belichick is the coach and he logically has an answer for all the problems to come in New England. Losing Tom Brady isn’t the worst for Bill, but it might be the worst scenario for New England. Plus the losses of Kyle Van Noy, Nate Ebner, Duron Harmon, Danny Shelton, and Jamie Collins add to the sweat inducing panic Patriots fans must have andI honestly couldn’t be happier.

New Orleans Saints

Overall Grade: B

Making sure Drew Brees came back was the big priority here as they signed him to a two-year extension. Unfortunately, they see something in Taysom Hill and that allowed Teddy Bridgewater and ultimately sign with Carolina. Other than the quarterback department there were some good moves too. This included signing Emmanuel Sanders and Malcolm Jenkins. Overall, not bad, but not incredible either.

New York Giants

Overall Grade: B-

Surprisingly, I thought this was going to be a lot lower, but I think the Giants learned from the Nate Solder move not to overpay certain players. This one probably would have been a B, but they franchise tagged Leonard Williams. I get it because he didn’t do much with injuries last season, but it was just odd to me. However, I actually dig the Blake Martinez and James Bradberry signings which should help this defense make something this upcoming season.

New York Jets

Overall Grade: C

The Jets continue to be an organization I choose to stay away from, but they keep making moves. Cutting Trumaine Johnson was a must for this team as his cap was eating up the amount of room. They didn’t go crazy here which is what I’d thought they do, but building the offense line was the most important thing to protect Sam Darnold. So I suppose signing Connor McGovern, George Fant, and Alex Lewis is a start.

Philadelphia Eagles

Overall Grade: B

The Eagles gained the main position that had been screwing them over all season last year in the cornerback position. That’s right, the Eagles acquired Darius Slay from the Lions and hope to build the secondary right this time. Another huge addition came in the form of Javon Hargrave which should also booster the defense. However, they lost Malcom Jenkins to the Saints, and Jason Peters was allowed to explore free agency.

Pittsburgh Steelers

Overall Grade: B-

The Steelers aren’t one to make a lot of moves in free agency, and after the terrifying Donte Moncrief experiment failed, I was a little nervous for my team here. However, there were some really decent moves that came out here including the additions of fullback Derek Watt and tight end Eric Ebron. A surprise here was a trade with the Ravens to send Chris Wormley to us which I actually really like a lot. Hoping for big things this season.

San Francisco 49ers

Overall Grade: B-

This grade will stay the same depending on how the 49ers react in the NFL Draft. If they plan on taking the receiver I think they will then this will go up to a B. However, it is a B- here for me. They gave up Deforest Buckner to the Colts for another first-round pick and they signed Arik Armstead to a huge extension which should help them out a lot. The decision to resign Jimmy Ward with his injury history is a little questionable, and they had to let Emmanuel Sanders walk to financials and he found a home with the Saints. That leaves Jimmy G without another receiver to work with.

Seattle Seahawks

Overall Grade: C

This grade could change as well depending on the Jadeveon Clowney situation. So far he is the number one free agent still out there looking for a home, but he could change his mind if nobody signs him and he can go back to Seattle for less money. Good additions come in the form of Bruce Irvin and Jarran Reed. However, Quinton Jefferson heads to Buffalo and that hurts this defense even with those additions.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Overall Grade: A

The Buccaneers had a very successful free agency. They got the quarterback they wanted in Father Time Tom Brady on a two-year deal and now other players are wanting to come in Tampa for the opportunity to play with him. Other players are taking discounts to stay as well including left tackle Joe Haeg. The other two great things that happened were the franchise tag on Shaq Barrett and signing an extension with Jason Pierre-Paul. Good things to come in Tampa.

Tennessee Titans

Overall Grade: B-

The Titans were the first name to make a splash in free agency when they signed a huge contract which may be a little too much money for quarterback Ryan Tannehill. That opened the door for the franchise tag to be put on running back Derrick Henry. They did however lose Jurrell Casey and Jack Conklin, but were able to get Vic Beasley to help that defense.

Washington Redskins

Overall Grade: C

The Redskins haven’t totally overpaid anyone yet, but somehow I just see it coming at some point. They got Kendall Fuller and that conversation of overspending might go a little towards him being frankly. They did go get linebacker Thomas Davis which hopefully should help the culture in Washington out a bit. Also putting the tag on their guard Brandon Scherff was quite the smart move to make. The only thing that keeps this from a B or a B- is that they haven’t been able to do anything with Trent Williams yet. If they deal him it could easily go up.

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