1. Seattle Seahawks – The Seahawks are ready to get back to the Super Bowl, and their moves in free agency show that. The biggest move was giving Russell Wilson the weapon he needed in WR Percy Harvin. In addition, defensive lineman Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril will help make their pass rush more lethal.
2. Denver Broncos – Despite losing Elvis Dumervil, the Denver Broncos were able to get even better in this year’s free agency, especially on offense, by adding WR Wes Welker and OG Louis Vazquez. It will be up to Peyton to get the Broncos to the Super Bowl, but adding a defensive end will help Peyton’s chances.
3. San Francisco 49ers – The 49ers started free agency with a bang by adding WR Anquan Boldin via trade with the Baltimore Ravens. They only had to give up a 6th round pick to get him, too. However, because of the 49ers losing a lot of key players in free agency, such as Delanie Walker, Ricky Jean Francois, Dashon Goldson, and Issac Sopoaga, they won’t be able to acquire a Top 2 spot just yet.
4. Atlanta Falcons – The Falcons already have a Super Bowl caliber team, but with John Abraham likely gone, they’re going to need to draft another pass rusher before the season begins.
5. New England Patriots – Wes Welker will be missed on offense, but Danny Amendola can help fill the void at wide receiver if he stays healthy. And as we all know, that’s a big if.
6. Green Bay Packers – The Packers were very quiet in free agency this year, but losing Greg Jennings isn’t a bad loss at this stage in his career and with the talent the Packers have in the receiving corps.
7. Baltimore Ravens – We knew after the their Super Bowl victory, the Ravens were going to give Joe Flacco whatever he wanted. Unfortunately, what he wanted hurt the Ravens’ salary cap tremendously. Ultimately, I think the addition of Elvis Dumervil cancels out the subtraction of Paul Kruger, while Bernard Pollard and Cary Williams won’t be missed due to the depth they have in the secondary. However, Dannell Ellerbe and Ray Lewis’ departures leave a gaping hole in the teams 3-4 defense.
8. Houston Texans – Yeah, that’s right. Even with the Ed Reed signing, I believe the Texans are the third best team in the AFC. Why? Ed Reed just isn’t the safety he used to be, and the loss of James Casey hurts the tea’s depth at the TE position. Meanwhile, the defense lost starters Connor Barwin and Glover Quin, whom were key starters on that defense.
9. Washington Redskins – Because of the NFL’s cap penalty on the Redskins, they were unable to do what they really wanted in free agency. Nevertheless, they were able to keep key players Fred Davis, DeAngelo Hall, and Tyler Polumbus. EJ Biggers could also be a steal.
10. Chicago Bears – The biggest need for the Bears coming into free agency was tight end, and they were able to full that need within the first few minutes by signing Martellus Bennett to a multi-year deal. Jay Cutler is getting more and more pleased with the hire of Marc Trestman as the weeks go by. However, It doesn’t matter how happy he is with his weapons if he doesn’t have an offensive line to block for him.
11. Miami Dolphins – Make no doubt about it, the Miami Dolphins made some big moves in free agency. I was extremely pleased with how they upgraded their offense. They gave young QB Ryan Tannehill the toys that he will need to be successful in 2013.
12. Minnesota Vikings – Going into free agency, the Vikings knew they had to acquire a wide receiver after the Percy Harvin trade, and they did just that with the addition of Greg Jennings. They may now focus on the draft in which they have two picks in the first round.
13. Cincinnati Bengals – Wow. When I saw that the Cincinnati Bengals had the most cap space this year, I was expecting some big moves. Boy, was I wrong. The Bengals really didn’t do anything in free agency. And I’m not insinuating that they’re a bad team and they need to go out and spend millions, I’m just saying with their current group, they will not be able to go further than the wild card round of the playoffs.
14. New York Giants – The Giants are going to have a lot of work to do come draft day. They lost a lot of key defenders free agency this year in Osi Umenyiora, Kenny Phillips and Chris Canty. They were able some decent players to plug into that defense in Mike Patterson, Aaron Ross and Dan Connor. Still, a good draft class will be essential for the team’s playoff hopes.
15. Indianapolis Colts – After putting together one of the best turnarounds in NFL history, I expected Colts general manager Ryan Grigson to continue with his wise spending. I don’t think he did that at all. They just flat-out overpaid for almost all of their free agency additions, most notably S Laron Landry and DT Ricky Jean Francois. Both are great fits scheme-wise, but they just gave those players way too much money.
16. New Orleans Saints – The Saints are ready to get back to the Super Bowl, and their free agency moves reflect that. Keenan Lewis will bring the toughness that defense has been missing since the departure of Tracy Porter, and Victor Butler will help the linebacking corps.
17. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Since Greg Schiano’s hire as head coach, the Bucs just keep getting better and better. Because of Anthony McCoy’s presence in the middle of the defensive line, they won’t miss DE Michael Bennett much, and bringing in Dashon Goldson to play along with Mark Barron was a genius move.
18. Dallas Cowboys – The only thing the Cowboys did during the entire free agency period was let people go, and resign Tony Romo. That’s not too promising. I think they should have let some guys go in order to free up more cap space to allow the team to pursue some help on the offensive line. However, there is a lot of offensive line help in this year’s draft that can help the team. Jerry Jones just has to draft them.
19. St. Louis Rams – I thought that when Jeff Fisher took over the Rams he was going to turn them into a decent team. Turns out, they could be a very damn good team. They were able to snatch up Jared Cook (probably because of his history with Fisher) and they wisely let Amendola walk. Sam Bradford’s consistency will determine whether or not they can make the wild card.
20. Pittsburgh Steelers – Free agency left the Steelers with more problems than solutions. They lost key starters on the team including Mike Wallace, Keenan Lewis, Rashard Mendenhall, James Harrison, and Max Starks. I’m really beginning to fear that the Steelers could find themselves at the bottom of the AFC North this year.
21. Philadelphia Eagles – Chip Kelly is really impressing me so far as an NFL coach, particularly his eye for talent. He and the Eagles front office made some great moves on defense, adding Cary Williams, Issac Sopoaga, Patrick Chung, and Kenny Phillips. We’ll see if he can keep it up through the draft.
22. Tennessee Titans – Owner Bud Adams gave his blessing to let the team spend money and the front office did not disappoint. For the first time in years, the Titans went out and spent a lot of money in free agency. Andy Levitre will help open up holes for Chris Johnson, and he’ll also help protect the young Jake Locker. Delanie Walker will help compensate the loss of Jared Cook, and the combination of George Wilson and Bernard Pollard will scare a lot of teams. They still have some holes to fill, but they’re definitely headed in the right direction.
23. Detroit Lions – Don’t let this positioning fool you, this was a really great free agency for the Lions. Reggie Bush is going to give the team the rushing attack they’ve been looking for, and on the defensive side of the ball, Glover Quin was a great addition. They just need to get that dominating defensive end and cornerback in the draft.
24. Kansas City Chiefs – Andy Reid isn’t disappointing so far as the Chiefs head coach. In fact, I would say he’s doing a fantastic job. Bringing back Dwayne Bowe and Brandon Albert and trading for Alex Smith were his two greatest accomplishments. The biggest problem for the Chiefs in 2012 was their inability to put points on the board. They should have no problem doing that in 2013.
25. Cleveland Browns – The Browns had money to spend in free agency and boy, did they spend it. The additions of Paul Kruger and Desmond Bryant will be worshiped for years by Cleveland fans. I’m starting to buy into the Browns as a possible 6-10 or 7-9 team.
26. Carolina Panthers – Frankly, I’m quite disappointed with the Panthers move in free agency, or lack thereof. I understand they didn’t have much money to spend, but I’m left wanting more. Bringing back Captain Munnerlyn was a very good move, and signing Ted Ginn will help the special teams find more consistency. Still, I feel they could have done more.
27. Oakland Raiders – Before Monday, the Raiders were almost absent from the free agency frenzy, only signing Pat Sims and Nick Roach, Those would have been good signings if they didn’t lose guys like Matt Shaughnessy, Richard Seymour and Phillip Wheeler. But, trading for Matt Flynn will keep the Raiders away from bottom 5.
28. San Diego Chargers – I’m already having doubts about the Chargers new front office. Even after claiming to want to help Philip Rivers have better protection, they let their best offensive lineman, Louis Vazquez, sign with the division rival Denver Broncos. His replacement? King Dunlap.
29. Arizona Cardinals – It’s such a shame the Cardinals are allowing their good defense to go to waste. In 2012, the Cardinals’ weakest link was the offensive line. So they should try to fix that, right? Not if your Bruce Arians and the rest of the front office. They’re too worried about getting a good quarterback, even though whomever is brought in will not be effective with that current offensive line. Maybe they’ll realize that in training camp.
30. Buffalo Bills – How the Bills were able to let go one of the league’s best guards I’ll never know. However, getting rid of Ryan Fitzpatrick and replacing him with Kevin Kolb was a great move. If the Bills want to avoid a Top 5 pick in the 2014 draft, Kolb will need to stay healthy.
31. New York Jets – I now know what the Jets are doing. They are tanking the 2013 season in order to draft DE Jadeveon Clowney. It’s quite obvious. This team has failed to do ANYTHING worth a damn during this free agency period except threaten to trade CB Darrelle Revis and sign QB David Garrard. Sure Willie Colon and Antwan Barnes are good depth signings, but they’re not going to be difference makers. This team better have a damn good draft
32. Jacksonville Jaguars – Unlike the New York Jets, the Jacksonville Jaguars are actually trying to become a better team. That’s the scary part. They honestly believe saving the $28.3 million worth of cap space they have is the best option. Wow. The only hope for this team is drafting Geno Smith and hoping he’s good. If the Jaguars draft another first round bust, they could seriously go 0-16 in 2013.