NFL Free Agency: Winners, Losers After First Wave Of Signings, Moves

It's been a good week for the Jets, among others


March 16

The initial wave of NFL free agency seems to be calming down though organizations around the league nevertheless are feeling the remnants of its wake.

For some, that’s a momentum-building trajectory while others still have plenty of work to do.

Here are some of the biggest winners and losers after the league’s legal tampering and first 24-plus hours of free agency.

New York Jets
Aaron Rodgers has chosen the New York Jets, and now it up to Gang Green to push the deal across the finish line. Rodgers to New York likely will serve as the most impactful move of the offseason. The Jets will be an immediate contender once they’re able to make the trade with the Green Bay Packers official. He very well could be the missing ingredient for a team with a roster stacked elsewhere. Adding one of Rodgers’ favorite targets in receiver Allen Lazard and fortifying the defensive secondary with a trade for Chuck Clark won’t hurt either.

Chicago Bears
Not only do the Bears benefit from Rodgers leaving the NFC North, but general manager Ryan Poles also has done a respectable job improving the roster. Will the Bears compete for the NFC crown of Lombardi Trophy? Well, no. But improvements have been made. Perhaps most notably is the addition of D.J. Moore, especially give the underwhelming receiver group on the open market. The Bears also improved their defense with linebackers Tremaine Edmunds and TJ Edwards, doing so on short-term contracts. And the addition of guard Nate Davis is the first improvement for Justin Fields’ offensive line. There’s more to do in the Windy City, but it’s a good start.

Jordan Love
Another Rodgers-related development? Well, yeah. Love, the 2020 first-round finally will get the opportunity to start for the Packers after sitting behind Rodgers for his first three seasons. The Packers likely will exercise Love’s fifth-year option meaning he’ll have two seasons to prove he’s the next starter in Green Bay.

Denver Broncos
Sean Payton wasted little time bolstering the offense around quarterback Russell Wilson, clearly setting his sights on improvements to the ground game. The Broncos signed right tackle Mike McGlinchey (five years, $87.5 million) and left guard Ben Powers (four years, $52M) to complement the offensive line as well as blocking tight end Chris Manhertz (2 years, $6M). Denver also signed running back Samaje Perine, a respectable backup behind Joe Mixon last season, should Javonte Williams need extra time to recover from season-ending injury.

Cincinnati Bengals
The Bengals committed theft Wednesday night by signing the best tackle on the market, Orlando Brown Jr., on a four-year deal. Making it all the sweeter is the fact that Cincinnati took Brown away from arguably their biggest AFC rival in the Kansas City Chiefs, who made it clear they wanted to move on. Brown blocking the blind side of Joe Burrow for years to come fills will make the Bengals all the more difficult to stop. It helps lessen the blow after Cincinnati lost both of their starting safeties Jessie Bates III and Von Bell.

San Francisco 49ers
The 49ers have not been among the busiest teams on the free agent market, but their biggest addition is, well, big. San Francisco signed former Philadelphia Eagles defensive tackle Javon Hargrave to a four-year deal. Hargrave, who finished with 11 sacks in 2022, makes San Francisco’s defensive front with Nick Bosa and Arik Armstead even scarier.

Miami Dolphins
The Dolphins largely improved their mediocre defense with the trade for former Los Angeles Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey. Ramsey, a three-time First Team All-Pro, enters his age-28 campaign and will pair alongside fellow cornerback Xavien Howard. Miami also added a productive linebacker in former Tennessee Titans linebacker David Long on a modest deal in free agency, a valuable contract given what some of the other linebackers have earned.

Philadelphia Eagles
The Eagles seemingly salvaged the departure of cornerback Darius Slay, but Philadelphia still has seen a number of departures in the early days of free agency. The Eagles have lost three defensive starters –Hargrave, Edwards, safety Marcus Epps — from the team which went to the Super Bowl last month.

Ezekiel Elliott
The longtime Dallas Cowboys running back was released on Wednesday after signing a monster six-year, $90 million extension in 2019. Elliott was owed $64.8 million for the remainder of his contract, but there was no guaranteed salary remaining on his deal. He also was set to count more than $16 million against the 2023 cap.

Veteran running backs
The days where running backs signed massive extensions seemingly are over. Jamaal Williams, who led the league in touchdowns last season, signed a three-year deal worth $12 million with the New Orleans Saints; James Robinson signed a two-year deal worth up to $8 million with the Patriots; Miles Sanders departed the Eagles and signed with the Carolina Panthers; and Alexander Mattison re-signed with the Minnesota Vikings on a two-year contract worth up to $8 million.

NESN 360 in-article asset
Thumbnail photo via Ed Mulholland/USA TODAY Sports Images
Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin
Previous Article

Bills GM Gives Updates On Damar Hamlin’s Potential NFL Return

Texas A&M Aggies forward Solomon Washington
Next Article

Penn State Vs. Texas A&M Live Stream: Watch NCAA Tournament Game Online, TV

Picked For You