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NFL Free Agency Winners and Losers (So Far)

NFL Free Agency
© Kyle Ross-USA TODAY Sports

Also, what are the Cowboys even doing?

The NFL offseason rarely disappoints when it comes to drama and hype for the upcoming season. For draft nuts, we've entered the more critical stage of the draft season where teams start to show their hand in the first round depending on who they sign in NFL free agency.

This year is delivering on the goods. Tiki Barber vs Saquon Barkley, Carolina vs Themselves, and the infamous Kirk Cousins saga coming to a close in Atlanta. The Titans have effectively confirmed they are targeting Joe Alt in the first round, and the Chargers are... Well, doing something. It's not good, but it's fun to watch.

With that said, let's look at who's winning, and losing, free agency so far headed into the Draft.


Let's start with the obvious. Atlanta walked into the offseason with major needs at QB. Theoretically, with the 8th overall pick, they could have landed on a JJ McCarthy or Jayden Daniels if things fell the right way.

Instead, they swayed the top free agent QB, Kirk Cousins, to come to the ATL on a four-year $180 Million contract. Normally, that would pivot towards prioritizing a wideout in the draft to give London and Pitts a solid opposite to take looks off of them.

Instead, they traded for Darnell Mooney and Rondale Moore for basically a bag of Skittles. They've added all these weapons while holding onto the 8th overall pick, which now gives them the freedom to do whatever they want in this upcoming draft. If the defense continues to play at a "meets expectations" level, they have to be the NFC South favorite!

loser - Carolina Panthers

NFL Free Agency
© Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Where to even begin? Firing Frank Reich near the end of the season, which should give them a head start on the coaching search, only to wind up hiring the guy that no one else was interested in? Failing to re-sign Frankie Luvu to a new deal? Letting the Giants FLEECE you for Brian Burns?

The moves they have made should help Bryce Young's sophomore season in the NFL, but it might not matter when the defense can't stop a nosebleed. The signing of Robert Hunt (from Miami) and trading for Dionte Johnson (from Pittsburgh for Donte Jackson) are solid moves, but the Burns trade might go down as the worst in history thus far.

Also, not having a first-round pick is just an insult to injury. This team will need two or three rebuild years before they are anywhere near competing for the post-season. The day-2 Draft remains their best hope for a solid-ish season this year.


Caleb Williams should absolutely want to go to the windy city after the offseason they've had. After locking up Jaylon Johnson to a long-term deal to keep the secondary competitive, Ryan Poles turned around and added D'Andre Swift and Keenan Allen (for a FOURTH_ROUND pick!!) to an offense that already had DJ Moore and Cole Kmet.

The return they got for Justin Fields is the only blemish, but this team will be in the NFC North contention sooner rather than later. They just need to make the obvious move with Williams at the top and then use pick number 9 for the O-Line or trade back for more assets.

For once in Chicago, there is hope.


Skip Bayless said what we are all thinking with the following

Jerry Jones must intentionally be setting up Mike McCarthy for failure after how quiet the Cowboys have been, despite having legitimate needs at the secondary, running back, and wideout positions. Tyron Smith is gone, Michael Gallup is gone, and Tony Pollard is in Nashville now... The talent they brought in to replace them? No one. Nada. Zip.

In an offseason that featured Calvin Ridley and just about every top running back up for grabs, the Cowboys sat on their thumbs. Division rival Philly won the first day of the legal tampering period by bringing in Saquon Barkley to pair with Jalen Hurts and AJ Brown... It looks like the NFC East is once again running through the Eagles.

The Cowboys would be lucky to make a wildcard spot at this rate.


NFL Free Agency
© Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Everyone, when it comes to the AFC North this year, will be watching how the Ravens tackle free agency and how the Bengals tackle the Draft, pending a Tee Higgins trade.

Quietly, the Steelers are winning both so far.

Mike Tomlin took a wildcard squad and added Patrick Queen to shore up a unit that already has Minkah Fitzpatrick and TJ Watt, transformed the QB room from Kenny Pickett and Mason Rudolph to Russel Wilson and Just Fields - all for $1.2 Million and a 6th round pick.

The loss of Dionte Johnson will be offset in a deep WR class in this year's draft. The Steelers are setting up nicely to make another, deeper post-season run!


Winner - Tennessee Titans - The loss of Derick Henry stings, but pairing Calvin Ridley with Deandre Hopkins for Will Levis? Behind a line that features Loyd Cushenberry III, Peter Skoronski, and (presumably) Joe Alt? Sign me up!

Loser - Washington Commanders - Zach Ertz, Austin Eckler, and Bobby Wagner are great, but this isn't 2017 anymore. All that cap space and they use it to build an NFL retirement home for their future QB to walk into. Sheesh.

Winner - Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Mike Evans and Baker Mayfield are BACK for another run at the NFC South. A rebuilding Atlanta team is the only roadblock in their way.

Loser - LA Chargers - Mike Williams and Keenan Allen are gone, leaving the fate of Justin Herbert's season in the hands of a knockout draft. Granted, Brock Bowers should still be there at pick no. 5, but ideally, you would want to keep one of your veterans on the roster. Who knows what Jim Harbaugh can cook up with an offense that depleted...

What do you think? Any other teams that should be here? Who makes the next big move?

Comment below and follow me @theBarningMan to let me know!

~ Matt


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