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Offseason NFL Free Agency has been a welcome reprieve from our daily dystopia. Lindy’s Sports UK Editor Simon Milham looks at the latest moves ahead of the Draft, and grades each team’s deals, along with their latest Power Ranking…


Free Agency Grade – C+

The offseason has been a quiet one for the Super Bowl champion Chiefs who have limited salary cap space, with MVP QB Patrick Mahomes in need of a new contract soon.

There have been losses of course, notably CB Kendall Fuller to Washington ($40m, four-year deal), DE Emmanuel Ogbah to Miami ($15m, two years) and reliable, durable center Stefen Wisniewski to Pittsburgh for a cup of coffee and a bag of doughnuts ($2,85m over two years). They should have cut WR Sammy Watkins but didn’t. Had they freed up $14m, the Chiefs would have taken on a $7m dead cap hit. They did some smart business in re-signing WR Demarcus Robinson on a one-year $2.29m deal.

While many of the pieces are currently in place for another strong run, don’t be surprised if they trade defensive tackle Chris Jones on the franchise tag, which would be a smart move if they could get an early second-round Draft pick.

The Chiefs are joint-favourites with BetVictor to retain the Vince Lombardi Trophy.


Free Agency Grade – A-

The Ravens are BetVictor NFL Super Bowl joint-favourites after using what little salary cap room they had on improving their defense in free agency – and they spent wisely, bringing in a game-changing force in DE Calais Campbell (Jacksonville Jaguars) for the princely sum of a fifth-round Draft pick, placing the franchise tag on outside linebacker Matthew Judon and resigning CB Jimmy Smith.

The signing of DE Derek Wolfe (Denver Broncos) on a one-year $3m deal also looks savvy business. Baltimore will seek a receiver, look for help on the interior of the offensive line and possibly take a running back in the Draft to help reigning League MVP QB Lamar Jackson.

The Ravens will be hard to stop in the AFC.


Free Agency Grade – C

With plenty of pieces in place, the Super Bowl runners-up have been quiet in free agency, although they have taken a risk by re-signing Arik Armstead to a huge $85m five-year deal, which includes $48.5m guaranteed. He is good (run defense) but not that good.

While WR Emmanuel Sanders departed (New Orleans Saints), he is past his best and getting him off the books was a smart move. It remains to be seen if trading away star DE DeForest Buckner to the Indianapolis Colts – which sees the Niners receive the 13th spot in the Draft, where a premium receiver such as Henry Ruggs III, CeeDee Lamb, or Jerry Jeudy will be available – is similarly a sage decision.

San Francisco has drafted a receiver in 17 straight years, so expect more of the same. In all likelihood WR Marquise Goodwin will be off the books cut/traded in the next few days due to his cap hit in 2021 and then the Niners will officially announce fellow speedster Travis Benjamin (LA Chargers) to a one-year deal he agreed to last week.

Head coach Kyle Shanahan loved him when he was his coordinator in Cleveland (2014) and if he can stay healthy, he should thrive in the slot. The Niners have two Draft picks in the first round (No.31) and they need an impactful cornerback and another defensive tackle.

Don’t be surprised if they go with a left-field pick; QB Jimmy Garoppolo was found out last year and it is questionable that Shanahan has absolute faith in his signal caller.

The Niners should contend again, but their BetVictor NFL Super Bowl odds of are short enough at this stage.


Free Agency Grade – C

QB Drew Brees returns for a 15th NFL season on a team-friendly deal and WR Emmanuel Sanders (San Francisco 49ers) gives the 42-year-old gunslinger another legitimate target outside of Michael Thomas, but at 33, how effective will Sanders be?

Malcolm Jenkins (Philadelphia Eagles) returns to the team that drafted him and should bring valuable leadership to a secondary that lost safety Vonn Bell to Cincinnati.

Despite the loss of solid back-up QB Teddy Bridgewater to Carolina, the Saints have the core of the team that has won three straight NFC South titles, although there are still depth issues to address at linebacker, cornerback and receiver.

They still have flexibility in the Draft however, and as their BetVictor NFL Super Bowl odds of suggest, should contend once more.


Free Agency Grade – C+

The Tom Brady-less Patriots are priced at 16/1 for the Super Bowl, while the Green Bay Packers, who advanced the NFC Championship game, are a similar price. With elite passer Aaron Rodgers under center, we know which team we’d choose right now.

The Pack are seldom busy in free agency and the moves they have made appear to be addition by subtraction, allowing TE Jimmy Graham to get a big payday from Chicago, and while losing RT Bryan Bulaga to the Chargers is a blow, they saved decent money in allowing the 31-year-old to walk.

They got a cheap, effective replacement in Rick Wagner (Detroit Lions), and weakened a division rival in the process, but it will be a surprise if Christian Kirksey (Cleveland Browns) is a viable replacement for LB Blake Martinez (New York Giants). WR Devin Funchess (Indianapolis Colts) is not a legitimate No.2 receiver, so top wideout Davante Adams and Rodgers will have to wait to see if they get help from a receiver-rich Draft.


Free Agency Grade – B+

There is lots to like about the Eagles’ free agency moves.

Unloading OT Halapoulivaati Vaitai (Detroit Lions) was good business and they added Javon Hargrave (Pittsburgh Steelers, $39m on a three-year deal) to an already loaded defensive line, pairing him with Fletcher Cox and Brandon Graham.

There won’t be too many QBs looking forward to facing that defensive front. They solidified that defense by acquiring CB Darius Slay (Detroit Lions), who routinely wins contested balls and makes few mental errors.

Despite having re-signed CB Jalen Mills at an expensive $5m for one year, they are still light in the secondary, and need to address their lack of receiving depth in the Draft, particularly since Nelson Agholor (Las Vegas Raiders) has departed and Alshon Jeffery is recovering from Lisfranc surgery.

The Eagles should challenge the Cowboys in the NFC East and make the playoffs, so their Super Bowl odds of look very fair indeed.


Free Agency Grade – C+

QB Russell Wilson may again be running for his life, as the Seahawks do not appear to have upgraded their offensive line, despite replacing George Fant (New York Jets), Germain Ifedi (Chicago Bears) and Mike Iupati with B.J. Finney (Pittsburgh Steelers), Brandon Shell (New York Jets), Cedric Ogbuehi (Jacksonville Jaguars) and Chance Warmack (Philadelphia Eagles).

Shell and Ogbuehi are unreliable pass blockers, Warmack has played just seven snaps over two seasons and Finney may be the only decent addition. Even if Wilson now has a reliable blankie in pass-catching TE Greg Olsen (Carolina Panthers), the 35-year-old is expensive at $7m on a one-year deal.

The Seahawks are still front-runners to re-sign DE Jadeveon Clowney, who would become the eighth player to count at least $9m against the 2020 salary cap.

Trading for CB Quinton Dunbar (Washington Redskins), bringing back LB Bruce Irvin (Carolina Panthers) and re-signing DT Jarran Reed helps their pass rush, and swift WR Phillip Dorsett (New England Patriots), arriving on a cheap deal, adds depth to a decent receiving corps. Yet one wonders if the Seahawks’ lack of strength up front will see them regress to the mean after winning 10 games by a one-score margin last year.

Their Super Bowl odds suggest they might.


Free Agency Grade – B

Dallas had a funding problem. They could pay two of QB Dak Prescott, WR Amari Cooper or CB Byron Jones after paying a premium for an expendable RB Ezekiel Elliott prior to last season.

They chose Prescott and Cooper, allowing Jones to sign a huge long-term deal with the Miami Dolphins. Paying Cooper $100m over five years was a piece of expected business, but yet defensively it leaves them challenged.

They have suffered other losses such as WR Randall Cobb (Houston Texans) and DE Robert Quinn (Chicago Bears), and were also hit by the retirement of Travis Frederick.

Adding Gerald McCoy (Carolina) and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (Chicago Bears), while keeping Sean Lee, Anthony Brown and Joe Looney was smart business all round.

The Cowboys are in good shape for a post-season berth and their odds of for the Super Bowl seem in line with what they should be.


Free Agency Grade – B

The AFC East front-runners traded 2020 first-, fifth- and sixth-round picks as well as a 2021 fourth-round pick for Minnesota wide receiver Stefon Diggs and a 2020 seventh-round pick.

And that haul may well be worth it, since Diggs rarely loses a contested ball and QB Josh Allen now has three of the best receivers in the game to throw to.

The Bills had to replace DE Shaq Lawson (Miami Dolphins) and retired LB Lorenzo Alexander, and while over-paying for 32-year-old Mario Addison (a three-year, $30.4m deal), they got good value in DT Vernon Butler (Carolina, $15m two-year deal) and OLB A.J. Klein (New Orleans, $18m three-year deal), to maintain their suffocating defense.

The Bills’ Super Bowl odds of 22/1 should be in line with the Patriots, who are currently six points shorter, but Buffalo may well be value to win the AFC East at 7/5.


Free Agency Grade – B-

The Steelers invariably do good business in free agency, and this season has been no exception, stealing reliable Kansas City center Stefen Wisniewski for a ridiculously cheap $2.85m over two years and giving QB Ben Roethlisberger a big target in TE Eric Ebron (Indianapolis Colts), who received a $12m, two-year deal.

DT Javon Hargrave (Philadelphia Eagles) was handed a large $25.5m guaranteed three-year deal, but aside from that, the Steelers sensibly restructured the most expensive contracts.

They will now turn attention to the Draft, where they could take a QB (possibly Washington’s Jacob Eason or Oregon’s Jalen Hurts) with their first pick at No.49. They may also look for an edge rusher and running back depth.

If things pan out as expected, they should challenge in the brutal AFC North and their Super Bowl odds of will look big when the post-season arrives.


Free Agency Grade – B+

After 20 years and six Super Bowl rings with the Patriots, the market for QB who turns 43 in August was thinner than Tom Brady was perhaps expecting. Landing with a contender was always going to be tough.

The next best resolution was going to a team with two outstanding receivers (Mike Evans and Chris Godwin) and a couple of good pass-catching tight ends (O.J. Howard and Cameron Brate), which should help improve Brady’s meagre 6.6 yards per attempt in New England last season.

This is one of the most momentous player relocations in the 28 years of true NFL free agency, yet questions remain about Brady’s arm strength in a Bruce Arians system that requires plenty of deep, vertical and crossing routes.

Brady will need protection and the best tackles don’t usually hit free agency, so the Bucs will look to the Draft, despite picking up tackle Joe Haeg (Indianapolis), who inked a one-year deal and adds depth. To no-one’s surprise, the Bucs elected to use the franchise tag on LB Shaquil Barrett, who was the steal in free agency last year.

Their NFL Super Bowl odds of would suggest to some that the Bucs are this year’s Browns. Yet Arians is no first-year coach and Brady is a leader, so this market confidence is justified.


Free Agency Grade – D+

The early offseason has not been kind to the Vikings. They traded away WR Stefon Diggs and lost several free agents including DT Linval Joseph (LA Chargers), CB Mackensie Alexander (Cincinnati Bengals) and Trae Waynes (Cincinnati Bengals).

Cutting CB Xavier Rhodes, who allowed an 82.4% catch rate last year, leaves the Vikings with Mike Hughes as the only corner with significant playing time – and he is a serviceable back-up at best.

The secondary is depleted and with the remaining cap space they signed run-stuffer Michael Pearce (Baltimore), who is expensive at $27m for three years with $18m guaranteed. While receiver Tajae Sharpe (Tennessee Titans) is a plus, DE Everson Griffen opted out of his deal to pursue free agency and could land with Seattle.

The Vikings need some serious defensive help in the Draft and their 22/1 Super Bowl odds, even in an open NFC, look way too short.


Free Agency Grade – C-

Tennessee are likely to fall backwards this season if free agency is a barometer. We have never been true believers of QB Ryan Tannehill, despite showing one of the biggest single-season improvements of any passer last year.

He found the right scheme and supporting cast after struggling in Miami, but handing him a four-year deal worth $118m and $62m guaranteed, rather than offering a one-year deal and a franchise tag was grossly over-paying.

While they also brought back NFL rushing title-winner Derrick Henry on a bigger deal than is necessary for a running back, they lost premium RT Jack Conklin (Cleveland Browns) and released TE Delanie Walker.

The bigger worry is defensive vulnerability after trading perennial Pro Bowl lineman Jurrell Casey to the Denver Broncos for a seventh-round Draft pick in a salary-dump move.

They cooled the Jadeveon Clowney talk by signing DE Vic Beasley (Atlanta Falcons) for $9.5m on a one-year deal, yet there are still some big fish in the free agent market and the Titans have $25.2m in cap space, so it is a case of watch this space. Their Super Bowl odds of 25/1 may tempt some, but these moves could easily backfire.


Free Agency Grade – B-

Splashy free agency moves rarely pan out well but QB Philip Rivers (LA Chargers), at the age of 38, at least joins a team that should reach the post-season.

He is an upgrade on Jacoby Brissett and at $25m on a one-year deal, will prove a decent bridge QB until the Colts draft their next man, likely with one of two second-round picks. The Colts gave up their first-round pick (13th overall) to San Francisco, acquiring defensive lineman DeForest Buckner and signing him to an extension that pays at least $21m a year.

That $84m four-year deal is ludicrous money for what he brings to the table. You have to like the one-year $3m prove-it deal handed to CB Xavier Rhodes (Minnesota Vikings), but they should have paid TE Eric Ebron (Pittsburgh) rather than losing him to a $12m two-year deal.

Their Super Bowl odds appear a decent back-to-lay prospect in a muddled AFC and their odds to win the AFC South look mighty tempting.


Free Agency Grade – C+

This season is not going to be an easy one.

QB Tom Brady has taken his six Super Bowl rings to Tampa Bay and there has been a further haemorrhaging of talent, with LB Kyle Van Noy (Miami Dolphins, $51m four-year deal with $30m guaranteed), LB Jamie Collins (Detroit, $30m three-year deal), DT Danny Shelton (Detroit, $8m two-year deal), centre Ted Karras (Miami Dolphins), safety Nate Ebner (New York Giants), LB Elandon Roberts (Miami Dolphins) and WR Phillip Dorsett (Seattle Seahawks) all departing.

While re-signing safety Devin McCourty looks a good move on paper, he is turning 33, and one wonders how much he has left in the tank. If the offense, which lacks any real weapons outside of Julian Edelman, cannot keep the chains moving, Bill Belichick’s excellent secondary may start to wear down.

The Draft needs are clear – depth at receiver and tight end – even if the quarterback situation is not. Yet fear not Patriots fans, former Auburn passer Jarrett Stidham is a gamer and better than you may think.


Free Agency Grade – C-

Let’s start with the positives. The Rams move to a new stadium and 38-year-old LT Andrew Whitworth has signed on for a much-deserved three-year, £30m deal which gives him $12.5m of guaranteed money.

Outside of Whitworth, the Rams’ offensive line was putrid last year and with so many starters gone, they must rely on some young and inexperienced players to fill the void.

RB Todd Gurley (Atlanta Falcons) was cut after the Rams could not find a trade partner, OLB Dante Fowler (Atlanta Falcons), LB Corey Littleton (Las Vegas Raiders) and reliable kicker Greg Zuerlein (Dallas Cowboys) have similarly departed, while the salary-cap release of LB Clay Matthews and CB Nickell Robey-Coleman also hurts. The arrival of OLB Leonard Floyd (Chicago Bears) on an expensive one-year, $10m deal, looks a roll of the dice.

The Rams’ 22/1 Super Bowl odds only look fair because they have the coaching staff in place to paper over some of the cracks.


Free Agency Grade – F

Trading WR DeAndre Hopkins to Arizona for running back David Johnson, a 2020 second-round pick and 2021 fourth-round pick, while giving up a 2020 fourth-round pick of their own, has to go down as one of the most puzzling of all in the free agency era.

Aside from the fact that Hopkins is one of the best receivers in the last decade, they also picked up Johnson’s huge contract, and then went and over-paid for receiver Randall Cobb (Dallas) at $27m for three years, and re-signed CB Bradley Roby on a three-year deal worth a whopping $36m. Ouch!

And that is exactly what QB Deshaun Watson could be saying, after the Cincinnati Bengals left a 6-4, 337lb hole in the Texans’ defensive line by handing D.J. Reader a $53m contract that averages $13.25m annually, making him the richest nose tackle in the NFL. A truly dumbfounding offseason for the Texans must be addressed in the Draft.


Free Agency Grade – B-

Free agency has shaken up the NFL landscape and brought some big names to the NFC South. Atlanta landed some of them, with LB Dante Fowler Jr (LA Rams) and RB Todd Gurley (LA Rams) two of the biggest, over-paying an average of $16m per season for the former.

However, Gurley’s one-year, $6m deal could be a steal if his problematic left knee holds up, although they still need some rushing depth. In theory, the 26-year-old should be productive, as opposing linebackers have a tough decision to either double-team WR Julio Jones or bring in an extra man to stop the run.

The Falcons also added former first-round picks TE Hayden Hurst (Baltimore Ravens) a perfect fit for coordinator Dirk Koetter’s scheme and an upgrade on Austin Hooper (Cleveland Browns), and Laquon Treadwell (Minnesota Vikings), who should prove a good addition in a dynamic attack that also features Calvin Ridley.

Defensively, they need a starter opposite Isiah Oliver at cornerback, and linebacker Deon Jones needs some support.

Look for the Falcons to load up on that side of the ball in the Draft and also belie their huge 40/1 Super Bowl odds. They are also a tasty 5/1 to win the NFC South.


Free Agency Grade – C

He may not be perfect, but QB Nick Foles (Jacksonville Jaguars) should beat out Mitchell Trubisky for the starting job after the Bears traded their compensatory fourth-round pick for the Super Bowl LII MVP.

That sacrificed already thin Draft capital (they have only seven remaining selections). The Bears cut starting cornerback Prince Amukamara and allowed Dallas to scoop up Ha Ha Clinton-Dix on a cheap £4m one-year deal, both moves which have many scratching their heads.

While he is a good bookend for Khalil Mack, they appear to have grossly overpaid for DE Robert Quinn (Dallas Cowboys) at $70m, and a $16m two-year deal for 33-year-old TE Jimmy Graham (Green Bay) is also questionable business. Chicago also lost linebacker Nick Kwiatkowski (Las Vegas Raiders) and pass rusher Leonard Floyd (LA Rams), and look weaker as a result.

A one-year deal for Germaine Ifedi (Seattle Seahawks) helps shore up the right guard position and he is versatile enough to play swing tackle, but an influx of offensive line talent is needed, and they should get what they need with two picks in the second round, where the likes of OL Charlie Heck (North Carolina), LT Josh Jones (Houston) and Center Matt Hennessey (Temple) would be of interest.

Don’t be surprised if they also look for a receiver and a safety in the Draft as they attempt to make the playoffs, which will now expand to 14 teams (from 12). Their 33/1 Super Bowl odds look a mite skinny for a team that will still be offensively challenged.


Free Agency Grade – A

One of the biggest and most surprising moves so far this offseason saw the Cardinals acquire Houston Texans’ elite receiver DeAndre Hopkins. Outside of Larry Fitzgerald, the Cardinals’ receiving corps was young and unproven, but QB Kyler Murray, in his second season, now has the keys to a Ferrari.

There were plenty of holes to fill on a team that went to the NFC Championship game in 2016, but some of those have been addressed. The addition of DT Jordan Phillips (Buffalo Bills) was expensive at $30m for three years, although they got fair value for LBs Devon Kennard (Detroit Lions) and De’Vondre Campbell (Atlanta Falcons).

The Cardinals also resigned Marcus Gilbert, who missed last year with a torn ACL, and D.J. Humphries, bolstering an offensive line that could still do with some depth, so expect them to do just that with the 8th pick in the Draft.

Given they play a schedule that includes facing teams from the NFC and AFC East, if their defense can hold up – particularly a suspect secondary – ambitions of a wildcard berth are not too far-fetched. There are worse 50/1 shots for the Super Bowl.


Free Agency Grade – B+

Viva Las Raiders! When the free agency spotlight shone on head coach Jon Gruden and GM Mike Mayock, they duly outperformed most teams.

Signing LBs Nick Kwiatkowski (Chicago Bears, $21m for three years) and Corey Littleton (LA Rams, $35.2m for three years) addressed a glaring need, and while ex-Tampa Bay edge rusher Carl Nassib’s $25m deal with $17m guaranteed looks a bit hefty, he is still a major piece in the jigsaw as the Raiders move to their new home in the desert.

CB Eli Apple (New Orleans Saints), safety Jeff Heath (Dallas Cowboys), and DT Maliek Collins (Dallas Cowboys) all look upgrades, while WR Nelson Agholor (Philadelphia Eagles) looks a steal on a one-year deal at just over $1m. QB Marcus Mariota, who gets a fresh start backing up Derek Carr, will have even more Hawai’ians flocking to Las Vegas (as if they need any excuse) should he see playing time.

The door is open for a speedy wide receiver in the Draft with picks 12 and 19 in the first round.


Free Agency Grade – A

Arguably the biggest winners in free agency were the Broncos, who wisely placed the franchise tag on safety Justin Simmons, stole DE Jurrell Casey from the Tennessee Titans for a seventh-round Draft pick, added top CB A.J. Bouye (Jacksonville Jaguars) for a fourth-round pick, and used the chunk of their free-agency dollars on the offense, acquiring guard Graham Glasgow (Detroit Lions, $44m four-year deal with $26m guaranteed), TE Nick Vannett (Pittsburgh Steelers, $5.7m two-year deal), and back-up QB Jeff Driskel (Detroit Lions, $5m for two years).

While slightly over-paying for RB Melvin Gordon (LA Chargers, a two-year deal worth $16m and $13.5m guaranteed), he is a great athlete and improves the ground game. They need some receiver speed in the Draft, but head coach Vic Fangio has this team powering in the right direction, and they will surely be better than their 50/1 odds imply.

At 10/1 to topple the Chiefs in the AFC West, there should be some takers.


Free Agency Grade – B-

Last season’s eye-popping pre-season trades saw the Browns at 14/1 ahead of a pigskin being snapped, but this year they are 33/1 pokes for the Super Bowl.

Yet their moves in the offseason have looked far more viable this time round, having acquired Jack Conklin (Tennessee Titans), one of the best free agent tackles on the market. He is also a premier zone blocker, which fits Kevin Stefanski’s scheme perfectly and provides immediate help for QB Baker Mayfield.

The Browns did overpay for TE Austin Hooper (Atlanta Falcons) at $42m for four years, but veteran QB Case Keenum (Washington Redskins) will be a good mentor for the young passer.

Defensively, pass rusher Adrian Clayborn (Atlanta Falcons) is worth the gamble of a two-year $5.75m deal, although LB Christian Kirksey’s departure to Green Bay will hurt more than free safety Eric Murray’s (Houston Texans).

The Browns have plenty of talent, but it is highly doubtful they will contend.


Free Agency Grade – B

The Philip Rivers era may be over, but there is plenty to like about the offseason free agency moves made by the Chargers, who will lodge with the Rams at the brand new $5bn SoFi Stadium on the site of the old Hollywood Park horseracing track.

The moves to bring in right tackle Bryan Bulaga (Green Bay Packers, a $30m three-year deal), CB Chris Harris Jr (Denver Broncos, $17m two-year deal) and placing the franchise tag on TE Hunter Henry, are all expected to pay off.

They may have gambled in bringing in pass rusher Linval Joseph (Minnesota Vikings, $17m two-year deal), but he is worth it for the cost. Having re-signed RB Austin Eckler, whether it is QB Tyrod Taylor or a rookie selected in the Draft, the Bolts have a decent receiving corps and one of the best secondaries in the NFL.

It may be enough to contend for the AFC West title, so their BetVictor NFL Super Bowl odds of 33/1 look a little over-inflated.


Free Agency Grade – B+

Say this for owner Steven Ross, he has never been shy at backing his head coaches and there have been more hits than misses in free agency this time.

Of course, the biggest glaring hole is yet to be filled, but either Tua Tagovailoa – whom we are not sold upon – or more likely Justin Herbert or Jordan Love will fill that QB void in the Draft.

The Fins hold three first-round picks – Nos. 5, 18, and 26 – and a ton more in the later rounds, but they have been aggressive in free agency, taking the best CB in Byron Jones from the Dallas Cowboys ($82.5m with over $54m guaranteed), ILB Kyle Van Noy (New England, $51m and $30m guaranteed), DE Shaq Lawson (Buffalo, $30m three-year deal), DE Emmanuel Ogbah (Kansas City, $15m) and ex-Philadelphia Eagles RB Jordan Howard, who could be the best value of all at $9.75m for two years.

While signing guard Ereck Flowers (Washington Redskins) for three years and $30m was a costly head-scratcher, Brian Flores has addressed many of the Dolphins’ biggest needs and with some foundations in place, he can start to build.


Free Agency Grade – C-

While the Giants entered free agency with considerable cap room, they overpaid for Carolina CB James Bradberry, handing him a $43.5m three-year deal with almost $32m in guarantees. They are also paying Leonard Williams like an elite interior defensive lineman, which he has yet to become.

Inside LB Blake Martinez (Green Bay Packers) is a good pick-up for the money ($30.7m over three years), yet there are holes on this roster to fill.

Head coach Joe Judge could do with upgrades at center and tackle, plus a game changer on defense.

There is plenty left to do in the Draft as their BetVictor NFL Super Bowl odds of 66/1 suggest.


Free Agency Grade – C

In their 49th year of a rebuild, new GM Joe Douglas has papered over a lot of holes with short-term deals, and only three of their new signings have multi-year contracts.

It has not been a great start to free agency either, as the Jets paid top-dollar for an underperforming tackle in George Fant (Seattle Seahawks, $30m three-year deal), and allowed decent WR Robby Anderson to go to Carolina.

WR Beshad Perriman (Tampa Bay) was expansive at $8m for a year, and Conor McGovern at $27m for three years with $18m guaranteed may also be a reach.

The Jets must get it right in the Draft with needs at offensive tackle, outside linebacker, receiver and cornerback to name a few.


Free Agency Grade – B-

A not-so-bold prediction: By the end of this season Matt Patricia will no longer be the head coach of the Detroit Lions, even after a modest improvement in the offseason thus far.

However, OT Halapoulivaati Vaitai (Philadelphia Eagles) must be thanking his lucky stars after receiving a $45m, five-year deal, which has dumbfounded many, and deciding to trade away, rather than pay, CB Darius Slay (Philadelphia Eagles) was also a strange move.

While they made decent signings in man-to-man cornerback Desmond Trufant (Atlanta Falcons), DT Nick Williams (Chicago Bears), and New England trio LB Jamie Collins, DT Danny Shelton and S Duron Harmon, they also lost guard Graham Glasgow (LA Rams), OLB Devon Kennard (Arizona Cardinals) and underrated DT A’Shawn Robinson (LA Rams).

There is a lot to like about the cheap deal for WR Jeronimo Allison (Green Bay), but overall the Lions have done little in free agency to move significantly ahead of their NFC North rivals, and they could well be competing for the No.1 pick in the 2021 Draft.


Free Agency Grade – B

It was a case of sublime to ridiculous in the space of three days for the Redskins. Re-signing versatile CB Kendall Fuller (Kansas City) after trading him a couple of years ago was very smart, but then they traded away CB Quinton Dunbar (Seattle Seahawks), leaving a big question mark at outside corner, which they won’t address with pick No.3 in the Draft.

Veteran LB Thomas Davis (LA Chargers) and third-down back J.D. McKissic (Detroit Lions) were value pick-ups, and allowing Guard Ereck Flowers (Miami Dolphins) to walk was another good piece of business.

Head coach Ron Rivera won’t turn this around completely in one season, but most of the moves they have thus far in the offseason stack up.


Free Agency Grade – C-

Expect this to be a rough year for Carolina’s defense. The Panthers began the offseason with the surprise retirement of linebacker Luke Keuchly, and then they released Mario Addison, Gerald McCoy, Dontari Poe, Vernon Butler, James Bradbury and Bruce Irvin to free agency.

Adding tackle Zach Kerr (Arizona Cardinals) and giving a one-year deal to LB Tahir Whitehead (Las Vegas Raiders) may prove value but this is papering over the cracks of what was a shabby defense before the cull.

Losing an unrequired back-up QB in Kyle Allen (to Washington Redskins) for a fifth-round pick was smart business by GM Marty Hurney, as was re-signing safety Tre Boston to a three-year $18m deal.

But releasing former MVP starting QB Cam Newton, despite saving over $19m in salary cap room, could come back to bite them if former New Orleans back-up Teddy Bridgewater, arriving on a three-year $43.5m deal doesn’t pan out. It’s a deal that smacks of over-paying for a game-manager.

The Panthers didn’t over-pay for WR Robbie Anderson (New York Jets) at $20m for two years and trading Trai Turner for Russell Okung (Los Angeles Chargers) was also good business, but they need a blue-chip defensive prospect like Jeffrey Okudah, Isisah Simmons or Javon Kinlaw in the Draft.

Their 66/1 Super Bowl odds are realistic, so don’t be surprised if Tanking for Trevor becomes a theme. Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence is likely to go No.1 in the Draft next year and he is a prize worth one season of misery.


Free Agency Grade – B

The notoriously thrifty Bengals have splashed the cash, paving the way to take LSU QB Joe Burrow with their first pick in the NFL Draft.

They forked out $53m for DT D.J. Reader (Houston Texans), overpaid for CB Trae Waynes (Minnesota Vikings) at $42m for three years, even though he should thrive in the Bengals’ man-to-man coverage rather than the zone scheme he was previously in, and kept WR A.J. Green, who, when healthy, is one of the best in the game. While he has missed 23 of the last 24 games, Green is worth every dime of his four-year $60m extension.

Don’t underestimate the impact strong safety Vonn Bell (New Orleans) will have, either. There are still holes to fill, but the rebuild has started.


Free Agency Grade – D

Another team lollygagging for Lawrence will be the Jaguars, who traded locker-room leader Calais Campbell (Baltimore Ravens), CB A.J. Bouye (Denver Broncos) and QB Nick Foles (Chicago Bears), then cut DT Marcell Dareus to save nearly $40m against the salary cap this year.

The trading may not be over, either, with Yannick Ngakoue making it clear he would rather be somewhere else.

The Jaguars, who are expected to play two back-to-back games at London’s Wembley Stadium this year, will have over $100m in cap space in 2021 – plenty to pay a premium Draft pick like sure-fire No.1 Clemson passer Trever Lawrence.

Sixth-round rookie QB Gardner Minshew was found out as last season wore on and it is clear the table is being laid for next year, rather than this one. If the Jags manage five wins, it will be a surprise.

Odds are correct at the time of posting

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