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Analyzing Team's Moves in Free Agency (NFC Edition)

Image Credit: (Steven Bisig /USA Today Sports)

By: Nicholas Mullick

Now I know that a majority of moves made in Free Agency occurred during the first week, but I normally wait around a month before I fully analyze each team's moves during free agency. Now that it has been almost a month before free agency began let's take a look at what every NFC Team did during Free agency by starting in the NFC North.

NFC North

Green Bay Packers

I kept saying that last season was Green Bay’s last chance with the number of free agents they had. The biggest one was Aaron Rodgers and that whole drama lasted for way too long. So the team he will be playing for is… the Green Bay Packers. When I heard the news I was absolutely shocked as I thought for sure Aaron would be playing for a different team. He even got a new contract worth ​​three-year, a $150 million deal. My goodness, that is a lot of cash coming for Aaron Rodgers but wait. How will they be able to afford to pay him and Davante Adams as they placed the franchise tag on him? Well, we got that answer via a trade. As the Packers traded Adams to the Las Vegas Raiders for a 1st and 2nd Round pick. Which stinks losing him but they had no choice. Adams wanted out and it's best to get something for him before he pulls a Le’Veon Bell and does not play a snap for the team.

It's not just Adams that is the big player that's leaving. I will list the players now starting with WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling, WR Equanimeous St. Brown, OT/G Billy Turner, OL Dennis Kelly, OL Lucas Patrick, DE/EDGE Za'darius Smith, CB Kevin King, CB Kevin King, CB Isaac Yiadom, S Henry Black, and P Corey Bojorquez. There are still a lot of holes on this team.

They did not do too much signing new players due to cap hell but did come to a deal with DT Jarran Reed who could be depth for the defensive line. Also a punter in Pat O'Donnell. But on the bright side at least they brought back WR Randall Cobb, WR Allen Lazard, TE Rob Tonyan, and CB Rasul Douglas. The Packers still have a lot of work to do during the Draft.

Minnesota Vikings

The Vikings were a team that needed a shakeup in the executive board and coaching staff. Luckily they did that by hiring GM Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and Coach Kevin O’Connell. That is great and now it's time for the Vikings to focus in free agency mainly on the defense as it was a weak point last year. The Vikings did that by signing LB Jordan Hicks, DT Harrison Philips, and DE/EDGE Za'darius Smith which are great moves. Especially when replacing LB Anthony Barr, DT Sheldon Richardson, and DE/EDGE Everson Griffen. But what about the secondary? The Vikings brought back CB Patrick Peterson but they lost a solid safety in Xavier Woods. The Vikings may be looking at the NFL Draft when it comes to rebuilding their secondary.

As for the offense the Vikings really did not do much. They lost TE Tyler Conklin (Signed with the New York Jets) and OL Mason Cole (Signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers) but have not done much to replace them. Cole is a loss for the Vikings as he was an underrated part of the Vikings offensive line. All the Vikings really did was sign OT Jessie Davis who sucked in Miami.

I do have to ask the Vikings a question though. Why would you give another fully guaranteed extension to QB Kirk Cousins? I don’t hate Cousins, but it is clear that he is not going to take this team in a deep playoff run. This new contract (one-year, $35 million) is also going to take a chunk out of the Vikings salary cap.

Chicago Bears

The Bears had no choice and finally made the decision to fire Matt Nagy as head coach and Ryan Pace as GM. Those moves had to be made and what Chicago needs to do now is to bring in players to help QB Justin Fields' development. So let's see what they did… and they blew it up.

The Bears started this by trading Khalil Mack to the Los Angeles Chargers for a second-round pick. There are also a ton of departures following this team on defense including DE/EDGE Akiem Hicks, LB Danny Trevathan, DE/EDGE Bilal Nichols, DT Eddie Goldman, and CB Artie Burns.

It's not just the defense that is being blown up but the offense as well. WR Allen Robinson is the big name as he has left for free agency and signed with the Los Angeles Rams. Should have traded him during the deadline, Chicago. Everybody in the world knew that Allen Robinson was not going to come back to Chicago the next year no question. Now this team lost him for nothing. It's not just that as the Bears even let go of RB Tarik Cohen as his knee injury is so severe that he did not play last season. I would not be shocked if he does not play a down of football ever again if this injury is as bad as reported. Plus many more are gone including RB Damien Williams, WR Jakeem Grant, OT Jason Peters, and OG James Daniels. Wait, What? Why did they let go of Daniels? Wasn’t he the best offensive lineman on this team the past few years? Yes, he suffered a season-ending injury last season but when healthy he is extremely valuable. Plus he is 24 years old and has many years left to play the game of football. Maybe the Bears could not afford him but he is worth the contract that he was given by Pittsburgh.

I wonder if the Bears are more aimed at building in the draft. They really did not add too much in free agency excluding WR Equanimeous St.Brown, DE Al-Quadin Muhammad, and WR Byron Pringle. I would have added Larry Ogunjobi's name but he failed his physical and this voided the contract given to him.

At least Chicago has a top 10 pick to help build the team. Oh, Wait. Their 1st round pick is New York Giants property due to the trade-up to draft Justin Fields. Well, that sucks.

Detroit Lions

Despite being the second-worst record team in the NFL, I got to say last year was the best season they had since the Jim Caldwell years. They may not have been talented last season but they were a hard-fought team and would have won the game if it was not for the Bobby Layne Curse. But even though I am not a Lions fan I like the direction they are going. I am a big fan of their head coach Dan Campbell and I was interested to see who they would bring in to improve the team. Well, it's been a few weeks since the beginning of Free Agency and the Lions have not done much. Except for signing WR DJ Chark and reuniting with LB Jarrad Davis. Honestly, the biggest acquisition for the Lions is that they get to be on HBO’s Hard Knocks this season and get to host the 2024 NFL Draft. But, besides that, the Lions are looking to build through the draft. Smart move by the Lions.

NFC East

Dallas Cowboys

The Cowboys were in a tough spot as they were entering cap hell this offseason. Their goal was to get out of it. They accomplished that goal by trading Amari Cooper to the Browns in a salary dump, cutting OG La’el Collins, and choosing to not resign players like S Keanu Neal, WR Cedrick Wilson, OG Connor Williams, TE Blake Jarwin, K Greg Zuerlein, and etc. The one question I want to ask is if there is a way the Cowboys can sign a new head coach to their roster? No. That sucks because coaching is the big problem with this team.

Oh well, at least you signed DE/EDGE Dante Fowler Jr and WR James Washington to contracts. Plus overpaying WR Michael Gallup who is coming off a Torn ACL and gave the franchise tag to TE Dalton Schultz. Plus you are probably going to bring back DE/EDGE Randy Gregory to a new deal with the money you saved up… so you lowballed him in contract negotiations and he is going to Denver now. Never change Jerry.

Philadelphia Eagles

The best team to come out of the playoffs in my opinion was the Philadelphia Eagles in both the present and the future with the picks they acquired from Indianapolis and Miami. Howie Roseman realized that the 2023 NFL Draft Class is rich in quarterbacks and he may want a Plan B if Jalen Hurts does not work. So they struck a deal with the New Orlean Saints. The Eagles traded a 2022 1st Round Pick (16th Overall), 2022 1st Round Pick (19th Overall), and 2022 6th Round Pick (194th Overall) to the Saints, and in exchange they got a 2022 1st Round Pick (18th Overall), 2022 3rd Round Pick (101st Overall), 2022 7th Round Pick (237th Overall), 2023 1st Round Pick, and 2024 2nd Round Pick. I mean talk about a case of Pick robbery here as the Eagles spread their draft picks across the board and get an extra 1st for next year. Plus the Eagles retrospectively save salary by making this move by paying 2 rookie contracts instead of 3. Great work Howie Roseman. I like it. I also like the addition of DE/EDGE Haason Reddick to the Eagles defense.

The Eagles did not lose many free agents and the only one that was a big loss was CB Steven Nelson. OG Brandon Brooks decided to retire from football which is a loss as well. I am interested to see how the Eagles utilized their 1st round picks in the upcoming draft.

Washington Commanders

You can change the name all you want but the cliches and traditions that follow this team in free agency won’t. Where do we begin? Well, let's start with the tradition of Overpayments. Washington has been known throughout its history to make overpayments via money and draft picks to acquire players. Well, let's just say they did a combination of both as the Commanders realized that they needed a new quarterback as Taylor Heinicke just is not the guy for Washington. So they decided to make a deal for a new QB. Carson Wentz? Uhh, Washington you do realize that the Colts were going to cut him right? Well, the trade must be a fair one with minimal value due to the many issues acquiring Wentz. Wait, you gave up that much for Wentz in a second-round pick swap and two 3rd round picks (One could be a second-rounder if Carson Wentz plays 70 percent of plays). Are you out of your mind? Wait, yes you are because in the deal the team agreed to pay the entire contract of Carson Wentz. Congratulations you just wrecked your salary cap and made a massive overpayment trading high draft picks for a declining player with multiple risks that follow. I wish Carson nothing but the best but this was a terrible move as the Colts were going to release him and no other team wanted to trade for him except this team.

The next tradition is bailing out the overpayment of signings and bad trades. Washington did this by cutting S Landon Collins, OG Ereck Flowers, and DT Matt Ioannidis. I would add Deshazor Everett to that list but tragedy struck him with the car accident that resulted in his girlfriend Olivia Peters tragic death. Everett was the driver of the car and was going over twice the 45 mph speed limit. He was charged with involuntary manslaughter and now faces 2 to 46 years in prison. Washington of course has released him. Talk about a fall from grace being the special teams captain on an NFL team, most likely getting an extension, to out of a job, and potentially will spend many years in prison. Rest in peace, Ms. Peters. My thoughts and prayers continue to go out to her family.

New York Giants

The Giants were locked into cap hell and have not done much in free agency. I do like that they signed ​​Mark Glowinski, to a three-year deal with the team as he was solid in Indianapolis. But for a team that really needs to rebuild they made mostly veteran low-risk signings like bringing in TE Ricky Seals-Jones, RB Matt Breida, and QB Tyrod Taylor. The big question still is do you really have a long-term QB on this team? I said it before and I will say it again. I really don’t know about QB Daniel Jones. Like he shows flashes he could be something if he is coached right. This may be his last year to prove himself but they should have pulled a Sam Darnold and traded Daniel Jones for some draft value.

But on the bright side at least the Giants fanbase can celebrate no longer having to deal with TE Evan Engram and OT Nate Solder on this team anymore. Plus they get two Top 10 picks in this draft class. What did it cost well a lot being in cap hell? No more OG Will Hernandez, S Jabril Peppers, DT Austin Johnson, TE Kyle Rudolph, DT Danny Shelton and etc. I am just shocked CB James Bradberry is still here with all the trade rumors that follow him.

NFC South Tampa Bay Buccaneers

I thought that the Buccaneers were put in a tough spot with Tom Brady finally retiring from the sport of football. Turns out Brady will not be retiring and will be playing next season. So the Buccaneers playoff hopes are still alive as Brady's return has led to Carlton Davis, Leonard Fournette, WR Chris Godwin, and DE/EDGE William Gholston signing extensions with the team.

There were some big departures as well following the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Especially at the guard position in Alex Cappa signing with Cincinnati and Ali Marpet shockingly retiring after seven seasons in the NFL. Even the Tight End crew suffers as OJ Howard signed with the Buffalo Bills and who knows what will happen to Gronk if he decides to come back to the NFL, retires from football, or signs with the WWE. Who knows? But on defense, the only big departure from the team that was not a ring chaser (Suh and Sherman) was S Jordan Whitehead who signed with the New York Jets and DE/EDGE Jason Pierre-Paul (Who should resign with Tampa but is currently a free agent)

The Buccaneers did not really do much signing new players as they were focused on resigning the current players they had. But Logan Ryan is a solid player in the secondary and WR Russell Gage is a depth piece for the receiving core.

A big departure for the Buccaneers is head coach Bruce Arians, as he has decided to once again retire from coaching in the NFL. Now that Bruce Arians will no longer coach it will be a great idea for them to promote Byron Leftwich as he was a top head-coaching candidate during the offseason. Wait, you promoted Todd Bowles as the head coach? You do realize how disastrous his coaching tenure was with the New York Jets was right. Yes, the Jets were untalented with Bowles as a coach but he made some awful decisions and play calling during his time there. I wish Bowles nothing but the best, but I feel that this was a mistake by the Buccaneers.

New Orleans Saints

The Saints really could not do much resigning as they are still in their cap crunch. This had resulted in the team losing major pieces on their team including S Marcus Williams, S Malcolm Jenkins, OT Terron Armstead, and LB Kwon Alexander.

The big question for the Saints was what they would do at QB as those Watson rumors were starting to grow for the team and bringing him in would reignite the Superbowl label for this team. It might work for them as… Watson chose not to come here and was traded to the Cleveland Browns. Well that sucks, what about Taysom Hill he could probably be the starter… and Dennis Allen is refusing to use him as a full-time QB. Well, let's look at what we can do with free agency. Oh right, they're still in a cap crunch and the team can only afford cheap deals as they signed Marcus Maye and Daniel Sorensen at safety. Who is affordable that we can sign at the QB position? A past his prime Andy Dalton. No wonder the Saints brought back Jameis Winston to a new 2-year deal. But it might be for the best for the Saints that they did not make a blockbuster trade as they may need it as they could fall apart now that they downgraded at coach.

Hold up I got a notification on my phone about a trade and it involves a move of draft picks. In the trade, it is between the Saints and Eagles. The Saints acquired the 2022 1st Round Pick (16th Overall), 2022 1st Round Pick (19th Overall), and 2022 6th Round Pick (194th Overall). The Eagles acquired the 2022 1st Round Pick (18th Overall), 2022 3rd Round Pick (101st Overall), 2022 7th Round Pick (237th Overall), 2023 1st Round Pick, and 2024 2nd Round Pick. Uhh, Saints what are you doing? You do realize 2023 is going to be a rich pool of talented Quarterbacks, right. Why make this move for just mid 1st round picks is confusing. Hopefully, this team knows what they are doing because I don’t. Good luck.

Atlanta Falcons

The Atlanta Falcons are in a world of trouble but had to make moves to start with their rebuild. It all starts with the QB position and Matt Ryan was not getting any younger. So it was official as the Falcons traded Matt Ryan to the Indianapolis Colts in exchange for a 3rd round pick. Plus the Falcons face misery in the highest dead cap in NFL history by making this move. This stinks because Matt Ryan is the greatest quarterback the Atlanta Falcons have ever had in franchise history. To be honest he really deserved better from this franchise as he currently is 8th in most passing yards of all time with 59,735 and 9th in passing touchdowns with 367. What stinks is he will be most remembered for the whole 28-3 thing in Super Bowl 51. So who will his replacement be at QB? Well, that player is named Marcus Mariota, who has a big opportunity to get a starting job in the NFL again. The Falcons really did not do too much as well and get ready for Falcons fans because this is going to be a brutal few seasons for this team to get back to Super Bowl contention.

What they don’t have for next season is WR Calvin Ridley. As many know last season Ridley decided to step away from the game due to him wanting to focus on his mental health. Which is very honorable for him to do. I was excited to see him play whenever he returns but it looks like that is not happening for at least another year. As he decided to bet on football games by wagering more than the $1,500 on at least three parlay wagers (Maybe even more but not confirmed) involving Falcons during a six-day stretch in November 2021. Now betting on games I honestly have no problem with and let's be real a majority of players are probably betting on games now as with the continuous growth of technology However I have a problem that he bet on games involving his team, as it kind of is like insider trading. He probably knows something that most others don’t due to his connections. As a result of him gambling on games, Calvin Ridley will be suspended for the entire season next year. The worst part is not only is his reputation tainted, but the Falcons hurt as well because there was a deal set to trade Calvin Ridley to the Philadelphia Eagles where they were probably going to get valuable draft capital. This whole situation just sucks for both sides. At least this team has Kyle Pitts and Cordarrelle Patterson. That's the most exciting thing regarding this team on offense. On defense well at least you got CB AJ Terell.

Carolina Panthers

Carolina is in the middle of its rebuild and this should be the time when they start to grow and build up their team again. The QB position has been a mess as Darnold has been a mess, PJ Walker is a scrub, and Cam Newton’s arm strength is gone. The main option was to try to attract Deshaun to come and play in Carolina. Watson chose not to come here which sucks. The Panthers need to solve this whole QB situation and I am not ruling out them taking a QB but a lot of the prospects are project QBs. It's not a good idea to have two project QB’s under the roster.

But the Panthers needed to figure out how they are going to replace Haasan Reddick who emerged as a solid player on this defense. Oh yeah, Carolina, you lost him too it was mainly ignored while the team was in the whole Deshaun Watson bidding war. But it's not that as CB Stephone Gilmore and AJ Bouye are also free agents this season as well.

But Carolina did invest in the offseason. It might just be me but the only signing that I really like that they made was punter Johnny Hekker. I mean maybe I will add Safety Xavier Woods as well but the rest of the signings were mainly depth pieces in OG Austin Corbett, OC Bradley Bozeman, and LB Corey Littleton. At least they re-signed WR DJ Moore and CB Dontae Jackson to a new contract.

NFC West

Los Angeles Rams

Again I want to send my congratulations to the Los Angeles Rams for their Super Bowl Victory. Now that they won that ring it was time to extend QB Matthew Stafford. I mean freeing him from Detroit was a good reward but Stafford deserves to get paid and it is best to avoid a headache. The Rams agreed to a deal where Stafford’s contract is now at a four-year, $160 million dollar deal. Not bad, but yeah notable names are probably gone. DE/EDGE Von Miller is one as he was a buy-in at the deadline to strengthen the teams chances at the Superbowl. He is going to Buffalo. WR Robert Woods could not stay healthy so he was traded in a salary dump to Tennessee. Ring chasers S Eric Weddle and WR Odell Beckham Jr (For Now) are free agents. Andrew Whitworth makes the most unsurprising decision to retire from football after 16 NFL seasons. By the way, everybody knew his retirement was coming once this game ended. It was the Super Bowl, against his former team, and he got a Super Bowl ring. I don’t know a better way to go out. The saddest departure is Punter Johnny Hekker who will be playing in Carolina.

There were rumors that Sean McVay would step away from coaching after this game for a career in broadcasting but come on that's not happening for at least a few long years. It also looks like DT Aaron Donald will be back as well for the Rams next season.

The Rams also signed players in the offseason. For offense, they signed WR Allen Robinson to a 3-year 46.5 million dollar deal. Robinson is a more durable option than Robert Woods so I like the deal. On defense, they added a linebacker by signing Bobby Wagner. I never thought I would see the day with Wagner in a Rams uniform as he signed a 5 year 65 million dollar contract. This deal will be worth it if they are getting prime Wagner as he turns 32 in June and could be starting a decline. It will be interesting to see what the Rams do. I wonder how Les Snead will trade the next group of 1st round picks this time.

San Francisco 49ers

The 49ers are an intriguing team to look at during free agency. Mainly because of the wonder where Jimmy Garoppolo will be traded to. So far he is still a 49er but I'd be shocked if he was not traded during draft time as Trey Lance should be ready to go starting next season. I am very excited to see how lance does as in the games he played he looked impressive.

The 49ers were not going to be heavily involved in free agency, but are focusing on mainly getting depth pieces for the team especially at secondary. An underrated signing was CB Charvarius Ward who was pretty solid with the Kansas City Chiefs. Heck, they got a solid veteran player in CB Darqueze Dennard as well. Heck, they got a solid safety in George Odum on their team as well.

My question is how are you going to replace some of the departures on the team on the offensive and defensive line. OL Tom Compton and OL Laken Tomlinson are gone which leaves a hole at guard. Maybe they will be looking at the draft to replace them and other defensive line players that left like Arden Key and DJ Jones. It will be interesting to see what the 49ers will be doing.

Arizona Cardinals

It's offseasons like this that make me question what the heck the Arizona Cardinals have been doing. Let's get this out of the way, Why did you extend Head Coach Kliff Kingsbury to another contract? You do realize he has been exposed these past few seasons as being terrible in the second half of any football season he has coached. It is just crazy to me that they did not wait until next season to give him another deal. Oh and Steve Kiem also got extended to another extension which I honestly don’t mind. Even though I am shocked they did not fire him when Steve Wilks got fired. Speaking of Steve Wilks he is a coach that just joined Brian Flores Lawsuit against the NFL and if more coaches get added to this lawsuit it could get ugly for the league.

What was also ugly was the whole Kyler Murray saga that went on and on because Kyler removed everything on social media regarding the team. There had been rumors regarding that the relationship between Kyler and the organization was not working together. Many believed a trade was coming as a result of the craziness we got this season. But it looks like things have calmed down but keep an ear out on if Kyler wants an extension soon. This could get more heated soon.

As for the moves Arizona made in the offseason they really did not add except for depth pieces in LB Nick Vigil and OG Will Hernandez. At least they got James Connor back to an extension. What sucks is that Arizona lost RB Chase Edmunds, WR AJ Green, and WR Christian Kirk. The Cardinals desperately need to get another receiver on this team in the draft. But Arizona has a lot of work as well on defense with the departure of DE/EDGE Chandler Jones, LB Jordan Hicks, and DL Jordan Philips. You can’t just ignore losing Chandler Jones as he was a big part of that defense.

Seattle Seahawks

Well, we knew that this was coming sooner than later after the disappointing season that just occurred. It is officially the End of an Era in Seattle. Their franchise QB Russell Wilson is gone as the Denver Broncos made a blockbuster deal in order to acquire Wilson’s services. There were rumors last offseason that Wilson could be traded and I honestly did not believe it but now with this trade being finalized, I believe it. I don't blame both sides for wanting to move on. Wilson has injury concerns and was on a notable decline this season. Wilson saw the writing on the wall and wanted to leave as he wanted no part of a rebuild.

It's not just Wilson who is also gone from Seattle that is an end of an era as LB Bobby Wagner is also gone. The Seahawks wanted cap space for their rebuild and decided to part ways. This one is a sad one as Bobby Wagner was the last of the Legion of Boom defense for Seattle. Wagner is off to play with the Los Angeles Rams which will suck for Seattle fans having to play against him two times in a row.

I also will add that Seattle has a long list of notable free agents. On Offense the loose RB Alex Collins, OT Jamarco Jones, OT Duane Brown, and TE Gerald Everett. On Defense DE/EDGE Carlos Dunlap, CB/S DJ Reed, and DE/EDGE Kerry Hyder. This is going to be a long few seasons for Seattle to rebuild. They did next to nothing adding to the deadline except getting TE Noah Fant, DE/EDGE Shelby Harris, and a scrub QB in Drew Lock.

Want to know the worst part is that the Seahawks Era of football will be remembered for not giving the ball to Marshawn Lynch in Super Bowl 49 than they were for their Superbowl victory against the Denver Broncos. Which absolutely has to hurt as the Seahawks never fully recovered after that moment in Super Bowl 49 happened.

I have to ask Seattle a question. If you want to rebuild the team for the future, then why is Pete Carroll still the head coach? Like I get there is a sense of loyalty as Carroll coached this team and won the first Super Bowl in franchise history. It is great and all but Caroll is turning 71 in September and he won’t be coaching forever. Plus I like GM John Schnider and have respect for the way he built up the Seahawks. But, I wonder if he will be here long-term in Seattle. Keep in mind some of his moves lately have not worked out at all. This could be a make-or-break rebuild for Schnider and I wish him luck.

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