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Analyzing Team's Moves in Free Agency (NFC Edition 2023)



Image Credit: (Bill Streicher/USA Today Sports)


Written by: Nicholas Mullick

Twitter: @NicholasMullick


Now I know that a majority of moves made in Free Agency occurred during the first week, but I normally wait around a week before the draft to fully analyze each team's moves during free agency. I recently did the AFC and if you have not seen my thoughts on each team's moves then click here. Now let's do the NFC and see what every team did during free agency by starting in the NFC East.


NFC East


Philadelphia Eagles


The Eagles were expected to be the team to loose the most talent. After all they were going into the Super Bowl Tax. Well they lost a ton of talent. They lost QB Gardner Minshew, RB Miles Sanders, OT Andre Dillard, OG Isaac Seumalo, DE/EDGE Robert Quinn, DT JavoN hargrave, DT Linval Joseph, DT Ndamukong Suh, LB T.J. Edwards. LB Kyzier White, S Chauncey CJ Gardner-Johnson, and S Marcus Epps. It hurts, but, they did manage to keep a chunk of the core. Bringing back CB Darius Slay, CB James Bradberry, C Jason Kelce, DT Fletcher Cox, and DE/EDGE Brandon Graham.


The Eagles even made some solid additions to the team too. RB Rashaad Penny is a good get, if he can ever stay healthy. Same could have been said with Marcus Mariota earlier in his career as well, he also signed with the Eagles to backup Hurts. The Eagles got nice WR depth and special teams help in signing Olamide Zaccheaus. CB Greedy Williams and S Justin Evans are nice depth pieces to the team as well. They did bring in Terrell Edmunds who was a liability in Pittsburgh, maybe he can do better with a change of scenery. Not bad Howie Roseman.


Now all the Eagles got to do is pay Jalen Hurts now as he deserves it contributing to the Eagles going to the Super Bowl and….


Oh My Goodness, Hurts Got Paid!!


Dallas Cowboys


Dallas has always seemed like they have the pieces to take themselves to the next level. But it just has not gelled well for them. I would say it is best to part ways with Mike McCarthey as he has still not learned from his mistakes in Green Bay, but the Cowboys decided instead to let go of their offensive coordinator in Kellen Moore. So their new offensive coordinator now is Brian Schottenheimer. Wait, You brought in him to be the offensive coordinator? You do realize how awful his tenure as the Seahawks offensive coordinator was right?



Anyway the Cowboys did have to make moves to ensure they are still competitive for next year. As for the players they already had on the roster, they franchise tagged RB Tony Pollard which is a smart move as he was their best RB last season. The Cowboys extended both LB Leighton Vander Esch and S Donovan Smith. They even gave QB Cooper Rush a one year deal to backup Dak Prescott again.


In Free Agency the Cowboys mainly focused on the trade market. Acquiring both WR Brandin Cooks and CB Stephon Gilmore both at nice prices. The Cowboys originally wanted to get both during the Trade Deadline last season, but both fell through. Hell they even tried getting OT Chuma Edoga from the Jets at the deadline as well. The patience paid off as the Cowboys signed him to a contact.


However the Cowboys did lose notable names as well. The Cowboys lost TE Daltton Schultz, WR Noah Brown, OG Connor McGovern, OT/G Jason Peters, DE/EDGE Anthony Barr, CB Anthony Brown, and K Brett Maher. Oh and one other name is gone in RB Ezekiel Elliot. It is not a surprise as he declined a lot last season, but it is such a shame in the way Elliot’s career ended.




I seriously hope Elliot signs with another team as I would hate for that to be the way Elliot goes out.


New York Giants


With the Giants stunning success the two biggest questions are what the heck they are going to do with QB Daniel Jones and RB Saqon Barkley. Well we got that answer as Daniel Jones got extended and Saquon Barkley had the franchise tag placed on him. Problem solved am I right, and Saquon has not signed the franchise tag. Welp this aint going to end anytime soon



I got to say the Giants did make some solid moves this offseason. Signing more receivers for Jones to throw to in Jeff Smith, Jamison Crowder, Parris Campbell and Tommy Sweeney. The Giants even acquired Darren Waller via trade who is a massive upgrade at Tight End. On defense bringing in linebacker help in Bobby Okereke and secondary help in Bobby McCain and Amani Oruwaryie.


The Giants did lose some notable names in WR Richie James, C Jon Feliciano, LB Jaylon Smith, CB Fabian Moreau, and S Julion Love. On the bright side, at least Giants fans are happy that WR Kenny Golladay is gone. That contract is going to go down as one of the worst contracts in Giants history.


Washington Commanders


Oh My God It is Finally Happening!!! DAN SNYDER IS GOING TO SELL THE TEAM!!! Let’s Go


Good Riddance. Dan Snyder is one of the biggest disgraces in the NFL and his selling is the biggest W not only in this organization, but to the NFL as a whole. Once the sale is fully approved by the NFL and it absolutely will, the Commanders will have better ownership that will help guide this team to what it should be.


As for the Commanders they realized that they had to fix up the offensive line. They parted ways with Tria Turner and Wes Schweitzer. So, they made the moves to sign OT Trent Scott, OG Nick Gates, and OT Austin Wylie who definitely improve the o-line. Especially with getting Wylie as the Commanders need a tackle desperately.


At Quarterback the predictable Carson Wentz tenure has come to an end and they decided to release him. Whoever thought it was a good idea to trade multiple picks for Wentz clearly was not thinking. The Commanders also let Taylor Heinicke go as well which makes sense. I am a Henicke guy myself and think he is a serviceable QB, but he is not a franchise QB. So with both parted ways they look at Sam Howell to be the starter. Yeah I am optimistic he is the guy, so they brought in some competition with Jacoby Brissett.


Besides that not really much was done with the Commanders. Well if you ignore downgrading on defense bringing in Cam Dantzler to replace Bobby McCain at CB/S and Cody Barton to replace Cole Holcomb at LB.


At least you re-signed Daron Payne at a long term contract. That is a big plus as Payne is a much important part to the Commanders defensive line.



Also Eric Bienemy is your offensive coordinator which is a plus as he will likely be the replacement when Ron Rivera either retires or gets fired.


NFC North


Minnesota Vikings


While the Vikings did make the playoffs, this kind of feels like a bitter sweet thing. While they did get there, the Vikings got heavily exposed and were clearly shown as complete frauds. Along with being in cap hell this team had to overhaul a chunk of the core. Notable names they had to part ways with like WR Adam Thielen, TE Irv Smith, CB Cameron Dantzler, CB Patrick Peterson, LB Eric Kendricks, and DT Dalvin Tomlinson.


While they lost players they did make solid editions like bringing in Marcus Davenport and CB Byron Murphy at nice prices. However it was clear that the goal here this offseason was to clear cap space.


My question is this, If the Vikings are trying to get themselves out of cap hell, then why the hell did they sign TE Josh Oliver to a massive extension? You realize that Oliver is terrible right and is only useful as a rotational blocking tight end and that you have TJ Hockenson on the roster as well.



Maybe he will be a scheme fit and with a change of scenery could improve, but I just don’t see what they see in him. Perhaps it was not a good idea to give Kirk Cousins a fully guaranteed extension. Look, I like Kirk, but the Vikings are not going to win a Super Bowl with Cousins as the quarterback, they just aren’t.


Detroit Lions


It has been awhile since Jim Caldwell was the head coach where there is a lot of promise surrounding this team. This offseason proved it as they made a lot of great moves to help build the team.


Especially on defense and there biggest improvement is on the secondary. Signing both Cameron Sutton and Emmanuel Mosley at Cornerback is a great addition. Bringing in Chauncey “C.J.” Gardner-Johnson as well to pair with Kerby Joseph is pretty good. Definitely an improvement to Mike Hughes and Will Harris who both tested free agency. Even Jeff Okudah departed the team via trade as he is sent to Atlanta for a 5th Round Pick.



The Lions also added on offense as well as signing WR Marvin Jones and OG/C Graham Glasgow who have returned to the team.


I like what the Lions are doing, except for what they did at running back. Quick Question, Why the hell did you overpay for RB David Montgomery? I mean he is fine, but took a massive step back last season. If it was me I would have absolutely resigned Jamall Williams as he did a phenomenal job with the squad last year and broke Barry Sanders Most Rushing TD in a Season record. Heck he even got a cheaper deal with the Saints.


Besides that and trading Jeff Okudah for Pennies on the dollar, I really like the direction the Lions are going. It is playoffs or bust for this team and I really hope they can do well along with possibly breaking the Bobby Layne Curse.


UPDATE

Well looks like the Curse is still attached with this franchise. Why? Well we got new inductees to the Pete Rose Betting Association. 4 players on the Detroit Lions have been suspended due to violating the NFL’s gambling policy. Those suspended are WR Quintez Cephus, WR Jamison Williams, WR Stanley Berryhill, and S CJ Moore.



Luckily for the Lions Williams suspension is only going to be for 6 games. The reason why was that the games he bet on were not on NFL Games, but College Football games. The issue apparently was that he made these bets in an NFL Facility.


However, this is a big loss for the Detroit Lions as Williams was expected to be there number 1 or 2 wide receiver, and now they are left high and dry with Williams suspension. Now the Lions have to use either the 6th and 18th overall pick on a wide receiver. Yes I know they have Amon-Ra St.Brown and Marvin jones, but they need to surround Goff with as many weapons as they can.


With both Cephus and Moore suspended the year the Lions just decided to cut all ties with both of them.



Gosh, no matter what they do, how they do it, bad luck has just surrounded this franchise. For so many years. I really hope they can break it.


Green Bay Packers


So, Packers are you going to trade Aaron Rodgers now? Like seriously it is clear Rodger has played his last snap as a Packer, wants to play in New York, and the Packers are ready to move onto Jordan Love, yet Rodgers is still a Packer. It legit makes no sense why Rodgers is still a Packer. Apparently it's because they want a 1st for him, but there is legit no way the Jets want to trade that unless the Pick is conditional. Now it has been a good bit of time since both sides have spoken. Gosh this whole thing is a freaking mess and never ending as well.


With the whole Rodgers saga never ending I have a feeling that the Packers might have forgotten that Free Agency began. They legit did nothing during the offseason to improve the team. Nothing! While they did bring CB Tarvarius Moore, he legit does not improve the team one bit. The Packers already had a ton of depth at Cornerback.


They still lost talent in S Adrian Amos, DT Jarran Reed, DT Dean Lowry, WR Allen Lazard, TE Rob Tonyan, TE Marcedes Lewis, and K Mason Crosby. The Packers did nothing to replace them. Tick Tick Green Bay.


Chicago Bears


The Chicago Bears entered this offseason on a bright spot. With having the most salary cap this season and the 1st Overall Pick. Well a massive pick haul as the Bears traded the 1st Overall Pick to the Carolina Panthers. What did they get, draft picks and WR DJ Moore.



Not bad Ryan Poles as you give Fields a number 1 receiver and get more draft picks to build this team.


That is not all as the Bears made a ton of additions as well. On offense they gave more tools for Fields to utilize. At running back they signed both Travis Homer and D’Onta Foreman. They even signed Robert Tonyan to the squad as well. He may not be what he was, but at least he gives intel on the Packers. On the o-line they did not do much, but Nate Davis is a solid add at guard. While Fields was good as a backup option if he gets hurt the Bears signed PJ Walker to battle Nathan Peterman for the backup role.


The Bears loaded up on defense. There linebacker core was not the same when they traded Roquan Smith to the Ravens, but they added getting the top LB free agents in Tremaine Edmunds and TJ Edwards. They even added Dylan Cole who was a sneakily good special teamer and can be useful at linebacker. That is not all as on the defensive line they brought in Demarcus Walker, Andrew Billings, and Rasheem Green. Not bad Chicago.


NFC South


Tampa Bay Buccaneers


The 2022 Tampa Bay Buccaneers to me will go down as one of the worst teams to ever make the playoffs in NFL History. I mean seriously they were awful last season and since the NFC South was garbage someone had to make it.


Changes had to be made. It had to be done, but Tom Brady announced his retirement for good. Which is not a surprise as he declined a lot last season. In all seriousness Brady should not of come back to play one last season. He retired the best way in 2021, but I wish Tom Brady the best in his retirement.


With Brady finally gone, it was time to drop that nuke and blow it all up.



Almost every name brand player is gone. Some names included are QB Blaine Gabbert, RB Leonard Fournette, WR Julio Jones, WR Breshad Perrriman, DE/EDGE Carl Nassib, OT Donavan Smith, DT Akiem Hicks, CB Sean Murphy-Bunting, S Logan Ryan, S Mike Edwards, S Keanu Neal,and K Ryan Succop. At least they got something trading OG Shaq Mason which is a plus.


However the Buccaneers may not be done with talent leaving. LB Devin White seeing the writing on the wall of a rebuild has requested to be traded from the Buccaneers. Which would suck a lot if he is gone as White is one of their best defensive players on the team. While they don’t want to trade him, the Bucs may have no choice but to. They can fetch a nice return for White and get draft picks to help with their rebuild.


However, while they parted ways with talent that did not stop them from signing players. At QB they decided to bring in Baker Mayfield at a nice buy low price. Now I know many are not a fan of this move, but he is definitely an upgrade over Kyle Trask who was a reach when the Bucs originally drafted him.


Besides Mayfield they did mainly minor signings. Well excluding bringing in a declining Chase Edmonds at running back. This is going to be a painful rebuild for the Buccaneers and it is not going to help that Todd Bowles is still here as the head coach. At least you guys have a ring though.


Carolina Panthers


Last season was a predictable disaster for the Carolina Panthers. They should have fired Matt Rhule a long time ago and it legit cost them last season. I think the word desperate gets thrown around too much, but I kind of feel the Panthers are getting desperate. I am not saying trading up to the 1st overall pick is desperate as it had to be done. The Panthers needed a franchise QB and they were not getting it with Darnold, Mayfield, Walker, Newton, or Corral.


When looking at their signings it is clear that they are desperate. They overpaid multiple players this offseason. Especially bringing in a declining WR Adam Thielen who regressed a lot last season. The Panthers better hope he plays better next season as the cap hit will be a mess in 2024 and 2025.



Another player they overpaid is TE Hayden Hurst. A three year deal worth 21.75 million dollars where 13 million is guaranteed. For a mediocre tight end? You do realize that the 2023 draft is rich with Tight End prospects right and you could save money drafting one and developing them?


Ehh at least Miles Sanders' contract is not as bad on paper. They signed him to a 4 year contract worth 25.4 million dollars. Look in theory if they are getting Miles Sanders with the season he had is not the worst idea. However the problem of giving a contract like this too Sanders is that running back is the most depreciated value position in the NFL. To me they did not overpay in money here, but in the amount of years they gave to Sanders.



The only two signings that the Panthers made and I really liked the most was QB Andy Dalton and S Vonn Bell. Dalton is an upgrade to what they had last season, and can be an asset to help teach and grow the rookie they draft 1st overall. Dalton was solid as a Saint last season as well and can provide intel on the Saints too. As for Von Bell, the Panthers secondary is not the greatest and they needed a veteran safety like Bell.


I would like to add they did sign DJ Chark as well at a nice price. He could be useful, if he can stay on the field.


If Carolina drafts right , then they could win this division not only in the short, but long term. I also am a fan of this team hiring Frank Reich as well who in my opinion is the best coach in this division and it is not even close. After all coaching matters in this league.


New Orleans Saints


You know when it comes to the offseason I am always impressed, yet perplexed at what the hell the Saints are even doing. Especially managing there salary cap as it has been a hassle for a good bit of time now.


It resulted in yet another huge amount of players departing the team. Including QB Andy Dalton, RB Mark Ingram, WR Marquez Callaway, WR Jarvis Landry, WR Deonte Hardy, DE/EDGE Marcus Davenport, DE.EDGE Tanoh Kpassagnon, DT Shy Tuttle, DT Kentavius Street, DT David Onyemata, CB Chris Harris Jr., CB Bradley Roby, S P.J. Williams, S Daniel Sorenson, and S Justin Evans.


The one thing that I am perplexed about is that the Saints still think that they are a competitive team. Look I get why, but that ship has long sailed the moment QB Drew Brees announced his retirement and Sean Payton stepped down as the head coach. However the Saints think that they are a QB away and they decided to sign Derek Carr to the team. At a 4 year contract worth, OH MY GOSH WTF IS THIS??



You do realize that you have yet again pushed your cap issues for multiple more years right. No offense to Carr, but Andy Dalton had the better season over Carr. You could have saved 125 million if you just resigned Dalton.


I like the Jamaal Williams signing as we still don’t know how long Kamara is going to be extended for, but they really did not impress with the other moves they made. Signing mediocre players like WR Bryan Edwards, DT Kalen Saunders, DT Nathan Shepherd, and S Jonathan Abram.


The Saints better know what they are doing, but I am not so sure about the Saints as long as Dennis Allen is the head coach. They lost a lot of games last season due to poor coaching decisions. Although the division is pretty weak, so they have a chance.


Atlanta Falcons


The Atlanta Falcons are entering the next stage of their rebuild as they enter the spending phase. Atlanta overall did a great job, but the focus was on heavily improving that defense. On the defensive line they bring in DT David Onyemata, DT Eddie Goldman, DT Calais Campbell, and DE/EDGE Bud Dupree. At the secondary they improved with bringing in Safety Jessie Bates, cornerback Mike Hughes and acquiring Jeff Okudah at minimal value.



The Falcons did not make as big moves on offense except signing QB Taylor Heinicke, but they did make some smaller moves. Bringing in Scotty Miller and Mack Hollins at wide receiver. The Falcons even made a trade acquiring Jonnu Smith via trade to backup Kyle Pitts. Or have him start with Smith’s close connection with Head Coach Arthur Smith.


This season is a big opportunity for the Falcons as this division is not good at all and they can win this division. In fact I think it is super important for Arthur Smith as I am not confident his job is safe next season. What will grow the confidence is getting above a .500 record and making the playoffs.


NFC West


San Francisco 49ers


The 49ers yet again were bitten by the injury bug as if they had consistency and durability at the QB position the 49ers would have made the Superbowl. This offseason though did suck as notable names departed especially on defense. They lost DE/EDGE Samson Ebukham, DE/EDGE Charles Omenihu, DT Maurice Hurst, DT Hassan Risgeway, LB Azeez Al-Shaair, CB Jason Verett, CB Emmanuel Mosley, and S Jimmie Ward. Those losses suck, but they also lost K Robbie Gould, QB Jimmy Garoppolo, and OT Mike McGlinchey.


Those were a lot of free agents that they lost, but they did make some signings to help replace them on defense. Bringing in DE/EDGE Clelin Ferrell who needed a change of scenery after he busted as a Raider. Signing CB Isaiah Oliver to help get depth at cornerback. Then they signed the big one in DT Javon Hargrave. Interesting that Hargrave chose to sign with the 49ers, then you look at his contract and you understand why he chose to go here. For a guy in 30 signing that contract is a no brainer decision for Hargrave to make signing here. Congrats to Mr. Hargrave.



It is not just on defense, they even made moves to improve on offense and special teams. With Gould’s departure at kicker the 49ers decided to give Zane Gonzalez another opportunity. On the offensive line they sign Jon Feliciano and Matt Pryor on the team. There more depth pieces, but decent editions to the 49ers.


There are so many questions at the QB position. Is Brock Purdy the guy? Can Purdy play like he did after undergoing a serious elbow injury? Will Trey Lance be traded? Will Sam Darnold be a solid replacement for Jimmy Garoppolo as an insurance policy? Well there is only one way to find out and that is when the season begins.


Seattle Seahawks


Seattle has to be in the best spot possible for a team that’s goal was to rebuild last season. With how the Seahawks made the playoffs you think they would go on a spending frenzy. Well the Seahawks have chosen to stay the course. The only expensive move they made was re-signing Geno Smith to a 3 year extension which was well deserved.



The Seahawks even added by signing players at a nice price, Bringing in Evan Brown as depth on the o-line. Signing Julian Love at safety is a pretty solid edition. Dre’Mont Jones on the defensive line not bad. Even though Devin Bush was awful the 2nd half of his steelers tenure the Seahawks felt it was worth a shot bringing him in. If you think that is it well they brought back two key pieces to there superbowl squad in LB Bobby Wagner and DT Jarran Reed.


While the editions were solid they still lost talent on this team. On offense RB Rashaad Penny, RB Travis Homer, OG Game Jackson, and WR Marquise Goodwin departed. On defense, DT Shelby Harris, DT L.J. Collier, DT Quintion Jefferson, DT Al Woods, DT Poona Ford, DE/EDGE Bruce Irvin, CB Artie Burns, CB Justin Coleman, S Ryan Neal, and S Jonathan Abram all left via free agency.


There is still plenty more work to go, but I really like the direction Seattle is heading. With two 1st rounders as well they can heavily bolster this team. I am intrigued with how they handle the draft.


Los Angeles Rams


Oh boy, where do we begin with the Rams. Well let's get the obvious out of the way. The Rams may have their ring, but now they are paying the price for it. Not only is there 1st round pick Detroit Lions property due to the MAtthew Stafford trade, but with their cap issues they are going to have to say goodbye to certain players.


The Rams decided to let go of many players. Some of those names are LB Bobby Wagner, CB Troy Hill, S Nick Scott, S David Long, DE/EDGE Leonard Floyd, DT A’Shawn Robinson, K Matt Gay, Riley Dixon, QB Baker Mayfield, and OG David Edwards.


That is not all they had to make certain trades as well. First trade is WR Allen Robinson who was such a flop of an addition to the team. He was shipped off to the Pittsbergh Steelers for a 7th round pick swap. That is not all, in order for this trade to happen the Rams have made the move to pay a large portion of Robinson's contract. That's right the Rams are paying Robinson not to play for them, just to get around 5 million in cap space.



That is not the only trade they made. The next one is CB Jalen Ramsay, There have been rumors that the Rams were unhappy with Ramsey. I talked about it more when I graded the Ramsey trade and the Rams traded him to Miami for a scrub tight end in Hunter Long and a 3rd round pick.


While it sucks this had to be done, but it could have been worse. You at least still have DT Aaron Donald, QB Matthew Stafford, and Head Coach Sean McVay who all were rumored to leave as well. You are not 100% screwed, but if more disappointment occurs next season, you may have to fully blow it all up.


Arizona Cardinals


So now that the Cardinals parted ways with Steve Keim and Kliff Kingsbury it was time to drop the nuke and blow it all up.



They pretty much have to at this point. Many names are gone including WR AJ Green, WR Chosen Anderson, TE Maxx Williams, OG Justin Pugh, OG Cody Ford, C Rodney Hudson, C Billy Price, DE/EDGE JJ Watt, DE/EDGE Markus Golden, DT Trysten Hill, CB Byron Murphy, and P Andy Lee. All gone.


However that might not be all. Both S Budda Baker and WR DeAndre Hopkins have both demanded to be traded. They could be moved in the next few weeks depending on the offers that they get.




It sucks losing them, but it has to be done as the Cardinals are starting from stage 1. As for additions they made, the Cardinals did not make a ton of additions. The one move that intrigues me the most was signing LB Kyzer White to the team at a nice price.


The only thing I am left wondering is if they are going to trade the 3rd Overall Pick. Especially in a QB rich class the Cardinals could get a nice haul for it. But time will tell. All I know is that the 2023 NFL Season is going to be a very long one for Cardinals fans. Especially as Kyler Murray recovers from tearing his ACL.


So that was all of the teams of the 2023 Free Agency period. Not as crazy as it was last season, but still was a pretty busy period. Now it is time for teams to focuses on the draft and make the right decisions on choosing prospects.


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