Which teams have been impacted the most after one week of free agency?
Written by: Greg Lehr | @greglehr3
Power Rankings by: The Blitz Team | @Blitzalytics
One week has passed since free agency officially began for all 32 NFL teams. Many players were able to put their signatures on new contracts right away after agreeing to a deal with teams during the legal tampering period, which had begun two days prior. While a myriad of moves takes place every year on the opening day of free agency, the first week in its entirety was full of notable moves. Record-high contract figures, surprise veteran cuts, and of course, big-name players getting traded (looking at you, Houston)
Of course, a team’s roster on paper is never a true indication of their performance to come, but many moves have certainly drawn attention to each team’s make-up compared to last season. Now a full week into NFL free agency, let’s check in on which team’s stock may be trending up or down the most. The full current Blitzalytics' NFL Power Rankings can also be found below.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Bruce Arians and the Bucs quietly moved from a sneaky suitor to the clear front-runner to sign Tom Brady by the time free agency officially started last week. Sure, they may be getting a 43-year-old version of the GOAT, but that should still be a significant improvement from a 35-turnover Jameis Winston, who still has yet to sign elsewhere. As the Super Bowl hosts in 2021, all eyes will be on Brady down in Tampa this upcoming season. Can the legendary quarterback lead the first team to ever hoist the Lombardi on its home field? It’s a unique challenge that should rejuvenate Brady in many ways as he chases a chance at history in Tampa. Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, OJ Howard, and a young, up-and-coming defense provide Brady with a more than capable supporting cast.
Lamar Jackson and the Ravens probably still taste the bitterness of their surprise divisional-round loss at home to the Titans. Following one of the more dominant regular seasons in recent years, the Ravens will surely be itching to go further this season behind their 2019 NFL MVP. The organization is not standing pat by any means but instead looking for smart, meaningful upgrades at key positions. One area is the defensive line, especially with Michael Pierce signing with Minnesota. Baltimore traded a fifth-round pick to the Jaguars for Calais Campbell, who they went on to sign for two more years, and also agreed on a three-year deal with Michael Brockers. Two impactful veterans, that don’t break the bank? That's exactly what the Ravens need to be doing while they look to make a championship push. Chalk it up as a rock-solid first week for the AFC North champs.
Los Angeles Rams
Due to very limited cap space, Les Snead and Sean McVay must do some savvy maneuvering to infuse talent into the roster going into next season. Losing Dante Fowler Jr. on the edge and Michael Brockers inside were two sizable blows to their defensive front, not to mention Clay Matthews will be gone as well. The Rams signed Leonard Floyd from the Bears, who chose not to pick up his fifth-year option, and A’Shawn Robinson from Detroit. Each are former high draft picks who have struggled to make consistent impacts so far in their careers. Also gone from the defense is Cory Littleton, as the 2018 Pro Bowl linebacker got a nice payday from the Raiders. LA also made the business decision to release Todd Gurley, who has already signed a “prove-it” style deal with the Atlanta Falcons. The Rams were able to bring back Andrew Whitworth and Austin Blythe for some continuity on the offensive line, but both feel like short-term solutions.
New head coach Mike McCarthy lauded the talent up and down the Cowboys’ roster when he was hired by Jerry Jones in January. Placing the franchise tag on Dak Prescott and resigning Amari Cooper were two huge steps in retaining some of that top-tier talent, however, it also came with consequences. Byron Jones and Robert Quinn specifically come to mind, as Dallas had to watch both their top cornerback and sack leader from 2019 sign large contracts with Miami and Chicago, respectively. Another huge blow came on Tuesday morning of this week when All-Pro center Travis Frederick announced his retirement from the NFL at 29-years-old. Frederick cited his ongoing battle with Guillain-Barre Syndrome as a driving factor in his decision, despite reaching his fifth Pro Bowl last year while playing through it, a testimony of his resolve. Gerald McCoy and Dontari Poe, who played together in Carolina last season, should help make up some of the losses while adding beef to the defensive line. Dallas also awaits the possible reinstatement of Randy Gregory and has signed HaHa Clinton-Dix to add experience at safety.
NFL Power Rankings
Rankings by: The Blitz Team
1. Kansas City Chiefs 2. Baltimore Ravens 3. New Orleans Saints 4. San Francisco 49ers 5. Buffalo Bills 6. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 7. Seattle Seahawks 8. Philadelphia Eagles 9. Tennessee Titans 10. Green Bay Packers 11. Dallas Cowboys 12. Pittsburgh Steelers 13. Indianapolis Colts 14. Houston Texans 15. Minnesota Vikings 16. New England Patriots 17. Cleveland Browns 18. Los Angeles Chargers 19. Oakland Raiders 20. Arizona Cardinals 21. Denver Broncos 22. Atlanta Falcons 23. Chicago Bears 24. Los Angeles Rams 25. Detroit Lions 26. Miami Dolphins 27. Carolina Panthers 28. New York Giants 29. Jacksonville Jaguars 30. Washington Redskins 31. Cincinnati Bengals 32. New York Jets