With the main wave of free agency now out of the way, most teams will be focusing in on the draft and either rubbing their hands or licking their wounds. Like every trading merry-go-round, someone wins and someone loses, and although the obvious winner and loser, Cleveland and the New York Giants respectively have been discussed to death there are several other teams worthy of note.
Free Agency Winners
Green Bay Packers. The Packers have traditionally not been big free agency players, however, after a couple of dismal seasons by their standards, they have stepped into the limelight. Upgrading their pass rush with the addition of Preston Smith & Za’Darius Smith didn’t come cheap but it is a big step up and allow them to cut a couple of veterans which eased the burden. Also upgrading at safety with Adrian Amos was nice especially as they picked up third-round pick by trading Ha Ha Clinton Dix. They’ve improved their defence not completely destroyed their Cap position and have plenty of draft picks to play with still. They might just about be favourites for the NFC North.
Arizona Cardinals. The Cardinals free agency moves have been largely missed amidst all the Kyla Murray chatter, however, they have done pretty nicely. Their offensive line was awful last year allowing 52 sacks. Saw their moves to add Marcus Gilbert, J.R. Sweezy and Max Garcia look good. It’s a shame Josh Rosen likely won’t be there to see the difference but if as expected they do take Murray number one he will at least have some protection in his rookie season. They also added Jordan Hicks and Terrell Suggs on the defensive end, and should pick up an extra draft pick or two by trading Rosen. Despite these moves, they still look fourth best in the NFC West, but they are moving in the right direction again.
Buffalo Bills. The Bills may have lost out on the Antonio Brown lottery, but have still emerged from free agency in a much better position offensively thanks to the additions of Cole Beasley and John Brown. If that’s not good enough to make Josh Allen happy then adding Pro Bowler Andre Roberts from divisional rivals the Jets will and they added a couple of decent offensive linemen too. Buffalo could very easily be the best of the rest in the AFC East after these moves and might even challenge for a Wild Card place.
Free Agency Losers
Minnesota Vikings. The Viking started 2018 as a trendy pick for the Super Bowl but ended up missing the postseason. So whatever the free agency to address this-well not a lot. They re-signed Anthony Barr giving him a massive contract and doubled down on the existing squad by re-signing their kicker Dan Bailey, who had one of the worst records in the NFL last year. With the Packers loading up on defence, and the Bears not looking any worse despite losing Amos they may end up regretting not being more aggressive.
Miami Dolphins. Cutting Ryan Tannehill was always on the cards, however, this means that they will either have to trade up (and everyone ahead of them will drive a hard bargain) for a replacement or hope that Ryan Fitzpatrick can hold the team together so they can draft a quarterback in 2020. Overall the Finns look like they’re going to tear it all down and start again. Fourth place in the AFC East looks probable, and they must be one of the favourites now for the number one draft pick in 2020.
Cincinnati Bengals. Like the Vikings they seem to be more interested in re-signing their existing impending free agents than strengthening the squad. This would be fine if they were contenders, however after a bright start they were awful in 2018 and nothing done so far leads us to believe that they will be any better in 2019.