NFL free agency the good, the bad and the ugly: How has your favorite team fared so far?

NFL free agency the good, the bad and the ugly: How has your favorite team fared so far?

NFL free agency isn’t over. There are still plenty of veterans ready to sign and help their new team. But, as usual, it appears that most of the work is already done just a week into the so-called period of legal manipulation. We’ve seen tremendous movement around the league and millions of dollars paid to free agents by reliable franchises.

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How has your team fared so far? Here’s the good, the bad and the ugly about the teams one week into free agency:


Chicago Bears: It’s hard to find a good receiver in the NFL. The No. 1 wideout’s value has skyrocketed. The Bears have been able to get creative and add some good ones over the past two offseasons.

Last offseason, they used the Carolina Panthers’ desperation to pick No. 1 overall in a trade for DJ Moore. Then this offseason, the Bears took advantage of the Los Angeles Chargers’ salary cap woes and traded for Keenan Allen. Drafting Allen in the fourth round didn’t come cheap, but the Bears have undeniably improved their receiver room immensely. Allen has twice as many career yards as any receiver in Bears history (granted, the bar isn’t too high).

The Chicago Bears acquired Keenan Allen from the Los Angeles Chargers in a trade.  (AP Photo/Denis Poroy, file)

The Chicago Bears acquired Keenan Allen from the Los Angeles Chargers in a trade. (AP Photo/Denis Poroy, file)

Not everything has been great for the Bears this offseason. They passed on Justin Fields and had to trade Fields to the Pittsburgh Steelers in a deal that was much better for Pittsburgh. But the Bears are on track to select Caleb Williams (or surprise everyone and take another top-tier QB prospect), added Allen and other veterans like running back D’Andre Swift and safety Kevin Bayard. The Bears finished last season pretty well and are better after the first week of free agency.

Detroit Lions: They’re the defending NFC North champs – still sounds a little weird, doesn’t it? — and were in an advantageous position this offseason. They had some salary cap space to address areas of need and did a good job of that task.

They signed cornerback Amick Robertson and traded for cornerback Carlton Davis III. They signed linebacker Marcus Davenport and linebacker DJ Reader. The Lions needed more talent on the line and some help at cornerback and checked both boxes.

The Lions were on the brink of a Super Bowl last season. On paper, they are better than they were in that NFC Championship Game.

Green Bay Packers: Notice a theme? The NFC North is going to be very good, with the top three teams getting better (that fourth team…we’ll get there).

The Packers felt they improved at running back, switching from Aaron Jones to Josh Jacobs. If Jacobs is the player to lead the NFL in rushing in 2022, that will be huge for the offense’s improvement. The Packers also added one of the top defensive players in free agency, bringing in former New York Giants linebacker Xavier McKinney.

The Packers came on strong late last season and made aggressive moves. They had to because the Lions and Bears were making improvements as well.

Pittsburgh Steelers: For a moment, it looked like the Steelers didn’t have much of a long-term plan at quarterback. Russell Wilson on a one-year, $1.2 million deal was a great no-risk move, but it was also a one-year deal for a 36-year-old quarterback whose star has fallen badly over the past two seasons.

Then the Steelers stole Justin Fields. All they sent was a sixth-round pick in the 2025 draft, which could become a fourth if Fields plays 51 percent of the snaps. The Steelers have spent next to nothing on two quarterbacks, and Fields could theoretically be their quarterback of the future.

Pittsburgh will figure out how to handle the whole QB situation. But the Steelers made two smart moves that gave them opportunities.

Kansas City Chiefs: The L’Jarius Sneed situation got messy as the cornerback was allowed to seek a trade after receiving the franchise tag. We’ll see how it goes.

The Chiefs are better with Sneed in the lineup. But the Chiefs’ quest for a third straight Super Bowl was pretty good. Chris Jones is back with a huge extension that might not age so well, but he’ll be his normal dominant self for at least another season or two. The Chiefs then got great value on receiver Marquise Brown, signing him to a one-year contract that could reach $11 million. Brown may not be the star everyone hoped he would be when he was drafted in the first round, but he’s young and now catching passes from Patrick Mahomes.

The Chiefs have also seen some rivals lose players. The Miami Dolphins, Buffalo Bills and Baltimore Ravens were among the top AFC teams that saw some good players leave for playing reasons. The Chiefs are chasing history and have prepared quite well for it.


Atlanta Falcons: Take a breath, Falcons fans. Adding Kirk Cousins ​​could turn out pretty well. A quarterback is hard to come by, and the Falcons found a way to land Cousins.

But in the excitement of the move, and visions of Cousins ​​pouncing on all those weapons, the risk was overlooked. Cousins ​​will be 36 years old this coming season and is coming off a nagging injury. Cousins ​​doesn’t rely on mobility and the recovery from an Achilles tear is getting better, but it’s still a major injury to come back from at any age. Even if Cousins ​​hadn’t gotten hurt, 36 is when most non-Tom Brady quarterbacks slow down. This can be a huge addition. There may also be some regret on a four-year, $180 million deal. It’s a gamble.

The Falcons also overpaid for receiver Darnell Mooney. He got $39 million over three years, which is a ton for a player with 907 yards over the past two seasons combined. Maybe the change of scenery does wonders for the deep threat, but that’s not a sure thing. And the Falcons still have a big need for a pass rusher. Maybe Atlanta can address that in the draft or the rest of free agency. Realistically, the entire offseason hinges on how well Cousins ​​looks after this Achilles surgery.

Tennessee Titans: The Titans did what they could to improve the freedom of action. They also looked like the team with a lot of space and not much to spend, so they made some questionable moves.

Calvin Ridley is no sure thing for a four-year, $92 million player. Tony Pollard was paid $24 million over three years and he is coming off a great season with the Dallas Cowboys and looks similar to Tyjae Spears, a 2023 rookie who probably deserved a bigger role this season and now won’t get it.

The Titans have a lot of work to do. They really improved the offensive line and cornerback, and Pollard and Ridley are good players. We’ll see if they get a good return on their investment.

Los Angeles Rams: It’s not like the Rams did anything wrong with the Aaron Donald situation. But when you lose someone who has a legitimate claim to being the greatest defensive player in NFL history, it’s a tough offseason.

The Rams were in a great spot. They came off a surprising playoff berth, had their first round draft pick for the first time in years and a decent amount of cap space. They invested in the offensive line this offseason, which was good. Everything looked good. Then one of the most dominant players in NFL history left.

It’s hard to get too excited about the rest of the season after that.


Dallas Cowboys: We’ll be brief because Cowboys fans have been through enough this offseason.

It always made sense that Dallas wouldn’t be a great player this offseason. They have to worry about what’s next with the CeeDee Lamb and Micah Parsons extensions. But that’s why team owner Jerry Jones didn’t have to get anyone’s hopes up with his “all-in” speech.

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said his team would be all this offseason, but that's not the case.  (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said his team would be all this offseason, but that’s not the case. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

Cowboys fans aren’t happy with the lack of activity since Jones set that expectation. In fact, they lost some big players like Pollard, forwards Tyron Smith and Tyler Biadas, and guard Dorance Armstrong Jr. It’s so bad that Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones had to calm fans’ nerves and back away from the “all in” rhetoric.

The Cowboys being passive in free agency always made sense. That’s why the franchise owner didn’t have to excite fans going into it.

Minnesota Vikings: The Vikings probably did the right thing by moving on from Cousins. We’ve all seen the ceiling in this relationship, and why spend another $180 million to see if it changes?

But it’s hard to find a quarterback. The Vikings didn’t have much of a chance to replace Cousins. They signed Sam Darnold, but that doesn’t excite anyone. They acquired an additional first-round draft pick, presumably to move up to select a quarterback. But it could be that they trade two first-round picks to move up seven spots, just to take the fourth-best quarterback in the class.

We’ll see the Vikings’ next move. Maybe it will work out great. But there is some uncertainty, and the fact that the rest of the NFC North has gotten a lot better doesn’t help.

Chargers in Los Angeles: There was excitement about the start of the Jim Harbaugh era. Then the Chargers salary cap issues came knocking on the door.

The salary cap is not a myth. The Chargers cut receiver Mike Williams, traded receiver Keenan Allen and let running back Austin Ekeler, one of the best receiving backs of this era, go in free agency to Washington. Good luck Justin Herbert. Other players such as defensemen Kenneth Murray and Eric Kendrick also left.

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Perhaps none of these moves are as important as they seem to be. But when you play in the same division as Patrick Mahomes, it’s not great to take a step back during the offseason.

Denver Broncos: For the first time in a long time, Sean Payton’s team didn’t give up the credit card and start mortgaging the future to make big moves in free agency. We finally found out what might be slowing Payton down: a whopping $85 million cap hit for Russell Wilson.

The Wilson trade and contract will set the Broncos back some time. And it’s not like they’ve had much success recently. The Broncos saw some players leave in free agency and didn’t add much while swallowing that huge hit. It will be hard for Broncos fans, who also saw beloved safety Justin Simmons cut, to get excited about the upcoming season. Maybe they’ll make a move in the quarterback draft that sparks optimism.

Right now, the Broncos look like another bad team with no hope because there is no short-term or long-term answer at quarterback, something like … Broncos 2016-2023.

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