NFL Free Agency Tracker: Teams That Have Had the Best Offseason Thus Far

Vincent FrankCorrespondent IMarch 19, 2012

NFL Free Agency Tracker: Teams That Have Had the Best Offseason Thus Far

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    We are less than a week into NFL free agency, but the proverbial bricks have begun to fall into place. While it is important to note that a lot of solid players are still on the market, most of the top-tier performers have signed with teams.

    Making news like the Washington Redskins did on the first day of free agency doesn't mean that they have bettered themselves. After all, Super Bowls are not won in March.

    With that said, these five teams stand out as the winners of the first week of free agency.

5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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    Vincent Jackson, Wide Receiver, San Diego Chargers

    Adding a player of Jackson's ability is going to have a trickle-down effect for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. It allows Mike Williams to become the No. 2 receiver, which means that he will be going up against lesser corners than what he saw in his first two NFL seasons.

    It also gives Josh Freeman a solid red-zone target on the outside. This is something that Tampa Bay has been missing over the course of the last couple of seasons.

     

    Carl Nicks, Guard, New Orleans Saints

    There is no way around it, Tampa Bay spent a bounty to acquire Nicks. This doesn't mean that it was a bad decision; he really does solidify what promises to be one of the best offensive lines in the entire National Football League.

    Nicks and Davin Joseph now compile the best guard tandem in the entire league. This is going to do wonders for the Bucs running game. It is also going to give Freeman a solid pocket to step up into for the majority of the time.

     

    Eric Wright, Cornerback, Detroit Lions

    The former Detroit Lions corner isn't going to be a true No. 1. Instead, he is a really solid starting corner in the NFL.

    This signing will not change the fact that Tampa Bay is going to look long and hard at Morris Claiborne in April's draft.

    What it does do is make the Buccaneers' depth a lot better in the secondary.

     

     



4. San Diego Chargers

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    Robert Meachem, Wide Receiver, New Orleans Saints

    Some say that Meachem was a product of Drew Brees and the Saints' pass-happy offense. While that might be true, he does have the same ability to stretch the field for the Chargers. Philip Rivers isn't a dramatic drop-off from Brees.

    The former first-round pick isn't going to be able to replace the production that San Diego got from Vincent Jackson over the course of the last five seasons. Instead, he is going to be part of the solution.

    It also helps that the Chargers spent half the money that it would have required to re-sign Jackson.

     

    Eddie Royal, Wide Receiver, Denver Broncos

    Not only does Royal provide San Diego with more depth at wide receiver, he is a threat on special teams.

    Part of the process of replacing Jackson is to get more depth and add veterans at the wide receiver position, and that is exactly what the Chargers did in acquiring Royal.

     

    Jarret Johnson, Linebacker, Baltimore Ravens

    This is going to be an easy transition for Johnson, who played the last eight seasons in a similar 3-4 defense with the Baltimore Ravens.

    He isn't going to provide consistent pressure on the quarterback. Instead, Johnson's role is going to be to help stop the run and act as a solid complement to Antwan Barnes.


3. San Francisco 49ers

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    Randy Moss, Wide Receiver, Tennessee Titans

    If the former Pro Bowl performer is even half the player that he was with the New England Patriots, then the 49ers got a steal here. Moss signed a non-guaranteed contract, which means that San Francisco can release him anytime prior to the start of the season and not be on the hook to pay him.

    He immediately provides the 49ers quarterback, whoever he may be, with a solid downfield threat on the outside. This is something that they were missing tremendously in the playoffs last season.

     

    Mario Manningham, Wide Receiver, New York Giants

    A great under-the-radar signing by San Francisco here. While Manningham isn't going to be a No. 1 receiver with the 49ers, he will provide the talent and depth that they desperately need.

    In reality, Manningham was brought in to replace the recently departed Joshua Morgan. If that is the case, he is a major upgrade.

     

    Perrish Cox, Cornerback, Denver Broncos

    This is another one of those types of signings that good teams make; no real risk here.

    To say that Cox has had his off-field issues would be a major understatement. With that said, Cox provides San Francisco with a tremendous amount of upside on the field.

    He was productive with the Denver Broncos as a rookie in 2010 and has a relatively high ceiling.

2. Kansas City Chiefs

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    Eric Winston, Offensive Tackle, Houston Texans

    Adding one of the best run-blocking offensive tackles in the game is really going to help Jamaal Charles moving forward. Winston was one of the most underrate offensive linemen in the league last season and anchored the outside of the Texans unit.

    He is a top-15 tackle in the NFL, which is a huge signing in the grand scheme of things.

     

    Peyton Hillis, Running Back, Cleveland Browns

    One year removed from being a breakout star, Hillis saw his stock drop a great deal after putrid seasons for the Cleveland Browns. He comes to the Chiefs in an attempt to rebuild that stock and hit the open market again next season.

    In doing so, Hillis provides Kansas City with a tremendous amount of depth in the running game.


    Stanford Routt, Cornerback, Oakland Raiders

    This isn't a signing that is going to make up for the loss of Brandon Carr. However, the Chiefs had to go out there and get a capable No. 2 corner opposite Brandon Flowers.

    They get that and more in Routt.

     



1. Dallas Cowboys

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    Brandon Carr, Cornerback, Kansas City Chiefs

    The Dallas Cowboys desperately needed to address the corner position in free agency, and they did it big time. Carr was by far the best cover guy in the open market and provides Dallas with a true shutdown guy on the outside.

    This is also going to have a trickle-down affect.

    The Cowboys wont have to rely on the inconsistent Mike Jenkins to guard the top threats of opposing offenses. Instead, Dallas has the ability to move him around and into situations that play to his skill set much better.

     

    Dan Connor, Linebacker, Carolina Panthers

    The Cowboys quietly added one of the best under-the-radar free agents here. Connor is going to be able to team up with his former classmate at Penn State, Sean Lee. This makes their linebacker corp just that much better.

    A lineup consisting of DeMarcus Ware, Anthony Spencer, Lee and Connor doesn't sound bad at all.

     

    Kyle Orton, Quarterback, Kansas City Chiefs

    Dallas did not bring in Orton to contend for a starting job with Tony Romo; that much is pretty clear. He was brought in to stabilize the team's questionable backup situation.

    If Romo goes down for an extended period of time, Dallas will be comfortable turning over the reins of its offense to Orton. After all, the veteran quarterback could probably start for a half-dozen teams around the league.