2012 NFL Free Agents: 7 Teams That Brought in the Most Help
There are 100 different ways to grade and categorize an NFL offseason, and there are literally hundreds of transactions that take place during those signing frenzies.
From high- and low-profile draft selections to big-money and bottom-dollar free-agent investments, there are also a ton of ways to come out on top.
This is a look at the seven teams who called in the most backup via free agency this offseason.
Key Additions: Peyton Manning, Tracy Porter, Jacob Tamme, Brandon Stokley
With Manning alone, the Broncos instantly promote themselves into contention for a high seed in the AFC playoff chase. Denver was indeed a playoff team without the former Colts great, but this will put it over the top.
Add in the fact the team did a decent job surrounding him with some pieces to work with, and this has the makings of a pretty efficient offseason for the Broncos.
Key Additions: Mario Williams, Mark Anderson, Vince Young
The Buffalo Bills could be accused of buying their defensive line this offseason, and they probably welcome the assertion. The front office was clear the wallet would open up this time around, and now, the Bills pass-rush should experience a major uptick in production in 2012.
I'm not a huge fan of the total investment in Anderson—his age and production history suggests Buffalo massively overpaid—but for the short term, he will help.
Key Additions: Brandon Carr, Lawrence Vickers, Dan Connor, Brodney Pool, Kyle Orton
The Cowboys spent with purpose in 2012, filling multiple needs all over the roster. Defensively, this unit should be much improved, as they welcome three potential starters to the mix in Carr, Connor and Pool.
If those investments pay their dividends, Dallas could be looking at the year they finally take a step over that hump. Maybe they've finally stocked up enough on defense to support an already high-profile offense.
New England Patriots
Key Additions: Brandon Lloyd, Joseph Addai, Jabar Gaffney, Jonathan Fanene, Steve Gregory
Few teams in the league could touch the offseason New England just had. It seems the Patriots spent their time reloading every area that was exposed in 2011.
The offense surprisingly has become much more lethal, and the other side of the football has been upgraded as well. The likes of Gregory and Fanene won't be pulling in many All-Pro votes, but they will be integral parts of this squad heading forward.
New Orleans Saints
Key Additions: David Hawthorne, Curtis Lofton, Ben Grubbs
Say what you will about the the Saints' offseason to this point, but one thing's for sure, they didn't let much get in the way of their free-agency activity. Anytime you can install three new starters, and quality starters at that, you've experienced yourself a pretty fine free-agency period.
New Orleans should still have enough pieces around to bear the brunt of the bounty punishments.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Key Additions: Vincent Jackson, Amobi Okoye, Carl Nicks, Eric Wright
Not only did Tampa Bay address its major weaknesses with this free-agent class, but it did so with a keen eye for quality. The Buccaneers invested a lot of money this offseason, but did their homework and found some of the safest investments at their positions of need.
Jackson will be an exciting show to watch in this offense, and Okoye is a name to keep an eye on. I think the 24-year-old is close to a big breakout.
New York Giants
Key Additions: Shaun Rogers, Sean Locklear, Martellus Bennett
With these three additions, the Giants add quality pieces to an already stable depth chart. Martellus Bennett is the player I'm most excited about, as he's going to finally be given the opportunity to shine, and leaving Dallas for a fresh start can only help.
With Jake Ballard and Travis Beckum out for extended periods, Bennett could lock down a starting role if he can prove he can maintain his own health.