NFL Free Agency: Power Ranking Each NFL Team by Free Agency Performance Thus Far
NFL free agency is almost a week old, and most of the big names such as Mike Wallace have found new homes. Now is a great time to power rank each team based on its free-agency performance so far.
Some teams have sat back and watched the free-agency chaos from afar, while others have been active participants and splurged on some of the biggest names in hopes of changing their franchise's fortunes.
Either way, there are always winner and losers from every NFL free-agency period. The following slideshow will rank each franchise based on its actions in free agency to this point and how it impacts the franchise in the long term.
Note: All signings, re-signings and tenders used throughout the slideshow courtesy of NFL.com.
32. San Diego Chargers
Let's get this out of the way to start: The San Diego Chargers are intent on upgrading the protection around quarterback Philip Rivers this offseason.
So why in the world was Louis Vasquez, the No. 13 overall guard in the NFL last season, according to Pro Football Focus, allowed to walk away without much of a fight? Better yet, why is King Dunlap, the No. 33 overall tackle last season, according to Pro Football Focus, the only notable offensive line signing?
Yes, the Chargers signed running back Danny Woodhead. They even upgraded the secondary by bringing in a solid corner in Derek Cox.
All of that is nullified by the fact that, once again, Rivers is going to get sacked numerous times over the course of the upcoming season, and it appears the Chargers organization simply doesn't care.
31. Washington Redskins
The Washington Redskins have had a miserable free-agency outing, with the team still battling salary-cap issues thanks to league-imposed sanctions for violations committed during the lockout.
The Redskins lost special teams star Lorenzo Alexander and is poised to lose much more, thanks to the financial issues.
Washington has brought back minor free agents such as Jeremy Trueblood and Bryan Kehl, but nothing of note just yet.
Time hasn't quite run out on the Redskins this offseason, but the clock is ticking.
30. Buffalo Bills
The Buffalo Bills made a couple smart moves by slapping safety Jairus Byrd with the franchise tag and releasing miserable quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick.
The positives end there.
After making what, so far, appears to be a mistake last year with Mario Williams, the Bills have remained quiet. In the process, they lost one of the best guards in the NFL when Andy Levitre signed with the Tennessee Titans. They also let receiver Donald Jones walk across the division to the New England Patriots.
Buffalo has completed one signing regarding linebacker Manny Lawson, which should help the defense better defend tight ends.
Other than that, the Bills have a long way to go this offseason if the team wants to set the roster up nicely for the draft.
29. Carolina Panthers
It has been all quiet on the Carolina Panthers' front in free agency, which is nothing but bad news, given the state of the franchise.
The Panthers have completed two signings so far. One was cornerback Drayton Florence, whom the team better not be counting on as a replacement for Captain Munnerlyn, as he was the No. 84-ranked cornerback overall last season, according to Pro Football Focus.
Carolina also brought back backup quarterback Derek Anderson.
While the team may be strapped for cash, the Panthers have to find a way to bring back Munnerlyn, along with players such as defensive tackle Dwan Edwards.
Carolina is in rebuilding mode, and so far, this free-agency period has been a false start.
28. New York Jets
The New York Jets have had a rough offseason leading up to free agency, and that did nothing but continue once it opened.
Without even focusing on the Darrelle Revis drama, things have not been great. The Jets lost two important defensive pieces in safety LaRon Landry and defensive lineman Mike DeVito because the team is simply handicapped by cap issues.
There was one positive signing for running back Mike Goodson. He's a speed back who will provide a boost to the running game, now that the mediocre Shonn Greene won't be in town anymore.
Once the Jets get the Darrelle Revis situation ironed out, the team may be able to make some moves. It may be too late by the time things are resolved.
27. Jacksonville Jaguars
The Jacksonville Jaguars have an absolutely massive list of free agents, now that the gates have opened, so it is only natural the team is losing more than it is retaining.
Perhaps, the most important free agent for Jacksonville, cornerback Derek Cox, has darted for greener pastures with the San Diego Chargers. Aaron Ross bolted for the New York Giants.
Jacksonville has made a few nice depth moves, so far, in the form of defensive tackle Roy Miller and running back Justin Forsett. Alan Ball will attempt to fill the void left by the team's departed cornerbacks.
The Jaguars are turning over the roster, thanks to its plethora of free agents, but they have a long way to go. Expect a large number of signings soon, signings that will make or break the team's campaign next season.
26. Arizona Cardinals
The Arizona Cardinals have quietly had a great free-agency period, so far, under new head coach Bruce Arians.
The team purged a lot of cap space by releasing veteran defensive backs Adrian Wilson and Kerry Rhodes. It also moved on from oft-injured running back Beanie Wells and mediocre starting quarterback Kevin Kolb.
Arizona lost a solid cornerback in Greg Toler to the Indianapolis Colts, but other than that, the team has done a good job of bringing in solid talent.
The team added running back Rashard Mendenhall, who is a solid gamble for so cheap. It also added solid role players in defensive end Matt Shaughnessy, cornerback Jerraud Powers, and arguably most importantly, thanks to his special teams prowess, linebacker Lorenzo Alexander.
So far, so good for the Cardinals as a new era begins.
25. San Francisco 49ers
For a team that made the Super Bowl last season, the San Francisco 49ers are surely not doing a lot to upgrade the roster as of now.
San Francisco allowed tight end Delanie Walker to leave. Sure, he was a backup, but he is a starter on most of the teams in the league, as he will be with his new team the Tennessee Titans.
The 49ers also allowed safety Dashon Goldson to get away, despite the fact he was a top-20 player at his position last year (per Pro Football Focus). Goldson wanted a large amount of money that the 49ers were unwilling to pay, but now, they may have a hard time replacing his production.
To mitigate the losses, the team brought in a special teams ace in linebacker Dan Skuta and former bust Glenn Dorsey to fill depth on the defensive line.
It's been a slow start for the 49ers, but there is plenty of time to bounce back, cap issues or not.
24. Houston Texans
The Houston Texans have had some issues in free agency, so far, which was somewhat expected, given the cap situation. The team's only re-signing has been tackle Andrew Gardner.
As far as losses go, Connor Barwin, along with fullback James Casey and safety Glover Quin have all chosen to play elsewhere for at least the next few years. All are significant losses the team will have to make up for one way or another.
The Texans still have a chance to bring back some of their quality players such as corner Brice McCain and linebacker Tim Dobbins, but time is running out.
Houston has a long way to go between free agency and the draft to bounce back, but the franchise has been on the upswing the past few seasons, so expect it to do just that.
23. Dallas Cowboys
The Dallas Cowboys were not expected to be major players this go-around in free agency, thanks to a lack of cap space, and that's how it has played out, so far.
Dallas did decide it was worth the cash to smack Anthony Spencer with the franchise tag, despite his questionable fit with the team transitioning to a new defense. It's only a one-year commitment for now, and it will likely stay that way.
Spencer is the only player Dallas has retained to date. Kevin Ogletree, John Phillips, Dan Connor and Marcus Spears have all chosen new homes. None are irreplaceable, but a few could have been key depth options for cheap.
Dallas must now turn its attention to finding under-the-radar quality players on the market at a reasonable cost. It does not have a lot of wiggle room, but continuing to not sign anyone is going to get the team nowhere fast.
22. Oakland Raiders
As expected, thanks to serious cap issues left over from the previous regime, the Oakland Raiders have had a miserable go of it in free agency, so far.
Let's start with the positives. The team landed Pat Sims, a run-stuffing specialist who will solve some of the issues on the interior of the defense. It also managed to grab Nick Roach, an above-average linebacker who can help, but he isn't as good as the man he is replacing.
Now to the negatives. Oakland allowed linebacker Philip Wheeler to get away, even though he was one of the top outside linebackers in the NFL last season (per Pro Football Focus). The same goes for defensive tackle Desmond Bryant, who was actually No. 6 overall at his position (per Pro Football Focus).
It's been a tough pill to swallow for Oakland, but it simply hasn't had the money to keep important players. That will not change for quite some time, as the team continues to pay for past transgressions.
21. St. Louis Rams
On the surface, the St. Louis Rams have had an outstanding free-agency period, thanks to the big-name signing of tight end Jared Cook.
Look a little closer, and the Rams are making some mistakes.
Sure, Cook is a great grab. He's a freak of an athlete who has never been used properly. If used right in St. Louis, he could be a major reason why Sam Bradford keeps a starting job. He's also the only major signing the team has had, and it's a lot of cash to throw at just potential, not proven production.
Where the Rams messed up is with players the team allowed to walk. Letting corner Bradley Fletcher go was foolish, even if the team has two starters already. Promising receiver Brandon Gibson was allowed to walk. The team refused to pay Danny Amendola as well.
Jeff Fisher clearly has a plan in place, but right now, it looks like a questionable one, given some of the promising talent the team has allowed to let simply walk away.
20. Baltimore Ravens
The Baltimore Ravens have had issues with free agency, so far, to say the least. Linebacker Paul Kruger and Dannell Ellerbe bolted for new teams, the former even chose a division rival in the Cleveland Browns. Cornerback Cary Williams left the sinking ship as well.
Add in the retirement of Ray Lewis and the lack of a deal with Ed Reed, and things are looking bad for the Baltimore defense.
Baltimore has attempted to stop the bleeding by signing a few defensive free agents. Most notably, Chris Canty and Marcus Spears have been added to the roster to replenish the defensive line depth.
It's been a sloppy free-agency period for Baltimore, so far, which was expected, given the team's lack of cap room. There's lots of work ahead for the Ravens when it comes to roster building.
19. Cincinnati Bengals
The Cincinnati Bengals are another team that has been extremely quiet, thus far, in free agency, as it focuses on its own.
Cincinnati made sure defensive end Michael Johnson, who registered 11.5 sacks last season, didn't reach the market, thanks to the franchise tag. It is still working on a deal with stellar right tackle Andre Smith.
Former players have been signing on with other teams, with the two most notable being defensive tackle Pat Sims and linebacker Dan Skuta.
The good news is the free agents the Bengals have lost didn't appear to be in the team's long-term plans.
Cincinnati is determined to keep its important pieces, and so far, has done so. It just has to make sure players such as Smith and Adam Jones don't choose to go elsewhere.
18. Pittsburgh Steelers
As usual, the Pittsburgh Steelers have, once again, been quiet during free agency, outside of a few re-signings.
Mike Wallace is gone, which is perfectly fine, considering the team still has Antonio Brown and chose to extend him over Wallace. Rashard Mendenhall is gone as well, but his attitude made that possible.
Pittsburgh has performed some basic maintenance by bringing back some of its own players. Linebacker Larry Foote and receiver Plaxico Burress are back for another go-around as quality role players who will step up when called upon.
Don't expect the Steelers to make any major moves, thanks to cap issues. As always, the Steelers will use the draft to make upgrades.
17. Green Bay Packers
In the not-so-shocking news category, the Green Bay Packers have remained mostly silent in the opening days of free agency.
The franchise is known for standing pat and not making major splashes, instead using the draft to upgrade the team.
As of now, the biggest, and only, signing the team has made is bringing back linebacker Rob Francois. It has lost receiver Greg Jennings, tight end Tom Crabtree and linebacker Erik Walden to other teams.
It's business as usual for the Packers, including the loss of Jennings. Green Bay will make moves when the market has settled, but for now, the Packers are content with lying low.
16. New York Giants
The New York Giants have been doing a solid job of simply retaining their own, so far, this offseason, especially in the form of restricted free agents such as Victor Cruz.
New York also managed to keep some of its defense in tact by bringing back linebacker Keith Rivers and cornerback Aaron Ross. On offense, a new receiver in Louis Murphy will provide some much-needed depth at the position.
The Giants did lose two important players in free agency. Tight end Martellus Bennett elected to join the Chicago Bears, and defensive tackle Chris Canty joined the Baltimore Ravens.
So far, the Giants have mostly kept a highly competitive roster in tact and will undoubtedly find ways to upgrade it as the period moves along. It's business as usual for the Giants.
15. Atlanta Falcons
The Atlanta Falcons have done a nice job of filling needs, so far, but the front office's work appears to be far from over.
Atlanta inked veteran running back Steven Jackson to a deal, a clear upgrade over recently released Michael Turner. It also managed to bring back two critical pieces on offense in tight end Tony Gonzalez and Sam Baker.
The Falcons still have some work to do, as cornerback Brent Grimes and defensive end John Abraham are on the open market. In fact, Abraham was released. Atlanta needs to find replacements, and preferably upgrades, at both spots.
The Atlanta offense should be unstoppable as usual, but the defense has some holes at the moment.
14. New Orleans Saints
The New Orleans Saints have not done much of anything to date, but it has not been a horrible outing, so far, in free agency.
It hurts a lot to lose right tackle Jermon Bushrod, but the team should be able to recover. He was an above-average starter, while protecting Drew Brees. He represents the only notable loss for the team, thus far.
The only major acquisition for New Orleans at this point comes in the form of a young and promising cornerback named Keenan Lewis. He ranked No. 40 overall in 2012 (per Pro Football Focus) and will slide into a starting role and provide a boost.
It's been a slow start for the Saints, but not a horrendous one. Expect things to step up soon.
13. Detroit Lions
The Detroit Lions have had quite the interesting free-agency period, so far, with noticeable losses and gains.
For starters, the team lost a major defensive starter in end Cliff Avril, who elected to join the Seattle Seahawks.
It is a major loss, but one that is nullified by the plethora of quality signings the team has made. Offensively, the team made a splash by signing running back Reggie Bush.
On defense, the team brought in upgrades in the form of safety Glover Quin and and lineman Jason Jones, while also managing to find a way to retain Chris Houston and Louis Delmas.
The Lions continue to improve, thanks to free agency, and still have plenty of cash to make more moves.
12. Chicago Bears
The Chicago Bears made a big splash when the free-agency period opened by landing prized tight end Martellus Bennett. They followed up that outstanding signing by bringing in offensive tackle Jermon Bushrod to upgrade the protection around Jay Cutler.
It's not all good news in Chicago, as underrated linebacker Nick Roach left and joined the Oakland Raiders, but it's a small price to pay for how well things have went, so far.
Chicago now has to turn its attention back to some of its own free agents. Brian Urlacher, defensive end Israel Idonije and quarterback Jason Campbell are all worthy of new contracts if the team can afford to keep them around.
The Bears have had one of the better free-agency periods, so far, and it will show on the field in a big way next season.
11. Denver Broncos
It's hard to hate on what the Denver Broncos have done, so far, in free agency, but it's understandable if you do.
Denver has had a lot of positives, so far. Wes Welker is now Peyton Manning's favorite target. Louis Vasquez is one of the best guards in the NFL and will now be protecting Manning. Kevin Vickerson, Terrance Knighton and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie will bolster the defense.
All of that is great, but one major mistake could cost the Broncos in a big way.
The Broncos were attempting to get defensive star Elvis Dumervil to restructure his contract, which he agreed to do. According to Mike Klis on Twitter, Dumervil was automatically released from the team as the two sides failed to reach an agreement before the deadline.
As Rotoworld points out, Dumervil is now receiving a ridiculous amount of interest on the open market. It's an inexcusable error on both sides, but it appears the Broncos could lose one of its best defenders.
10. Philadelphia Eagles
The Philadelphia Eagles have had a great free-agency performance, so far, after a series of smart signings has guided the franchise in the right direction under new head coach Chip Kelly.
The upgrades for the Eagles were mostly defensive. Linebacker Connor Barwin was the big acquisition, and he may be able to fix the pass-rushing issues.
The secondary is where the Eagles made the most noise. Corners Cary Williams and Bradley Fletcher are upgrades—and promising young ones at that. Safeties Patrick Chung and Kenny Phillips are upgrades to the laughably bad play at the position last season.
The Eagles are in no way strangers to being big players in free agency, but this time, it appears the team has made the right moves. Only time will tell, but for now, the Eagles are winners.
9. Indianapolis Colts
The Indianapolis Colts have been one of the biggest spenders, so far, in free agency, for better or worse.
Indy hasn't lost any notable free agents, but it has sure gained a few. Safety LaRon Landry is an upgrade in the secondary, as is cornerback Greg Toler. Managing to retain Darius Butler as well means a new-look secondary will be taking the field in 2013.
The Colts also brought in a quality tackle in Gosder Cherilus to protect Andrew Luck. Linebacker Erik Walden will be getting the majority of the snaps on defense after signing on with the team.
It's a great haul at first glance, but the Colts paid each player more than they deserved. Thus is the issue for a franchise with so many holes on its roster, even after these signings.
It's going to be a while before we know if this was a good move for Indianapolis, but until then, don't be shocked if the team keeps spending.
8. Minnesota Vikings
The Minnesota Vikings are having a great all-around offseason, despite losing their second-best offensive player in Percy Harvin, after the team decided to ship him to the Seattle Seahawks for a first-round pick.
Minnesota quickly replaced Harvin with receiver Greg Jennings and kept Jerome Simpson. The team also found a way to keep one of its most important free agents, when it re-signed right tackle Phil Loadholt, which helps running back Adrian Peterson in a big way.
The changes on offense didn't stop there. Matt Cassel was brought in to provide competition to starter Christian Ponder and has plenty of experience should he falter next season.
All in all, it's be a solid, if not dysfunctional, offseason and free-agency outing for the Vikings.
7. Cleveland Browns
The Cleveland Browns were pegged as major players this offseason, thanks to the wealth of cap space and new management.
Cleveland did just that in the early days, inking outside linebacker Paul Kruger to a big deal. It also added the criminally underrated Desmond Bryant, who ranked as the No. 6 overall defensive tackle in football last season, according to Pro Football Focus. He'll ease the defense's transition to a 3-4 as a defensive end.
For now, Cleveland has done an outstanding job of upgrading the defense. It still needs to fill in some role players on both sides of the football, but it has plenty of time left to do so between the rest of free agency and the upcoming draft.
6. New England Patriots
The New England Patriots rarely make big splashes on the free-agent market, as head coach Bill Belichick prefers to make his major moves during the NFL draft.
That changed a tad this offseason as Belichick rebuilt the receiving corps for Tom Brady.
New England allowed Wes Welker to walk, but replaced him with a player, Danny Amendola, who has a similar skill set. Amendola has never been able to stay healthy, but will thrive tremendously with the Pats if he can.
The Patriots also added Donald Jones to round out the group and brought in special teams ace Leon Washington for good measure.
Not to ignore the defense, New England addressed its needs with veteran safety Adrian Wilson and working out deals with some of its own in Aqib Talib and Kyle Arrington.
It's a break from the norm, but an amazing one for New England.
5. Kansas City Chiefs
The Kansas City Chiefs have been big players to date in free agency under the guidance of new head coach Andy Reid.
Reid and Co. seemed adamant in upgrading the secondary, so the team signed talented corner Sean Smith and Dunta Robinson, who will likely slide to safety. It also grabbed unheralded defensive end Mike DeVito to round out the quality defensive signings.
On offense, the Chiefs used the franchise tag for tackle Branden Albert and brought in a quality option at tight end in Anthony Fasano.
It's clear, Reid has a plan in place, and these were just the first major steps in the rebuilding phase. The Chiefs have been major winners of free agency, so far, and the team still holds the No. 1 overall pick in the upcoming draft.
4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers wowed the NFL world last offseason with its major moves in signing Vincent Jackson and Carl Nicks. This offseason hasn't been as headline-worthy, but it's still been a quality one that has upgraded the roster.
Tampa Bay managed to snag safety Dashon Goldson, who was a Top 20 player at his position last season (per Pro Football Focus). Next to promising youngster Mark Barron, the Bucs may have the best safety tandem in all of football.
On a bit of a negative side, the team lost stud defensive end Michael Bennett, but that situation can be mitigated easily if Da'Quan Bowers steps up.
Once again, the Bucs have had a great go at free agency, and the results will show on the field this upcoming season.
3. Tennessee Titans
The Tennessee Titans have quietly put together an outstanding free-agency period, thus far, despite losing a big name in tight end Jared Cook.
The Titans made up for the loss of Cook in a major way by signing Delanie Walker, who, despite being stuck behind Vernon Davis last season, was a Top 20 player (per Pro Football Focus), thanks to his stellar all-around game.
Tennessee also managed to nab guard Andy Levitre, who was the No. 9 overall guard in the NFL last season, according to Pro Football Focus. The Titans were set on upgrading the line to help running back Chris Johnson and did just that in the best way free agency would allow for it.
All in all, the Titans are on the upswing, thanks to two surefire signings who will have major impact on the team as a whole next season.
2. Miami Dolphins
The Miami Dolphins, so far, are one of the clear-cut winners of the free-agency period, thanks to impressive deals with top talent.
Miami lost key free agents in cornerback Sean Smith and running back Reggie Bush, but the losses pale in comparison to what the team has gained.
The Dolphins landed the biggest name on the market in receiver Mike Wallace, who will give Miami a massive boost in the passing game. It also brought in a man oozing with potential in Brandon Gibson.
On defense, the Dolphins elected to rebuild the linebacking corps by bringing in Philip Wheeler to start outside and Dannell Ellerbe to take over in the middle. Wheeler was ranked the No. 6 overall 4-3 outside linebacker in 2012 (per Pro Football Focus), while Ellerbe was the No. 14 overall inside linebacker (per Pro Football Focus).
Miami appears serious about contending for the AFC East next year, as it builds around quarterback Ryan Tannehill. So far, so good for Miami. The craziest part is the team may not be done spending just yet.
1. Seattle Seahawks
The Seattle Seahawks were what you could call a team on the rise before this offseason, and then, the team swung the trade for Percy Harvin.
Seattle didn't stop there.
The Seahawks landed the No. 7 overall 4-3 defensive end in the NFL a year ago (per Pro Football Focus) in Michael Bennett. It also managed to scoop up elite pass-rusher Cliff Avril on a cheap deal. So much for the injury to Chris Clemons, last year's starting defensive end, meaning anything at all.
Seattle is now in a position to contend for a Super Bowl, thanks to its outstanding offseason. The scary part is Seattle may just be getting started.