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New Orleans Saints (16-1)
The New Orleans Saints couldn’t get much done in free agency thanks to little wiggle room with the salaries. However, inking cornerback Keenan Lewis was an important step toward revitalizing an inept defense from just one season ago.
Offense isn’t going to be a problem as long as Drew Brees is tossing the football, but starting left tackle Jermon Bushrod is now in Chicago, making that an immediate need for the Saints before opening day.
Houston Texans (16-1)
Houston held a visit with free-agent safety Ed Reed, but no deal was immediately reached between the two sides. Cap space isn’t a luxury the Texans have, and that’s been reflected by their lack of activity this offseason. Finding another potent weapon on offense to pair with Andre Johnson could turn the Texans into more serious contenders.
Green Bay Packers (12-1)
The Green Bay Packers and free agency go together like oil and vinegar. Their success has come thanks to diligent drafting and reliance on players within the system rather than signing other teams’ talent during the offseason. The Packers haven’t signed anyone yet and likely won't need to. Another strong draft should help replace the few departed players who have found homes elsewhere.
Atlanta Falcons (12-1)
Matt Ryan’s expiring rookie contract has to be a focus of Atlanta general manager Thomas Dimitroff as he navigates this offseason. The team re-signed several of its own talented players and opted to say goodbye to several others, notably cornerback Dunta Robinson, defensive end John Abraham and running back Michael Turner.
Steven Jackson was brought in to help with the running back issue, but there are still concerns in the secondary and in the pass rush.
Seattle Seahawks (10-1)
Seattle is a team that is confident despite coming off of a disappointing last-second loss to the Atlanta Falcons in the playoffs last season. Their offseason reflects that accomplishment, as they have added a dynamic wide receiver in Percy Harvin and pass-rushers Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett to an already potent defense.
The Seahawks are no longer a surprise team this season. That much is reflected on their current odds following the beginning of free agency.
New England Patriots (15-2)
New England is another team that is hard to bet against, even if it is going through rampant changes this offseason. Still, it might have gotten better despite losing several key players.
Wes Welker is in Denver, but the Patriots brought in intriguing wide receiver Danny Amendola to fill his role. Backup running back Danny Woodhead departed to San Diego, but the team inked running back Leon Washington from Seattle.
Every time they lose a player from their system, they find a way to find an adequate and similar replacement to keep the ball rolling.
San Francisco 49ers (7-1)
The San Francisco 49ers fell just short of winning Super Bowl XLVII last season and have set themselves up in a good position to make another run this season. They traded a measly sixth-round draft pick for wide receiver Anquan Boldin and filled their free-agency departures, with exception to tight end, with affordable replacements.
They have an impressive 14 draft picks to work with in April’s draft, too, allowing the rich to get even richer.
Denver Broncos (7-1)
The Denver Broncos were a Hail Mary away from the AFC Championship Game last season, en route to falling to the eventual Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens. That didn’t stop them from going out and obtaining several key pieces in free agency, though.
The additions of Wes Welker, guard Louis Vasquez, cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and defensive tackle Terrance Knighton are enough to propel the Broncos to the top of the 2014 Super Bowl odds at this stage in free agency.