Stop counting down the days until the 2013 NFL season kicks off; it will only depress you. Instead, let's take a look at each general manager's offseason and rate their performances.
Each team lost some players and added new talent, but some did it better than others. If your team is in a better position than it was a few months ago, then your general manager's stock went up.
If your team declined or failed to improve, than the administration will be taken to task.
Understand that this is the offseason when hope rings eternal, so the positive reports will outweigh the negative ones. But, having said that, prepare for the worst, especially if your team traded away a superstar.
So click through to find out whose stock I'm buying, and whose I'm looking to unload.
Arizona Cardinals fans have been on a roller coaster over the past five years. There was a Super Bowl trip, then a playoff appearance and then three years of mediocrity or worse. So a regime change was necessary to keep the fans engaged.
Well, Steve Keim and Bruce Arians didn't waste any time molding the franchise in their image. And there's a lot to like with only a couple questionable moves.
First, they ripped off the band-aid of the Kevin Kolb era, mercifully sending him on his way. Then they replaced him with Carson Palmer, a cheap acquisition that could allow them to be competitive immediately. And if he fails, there wasn't much invested anyways.
While the Adrian Wilson release might have been an unfortunate necessity, there were few other risky moves. They found some nice pieces that fit Arians' system in the draft, and took a chance on Tyrann Mathieu. A third-round choice might have been a bit expensive, but it wasn't ridiculous.
Thomas Dimitroff somehow keeps improving the Atlanta Falcons every year. Yes, that's the goal of every team, but it's much more difficult than fans realize.
This was a great offseason once he convinced Tony Gonzalez to come back. It's difficult to determine how hard it was, but credit will be paid where it is due.
With Steven Jackson now in the mix, the only concerning transaction of the offseason provides one of the two question marks on offense (Peter Konz is the other). The Falcons will insert 2012 third-round pick Lamar Holmes (seven snaps last year) as a replacement for stalwart Tyson Clabo, who is aging but still effective.
The defense will remain much the same, with Osi Umenyiora serving as an upgrade over the departed John Abraham. Plus, Dimitroff gets the feel-good award for giving Brian Banks to prove himself.
It wasn't easy to give Ozzie Newsome a thumb down, that's why it's qualified with slightly.
The biggest reason for the "snub" was trading Anquan Boldin to the San Francisco 49ers for a sixth rounder. That leaves Jacoby Jones and Torrey Smith as the top two receivers because he wanted to save $2 million.
That wasn't a smart move.
The loss of Ed Reed wasn't a big deal, but the Miami Dolphins hijacking Dannell Ellerbe stings a bit. He was the heir apparent to Ray Lewis, and he had proven himself last season. Then Newsome tried to rely on Rolando McClain as his replacement. The 23-year-old just retired, which requires no further explanation.
However, Newsome did well at the top of the draft, grabbing Matt Elam and Arthur Brown. He also added Elvis Dumervil after the fax gaffe, rounding out a solid offseason. It just wasn't up to Newsome's normally stellar standard.
Doug Whaley has held the job for just about a week since Buddy Nix just stepped down as the general manager of the Buffalo Bills. Thus, Whaley gets a bit of a pass.
As for the Bills' team of general managers, it's been a somewhat rough offseason.
There was Andy Levitre's departure, which was quickly followed by safety George Wilson. The loss of Levtire was never addressed, leaving the offensive line with a large hole on the inside.
None of the free-agent signings made your had turn, but the cheap acquisition of Kevin Kolb was a nice move. It's the type of low risk-high reward move that rebuilding teams need to make.
The draft left a lot to be desired. Buffalo shouldn't have passed on Arthur Brown in the second round, and everything will depend on how E.J. Manuel develops.
Even if first-time general manager Dave Gettleman had blown it this offseason, it still would have been an upgrade.
The Carolina Panthers were about $16 million over the cap after the 2012 season, leaving a mess for Gettleman. Yet, he still found ways to improve the roster.
He reworked Jordan Gross' contract, brought in Dominik Hixon and Tedd Ginn, Jr. for the offense, and signed D.J. Moore for the defense.
But, most importantly, he killed it in the draft. Grabbing Star Lotulelei and Kawann Short in back-to-back rounds turns the interior of the defensive line into a massive strength.
After reaching for Kyle Long in the first round, I was prepared to hassle Phil Emery. But the way he handled the rest of his draft picks forced me to alter my first impression.
Emery stole Khaseem Greene and tackle Jordan Mills late, adding talent at positions of need and giving Jon Bostic some serious competition at the linebacking position.
The most important move by Emery was addressing the offensive line. Long, Mills and Jermon Bushrod will help a line that struggled to provide a pocket for Jay Cutler.
Martellus Bennett was a smart pickup, but it would have been nice to see the Bears add one more reliable receiving target.
Mike Brown has refused to give up the reins to the Cincinnati Bengals. That used to be a cause for concern, but something must have clicked for the owner since his team keeps improving.
The Bengals brought in James Harrison, along with a huge chip on his shoulder, on the cheap. They also called Andre Smith's bluff, franchised Michael Johnson and brought back underrated conerback Adam Jones.
The draft is where Brown really shined though. Tyler Eifert will add a dynamic element to the offense while Margus Hunt and Giovanni Bernard will prove to be steals in the second round.
Mike Lombardi didn't walk into a situation devoid of talent. Despite the lack of wins last year for the Cleveland Browns, there are a lot of building blocks in place.
Lombardi spent no time making some splashy moves that will ultimately decide whether this offseason was a success or not. Defensive tackle Desmond Bryant is extremely talented and now well compensated, but it will be the Paul Kruger signing that will make or break this free-agent class. If he proves worthy of his $40 million contract, the Browns will be in a much better place.
The Browns' draft is much the same. Barkevious Mingo is an enticing talent that will need some work to be a consistent NFL player, much less a superstar.
Therefore, Lombardi gets a "slightly up" evaluation for now pending a review a couple of years down the road.
There wasn't much the Dallas Cowboys could have done considering how cap-strapped the franchise is. Jerry Jones' lavish spending of yesteryear handcuffed his checkbook, which is probably a good thing.
Jones brought in middling linebacker Justin Durant and little else.
Unfortunately, the draft wasn't much better. There's little doubt that the Cowboys could have waited (and possibly traded down) to get Travis Frederick. Tight end Gavin Escobar and wide receiver Terence Williams have the ability to save this draft though.
It should be noted that Jones did finish a lucrative contract extension with Tony Romo, removing one reason for intense media scrutiny throughout the season. Oh, and locking up a good quarterback is a always a smart decision.
Only John Elway could lose an occasionally-bad-but-more-often-excellent pass-rusher and still have a successful offseason.
But he wasn't done yet, bringing in Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and franchising left tackle Ryan Clady.
The draft began with a bang as the Denver Broncos snagged Sylvester Williams, but sharply declined with the reaches for Montee Ball and Kayvon Webster.
There has been a buzz since the Detroit Lions fell to 4-12 that Martin Mayhew and Jim Schwartz are on the hot seat (I'm not buying it). Regardless of the actual situation, Mayhew responded fantastically to the supposed pressure.
Glover Quin is a young, rising safety that could form a great duo with Louis Delmas (assuming, of course, that Delmas' health plays nice). Additionally, the re-signing of Chris Houston and drafting of Darius Slay means Mayhew just flipped a weakness into a strength.
Third rounder Larry Warford will slide into the starting lineup at right guard. The success of the offensive line will depend on Riley Reiff and whoever prevails at right tackle between Jason Fox and Correy Hillard.
Ted Thompson doesn't do free agency. It isn't his thing.
Although it's curious that he didn't bring Charles Woodson back, saving money to give Aaron Rodgers more cash than the GDP of several mid-size countries is an understandable objective.
Besides, Thompson did what he does: draft players with high value who can contribute in some fashion right away.
Eddie Lacy and Jonathan Franklin will fill the Green Bay Packers' prolonged need at running back. And Datone Jones will inject some pass-rushing tenacity into the defense.
The only real concern is that he failed to do much about the offensive line.
The Houston Texans had a difficult beginning to free agency, losing starters Connor Barwin and Glover Quin. The Ed Reed signing wasn't a great move either, but at least there is still talent on the backline, even if it is overpaid.
As for the Barwin departure, it wasn't nearly as bad when you consider he's getting $6 million per year. That's entirely too much for a non-pass-rushing outside linebacker (4 sacks last year).
The draft really helped Smith's evaluation. DeAndre Hopkins is a great fit who should excel from the start, while D.J. Swearinger and Sam Montgomery could provide cornerstones for the next generation of the defense.
Good teams don't overpay for marginal talent. They properly evaluate players, pay them accordingly, and keep their cap space to lock up the stars they develop through the draft.
Of course, this is about Erik Walden and his 4-year, $16-million contract, but don't let that one mistake color your picture of the Indianapolis Colts' offseason.
Ryan Grigson added plenty of strong players through free agency on deals that better reflect their actual worth (Greg Toler, Donald Thomas, and even LaRon Landry).
However, the draft provided a few nice players, but nothing better than that. But the high-flash players of last year should complement this building-block type draft well.
The Jacksonville Jaguars brought in a new administration because the roster failed to improve and the wins never came. That's the situation that David Caldwell found himself in.
But he didn't panic. He kept the checkbook closed and started focusing on the draft, which worked well because he didn't over think anything. When Luke Joeckel is sitting there at No. 2, you pull the trigger. Tackles have become too valuable to skip over as the game trends more towards passing.
Caldwell found at least two more starters in Johnathan Cyprien, Dwayne Gratz, Ace Sanders and Denard Robingson. The last two double as players who will bring some excitement to the offense and special teams.
It was a measured, smart offseason for the Jacksonville Jaguars. It's been awhile since I've typed a similar sentence.
Another team, another new regime.
John Dorsey and Andy Reid inherited a better situation than any other new administration. The Kansas City Chiefs have issues, but there's plenty of talent throughout the roster.
And they did a good job not to mess with that. Eric Fisher gives them a potentially great tackle duo, and Travis Kelce and Knile Davis will add two new weapons to a well-stocked arsenal.
Plus, they brought back Dwayne Bowe, who is a beast when healthy and focused.
While grabbing defensive lineman Mike Devito was also a nice pick up, the entire offseason will hinge on whether Alex Smith justifies his second-and-third-round price tag (unless the Chiefs go 8-8, then the San Francisco 49ers will get another second rounder).
It was certainly an aggressive offseason for Jeff Ireland.
His Miami Dolphins will likely be a hot pick for marked improvement in 2013. The team will be better, but a lot of unfinished products must work hard this summer to polish their game.
Mike Wallace's cost is well documented, and is exorbitant if he doesn't evolve into a complete wide receiver.
The real improvement came from the additions of Brent Grimes, Dannell Ellerbe, and Philip Wheeler. Dion Jordan can take this defense to the next level, but he is obviously another player who will need to improve quickly.
Otherwise, this could be the disastrous offseason that costs Ireland his job. He might have let a franchise left tackle leave in exchange for a single-trick (speed) pony. People remember that sort of thing.
After a run on new administrations, we're now in the midst of a run on intense-gambling incumbents.
Rick Spielman made the easy decisions of taking Sharrif Floyd and Xavier Rhodes before doubling down on Cordarrelle Patterson. The Minnesota Vikings gave up four picks to select the Tennessee wide receiver, hoping that he can fill in for the traded Percy Harvin.
As for the Percy Harvin move, it might be a case of addition by subtraction. The working relationship became untenable, and the Vikings got a first rounder and cap relief. It wasn't a move that Spielman wanted to make, but tough calls are a part of the gig.
The New England Patriots make headlines with every move they make, but replacing Wes Welker with Danny Amendola will be debated for at least two years. If it works out as it could, then Bill Belichick just got a more explosive and equally reliable receiver (albeit with an injury history) who also happens to be younger.
That's a Belichick move. Those moves are a big reason why the Patriots are always competitive.
Bill pulled the hoodie over the eyes of the Minnesota Vikings when he fleeced them for his late first-round pick, getting a second, third, fourth and seventh in return.
The draft didn't pull in many gems, but Jamie Collins is an exciting, versatile linebacking prospect.
Throw in the signing of Adrian Wilson, an aging safety that can bring some veteran leadership to the secondary, and you have a solid offseason.
Mickey Loomis found himself in a tough spot with the salary cap. The situation was so dire, that he had to ship Chris Ivory and his $2.02 million salary to the New York Jets for a fourth rounder.
While he eventually flipped that pick and his own fourth to the Miami Dolphins for their third (resulting in John Jenkins), it's hard to get too excited about the New Orleans Saints' offseason.
Terron Armtead was a workout warrior who can't fill the Saints' biggest need: left tackle. Jermon Bushrod left for the Chicago Bears, where he was eventually overpaid. While not matching that offer is understandable, New Orleans now has to start Charles Johnson there, who played poorly on the right side.
The Kenny Vaccaro pick was a smart decision, but this offseason was mainly a bust for the Saints.
Jerry Reese isn't the type to make too many big-headline moves. That's a good thing because he didn't have the cap space to do much of anything.
The New York Giants lost a few pieces from their championship seasons, including Ahmad Bradshaw, Chris Canty and Osi Umenyiora. Reese did bring in Cullen Jenkins, but the rest of the positions will be manned by mostly unprovens.
Count me among those who considered Justin Pugh to be a reach at the 19th spot. If they expect him to play tackle, I like it even less.
Oh, and Victor Cruz is still unsigned, although that might not be Reese's fault.
Where to begin?
How did he deal with Darrelle Revis? Well, instead of finding anyway to keep arguably the best New York Jet of all time, he traded him for a first round pick and hopefully a third. That "haul" speaks for itself, and not in a good way.
To Idzik's credit, he did draft pretty well. Sheldon Richardson and Dee Milliner give them a couple first-day playmakers on defense. Selecting Geno Smith in the second round was great value, but a quarterback competing with the highly paid Mark Sanchez is entering a difficult situation.
Reggie McKenzie deserves all kinds of credit. He knew the Carson Palmer situation was untenable and shipped him off for pennies on the dollar.
Not that he could have gotten a dollar, but you get the point.
Anyways, the Oakland Raiders made plenty of strides to set them up for future success. They traded back in the draft to recoup some picks that they lost in the original Palmer deal, and then used those picks wisely.
D.J. Hayden is a risky pick that should be an immediate starter. Menelik Watson and Tyler Wilson have the talent to develop into outstanding building blocks, and seventh round defensive end David Bass could be the steal of the draft.
Losing Desmond Bryant hurts, but he made some sneaky signings, like bringing in Kaluka Maiava.
This was a close call.
On one hand, Howie Roseman drafted Lane Johnson and Zach Ertz to help the offense immediately. He also nabbed Matt Barkley and Jordan Poyer late, who could both develop into steals.
Furthermore, he brought in tight end James Casey, who will fit well opposite Ertz.
On the other hand, he also overpaid for Connor Barwin and Isaac Sopoaga, and probably did so for Cary Williams too.
It's up and down, but the team is better off now than it was before.
When Jarvis Jones fell into the Pittsburgh Steelers' lap, Kevin Colbert didn't get cute; he just took the best player available who just happened to be exactly what they needed.
He didn't let up with the next three picks, grabbing Markus Wheaton, Le'Veon Bell and Shamarko Thomas. All three should be immediate contributors.
The losses of James Harrison and Mike Wallace were fine considering the money they either wanted or received. So long as he kept Emmanuel Sanders, the offseason would be okay.
There's a certain hodge-podge feeling to the San Diego Chargers roster that is unsettling.
Look at the running backs and receivers; do any of them instill confidence? Keenan Allen could be good, but he's not a No. 1, and Ryan Mathews is quickly becoming a lost cause.
The offensive line was atrocious, so Tom Telesco drafted D.J. Fluker. Fair enough, but he watched top-notch guard Louis Vasquez walk to a division rival.
The Manti Te'o selection was a great stroke of luck, but it isn't enough to push this offseason into the good category.
The San Francisco 49ers are set up to be great and sustain that success. What more could you possibly want from a general manager?
He also secured Nnamdi Asomugha’s and Glenn Dorsey's services, partially offsetting the losses of Dashon Goldson and Isaac Sopoaga.
But the draft is where he made his mark. Eric Reid will step into Goldson's vacated spot, while Tank Carradine and Marcus Lattimore will be allowed time to come along slowly. Plus, they took a flyer on Lawrence Okoye, who has the same measurables as J.J. Watt.
The Seattle Seahawks could have stopped the offseason after trading for Percy Harvin, and all would be well.
But they didn't
They also picked up Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett to bolster the outside of the defensive line. Then they drafted defensive tackles Jordan Hill and Jesse Williams to beef up the inside.
They lost no one significant, and even added an explosive back in Christine Michael.
You're probably sick of seeing so many general managers receiving positive stock reports. Well, I warned you in the opening slide, and there's no way you can argue that the St. Louis Rams had a poor offseason.
Yes, Les Snead gave Steven Jackson a chance to chase a ring, but that freed up room to make a play at Jake Long. Unfortunately, it also gave him the chance to overpay for Jared Cook, but I won't kill him for trying to give his quarterback a chance to succeed.
Finally, grabbing Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey was a real coup. Throw in Barrett Jones, Alec Ogletree and T.J. McDonald and things get real interesting.
The NFC West won't be a two-team race for long.
Dude, you're getting a Darrelle Revis.
Besides being a dated joke that some may not even get, that sentence is all you really need to know about the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' offseason.
To be sure, there were things that didn't tickle my fancy. Paying Dashon Goldson a large sum of money might have been a bit overaggressive, and not finding more pass-rushers seems inadvisable.
However, they landed Revis, the best cornerback in the game, and they don't have to pay him anything if he can't stay healthy. That's a royal flush every time.
Ruston Webster and Mike Munchak needed a good offseason. They responded with a great one.
They were aggressive in free agency, signing guard Andy Levitre, safeties George Wilson and Bernard Pollard, and defensive tackle Sammie Hill. All of these additions will make an impact in 2013.
But they really set themselves apart with the draft.
Chance Warmack will team with Levitre to form one of the best guard duos in the league. Justin Hunter, Blidi Wreh-Wilson and Brian Schwenke were all great values that will help fill the depth chart with valuable talent.
What was Bruce Allen going to do? The Washington Redskins are still paying the piper for mistakes made years ago, resulting in a cap-strapped franchise.
Additionally, the Redskins traded an arm and a leg to bring in Robert Griffin III last year. It was the right move, but it meant this would be a lean offseason.
Still, their draft wasn't overly impressive, as maybe one starter could emerge from the group. That's not a compliment.
Luckily for the Redskins faithful, the franchise had a great offseason last year, and they can get back to normal in 2014.