NFL Front Office Power Rankings, Offseason Edition
If we've learned anything over the past few years, it's that winning the offseason with headlines and tons of media attention of your team doesn't translate to wins and playoff appearances. Actually it's proven to be the opposite in a lot of cases.
Each NFL team and front office handles its business differently, and there's not one right way to do things. All we can do is look at the teams that have consistently been successful and see how they're handling their business. Then make that team and organization one of the "gold standards" in this business.
It's a copycat league and everyone is aiming for success. Some have just figured out how to hit that target time and time again.
Here's a power ranking of NFL front offices with some that have found the right formula and some that are still searching.
No. 32: New York Jets
There aren't a lot of people around the NFL that envied the position John Idzik found himself in when he took over the New York Jets earlier this offseason as general manager.
The Jets have issues in regards to their personnel and salary cap, not to mention the most important position on the field, quarterback. But it's hard to move on from your quarterback when he costs more to cut than he does to keep. That's a recipe for a problem and one that is going to take more than a year to fix. If Jets fans think this is going to be a bounce-back year after their 6-10 performance last year, they're going to be disappointed.
Idzik was a good hire but it's going to take some time for him to get this ship turned around. Geno Smith was a smart pick for the Jets in the second round because they get a shot at an answer at quarterback and didn't have to use one of their first-round picks to do it.
But the Jets are ranked last because there is still a ton of work to do to fix this team, and until Idzik rights the ship, all eyes will be one the Jets and their lame-duck head coach, Rex Ryan.
Best move: Drafting Geno Smith
Worst move: Signing Mike Goodson
No. 31: Indianapolis Colts
It's easy living when you can go from Peyton Manning to Andrew Luck, even if you have to suffer through one season to get there. But in terms of getting credit as an impressive front office, that's not how you earn points.
You earn points in how you set up the talent around those players. The Colts had that when Peyton Manning was there, at least enough to win a Super Bowl.
The moves the Colts made this offseason were questionable, at best.
Jim Irsay just said Colts "got LITERALLY every guy" they wanted in free agency. Acknowledged having to overpay sometimes
— Will Brinson (@WillBrinson) March 17, 2013
Best move: Signing wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey to a one-year, $2.5 million deal
Worst move: Signing offensive tackle Gosder Cherilus to a five-year, $34.5 million deal
No. 30: San Diego Chargers
Maybe it's unfair to rank some of these front offices with new general managers this low, but new Chargers general manager Tom Telesco hasn't done anything this offseason to make the Chargers considerably better than they were last season.
The additions of Mike McCoy as head coach and Ken Whisenhunt as offensive coordinator can't be seen as a huge upgrade at this point. The late-signing of free-agent offensive tackle Max Starks comes off as a desperate attempt to avoid King Dunlap being the starting left tackle when the season begins. In all actuality, that's a pretty good move.
On the defensive side of the ball the Chargers lost a good portion of their defensive line rotation, not to mention some veterans that produced on the back end also. Vaughn Martin, Aubrayo Franklin and Antonio Garay leave holes along the defensive line; Shaun Phillips, Takeo Spikes and recently-injured Melvin Ingram leave spots vacant at linebacker.
Some of these spots can be filled by incoming free agents, rookies, and second- and third-year players that need to step up. Kendall Reyes, Cam Thomas and Corey Liuget should start for the Chargers. But it's awfully thin behind them and that's going to be a problem throughout the course of the season.
Best move: Drafting Keenan Allen in the third round
Worst move: Handing Manti Te'o a starting job right away
No. 29: Jacksonville Jaguars
Last time I checked, when your football team only wins two games it probably means you need a new quarterback. The Jaguars seem content with Blaine Gabbert or Chad Henne as their starting quarterback in 2013. That's going to ensure them a legitimate shot at Teddy Bridgewater next season.
New Jaguars general manager David Caldwell comes from the Atlanta Falcons, a team that got it right with its first-round quarterback back in 2008, Matt Ryan. That was also Caldwell's first year as director of college scouting with the Falcons.
The second-round pick of John Cyprien in the 2013 draft will look to be a great move by mid-November. He's a fantastic player that's instantly going to make a difference for new head coach Gus Bradley, who knows something about playmaking defensive backs coming over from the Seattle Seahawks.
But as long as the Jaguars are still searching for a quarterback you can expect the front office to be sitting low in these rankings.
Best move: Drafting John Cyprien
Worst move: Same quarterback situation
No. 28: Detroit Lions
The addition of Reggie Bush to the Detroit Lions offense is not enough for them to compete in the NFC North division. Especially when you consider what they lost along the offensive line. The Lions finished 17th in the NFL in scoring offense last season, which was last among NFC North teams.
Even with the addition of Bush, the Lions are still counting on Riley Reiff to move over to left tackle spot and hold his own in a tough division of pass-rushers. Calvin Johnson is the best receiver in the game, but even with Johnson there's a fair argument for the Lions having the worst offense in the division when all things are considered.
The Lions are gambling big time on the offensive line after losing Gosder Cherilus to free agency and Jeff Backus to retirement.
Best move: Re-signing Chris Houston
Worst move: Handing the left tackle job to Riley Reiff
No. 27: Buffalo Bills
The Buffalo Bills are going to regret drafting EJ Manuel in the first round of the 2013 draft.
The NFL is all about finding your quarterback, but if you miss on one, you set yourself back at least five years. Manuel has the opportunity to develop into a great player, but he's far from ready to step on to the football field at the NFL level. Newly appointed Bills general manager Doug Whaley will hopefully give Manuel that time to develop, but as we've seen recently, that's not always the case.
The Bills missed an opportunity to add genuine talent to their team and not reach for a physically gifted, but risky, quarterback.
The good news for the Bills is that CJ Spiller is one of the most dynamic playmakers in the entire NFL, and if he can stay healthy, he's going to become a superstar in this league.
Best move: Drafting Kiko Alonso
Worst move: Drafting EJ Manuel
No. 26: Cleveland Browns
The Cleveland Browns made a concerted effort to improve the defensive side of the football this offseason.
They signed former Baltimore Ravens outside linebacker Paul Kruger to a five-year, $41 million deal at the start of free agency. Then they went ahead and used their first four picks in the draft on defensive players. Including their first pick, No. 6 overall, on LSU pass-rusher Barkevious Mingo.
The one thing the Browns didn't do was help out second-year quarterback, Brandon Weeden. The Browns did trade for former Miami Dolphins wide receiver, Davone Bess, but if that's the extent to which you try and add to the 24th-ranked scoring offense in the NFL, you're asking for trouble.
The Browns are going to be held back next season because Weeden isn't the answer at quarterback and the combination of Bess, Josh Gordon (although promising) and Greg Little isn't enough to help them compete in the AFC North division.
Best move: Bringing in Ray Horton to run the defense.
Worst move: Thinking adding receivers David Nelson and Davone Bess are enough.
No. 25: Arizona Cardinals
The Arizona Cardinals have the unfortunate task of playing in the same division as the San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks. Their other problem is that Carson Palmer is now they're starting quarterback, and that's an upgrade!
Cardinals general manager Steve Keim made solid moves this offseason to bring in defensive lineman Matt Shaughnessy from the Raiders, linebacker Karlos Dansby from the Dolphins and obviously the trade for Carson Palmer. It's sad that it's an upgrade but it's still not enough for the Cardinals to compete.
The decision to sign cornerback Antoine Cason to play opposite Patrick Peterson was a mistake. There were better options available in free agency, but at least the Cardinals didn't overpay Cason, as he signed a one-year, $1.5 million deal.
Todd Bowles isn't Ray Horton, and letting Horton go to the Cleveland Browns was the biggest mistake the Cardinals made this offseason.
Best move: Signing Karlos Dansby to a team-friendly, one-year, $2.25 million deal
Worst move: Replacing Ray Horton with Todd Bowles
No. 24: Carolina Panthers
New Carolina Panthers general manager Dave Gettleman must feel pretty good about his roster considering the lack of moves he made this offseason. That same roster that finished 7-9 last season and plays in the same division as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Atlanta Falcons and New Orleans Saints.
Everyone that owns a television has seen the moves the Buccaneers made to try and compete next season. Whether it's going to work remains to be seen. The Falcons are who they are, the division champions that finished 13-3 last season. The Panthers, Buccaneers and Saints all finished 7-9 and had work to do on their rosters.
It's hard to look at the Panthers and see how they're going to be better next season after the moves they've made. They used their first two picks on defensive lineman Star Lotulelei and Kawaan Short, and it's historically taken defensive lineman at least one year to adjust to the NFL level. So you're probably not going to see a huge difference with those two getting in the mix next season.
They both have a lot of potential, but if you're trying to figure out how they'll compete within the division after this offseason, you'll be thinking for a while.
Best move: Drafting Oregon running back Kenjon Barner in the sixth round
Worst move: Lack of moves
No. 23: Dallas Cowboys
Just to keep it short and simple for this slide, it's interesting the Dallas Cowboys made Tony Romo the highest paid player in franchise history and then exactly one month later talked publicly about his work habits. It wasn't in the best context either, general manager Jerry Jones per Pro Football Talk.
We've heard so many times that things need to be kept "in-house" when problems arise within a NFL organization, so publicly calling out your quarterback's work habits is what you decide to do? It doesn't make sense, and if that's the only way you can motivate him to do what you want, by humiliating him, you have a much bigger problem.
We can also mention the first-round selection of Travis Frederick, which has been mentioned to death. But the problem is the perception is there that Frederick would have been available in the second or even third round, right or wrong. So even if he does well it's always going to be, "we could have still got him, just picked him later and not reached for him."
Best move: Drafting J.J. Wilcox in the third round
Worst move: Hiring Monte Kiffin to run the defense
No. 22: Oakland Raiders
You have to hand it to Oakland Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie for the work that he's done so far in helping turn around the Oakland Raiders. They aren't yet a good team, and might not be next year, but we can't claim the "same old Raiders" phrase anymore after a pretty solid 2013 draft.
The move to get rid of Carson Palmer was the right thing to do. He wasn't successful in Oakland and the team needed to go in another direction. Whether Matt Flynn proves to be the right direction remains to be seen, and in all likelihood, it's probably not the right direction.
But Tyler Wilson was a great value in the fourth round and he'll provide that "hope" even if he's not able to start right away.
Apparently Raiders head coach Dennis Allen has come away impressed with Wilson so far during minicamp, per Steve Corkan of the Contra Costa Times.
"Obviously, picking up a new system, there's a little bit of rust there," Raiders coach Dennis Allen said of Wilson. "But throwing the ball, he's done a nice job. I don't have any question about his arm strength and his accuracy."
The rest of the roster is going to be dependent on the 10 picks the Raiders had in the 2013 draft, and other young players developing in their system. The Raiders made solid moves in free agency to pick up defensive backs Charles Woodson and Mike Jenkins, and also signing former Cleveland Browns returner, Josh Cribbs.
Best move: Signing Charles Woodson to a one-year, $1.8 million deal
Worst move: Not cutting Darren McFadden; Raiders could have saved $6 million and found another oft-injured running back that produces 3.3 yards per carry
No. 21: Miami Dolphins
The Miami Dolphins invested more than $100 million in contracts to wide receivers this offseason. Mike Wallace signed a five-year, $60 million deal, Brian Hartline signed a five-year, $30.7 million deal and Brandon Gibson signed a three-year, $9.7 million deal.
That's a nice investment for your second-year quarterback, Ryan Tannehill, but when you let Jake Long leave via free agency to the St. Louis Rams, you're showing that you'd rather spend money on playmakers than protecting your quarterback. The opposite thought of building your team from the inside-out.
Sure, second-year player Jonathan Martin might be ready to step in and handle the left tackle spot this season after playing on the right side last year. But is it really smart to put all of your eggs in that basket? Because that's what the Dolphins have done.
Best move: Trading up for Oregon linebacker/defensive end Dion Jordan
Worst move: Giving Mike Wallace $30 million in guaranteed money
No. 20: Kansas City Chiefs
The Kansas City Chiefs have shown a distinct plan this offseason in regards to their offense. They're investing heavy in the offensive line and building a physical football team.
They didn't trade Branden Albert, which was the "rumor" all throughout the draft, and then used the No. 1 overall pick on Eric Fisher, who will most likely be starting on the right side of the offensive line when the season begins.
They signed free-agent tight end Anthony Fasano from the Miami Dolphins, a player who's known for his blocking ability. They used their second pick in the draft, a third-round selection after they gave up their second-round pick in trading for Alex Smith, on Cincinnati tight end Travis Kelce.
These moves all fit together with the idea of building a physical football team that wants to successfully run the ball whenever it wants, which would fit with the Chiefs strength on offense, running back Jamaal Charles.
The trade for Alex Smith still doesn't sit well with some Chiefs fans, but the moves they've made this offseason seem to be building the kind of offense around Smith that he'd be successful in. That's not what some fans want to hear, but we'll see how it works out when the season begins.
Best move: Signing former Dolphins cornerback Sean Smith
Worst move: Reaching on Arkansas running back Knile Davis
No. 19: Minnesota Vikings
The Minnesota Vikings went all in with their first-round selections during the 2013 NFL draft, all three of them. They were Florida defensive lineman Sharrif Floyd, Florida State cornerback Xavier Rhodes and Tennessee wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson.
The trade-up for Patterson was a bold move from Vikings general manager Rick Spielman, who gave up their second-, third-, fourth- and seventh-round picks to the New England Patriots in order to move up for Patterson. These moves infused talent on a team that needed a spark to compete in the tough NFC North division.
But the biggest head-scratching move the Vikings made this offseason was the boat-load of money they gave former Packers wide receiver Greg Jennings, who signed a five-year, $45 million deal. Jennings has missed 11 games over the past two years with injuries, and he will turn 30 years old next season.
Best move: Drafting Florida State cornerback Xavier Rhodes
Worst move: Overpaying wide receiver Greg Jennings
No. 18: St. Louis Rams
The St. Louis Rams had one of the better drafts of any team in the NFL. They were able to get quarterback Sam Bradford a playmaker in former West Virginia standout Tavon Austin and then were able to get former Georgia outside linebacker Alex Ogletree with their second pick in the first round.
Stedman Bailey, Barrett Jones and Zac Stacy were all great choices later in the draft as well.
The other priority was protecting Sam Bradford, and they did that by signing former Miami Dolphins left tackle Jake Long. Long signed a four-year, $36 million deal with the Rams.
General manager Les Snead did the right thing by making an investment along the offensive line to protect Bradford, but Long is going to have to remain healthy in order for this move to pay off in the long run. That looks like a gamble right now.
Best move: Signing tight end Jared Cook
Worst move: Not finding a better backup quarterback than Kellen Clemens
No. 17: Tennessee Titans
Tennessee Titans general manager Ruston Webster did a fantastic job this offseason of addressing the offensive line problems with the Titans. At the start of free agency they signed top free-agent guard, Andy Levitre of the Buffalo Bills, and then used the No. 10 overall pick in the first round on Alabama guard Chance Warmack.
That's how you build a football team, from the inside out.
The Titans also got great value in second-round wide receiver Justin Hunter, third-round linebacker Zaviar Gooden and fifth-round defensive end Lavar Edwards.
Webster also did well addressing their secondary with free-agent safeties George Wilson and Bernard Pollard.
While most of these moves are solid, not sexy, it doesn't look like the Titans did enough to compete next season with the Houston Texans or Indianapolis Colts, but they have made themselves a considerably better football team.
Best move: Drafting Alabama guard, Chance Warmack
Worst move: Overpaying tight-end Delanie Walker
No. 16: Philadelphia Eagles
Howie Roseman and the Philadelphia Eagles did the smart thing in drafting Oklahoma Sooners tackle Lane Johnson with their first pick in the first round (No. 4 overall).
It was the safe play in an unsafe draft and investing in the offensive line is always a good call. There have been major changes to the Philadelphia Eagles, and a lot of it centers around new head coach, former Oregon Ducks head coach Chip Kelly.
There is a buzz coming out of every Eagles practice and minicamp that talks about tempo, speed and precision. These are obviously all good things but they don't ensure success, but they have created "hope" surrounding an Eagles franchise that grew tired of Andy Reid and his ways.
The Eagles got fantastic value in the seventh round in Oregon State cornerback Jordan Poyer. He's a player that I'm sure Kelly is very familiar with from his time coaching at Oregon.
The biggest surprise pick, which has been discussed every way possible at this point, was in the fourth round when they took former USC quarterback Matt Barkley. Until we see exactly what the NFL version of Chip Kelly's offense is going to look like we should hold off judgment on the Barkley discussion.
Best move: Hiring Chip Kelly
Worst move: Patrick Chung and Kenny Phillips are upgrades at safety, but better, healthier players were available
No. 15: Cincinnati Bengals
The Cincinnati Bengals have done a great job over the past few years of building their football team. They hit on 2011 second-round pick quarterback Andy Dalton, and that'll help any franchise. Whether they can win anything substantial with Dalton remains to be seen, but it's obvious that Dalton is a solid piece to their personnel puzzle after winning 19 regular-season games over the past two seasons.
The Bengals also made a fantastic choice by selecting Notre Dame tight end Tyler Eifert in the first round of this past draft. He brings a versatility to their offense and provides Dalton another reliable target across the middle of the field. That should help open things on the outside for star wide receiver AJ Green.
The Bengals also made the low-key move of bringing in Josh Johnson as the backup quarterback. He's a player who's athleticism would provide a spark for the offense should he have to step in and play for a Bengals team that's looking to compete for the AFC North division next season.
Best move: Drafting Tyler Eifert
Worst move: Having Taylor Mays in a position to play meaningful minutes
No. 14: Chicago Bears
The Chicago Bears may have overpaid for former New Orleans Saints offensive tackle, Jermon Bushrod, by signing him to a five-year, $35.9 million deal. But the combination of Bushrod and first-round pick guard/tackle Kyle Long and free-agent tight end Martellus Bennett drastically improved the protection for Bears quarterback Jay Cutler.
The decision to let Brian Urlacher, their storied, future Hall of Fame middle linebacker, go was one that probably wasn't easy for general manager Phil Emery. What he meant to that team and organization can't be overvalued.
The Bears made solid moves in the draft to address the linebacker group. They used two of their first three picks on linebackers, selecting Florida's Jon Bostic and Rutgers' Khaseem Greene. They also added James Anderson and D.J. Williams during free agency.
Best move: Drafting Khaseem Greene in the fourth round
Worst move: Could have added more speed at wide receiver
No. 13: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers' biggest issue last season was with their secondary. They finished dead last in the NFL by giving up an average of 297 yards passing each game.
They addressed that this offseason by signing former San Francisco 49ers safety Dashon Goldson, trading for former Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis and using their first draft pick, a second-round pick, on former Mississippi State defensive back Johnthan Banks. That's the definition of acknowledging a problem and making moves to try and fix it.
The one problem they haven't been able to fix and will ultimately hold them back is quarterback Josh Freeman. Their perceived solution, or future, was drafting North Carolina State's Mike Glennon. That will prove to be a mistake.
Best move: Trading for Darrelle Revis
Worst move: Drafting Mike Glennon
No. 12: Washington Redskins
The Redskins front office still gets credit for the quarterback decisions they made last year. First, the trade-up for Robert Griffin III was a fantastic move, even if he is coming back from an injury suffered at the end of last season. Second, the bold decision to select Kirk Cousins with their next pick in the draft. In hindsight, the move looks very smart.
The production we saw from Robert Griffin III last season was well worth the compensation given to trade up for him. Any time you can get the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year, you do what you have to do to get that done.
The Redskins got great value from some of their later round picks in this past draft. Their fourth-round pick, safety Phillip Thomas out of Fresno State, should make an instant impact for the Redskins defense.
Brandon Jenkins and Bacarri Rambo were great picks late in the draft as well.
Best move: Phillip Thomas
Worst move: David Amerson
No. 11: Houston Texans
The Houston Texans are becoming one of those franchises that other teams want to model themselves after. They've been consistent and have overcome major injuries, loss of key players to free agency and yet they still keep winning football games.
This offseason isn't any different as they saw Glover Quin, Connor Barwin and James Casey all leave via free agency. If they can overcome the losses of players like Mario Williams, Dunta Robinson, Jacoby Jones, DeMeco Ryans, Eric Winston and Bernard Pollard throughout the past few years, they'll be just fine next season after losing these players.
The Texans were able to add DeAndre Hopkins, an ultra talented and productive wide receiver out of Clemson, with their first-round pick this year. It was a smart move to add a dynamic threat at wide receiver opposite of Andre Johnson. That should help give Matt Schaub more options and open up some things across the middle for tight end Owen Daniels.
The Texans have been able to win 37 regular-season games over the past four years. They're consistently competing each and every year, and that's the look of a solid front office.
Best move: DeAndre Hopkins
Worst move: Overpaying Ed Reed
No. 10: Denver Broncos
Any time you can add a future Hall of Fame quarterback, one of the best to ever play the game, in free agency when he's got years left to play, you're doing something right in the front office.
When John Elway was able to bring Peyton Manning to the Denver Broncos before last season, they were automatically going to be contenders for the next two to three years. That's just the kind of player that Manning is.
Then Elway goes out and signs former Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker this offseason, adding to an already impressive wide receiving corps led by Demaryius Thomas. That gives Manning another legitimate weapon in the passing game, as if that needed any more weapons when you've already got a quarterback who can make average receivers look pretty good.
The trick for the Broncos is going to be whether Shaun Phillips or Robert Ayers can step up and make up for the production lost from Elvis Dumervil leaving for the Baltimore Ravens. The Broncos are going to score points, but can the defense put enough pressure on the quarterback outside of Von Miller to hold those leads?
Best move: Wes Welker
Worst move: Fax-gate and Dumervil
No. 9: New Orleans Saints
The New Orleans Saints have won 44 regular-season games in the past four seasons. General manager Mick Loomis has had to deal with his fair share of controversy during that time, but the product on the field has been successful despite all of the outside circumstances. Some of which Loomis was directly responsible for himself.
Last offseason the Saints were able to reach a long-term extension with quarterback, Drew Brees, all but ensuring the Saints remain competitive throughout the duration of that deal. The first step in having a successful front office is having a successful team, which starts with having a quarterback. The Saints are one of the few teams that didn't have to draft their franchise quarterback. They instead took a chance on Brees in free agency and it obviously worked out.
One of the best moves the Saints have made during this recent run was to add free-agent running back Darren Sproles, before the 2011 season. Sproles has picked up 4,273 all-purpose yards in the two years he's been in New Orleans, also adding 18 touchdowns.
Best move: Kenny Vaccaro
Worst move: Terron Armstead
No. 8: Atlanta Falcons
It's pretty easy living when you get your head coach right, your first-round quarterback right and make a ridiculously bold move to trade way up in the draft to select a wide receiver and even that works out.
That's what Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff has done since taking over for the Atlanta Falcons. He got the right coach in Mike Smith, the right quarterback in Matt Ryan and wide receiver Julio Jones has turned out to be pretty freaking good as well.
They made a great move in free agency this offseason by adding former St. Louis Rams running back Steven Jackson, who should provide an upgrade over last year's starter, Michael Turner. They were able to retain future Hall of Fame tight end Tony Gonzalez for another year and signed Pro Bowl safety William Moore to an extension.
The Falcons have won 45 regular-season games over the past four seasons.
Best move: Steven Jackson
Worst move: Not having a legitimate backup quarterback
No. 7: Pittsburgh Steelers
If that's not the definition of consistency and success, then I don't know what is.
The Steelers made the right decision to let outside linebacker James Harrison leave via free agency to the Cincinnati Bengals. They've replaced him with fourth-year player Jason Worilds and rookie first-round pick Jarvis Jones. It was a move that saved money and provides upside for the future, a good combination to have for a team that wants to compete year after year.
The Steelers were able to let last year's starting left tackle Max Starks leave to the San Diego Chargers via free agency because 2012 second-round pick Mike Adams is ready to step in and play. That's how good teams do it, and the Steelers get the benefit of the doubt on these kinds of moves because they have a history of success with them.
Best move: Drafting linebacker Vince Williams in the sixth round
Worst move: Drafting Landry Jones, at all
No. 6: New York Giants
The New York Giants haven't had a losing season since 2004 and have picked up two Super Bowl championships in the past six seasons.
They're a model of consistency in the tough NFC East division. They used their first two picks in the 2013 draft on trench players, taking Syracuse guard Justin Pugh with their first-round pick and Ohio State defensive lineman Johnathan Hankins with their second-round pick. They're building from the inside out.
It's easy to do that when you've already got a quarterback, and the Giants have a good one in Eli Manning. The decisions they're going to have to make on wide receivers Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks in the future are going to go a long way in how their offense develops during that same time. It's going to be tough to keep them both.
The Giants got great value with Ryan Nassib in the fourth round of the 2013 draft and made a solid move in bringing in wide receiver Louis Murphy as depth.
Best move: Ryan Nassib
Worst move: Johnathan Hankins
No. 5: New England Patriots
The New England Patriots have won at least 10 games for the past 10 consecutive seasons and at least 12 games over the past three seasons.
It helps when you have a future Hall of Fame quarterback like Tom Brady, but that doesn't diminish the supporting cast that Bill Belichick and Co. have put around Brady during his career in New England.
The Patriots were smart to reach a four-year extension with right tackle Sebastian Vollmer, helping protect Tom Brady for the next four seasons. The Patriots essentially swapped Wes Welker for Danny Amendola, whether they're used the same way or are the same player on the field remain to be seen. But it's going to be hard to match the production we saw from Welker in New England over the past few seasons.
The Patriots were able to pick up multiple draft picks in their trade down with the Minnesota Vikings, who used the No. 29 overall pick to select Cordarrelle Patterson, giving the Patriots their second-, third-, fourth- and seventh-round picks. It was a very Patriot-like move as we've come to know that Belichick loves moving down and acquiring picks, which gives him better odds of his rookies working out because he'll have more of them.
Best move: Re-signing Sebastian Vollmer
Worst move: Taking Jamie Collins in the second round
No. 4: Green Bay Packers
Green Bay Packers general manager Ted Thompson is one of the best in the business. He's consistently fielded winning football teams in Green Bay and he's done it without breaking the bank each March during free agency.
Thompson has built the Packers the way every NFL general manager describes their vision in building a team, through the draft. It's helpful when you go from Brett Favre to Aaron Rodgers, but credit has to be given in finding both of those players as well.
The Packers must have felt as though they were inadequate at running back, because they went ahead and added former Alabama running back Eddie Lacy, as well as former UCLA running back Johnathan Franklin, both in the 2013 draft. The Packers offense is undoubtedly going to run through quarterback Aaron Rodgers, but recent patchwork at the running back position hasn't provided the running game to help the Packers get deep into the playoffs. Hopefully this investment into the position provides immediate help at one of the very few positions the Packers need some help.
The Packers also got an outstanding player with their first-round pick, Datone Jones. He'll provide an instant impact along the defensive line in getting after the passer as an athletic trench player.
Best move: Datone Jones
Worst move: Could have added another receiver after losing Greg Jennings
No. 3: Seattle Seahawks
There hasn't been a more impressive turnaround in recent memory than the Seattle Seahawks organization. That tends to happen when you absolutely nail your 2012 draft the way that Seattle did.
The Seahawks got immediate production from Bruce Irvin, Bobby Wagner, Russell Wilson and Robert Turbin out of that draft.
We've heard of those guys and they're given a lot of credit for the 2012 draft. But Pro Bowl players like Max Unger, Russell Okung and Earl Thomas are all players drafted by the Seahawks as well.
The Seahawks made the bold move to trade their first-round pick to the Minnesota Vikings for offensive weapon Percy Harvin. This is a "rich get richer" move by the Seahawks. It could have also shifted some balance in the NFC West division, especially given the recent injury to 49ers wide receiver Michael Crabtree.
Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett were also greats adds via free agency this offseason to the front seven of the Seahawks defense.
Best move: Percy Harvin
Worst move: Signing Brady Quinn as the backup quarterback
No. 2: San Francisco 49ers
The San Francisco 49ers showed the NFL exactly how you're supposed to scout, draft, develop and integrate a young quarterback into your offense. Colin Kaepernick has become exactly what the 49ers were hoping he would become when they drafted him at the top of the second round back in 2011.
The 49ers were able to reach a three-year extension with Smith before the 2012 season and that gave them insurance against Kaepernick's development. It worked out well for San Francisco because Alex Smith played well enough to become a valuable trade asset as well. They were able to flip Smith to Kansas City for the No. 34 overall pick in the 2013 draft plus a conditional pick in 2014, and they had their starting quarterback the whole time in Kaepernick.
With the recent news of Michael Crabtree being out for the majority of the 2013 season, if not the entire season, with an Achilles injury, how much better does the trade for Anquan Boldin look for the 49ers?
That's how good teams do it I guess.
Best move: Trading for Anquan Boldin
Worst move: Not somehow ending up with Darrelle Revis, Percy Harvin and Mike Wallace also
No. 1: Baltimore Ravens
The Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens currently have the best front office in the NFL. Once you get to the top of the NFL ladder as an organization, it's as much about who you don't pay as who you do pay in free agency.
The Ravens were smart to let Dannell Ellerbe leave and get overpaid by the Miami Dolphins. They just went out and drafted former Kansas State linebacker Arthur Brown to step in and compete for that spot vacated by Ellerbe. That's a move that's going to look very smart once they start playing games in the fall.
The Ravens were able to add defensive lineman Chris Canty, defensive end Elvis Dumervil and safety Michael Huff this offseason via free agency. Huff helps fill the void left by longtime Raven Ed Reed leaving for the Houston Texans. The Ravens were able to use their first-round pick on former Florida hard-hitting safety Matt Elam, which will help replace the void left by Bernard Pollard, who left for the Tennessee Titans earlier this offseason.
The Ravens also got great value in the third round by adding former Missouri Southern State defensive lineman Brandon Williams, who absolutely destroyed the Senior Bowl down in Mobile, Alabama.
It's not just about getting to the Super Bowl and winning, but establishing an organization that sets yourself up for multiple deep playoff runs. The Ravens have done that.
Best move: Elvis Dumervil
Worst move: Not signing Joe Flacco before the season, when he would have been cheaper