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2014 NFL Free Agency: How Has Every Team Spent So Far?

Alessandro MiglioFeatured ColumnistApril 6, 2014

2014 NFL Free Agency: How Has Every Team Spent So Far?

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    Steven Senne

    The market has cooled from white hot to a mere simmer in the NFL, as free agency typically plays out in America's most popular sport.

    A lot of money has exchanged hands—or, at least, has promised to change hands—and plenty of players are on the move. Given that much of the money has been thrown around and many of the big names have settled down, let's take a look at how each team has fared in free agency thus far.

Arizona Cardinals

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    Rick Scuteri

    Key Additions: OT Jared Veldheer (five years, $35 million), CB Antonio Cromartie (one year, $3.5 million), WR Ted Ginn Jr. (three years, $9.75 million)

    Key Losses: LB Karlos Dansby (Cleveland), RB Rashard Mendenhall (retirement), WR Andre Roberts (Washington)

    Still At Large: OT Eric Winston, SS Yeremiah Bell

     

    Pass protection was a big priority for the Arizona Cardinals heading into the offseason. Carson Palmer was sacked 41 times last season—eighth-most in the league—and pitiful play at left tackle was a primary culprit.

    Palmer got a big upgrade when the Cardinals signed Jared Veldheer away from his old team, the Oakland Raiders.

    It will be interesting to see what Arizona does with the rest of free agency and the draft. Eric Winston would make for a pretty good bookend at right tackle, but the newly minted NFLPA president has seen little interest from the Cardinals thus far, per Dan Bickley of AZCentral.com

    Perhaps the Cardinals will stick with third-year tackle Bobby Massie on the right side or look to the draft to further bolster that line.

    Outside the offensive line, the Cardinals haven't had too many significant moves. Karlos Dansby was huge at linebacker last season, but the 32-year-old might have been getting too long in the tooth for the money. Ted Ginn is a bit of a drop-off from Andre Roberts at receiver, but that's mitigated by the fact that they are both No. 3 receivers.

    Rashard Mendenhall's retirement will be a blessing in disguise—as much as we can cloak the benefits from the departure of a starting running back who averaged 3.2 yards per carry last season—allowing the Cardinals to increase playing time for dynamic back Andre Ellington. 

     

    Free Agency Grade: B

Atlanta Falcons

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    Reinhold Matay

    Key Additions: DT Paul Soliai (five years, $32 million), DE Tyson Jackson (five years, $25 million), OG Jon Asamoah (five years, $22.5 million), WR/KR Devin Hester (three years, $9 million)

    Key Losses: Tony Gonzalez (retirement), Thomas DeCoud (cut)

    Still At Large: CB Asante Samuel

     

    The offseason has been good to the Atlanta Falcons thus far.

    Atlanta went from Super Bowl contender to pariah in the blink of Matt Ryan's eye, and a porous defense was the biggest reason why. The defensive line was particularly suspect, and it was clear the Falcons went into free agency with the trenches in mind.

    Paul Soliai and Tyson Jackson will be big upgrades up front, though the team might have overpaid a bit for the duo. Soliai's contract looks particularly bloated when compared to former running mate Randy Starks, who signed a meager two-year, $10 million deal to stay with the Miami Dolphins, despite being the better overall player. Still, Soliai represents a big upgrade in the middle, particularly against the run.

    Jackson provides a similar boost on the edge. The pass rush still leaves something to be desired, but the draft could provide an answer there, with a number of enticing prospects likely to be available to Atlanta near the top.

    The offensive line needed some help too, and Jon Asamoah has been one of the more consistently good guards in the league since he nabbed a starting gig with the Kansas City Chiefs. The Falcons could have used with an upgrade at offensive tackle as well, but, again, the draft could net the team a starter if it plays its cards right.

     

    Free Agency Grade: B+

Baltimore Ravens

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    Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

    Key Additions: OT Eugene Monroe (re-signed, five years, $37.5 million), LB Daryl Smith (re-signed, four years, $13.6 million), WR Steve Smith (three years, $11.5 million), TE Owen Daniels (one year, $1 million), TE Dennis Pitta (re-signed, five years, $32 million)

    Key Losses: DE Arthur Jones (Indianapolis), OT Michael Oher (Tennessee), CB Corey Graham (Buffalo), LB Jameel McClain (New York Giants), S James Ihedigbo (Detroit), FB Vonta Leach (cut)

     

    The Baltimore Ravens are in their second year of financial constriction, thanks in part to the massive deal they were forced to give quarterback Joe Flacco last year.

    General manager Ozzie Newsome has had to get creative in certain aspects, but he has seen quite the exodus over the past two offseasons. Part of that might have been the plan all along, but the Ravens fell back to earth last year for a reason.

    This year, Arthur Jones, Michael Oher and Corey Graham all left for greener pastures. None of those was a star, but they were all key contributors in recent seasons. Jones was particularly good last season, an underrated player whose impact will be missed on defense.

    Baltimore did a nice job of locking up the left tackle the team traded for last season, though, inking Eugene Monroe to a five-year deal to protect Flacco's blind side. That was welcome news given that it was touch and go with him for a bit at the beginning of free agency.

    Newsome also made a nice splash by convincing Steve Smith to move up a few hundred miles from North Carolina after the Panthers bewilderingly cut him. He will bolster a wide receiver corps that flagged all 2013 long.

     

    Free Agency Grade: B

Buffalo Bills

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    Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

    Key Additions: OG Chris Williams (four years, $13.4 million), CB Corey Graham (four years, $16.3 million), LB Brandon Spikes (one year, $3.5 million), TE Scott Chandler (re-signed, two years, $4.75 million)

    Key Losses: FS Jairus Byrd (New Orleans)

    Still At Large: SS Jim Leonhard 

     

    The Buffalo Bills were big spenders last offseason, so it was a predictably quieter first month of free agency this offseason. 

    There have been still some marginal improvements on paper, though. Chris Williams shores up the interior offensive line, and Brandon Spikes gives the defense a much-needed thumper in the middle. The Bills were also able to pry Corey Graham away from the Ravens to improve their secondary.

    It was a huge loss for the Bills when Jairus Byrd flew south to New Orleans. He is one of the best safeties in the league, and Buffalo will have a tough time replacing him. 

    Perhaps the biggest loss came when God signed owner Ralph Wilson to an eternal deal March 25 at the ripe old age of 95. An original AFL owner, he was one of the lions of the NFL, helping mold it into the juggernaut it has become.

    Rest in peace, Mr. Wilson.

     

    Free Agency Grade: C

Carolina Panthers

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    Chuck Burton

    Key Additions: WR Jerricho Cotchery (five years, $8 million), CB Antoine Cason (one year, $795k), S Roman Harper (two years, $4.5 million), DE Greg Hardy (franchise tag)

    Key Losses: WR Steve Smith (Baltimore), CB Captain Munnerlyn (Minnesota), S Mike Mitchell (Pittsburgh), WR Ted Ginn Jr. (Arizona), WR Brandon LaFell (New England), 

    Still At Large: LB Dan Connor, TE Ben Hartsock

     

    "Let's see you win Coach of the Year again, Ron."

    General manager David Gettleman surely hasn't uttered those words to head coach Ron Rivera, but he has sure made it difficult for the reigning Coach of the Year to repeat.

    The Carolina Panthers were strapped for cap space heading into free agency, so many of the decisions that have been made this offseason were unavoidable. But how much roster pain is too much?

    Gettleman not only failed to address the wide receiver position—one of need heading into the offseason—he also cut popular Panthers stalwart Steve Smith. Losing Brandon LaFell and Ted Ginn Jr. as well left the Panthers with a corps that boasted a combined five career receptions at one point.

    Smith's departure was particularly stinging, especially to one young fan.

    Jerricho Cotchery, Tiquan Underwood and Joe Webb are simply not going to fill that void. They might contribute, but none of them is a particularly tantalizing option at receiver, one reason they were all at the bottom of the free-agent heap.

    The only reason the Panthers don't get a failing grade so far in free agency is because they were dealing with a poor cap situation and managed to retain pass-rushing menace Greg Hardy with the franchise tag. But you don't get an "A" for effort in the NFL.

     

    Free Agency Grade: D

Chicago Bears

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    Nam Y. Huh

    Key Additions: DE LaMarr Houston (five years, $35 million), DE Jared Allen (four years, $32 million), DE Willie Young (three years, $9 million), CB Charles Tillman (re-signed, one year, $3 million), S Ryan Mundy two years, $3 million), FS M.D. Jennings (one year, 750k)

    Key Losses: DE Julius Peppers (Green Bay), DT Henry Melton (Dallas), DT Corey Wootton (Minnesota), QB Josh McCown (Tampa Bay), WR/KR Devin Hester (Atlanta)RB Michael Bush (cut)

    Still At Large: SS Major Wright, LB James Anderson

     

    Marc Trestman was hired to coach the Chicago Bears with the intent to reshape and improve that offense.

    That much was evident last season, when the Bears were second to the record-breaking Denver Broncos in scoring. Unfortunately, it may have come at the expense of a typically stout defense, which was tied for second-worst in scoring.

    Injuries and age played a big part in the defensive collapse—not to mention losing linebacker and spiritual leader Brian Urlacher to retirement—but the Bears needed to get better on the defensive side.

    To that end, general manager Phil Emery went to work retooling that unit. Gone is expensive, aging Julius Peppers, replaced by slightly younger Jared Allen and blossoming LaMarr Houston. Willie Young makes a trio of upgrades at a critical position.

    Unfortunately, the Bears weren't able to hang on to Henry Melton, whose loss in the middle of that defensive line was huge last season. Perhaps Chicago will look to the draft to fill up the holes in the middle. 

    Both safeties were abysmal in Chicago last season—Major Wright and Chris Conte were among the worst in the league, according to Pro Football Focus (subscription required)—but the Bears were only in the market for cheap options, it seems. Ryan Mundy and M.D. Jennings will be marginal improvements if recent history is any indication.

     

    Free Agency Grade: B-

Cincinnati Bengals

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    Tom Uhlman

    Key Additions: QB Jason Campbell (one year, $1.5 million), S Danieal Manning (one year, $1.6 million), LB Vincent Rey (re-signed, two years, $4.2 million)

    Key Losses: DE Michael Johnson (Tampa Bay), OT Anthony Collins (Tampa Bay), CB Brandon Ghee (San Diego), OLB James Harrison (cut), QB Greg McElroy (retirement)

     

    Has anybody informed the Cincinnati Bengals that free agency is going on?

    The Bengals have spent much of the first month of the new league year watching other teams make big deals, seemingly content to sit on the sideline for the most part. Unless we count Jason Campbell as an incredibly underrated signing, the Bengals have done virtually nothing to improve their roster in free agency.

    They have, however, seen productive pass-rusher Michael Johnson and underrated offensive tackle Anthony Collins take their talents to central Florida, where the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are stockpiling talent like they are expecting an apocalypse. 

     

    Free Agency Grade: D

Cleveland Browns

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    Tony Dejak

    Key Additions: SS Donte Whitner (four years, $28 million), RB Ben Tate (two years, $6.2 million), LB Karlos Dansby (four years, $24 million)

    Key Losses: SS T.J. Ward (Cleveland), QB Brandon Weeden (Dallas), LB D'Qwell Jackson (Indianapolis)

     

    The Cleveland Browns signed Donte Whitner away from the San Francisco 49ers, possibly thinking their own T.J. Ward would be too expensive to re-sign. The preemptive strike backfired when Ward signed a cheaper deal with the Denver Broncos.

    Whitner will make a fine replacement, but it would have been much nicer to keep Ward at a similar cost. Perhaps the talented safety was sick of the turmoil in Cleveland.

    On the flip side, the Browns got a marvelous deal when they signed running back Ben Tate to a meager $6.2 million deal. Free agency's best running back fell victim to an awful market at the position, and the Browns reaped the rewards.

    The deal is magnified by the trade Cleveland made to rid itself of Trent Richardson for a first-round pick.

     

    Free Agency Grade: B-

Dallas Cowboys

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    Tim Sharp

    Key Additions: DT Henry Melton (one year, $3.5 million), DT Terrell McClain (three years, $3 million), 

    Key Losses: DT Jason Hatcher (Washington), DE DeMarcus Ware (Denver), OC Phil Costa (Indianapolis), WR Miles Austin (cut)

    Still At Large: DE Anthony Spencer

     

    Like the Washington Redskins, the Dallas Cowboys have had to deal with economic sanctions over the past two seasons. Unlike their NFC East rivals, however, the Cowboys did not have much money to spend in free agency.

    As such, defensive tackle Jason Hatcher and defensive end DeMarcus Ware—longtime Cowboys who are still productive—find themselves on new teams. The Cowboys did a nice job replacing Hatcher with Henry Melton, who was affordable because he is coming off a torn ACL.

    Melton was fantastic for the Bears, and he will get a chance to prove he is back to form on a one-year deal. How much of an upgrade—if any—he will be over Hatcher will be interesting to see.

    Other than that, though, the Cowboys have done little but tread water so far.

     

    Free Agency Grade: C

Denver Broncos

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    Uncredited

    Key Additions: WR Emmanuel Sanders (three years, $15 million), CB Aqib Talib (six years, $57 million), DE DeMarcus Ware (three years, $30 million), SS T.J. Ward (four years, $22.5 million)

    Key Losses: CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (New York Giants), WR Eric Decker (New York Jets), DE Shaun Phillips (Tennessee), LBWesley Woodyard (Tennessee), Knowshon Moreno (Miami), OG Zane Beadles (Jacksonville), CB Champ Bailey (New Orleans)

    Still At Large: FS Mike Adams

     

    Nowhere is "win now" mode better exemplified than in Denver, where the clock is ticking on quarterback Peyton Manning and the Broncos.

    Manning propelled his team to a record-breaking season on offense that culminated in a disappointing loss in Super Bowl XLVIII. The Broncos had the offensive firepower, but defense was suspect.

    General manager John Elway came into the offseason with cap space to spare and a roster-changing mindset. The Broncos overhauled their roster in a big way, but will it pay off?

    Much has been made of the money Elway has spent in free agency this year. The Broncos made splash after splash in the first week, including one of the best deals in free agency when they landed safety T.J. Ward on a sweet four-year deal.

    While Denver has certainly done well to land some of free agency's biggest prizes, it seems the other side of the coin has gone relatively unnoticed.

    The influx of new talent has meant an exodus as well. In many cases, the Broncos simply seem to be replacing outgoing players with the ones they signed.

    Indeed, the only position Denver has really improved is safety, where Ward will roam for the foreseeable future. Emmanuel Sanders steps in for the departed Eric Decker at receiver, cornerback Aqib Talib for Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and defensive end DeMarcus Ware for Shaun Phillips.

    It will be interesting to see if the replacements are an improvement as a whole, but much of the sheen comes off Denver's free-agent bonanza when you look at the whole picture.

     

    Free Agency Grade: B-

Detroit Lions

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    Patric Schneider

    Key Additions: WR Golden Tate (five years, $31 million), TE Brandon Pettigrew (re-signed, four years, $16 million), SS James Ihedigbo (two years, $3.15 million)

    Key Losses: DE Willie Young (Chicago)

    Still At Large: LB Will Witherspoon

     

    For once in his professional career, receiver Calvin Johnson has a bona fide partner in crime.

    His sidekick? Golden Tate, who brings a little championship swagger over from Seattle. His victims? Opposing defenses across the nation.

    The Detroit Lions haven't done too much else in free agency despite clear needs—particularly on defense—but Tate will make a dangerous offense even more so. 

     

    Free Agency Grade: C+

Green Bay Packers

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    Morry Gash

    Key Additions: DE Julius Peppers (three years, $26 million), DE Mike Neal (re-signed, two years, $8 million), DT B.J. Raji (re-signed, one year, $4 million), RB James Starks (re-signed, two years, $3.25 million), CB Sam Shields (four years, $39 million)

    Key Losses: WR James Jones (Oakland), OC Evan Dietrich-Smith (Tampa Bay), OT Marshall Newhouse (Cincinnati)

    Still At Large: TE Jermichael Finley

     

    The Green Bay Packers entered free agency with a ton of cap space, but did anyone expect general manager Ted Thompson to spend money on new free agents? After all, Thompson's philosophy has been to draft, develop and retain talent rather than spend money on the open market. 

    That being the case, why did the Packers let receiver James Jones and center Evan Dietrich-Smith go? Both were productive offensive starters, after all.

    The Packers did lock down speedy cornerback Sam Shields to a long-term deal, and Julius Peppers did come over from a different team. How much the latter has left in the tank remains to be seen.

     

    Free Agency Grade: C+

Houston Texans

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    Scott Halleran/Getty Images

    Key Additions: TE Garrett Graham (re-signed, three years, $11.25 million), QB Ryan Fitzpatrick (two years, $7.5 million), FS Chris Clemons (two years, $2.7 million)

    Key Losses: DT Earl Mitchell (Miami), DE Antonio Smith (Oakland), RB Ben Tate (Cleveland), TE Owen Daniels (Baltimore)

    Still At Large: OC Fernando Velasco

     

    What a tumble the Houston Texans took last season. Super Bowl aspirations turned into sad desperation quicker than quarterback Matt Schaub could throw a pick-six, running head coach Gary Kubiak out of town in the process.

    The Texans hired Bill O'Brien to replace Kubiak, but will his roster be improved?

    Houston has done little more than re-sign Garrett Graham to take over as the No. 1 tight end after letting Owen Daniels go and sign free safety Chris Clemons to bolster the secondary. The Texans let talented running back Ben Tate go despite Arian Foster's decline last season, and the defensive line took a hit when Earl Mitchell and Antonio Smith bolted.

    All in all, there hasn't been much action in Houston. 

     

    Free Agency Grade: C

Indianapolis Colts

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    Michael Conroy

    Key Additions: CB Vontae Davis (four years, $36 million), DE Arthur Jones (five years, $33 million), WR Hakeem Nicks (one year, $3.985 million), OC Phil Costa ($2.75 million), LB D'Qwell Jackson (four years, $22 million)

    Key Losses: SS Antoine Bethea (San Francisco), RB Donald Brown (San Diego), LB Kavell Conner (San Diego), LB Pat Angerer (cut)

     

    Indianapolis Colts general manager Ryan Grigson fell into quarterback Andrew Luck in the 2012 draft, but he has had a tough time putting a balanced team around him.

    Luck has masked issues on that offensive line and the defense over the past two years, allowing the Colts to lean on him more than the typical second-year quarterback.

    The Colts didn't do much to shore up the offensive line, but Grigson made a couple of nice moves. He signed productive defensive end Arthur Jones away from the Ravens and nabbed lottery ticket Hakeem Nicks to play receiver. 

    The Colts did lose starting safety Antoine Bethea, though he hasn't been particularly great over the past couple of seasons. Still, Bethea leaves a big hole in that secondary that the team will likely have to fill in the draft without a first-round pick.

    That is unless, of course, Trent Richardson can play safety.

     

    Free Agency Grade: C

Jacksonville Jaguars

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    Phelan M. Ebenhack

    Key Additions: OG Zane Beadles (five years, $30 million), DE Evander Hood (four years, $16 million), DE Chris Clemons (four years, $17.5 million), DE Jason Babin (re-signed, three years, $8.275 million), RB Toby Gerhart (three years, $10.5 million), LB Dekoda Watson (three years, $6.25 million), DE Red Bryant (four years, $19 million)

    Key Losses: RB Maurice Jones-Drew (Oakland), OC Brad Meester (retirement)

     

    We have entered the second year of the rebuilding process in Jacksonville, and free agency seems to have a theme.

    The Jacksonville Jaguars are stocking up on defensive ends, perhaps emulating the Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks. The question is whether Chris Clemons, Red Bryant, Evander Hood and Jason Babin are anywhere near as good as their counterparts in the Pacific Northwest.

    Offensive guard Zane Beadles was a nice addition, but the Jaguars may have overpaid a bit by giving a decent offensive guard a $30 million deal.

     

    Free Agency Grade: B

Kansas City Chiefs

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    Michael Conroy

    Key Additions: SS Husain Abdullah (re-signed, two years, $2.75 million), DT Vance Walker (three years, $10 million), LB Joe Mays (two years, $6 million)

    Key Losses: OT Branden Albert (Miami), DE Tyson Jackson (Atlanta), OG Jon Asamoah (Atlanta), OG Geoff Schwartz (New York Giants), WR Dexter McCluster (Tennessee Titans), LB Akeem Jordan (Washington)

     

    There wasn't much cap space in Kansas City heading into the offseason, which explains why the Chiefs have had such a rough go of it this year.

    Big losses include starting offensive linemen Branden Albert, Jon Asamoah and Geoff Schwartz. That's three-fifths of a solid line with no incoming replacements for the Chiefs. This does not bode well for running back Jamaal Charles or quarterback Alex Smith.

    The team also lost starting defensive end Tyson Jackson and the league's best kick returner last season, receiver Dexter McCluster. 

    What little the Chiefs have been able to do in free agency is insignificant when compared to the talent that left town for greener pastures. It will be interesting to see if the team can replicate last year's success—at least before collapsing in the second half of the season and playoffs—given its ravaged roster.

     

    Free Agency Grade: D+

Miami Dolphins

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    Bill Wippert

    Key Additions: LT Branden Albert (five years, $47 million), RB Knowshon Moreno (one year, $3.275 million), CB Cortland Finnegan (two years, $11 million), DT Earl Mitchell (four years, $16 million), OG Shelley Smith (two years, $5.5 million), FS Louis Delmas (one year, $3.5 million), DT Randy Starks (re-signed, two years, $10 million)

    Key Losses: DT Paul Soliai (Atlanta), CB Nolan Carroll (Philadelphia), FS Chris Clemons (Houston), CB Dimitri Patterson (New York Jets), OG Richie Incognito

    Still At Large: OT Bryant McKinnie, TE Dustin Keller, OT Tyson Clabo

     

    Last season provided the latest example of why "winning" free agency means little, and it came from the Miami Dolphins.

    Perhaps in a bid to save his job, general manager Jeff Ireland went big in free agency, a spending spree featuring more expensive downgrades at linebacker, a $60 million No. 2 receiver as the crown jewel and a minimal attempt to fix a floundering offensive line.

    The team was one win better, and Ireland was shown the door.

    Despite all that money shelled out last offseason, however, the Dolphins were well positioned to spend this season. They entered free agency with one of the healthiest cap situations in the league, and new general manager Dennis Hickey went to work to improve the roster.

    On paper, Hickey did just that at a couple of positions of big need. 

    Miami's offensive line has been rather offensive in recent years, punctuated by the 58 sacks quarterback Ryan Tannehill suffered last year. One of the goals of this offseason was to improve that line, and Miami did just that by signing Branden Albert to protect Tannehill's blind side.

    Albert didn't come cheap, however, and the Dolphins may have overpaid a bit to get a solid-but-unspectacular player. Regardless, he represents a massive upgrade.

    The Dolphins were also able to retain Randy Starks, one half of a nice duo in the middle of that defensive line. Starks re-signed for $10 million, a bargain when compared to his departed partner, Paul Soliai, who signed a big five-year deal with the Falcons.

    Soliai's big presence will be missed, but perhaps not so much if Earl Mitchell can fill his shoes.

    Elsewhere, the Dolphins are hoping Cortland Finnegan can bounce back from an injury-marred 2013 and become a leader in a soft secondary. It was a bit rich to sign a 30-year-old declining cornerback, though.

    Perhaps the best deal Miami made was with Knowshon Moreno, who was a victim of a poor running back market. Moreno is a decent upgrade at the running back position for the Dolphins, and he signed on for a meager $3.5 million.

     

    Free Agency Grade: B

Minnesota Vikings

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    Jim Mone

    Key Additions: DT Linval Joseph (five years, $31.5 million), CB Captain Munnerlyn (three years, $11.25 million), DT Corey Wootton (one year, $1.5 million)

    Key Losses: DE Jared Allen (Chicago), RB Toby Gerhart (Jacksonville), DT LetRoy Guion (Green Bay)

     

    The Minnesota Vikings have turned over a new leaf, firing Leslie Frazier and replacing him with Mike Zimmer at head coach.

    As for changes on the roster, there hasn't been too much to write home about.

    The Vikings did bolster the interior of the defensive line by signing 25-year-old defensive tackle Linval Joseph away from the New York Giants. Captain Munnerlyn was a nice addition to the secondary as well.

    However, Minnesota was unable to keep stalwart pass-rusher Jared Allen, who was still productive despite being 32 years old.

     

    Free Agency Grade: C

New England Patriots

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    Stephan Savoia

    Key Additions: CB Darrelle Revis (one year, $12 million), WR Julian Edelman (re-signed, four years, $17 million), WR Brandon LaFell (three years, $9 million), CB Brandon Browner (three years, $12.35 million)

    Key Losses: CB Aqib Talib (Denver), LB Brandon Spikes (Buffalo), RB LeGarrette Blount (Pittsburgh),

    Still At Large: SS Steve Gregory

     

    Any time you land the best player in free agency—nay, the league at his position, arguably—you will earn high marks.

    Head coach Bill Belichick did just that, swooping in to nab the coup of the market when Tampa Bay let stud cornerback Darrelle Revis go. Revis will instantly transform a defense—particularly a secondary—that has floundered in recent years. 

    The Patriots will pair him with big cornerback Brandon Browner, though he is one misstep away from a lengthy suspension.

    New England was also able to retain its best receiver from last season, inking Julian Edelman to a $17 million deal to frustrate opposing defenses for the next four years, and it added to quarterback Tom Brady's arsenal by adding Brandon LaFell.

    The losses aren't insignificant, but the Patriots may have had the best free-agent period in the league.

     

    Free Agency Grade: A-

New Orleans Saints

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    Ted S. Warren

    Key Additions: FS Jairus Byrd (six years, $54 million), OT Zach Strief (five years, $20 million), CB Champ Bailey (two years, $7 million), TE Jimmy Graham (franchise tag)

    Key Losses: FS Malcolm Jenkins (Philadelphia), OLB Will Smith (cut), LB Jonathan Vilma (cut), CB Jabari Greer (cut), WR Lance Moore (Pittsburgh)

     

    Before Revis unexpectedly hit the market, safety Jairus Byrd was the top free agent available. Few expected him to land in New Orleans.

    That is not to say that the Saints are a bad landing spot, but New Orleans wasn't exactly in tip-top shape when it came to the salary cap. Slapping tight end Jimmy Graham with the franchise tag—a necessary move to keep its best offensive player—left the team with little room.

    Fortunately, contract terms are malleable, and Byrd's cap hit for the 2014 season is a mere $3.5 million. That is the only way the Saints could have squeezed him under the cap.

    Keeping Zach Strief and landing Champ Bailey were also nice moves for the Saints, who look to bounce back in a big way with their free-agent moves.

     

    Free Agency Grade: A-

New York Giants

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    Paul Sancya

    Key Additions: CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (five years, $35 million), OG Geoff Schwartz (four years, $16.8 million), LB Jon Beason (re-signed, three years, $16.8 million), RB Rashad Jennings (four years, $10 million), OC J.D. Walton (two years, $6 million), CB Walter Thurmond (one year, $3 million), LB Jameel McClain (two years, $4.25 million)

    Key Losses: DT Linval Joseph (Minnesota Vikings), TE Brandon Myers (Tampa Bay), WR Hakeem Nicks (Indianapolis), OG Kevin Boothe (Oakland), SS Ryan Mundy (Chicago), DE Justin Tuck (Oakland)

    Still At Large: CB Terrell Thomas, RB Andre Brown 

     

    The New York Giants were busy in free agency. Gone are defensive tackle Linval Joseph and wide receiver Hakeem Nicks. But New York more than made up for those losses with some of the free agents it was able to bring in.

    The offensive line got a boost with Geoff Schwartz and J.D. Walton, who should shore up the interior quite nicely if they can stay healthy. 

    Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie was a nice addition to the secondary after Denver cast him off for the shiny free-agent prize that was Aqib Talib. He just needs to play better than he did the last time he was in the NFC East with the Philadelphia Eagles.

    What would an offseason be without the Giants trying to address the running back position? Rashad Jennings came over from Oakland, where he was quite productive despite a poor offensive line. If he can stay healthy and continue to be efficient, the Giants may have finally found an answer.

     

    Free Agency Grade: B-

New York Jets

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    Julio Cortez

    Key Additions: WR Eric Decker (five years, $36 million), OT Breno Giacomini (four years, $18 million), OLB Calvin Pace (re-signed, two years, $5 million), QB Michael Vick (one year, $4 million), CB Dimitri Patterson (one year, $3 million)

    Key Losses: OT Austin Howard (Oakland), QB Mark Sanchez (Philadelphia), CB Antonio Cromartie (Arizona), WR Santonio Holmes (cut)

    Still At Large: FS Ed Reed, TE Kellen Winslow

     

    The New York Jets are rebuilding a bit, and they had some money to pour into the project this offseason.

    It began with Eric Decker, who is like an icy drink to a desert traveler at the wide receiver position. The Jets have been lacking at wideout for some time, and Decker's arrival stabilizes the position, though more work must be done.

    It will be interesting to see if quarterback Michael Vick gives second-year gunslinger Geno Smith a run for his starting money. Smith had a bit of a roller-coaster rookie year that had lower valleys than it had high peaks, and Vick brings an electricity to the position few other quarterbacks can, even if he is terminally inconsistent. 

    Losing starting offensive tackle Austin Howard and cornerback Antonio Cromartie does take the luster off those signings a bit, however.

     

    Free Agency Grade: C+

Oakland Raiders

24 of 33

    Marcio Jose Sanchez

    Key Additions: DE Justin Tuck (two years, $10 million), DE LaMarr Woodley (two years, $10.35 million), CB Carlos Rogers (one year, $2.5 million), CB Tarell Brown (one year, $3.5 million), RB Darren McFadden (re-signed, one year, $1.65 million), RB Maurice Jones Drew (three years, $7.5 million), OG Austin Howard (five years, $30 million), OT Donald Penn (two years, $9.6 million), DE Antonio Smith (two years, $9 million), FS Charles Woodson (re-signed, one year, $3.5 million), OG Kevin Boothe (two years, $2.625 million), WR James Jones (three years, $10 million) 

    Key Losses: DE Lamarr Houston (Chicago), OT Jared Veldheer (Arizona), RB Rashad Jennings (New York Giants), CB Mike Jenkins (Tampa Bay), CB Tracy Porter (Washington), DT Vance Walker (Kansas City)

    Still At Large: OC Andre Gurode

     

    Climbing out of cap hell must feel good for general manager Reggie McKenzie. The Oakland Raiders entered free agency with the most cap space, and they have used it to great effect. At least on paper, at any rate.

    It was an inauspicious start for general manager Reggie McKenzie, however, when he signed offensive tackle Rodger Saffold only to have the team's owner overrule him. Saffold's big deal was nullified when he failed his physical.

    The Raiders have bounced back from that public relations nightmare with a strong free-agent period since then. Theirs is the longest list of free-agent signings, a host of roster-fillers with potential.

    No player was a terribly sexy addition, but Oakland has certainly improved on paper, with solid players all over the team. The offensive and defensive lines have been rebuilt, the secondary has been shored up and James Jones and Maurice Jones-Drew give a couple of skill positions a boost.

    A good draft netting some immediate starters could have the Raiders surprising people in 2014. 

     

    Free Agency Grade: B+

Philadelphia Eagles

25 of 33

    Michael Perez

    Key Additions: OT Jason Peters (re-signed, five years, $31.5 million), OC Jason Kelce (re-signed, seven years, $37.5 million), WR Riley Cooper (re-signed, five years, $25 million), WR Jeremy Maclin (re-signed, one year, one year, $3.5 million), CB Malcolm Jenkins (three years, $16.25 million), CB Nolan Carroll (two years, $3.65 million), QB Mark Sanchez (one year, $2.25 million), S Chris Maragos (three years, $4 million)

    Key Losses: WR DeSean Jackson (Washington), QB Michael Vick (New York Jets), WR Jason Avant (cut)

     

    Free agency was a success for the Philadelphia Eagles before it even began.

    Head coach Chip Kelly and general manager Howie Roseman kept most of the band together, re-signing a host of offensive contributors. The league's second-best offense and fourth-best scoring offense will keep most of its key players for a long time.

    Until recently, however, DeSean Jackson was one of those players. 

    Rumor turned to fact when Jackson was shockingly released despite being Philadelphia's top receiver last season. Whatever the reason may be, quarterback Nick Foles just lost a big weapon in that offense. Jackson signed with a division rival to boot, adding insult to injury.

     

    Free Agency Grade: B-

Pittsburgh Steelers

26 of 33

    Gene J. Puskar

    Key Additions: SS Mike Mitchell (five years, $25 million), LeGarrette Blount (two years, $3.85 million), DT Cam Thomas (two years, $4 million), WR Lance Moore (two years, $3 million), LB Arthur Moats (one year, $795k)

    Key Losses: OLB LaMarr Woodley (Oakland), WR Jerricho Cotchery (Carolina), DE Evander Hood (Jacksonville), WR Emmanuel Sanders (Denver), SS Ryan Clark (Washington), OLB Larry Foote (cut)

    Still At Large: OC Fernando Velasco

     

    The bloodletting has slowed in Pittsburgh, but to what end?

    The Steelers were forced to let some longtime players go because of a salary cap woes. Yet they signed safety Mike Mitchell to a $25 million deal. Mitchell will be a decent replacement for the departed Ryan Clark, but that was a curious way to spend precious cap space.

    The 26-year-old was a middling backup for most of his career before becoming a middling starter for the Panthers last season.

    Meanwhile, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger lost two of his favorite receivers from last season when Emmanuel Sanders and Jerricho Cotchery signed elsewhere. Lance Moore isn't exactly a stud coming in to replace them.

     

    Free Agency Grade: C+

San Diego Chargers

27 of 33

    Al Behrman

    Key Additions: LB Donald Butler (re-signed, seven years, $48 million), RB Donald Brown (three years, $10.5 million), LB Kavell Conner (three years, $2.7 million), OG Chad Rinehart (re-signed, two years, $6 million)

    Key Losses: DT Cam Thomas (Pittsburgh)

     

    All is quiet on the San Diego shore.

    Outside of locking down the middle of their linebacker corps for the foreseeable future and creating a glut at running back, the Chargers have been content to leave the roster relatively untouched. The fact that San Diego doesn't have much cap space might have something to do with it.

     

    Free Agency Grade: C-

San Francisco 49ers

28 of 33

    Paul Sakuma

    Key Additions: SS Antoine Bethea (four years, $21 million)

    Key Losses: SS Donte Whitner (Cleveland), CB Tarell Brown (Oakland), CB Carlos Rogers (Oakland)

    Still At Large: OC Jonathan Goodwin

     

    There hasn't been much free-agent action in San Francisco this offseason, unless you count the Jim Harbaugh trade saga, at any rate.

    The 49ers did not have a ton of cap space to begin with, and the main goal was to find a suitable replacement for safety Donte Whitner, who was too rich for general manager Trent Baalke's blood. 

    Unfortunately, San Francisco's answer was former Indianapolis Colts safety Antoine Bethea. The 29-year-old has been somewhat underwhelming the past couple of seasons, part of a problematic secondary in Indianapolis. Per Pro Football Focus (subscription required), he has rated in the back half of the NFL at his position over the past couple of seasons.

    Perhaps playing behind one of the best front sevens in the league will help, but forking over a $21 million contract—just $7 million less than Whitner ultimately got—seems like a bit of a waste.

    The 49ers also lost a couple of decent cornerbacks when Tarell Brown and Carlos Rogers took up residence across the bay with the Raiders.

    The good news is that San Francisco owns six of the first 100 picks in the NFL draft.

     

    Free Agency Grade: C-

Seattle Seahawks

29 of 33

    Matt Slocum

    Key Additions: DT Tony McDaniel (re-signed, two years, $5.75 million), DE Michael Bennett (re-signed, four years, $28.5 million)

    Key Losses: WR Golden Tate (Detroit), DE Chris Clemons (Jacksonville), OT Breno Giacomini (New York Jets), CB Brandon Browner (New England), Walter Thurmond (New York Giants), DT Clinton McDonald (Tampa Bay), Red Bryant (Jacksonville)

     

    Reigning champions shouldn't need too much roster overhaul. Unfortunately for the Seattle Seahawks, the allure of a championship hasn't been enough of a lure. 

    The Seahawks have not been able to do much other than retain defensive end Michael Bennett—a good move, to be sure—in free agency. They have hosted several free agents only to see them sign elsewhere, namely defensive end Jared Allen.

    Meanwhile, their top receiver skipped town to join forces with Calvin Johnson, two contributors on the vaunted defensive line moved to Florida and two productive cornerbacks moved to the northeast.

    If any team can just plug and play, it's the Seahawks. But the roster has thinned in free agency.

     

    Free Agency Grade: C

St. Louis Rams

30 of 33

    John Froschauer

    Key Additions: OG Rodger Saffold (five years, $31.7 million), DE Alex Carrington (one year, $1.5 million), LB Jo-Lonn Dunbar (re-signed, two years, $2 million)

    Key Losses: OG Chris Williams (Buffalo), CB Cortland Finnegan (Miami), OG Shelley Smith (Miami)

    Still At Large: LB Will Witherspoon

     

    The St. Louis Rams were fortunate the Raiders got cold feet.

    Offensive guard Rodger Saffold—who initially signed on to play offensive tackle for the Raiders—came back home like the prodigal son after Oakland's doctors failed his physical when owner Mark Davis decided to overrule general manager Reggie McKenzie.

    Oakland's loss was St. Louis' gain, though Saffold may have been overpaid in both instances. He still signed a big deal to come back to the Rams, but he is a pricey guard.

    The Rams did lose fellow guards Chris Williams and Shelley Smith, however, and Cortland Finnegan was cut as a bust.

     

    Free Agency Grade: C+

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

31 of 33

    Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

    Key Additions: DE Michael Johnson (five years, $43.75 million), OT Anthony Collins (five years, $30 million), CB Alterraun Verner (four years, $25.75 million), OC Evan Dietrich-Smith (four years, $14.25 million), DT Clinton McDonald (four years, $12 million), TE Brandon Myers (two years, $4.25 million), QB Josh McCown (two years, $10 million)

    Key Losses: CB Darrelle Revis (New England), OT Donald Penn (Oakland), LB Adam Hayward (Washington), LB Dekoda Watson (Jacksonville)

    Still At Large: OG Davin Joseph, DT Derek Landri 

     

    Normally, cutting arguably the best cornerback in the league to save some money would dock a team's grade in a big way in my book. 

    The Tampa Bay Buccaneers had cap space, so there was little need to part ways with Darrelle Revis, even if he was being overpaid when compared to the rest of the league. They wouldn't have been able to spend money like water in free agency, but quality is better than quantity, right?

    Even so, Tampa Bay did quite well in free agency despite letting Revis go.

    Despite losing Revis, the Buccaneers dramatically overhauled their roster. They got pass-rushing help in Michael Johnson, bolstered the offensive line with Anthony Collins and Evan Dietrich-Smith and even got a nice replacement for Revis in Alterraun Verner.

     

    Free Agency Grade: A-

Tennessee Titans

32 of 33

    Michael Conroy

    Key Additions: LB Wesley Woodyard (three years, $15.75 million), OT Michael Oher (four years, $20 million), WR Dexter McCluster (three years, $9 million), DE Shaun Phillips (two years, $6 million), DT Antonio Johnson (re-signed, two years, $2.35 million)

    Key Losses: CB Alterraun Verner (Tampa Bay), RB Chris Johnson (cut), QB Ryan Fitzpatrick (Houston), WR Kenny Britt (St. Louis)

     

    The Tennessee Titans have been mired in mediocrity for five years and counting. Ken Whisenhunt is the third coach they have had in that span. They haven't exactly moved the needle in free agency.

    Tennessee lost a good cornerback when Verner signed on to replace Revis in Tampa Bay, and longtime running back Chris Johnson was too rich for general manager Ruston Webster's blood.

    On the flip side, the Titans did sign a couple of relatively big names. Michael Oher was the biggest of those, but his pass protection has declined since he entered the league. Dexter McCluster was the best kick returner in the league last year, but a big reason for his dominance was special teams coach Dave Toub, who is still in Kansas City.

     

    Free Agency Grade: C+

Washington

33 of 33

    Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

    Key Additions: WR DeSean Jackson (three years, $32 million), DT Jason Hatcher (four years, $27.5 million), Shawn Lauvao (four years, $17 million), WR Andre Roberts (four years, $16 million), SS Ryan Clark (one year, $1 million), Tracy Porter (two years, $6.25 million), LB Perry Riley (re-signed, three years, $13 million), CB DeAngelo Hall (four years, $17 million)

    Key Losses: TE Fred Davis (cut), DE Adam Carriker (cut), LB London Fletcher (retirement)

    Still At Large: CB Josh Wilson, WR Josh Morgan

     

    Cap penalties hampered Washington's free-agency aspirations over the past couple of offseasons. The shackles came off this year, and owner Daniel Snyder's team is back to spending money like Congress with a surplus.

    This time around, however, there is no Albert Haynesworth or Jeff George. Washington has doled out over $110 million in new contracts, yes, but the money is spread out 

    General manager Bruce Allen's biggest coup was to snatch DeSean Jackson as soon as the Eagles let him go. The speedy receiver will get a chance to exact revenge twice a year, and quarterback Robert Griffin III will have a fantastic duo to throw to at receiver with Pierre Garcon also in the fold.

    Washington poached another NFC East rival when defensive tackle Jason Hatcher came over from the Cowboys, upgrading the middle of the defensive line.

     

    Free Agency Grade: A-

     

    All salary cap and contract information courtesy of Spotrac.com.

    Follow @AlexMiglio

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