Assessing Whether Every NFL Team Impressed or Regressed This Offseason
The NFL offseason is nearing an end as we hurtle toward training camp. Free agency is long gone, we are already looking ahead to the 2015 draft, and organized team activities are already taking place.
Some teams were rather impressive throughout the offseason, while others disappointed or tread water. Let's take a look at the offseason for each team and whether they impressed, regressed or stayed relatively static based on free agency, the draft and off-field factors.
Arizona Cardinals: Static
Shoring up the offensive line was a priority for the Cardinals, and they made a big splash by signing Jared Veldheer away from the Oakland Raiders. That is a massive improvement over the turnstile they have employed over the past couple of seasons.
Other than that, free agency was relatively quiet. Either Arizona must feel that Bobby Massie can take over at right tackle or the Cardinals are going to bring quality lineman Eric Winston—who is still languishing in free agency—back for another run.
The Cardinals also let productive receiver Andre Roberts go, replacing him with return specialist Ted Ginn Jr. The downgrade at receiver will pay for the upgrade in the return game.
The Cardinals did well to move down in the first round and get an extra pick. They lost out on safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, though, eventually settling on Deone Bucannon at No. 27.
Quarterback Logan Thomas was an intriguing pick in the fourth round, a raw player with the physical tools to succeed if the Cardinals can develop him behind Carson Palmer over the next couple of seasons. If they can coach him up, Thomas will be one of the best picks to come out of the draft.
Flotsam and Jetsam
Daryl Washington is facing another suspension, and Karlos Dansby bolted for Cleveland. The Cardinals signed 33-year-old Larry Foote to balance things out, and—even though they had some success with an older linebacker considering 32-year-old Dansby had an All-Pro year—it seems they will be seeing a drop-off at the position this season.
Atlanta Falcons: Impressed
The trenches got a boost in Atlanta, as the Falcons signed offensive guard Jon Asamoah and defensive linemen Paul Soliai and Tyson Jackson to big deals.
Those signings didn't do much to upgrade the pass rush or outside pass protection, but the Falcons were able to take care of some of that in the draft.
Elsewhere, Atlanta fixed its return game by signing fantastic specialist Devin Hester. He might not be in his prime anymore, but Hester was still highly productive as a return man last season.
Offensive tackle Jake Matthews takes care of the pass protection issue mentioned above. He should step right in and start at left tackle, shoring up the blind side for quarterback Matt Ryan.
The Falcons drafted Ra'Shede Hageman in the second round, a raw defensive tackle with immense potential. It wasn't a huge need given free agency, but Atlanta might challenge the Carolina Panthers for the best defensive line if Hageman pans out early.
Taking running back Devonta Freeman in the fourth round was a savvy move, serving notice to incumbents Steven Jackson and Jacquizz Rodgers. Freeman has some work to do before becoming a productive NFL back, but he should be able to contribute as a rookie with the potential to take over as the long-term starter in the coming years.
Flotsam and Jetsam
The Falcons cut disappointing safety Thomas DeCoud to make some room under the cap, a move that left a bit of a hole in that secondary regardless. They may have filled it with free safety Dezmen Southward out of Wisconsin, but it is risky asking a third-round rookie to step in and start right away.
Baltimore Ravens: Regressed
The biggest moves the Baltimore Ravens made in free agency were to hang onto some key contributors.
Namely, offensive tackle Eugene Monroe, inside linebacker Daryl Smith, receiver and return specialist Jacoby Jones and tight end Dennis Pitta all signed on to stay with the Ravens. Baltimore took a calculated risk in trading for Monroe in the middle of the 2013 season, and it paid off when he decided to stay.
Unfortunately, the Ravens couldn't keep everyone.
Arthur Jones was quietly one of the best 3-4 defensive ends in the league last season—ranked 12th over at Pro Football Focus (subscription required)—and he cashed in on a big contract with the Indianapolis Colts as a result.
Though they weren't among the best in the league, starting right tackle Michael Oher and cornerback Corey Graham left in free agency, leaving some holes at those positions.
The Ravens did manage to get some help at receiver, though, signing Steve Smith after the Carolina Panthers made a difficult decision to cut him. He is no spring chicken, but Smith will be a valuable addition to that passing offense.
It was yet another nice draft for general manager Ozzie Newsome, at least as short-term returns go.
The Ravens fell into some great picks when inside linebacker C.J. Mosley and nose tackle Timmy Jernigan fell to them in the first and second rounds. Mosley should make an immediate impact as a starter, and Jernigan might be the rock in the middle of that defensive line for years to come.
Flotsam and Jetsam
Of course, the big story in Baltimore this offseason has been Ray Rice's alleged assault on his then-fiancé. Rice is facing a potential suspension for the ugly incident, per The Baltimore Sun's Aaron Wilson, likely pending the court outcome.
Rice and the Ravens didn't help themselves with a widely panned press conference featuring a ham-fisted apology from Rice and the woman he allegedly struck into unconsciousness.
Rice hasn't been the only player in the news for the wrong reasons—rookie running back Lorenzo Taliaferro was the fourth Baltimore player arrested this offseason, as Wilson tweeted.
Whether any of this has an effect on the field remains to be seen. It's not nearly on the same level as the bounty scandal that sunk the Saints season a few years ago, but off-field problems seem to add up and take a toll.
Buffalo Bills: Static
The Buffalo Bills were unable to retain the services of their stud safety, Jairus Byrd, who wound up in New Orleans on a massive deal with the Saints. Perhaps he was too rich for general manager Doug Whaley's blood.
The best move Buffalo made in free agency was to sign linebacker Brandon Spikes after the New England Patriots let him go, though he only inked a one-year deal. Spikes should allow sophomore linebacker Kiko Alonso to thrive even more on the outside, and the former gives the Bills a run-stopping force in the middle.
Buffalo was also able to add quality depth at cornerback by signing Corey Graham away from the Baltimore Ravens on a four-year deal. Along with Leodis McKelvin and Stephon Gilmore, the Bills have the makings of a top trio at the position.
Losing Byrd was costly for this up-and-coming defense, though.
Whaley made a bold move to trade up for receiver Sammy Watkins out of Clemson, giving up future first- and fourth-round picks to the Cleveland Browns for the privilege. Watkins brings explosiveness to the receiver position, but the Bills paid a pretty penny to get him.
The Bills were also able to address the right tackle position in the draft when Alabama's Cyrus Kouandjio fell to them in the second round. Inside linebacker Preston Brown was an intriguing pick in the third round, another run-stopping thumper who could be the long-term solution as he understudies for Spikes.
Flotsam and Jetsam
The Bills were unable to steer clear of the police blotter, as starting defensive tackle Marcell Dareus was arrested on drug charges just before the draft.
Buffalo also traded away veteran receiver Stevie Johnson for a fourth-round pick. While Johnson has been a bit of a disappointment, it felt like taking two steps forward and one step back at the receiver position after drafting Watkins.
Carolina Panthers: Regressed
Being strapped for cap space is tough for any team. Carolina Panthers general manager Dave Gettleman learned that the hard way this offseason.
The Panthers came into the offseason with some big needs—particularly at receiver, safety and left tackle after Jordan Gross' retirement—and they were unable to do much to address those needs because money was tight.
In fact, Carolina was all but forced to cut ties with longtime Panther Steve Smith because of budgetary constraints, further weakening an already-depleted wide receiver corps.
Gone as well are starting cornerbacks Captain Munnerlyn and Drayton Florence, though the latter is still available if the Panthers want to bring him back.
The Panthers were able to rummage through the discount bin in free agency and grab receiver Jerricho Cotchery, cornerback Antoine Cason and safety Thomas DeCoud to try to fill their roster holes, but they hardly make up for what the Panthers have lost.
The Panthers had an opportunity to mend some of those holes on the roster in the draft, but they didn't do a particularly good job.
Kelvin Benjamin was Gettleman's answer at wide receiver, a 6'5" hulk at the position who has the athleticism of a tight end.
While taking defensive end Kony Ealy may have been prescient given Greg Hardy's off-field woes and the fact he is on a one-year deal, it certainly didn't address some of the other, more pressing needs.
The Panthers didn't do anything about their left tackle situation in the draft, either, choosing to ride or die with unproven Nate Chandler.
Flotsam and Jetsam
Carolina has been the biggest loser this offseason. Not only have the Panthers had a poor free-agency period and a mediocre draft, but their star defensive end Greg Hardy was also recently arrested on a domestic violence charge, per WSOC TV's Jenna Deery.
Losing Smith wasn't just a blow on offense—he was arguably the most popular player in franchise history. Cutting him was a big disappointment to fans, especially to one kid who swore off the Panthers entirely.
The offseason wasn't a good look on the Panthers. Head coach Ron Rivera is going to have his work cut out for him if he has a prayer of repeating as Coach of the Year.
Chicago Bears: Impressed
There was plenty of free-agent movement in and out of Chicago this offseason.
The Bears cut still-productive Julius Peppers—who wound up signing with hated rival Green Bay—but they signed Jared Allen and Lamarr Houston to more than compensate. They let still-recovering defensive tackle Henry Melton go without replacing him in free agency, but they made up for it in the draft.
Center Brian de la Puente was brought on to presumably replace aging longtime Bear Roberto Garza as the starter.
Aside from all of that, losing Devin Hester was a blow to the return game.
It was a nice draft for Bears general manager Phil Emery.
The Bears took cornerback Kyle Fuller in the first round, likely to start him right away as the nickelback alongside Charles Tillman and Tim Jennings. He was arguably the best cornerback in the draft, depending on which scout or analyst you talk to.
The aforementioned defensive tackle position got a much-needed facelift when the Bears took Ego Ferguson and Will Sutton in the second and third rounds, respectively. It will be risky to have two rookie starters in the middle of the defensive line, but the Bears seem to have shored up that area in the draft.
Flotsam and Jetsam
There wasn't any major turnover in the Bears front office or coaching staff as head coach Marc Trestman heads into his second season at the helm. There hasn't been much to rock the boat, either.
Receiver Josh Morgan did get off to a rocky start with his new team when he was arrested for allegedly punching a man outside a nightclub, per ESPN.com's Jeff Dickerson.
Cincinnati Bengals: Static
Free agency got off to its usual hot start. Cincinnati moseyed on out of the gate when the race for top players was all but over.
The Bengals didn't just sit on their hands for most of free agency, they also watched some quality players walk out the door. Defensive end Michael Johnson and offensive tackle Anthony Collins signed big deals with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
It's arguable whether Cincinnati's biggest signing was quarterback Jason Campbell or safety Danieal Manning, and that is a sad thought.
The Bengals had a decent, unspectacular draft. They took Darqueze Dennard—the best cornerback available—in the first round to shore up a needy secondary, then took Jeremy Hill, the best available running back in the second.
Dennard could challenge for a starting job right away depending on how how aging Terence Newman and oft-injured Leon Hall do this preseason. Hill could push incumbent big back BenJarvus Green-Ellis out of Cincinnati altogether.
After some talk about drafting a quarterback to compete with postseason-challenged Andy Dalton, the Bengals wound up taking AJ McCarron out of Alabama in the fourth round. He is unlikely to give Dalton any sort of challenge at the next level, however—at least in the short term.
Flotsam and Jetsam
There hasn't been too much to write about in the off-field issues department this offseason. Outside of fullback Orson Charles' arrest for allegedly brandishing a handgun while driving, per ESPN.com's Coley Harvey, it has been quiet
Cleveland Browns: Regressed, Impressed, Then Regressed
It had to sting to see safety T.J. Ward sign a cheaper deal with the Denver Broncos than the Cleveland Browns gave Donte Whitner as a preemptive replacement. Ward had been a stout defender for the Browns, but he may have become disillusioned in Cleveland for a variety of reasons.
The Browns did snag some bargain-bin free agents after the draft, but nobody is going to make up for the loss of Josh Gordon.
Cleveland did sign stud cornerback Joe Haden to a massive extension this offseason, locking him down like he sometimes locks down opposing receivers
Cleveland did a swell job in the first round of the draft, extorting a future first-round pick out of the Buffalo Bills to move down five spots, then landing Johnny Manziel at No. 22. Whether Manziel will pan out in the NFL will be interesting to see in the coming years, but the Browns addressed their quarterback position with the most electrifying of the bunch.
Cornerback Justin Gilbert was their first pick at No. 8, a bit of a head-scratcher at the time, but he's an incredible athlete who should be a great complement to Haden.
The Browns didn't address wide receiver whatsoever—a position of need even before the bad Gordon news broke—a mystery given they had plenty of chances to do so.
Flotsam and Jetsam
The offseason began with some serious turbulence as the Browns fired head coach Rob Chudzinski after just one season on the job. The coaching search was worse, a gaffe-filled affair that saw the Browns land their fourth choice, Mike Pettine.
Then there is the Gordon suspension issue, an unfortunate nightmare for the Browns that landed just hours after their feel-good first round.
Dallas Cowboys: Regressed
Being stuck in cap hell is no fun. Just ask the Dallas Cowboys. They were forced to part ways with longtime Cowboys Miles Austin, DeMarcus Ware and Jason Hatcher as a result of salary-cap woes, unable to spend a ton of money on the open market, either.
Dallas was able to replace Hatcher with Henry Melton, who was a pass-rushing force in the middle of the defensive line for Chicago before getting hurt last season. If he recovers well and gets back to form, the Cowboys may have actually upgraded at the position.
That is a big "if," though, and the Cowboys didn't do much else in free agency. Terrell McClain and Jeremy Mincey were decent bargain-bin finds along that defensive line, and Anthony Spencer wound up re-signing after languishing on the market for a while.
Kudos to owner and general manager Jerry Jones for resisting the temptation to draft quarterback Johnny Manziel even though he may have been at the top of the board when the Cowboys picked at No. 16.
Instead, the Cowboys drafted offensive lineman Zack Martin out of Notre Dame. A solid lineman, Martin should step in right away and start at guard. There were bigger needs elsewhere, though.
One of those needs was in the pass rush after Ware was let go. The Cobwoys did address that in the second round after moving up to grab former Boise State defensive end Demarcus Lawrence, though they had to pay a steep third-round price to swap second-round picks with Washington.
Whether Lawrence was worth it will be interesting to see, but the draft was altogether uninspiring from Dallas.
Flotsam and Jetsam
Offseason workouts got off to a horrendous start for the Cowboys, who have already lost starting middle linebacker Sean Lee to a torn ACL, per Carlos Mendez of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. They have no control over freak injuries, but the Cowboys have already taken a loss this year.
Denver Broncos: Static
The Broncos were one of the busiest teams in free agency, adding several big names and creating a buzz in the process.
Those names included defensive end DeMarcus Ware, receiver Emmanuel Sanders, safety T.J. Ward and cornerback Aqib Talib.
Their biggest prize was Ward, who was widely considered the best strong safety in the free-agent class and one of the best free agents altogether. The fact the Broncos were able to snag him for a mere four years and $22.5 million was a coup.
Talib was also a nice pickup, though he was vastly overpaid given his inconsistent play and injury history.
Of course, all of those additions masked the subtractions, namely guard Zane Beadles, receiver Eric Decker, running back Knowshon Moreno, cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and defensive end Shaun Phillips.
In the end, free agency was a lot of running to stand still for the Broncos.
It was a decent draft for the Broncos, but it could have been better.
Instead of addressing a glaring need at offensive guard left behind by Zane Beadles, the Broncos focused on bolstering their secondary by adding Ohio State's Bradley Roby at the end of the first round. He shores up depth, to be sure, but it was a deep position in the draft that the Broncos could have addressed later.
Granted, Orlando Franklin has been tabbed to move inside and hopefully make up for the loss of Beadles, but they could have had Xavier Su'a-Filo and drafted a cornerback later.
Cody Latimer was a nice pick at receiver, and despite early reservations from yours truly and a glut at the position, he could actually make an impact as a rookie.
Flotsam and Jetsam
Until recently, there hadn't been much to say outside of business as usual in Denver this offseason. Unfortunately, newcomer Ward has gotten himself into some legal trouble.
Ward was arrested for allegedly disturbing the peace, a charge which he says has been blown out of proportion, according to ESPN.com's Jeff Legwold.
Detroit Lions: Impressed
The Detroit Lions finally got some help for receiver Calvin Johnson.
Receiver Golden Tate inked a five-year deal to be the No. 2 man in Detroit, relieving pressure a bit for Megatron. Tate also brings his return skills to the table, shoring up the special teams unit in the process.
The Lions re-signed pedestrian tight end Brandon Pettigrew to a four-year, $16 million contract, a move that is made worse by the fact they took a tight end in the first round of the draft.
On the defensive side, James Ihedigbo is a nice replacement for the departed Louis Delmas at safety.
It was a bit of a luxury pick for the Lions to take tight end Eric Ebron in the first round, but the Lions offense is going to be damn near unstoppable at this point.
Outside linebacker Kyle Van Noy out of BYU should be an immediate starter on the defensive side, and Nate Freese may solve the kicker problem out of the seventh round.
Flotsam and Jetsam
It has been a quiet offseason, at least by Detroit standards. The search to replace head coach Jim Schwartz was relatively short, ultimately ending with Jim Caldwell.
Whether that was the best call or not, however, is a matter of perspective.
More importantly, the Lions have pretty much stayed clean off the field thus far this offseason, an achievement given all of the news Lions players have produced in recent years.
Green Bay Packers: Impressed
The sun rises in the east. Water is wet. Ted Thompson is stingy in free agency. Bears...well, you know.
General manager Ted Thompson has never been known to be a big spender in free agency. Heck, he has never really been a spender of any sort. He opened up a little this year, though.
He couldn't resist signing defensive end Julius Peppers to a three-year, $26 million deal after the rival Chicago Bears had to cut him.
Peppers might be on the downswing of his career, but he still has gas left in his tank. There is also something to be said for having veteran leadership from a player with many past personal successes.
Re-signing cornerback Sam Shields to a big contract was the only other real splash the Packers made this year. Defensive tackle B.J. Raji, tight end Andrew Quarless and running back James Starks were all contributors the Packers also retained.
Where Thompson has made a living in the past has been in the draft, though recent years haven't exactly netted an embarrassment of riches.
This year was different, at least at first blush.
The Packers landed a first-round steal when Ha Ha Clinton-Dix fell to them at pick No. 21. The former Alabama safety will step in right away and strengthen a position of weakness in Green Bay.
Former Fresno State wide receiver Davante Adams was an excellent replacement out of the second-round for departed James Jones. He could wind up starting as the Z-receiver right away with a strong preseason.
Linebacker Carl Bradford was a nice value pick out of the fourth round, and receivers Jared Abbrederis and Jeff Janis were draftnik darlings who could make an impact down the line for the Packers.
Flotsam and Jetsam
All was quiet on the Wisconsin front this offseason.
Houston Texans: Impressed
There wasn't much to say in free agency for the Houston Texans.
The biggest splash they made was trading away quarterback Matt Schaub for a low-round pick, which doesn't even count here. They replaced him with Ryan Fitzpatrick, who unexpectedly stepped right into another starting gig.
Houston did replace departed running back Ben Tate with Andre Brown, who has looked solid when healthy over the past two seasons. Of course, staying healthy has been problematic for the former Giant.
Safety Chris Clemons was an underrated signing for the Texans who could come in and start opposite D.J. Swearinger right away.
The reason why Fitzpatrick is the de facto starter at quarterback in Houston? Because the Texans didn't draft one who could start.
The Houston Texans couldn't really find a trade partner for the No. 1 pick, so they made the only move they could—drafting defensive end Jadeveon Clowney.
He doesn't fit neatly into the Texas defense, but the physical freak of nature is like a Super Mario star trying to fit into a round hole—he'll be just fine.
Offensive guard Xavier Su'a-Filo was the best pure guard in the draft class, and the Texans managed to land him at the top of the second round to bolster the interior of their offensive line. The third round netted Houston one of the bigger steals in the draft—defensive tackle Louis Nix III out of Notre Dame, who inexplicably fell all the way to the middle of the third.
As for the aforementioned quarterback conundrum, the Texans will likely try to develop fourth-round pick Tom Savage for a year or two before they throw him into the fire, if he even gets to the point where he can start. His draft stock was buoyed by hype, but the former Pittsburgh signal-caller has a lot of work to do if he will be able to play at the next level.
Flotsam and Jetsam
It was Gary Kubiak's time.
The embattled head coach of the Texans had gotten his team into Super Bowl contention in recent years, but a precipitous fall off a cliff last season spelled his doom.
The Texans were able to lure Bill O'Brien of the Bill Belichick coaching tree—something that hasn't quite panned out for many of Belichick's former subordinates—away from Penn State.
Turnover in the front office and the top of the coaching staff is generally a bad thing in the NFL. Hopefully O'Brien can bring something new to the table that will help the Texans turn things around quickly and more permanently.
Indianapolis Colts: Regressed
The Colts had a ton of cap space to start free agency. Did they use it wisely?
Their biggest expense was re-signing cornerback Vontae Davis to a massive deal. Davis had the best year of his career—coincidentally in a contract year—but was he worth $36 million over four years?
Defensive end Arthur Jones was a nice addition to that defensive front.
Unfortunately, the NFL draft was a relative dud. The Indianapolis Colts can thank Trent Richardson for that. General manager Ryan Grigson traded away his first-round pick for a running back who averaged 2.9 yards per carry last season.
The rest of the draft wasn't bad, though, starting with offensive lineman Jack Mewhort. He isn't the center the Colts needed, but Mewhort should be able to crack the starting lineup as a guard in his first year.
Receiver Donte Moncrief out of Ole Miss was one of the better values in the draft, a late third-round pick the Colts couldn't resist.
Flotsam and Jetsam
It has been a rather sobering offseason for Jim Irsay. The Colts owner was arrested for a DWI and allegedly found with over $29,000 in cash and bottles of prescription drugs, per USA Today's Tim Evans. He was all but forced into rehab from which he has only recently emerged.
Thus far, he has gotten off lightly relative to the severity with which some of the players get disciplined. Take Cleveland's Josh Gordon, who might see a year-long suspension for missing a drug test. The league has taken no disciplinary action toward Irsay yet despite the seriousness of his actions.
Defensive Player of the Year candidate Robert Mathis was recently suspended for four games, too, adding to the Colts' offseason woes.
Jacksonville Jaguars: Impressed
Jacksonville might have been looking at Seattle with an eye toward imitation.
The Jaguars not only poached a couple of Seahawks defensive linemen in Red Bryant and Chris Clemons along with Evander Hood from the Pittsburgh Steelers while re-signing Jason Babin, but they also loaded up along that defensive line in doing so. Sound familiar?
Jacksonville also shored up the offensive line by nabbing guard Zane Beadles, who has been a nice player for the Denver Broncos for the past several seasons.
Longtime Jaguar Maurice Jones-Drew wasn't brought back despite his earlier stated desire to stay in Jacksonville. He was replaced by Toby Gerhart, the big back who backed up Adrian Peterson in Minnesota in recent years. Despite Jones-Drew's falloff, this doesn't seem like much of an upgrade.
General manager David Caldwell had a great draft.
Blake Bortles may not have been the best quarterback in the draft, but he had the most upside. The Jaguars have been trapped in quarterback purgatory for several years now, and they took their best shot on Bortles out of UCF at No. 3.
The big rookie is a bit on the raw side—which is likely why the Jaguars want to start Chad Henne this season—and the other quarterbacks fell a bit in the draft, but they couldn't risk losing out on their man by waiting.
The second round was for finding receiving weapons, as the Jaguars took Marqise Lee out of USC and Allen Robinson out of Penn State. Both were great additions who can contribute right away.
Jacksonville may have snagged one of the steals of the draft when Bortles' college teammate, running back Storm Johnson, fell all the way to them in the seventh round. He could step in and compete for playing time right away, given Gerhart isn't exactly an inspiring starter at this point.
Linebacker Telvin Smith was another great value when he fell to Jacksonville in the fifth round.
The one thing Jacksonville didn't do in the draft was find a true replacement for departed center Brad Meester. It looks like one of the offensive guards—Mike Brewster or third-round rookie Brandon Linder—will be competing for the job.
Flotsam and Jetsam
Aside from Justin Blackmon's ongoing suspension—a situation that is likely to get him booted from Jacksonville altogether, per NFL.com's Marc Sessler—and newly acquired receiver Tandon Doss' arrest for disorderly conduct, the Jaguars are having a clean offseason.
Kansas City Chiefs: Regressed
The Chiefs were stuck this offseason, a team without too many free agents and not enough money. The result was a blood bath in free agency.
Starting left tackle Branden Albert defected to the Miami Dolphins, a predictable move, but one that left the Chiefs without a quality tackle. They also lost quality guards in Jon Asamoah and Geoff Schwartz, not to mention their Pro Bowl return man Dexter McCluster.
It was better on the defensive side, where Kansas City only lost one quality contributor, defensive end Tyson Jackson.
Free agency was mostly a bust for the Chiefs, but the draft wasn't much better.
Instead of addressing positions of need, the Chiefs nabbed defensive end Dee Ford in the first round, presumably as heir to Tamba Hali's throne. They had no second-round pick thanks to the trade that brought them quarterback Alex Smith.
Cornerback Phillip Gaines out of Rice was a nice third-round pick, but the Chiefs still needed help at other positions instead of bolstering depth at cornerback.
Flotsam and Jetsam
The trade that brought Smith over to Kansas City might look bad in hindsight if the Chiefs can't get him signed to a long-term deal.
Negotiations for a new deal have gone sour, as Smith is demanding a huge contract the Chiefs are unwilling to give him right now.
Other than that, it has been a quiet offseason in Kansas City.
Miami Dolphins: Impressed
The offensive line needed major work this offseason. Pass protection was atrocious, and the running game was nonexistent at times last season.
The Dolphins got to work fixing the problem in free agency.
They signed offensive tackle Branden Albert to a massive deal one year after trying to trade for him, shoring up the blind side in a big way.
Miami also signed guard Shelley Smith away from the St. Louis Rams, likely to start for the departed Richie Incognito or John Jerry. Offensive tackle Jason Fox has a chance to start on the right side if Miami's first-round pick doesn't pan out early.
The Dolphins managed to re-sign quality defensive tackle Randy Starks to a meager two-year deal, though they did watch his partner Paul Soliai sign a big deal with the Atlanta Falcons. Miami replaced Soliai with Earl Mitchell, who should fit in better in the 4-3 defense than he did as a nose tackle in Houston.
It was a decent inaugural draft for new general manager Dennis Hickey.
The Dolphins continued their offensive line makeover by taking Ja'Wuan James at No. 19. It may have been a bit of a reach, but he was the best player available that they could plug in to start at right tackle immediately. Billy Turner, their third-round pick out of North Dakota State, completes the makeover, as he will likely start at guard.
The second round saw the Dolphins select the most sure-handed receiver in the draft, Jarvis Landry. He doesn't possess otherworldly athleticism, but Landry is a quality receiver who should start as the No. 3 right away.
Flotsam and Jetsam
A nightmarish bullying scandal spilled into the offseason for the Miami Dolphins, who are still awaiting judgment for some.
It was a public relations nightmare that ultimately got general manager Jeff Ireland fired, though his job performance over the years certainly factored into the decision.
The hits keep on coming for the Dolphins, as the new regime has just been hit with another potential scandal, this time involving a former scout who claims he was fired unfairly, per Fox Sports' Alex Marvez. While that accusation might not stick, it doesn't do anything to help Miami's image.
Minnesota Vikings: Impressed
The Vikings had mixed results in free agency.
On the one hand, they solidified the middle of the defense by signing defensive tackle Linval Joseph away from the New York Giants. They also boosted the secondary by signing cornerback Captain Munnerlyn to start opposite Xavier Rhodes.
On the other hand, the Vikings let longtime and still-productive defensive end Jared Allen go in free agency. Running back Toby Gerhart also flew the coop down to Jacksonville for a potential starting gig with the Jaguars.
Quality linebacker Erin Henderson remains unsigned because of off-field issues, too.
The Vikings may have struck gold in the draft, particularly at quarterback.
Teddy Bridgewater fell all the way to the bottom of the first round, and the Vikings made a move up from the second to snag him. He was arguably the best and most complete quarterback in the draft.
Before that, though, the Vikings were able to exact a fourth-round price from the Cleveland Browns to move down one spot in the first, where they selected Anthony Barr out of UCLA to rush the passer.
Flotsam and Jetsam
The Vikings let go of head coach Leslie Frazier after falling off from a surprising postseason run in 2012. They hired Mike Zimmer, who finally got a shot at a head coaching gig after being a candidate for many teams over many years.
Defensive-minded Zimmer brought Norv Turner on as offensive coordinator, a move that should have fantasy football owners giddy with anticipation. Turner can maximize the talent on that offense like few others can.
Other than releasing Henderson after his second DUI arrest, there hasn't been much to talk about off the field in Minnesota.
New Orleans Saints: Impressed
The New Orleans Saints landed free agency's biggest prize aside from Darrelle Revis—who was cut—when they signed safety Jairus Byrd.
It was a bit surprising given the Saints didn't have a ton of cap space to start the year, and they used a big chunk to slap tight end Jimmy Graham with the franchise tag. Cutting cap dead weight like Will Smith, Jonathan Vilma and Jabari Greer helped, as did creative contract terms that minimized the impact this year.
As for Byrd, the talented safety will pair with second-year man Kenny Vaccaro to form one of the most formidable duos in the NFL.
Getting right tackle Zach Strief to re-sign was a great move as well, keeping the offensive line stable on the right side for quarterback Drew Brees.
Saints general manager Mickey Loomis made a nice move in the first round to ensure he got his man—wide receiver Brandin Cooks out of Oregon State. The move up to No. 20 from 27 only cost the Saints a third-round pick, and they were able to bolster the offense the way they wanted to.
New Orleans further bolstered the secondary by taking cornerback Stanley Jean-Baptiste out of Nebraska in the second round.
Flotsam and Jetsam
It has been a refreshingly quiet offseason for the Saints, who have put some distance between themselves and the bounty scandal.
New England Patriots: Impressed
Anytime you land one of the best players in the league as a free agent, free agency has been won.
Well, that's debatable, but the New England Patriots certainly did a nice job nabbing cornerback Darrelle Revis after the Tampa Bay Buccaneers cut him.
Revis is arguably the best cornerback in the league, a guy who can be left on an island and allow the defense to focus elsewhere. That kind of flexibility is something head coach Bill Belichick hasn't had for years, and Patriots fans should be foaming at the mouth.
Little movement and no early-round head-scratchers? What was going on in the New England war room during the draft this year?
The Patriots stood pat in the first round and selected defensive tackle Dominique Easley out of Florida in the first round. He might be recovering from a torn ACL—the second of his career—but Easley was the most talented defensive tackle in the draft.
Assuming he can stay healthy, Easley will make a devastating combo with incumbent Vince Wilfork on the interior of that defensive line.
The second round saw Belichick take his quarterback of the future, Jimmy Garoppolo out of Eastern Illinois. Of course, we have been down this road before with Ryan Mallett, but Tom Brady is no spring chicken at 36, even if he feels like he's 25, per USA Today's Nina Mandell.
Garoppolo was a bit of a polarizing prospect who might simply wash out of the league, but
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The Patriots are still dealing with the Aaron Hernandez saga, even if he is no longer connected with the NFL, let alone the team. That may be entirely out of New England's control at this point, but it tinges everything the Patriots do with a malodor.
This offseason has been nothing compared to last year, when the Hernandez saga hit.
New York Giants: Impressed
The New York Giants quietly and somewhat surprisingly racked up a nice free-agent haul.
General manager Jerry Reese landed several quality free agents, including cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, offensive guard Geoff Schwartz and running back Rashad Jennings. Return specialist Trindon Holliday should bolster a sagging special teams unit, and cornerback Walter Thurmond adds nice depth in the secondary, too.
New York did suffer some losses in free agency too, though, including stud defensive tackle Linval Joseph and stalwart defensive end Justin Tuck. Those were big blows to the defensive line.
While free agency was a success, the draft left a little to be desired.
That is not to say that this year's rookie crop won't be successful for the Giants—how much do we really know, after all—but it could have been better.
LSU's Odell Beckham Jr. was widely considered the third-best receiver in the draft, but he is a Victor Cruz clone. The Giants could have picked up a quality receiver—say, Jordan Matthews or Davante Adams in the second round—in a deep class and addressed a bigger need with a better fit in the first round.
The second round saw the Giants fix their problem at center, one of the positions where they needed help on that offensive line. Weston Richburg was the best center in the class, and he should start right away.
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Safety Will Hill is still facing discipline stemming from another failed drug test, his third in as many years according to ESPN.com's Dan Graziano. If he is indeed suspended, that could be the end of the line for the Giants safety, who was particularly good last season.
Fortunately, the Giants should have Stevie Brown back from injury if Hill is on his way out.
New York Jets: Impressed
Jets general manager John Idzik had a lot of cap space this offseason. He needed to use it wisely, lest he have little time left in New York.
He started things off with a bang, signing receiver Eric Decker away from the Broncos on a five-year, $36.25 million deal. It was a good deal for a guy who figures to be the No. 1 receiver on that offense going forward.
Running back Chris Johnson was a nice addition after the Tennessee Titans cut him. He should step in right away and start, though he will likely be in a timeshare with Chris Ivory.
The Jets lost starting right tackle Austin Howard to free agency, but they found a nice replacement in Breno Giacomini, who came over from the Seattle Seahawks.
Signing Michael Vick to replace Mark Sanchez was a savvy move, even if it did initially bring Vick's critics down on the team.
All in all, the Jets had a solid draft.
Idzik upgraded the safety position right away when he took Calvin Pryor out of Louisville. The hard-hitting safety seems like a fantastic fit for head coach Rex Ryan's offense.
The Jets got Smith more help on offense by taking big tight end Jace Amaro in the second round. He should give incumbent starter Jeff Cumberland a run for his money right away.
One of the late-round steals of the draft landed with the Jets when they took outside linebacker Trevor Reilly out of Utah. The biggest knock on the athletic linebacker was his age—Reilly is 26. If he can get going right away, he could make an impact on that defense.
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There is usually no shortage of storylines in New York, particularly for the Jets. But the papers haven't had too much to write about this offseason, a pleasant change for Ryan, no doubt. Gone are the distractions Tim Tebow and Mark Sanchez brought to the team, perhaps to the dismay of the New York Post.
Oakland Raiders: Impressed
Hollywood should make a movie entitled Escape from Cap Hell, featuring general manager Reggie McKenzie with a cameo by Mark Davis, played by Will Ferrell of course.
Terrible film ideas aside, the Raiders finally had a chance to spend some money this offseason, entering free agency with the most cap space to burn. It was a refreshing turnaround for a team that has had to make painful cuts and abstain from playing the field in recent years.
Free agency got off to a rocky start for McKenzie, who signed offensive lineman Rodger Saffold to a big contract only to have Davis negate the deal using a failed physical as the reason. The Raiders were briefly the laughing stock of the league.
McKenzie recovered quickly, though, signing a host of quality new players like defensive ends Justin Tuck, Antonio Smith and LaMarr Woodley; wide receiver James Jones; offensive linemen Donald Penn and Austin Howard; cornerbacks Carlos Rogers and Tarell Brown; and running back Maurice Jones-Drew.
That was a mouthful.
Losing defensive end Lamarr Houston and offensive tackle Jared Veldheer deflated an otherwise solid free-agency period a bit, but all in all, McKenzie accomplished what he set out to do. The Raiders even traded for a starting quarterback, though Matt Schaub isn't exactly an exciting name these days.
There wasn't much flash to what McKenzie did in free agency, just utility. He signed some low-risk, high-reward players to deals that will leave the team plenty of cap flexibility in years to come.
A good free-agency period led to a great draft for the Raiders.
Instead of feeling the pressure to move up or draft a quarterback early, McKenzie let the draft come to him. His reward was outside linebacker Khalil Mack out of Buffalo, the most polished and complete pass-rusher in the draft. His selection completed a total overhaul of that defensive line, one that could be the best in the AFC West at this point.
The Raiders got their quarterback of the future after patiently waiting into the second round. They resisted the urge to move up for Johnny Manziel or Teddy Bridgewater, instead waiting for Fresno State's Derek Carr to fall into their laps at No. 36 overall.
Drafting Carr in the second round means the Raiders can give him time to develop behind Schaub without too much pressure to start him.
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Aside from running back Kory Sheets' arrest for possession of marijuana in Canada, there hasn't been much to talk about in Oakland off the field or in the front office.
McKenzie and head coach Dennis Allen are certainly on the hot seat heading into the 2014 season, though. Hopefully their impressive makeover will take quickly.
Philadelphia Eagles: Impressed
The Philadelphia Eagles made most of their free-agent noise internally, re-signing big contributors like offensive linemen Jason Kelce and Jason Peters and wide receivers Jeremy Maclin and Riley Cooper.
One guy they didn't keep, however, was DeSean Jackson—leading receiver for the Eagles in 2013. Head coach Chip Kelly called it a "football decision," and he is one of a handful of coaches who could easily work around such a loss. Make no mistake, however, it was a big loss for that offense.
Replacing Michael Vick with Mark Sanchez at backup quarterback was replacing one talented off-field headache—despite his reform, Vick has plenty of vocal detractors—with a talentless one, but so far there hasn't been much to talk about with Sanchez.
Outside of safety Malcolm Jenkins and cornerback Nolan Carroll on the defensive side, there wasn't much more to say about Philadelphia's free-agent period.
Philadelphia did a nice job in the draft, starting with a move down to net a fourth-round pick.
The Eagles made the trade with the Browns to move down to No. 26, where they drafted outside linebacker Marcus Smith out of Louisville. He may not have been on anyone's radar as a first-round pick, but Smith brings athleticism and youth to the pass rush in Philadelphia.
Jordan Matthews was a second-round gem, a fine replacement for the departed Jackson even if he is a completely different kind of receiver.
Kelly finally went to the Oregon well when he drafted Josh Huff in the third round, a bit of a reach. Kelly knows Huff better than we all do, though, so who are we to argue too fiercely?
Jaylen Watkins was an excellent fourth-round choice, a versatile defensive back that Kelly will be able to use all over the field.
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So far, so good this offseason—there have been no incidents involving racial slurs hurled at country music concerts.
Of course, the split between Philadelphia and Jackson was somewhat acrimonious, but that was nothing out of the ordinary given the circumstances.
Pittsburgh Steelers: Static
Pittsburgh was bleeding players in free agency.
The Steelers couldn't afford to keep many of its free agents. On the contrary, they were forced to cut some veterans in order to have any sort of maneuverability. Defensive stalwarts LaMarr Woodley, Ziggy Hood and Larry Foote are all gone, as are productive receivers Jerricho Cotchery and Emmanuel Sanders.
What little money Pittsburgh did have to spend was used on safety Mike Mitchell—a quality player, but was he worth $25 million?
General manager Kevin Colbert had a great draft for the Steelers, and it all started with one of the most athletic prospects to come out.
Linebacker Ryan Shazier has already made an impression, beginning Pittsburgh OTAs as a starting inside linebacker despite being listed on the outside coming out of college. The move was not surprising given Pittsburgh's needs, but it's nice to see a first-round Steelers rookie pan out early for once.
Granted, the season is still a few months away, but the Shazier pick was a good one as it stands right now.
The second round brought a steal to the Steelers, Stephon Tuitt out of Notre Dame. There were question marks about his conditioning after a subpar 2013 season, which is probably why he fell all the way to the Steelers after some early first-round buzz this year.
Running back Dri Archer and receiver Martavis Bryant bring some incredible upside to the offensive skill positions out of the third and fourth rounds, respectively. Bryant in particular has the capability to become a stud No. 1 receiver if he can
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Outside of head coach Mike Tomlin possibly being on the hot seat heading into the 2014 season, there isn't much to say here. The Steelers are arguably the most stable organization in the league, and any off-field concerns have been nonexistent this year.
San Diego Chargers: Impressed
The Chargers gave Donald Brown what wound up being one of the richest new contracts a running back got this offseason, a three-year, $10.5 million deal. Of course, they couldn't have known for sure that the market was that depressed, but it looks like a horrendous deal in hindsight.
It's not just that Brown isn't a special player—one good season doesn't erase the rest—but the Chargers weren't exactly hurting at running back with Ryan Mathews and Danny Woodhead. The duo was rather productive last season, and adding Brown to the mix only muddles the picture.
That's without saying how flooded the running back market was, both in free agency and the draft.
The best move San Diego made was to re-sign inside linebacker Donald Butler to a long-term deal. The 25-year-old has the potential to be great in the middle of that defense if he can stay healthy.
Cornerback Jason Verrett and outside linebacker Jeremiah Attaochu were nice picks at positions of need for the Chargers. Both could step in and start right away.
The rest of the draft featured relative unknowns, including guard Chris Watt out of Notre Dame and Marion Grice out of Arizona State.
It was a solid but unspectacular draft for the Chargers, who only owned six picks.
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Head coach Mike McCoy and general manager Tom Telesco head into their second season with the Chargers with little to worry about off the field. The Manti Te'o saga has been all but forgotten, and the Chargers haven't had any significant run-ins with the law this offseason.
San Francisco 49ers: Static
Free agency wasn't terribly kind to the 49ers.
San Francisco couldn't retain safety Donte Whitner's services—at least at his asking price—so they signed disappointing Antoine Bethea to take his place. The kicker? His full contract is only worth $7 million less than Whitner's, though the latter got nearly $6 million more guaranteed.
The 49ers also lost cornerbacks Tarell Brown and Carlos Rogers in free agency, replacing them with Hail Mary acquisition Chris Cook.
There wasn't a lot of money to throw around, and the 49ers are chock full of young players waiting for a starting gig. But backpedaling in free agency could be problematic in the short term.
The draft was a home run for the 49ers, though who knows how it might have turned out had they made a big splash in the first round. San Francisco had the means to move up and snag a top-tier receiver or pass-rusher, but general manager Trent Baalke stood pat in the first round to grab safety Jimmie Ward, a solid pick.
Baalke didn't stand still throughout the rest of the draft, however, wheeling and dealing his way to a fantastic haul.
The 49ers landed their running back of the future, Carlos Hyde out of Ohio State, with their second-round pick. Whether he pans out as such will be interesting to see, but he is probably the best running back San Francisco has drafted in recent years.
Center Marcus Martin could feasibly start in year one, Chris Borland is a Zach Thomas clone who will only make the middle linebacker position even stronger, offensive lineman Brandon Thomas was a steal in the third round who should be a starter after recovering from a knee injury this year, and Bruce Ellington is a high-upside receiver who adds great depth to the position.
All in all, the 49ers got a ton of quality prospects to add to their ever-deepening pool, a veritable fountain of youth they can tap into as aging veterans begin to fall off.
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Despite all the success of recent years, the 49ers have had a bit of a rough offseason.
It started early, when rumors surfaced that Jim Harbaugh wanted to be traded to Cleveland, of all places. Harbaugh and Baalke repeatedly denied any such demand, despite what the Browns said.
The situation highlighted a perceived tension between Harbaugh and Baalke, one that might ultimately see one skip town next year.
Then there is outside linebacker Aldon Smith, who got in trouble with the law yet again this offseason. This time, he was arrested for an alleged bomb threat at Los Angeles International Airport, per Lorenzo Reyes of USA Today. He was ultimately released with no charge, but it was another strike against Smith for off-field issues.
Those issues weren't worrisome enough for the 49ers to avoid exercising their 2015 option on him, but he needs to turn things around off the field if he wants to avoid any kind of lengthy suspension.
Seattle Seahawks: Regressed
The Seahawks were never going to be able to keep everyone. They simply had too much talent and not enough money to do it all.
To wit, Seattle lost some key contributors to free agency, most notably their leading receiver, Golden Tate.
That's not to say Tate was irreplaceable—the Seahawks do have a run-oriented offense, and Tate's 898 receiving yards and five touchdowns aren't exactly record-breaking—but he will be missed.
So will defensive linemen Red Bryant and Chris Clemons, who both went to the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Seahawks were able to convince stud defensive end Michael Bennett to come back, though.
What the Seahawks did do was conserve cap space in order to retain their best players. Cornerback Richard Sherman and safety Earl Thomas signed big extensions to stay on with their teams, ensuring stability and quality in that secondary for years to come.
Head coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider left us with a head-scratcher of a draft, though that isn't necessarily going to be a bad thing in the end. After all, who would have thought fifth-round cornerback Richard Sherman would become arguably the best cornerback in the league?
Who knows how this year's crop will pan out, but Seattle's draft was generally panned.
After moving down and out of the first round, the Seahawks picked speedy receiver Paul Richardson. The position needed to be addressed, and Richardson is certainly a deep threat worth watching. But is he a one-trick pony?
Justin Britt was a fifth-round offensive tackle the Seahawks took in the second, and the rest of the draft was simply uninspiring.
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The Seahawks just won the Super Bowl, and there haven't been any post-win scandals. There isn't much to say here other than quarterback Russell Wilson's commercial with Microsoft is on entirely too often.
St. Louis Rams: Static
The Rams were fortunate that Rodger Saffold didn't get away. The Oakland Raiders had him hooked on a big deal but ultimately cut the fishing line when the owner got cold feet.
Saffold swam back to St. Louis, where he inked a five-year, $31.7 million deal to play guard. Speaking of which, the Rams did lose guards Shelley Smith and Chris Williams in free agency.
Other than cutting disappointing cornerback Cortland Finnegan and continuing the Tennessee-to-St. Louis pipeline by signing receiver Kenny Britt, it was a relatively uneventful free-agency period for the Rams.
The Rams were in an excellent position in the draft thanks to the king's ransom they exacted from Washington two years ago. It resulted in the No. 2 overall pick to go along with their original pick at 13.
All in all, it was a good haul for St. Louis. The Rams took offensive tackle Greg Robinson at No. 2 overall, then nabbed stud defensive tackle Aaron Donald at No. 13. Both should step in and start right away, bolstering the trenches in the process.
Defensive back Lamarcus Joyner was an excellent pick in the second round, a diminutive but athletic safety who should be an immediate upgrade in that secondary. Running back Tre Mason was a nice third-round find out of Auburn, a guy who could step in and take over as the third-down back right away.
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The biggest offseason story for the Rams has been their selection of defensive end Michael Sam, the first openly gay player in the NFL.
The offseason has been tinged with a little negativity, though, given receiver Stedman Bailey was suspended for four games to start the season, per CBS Sports' John Breech.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Impressed
Any time you cut arguably the best player at his position, your grade is going to take a hit.
Fortunately for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, losing cornerback Darrelle Revis wasn't a mortal blow to that defense. On the contrary, freeing up the $16 million he was due helped them snag a massive free-agent haul.
The Buccaneers were the biggest spenders in free agency, signing the likes of defensive end Michael Johnson, cornerback Alterraun Verner and offensive tackle Anthony Collins.
Verner isn't the same caliber as Revis, but he makes a fine, much cheaper replacement.
It was a nice draft for new general manager Jason Licht and head coach Lovie Smith. The Buccaneers clearly set out to fix the offense, namely by giving their quarterback some more big weapons.
Receiver Mike Evans was the first of those. Arguably the best receiver in the draft, the 6'5" monster was Tampa Bay's first-round pick. He will pair with fellow 6'5" receiver Vincent Jackson to create matchup nightmares for opposing defenses.
Speaking of 6'5" monsters, second-round tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins will join the fun, too.
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Again, turnover in the front office isn't a good thing. It usually means something wasn't working, and a change needed to be made.
Smith replaced Greg Schiano, whose honeymoon flight with the Buccaneers crash landed last season. The authoritarian former head coach was able to keep the Buccaneers from completely flatlining in 2013, but the team was headed in the wrong direction.
Fortunately, the Buccaneers were able to land Smith, one of the best options available at head coach. The defensive-minded coach was the best man to right the ship in Buccaneer Cove.
Tennessee Titans: Regressed
Tennessee's biggest signings were a right tackle who has gotten increasingly worse at pass protection and a wide receiver who has had one good season as a special teams ace.
Michael Oher and Dexter McCluster certainly addressed needs, but do they actually fix anything?
Meanwhile, the Titans let Chris Johnson go because he was owed too much money and lost quality cornerback Alterraun Verner to the Tampa Bay money machine.
Inside linebacker Wesley Woodyard was a nice addition to that defense, but it wasn't a particularly good free-agent period in Tennessee.
Likely in anticipation of Michael Roos' eventual departure, the Titans drafted embattled offensive tackle Taylor Lewan in the first round. It was a bit of a head-scratcher for a team that had bigger needs elsewhere, not to mention the fact Lewan is mired in off-field controversy stemming from three misdemeanor assault charges, per Kyle Feldscher of The Ann Arbor News.
The Titans popped the cork on the running back position in the draft, taking Bishop Sankey in the second half of the second round. He will make a fine replacement for the departed Johnson.
Defensive lineman DaQuan Jones was another nice pick in the third round, but that was about it for Tennessee.
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Head coach Mike Munchak got the axe after years of mediocrity in Tennessee, replaced by Ken Whisenhunt. The latter should be an upgrade, but the Titans may not be terribly competitive right away under Whisenhunt.
Off the field and outside of the front office, defensive end Adewale Ojomo was arrested for allegedly soliciting a prostitute. He was a fringe player, however.
Unshackled from salary-cap sanctions levied against them, Washington and general manager Bruce Allen were able to make some moves this offseason.
Their biggest move was to ink wide receiver DeSean Jackson after the Philadelphia Eagles cut him. Jackson may have gone to a division rival to twist the knife a bit after he was unceremoniously dumped, and he should thrive alongside Pierre Garcon and fellow newcomer Andre Roberts at receiver.
Washington lured away another division rival when Jason Hatcher came over from the Dallas Cowboys, bolstering the defensive line in a big way.
There wasn't much else in free agency other than signing Shawn Lauvao to presumably start at guard.
They were without a first-round pick for a second consecutive year thanks to the trade that brought the District of Columbia quarterback Robert Griffin III. That afforded Allen little flexibility in terms of getting elite talent, but he did well to maneuver down and get extra picks.
He extracted a good price from the rival Cowboys to move down in the second round, picking up an extra third-rounder in the process. Washington was able to address the pass rush and the offensive line by taking defensive end Trent Murphy out of Stanford and offensive linemen Morgan Moses out of Virginia and Spencer Long out of Nebraska.
Bashaud Breeland was a nice value, too, a quality cornerback out of Clemson that Allen was able to snag in the fourth round.
It would have been nice to have that first-round pick, but Allen did a pretty good job without it.
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Has Washington changed its nickname yet? No? Well, there goes a big check mark on the regression side of things.
Of more substantial import, Washington has gone through yet another regime change. Gone is Mike Shanahan, unable to right the ship during his tenure despite a surprise trip to the playoffs in 2012. In is Jay Gruden, an offensive mind whose best trait on his resume might be his surname.
That is not to say Gruden won't succeed, but owner Dan Snyder chews up head coaches like Shooter McGavin eats... well, you know, for breakfast.
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