Stock Up, Stock Down for NFL Teams After 1st Week of Free Agency
Call it a pop quiz of sorts...with answers.
We're about one week into the NFL’s latest free-agency period, so why not take a look at all 32 teams and see how they're doing?
Here we are evaluating each team's stock—be it up, down or even neutral—when it comes to the offseason to date. And this is about more than just the comings and goings this past week; we're poring over each team's moves since the end of the 2014 season.
The clubs are listed in alphabetical order, so this is not a power ranking of any sort. It’s also worth keeping in mind that the 2015 fiscal year in the NFL is barely underway. Any opinions we have now could change in a heartbeat (or in another week).
It was a frantic first week in the midst of what has been a busy offseason. It’s safe to say the fun has only just begun.
Arizona Cardinals: Stock Up
- OLB/DE LaMarr Woodley (from Raiders)
- DT Corey Peters (from Falcons)
- OLB Sean Weatherspoon (from Falcons)
- DE Cory Redding (from Colts)
- G Mike Iupati (from 49ers)
- C A.Q. Shipley (from Colts)
- WR Ted Ginn Jr. (Released/Panthers)
- DT Darnell Dockett (Released/49ers)
- DT Dan Williams (Raiders)
- G Paul Fanaika (Chiefs)
- CB Antonio Cromartie (Jets)
- C Lyle Sendlein (Released)
Despite the best efforts of 2014 NFL Coach of the Year Bruce Arians, the Arizona Cardinals simply ran out of healthy bodies by season’s end.
However, that wasn’t before the team managed to secure a playoff berth, its first since 2009.
Free agency has brought a pair of new faces to the offensive line in three-time Pro Bowl guard Mike Iupati and center A.Q. Shipley. Last season’s 24th-ranked defense, which slumped late in the year against the run, has added a veteran pair of former Falcons in Corey Peters and Sean Weatherspoon.
Losing cornerback Antonio Cromartie and defensive tackle Dan Williams hurts, as both come off solid seasons, but it’s easy to have faith in Arians and general manager Steve Keim.
Atlanta Falcons: Stock Up
- OLB Brooks Reed (from Texans)
- OLB Justin Durant (from Cowboys)
- WR Leonard Hankerson (from Redskins)
- DE Adrian Clayborn (from Buccaneers)
- CB Phillip Adams (from Jets)
- DE/OLB O’Brien Schofield (from Seahawks)
- RB Steven Jackson (Released)
- WR Harry Douglas (Released/Titans)
- G Justin Blalock (Released)
- DE Jonathan Massaquoi (Released/Titans)
- DT Corey Peters (Cardinals)
- OLB Sean Weatherspoon (Cardinals)
The worst defense in the league in 2014 in terms of total yards and passing yards allowed got some help via a few additions who should fit in well with new head coach Dan Quinn.
O’Brien Schofield comes over from Seattle, where he played for Quinn this past season. He and Brooks Reed have pass-rushing ability, which is good news for a team that totaled a mere 22 sacks this past season. And if the Falcons can coax some production out of former Buccaneers’ first-rounder Adrian Clayborn, things could be looking up for a team with a combined 10 wins the last two years.
Baltimore Ravens: Stock Down
- FS Kendrick Lewis (from Texans)
- DT Terrence Cody (Released)
- WR/KR Jacoby Jones (Released/Chargers)
- DE Chris Canty (Released)
- DT Haloti Ngata (Trade/Lions)
- OLB Pernell McPhee (Bears)
- WR Torrey Smith (49ers)
- TE Owen Daniels (Broncos)
- QB Tyrod Taylor (Bills)
- FS Darian Stewart (Broncos)
On Saturday, the Ravens finally plunged into free agency with the addition of safety Kendrick Lewis, who in his first year with Houston in 2014 led the Texans in tackles. He takes over for Darian Stewart, who is an unrestricted free agent.
However, as of now, the losses of big-play performers such as wide receiver/kick returner Jacoby Jones and speedy wideout Torrey Smith hurt, although the the team cut the former. The departure of Owen Daniels mean that Dennis Pitta is on his way to being healthy, or the Ravens will be looking for a tight end. The good news was that the team re-signed running back Justin Forsett, who finished fifth in the NFL in rushing yards in 2014.
Finally, Baltimore’s front seven will have a different look to it. Losing McPhee hurts the team in terms of depth, while Timmy Jernigan did a nice job of replacing Haloti Ngata in December during the five-time Pro Bowler's suspension.
Buffalo Bills: Stock Up
- G Richie Incognito (DNP in 2014)
- RB LeSean McCoy (Trade/Eagles)
- QB Matt Cassel (Trade/Vikings)
- QB Tyrod Taylor (from Ravens)
- FB Jerome Felton (from Vikings)
- WR Percy Harvin (from Jets)
- QB Kyle Orton (Retired UFA)
- OLB Keith Rivers (Released/Cowboys)
- ILB Kiko Alonso (Trade/Eagles)
- TE Lee Smith (Raiders)
- FS Da’Norris Searcy (Titans)
- TE Scott Chandler (Released/Patriots)
- RB C.J. Spiller (Saints)
- G Erik Pears (49ers)
The stunning trade that brought three-time Pro Bowl running back LeSean McCoy fixes a great many things for the Buffalo Bills, who are now under the guidance of head coach Rex Ryan.
Although he didn’t win the NFL rushing title for a second straight year, McCoy finished with 1,319 yards on the ground and five touchdowns.
As a team, the Bills ran for 1,482 yards (25th in the NFL in 2014) and seven scores. To get McCoy, the team dealt inside linebacker Kiko Alonso to Philadelphia and head coach Chip Kelly, whom Alonso played for at the University of Oregon.
According to Chris Wesseling of NFL.com, veteran Matt Cassel will not only battle EJ Manuel but former Ravens signal-caller Tyrod Taylor for the starting quarterback job. Meanwhile, wideout Percy Harvin hopes to help the offense and special teams. But perhaps the best addition was fullback Jerome Felton, who should make for quite an escort for McCoy and the rest of the Buffalo runners.
On the down side, arguably the best departure was that of free safety Da’Norris Searcy, who did a terrific job of replacing 2014 free-agent defector Jairus Byrd.
Carolina Panthers: Neutral
- WR Stephen Hill (DNP in 2014)
- T Michael Oher (from Titans)
- WR Ted Ginn Jr. (from Cardinals)
- CB Teddy Williams (from Jaguars)
- S Thomas DeCoud (Released)
- RB DeAngelo Williams (Released/Steelers)
- CB James Dockery (Raiders)
About the only excitement in Carolina these days has to do with either the Blue Devils or the Tar Heels.
It’s been a fairly quiet offseason for the two-time defending NFC South champion Carolina Panthers, who parted ways with the franchise’s all-time rushing leader DeAngelo Williams but still have Jonathan Stewart, the team’s hot runner down the stretch.
The team did add tackle Michael Oher, cut by the Titans after one season in Nashville. Carolina also figures to draft a tackle high this year, as Byron Bell struggled this past season and likely won’t be re-signed.
Finally, the team welcomes back wideout and kick returner Ted Ginn Jr., who played in the postseason for Carolina in 2013 and then faced the Panthers as a member of the Arizona Cardinals in this past season’s Wild Card Round.
Chicago Bears: Stock Up
- OLB Pernell McPhee (from Ravens)
- SS Antrel Rolle (from Giants)
- WR Eddie Royal (from Chargers)
- WR Brandon Marshall (Trade/Jets)
- DT Stephen Paea (Redskins)
- FS Chris Conte (Buccaneers)
The Chicago Bears will have a new head coach for the third time in four years in the form of John Fox, late of the Denver Broncos.
They will also have new coaches in offensive coordinator Adam Gase and defensive coordinator Vic Fangio. Fox inherits a team that has given up 28.8 points per game and 93 offensive touchdowns in 32 contests the past two seasons combined.
Fangio brings his version of the 3-4 to the Windy City, hence the addition of McPhee, who totaled 7.5 sacks with the Baltimore Ravens in 2014. Antrel Rolle is a hard-hitting safety who hopes to bring a little attitude to a defense in need of a new one.
While Brandon Marshall remains one of the best wide receivers in the game, he’s about to play for his fourth different club after being traded for the third time in his career.
Cincinnati Bengals: Neutral
- LB A.J. Hawk (from Packers)
- DE Michael Johnson (from Buccaneers)
- G Mike Pollak (Released)
- DE Robert Geathers (Released)
- WR Greg Little (Released)
- T Marshall Newhouse (Giants)
Who says you can’t come home?
Certainly not the Cincinnati Bengals, who according to Paul Dehner Jr. of Cincinnati.com have welcomed back Michael Johnson to the Queen City after his one season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Speaking of players being released and signed, Cincinnati added former Green Bay Packers linebacker A.J. Hawk into the fold. The team also re-signed middle linebacker Rey Maualuga before he could hit the open market.
The Bengals also released a handful of players and watched backup tackle Marshall Newhouse sign with the New York Giants. As usual, the franchise will wait until the draft to do what it does best.
Cleveland Browns: Stock Down
- QB Josh McCown (from Buccaneers)
- WR Brian Hartline (from Dolphins)
- QB Thaddeus Lewis (from Texans)
- WR Josh Gordon (Suspended for 2015)
- OL Paul McQuistan (Released)
- QB Brian Hoyer (Texans)
- CB Buster Skrine (Jets)
- DE/OLB Jabaal Sheard (Patriots)
- TE Jordan Cameron (Dolphins)
Another year and more doubts surround the Cleveland Browns.
It’s hard to get excited about this team after it was announced that top wideout Josh Gordon would be suspended for the entire 2015 season, while tight end Jordan Cameron, outside linebacker Jabaal Sheard and cornerback Buster Skrine opted to sign elsewhere.
Once the team added quarterback Josh McCown, it was just a matter of time before (and one of a few reasons) Brian Hoyer decided to move. The Browns also picked up wide receiver Brian Hartline, a little insurance should Miles Austin not be brought back by the team.
Dallas Cowboys: Stock Down
- OLB Keith Rivers (from Bills)
- FB Jed Collins (from Lions)
- ILB Jasper Brinkley (from Vikings)
- RB Darren McFadden (from Raiders)
- CB Corey White (from Saints)
- LB Andrew Gachkar (from Chargers)
- RB DeMarco Murray (Eagles)
- WR/KR Dwayne Harris (Giants)
- T Jermey Parnell (Jaguars)
- OLB Justin Durant (Falcons)
- OLB Bruce Carter (Buccaneers)
- DT Henry Melton (Buccaneers)
Unsigned Franchise Player
- WR Dez Bryant
The Dallas Cowboys were in an interesting situation entering free agency, and as it turned out, it just didn’t go their way.
While the team used the franchise tag on Pro Bowl wideout Dez Bryant, it was hoping to retain the league’s rushing champion and the 2014 NFL Offensive Player of the Year in running back DeMarco Murray. But the division-rival Philadelphia Eagles made the Cowboys running back an offer he couldn’t refuse.
To assume Darren McFadden is the replacement for Murray would probably not be wise. This past season marked the first time in his seven-year NFL career that McFadden managed to play all 16 games. Dallas’ offensive line remains the key, but don’t be shocked to see the club add another runner via the draft.
The positives here include retaining right tackle Doug Free and inking wide receiver Cole Beasley to a contract extension. But the losses of outside linebacker Justin Durant and defensive tackle Henry Melton, as well as Murray’s defection to an NFC East foe, are substantial.
Denver Broncos: Stock Down
- TE Owen Daniels (from Ravens)
- DT Vance Walker (from Chiefs)
- G Shelley Smith (from Dolphins)
- FS Darian Stewart (from Ravens)
- TE Julius Thomas (Jaguars)
- G Orlando Franklin (Chargers)
- S Rahim Moore (Texans)
- DT Terrance Knighton (Redskins)
Unsigned Franchise Player
There’s probably no surprise when it comes to the offseason departures for the Denver Broncos. But that doesn’t mean they hurt any less.
The team apparently didn’t try hard to retain Pro Bowl tight end Julius Thomas. He had his problems staying healthy in 2014, but over the past two seasons, he’s caught 109 passes, 24 for scores, in just 27 regular-season games. Veteran Owen Daniels, who caught 48 passes (four touchdowns for the Baltimore Ravens this past season), becomes quarterback Peyton Manning’s newest target.
Bigger blows are the losses of guard Orlando Franklin and defensive tackle Terrance Knighton, and it remains to be seen if veterans Shelley Smith and Vance Walker are capable replacements. Meanwhile, veteran free safety Darian Stewart takes over in the secondary for Rahim Moore, who is now with the Houston Texans.
Detroit Lions: Neutral
- DT Haloti Ngata (Trade/Ravens)
- RB Reggie Bush (Released/49ers)
- DT Ndamukong Suh (Dolphins)
- FB Jed Collins (Cowboys)
- DT Nick Fairley (Rams)
When it was all said and done last week, the Detroit Lions put their best paw forward when it came to retaining four-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t meant to be as the disruptive force is now a member of the Miami Dolphins. The team not only lost its first pick in the 2010 draft in Suh but its first-round selection in 2011 with Nick Fairley’s departure.
Of course, the loss of the two defensive tackles is somewhat softened by the addition of five-time Pro Bowler Haloti Ngata, who came from Baltimore via trade. The Lions were first in the NFL versus the run this past season, while only three teams allowed fewer yards on the ground than the Ravens.
Green Bay Packers: Neutral
- TE Brandon Bostick (Released/Vikings)
- LB Brad Jones (Released/Eagles)
- LB A.J. Hawk (Released/Bengals)
- CB Davon House (Jaguars)
So what else is new?
The Green Bay Packers have spent the offseason doing what they primarily do: standing pat, making sure their best players don’t get away and picking up a bargain free agent along the way.
Now the bargain part has yet to happen. Meanwhile, the team cut ties with veteran linebackers Brad Jones and A.J. Hawk and backup tight end Brandon Bostick. All three found new homes fairly quickly.
Of course, the more important news was the fact that general manager Ted Thompson managed to re-sign wide receiver Randall Cobb and right tackle Bryan Bulaga to new contracts before the free-agency period began.
With Davon House leaving for Jacksonville, will the Packers still try to retain veteran cornerback Tramon Williams? And does defensive lineman B.J. Raji, who missed all of 2014, have a future with the franchise?
Houston Texans: Stock Up
- QB Brian Hoyer (from Browns)
- S Rahim Moore (from Broncos)
- C Chris Myers (Released)
- WR Andre Johnson (Released/Colts)
- QB Thaddeus Lewis (Released/Browns)
- QB Case Keenum (Trade/Rams)
- QB Ryan Fitzpatrick (Trade/Jets)
- OLB Brooks Reed (Falcons)
- FS Kendrick Lewis (Ravens)
This past season, the Houston Texans went through three different starting quarterbacks, and a fourth signal-caller saw action as well.
This offseason, Bill O’Brien and Co. hope to choose between free-agent pickup Brian Hoyer and Ryan Mallett, who was obtained in a trade from the New England Patriots a year ago and re-signed by the Texans this offseason. The hope is that the team can settle on a yearlong starter who remains efficient...and healthy.
After free safety Kendrick Lewis, the team’s top tackler this past season, signed with the Baltimore Ravens, Houston added Rahim Moore from the Denver Broncos.
However, we saved one of the best for last in the form of wide receiver Andre Johnson, who was released by the Texans. He takes his 1,012 career receptions to the division-rival Indianapolis Colts, which means he gets to face his former team at least twice in 2015.
Indianapolis Colts: Stock Up
- G Todd Herremans (from Eagles)
- OLB/DE Trent Cole (from Eagles)
- DT Kendall Langford (from Rams)
- RB Frank Gore (from 49ers)
- WR Andre Johnson (from Texans)
- S LaRon Landry (Released)
- OLB Shaun Phillips (Released)
- DT Ricky Jean-Francois (Released/Redskins)
- DE Cory Redding (Cardinals)
- S Sergio Brown (Jaguars)
- C A.Q. Shipley (Cardinals)
- RB Trent Richardson (Released)
There are some impressive new names on the roster of the Indianapolis Colts.
They added the all-time leading rusher in San Francisco 49ers history in running back Frank Gore. They also signed the league’s ninth-leading player in terms of receptions in the form of ex-Houston Texans wideout Andre Johnson.
Chuck Pagano’s team also figures to benefit from the arrival of veteran offensive lineman Todd Herremans as well as defender Trent Cole, who totaled 85.5 sacks in his 10 seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles.
But has general manager Ryan Grigson done enough so far to improve his team’s chances of getting to the Super Bowl? The Colts wisely ended the Trent Richardson experiment after two disappointing seasons, so the team could be in search of a running back as well as more defensive help.
It has certainly been a nice start for the defending AFC South champions. And 2015 doesn't figure to include wide receiver Reggie Wayne, now an unrestricted free agent who won't be re-signed by the team.
Jacksonville Jaguars: Stock Up
- WR Arrelious Benn (DNP in 2014)
- DT Jared Odrick (from Dolphins)
- T Jermey Parnell (from Cowboys)
- OLB Dan Skuta (from 49ers)
- CB Davon House (from Packers)
- TE Julius Thomas (from Broncos)
- S Sergio Brown (from Colts)
- WR/KR Bryan Walters (from Seahawks)
- CB Will Blackmon (Released/Seahawks)
- DE Red Bryant (Released)
- CB Teddy Williams (Panthers)
Since making their last playoff appearance in 2007, the Jacksonville Jaguars are a combined 34-78 the past seven seasons.
Since 2011, the club has won 14 games—three more than the AFC South champion Indianapolis Colts managed each of the last three seasons.
But the team made some strides in certain areas this past season, especially when it came to rushing the passer. And now head coach Gus Bradley and general manager David Caldwell have been busy bolstering the roster via free agency, as the Jaguars entered the new fiscal year with more money to spend than any other team in the league.
The addition of two-time Pro Bowl tight end Julius Thomas is a big plus when you consider he’s caught 24 touchdown passes the past two seasons and the Jacksonville passing game has produced just 31 scores over the same time frame. A defensive unit that ranked 27th in the NFL in yards allowed this past season will benefit from the likes of cornerback Davon House and outside linebacker Dan Skuta.
While tackle Jermey Parnell joins a team that allowed an NFL-high 71 sacks in 2014, kick returner Bryan Walters should help a club that’s longest return last season (punt or kickoff) was a mere 40 yards.
Combine this free-agent haul with the younger players on this roster and things seemed to be headed in a positive direction for a franchise that begins its third decade on the field.
Kansas City Chiefs: Stock Down
- QB Terrelle Pryor (DNP in 2014)
- SS Tyvon Branch (from Raiders)
- WR Jeremy Maclin (from Eagles)
- G Paul Fanaika (from Cardinals)
- G Ben Grubbs (Trade/Saints)
- WR A.J. Jenkins (Released)
- WR Donnie Avery (Released)
- TE Anthony Fasano (Released/Titans)
- ILB Joe Mays (Released)
- DT Vance Walker (Released/Broncos)
- WR Dwayne Bowe (Released)
- C Rodney Hudson (Raiders)
Unsigned Franchise Player
- OLB Justin Houston
Yes, the 2014 Kansas City Chiefs went an entire season without a wide receiver catching a touchdown pass.
Now the current roster just doesn’t have a lot of wide receivers. Gone are Dwayne Bowe, Donnie Avery and A.J. Jenkins, none of which has been signed by another team...yet. But the team picked up talented wideout Jeremy Maclin, who reunites with head coach Andy Reid after 85 catches, 1,318 yards and 10 touchdowns with the Philadelphia Eagles this past season.
While the additions of Maclin, two-time Pro Bowl guard Ben Grubbs and productive safety Tyvon Branch appear to be big positives, the loss of Bowe and unsung center Rodney Hudson hurts. And there won’t be much celebrating going on in Kansas City until the team gets 2014 NFL sack leader Justin Houston under contract, even if that means just signing his franchise tender.
Miami Dolphins: Stock Up
- DT Ndamukong Suh (from Lions)
- CB Brice McCain (from Steelers)
- TE Jordan Cameron (from Browns)
- WR Kenny Stills (Trade/Saints)
- WR Brian Hartline (Released/Browns)
- WR Brandon Gibson (Released/Patriots)
- CB Cortland Finnegan (Released/Retired)
- G Nate Garner (Released)
- OLB Philip Wheeler (Released)
- G Shelley Smith (Released/Broncos)
- DT Randy Starks (Released)
- DT Jared Odrick (Jaguars)
- LB Dannell Ellerbe (Trade/Saints)
- WR Mike Wallace (Trade/Vikings)
- FS Jimmy Wilson (Chargers)
Unsigned Transition Player
- TE Charles Clay
The team with the mammal on the side of its helmet landed the biggest fish in this year’s free-agent market.
It has been another busy offseason for the Miami Dolphins. And this time around, the franchise was active in disposing many players it felt weren’t worth keeping. When you look at the subtractions list for the team on this slide, you will notice that most of the names are followed by the words “released” or “traded.”
Let’s go back to the additions, which are keyed by the arrival of the talented Ndamukong Suh. The four-time Pro Bowler helped the Lions allow the second-fewest yards and third-fewest points in the league this past season. Detroit also finished first in the NFL when it came to stopping the run. In 2014, the Dolphins were just 24th in the league in that same category.
Emerging quarterback Ryan Tannehill also has a pair of new targets in tight end Jordan Cameron and wide receiver Kenny Stills. And the Dolphins have yet to re-sign Charles Clay, who was given the rarely used transition tag this year.
It’s time that this team put it all together. Miami hasn’t enjoyed a winning season since 2008, which also marks the last time it reached the playoffs.
Minnesota Vikings: Neutral
- TE Brandon Bostick (from Packers)
- QB Shaun Hill (from Rams)
- WR Mike Wallace (Trade/Dolphins)
- G Charlie Johnson (Released)
- QB Matt Cassel (Trade/Bills)
- FB Jerome Felton (Bills)
- ILB Jasper Brinkley (Cowboys)
- QB Christian Ponder (Raiders)
- WR Greg Jennings (Released)
You know that Minnesota Vikings general manager Rick Spielman is getting ready to knock it out of the park in roughly six weeks in the NFL draft.
Meanwhile, the team has somewhat stood pat this offseason so far when it comes to obtaining players, with the exception of trading for wide receiver Mike Wallace. The Vikings did lose linebacker Jasper Brinkley to the Dallas Cowboys and decided to release wide receiver Greg Jennings after just two seasons with the club.
Of course, any discussion about the franchise this upcoming season is incomplete without knowing the fate of running back Adrian Peterson and who he may be playing football for in the not-too-distant future.
New England Patriots: Stock Down
- WR Brandon Gibson (from Dolphins)
- DE/OLB Jabaal Sheard (from Browns)
- TE Scott Chandler (from Bills)
- RB Shane Vereen (Giants)
- CB Darrelle Revis (Jets)
- CB Brandon Browner (Saints)
- OLB Akeem Ayers (Rams)
- DT Vince Wilfork (Released)
The New England Patriots have reached the Super Bowl six times in the past 14 seasons and come off winning their fourth title thanks to a 28-24 conquest of the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX.
Now they’re in trouble...again.
All kidding aside, the team has lost three prominent members in versatile running back Shane Vereen and standout cornerbacks Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner. Even Akeem Ayers managed four sacks in his brief tenure in Foxborough.
The Pats did add a pair of AFC East castoffs in wideout Brandon Gibson and tight end Scott Chandler, while Jabaal Sheard should bolster the defense in many ways. And the club did retain place-kicker Stephen Gostkowski, who agreed to sign his franchise tag tender.
So one week into the free-agency period, the Pats stock is down.
So what's the big deal? As we all know, it will be way up by the time December rolls around.
New Orleans Saints: Stock Down
- S Kenny Phillips (DNP in 2014)
- C Max Unger (Trade/Seahawks)
- CB Brandon Browner (from Patriots)
- RB C.J. Spiller (from Bills)
- LB Dannell Ellerbe (Trade/Dolphins)
- RB Pierre Thomas (Released)
- ILB Curtis Lofton (Released/Raiders)
- TE Jimmy Graham (Trade/Seahawks)
- G Ben Grubbs (Trade/Chiefs)
- WR Kenny Stills (Trade/Dolphins)
- CB Corey White (Released/Cowboys)
There’s no truth to the rumor that New Orleans is willing to trade gumbo to the Philadelphia Eagles for cheesesteaks.
The Saints have certainly been busy unloading some of their better players, as the salary cap has been hard to manage in the Big Easy.
Gone are current and former Pro Bowlers such as tight end Jimmy Graham and Ben Grubbs. The club also dealt improving wide receiver Kenny Still to the Miami Dolphins for some much-needed defensive help in linebacker Dannell Ellerbe. And New Orleans will miss productive veterans such as running back Pierre Thomas and inside linebacker Curtis Lofton.
Additions such as center Max Unger and speedy running back C.J. Spiller should help, but both missed substantial time this past season due to injuries.
Meanwhile, the signing of cornerback Brandon Browner gives the disappointing defense a little moxie.
New York Giants: Stock Up
- RB Shane Vereen (from Patriots)
- WR/KR Dwayne Harris (from Cowboys)
- T Marshall Newhouse (from Bengals)
- OLB Jonathan Casillas (from Buccaneers)
- DE Mathias Kiwanuka (Released)
- RB Peyton Hillis (Released)
- RB David Wilson (Released/Retired)
- C J.D. Walton (Released)
- CB Walter Thurmond (Eagles)
- SS Antrel Rolle (Bears)
Unsigned Franchise Player
- DE Jason Pierre-Paul
In recent seasons, the New York Giants have been a lot more active during the free-agency period than ever.
And while the team hasn’t broken the bank for this year’s pickups, all make sense as New York looks to get back to the playoffs for the first time since winning Super Bowl XLVI in 2011.
Running back Shane Vereen provides depth out of the backfield and also gives quarterback Eli Manning another reliable target. Wide receiver Dwayne Harris can be a deep threat but is much more valuable on kick returns and can help the offense improve its field position.
The team’s departures are far from surprising, although the loss of strong safety Antrel Rolle will be felt. The Giants’ next big move may be signing defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul to a long-term contact.
New York Jets: Stock Up
- CB Curtis Brown (DNP in 2014)
- WR Brandon Marshall (Trade/Bears)
- QB Ryan Fitzpatrick (Trade/Texans)
- CB Darrelle Revis (from Patriots)
- G James Carpenter (from Seahawks)
- CB Buster Skrine (from Browns)
- CB Antonio Cromartie (from Cardinals)
- SS Marcus Gilchrist (from Chargers)
- WR Percy Harvin (Released/Bills)
- CB Phillip Adams (Falcons)
Are things finally looking up for a New York Jets team that fell completely apart this past season and finished with its fewest wins since going 4-12 in 2007?
It’s not for a lack of trying on the part of new general manager Mike Maccagnan and new head coach Todd Bowles. The team’s two biggest shortcomings this past season were the erratic play at quarterback and the lack of talent at cornerback.
The Jets obtained veteran signal-caller Ryan Fitzpatrick to challenge two-year pro Geno Smith. Whoever is running the offense now has a productive weapon in wideout Brandon Marshall.
In the secondary, one-time Jets Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie return to the green and white, while the team also added cornerback Buster Skrine. This was a defensive unit that in 2014 gave up 31 touchdown passes and totaled a mere six interceptions.
Oakland Raiders: Stock Up
- ILB Curtis Lofton (from Saints)
- DT Dan Williams (from Cardinals)
- TE Lee Smith (from Bills)
- OLB Malcolm Smith (from Seahawks)
- RB Roy Helu (from Redskins)
- C Rodney Hudson (from Chiefs)
- SS Nate Allen (from Eagles)
- CB James Dockery (from Panthers)
- QB Christian Ponder (from Vikings)
- SS Tyvon Branch (Released/Chiefs)
- OLB/DE LaMarr Woodley (Released/Cardinals)
- RB Maurice Jones-Drew (Retired)
- LB Nick Roach (Released)
- S Usama Young (Released)
- RB Darren McFadden (Cowboys)
Is it little wonder that the Oakland Raiders have managed a 56-136 record dating back to 2003 and haven’t enjoyed a winning seasons since 2002?
That’s because the team continues to make the same mistakes over and over again. Over the last two offseasons, general manager Reggie McKenzie has given money to veteran defenders who may have not had much left in the tank. In 2014, the Raiders came up with only 22 sacks and forced a paltry 14 turnovers in 16 games.
Now the team has added some younger options on the defensive side of the ball in defensive tackle Dan Williams, outside linebacker Malcolm Smith and strong safety Nate Allen.
But the biggest addition may be the signing of underrated center Rodney Hudson, who hopes to help an Oakland ground attack that finished dead last in the NFL this past season.
Philadelphia Eagles: Stock Up
- ILB Kiko Alonso (Trade/Bills)
- QB Sam Bradford (Trade/Rams)
- RB Ryan Mathews (from Chargers)
- CB Walter Thurmond (from Giants)
- CB Byron Maxwell (from Seahawks)
- RB DeMarco Murray (from Cowboys)
- TE James Casey (Released)
- G Todd Herremans (Released/Colts)
- CB Cary Williams (Released/Seahawks)
- OLB Trent Cole (Released/Colts)
- RB LeSean McCoy (Trade/Bills)
- QB Nick Foles (Trade/Rams)
- WR Jeremy Maclin (Chiefs)
- SS Nate Allen (Raiders)
A lot of people have been saying “oh brother” in the City of Brotherly Love.
The Philadelphia Eagles’ highly passionate fanbase has watched Eagles head honcho Chip Kelly make his share of interesting moves this offseason.
What happens when you trade away the league’s rushing yardage leader in 2013? You go out and get the NFL’s most productive runner this past season. With LeSean McCoy shuffled off to Buffalo, the Birds signed DeMarco Murray away from the division-rival Dallas Cowboys. For good measure, they also added running back Ryan Mathews.
Along with incumbent Darren Sproles, Philadelphia has quite the trio in the backfield.
You knew there would be changes in the defensive backfield as cornerback Cary Williams was let go and Bradley Fletcher isn’t expected to be re-signed. The Eagles add a big prize in Byron Maxwell and also grabbed Walter Thurmond; the two were one-time teammates in Seattle.
Finally, there’s the deal that brought Sam Bradford to Philadelphia. Is he really the team’s starting quarterback in 2015 or part of a bigger plan to add another former Oregon Duck to the nest?
Kelly is fashioning this team the way he wants to and may just be getting warmed up when it comes to all the right moves.
Pittsburgh Steelers: Neutral
- RB DeAngelo Williams (from Panthers)
- WR Lance Moore (Released)
- DE Brett Kiesel (Released)
- OLB Jason Worilds (Retired UFA)
- CB Brice McCain (Dolphins)
Last offseason, the Pittsburgh Steelers were busier than usual during free agency as they blended a little free-agent experience with some of their younger players. It took a while, but Mike Tomlin’s club closed strong and won the AFC North.
We are less than a week into the 2015 free-agent period, and the team has made two moves worth noting. The addition of running back DeAngelo Williams gives Le’Veon Bell a new playmate in the backfield.
More significantly, the Steelers announced they had re-upped quarterback Ben Roethlisberger to a new contract. NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport has the details on a deal he reported was for five years and $99 million.
Other than that, it’s been fairly quiet in the Steel City.
At least for now...
St. Louis Rams: Stock Up
- QB Nick Foles (Trade/ Eagles)
- QB Case Keenum (Trade/Texans)
- OLB Akeem Ayers (from Patriots)
- DT Nick Fairley (from Lions)
- DT Kendall Langford (Released/Colts)
- T Jake Long (Released)
- C Scott Wells (Released)
- QB Sam Bradford (Trade/Eagles)
- QB Shaun Hill (Vikings)
The Sam Bradford era is now officially over in St. Louis (unless Chip Kelly opts to trade him back to the Rams).
All kidding aside, general manager Les Snead and head coach Jeff Fisher have two new quarterbacks on the roster via trade in Nick Foles (Philadelphia Eagles) and Case Keenum (Houston Texans).
Although Foles saw his 2014 season cut short with a broken collarbone, the former Pro Bowler could provide the stability at quarterback the team has lacked for a number of years.
Meanwhile, the free-agent addition of defensive tackle Nick Fairley is certainly notable considering the team now has five defensive linemen—Chris Long (2008), Robert Quinn (2011), Michael Brockers (2012), Aaron Donald (2014) and Fairley (2011)—who were selected in the first round.
San Diego Chargers: Neutral
- WR Austin Pettis (Played with Rams in 2014)
- WR/KR Jacoby Jones (from Ravens)
- G Orlando Franklin (from Broncos)
- FS Jimmy Wilson (from Dolphins)
- T Jeromey Clary (Retired UFA)
- C Nick Hardwick (Retired UFA)
- OLB Jarret Johnson (Retired)
- G Chad Rinehart (Released)
- RB Ryan Mathews (Eagles)
- WR Eddie Royal (Bears)
- SS Marcus Gilchrist (Jets)
- CB Shareece Wright (49ers)
- LB Andrew Gachkar (Cowboys)
Based on math alone, it appears the San Diego Chargers have lost far more than they gained.
Then again, keep in mind that tackle Jeromey Clary, center Nick Hardwick and outside linebacker Jarret Johnson all retired, while guard Chad Rinehart was cut. Former first-round running back Ryan Mathews has been plagued by injuries on and off but was effective when healthy. And both strong safety Marcus Gilchrist and cornerback Shareece Wright come off subpar seasons.
While the addition of Jacoby Jones offsets the loss of wide receiver Eddie Royal, the Bolts also get one of the better return artists in the league. And according to Pro Football Focus, Orlando Franklin graded out as the 14th-best guard in the NFL in 2014.
San Francisco 49ers: Stock Down
- DT Darnell Dockett (from Cardinals)
- WR Jerome Simpson (DNP in 2014)
- WR Torrey Smith (from Ravens)
- RB Reggie Bush (from Lions)
- G Erik Pears (from Bills)
- CB Shareece Wright (from Chargers)
- ILB Patrick Willis (Retired)
- WR Stevie Johnson (Released)
- RB Frank Gore (Colts)
- G Mike Iupati (Cardinals)
- OLB Dan Skuta (Jaguars)
- CB Chris Culliver (Redskins)
- CB Perrish Cox (Titans)
- ILB Chris Borland (Retired)
Where to start?
There’s a new head coach in San Francisco in the form of Jim Tomsula. The 49ers also have new coordinators in Geep Chryst (offense) and Eric Mangini (defense).
And a lot of familiar faces on both side of the football are gone as well. The franchise’s all-time rushing leader, Frank Gore, and perennial Pro Bowlers such as linebacker Patrick Willis and defensive tackle Justin Smith have either moved, retired or are contemplating leaving the game. Three-time Pro Bowl guard Mike Iupati signed with the rival Arizona Cardinals, and starting cornerbacks Chris Culliver and Perrish Cox are also now with other clubs.
In addition, budding inside linebacker Chris Borland, who would have gone a long way toward filling the void left by Willis, announced his retirement from football via ESPN's Outside the Lines Monday. He cited concerns about the long-term effects of head trauma. The 24-year-old's departure leaves yet another massive hole for the 49ers to fill this offseason.
The positive includes the addition of wide receiver Torrey Smith as well as defensive tackle Darnell Dockett and running back Reggie Bush—so long as the last two players can stay healthy. And does unsigned wide receiver Michael Crabtree still have a future in San Francisco?
Seattle Seahawks: Neutral
- CB Will Blackmon (from Jaguars)
- CB Cary Williams (from Eagles)
- TE Jimmy Graham (Trade/Saints)
- TE Zach Miller (Released)
- C Max Unger (Traded to Saints)
- CB Byron Maxwell (Eagles)
- G James Carpenter (Jets)
- OLB Malcolm Smith (Raiders)
- DE/OLB O’Brien Schofield (Falcons)
- WR/KR Bryan Walters (Jaguars)
It may look somewhat worse than it is.
The two-time defending NFC champions Seattle Seahawks are now minus a terrific cornerback in Byron Maxwell, and two-time Pro Bowl center Max Unger is gone as well. Of course, the latter player was part of a deal that brought prolific tight end Jimmy Graham to the Pacific Northwest.
Most of the team’s other departures were not starters, although that wasn’t the case with left guard James Carpenter. Seattle’s offensive line will have a different look to it in 2015. And although he was the MVP of Super Bowl XLVIII less than two years ago, Malcolm Smith was no longer a regular in Seattle’s defensive lineup.
Meanwhile, cornerback Cary Williams’ style should fit right in with the “Legion of Boom.” And as far as any other holes to fill, give Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider some time.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Stock Up
- S M.D. Jennings (DNP in 2014)
- OLB Bruce Carter (from Cowboys)
- DT Henry Melton (from Cowboys)
- FS Chris Conte (from Bears)
- QB Josh McCown (Released/Browns)
- T Anthony Collins (Released)
- DE Michael Johnson (Released/Bengals)
- DE Adrian Clayborn (Falcons)
- OLB Jonathan Casillas (Giants)
Compared to last offseason, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have done nothing in 2015 to date.
Of course, that’s not true. They booted three of their prized free-agent pickups from a year ago. Quarterback Josh McCown and defensive end Michael Johnson have already found new homes, while tackle Anthony Collins hopes to find employment soon. Former first-round defensive end Adrian Clayborn also never lived up to billing even when he was healthy.
So how is the team’s stock up? Tampa Bay parted ways with players who simply didn’t perform well, and rather than hold onto them, the team cut its losses. Now head coach Lovie Smith is hoping that a pair of his one-time Chicago Bears in defensive tackle Henry Melton and safety Chris Conte deliver in a big way.
Tennessee Titans: Stock Up
- DE Jonathan Massaquoi (from Falcons)
- WR Harry Douglas (from Falcons)
- FS Da’Norris Searcy (from Bills)
- OLB Brian Orakpo (from Redskins)
- TE Anthony Fasano (from Chiefs)
- CB Perrish Cox (from 49ers)
- T Michael Oher (Released/Panthers)
- T Michael Roos (Retired UFA)
- S Bernard Pollard (Released)
- QB Jake Locker (Retired UFA)
The Tennessee Titans haven’t been to the playoffs since 2008 and these days appear to be getting further away from the postseason than closer to it.
Quarterback Jake Locker’s decision to retire from football really had no bearing on the team’s upcoming season because it appeared it was not going to re-sign the four-year pro.
Instead, the Titans have addressed nearly every aspect of their team.
If three-time Pro Bowler Brian Orakpo remains healthy, he can team with fellow outside linebacker Derrick Morgan (recently re-signed) to give defensive coordinator Ray Horton and assistant head coach Dick LeBeau an effective set of pass-rushing bookends.
Wideout Harry Douglas can also help on special teams, while safety Da’Norris Searcy and cornerback Perrish Cox come off solid years with the Bills and Niners, respectively. Things could finally be looking up in Nashville.
Washington Redskins: Neutral
- DT Ricky Jean-Francois (from Colts)
- DT Stephen Paea (from Bears)
- DT Terrance Knighton (from Broncos)
- CB Chris Culliver (from 49ers)
- FS Ryan Clark (Retired UFA)
- DT Barry Cofield Jr. (Released)
- DE Stephen Bowen (Released)
- RB Roy Helu (Raiders)
- WR Leonard Hankerson (Falcons)
- OLB Brian Orakpo (Titans)
While quarterback Robert Griffin III and the Washington Redskins offense have taken most of the heat the last two seasons, the defense has been an issue longer than that. It will be up to new coordinator Joe Barry to fix what has been ailing this unit for years. The Redskins have given up an astounding 98 offensive touchdowns the last two seasons combined.
The team loaded up on defensive tackles with the addition of Indianapolis castoff Ricky Jean-Francois and unrestricted free agents Stephen Paea and Terrance Knighton. Washington parted ways with Barry Cofield Jr. and Stephen Bowen before the start of free agency. Call it a push.
Meanwhile, the real plus here could be cornerback Chris Culliver, who comes off an excellent year for the disappointing San Francisco 49ers.
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