Pass/Fail Grades for All 32 Teams' Free-Agency Performances so FarMarch 30, 2015
Pass/Fail Grades for All 32 Teams' Free-Agency Performances so Far
Since the NFL's free-agent period opened three weeks ago, we've seen a dramatic change in the league's landscape—with some teams outperforming others and putting themselves in a better position to win.
Now we'll explore how the teams have done in free agency and assign them each a grade of either pass or fail. We came to this conclusion for a variety of reasons—none more important than if the team is better than it was at the end of the 2014 season. We also included factors such as quality of players signed, if their own important free agents stayed and how many good players defected.
Here are pass/fail grades for all 32 teams' 2015 NFL free-agency performances so far.
Arizona Cardinals: PASS
The Arizona Cardinals are within striking distance of truly competing for a Super Bowl championship, and the team has taken strides this offseason toward making that goal a reality.
General manager Steve Keim was able to restructure the contract of star receiver Larry Fitzgerald, and the 31-year-old pass-catcher should now complete his Hall of Fame career in the desert. Keeping Fitzgerald in the fold was a wise move; while he's not the player he once was, he's still capable of getting the job done.
The club brought in guard Mike Iupati (signed away from division-rival San Francisco) and linebackers Sean Weatherspoon and LaMarr Woodley. Iupati should instantly amplify the team's 31st-ranked rushing attack, and Weatherspoon and Woodley provide playmaking ability at linebacker.
They did lose longtime defensive tackle Darnell Dockett (released and signed with San Francisco), his battery-mate Dan Williams and cornerback Antonio Cromartie, but the club should be able to overcome those losses.
Right now, the Cardinals offseason gets a slight pass. But if they can acquire a game-changing running back in either the draft (Todd Gurley?) or via trade (Adrian Peterson?), it will skyrocket to an unreserved pass.
Atlanta Falcons: PASS
The Atlanta Falcons have a new coach in Dan Quinn, and he and general manager Thomas Dimitroff are attempting to get the Dirty Birds back to the postseason after a two-year hiatus.
In that search, the club imported a number of free agents to Hotlanta: pass-rushing linebacker Brooks Reed, defensive end Adrian Clayborn and tight end Jacob Tamme among them. Tamme should provide quarterback Matt Ryan with a reliable target over the middle, while Reed and Clayborn will be counted on to provide much-needed pass-rushing oomph.
Dimitroff also re-signed running back Antone Smith, who is a threat to score every time he touches the ball, as well as safety Charles Godfrey.
The Falcons most notably lost receiver Harry Douglas and linebacker Sean Weatherspoon, but those aren't earth-shattering defections.
In the end, the Falcons improved the pass rush, which needed to be their modus operandi, so they earn a passing grade for now.
Baltimore Ravens: FAIL
The Baltimore Ravens' 2014 season ended in heartbreaking fashion at the hands of the eventual Super Bowl champion Patriots—and it doesn't currently appear that the team is better than it was on that fateful Saturday in January.
Gone is star receiver Torrey Smith, as he signed a big-money deal with the 49ers. General manager Ozzie Newsome also traded Pro Bowl defensive tackle Haloti Ngata to the Lions for fourth- and fifth-round picks in this year's draft. While Ngata is entering the final year of his contract and Newsome's track record is nearly impeccable, it's hard to imagine the defense not being a tick worse without Ngata manning the middle.
Pass-rushing linebacker Pernell McPhee went to Chicago, and the Ravens' only positive activity of note was re-signing running back Justin Forsett and defensive tackle Chris Canty. Keeping Forsett was important but not enough to earn Baltimore a passing grade.
Newsome still has the draft to improve his squad, but as of right now, the Ravens have earned a failing grade.
Buffalo Bills: PASS
Once the Buffalo Bills hired Rex Ryan to be their new head coach, you just knew the days of having quiet offseasons in lovely Western New York were over.
And Ryan hasn't disappointed in his first few months on the job, as the Bills made a gigantic splash, trading linebacker Kiko Alonso for Eagles running back LeSean McCoy in a true stunner. McCoy is a nice fit in Ryan's ground-and-pound offensive philosophy, and it can be reasoned that Ryan's defense can operate at a high level of efficiency without Alonso.
Re-signing defensive end Jerry Hughes—who compiled 20 sacks (10 each in 2013 and 2014) over the past two seasons—was a major transaction. And although the club overpaid for tight end Charles Clay (five years, $38 million with $24.5 million guaranteed), he should instantly improve the passing attack. Mercurial wide receiver Percy Harvin also came in on a one-year, low-risk deal.
The Bills lost a few players, notably running back C.J. Spiller and tight end Scott Chandler, but the club is definitely better now than at last season's end.
Carolina Panthers: FAIL
Despite winning back-to-back NFC South championships, the Carolina Panthers have a number of roster holes to fill—and they definitely haven't filled them just yet.
Resourceful general manager Dave Gettleman likely has some tricks up his sleeve, but trying to improve the team's pass protection by signing tackle Michael Oher isn't going to do the trick. Bringing back wide receiver and kick returner Ted Ginn Jr. is nice, but it isn't going to move the meter.
Meanwhile, longtime running back DeAngelo Williams was released and signed with Pittsburgh, and defensive end Greg Hardy is now a Dallas Cowboy. While it's hard to criticize Gettleman for letting go of Hardy—who was limited to one game last season due to charges stemming from a domestic violence case—Hardy is definitely a major talent who can get after the opposing quarterback.
Gettleman needs to do more over the rest of the offseason to raise his team to a Super Bowl caliber. While he still might do so, it hasn't happened just yet.
Chicago Bears: FAIL
The Chicago Bears have a new coach (John Fox) and general manager (Ryan Pace)—but unfortunately for them, the quarterback (Jay Cutler) remains the same, so it's hard to issue them a passing grade.
Cutler is the albatross slung around the franchise's neck, with his bloated contract and atrocious body language weighing down the entire operation. It's hard to criticize Fox and Pace for being unable to jettison Cutler from the roster, but finding a way to do so would have been a significant boon.
They also dealt star receiver Brandon Marshall to the Jets for a fifth-round pick in this year's draft. While the deal wasn't atrocious in that the Bears are building for the future, losing a player of Marshall's ability is never a good thing.
Linebacker Pernell McPhee was brought in to improve the pass rush, and other notable acquisitions include receiver Eddie Royal, defensive end Ray McDonald and safety Antrel Rolle. Cornerback Charles Tillman, linebacker Lance Briggs and center Brian de la Puente remain unsigned.
The Bears might be in good hands for the future, but the team earns a failing grade thus far.
Cincinnati Bengals: PASS
It's been a fairly quiet offseason for the Cincinnati Bengals, and that's not necessarily a bad thing for a team that has made the playoffs for four consecutive years.
The club brought in former Packers inside linebacker A.J. Hawk, defensive tackle Pat Sims and defensive end Michael Johnson—the latter of whom spent a disastrous 2014 season in Tampa Bay before returning to the Queen City, where he played from 2009-2013.
Gone are cornerback Terence Newman and safety Taylor Mays, but neither loss is of the catastrophic variety.
The (re)addition of Johnson on the defensive line gives Cincinnati a passing grade.
Cleveland Browns: FAIL
To say it hasn't been a great offseason for the Cleveland Browns would be like saying it hasn't been a great season for the New York Knicks.
While coach Mike Pettine and general manager Ray Farmer can't be blamed for the yearlong suspension of receiver Josh Gordon and the rehab stint of quarterback Johnny Manziel, those events still hurt the club and must be taken into account in the overall grade.
Farmer signed receivers Dwayne Bowe and Brian Hartline to improve the corps, but neither brings a ton of speed, and that's what the offense desperately needs. However, cornerback Tramon Williams and defensive tackle Randy Starks represented excellent value signings.
A number of quality players have signed elsewhere, though: quarterback Brian Hoyer (Houston), linebacker Jabaal Sheard (New England), cornerback Buster Skrine (NY Jets) and tight end Jordan Cameron (Miami) among them. The Browns are surely a worse team now than at the start of the free-agent period.
Dallas Cowboys: FAIL
The Dallas Cowboys entered the new league year with two big-name free agents: receiver Dez Bryant and running back DeMarco Murray.
Owner Jerry Jones brought back Bryant with the franchise tag, which was the right move—of the two (Bryant and Murray), Bryant is the more valuable player. But there can be no denying that Jones and the Cowboys made a Texas-sized bungle allowing Murray to sign with the rival Eagles.
Murray's defection leaves a major hole in Dallas' run game, as there's no way the pu pu platter of Darren McFadden, Joseph Randle and Lance Dunbar can replace him. While it's possible Jones will make a splashy play in the draft (Melvin Gordon?) or via trade (Adrian Peterson?), that position—once one of strength—looms as a disaster.
Bringing in defensive end Greg Hardy—off-field issues notwithstanding—was a phenomenal move, and if he can provide pass-rushing oomph, the Cowboys could once again compete for a Super Bowl title. But losing Murray means the free-agent period must be currently counted as a failure in Big D.
Denver Broncos: PASS
Regardless of whichever players the Denver Broncos signed or lost in free agency, the whole rigmarole must be considered a success. And that's for one reason and one reason only: Quarterback Peyton Manning is returning to the team for a fourth season in the Mile High City.
As we've witnessed throughout his glorious 17-year career, Manning can mask quite a few roster deficiencies, and he's the difference between a legitimate Super Bowl contender and a potential last-place team in the AFC West.
The Broncos brought in tight end Owen Daniels to rejoin new head coach Gary Kubiak, but they lost tight end Julius Thomas, guard Orlando Franklin, defensive tackle Terrance Knighton and safety Rahim Moore. Those are talented players to lose, but general manager John Elway has assembled a talented roster that can overcome those defections.
And, as we've already stated, it all starts and ends with Manning. Since he's back, the Broncos earn a passing grade.
Detroit Lions: FAIL
Much like for the Broncos, the success (or failure) of the Detroit Lions' free-agent period was predicated on the decision of one player: star defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh.
Unfortunately for Lions fans, things didn't turn out rosy like they did in Denver, as Suh took his talents to South Beach and signed a massive contract with the Miami Dolphins.
The loss of Suh cannot be overstated. He's one of the best players in the league, regardless of position, and his defection leaves a major void in the middle of Detroit's defense. Not even the acquisition of defensive tackle Haloti Ngata from Baltimore (Detroit gave up fourth- and fifth-round picks in this year's draft, which was fair compensation) can come close to replacing Suh.
Suh's battery-mate, Nick Fairley, also left town, signing a deal with the Rams. Those transactions make the Lions easy losers for the free-agent period.
Green Bay Packers: PASS
As usual, Green Bay Packers general manager Ted Thompson put his brilliance on display for the NFL world to behold when free agency started.
In what can only be called a masterstroke, Thompson was able to re-sign both receiver Randall Cobb and tackle Bryan Bulaga. At the start of the new league year, it was assumed that the team would lose one—if not both. Instead, each will play a critical role as the Packers make another Super Bowl run in 2015.
The team did lose inside linebacker A.J. Hawk and cornerback Tramon Williams, and both of those positions loom as ones of need in the upcoming draft. But Thompson has certainly earned the benefit of the doubt in terms of his player evaluation, so the Packers are in good hands.
The re-signing of Cobb and Bulaga makes the Packers easy winners of the free-agency period.
Houston Texans: PASS
The Houston Texans just missed out on the postseason in 2014, but their offseason thus far could push them there in 2015.
Coach Bill O'Brien and general manager Rick Smith needed an upgrade at the quarterback position, and they got just that when the signed Brian Hoyer away from Cleveland. While Hoyer isn't the long-term answer, he's definitely better than last year's starter, Ryan Fitzpatrick. Ryan Mallett was also brought back to provide depth at the position, and he has definite upside.
Bringing back cornerback Kareem Jackson was a wise move, and notable imports include safety Rahim Moore, wide receiver Cecil Shorts and defensive tackle Vince Wilfork, the latter of whom brings a championship pedigree to H-Town.
The loss of receiver Andre Johnson—the best player in franchise history—to division-rival Indianapolis hurts, but the other moves Houston has made earn it a passing grade.
Indianapolis Colts: PASS
The Indianapolis Colts' season ended in blowout fashion at the hands of the eventual Super Bowl champion Patriots, and it showed that the divide between the two teams was starker than originally perceived.
So give general manager Ryan Grigson credit for recognizing that fact and aggressively seeking to upgrade his team to challenge New England for AFC supremacy in 2015.
Grigson brought in receiver Andre Johnson and running back Frank Gore, and both will instantly elevate Indianapolis' already-potent offense. Pass-rusher Trent Cole can get after the opposing quarterback, and defensive tackle Kendall Langford, linebacker Nate Irving and guard Todd Herremans all improve the 53-man roster.
Plus, the team cut ties with underachieving running back Trent Richardson, and we'd argue that counts as addition by subtraction.
Jacksonville Jaguars: PASS
Jacksonville Jaguars coach Gus Bradley and general manager David Caldwell are entering Year 3 of their regime—and only have seven wins over their first two seasons to show for it. To say this is a must-win season in Duval County would be an understatement.
So give Bradley and Caldwell credit for improving the 53-man roster in free agency, adding tight end Julius Thomas, defensive tackle Jared Odrick, tackle Jeremy Parnell, linebacker Dan Skuta and safety Sergio Brown. Thomas is an elite player who should provide quarterback Blake Bortles with a major red-zone target.
The Jaguars may not have reeled in any of the top players on the market, but the overall roster depth has absolutely improved, and that earns them a passing grade.
Kansas City Chiefs: PASS
As you might have heard once or twice (or 50 million times), a wide receiver didn't catch a single touchdown reception in 2014 for the Kansas City Chiefs.
So the Chiefs do deserve credit for bringing in speedy wideout Jeremy Maclin from Philadelphia—even though they overpaid (five years, $55 million) for him. Maclin hauled in 85 receptions for 1,318 yards and 10 touchdown catches last year and will instantly upgrade Kansas City's passing attack.
While receiver Dwayne Bowe and center Rodney Hudson are now ex-Chiefs, the signing of Maclin is enough to give Kansas City a passing grade.
Miami Dolphins: PASS
Any time you can sign one of the best three free agents in the history of the NFL, you earn a passing grade. The Miami Dolphins did just that.
Along with Reggie White (1993) and Peyton Manning (2012), Ndamukong Suh completed the holy trinity of free agents, and his decision to go to Miami could have a major impact on the AFC playoff picture. Suh is a monster in the middle of a defense and should cause sleepless nights for quarterbacks around the AFC.
New Dolphins Executive Vice President of Football Operations Mike Tannenbaum has done a great job cleaning up mistakes from deposed general manager Jeff Ireland, headlined by his trade of underachieving (and overpaid) receiver Mike Wallace (along with a seventh-round pick) for a fifth-round pick in this year's draft. Trading for Saints receiver Kenny Stills was an underrated move that should pay immediate dividends.
The Dolphins also brought in tight end Jordan Cameron and re-signed backup quarterback Matt Moore, putting a bow on what's been a terrific offseason in Miami. They earn a clear passing grade for their efforts.
Minnesota Vikings: PASS
The Minnesota Vikings have a bright future ahead of them with Mike Zimmer at coach, Rick Spielman at general manager and Teddy Bridgewater at quarterback.
But until the uncertainty surrounding running back Adrian Peterson's status is resolved, it's difficult to assign a definite pass or fail to the Vikings.
While Zimmer recently insisted Peterson isn't available for trade, according to Kevin Seifert of ESPN.com, Peterson's agent has also said the Vikings "aren't right" for Peterson. It's unclear where Peterson will play in 2015.
The Vikings signed Shaun Hill to be Bridgewater's backup, and cornerback Terrence Newman and safety Taylor Mays were brought in to bolster the secondary. While the ultimate verdict will come down to what happens with Peterson, the Vikings have done well enough to earn a passing grade for now.
New England Patriots: PASS
Before you go nuts for me assigning the New England Patriots a passing grade, take a gander at the man pictured above: His name is Bill Belichick—also known as the finest coach in the NFL—and he's raising his fourth Lombardi Trophy, won last month.
Yes, the Patriots lost cornerback Darrelle Revis to the rival Jets. But Belichick was never going to offer Revis the $39 million in guaranteed money Gang Green bestowed on him. And yes, the Patriots cut defensive tackle Vince Wilfork, who is one of the best players in franchise history. But name one player Belichick has cut ties with who got better upon leaving Foxborough.
Re-signing star safety Devin McCourty was brilliant, and linebacker Jabaal Sheard should add pass-rushing oomph.
The bottom line is the Patriots remain the favorites to once again represent the AFC in the Super Bowl. That earns them a passing grade.
New Orleans Saints: FAIL
A little over five calendar years ago, the New Orleans Saints raised the franchise's first Lombardi Trophy. Those days are now squarely in the rearview mirror.
After years of salary-cap mismanagement, the Saints began to pay the piper, and the bloodletting began with shipping off star tight end Jimmy Graham to the Seahawks (in addition to a fourth-round pick) in exchange for center Max Unger and a first-round pick.
Then they traded receiver Kenny Stills to the Dolphins and watched as reliable linebacker Curtis Lofton signed in Oakland. Not good.
While re-signing running back Mark Ingram and bringing in cornerback Brandon Browner and speedy back C.J. Spiller all qualify as positive moves, the Saints remain in a world of financial hurt, and losing Graham makes this an easy call for a failing grade.
New York Giants: PASS
The New York Giants have now missed the postseason for three consecutive years after winning Super Bowl XLVI, but a spate of free-agent moves has them on the precipice of returning to the playoffs.
The signing of running back Shane Vereen was vital, as quarterback Eli Manning desperately needed a security blanket out of the backfield on third downs. Vereen is an elite pass-catching back and possesses a skill set not shared by battery-mates Rashad Jennings and Andre Williams, who profile more as physical thumpers.
While general manager Jerry Reese overpaid for special teams ace Dwayne Harris, he should upgrade the return game. Defensive end George Selvie, linebackers J.T. Thomas and Jonathan Casillas will also help.
Gone are safety Antrel Rolle and cornerback Walter Thurmond, but the Giants can survive those losses. It's been a positive free-agent period for Big Blue.
New York Jets: PASS
The New York Jets have hit a grand slam in free agency. There's no other way to put it.
Although they shelled out massive money to bring cornerback Darrelle Revis back to Broadway, it was the right decision. Revis is still an elite player and should be one for the majority of his five-year deal. It was an excellent signing by new general manager Mike Maccagnan.
Maccagnan also signed two other cornerbacks, Antonio Cromartie and Buster Skrine, morphing a position of weakness into one of strength. Also brought in were guard James Carpenter and safety Marcus Gilchrist.
Thanks to these signings, the Jets earn a big-time passing grade for the free-agency period.
Oakland Raiders: PASS
While it's true that the Oakland Raiders failed in their pursuit of defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh and receiver Randall Cobb, it's also true that they greatly improved their roster.
Beleaguered general manager Reggie McKenzie made a series of great signings, including linebacker Curtis Lofton, center Rodney Hudson, running back Roy Helu, defensive tackle Dan Williams and former Super Bowl MVP Malcolm Smith (linebacker). And running back Trent Richardson represents a low-risk, high-reward transaction (seriously).
The Raiders aren't going to win the Super Bowl next year, but for the first time in a long time, the future is bright for the Silver and Black. It's been a very successful free-agency period for McKenzie and new head coach Jack Del Rio.
Philadelphia Eagles: PASS
Philadelphia Eagles coach Chip Kelly has become the most interesting man in sports. He doesn't always talk to the media, but when he does, everyone stops what they're doing and listens.
Kelly's trade for Rams quarterback Sam Bradford (dealing a second-round pick in 2016 and quarterback Nick Foles to get him) was questionable, but the rest of Kelly's moves were brilliant. Running back LeSean McCoy didn't have a great season last year, and Kelly was able to get a quality young linebacker, Kiko Alonso, for him.
Kelly then replaced McCoy with both DeMarco Murray and Ryan Mathews, so the run game shouldn't miss a beat. Cornerbacks Byron Maxwell and Walter Thurmond were signed to improve the secondary, and re-signing linebacker Brandon Graham was important. And while Mark Sanchez is often criticized, he's a very viable backup quarterback.
The Eagles did lose receiver Jeremy Maclin and defensive end Trent Cole (among others), but on the whole, they're a better team now than they were at season's end. And that's a credit to the incredibly interesting Kelly, who doesn't care what you or anyone else thinks.
Pittsburgh Steelers: PASS
The Pittsburgh Steelers returned to the postseason in 2014 after a two-year absence, and the main reason for that was the play of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. So give general manager Kevin Colbert and coach Mike Tomlin credit for re-signing Roethlisberger to a massive contract extension that will allow him to retire a Steeler.
The signing of running back DeAngelo Williams should help, as the depth last year (once LeGarrette Blount was cut and re-emerged in New England) behind starter Le'Veon Bell wasn't great. Williams might not be the player he once was, but he's still capable of moving the chains and getting the job done.
Pass-rushing linebacker Jason Worilds retired in shocking fashion, while cornerback Ike Taylor, defensive lineman Brett Keisel, running back Ben Tate and wide receiver Lance Moore all remain unsigned. Cornerback Brice McCain signed with Miami.
Bringing in Williams was a brilliant move by Colbert, and inking Roethlisberger to an extension was smart. That earns the Steelers a passing grade.
San Diego Chargers: PASS
The San Diego Chargers barely missed out on the postseason last year, and general manager Tom Telesco is taking steps to ensure the Bolts can make an appearance in 2015.
Re-signing left tackle King Dunlap was a high-priority move, as was bringing back cornerback Brandon Flowers. Both men contributed to 2014's success and should do the same in 2015.
As for new free agents, Telesco signed guard Orlando Franklin away from division-rival Denver, and it stands to reason that San Diego's offensive line will be much better this season, which is great news for quarterback Philip Rivers. Also signed were returner Jacoby Jones, receiver Stevie Johnson and cornerback Patrick Robinson.
The team did lose a number of players, including running back Ryan Mathews, safety Marcus Gilchrist and receiver Eddie Royal, but none of those losses will cripple San Diego's efforts.
The contract situation for Rivers remains a concern, with Rivers entering the final year of his deal. But the assumption must be that Telesco and coach Mike McCoy work out a deal for Rivers to stay—and retire—as a Charger.
San Francisco 49ers: FAIL
It's been a disastrous offseason for the San Francisco 49ers, and the free-agency period hasn't provided much relief.
While the signing of speedy receiver Torrey Smith provides quarterback Colin Kaepernick with a much-needed deep threat, he was most certainly overpaid (five years, $40 million for a receiver who's caught more than 60 passes in a season only one time).
To be fair, though some of the foibles that have affected the team weren't of the self-inflicted variety—as linebackers Patrick Willis and Chris Borland unexpectedly retired—they still hurt the football team and must be counted here.
Also gone are running back Frank Gore, cornerbacks Perrish Cox and Chris Culliver, linebacker Dan Skuta, guard Mike Iupati and defensive end Ray McDonald. The 49ers will be a much different looking team next year.
Seattle Seahawks: PASS
In the free-agency period, the Seattle Seahawks have taken the steps to return to a third consecutive Super Bowl.
The only move that ultimately matters in their pursuit of a second Lombardi Trophy was the trade to bring in All-Pro tight end Jimmy Graham from New Orleans. While the price was steep (a first-round pick and center Max Unger), the move was a no-brainer, as Graham will provide quarterback Russell Wilson with an incredible red-zone target.
Gone are cornerback Byron Maxwell, guard James Carpenter and Super Bowl hero Malcolm Smith, but general John Schneider has assembled a roster with great depth that can overcome those losses.
The acquisition of Graham easily earns Seattle a passing grade.
St. Louis Rams: PASS
As it concerns the St. Louis Rams and the free-agency period, it's all about their big trade for Eagles quarterback Nick Foles.
With coach Jeff Fisher and general manager Les Snead needing to win in Year 4 of their regime (they have yet to make the playoffs), the duo traded erstwhile franchise quarterback Sam Bradford to Philadelphia for Foles and a second-round pick in next year's draft. The deal was a true stunner, as Bradford is coming off back-to-back torn ACLs, but if Foles (15-9 career record as a starter with 46 touchdown passes against 17 interceptions) proves to be the real deal, it will have been well worth it.
Snead does believe in Foles, telling Ron Clements of SportingNews.com, "He's a guy who has a lot of physical skills to play in this league. He's won games with a good organization and a good team. He won games in a good division and got them to the playoffs."
The team also re-signed receiver Kenny Britt, who experienced a career renaissance last year in St. Louis, and signed defensive tackle Nick Fairley and pass-rushing linebacker Akeem Ayers. Fairley will add more sizzle to what is already the league's best defensive line.
While the jury is still out on the Foles trade, the Rams had to move on from Bradford, and getting a player of Foles' caliber back in the day earns them a passing grade.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: FAIL
Last offseason, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers went on a free-agent spending spree, notably signing quarterback Josh McCown, defensive end Michael Johnson and offensive tackle Anthony Collins.
As of now, none of those three players are still on the roster. So we're going to retroactively award a failing grade for both last year's free-agency period and this one. You're welcome, Tampa Bay.
Defensive end Adrian Clayborn is gone as well, and while the Bucs did bring in defensive tackle Henry Melton and safety Sterling Moore, the fact that they had to release three of last year's signings put a limit on their spending. The Bucs will have to count on acing next month's draft (they hold the No. 1 pick) to dramatically improve what was the NFL's worst team in 2014.
Tennessee Titans: PASS
The bad news: The Tennessee Titans still hold the title of the NFL's most nondescript team.
The good news: The team's free-agent signings have them moving away from that unfortunate moniker.
Coach Ken Whisenhunt and general manager Ruston Webster improved the team's pass rush by signing linebacker Brian Orakpo and re-signing linebacker Derrick Morgan. They desperately needed to add oomph to coordinator Ray Horton's aggressive 3-4 scheme and did just that with the two aforementioned signings.
Receiver Harry Douglas was brought in to help the passing attack, while safety Da'Norris Searcy is an underrated player who will get a chance to shine in the Music City. Tight end Anthony Fasano and cornerback Perrish Cox were also signed.
With a solid draft (they hold the No. 2 overall pick), the Titans could finally be on the up-and-up.
Washington Redskins: PASS
In an effort to improve their (increasingly poor) personnel decision-making, the Washington Redskins hired Scot McCloughan as their new general manager.
And McCloughan has already made a positive impact on the roster, making a number of under-the-radar signings in free agency that make both football and financial sense. What a novel concept!
McCloughan re-signed quarterback Colt McCoy, who played well last year when pressed into duty, and brought in cornerback Chris Culliver and defensive tackles Terrance Knighton and Stephen Paea.
Linebacker Brian Orakpo and running back Roy Helu headline the list of players that signed elsewhere, but Orakpo had underachieved and Helu is expendable. Overall, the Redskins got better, and that earns them a passing grade.