Highlighting Every NFL Team's Best and Worst Offseason Move so Far

Brad Gagnon@Brad_Gagnon NFL National ColumnistMay 16, 2017

Highlighting Every NFL Team's Best and Worst Offseason Move so Far

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    Michael Owen Baker/Associated Press

    More than 300 contracts were doled out in free agency, 253 players were drafted at the end of April, hundreds of undrafted free agents have been added to rosters and dozens of veterans have been released.

    NFL front offices have made close to 1,000 moves this offseason. Here's a look at the best and the worst, team by team.

Arizona Cardinals

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    Matt York/Associated Press

    The best: Drafted Haason Reddick

    Reddick had 10.5 sacks and 22.5 tackles for loss as a senior at Temple last season, and his stock shot up ahead of the draft. The No. 13 overall pick is an immediate upgrade over departed veteran Kevin Minter at linebacker. 


    The worst: Signed Antoine Bethea

    The Cardinals lost talented young safeties Tony Jefferson and D.J. Swearinger on the free-agent market, but giving a three-year, $12.8 million contract to a soon-to-be 33-year-old was a panic move in reaction to that.

    Pro Football Focus graded Bethea as the 11th-worst safety in the NFL last season, and second-round rookie Budda Baker is probably better.

Atlanta Falcons

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    Reed Hoffmann/Associated Press

    The best: Signed Dontari Poe

    Entering his prime, the two-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle brings some added oomph and experience to a young defense. He'll immediately play a large role, which works out nicely considering the Falcons only had to make a one-year, $8 million commitment. 


    The worst: Signed Hugh Thornton

    Thornton was terrible as a guard in Indianapolis, and he missed the entire 2016 season, which made Atlanta's decision to sign him at the start of free agency a weird one.

    Atlanta was spared this mistake when Thornton retired two months after signing. It's doubtful he would have been an upgrade over the retired Chris Chester, and it doesn't excuse the Falcons' overall lack of judgment in the first place.

Baltimore Ravens

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    Denis Poroy/Associated Press

    The best: Signed Danny Woodhead

    The passing-downs specialist had 80 receptions for 755 yards while scoring nine touchdowns from scrimmage with the Chargers in 2015, and he was averaging 6.0 yards per touch before a torn ACL ended his 2016 campaign in Week 2.

    Even at 32, he has a chance to make a huge impact in an open Baltimore backfield. Not bad for less than $5 million in guaranteed money.


    The worst: Signed Brandon Carr

    I hope they don't plan on using him as a starter, because I'm not sure how much the nine-year veteran has left in the tank after getting consistently roasted last season in Dallas.

    The good news is his contract only guarantees him $4 million, so it'll be easy to move on quickly when rookie cornerback Marlon Humphrey is ready. 

Buffalo Bills

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    Jeffrey T. Barnes/Associated Press

    The best: Drafted Zay Jones

    The Bills needed a productive receiver badly, and they may have found a diamond in the rough in Round 2. Jones caught an NCAA-record 158 passes for 1,746 yards and eight touchdowns as a senior at East Carolina in 2016, and he had 399 receptions during his four years there.

    Look for him to play a major role right away.


    The worst: Released Nickell Robey-Coleman

    The cornerback is only 25 years old and is coming off a season in which opposing quarterbacks completed just 56.3 percent of their passes and had a 74.8 passer rating when throwing his way, according to Pro Football Focus.

    He could have helped a secondary that lost top corner Stephon Gilmore and might have to start a rookie in September. 

Carolina Panthers

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    Chuck Burton/Associated Press

    The best: Drafted Christian McCaffrey

    The Carolina offense needed a jolt in order to take the heat off quarterback Cam Newton, and No. 8 overall pick Christian McCaffrey has a chance to do exactly that as both a balance-creating runner and a target in the passing game in 2017.

    He has Pro Bowl potential, and he's just what the doctor ordered for Newton and Co. 


    The worst: Signed Matt Kalil

    The Panthers also tried to improve their pass protection by signing Kalil, but what they really did was give a five-year, $55 million contract to a bust.

    The soon-to-be 28-year-old surrendered 18 sacks and took 22 penalties as one of the lowest-graded offensive tackles in the league in 2014 and 2015, per PFF, before missing most of the 2016 campaign due to a hip injury.

    They overpaid a bad player, and they'll soon regret it.

Chicago Bears

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    Nam Y. Huh/Associated Press

    The best: Drafted Adam Shaheen

    The massive former basketball star saw his draft stock skyrocket in the spring after causing jaws to drop in predraft workouts. He put up huge numbers the last couple of years at Division II Ashland, and he might even become a steal from Round 2. 


    The worst: Traded up to draft Mitchell Trubisky

    I still don't understand why they gave veteran quarterback Mike Glennon a three-year, $45 million contract and then forfeited four primo draft picks in order to take Trubisky second overall.

    The North Carolina product is far from a sure thing with just 13 college starts under his belt, and precedents indicate that trading up for a quarterback in the first round is likely to backfire.

Cincinnati Bengals

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    John Minchillo/Associated Press

    The best: Drafted Jordan Willis

    The Bengals got great value for Willis in Round 3. They needed fresh blood on the edge, and Willis is an explosive and relentless rusher who had 20 sacks and 31.5 tackles for loss during his final two years at Kansas State. 


    The worst: Drafted John Ross

    I like Ross, but his record-breaking speed inflated his draft stock.

    The Bengals entered the draft with a lot of needs after losing two key offensive linemen in free agency, so it was odd to see a losing team that already has A.J. Green use a top-10 pick on a wideout. 

Cleveland Browns

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    Ron Schwane/Associated Press

    The best: Drafted Myles Garrett

    The Browns also signed interior offensive linemen Kevin Zeitler and JC Tretter and drafted enticing athletes Jabrill Peppers and David Njoku later in the first round. Any of those guys might have been the top offseason acquisition on other teams.

    But it's hard not to go with the No. 1 overall pick, because Garrett is an off-the-charts edge-rushing prospect, and Cleveland deserves credit for not taking a quarterback instead.


    The worst: Signed Kenny Britt

    Britt has a chance to be productive in Cleveland after a breakout 2016 season with the Rams. But the eight-year veteran might have peaked, and they spent $32.5 million on his four-year contract before letting Terrelle Pryor walk.

    Pryor, who has a much higher ceiling, signed a one-year prove-it deal worth just $6 million in Washington. I'm not sure that worked out too well for the Browns. 

Dallas Cowboys

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    LM Otero/Associated Press

    The best: Drafted Taco Charlton

    The first-round pick will play a large role immediately after recording 9.5 sacks and 13.5 tackles for loss as a senior at Michigan in 2016.

    The Cowboys' four most active edge-rushers—Tyrone Crawford, Jack Crawford, Benson Mayowa and Demarcus Lawrence—were held to a combined 15 sacks last season, so they can use the help. 


    The worst: Signed Nolan Carroll

    This isn't necessarily a bad move, as it at least helped them soften the blow that came with losing regular defensive backs Morris Claiborne, Brandon Carr, J.J. Wilcox and Barry Church.

    But it's a "meh" move, because the 30-year-old Carroll gave up a triple-digit passer rating on passes thrown his way last season in Philadelphia. He's a below-average starter. 

Denver Broncos

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    David Zalubowski/Associated Press

    The best: Drafted Garett Bolles

    The No. 20 overall pick stood out in the predraft process and possesses every physical trait you look for in a cornerstone left tackle. He may still need a little time, but it won't be long before Bolles fills a major hole for a team that has struggled to find a left tackle the last few years. 


    The worst: Signed Jamaal Charles

    The veteran running back signed a cheap one-year deal, so this won't break the the Broncos' back. Still, they're wasting their time.

    Charles tore his right ACL in 2015, underwent meniscus surgery on the same knee in 2016 and had arthroscopic surgery on his other knee a few weeks later.

    He's carried the ball just 83 times the last two seasons and is on the wrong side of 30. 

Detroit Lions

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    Paul Sancya/Associated Press

    The best: Drafted Jarrad Davis

    Davis was a big riser ahead of the draft, and by selecting him in the first round the Lions addressed a major need at linebacker. After four years at Florida, he's ready to start from the get-go. 


    The worst: Signed T.J. Lang

    He's a small upgrade over the departed Larry Warford at guard, but Lang is four years older and I'm not sure how much tread is left on those tires.

    He did make his first Pro Bowl in 2016, but he's played 119 games since 2009 and is recovering from hip and foot surgeries. That didn't stop Detroit from giving him $19 million guaranteed, but the Lions might soon regret that.

Green Bay Packers

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    Lenny Ignelzi/Associated Press

    The best: Re-signed Nick Perry

    New tight end Martellus Bennett should give the passing game a boost, but the best thing Green Bay did this offseason was lock up Perry after the former first-round pick had a breakout season with 11 sacks in 2016.

    Look for the 27-year-old to continue to improve while playing a larger role as a pass-rusher and run-stopper. 


    The worst: Drafted Josh Jones

    Jones is a versatile defensive back, but it feels as though the Packers overloaded on DBs with Davon House coming in as a free agent and Kevin King joining the fray as an early second-round pick.

    With Damarious Randall, Quinten Rollins, Ladarius Gunter, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and Morgan Burnett, they weren't barren there. I would have preferred to see them draft a running back with that No. 61 overall pick. 

Houston Texans

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    David J. Phillip/Associated Press

    The best: Drafted Zach Cunningham

    This is mainly because Cunningham—a two-time first-team All-SEC linebacker who had 36 tackles for loss during his three seasons at Vanderbilt—is one of my favorite players in this rookie class.

    The Texans slept through free agency before forfeiting two first-round picks in order to draft Deshaun Watson in Round 1. 


    The worst: Traded up to draft Deshaun Watson

    Again, it's almost never worth the gamble to trade up and draft a quarterback in Round 1. Nothing against Watson, but this is a crapshoot, and the Clemson product isn't worth two first-round picks. 

Indianapolis Colts

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    Elise Amendola/Associated Press

    The best: Signed Jabaal Sheard

    New Colts general manager Chris Ballard also signed veteran defenders Johnathan Hankins, John Simon, Margus Hunt, Barkevious Mingo, Sean Spence and Al Woods in free agency. But Sheard—who quietly had 15.5 sacks during his first two seasons with the Browns and put up 13 sacks and four forced fumbles the last two years in New England—has the highest ceiling.

    The three-year, $25.5 million price tag is a little steep, but he still comes cheaper than Hankins and should make a larger impact.


    The worst: Drafted Quincy Wilson

    This has nothing to do with Wilsonthe cornerback they drafted in the second roundand everything to do with the fact they didn't use that pick (or any of their top three selections) on offensive line help. Franchise quarterback Andrew Luck deserves better. 

Jacksonville Jaguars

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    Jeff Haynes/Associated Press

    The best: Drafted Leonard Fournette

    A no-brainer. The No. 4 overall pick out of LSU is built to dominate as a running back at any level and comes from a program that should have him ready to do so immediately in 2017.

    He averaged 6.2 yards per carry during his three years in the SEC and is the favorite in Vegas to win Offensive Rookie of the Year.


    The worst: Signed Barry Church

    While the Jags spent big bucks on new defensive starters Calais Campbell and A.J. Bouye, it was disappointing to see them let Johnathan Cyprien go after Pro Football Focus graded him as the best run-stopping safety in the NFL last season.

    Instead, they inexplicably signed the older and less talented Church at a higher cost.

Kansas City Chiefs

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    Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press

    The best: Signed Bennie Logan

    A regular starter for much of the last four years in Philadelphia, the 27-year-old Logan was graded by PFF as the 11th-best run-stopping defensive tackle in the league in 2015 before following that up with a pair of forced fumbles and 2.5 sacks in 2016.

    On a one-year, $8 million contract, that's a good way for a cap-strapped team to replace the departed Dontari Poe. 


    The worst: Traded up to draft Patrick Mahomes II

    This is a recording: Committing multiple first-round picks to quarterbacks who aren't sure things is bad football business. Mahomes might turn into a star one day, but that doesn't mean trading away next year's first-round pick and an additional third-rounder in order to draft him in Round 1 was a good decision. 

Los Angeles Chargers

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    Jeff Haynes/Associated Press

    The best: Tagged Melvin Ingram

    Defensive Rookie of the Year Joey Bosa stole the spotlight for the Chargers last season, but he wouldn't have been so effective if not for Ingram. The 28-year-old registered eight sacks while grading out at PFF as the sixth-best edge-defender in the NFL.

    The Bolts couldn't afford to let him go, so they were smart to use the franchise tag.


    The worst: Signed Russell Okung

    Is that four-year, $53 million contract with $25 million guaranteed some sort of joke? Okung has been around for seven years, but he hasn't been good since 2012. In fact, that's the last season he graded out positively at PFF.

    Yet he's now the second-highest-paid offensive lineman in football, which is astonishing. 

Los Angeles Rams

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    Michael Owen Baker/Associated Press

    The best: Signed Andrew Whitworth

    Whitworth is 35 but coming off back-to-back Pro Bowl seasons. He's missed just two games in the last eight years and is just the type of steadying presence that young Rams offense needs.

    At $33.8 million over three years, that's a steal. 


    The worst: Signed Robert Woods

    They're giving more money to Woods ($39 million over five years) than the departed Kenny Britt got from his new team in Cleveland ($32.5 million over four years). That is silly considering Britt is coming off a 1,000-yard season and Woods has never hit the 700-yard mark.

    Woods is a few years younger, but this still looks like a downgrade. 

Miami Dolphins

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    John Cordes/Associated Press

    The best: Signed T.J. McDonald

    The heavy-hitting 26-year-old safety had two picks and 49 tackles in 16 starts with the Rams last season. He'll have to serve an eight-game suspension to start the 2017 campaign, but a one-year, $1.3 million deal could wind up paying off substantially for the Dolphins.


    The worst: Signed Lawrence Timmons

    The 31-year-old was graded by PFF as the sixth-worst qualified inside linebacker in 2016, one year after ranking 56th among 59 qualifiers on the same list. He's no longer a starting-caliber player, and yet Miami gave him $11 million in guaranteed money.

Minnesota Vikings

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    Jim Mone/Associated Press

    The best: Drafted Dalvin Cook

    When you have the worst running game in the NFL and you land a first-round-caliber back in Round 2, you've done well.

    Cook rushed for 3,456 yards, averaged 6.7 yards per carry and scored 40 touchdowns from scrimmage during his two full seasons as a starter at Florida State. He should be ready to play a significant role early. 


    The worst: Signed Riley Reiff

    It's good that the Vikings at least shook things up with an offensive line that was a mess in 2016, but $58.8 million over five years is steep for an inconsistent tackle who struggles in pass protection.

    Reiff has plenty of talent, and he could excel in a new setting, but this is a risky deal. 

New England Patriots

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    Ron Schwane/Associated Press

    The best: Signed Rex Burkhead

    Burkhead hardly saw the field for most of his first four seasons with the Bengals, but he still averaged 4.3 yards per carry while contributing to the passing game during that stretch.

    When he finally had a chance to start the final game of the 2016 season, he accumulated 144 yards from scrimmage on 29 touches while scoring two touchdowns against Baltimore's top-10 defense.

    Watch for the 26-year-old to become a household name on a one-year, $3.2 million deal in 2017. 


    The worst: Signed Stephon Gilmore

    Gilmore has never been elected to a Pro Bowl (he was an injury replacement last year) and is coming off a season in which PFF ranked him 60th among 120 qualified players at the cornerback position.

    He gave up completions on more than 60 percent of the passes thrown his way last season, and only 10 NFL corners took more penalties. And yet the Patriots gave the five-year veteran more guaranteed money than every other cornerback in the league except Josh Norman.

    With Malcolm Butler still on the roster, it's an odd move.

New Orleans Saints

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    Jeff Haynes/Associated Press

    The best: Drafted Marshon Lattimore

    The Saints had Lattimore ranked in the top four on their draft board, according to Josh Katzenstein of the Times-Picayune, and even considered trading up for the first-team All-Big Ten Ohio State cornerback before landing him where many thought he was a steal.

    He should start immediately in a defense that needs him.


    The worst: Traded Brandin Cooks

    Future Hall of Fame quarterback Drew Brees is 38 years old, which means the Saints' competitive window is closing quickly. That's why trading Cooks—a major offensive weapon entering his prime—in exchange for draft picks seems counterintuitive.

    It's hard to envision the players drafted with those picksRyan Ramczyk and Trey Hendrickson—making a larger impact than Cooks would have in 2017. 

New York Giants

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    Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

    The best: Signed Brandon Marshall

    It's not clear how much gas the 33-year-old receiver has left in his tank, but he's just a year removed from a 1,502-yard, 14-touchdown season. That Giants offense will appreciate his experience.

    At $11 million over two years, that's a good deal for the quiet Giants.


    The worst: Drafted Evan Engram

    When the Giants took Engram 23rd overall, highly rated offensive tackles Ryan Ramczyk and Cam Robinson were still on the board. Those guys would have had a chance to play a bigger role in 2017 than Engram, who is a bit of a project at tight end. 

New York Jets

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    Jeff Haynes/Associated Press

    The best: Drafted Jamal Adams

    The Jets landed one of the best all-around defensive players in this draft class and a potential future leader with the No. 6 overall pick. Adams should start at safety right away and should be a Defensive Rookie of the Year candidate, and that's all that matters.

    A rebuilding team took the best player available.


    The worst: Drafted Marcus Maye

    But it's hard to understand why a team with so many holes would take another safety in the second round. They could eventually trade Calvin Pryor, but this is still a team that has glaring weaknesses at quarterback, in the receiving corps and along the offensive line. 

Oakland Raiders

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    David J. Phillip/Associated Press

    The best: Signed TE Jared Cook

    The 6'5", 254-pound tight end is coming off the hottest stretch of his eight-year career—he caught 13 passes for 181 yards and two touchdowns in Green Bay's final two playoff games—and he should be targeted often by stud Raiders quarterback Derek Carr.

    Cook is in his prime, so the Raiders could get quite a lot of bang for their buck on that two-year, $10.6 million contract. 


    The worst: Drafted Gareon Conley

    I don't mind the risk considering how talented Conley is and how much talent the Raiders already have on both sides of the ball. His off-field problems could sink him without sinking the team.

    That being said, Jabrill Peppers, Tre'Davious White and Kevin King were all still available when they picked Conley 24th overall. 

Philadelphia Eagles

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    Jeff Haynes/Associated Press

    The best: Signed Alshon Jeffery

    The Eagles desperately needed help at wide receiver entering the offseason, and they got arguably the best one on the open market for a team-friendly deal.

    Jeffery is a 27-year-old former Pro Bowler with two 1,000-yard seasons under his belt, and they got him on a one-year deal worth just $9.5 million. 


    The worst: Signed Torrey Smith

    This isn't a bad signing, which indicates just how successful this offseason was for the Eagles.

    Smith—a former 1,000-yard receiver who hasn't been the same since leaving Baltimore for San Francisco two years ago—might not amount to much in Philadelphia, but his three-year, $15 million deal contains only $500,000 in guarantees.

    He occupies this spot simply because Philadelphia's offseason was so good that a decent signing ranks as its worst.

Pittsburgh Steelers

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    Bill Wippert/Associated Press

    The best: Signed Justin Hunter

    There's no guarantee Hunter even makes Pittsburgh's final roster, but he's guaranteed practically nothing on a one-year, $855,000 deal. No risk, a lot of potential reward.

    He's big, fast and still only 25, and I wouldn't be surprised at all to see him break out as a deep threat with the Steelers. For a team that is always quiet in free agency, this was an underrated signing.


    The worst: Signed Tyson Alualu

    Meanwhile, they gave a two-year, $6 million deal to Alualu, who is on the wrong side of 30 after failing to live up to expectations as a top-10 pick in Jacksonville.

    The defensive lineman has never earned a positive PFF grade in his seven-year career. He doesn't make big plays, and he doesn't do any one thing particularly well. 

San Francisco 49ers

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    Jeff Chiu/Associated Press

    The best: Drafted Reuben Foster

    Not only did the 49ers land one of the most skilled defensive players in the draft way down in the No. 31 spot, but they also did so with house money.

    San Francisco still got the player it wanted in Solomon Thomas at the top of the draft, but only after collecting a pair of middle-round picks in a trade with the Bears. They then used one of those new picks as trade leverage in order to move back into Round 1 to select Foster, who might have been a top-10 pick if not for concerns unrelated to his talent level.



    The worst: Signed Pierre Garcon

    Garcon might be the best receiver on the team in 2017, and he's certainly better than all of the wideouts they had last year.

    But San Francisco is clearly rebuilding, so I'm not sure it's a great idea to give a five-year, $47.5 million contract to a guy who'll be 31 before he plays his first game in that uniform. 

Seattle Seahawks

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    Phelan M. Ebenhack/Associated Press

    The best: Signed Eddie Lacy

    He's had trouble staying in shape, and he missed the majority of the 2016 season due to an ankle injury, but Lacy averaged 5.5 yards per carry during the first four games last year. And let's not forget that he was the league's Offensive Rookie of the Year with 1,178 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns in 2013.

    A one-year, $5.5 million prove-it contract was a no-brainer for a Seattle team in need of backfield help.


    The worst: Signed Luke Joeckel

    The Seahawks also entered the offseason in need of offensive line help, but Joeckel isn't likely to help them much there despite signing a one-year deal with $7 million in guaranteed money.

    The former No. 2 overall pick was one of the worst left tackles in football in 2014 and 2015. He was moved to guard in 2016 and then almost immediately shredded his left knee.

    They needed to do better than that.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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    Charles Rex Arbogast/Associated Press

    The best: Signed DeSean Jackson

    Jackson should be the perfect new weapon for Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston, who already had a stud traffic receiver in Mike Evans but now can go deep to one of the best veteran home run threats in the NFL.

    He didn't come cheaply at $33.5 million over three years, but the 30-year-old is coming off a season in which he averaged a league-high 17.9 yards per catch. 


    The worst: Re-signed Joe Hawley

    Hawley has good intangibles and is the kind of veteran you want in the dressing room, but he's still a mediocre center.

    I'm surprised they didn't bring in anybody to compete at that position after re-signing Hawley to a two-year, $5.5 million deal. 

Tennessee Titans

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    Phelan M. Ebenhack/Associated Press

    The best: Signed Johnathan Cyprien

    The 26-year-old former No. 33 overall pick had a breakout season for the Jaguars in 2016, earning the fifth-highest PFF grade among qualified safeties.

    Still, three other free agents at that position—Barry Church, Tony Jefferson and Micah Hyde—signed deals with larger total values than the reasonable four-year, $25 million pact Cyprien made with Tennessee. 


    The worst: Drafted Adoree' Jackson

    Again, not a bad move. The Titans have had a great offseason, and I can't identify any clear mistakes before having a chance to benefit from hindsight.

    However, I'd have preferred to see them take a shot at Tre'Davious White, the big Kevin King or even Jabrill Peppers with that No. 18 overall pick. 

Washington Redskins

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    Nick Wass/Associated Press

    The best: Drafted Jonathan Allen

    Getting the physically marvelous Terrelle Pryor after a breakout season for just $6 million on a one-year contract was impressive, but adding Allen—the reigning SEC Defensive Player of the Year and a practical lock to start in place of the departed Chris Baker at defensive end—with the 17th pick was even better.

    The guy has top-10 talent, so if his shoulders hold up he'll be a massive steal.


    The worst: Signed Stacy McGee and Terrell McClain

    A two-for-one to finish us off. See, before they were able to draft Allen, the Redskins tried to replace Baker by giving a laughable $25 million over five years to McGee and a ridiculous $21 million over four years to McClain.

    The much more talented Baker made less in Tampa ($15.8 million over three).\

    A sixth-round pick in 2013, McGee has one decent season under his belt (2016), and even that was derailed by injuries. McClain is a tailor-made depth guy and—like McGee—has no business starting or being paid starter money.