Grading Every NFL Team's Offseason Before the 2020 Draft

Martin FennContributor IIIApril 14, 2020

Grading Every NFL Team's Offseason Before the 2020 Draft

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    Bill Sikes/Associated Press

    The 2020 NFL offseason marches on despite the coronavirus pandemic.

    Front offices are preparing for next week's draft from April 23 to 25, which will be virtual, but league officials have kept the offseason schedule on track as they hope to start the regular season in September.

    The NFL suspended organized team activities indefinitely, but teams have still spent the better part of the last month plugging holes and making upgrades to their rosters.

    The Houston Texans shocked everyone by trading star wideout DeAndre Hopkins to the Arizona Cardinals in a package that brought back David Johnson, while the Los Angeles Rams cut Todd Gurley. Tom Brady headed to South Florida to play for a Tampa Bay Buccaneers team that has not made the playoffs since 2007.

    Most of the major moves are done by now, which means it is time to grade each team's offseason prior to the draft. Which squads have been winners, and which ones will need big drafts in order to feel good entering training camps?

    Let's break down the moves all 32 teams have made thus far.       


Arizona Cardinals

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    Reed Hoffmann/Associated Press

    Notable Additions: WR DeAndre Hopkins, EDGE Devon Kennard, DT Jordan Phillips, LB De'Vondre Campbell

    Notable Losses: RB David Johnson

    The addition of Hopkins is a colossal move. Not only are the Arizona Cardinals getting a three-time All-Pro but also arguably the best wide receiver in football. Talk about a gift for sophomore quarterback Kyler Murray.

    Hopkins gives him a legitimate No. 1 option opposite a veteran Larry Fitzgerald, and his arrival means the Cardinals can focus on upgrading their offensive line with the No. 8 pick.

    Arizona also made a concerted effort to improve the defensive front by signing Kennard, Phillips and Campbell.

    Kennard has recorded seven sacks in each of his last two seasons, and Campbell was a sure tackler (129 combined) and hybrid zone coverage backer for the Atlanta Falcons last season.

    Phillips had 9.5 sacks and 13 tackles for loss for the Buffalo Bills last year. Giving him $30 million over three years might have been an overpay, though Arizona's pass rush will look a whole lot stronger if Phillips proves 2019 wasn't a fluke.

    Ultimately, however, the Hopkins trade makes this offseason a huge win. Johnson was expendable after the Kenyan Drake move last year, and the Cardinals only gave up a 2020 second-round pick and a 2021 fourth-rounder while moving Johnson's enormous salary.

    Grade: A-       

Atlanta Falcons

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    Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

    Notable Additions: EDGE Dante Fowler Jr., TE Hayden Hurst, RB Todd Gurley

    Notable Losses: CB Desmond Trufant, RB Devonta Freeman, EDGE Vic Beasley Jr., LB De'Vondre Campbell, TE Austin Hooper

    The Atlanta Falcons were in a tough spot because of a tight cap, so it made sense for them to move on from Freeman and Beasley.

    Trading for Hurst to replace Hooper is an underrated move. The 2018 first-round pick showed bursts of playmaking with the Baltimore Ravens last season, and he is less of a possession pass-catcher than Hooper, which might make him even more dangerous alongside quarterback Matt Ryan.

    Gurley could also be an upgrade over Freeman. There are questions about his durability, though the Falcons seem confident his knee will pass a physical.

    Plus, it is important to remember just how bad the Rams' offensive front was last season. Atlanta's group is not a whole lot better, but the improvement should help Gurley and allow him to come out of the backfield as a pass-catcher.

    The addition of Fowler is more questionable because of his contract. The Falcons gave him $15 million annually over three years.

    Granted, Fowler is only 25, and he is coming off a season in which he had 11.5 sacks, 16 tackles for a loss and six pass deflections. But he played on a strong unit opposite Aaron Donald in 2019, and the Falcons probably could have used some of that money to upgrade the secondary, particularly after they cut Trufant.

    The Falcons ranked 25th in defense-adjusted value over average (DVOA) against opposing passing attacks, per Football Outsiders. They were closer to league average against the run, and they re-signed Tyeler Davison to maintain that front.

    Perhaps Fowler's ability to get to the quarterback will help limit pressure on the secondary, but the Falcons failed to address their biggest need despite the fact that there was a number of veteran corners and safeties on the market.    

    Grade: C

Baltimore Ravens

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    David J. Phillip/Associated Press

    Notable Additions: DE Calais Campbell, DE Derek Wolfe

    Notable Losses: DT Michael Pierce, TE Hayden Hurst, CB Brandon Carr

    The Ravens followed up a 14-2 campaign in 2019 by making a pair of huge additions on the defensive line.

    Baltimore traded for (then extended) Jacksonville Jaguars All-Pro defensive end Calais Campbell and—after their deal with Michael Brockers fell through—signed former Denver Broncos defensive end Derek Wolfe, giving the Ravens a pair of legitimate pass-rushers on the edge.

    These moves also give the Ravens options in regard to Matthew Judon. Baltimore used the franchise tag on Judon, but they team could look to move him for future draft compensation after it acquired Campbell and Wolfe.

    The Ravens were below-average against the run in DVOA last season, and both Campbell and Wolfe have the ability to get into the backfield and make plays.

    Baltimore also brought back veteran cornerback Jimmy Smith at decent value (one year, $3.5 million), considering Smith dealt with injuries last season.

    No, Baltimore did not do much to upgrade the receiving corps, but general manager Eric DeCosta will likely address that via the draft. In all, the Ravens had a good offseason.    

    Grade: B+

Buffalo Bills

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    Brett Duke/Associated Press

    Notable Additions: WR Stefon Diggs, EDGE Mario Addison, DT Vernon Butler, DT Quinton Jefferson, CB Josh Norman

    Notable Losses: EDGE Shaq Lawson, EDGE Lorenzo Alexander, CB Kevin Johnson, DT Jordan Phillips

    The Buffalo Bills paid a heftier price to acquire Diggs than the Cardinals had to for Hopkins. But it was probably worth the cost (this year's first-round pick plus three other selections).

    Diggs has surpassed the 1,000-yard mark in each of the past two seasons, and last year, he averaged nearly 18 yards per reception. Moreover, Diggs has been one of the best in contested catch rate over the past few years, according to Sam Monson of Pro Football Focus, which is a boon for quarterback Josh Allen.

    Between Diggs, John Brown and Cole Beasley (who excelled in the slot last year), the Bills have the best receiving corps in the AFC East and arguably one of the best in football.

    Not to mention, the team upgraded from Lawson to Mario Addison, who has recorded at least nine sacks and a pair of forced fumbles in each of the last four seasons. Yes, Addison is seven years older than Lawson. However, he has been more productive for a longer period, and his three-year deal (worth just over $30 million) has an out after 2020, with just $4 million in dead cap money, per Spotrac.

    The loss of Alexander may hurt from a coverage perspective, but the Bills will still rely on a stiff pass rush after getting both Butler and Jefferson.

    While the New England Patriots lost Tom Brady and face more uncertainty than they have in decades, the Bills' moves could make them the best team in AFC East. That deserves a winning grade.   

    Grade: A      

Carolina Panthers

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    Mark Black/Associated Press

    Notable Additions: QB Teddy Bridgewater, S Tre Boston, OT Russell Okung, WR Robby Anderson

    Notable Losses: QB Cam Newton, OG Trai Turner, EDGE Mario Addison, DE Gerald McCoy, TE Greg Olsen, DT Vernon Butler, S Eric Reid

    Everything about the Panthers' offseason suggests starting over.

    Carolina hired former Baylor head coach Matt Rhule and then cut veteran players like Greg Olsen and Eric Reid. Of course, this all culminated with an ugly breakup with 2015 NFL MVP and former franchise icon Cam Newton. 

    For all the moving and shaking that has been going on, the Panthers have made some good signings. Getting Boston at $6 million AAV might prove to be one of the league's most underrated moves, as he has been a reliable playmaker in coverage from the free safety spot.

    Of course, the headlines will focus on Teddy Bridgewater as Cam Newton's replacement. Bridgewater went 5-0 for the New Orleans Saints last year, throwing nine touchdowns against just two interceptions. He should benefit from having Christian McCaffrey in the backfield, another do-it-all back similar to former teammate Alvin Kamara.

    However, Bridgewater was more of a game-manager in New Orleans, which might explain why the Panthers elected to bring in Anderson as an explosive big-play receiver alongside D.J. Moore and Curtis Samuel.

    Okung will protect Bridgewater's blind side. The Los Angeles Chargers struggled without him on the field last season, and he could be a difference-maker in terms of accelerating Bridgewater's comfort level and development.

    All in all, this was a decent offseason for a Panthers team that is hitting the reset button.


    Grade: B-

Chicago Bears

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    John Raoux/Associated Press

    Notable Additions: QB Nick Foles, EDGE Robert Quinn, TE Jimmy Graham, CB Artie Burns

    Notable Losses: CB Prince Amukamara, WR Taylor Gabriel, LB Nick Kwiatkoski, EDGE Leonard Floyd, S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, OG Kyle Long

    Initially, the Bears went into the offseason with the premise that Mitchell Trubisky would be the starting quarterback. Obviously, the acquisition of Foles changes things quite a bit.

    The Bears will hold an "open competition" between Foles and Trubisky as they look for better quarterback play.

    One major benefit for the Bears was Foles' agreement to restructure his contract, though he will still get $21 million in guaranteed money. He could push Trubisky out of the starting spot with a strong performance in camp as long as he remains healthy. 

    The addition of Quinn was not cheap (five years, $70 million), but he gives the Bears a big upgrade over Floyd and another menace of an edge-rusher opposite Khalil Mack. Quinn had 11.5 sacks last season, and he ranked first in pass-rush win rate, per ESPN.

    As for Graham, that signing might have been one of the worst of free agency. Graham will be 34 in November, and he has not been a very productive tight end since the 2016 season. The Bears needed an upgrade at the position, but Graham is an overpay at two years, $18 million.

    The Bears chose Danny Trevathan over Kwiatkoski, which seems reasonable enough. But cutting Amukamara prompts some skepticism at the outside corner spot, and not re-signing Clinton-Dix might also hurt the secondary.

    Grade: C-

Cincinnati Bengals

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    David J. Phillip/Associated Press

    Notable Additions: CB Trae Waynes, CB Mackensie Alexander, DT D.J. Reader

    Notable Losses: DT Andrew Billings, TE Tyler Eifert, LB Nick Vigil

    The Bengals' best move was applying the franchise tag to star wideout A.J. Green.

    Green missed the entire 2019 season and played just nine games in 2018, but he is still one of the most talented receivers in football, and the Bengals need a marquee attraction for presumptive No. 1 pick Joe Burrow.

    But the Bengals also splurged on Waynes and Reader.

    Waynes had a brutal year for the Minnesota Vikings last season, as opposing quarterbacks had a 107.9 quarterback rating and five touchdowns when he was the nearest defender in coverage.

    Giving Waynes three years and $42 million after that kind of year? That is an expensive bet to make.

    Reader was also expensive, though the Houston Texans loved what he brought last season, and he was the fourth-highest-graded defensive tackle in 2019, per Pro Football Focus. Plus, he is still young at just 25 years old.

    I suppose the Bengals deserve credit for being aggressive in trying to improve the defense, and Reader should fortify what was already a solid defensive front.

    Realistically, this offseason could hinge on Waynes' productivity and Green's health. If both come through, it'll be a success. 

    Grade: B

Cleveland Browns

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    Jeff Haynes/Associated Press

    Notable Additions: OT Jack Conklin, TE Austin Hooper, QB Case Keenum, CB Kevin Johnson, DT Andrew Billings, S Andrew Sendejo

    Notable Losses: S Damarious Randall, LB Joe Schobert 

    Signing Conklin is far away the most consequential move of Cleveland's offseason.

    The former Tennessee Titans All-Pro is a stout run-blocker and should carve out even more holes for Nick Chubb while also adding protection for Baker Mayfield. The Browns needed an overhaul on the line, and it started in earnest when they signed Conklin.

    Giving Hooper $42 million was excessive, but he gives Mayfield yet another dependable pass-catcher who was excellent in the red zone last season and can fit the seams if Odell Beckham Jr. or Jarvis Landry draw an extra man in coverage.

    Keenum is also a very good addition as a veteran with starting experience who could even push Mayfield for that role in camp.

    But for as much as Cleveland did to improve its offense, it did little to address a defense that ranked 22nd in DVOA last season.

    The Browns signed Kevin Johnson, Andrew Billings and Andrew Sendejo, but those are hardly impact moves.

    Of course, that could change if the Browns sign Jadeveon Clowney, whom they have reportedly engaged in contract talks.

    Grade: B-

Dallas Cowboys

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    Ron Jenkins/Associated Press

    Notable Additions: DT Gerald McCoy, S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, EDGE Aldon Smith 

    Notable Losses: CB Byron Jones, EDGE Robert Quinn, WR Randall Cobb, C Travis Frederick

    Dallas' offseason was not so much about what it added as who it kept around.

    The Cowboys re-signed star wideout Amari Cooper and used the exclusive franchise tag on Dak Prescott, with the expectation the two sides will get a long-term deal done prior to the start of training camp.

    That said, they made some shrewd acquisitions to make up for some of their losses. Clinton-Dix should be a bargain at just under $4 million. He had arguably one of his best seasons in coverage last year and fits right in at free safety.

    McCoy and Smith are cheap gambles. The former is not the same menace he was five years ago, but he can still get to the passer. The latter has not played since 2015, but he will look to get his career back on track in Big D.

    Losing Jones in free agency is tough on the secondary, but the Cowboys simply could not afford him when they had to bring back both Cooper and Prescott. Plus, Dallas has a deep group of corners with Jourdan Lewis figuring to take on a bigger role. 

    Perhaps the biggest move of the offseason centers around the head-coaching position, where Mike McCarthy will hope to capitalize on one of the more talented rosters in football.

    The Cowboys will have to account for the loss of Frederick to retirement, though. 

    Grade: B+

Denver Broncos

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    Michael Conroy/Associated Press

    Notable Additions: DT Jurrell Casey, CB A.J. Bouye, G Graham Glasgow, RB Melvin Gordon, TE Nick Vannett

    Notable Losses: CB Chris Harris Jr., C Connor McGovern, DE Derek Wolfe

    John Elway and the Broncos had a whale of an offseason. 

    Sure, they lost a few key players in Harris, McGovern and Wolfe, but they made considerable gains thanks in part to a pair of excellent trades.

    Denver was able to nab Bouye from the Jacksonville Jaguars for a fourth-round pick. Bouye is younger than Harris and, at this stage of his career, probably a better cover corner.

    The Broncos also acquired Casey from the Tennessee Titans for a seventh-round pick, which is a huge steal in context. Not only has Casey been named to five consecutive Pro Bowls, but he is also a balanced tackle who can stuff the run and rush the passer.

    Moreover, the Broncos re-signed defensive tackle Shelby Harris, giving them a front four of Casey, Harris and Von Miller and Bradley Chubb on the edge. That group should be a nightmare for opposing quarterbacks.

    While losing McGovern hurts, Glasgow was one of the highest-graded guards in football, conceding just three penalties and not allowing a single sack last season.

    The only questionable move was giving Melvin Gordon $13.5 million in guaranteed money with Phillip Lindsay in the backfield, though Gordon could certainly prove a bargain if he returns to form.

    Grade: A

Detroit Lions

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    John Amis/Associated Press

    Notable Additions: CB Desmond Trufant, LB Jamie Collins Sr., DT Danny Shelton, OT Halapoulivaati Vaitai, S Duron Harmon

    Notable Losses: CB Darius Slay, G Graham Glasgow, DT Damon Harrison, EDGE Devon Kennard

    Slay is one of the best corners in football, and while signing Trufant was a positive move for the Lions, he can hardly make up for the loss of the secondary member who developed a rather contentious relationship with head coach Matt Patricia.

    Shelton is coming off an excellent year for the New England Patriots, and Harmon was also very good in an excellent Pats secondary when he was on the field.

    Can they have success in Detroit after playing for such a well-rounded Patriots defense last season? Fortunately, Patricia helped create New England's schemes when he was the defensive coordinator, so there might be upside there.

    Collins also had a big year for the Pats, and he has excelled in each of the last two seasons. However, he is getting older, and three years and $30 million is quite the expensive gamble on him retaining form.

    However, the Lions gave out one of the worst contracts in free agency by handing Vaitai, who was not even a starter with the Philadelphia Eagles, five years and $45 million. Vaitai has been somewhat effective in the running game, which should help make up for the loss of Glasgow. But he struggles as a pass protector.

    The Lions figure to nab a top defensive player in the 2020 NFL draft, but the loss of Slay and spending exorbitant amounts of money on an underwhelming offensive tackle make this a tough offseason.

    Grade: C-

Green Bay Packers

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    Ron Schwane/Associated Press

    Notable Additions: LB Christian Kirksey, OT Rick Wagner, WR Devin Funchess

    Notable Losses: LB Blake Martinez, OT Bryan Bulaga, CB Tramon Williams, WR Geronimo Allison, TE Jimmy Graham 

    There's not much to pull out of Green Bay's offseason because they have been mostly inactive, and they will look to prioritize adding wide receivers in the draft.

    Funchess is more of an upside buy, as injuries (he played just one game in 2019) have negated any hype surrounding his breakout 2017 campaign.

    However, replacing Martinez with Kirksey is not the most advisable move. Kirksey had a nice two-year stretch in 2016 and 2017, but he has played just nine total games in the last two years. He's hardly the most encouraging replacement, particularly considering Martinez was a reliable tackler and decent in coverage in the middle of Green Bay's defense.

    Wagner was not as solid in 2019, but he was far cheaper than Bulaga, and he could be an absolute bargain pickup for the Packers if he even approaches Bulaga's level of steadiness in Green Bay.

    Grade: C

Houston Texans

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    John Hefti/Associated Press

    Notable Additions: RB David Johnson, WR Brandin Cooks, WR Randall Cobb

    Notable Losses: WR DeAndre Hopkins, DT D.J Reader, CB Jonathan Joseph

    Where to start with the Texans?

    Houston inexplicably traded one of the best receivers in football (Hopkins) because he wanted a raise, which he likely deserved, in exchange for a running back (Johnson) who was incredibly underwhelming in 2019 and also has an injury history and a big contract.

    Then, because they lost Hopkins, the Texans traded a second-round pick to the Los Angeles Rams to acquire another injury-riddled player in Brandin Cooks.

    Although he has a potential out in 2021 (which would carry zero dead cap), Cooks is coming off a serious concussion and had the worst year of his career in 2019. Is that worth a second-round pick?

    Those two moves alone are worth a losing grade. However, the Texans were also outbid for Reader after signing Cobb and re-signing cornerback Bradley Roby, which could have a big impact on the front four.

    Bill O'Brien has hardly done himself any favors with his personnel decisions this spring. At least they re-signed Darren Fells? 

    Grade: F

Indianapolis Colts

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    Charlie Riedel/Associated Press

    Notable Additions: DT DeForest Buckner, QB Philip Rivers, CB Xavier Rhodes

    Notable Losses: EDGE Jabaal Sheard, TE Eric Ebron, WR Devin Funchess

    The Colts went for broke in order to acquire Buckner, trading away their 2020 first-round pick and subsequently giving Buckner a huge contract. General manager Chris Ballard wanted an impact player to solidify the defensive front, and Buckner is that guy.

    He had another big year in 2019 after being named to the Pro Bowl in 2018. While the loss of a first-round pick is significant, it will not be as important if Buckner can transform Indy's defense. Plus, the Colts signed Rhodes to a cheap deal.

    For all the drama in Minnesota, Rhodes was still a Pro Bowler in 2019, and he is just a couple of years removed from an All-Pro season. He is already the most talented corner the Colts have had in years, and that alone seems like a win.

    The Colts also made a splash by inking Rivers to a one-year deal, which might be one of the best moves in free agency.

    While Rivers struggled in 2019, he still completed 66 percent of his attempts for 4,615 yards. Not to mention, he was playing behind an inconsistent offensive line, which will hardly be the case in Indianapolis.

    The Colts have one of the best offensive lines in football (which they kept intact by re-signing left tackle Anthony Costanzo), and Rivers might benefit from a more balanced offensive attack that features a heavy dosage of zone runs.

    Moreover, Rivers gives the Colts a more assured presence under center, something they were missing desperately in 2019 despite Jacoby Brissett's best efforts.

    Indianapolis will need to add talent at wide receiver in the draft, but it is not unreasonable to suggest those two moves alone could make the Colts contenders this year. 

    Grade: A

Jacksonville Jaguars

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    David Richard/Associated Press

    Notable Additions: LB Joe Schobert, TE Tyler Eifert, CB Rashaan Melvin

    Notable Losses: EDGE Calais Campbell, CB A.J. Bouye, QB Nick Foles

    On the one hand, this has been a downer of an offseason for Jaguars fans because it has become clear the team is set on rebuilding.

    They traded away Campbell, Bouye and Foles and received relatively lackluster draft-pick compensation. Edge-rusher Yannick Ngakoue also figures to be out of town in short order, though the Jags have made their demands clear there.

    Jacksonville also signed Schobert to a big deal, though he is a former Pro Bowler and a fairly decent option in coverage as well as stuffing the box. Eifert also has upside, though he has struggled to stay healthy throughout his career.

    Realistically, this is a hard offseason to judge for the Jags, though they probably wouldn't have been any closer to contending even if they had retained some of their marquee talents. So, it is only fitting the Jaguars sought to stockpile draft picks as they enter their rebuilding process in earnest.

    Grade: C

Kansas City Chiefs

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    Steve Luciano/Associated Press

    Notable Additions: None

    Notable Losses: CB Kendall Fuller, EDGE Emmanuel Ogbah

    For the Chiefs, this offseason was all about keeping the gang intact, particularly considering they had little cap space to operate with in free agency.

    Kansas City used the franchise tag on all-world defensive tackle Chris Jones, and they also picked up their option on running back Damien Williams while re-signing speedster Demarcus Robinson.

    Jones has emerged as one of the best interior defensive linemen in football. He had 9.0 sacks last season and repeatedly gets hurries on opposing quarterbacks while also getting his hands in the passing lanes.

    Ogbah had his flashes of playmaking on the edge, and Fuller was one of Kansas City's best secondary players during the Super Bowl, but neither were essential to the team's defensive unit.

    The reigning Super Bowl champions already had the winning formula, so there was no reason to tinker or overthink things this offseason.

    Grade: B+

Las Vegas Raiders

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    Mike McCarn/Associated Press

    Notable Additions: LB Cory Littleton, LB Nick Kwiatkoski, QB Marcus Mariota, TE Jason Witten, S Jeff Heath, EDGE Carl Nassib, WR Nelson Agholor 

    Notable Losses: S Karl Joseph, CB Daryl Worley 

    The Raiders needed to have a positive offseason heading into their first year in Sin City, and general manager Mike Mayock made out like a bandit.

    Las Vegas signed a pair of linebackers in Littleton and Kwiatkoski who can stuff the box and make plays on the quarterback.

    Littleton is one of the best cover backers in football, and nabbing him for $11.8 million in average annual value is easily one of the steals of free agency for a Raiders team that desperately needed impact defenders. Kwiatkoski was an excellent stand-in for Danny Trevathan in Chicago last season, though he will have to do more in coverage this year.

    Most of the other additions were depth pieces, though Nassib could be a sneaky addition on the edge. According to Over The Cap, the Raiders only have $8.2 million in cap space, so it might be hard for them to grab another corner given they still need to pay incoming draft picks.

    The "Brady to Vegas" rumors never came to fruition, but it is hard to ignore what the Raiders did to improve a defense that ranked 31st in DVOA (defense-adjusted value over average) last year, per Football Outsiders. If Las Vegas can add secondary pieces in the draft, this will have been a huge offseason.

    Grade: A

Los Angeles Chargers

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    Rick Scuteri/Associated Press

    Notable Additions: CB Chris Harris Jr., DT Linval Joseph, OT Bryan Bulaga, OG Trai Turner 

    Notable Losses: QB Philip Rivers, OT Russell Okung, RB Melvin Gordon 

    The Chargers were another team that struck out on signing Brady, but they too had a fantastic offseason.

    Harris had a down year in 2019 and is showing signs of aging, but he has still been one of the top cover guys in football and now joins a loaded secondary that also features Desmond King.

    But the most consequential moves were on the offensive line. Trading the veteran Okung for a younger, perennial Pro Bowler in Turner was a massive move, and Bulaga is a huge upgrade at right tackle. The Chargers' line was decimated by injuries and inconsistencies last year, but (health pending) they look to have a strong group in 2020.

    Getting Linval Joseph for the defensive interior might also prove an underrated move. The former Pro Bowler had three sacks and stuffs the middle against the run, and he should also be buoyed playing alongside Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram III.

    Plus, the Chargers made the smart move in re-signing Ekeler and letting Melvin Gordon walk. Ekeler averaged 4.2 yards per carry and ranked third in receiving DVOA among running backs, per Football Outsiders.

    The Chargers also brought back Hunter Henry on the franchise tag.

    Grade: A

Los Angeles Rams

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    Michael Ainsworth/Associated Press

    Notable Additions: DT A'Shawn Robinson, EDGE Leonard Floyd

    Notable Losses: RB Todd Gurley, WR Brandin Cooks, LB Cory Littleton, EDGE Dante Fowler Jr., CB Nickell Robey-Coleman, S Eric Weddle, EDGE Clay Matthews

    The Rams paid for handing massive contracts to Gurley and Cooks.

    Los Angeles cut Gurley before he was set to earn a $10.5 million guarantee, and despite getting a second-round pick from the Texans in exchange for Cooks, they will have to pay a record $21.8 million in dead cap money.

    Granted, the Rams will have gotten out from under those contracts after this season, but those are still ugly numbers to incur this year, and it cost them defensively. They lost huge impact players in Fowler and Littleton, also losing Matthews on the edge. This is made worse by the fact they do not have a first-round pick.

    Robinson and Floyd are rebound candidates, though the latter never lived up to his potential with the Chicago Bears.

    The best moves the Rams made were to re-sign veteran left tackle Andrew Whitworth and luck into re-signing defensive linemen Michael Brockers after his preliminary deal with the Baltimore Ravens fell apart.

    While the Rams still have talent on both sides of the ball, this was a shaky offseason. You reap what you sow. 

    Grade: D

Miami Dolphins

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    Roger Steinman/Associated Press

    Notable Additions: CB Byron Jones, EDGE Kyle Van Noy, EDGE Shaq Lawson, G Ereck Flowers, EDGE Emmanuel Ogbah, RB Jordan Howard, C Ted Karras

    Notable Losses: None

    The Dolphins were aggressive spending money this offseason after going 5-4 in the last nine weeks following an 0-7 start.

    Miami made Jones the highest-paid cornerback in the league (in terms of total value), and while it is a lot of money for a guy who does not create a lot of turnovers, he gives the Dolphins another lockdown corner opposite Xavien Howard.

    Giving Flowers $30 million is a gamble made on the premise his 2019 was no fluke. He never lived up to his first-round hype with the New York Giants, but he had a fine season for the Washington Redskins last year, and the Dolphins needed assets on the offensive line.

    Karras is a great buy for Miami as he was one of New England's lone dependable linemen after taking over at center for the injured David Andrews in 2019. He is not a huge upgrade over Daniel Kilgore but still adds depth while also being capable of playing one of the guard spots.

    Finally, the Dolphins made a concerted effort to add to their pass rush. Van Noy might have been an overpay given his age (29) and inconsistent past production, but he (along with Lawson and Ogbah) figures to help alleviate some of the onus on the secondary.

    Jordan Howard is a polarizing figure and another upgrade at the running back spot, though it remains to be seen if he can have success running behind a rebuilt offensive line.

    Ultimately, this was still a productive offseason for the Dolphins, whose hopes ultimately rest on drafting a young quarterback later this month. 

    Grade: B

Minnesota Vikings

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    Tony Avelar/Associated Press

    Notable Additions: DT Michael Pierce

    Notable Losses: WR Stefon Diggs, CB Trae Waynes, EDGE Everson Griffen, CB Mackensie Alexander, DT Linval Joseph, CB Xavier Rhodes, S Andrew Sendejo 

    This was a brutal offseason for the Vikings, though the Diggs trade actually got them a substantial return.

    Diggs was becoming an issue in the locker room and running his way out of town. To get the 22nd overall pick, plus a fifth- and sixth-round selection this year alone, was a good decision, particularly considering the amount of talent at wideout in this year's draft.

    No, the reason this offseason was so rough for the Vikings is their defensive unit was decimated. Minnesota lost all of its top corners, its best pass-rusher in Griffen and a run-stuffing tackle in Joseph.

    The Vikings defense ranked seventh in DVOA last year, but it looks ripe for major slippage after losing so many key pieces, and that will be especially true if the team ends up trading safety Anthony Harris.

    Darren Wolfson of KSTP Minneapolis and SKOR North reported extension talks between Harris and the team have not gone well, and Minnesota might look to trade him for future draft assets if it feels getting a deal done will be more difficult.

    Plus, did Kirk Cousins really earn that contract extension? He had a decent season, but Minnesota was heavily reliant on its rushing attack, and it seems that money could have been delegated toward revamping the defense or extending running back Dalvin Cook. 

    Grade: D-

New England Patriots

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    Nick Wass/Associated Press

    Notable Additions: DT Beau Allen, WR Damiere Byrd

    Notable Losses: QB Tom Brady, EDGE Kyle Van Noy, LB Jamie Collins Sr., DT Danny Shelton, C Ted Karras, S Duron Harmon

    The story of the Patriots' 2020 offseason will always revolve around the departure of Tom Brady.

    But as we have come to learn over the past few weeks, the writing was on the wall for Brady in New England. He even admitted on the Howard Stern Show he knew he would be leaving after the 2019 season.

    While the Pats lost a franchise legend, they did make the savvy decision to franchise tag offensive guard Joe Thuney and also re-signed veteran safety Devin McCourty to ensure head coach Bill Belichick's elite secondary remains mostly intact.

    The losses of Van Noy, Collins and Shelton would feel more consequential if not for the fact Belichick always seems to get the best out of his defensive players.

    New England was in a compromising position this offseason, but it did its best to keep things stable with the limited cap it had, which was a little more than $1 million, per Over The Cap.

    The Patriots will count on 2019 fourth-round pick Jarrett Stidham to be the new signal-caller in a transition year. 

    Grade: C

New Orleans Saints

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    Brett Duke/Associated Press

    Major Additions: S Malcolm Jenkins, WR Emmanuel Sanders 

    Major Losses: S Vonn Bell, CB Eli Apple, LB A.J. Klein

    Whereas Brady might have made up his mind to leave New England, Drew Brees' heart was always in New Orleans.

    Re-signing Brees was at the very center of the Saints' offseason, and they also brought back hybrid offensive talent Taysom Hill, defensive tackle David Onyemata and offensive guard Andrus Peat. They paid a steep price for Peat, though it may have been necessary given the relative shortage of premium guards available in free agency.

    The focus was on keeping the core intact, but the Saints still managed to make a pair of enormous moves that should help them improve on both sides of the ball in 2020.

    Jenkins is a consummate pro and an absolute menace at the safety spot. He posted a career-high four forced fumbles and nine quarterback hits last season and is just as capable of dropping into zone coverage.

    Meanwhile, Sanders gives Brees a legitimate No. 2 opposite Michael Thomas. He showed flashes of explosiveness in San Francisco, averaging close to 14 yards per reception while also creating separation on intermediate routes. He can play out wide or in the slot, and—at two years and $24 million—provides the Saints with good value.

    The moves were sparse, but they might be very consequential to New Orleans' pursuit of a Super Bowl.

    Grade: A

New York Giants

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    Mike McCarn/Associated Press

    Notable Additions: CB James Bradberry, LB Blake Martinez

    Notable Losses: EDGE Markus Golden, S Antoine Bethea, LB Alec Ogletree, OT Mike Remmers 

    The Giants have been in dire need of assets in the secondary during recent years, so they paid Bradberry big money to anchor one of the corner spots. 

    Bradberry gave up six touchdowns as the nearest defender in 2018, but he also limited big plays in 2019 and allowed just one touchdown while grabbing three interceptions. He will have a big target on his back, and it remains to be seen whether he can help improve the New York secondary.

    Martinez was a solid pickup as a sure tackler who can man the middle and play in some cover schemes, which should somewhat negate the loss of Ogletree.

    Realistically, much of New York's offseason grade hinges on the decision to use the franchise tag on defensive tackle Leonard Williams.

    Perhaps there was an added incentive to tag Williams given the Giants traded a haul for him last season. But the 25-year-old was underwhelming in 2019, though he did have a better adjusted win rate than Yannick Ngakoue, per Pro Football Focus.

    The Giants still have just over $17 million in cap space, per Over The Cap, so they might look to add a corner like Logan Ryan before the draft.

    But as things stand, this was a mediocre offseason for the G-Men.

    Grade: C

New York Jets

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    Jack Dempsey/Associated Press

    Notable Additions: OT George Fant, C Connor McGovern

    Notable Losses: WR Robby Anderson, C Ryan Kalil, OT Brandon Shell, OT Kelvin Beachum, CB Trumaine Johnson

    The Fant signing was puzzling.

    New York gave him a three-year, $27.3 million deal even though he has been an infrequent starter throughout his short NFL career and has played no more than 43 percent of snaps in either of the last two seasons.

    Fant can play left tackle, but in 2019 he gave up 23 pressures and is mediocre at that spot. That is big money for a guy who will have to protect Sam Darnold's blind side.

    The McGovern signing made much more sense. He had a terrific year after moving to center for the Broncos midway through the 2018 season. In fact, he was one of just three linemen who played 600 snaps without a single penalty in 2019.

    The Jets might regret paying Fant so much money when they could have paid up for Jadeveon Clowney or Everson Griffen, though they could use their remaining cap space, per Over the Cap, to try to sign Griffen (Clowney might be out of their price range).

    Grade: C-

Philadelphia Eagles

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    David Zalubowski/Associated Press

    Notable Additions: CB Darius Slay, DT Javon Hargrave

    Notable Losses: OT Jason Peters, S Malcolm Jenkins, WR Nelson Agholor, CB Ronald Darby, RB Jordan Howard

    By trading for Slay and signing Hargrave, the Eagles solidified their defense. The addition of Slay was particularly notable.

    The Eagles have been exposed in previous seasons for their lack of depth at the corner spot, but Slay gives them one of the top shutdown players in the league, and he is also capable of forcing turnovers. Acquiring Slay will allow Philly to slide Jalen Mills to the safety spot and freed up some space to sign Hargrave.

    Hargrave had one of the best pressure rates in football in 2019, and he stuffs the run at the nose tackle spot. The 27-year-old gives the Eagles a terrific front four with Brandon Graham, Fletcher Cox and Derek Barnett.

    Still, it is hard not to question Philadelphia's dormancy in the wide receiver market. Bringing back Agholor was never in the cards, but heading into the year with oft-injured wideouts Alshon Jeffery and DeSean Jackson at the top of the depth chart is far from desirable.

    The Eagles will undoubtedly look for upgrades in the draft, but it is still a glaring hole that needs filling if they hope to progress in 2020.

    Grade: B

Pittsburgh Steelers

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    Eric Christian Smith/Associated Press

    Notable Additions: FB Derek Watt, OG Stefen Wisniewski, TE Eric Ebron, DT Chris Wormley

    Notable Losses: DT Javon Hargrave, CB Artie Burns, LB Mark Barron

    The Steelers had one of the best defenses in football last year, and they merely needed to make some minor tweaks to the offense.

    They did just that by signing Wisniewski, who has been more of a journeyman in recent years but was an effective pass-blocker when he was on the field last season.

    Watt is another guy who could be a bargain pickup as someone who can grind out yards in the running game. He has also developed into something of a special teams ace, which should never go unnoticed.

    Ebron's snap count and production decreased in 2019 as he was injured, but he is talented and another big target in the red zone.

    Losing Hargrave was tough, but Wormley was a decent interior presence last season and could plug some holes.

    While this offseason was hardly spectacular, the Steelers already have a foundation in place—especially when they get franchise quarterback Ben Roethlisberger back from injury.

    Grade: B

San Francisco 49ers

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    Tony Avelar/Associated Press

    Notable Additions: None

    Notable Losses: DT DeForest Buckner, WR Emmanuel Sanders

    Much like that of their Super Bowl opponents, the Niners' offseason was predicated on keeping their core intact.

    Yes, they chose re-signing Arik Armstead over keeping Buckner, but they managed to grab the 13th overall pick from the Colts as a result of that trade, which might be one of the best deals of the offseason in terms of acquiring draft value.

    The 49ers will likely be able to grab one of the top receivers with that pick—whether it is CeeDee Lamb, Jerry Jeudy or Henry Ruggs III—which should make up for the loss of Sanders.

    Re-signing safety Jimmie Ward for three years and $28.5 million was a terrific move, as Ward stayed mostly healthy and was both an excellent tackler and good in zone coverage.

    Meanwhile, re-signing Armstead ensured the Niners will retain their fearsome edge-rushing duo with Armstead and Nick Bosa constantly applying pressure.

    San Francisco had a winning formula in 2019, and there was no reason to mess with that this offseason. Moreover, the Buckner trade could pay major dividends if the team selects a future star wideout with Deebo Samuel coming into his own.

    Grade: A-

Seattle Seahawks

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    Patrick Semansky/Associated Press

    Notable Additions: TE Greg Olsen, EDGE Bruce Irvin, C B.J. Finney, OT Cedric Ogbuehi, OT Brandon Shell, CB Quinton Dunbar

    Notable Losses: DT Quinton Jefferson, EDGE Ezekiel Ansah, OT Germain Ifedi, OT George Fant, OG Mike Iupati

    The Seahawks hardly did much to improve the offensive line, which ranked 27th last year, according to Pro Football Focus.

    Though they will not lament the loss of Fant or Ifedi, Shell is only a minor upgrade, which hurts considering there were other, more reliable tackles (Bryan Bulaga) on the market. Finney has a limited snap count in four seasons.

    The Seahawks are also banking on Olsen to be healthy once again in 2020, in which case he will give Russell Wilson a dependable pass-catcher who permeates the seams.

    Seattle did much better in terms of defensive additions. Irvin is not flashy, but he had his best years with the Seahawks and is familiar with the scheme. Plus, he is coming off an 8.5-sack season.

    Dunbar was a fantastic acquisition. He had four interceptions in just 11 games with Washington last season and added much-needed depth to a secondary that made big strides in 2019.

    The Seahawks are still hoping to re-sign Jadeveon Clowney, though the outlook is not great. But if Clowney can be convinced to take a short-term deal, it would go a long way toward solidifying the roster.

    Still, regardless of whether they ink Clowney, the Seahawks needed to upgrade their pass protection, and the decision to go with a committee approach rather than spending a little extra on a reputable tackle might come back to bite them.

    Grade: C

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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    Bill Sikes/Associated Press

    Notable Additions: QB Tom Brady

    Notable Losses: QB Jameis Winston, WR Breshad Perriman, EDGE Carl Nassib

    The Brady signing was the most consequential move in Buccaneers history.

    Even if you are a Brady naysayer and feel he had a down year in 2019 (he did), the outlook is entirely different in Tampa.

    The Bucs have arguably the best receiving tandem in the league in Mike Evans and Chris Godwin as well as a pair of talented tight ends in Cameron Brate and O.J. Howard. Not to mention, Ronald Jones II is a capable receiver coming out of the backfield.

    This group might be the most talented crew of position players Brady has played with since 2007, when he put up record numbers alongside Randy Moss and Wes Welker. Considering the Bucs also have a fairly strong offensive line, head coach Bruce Arians should be salivating at the possibilities.

    On the defensive side of the ball, the Bucs used the franchise tag on sack leader Shaquil Barrett while also bringing back Jason Pierre-Paul and Ndamukong Suh, keeping together a front four that anchored the stiffest run defense in the league in terms of DVOA.

    The Tampa Bay defense inherited the worst starting position of any defense in football. Given Brady's ability to take care of the ball and his proficiency as a game manager, that defense could be even scarier in 2020, especially with all the main pieces returning.

    The Bucs have not made the playoffs since 2007, but they might even be Super Bowl contenders in 2020.

    Grade: A+

Tennessee Titans

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    Jeff Roberson/Associated Press

    Notable Additions: EDGE Vic Beasley

    Notable Losses: QB Marcus Mariota, OT Jack Conklin, DT Jurrell Casey, TE Delanie Walker

    The Titans dedicated their offseason to locking up Ryan Tannehill and Derrick Henry at the expense of some of their other key cogs.

    As good as Tannehill was in 2019, paying him $29.5 million was a massive gamble.

    Tannehill actually had one of the lower expected completion percentages in football last season, per Next Gen Stats, and he was often relegated to the role of game manager as the Titans relied on a heavy dosage of Henry.

    Alternatively, if the Titans used the franchise tag on Tannehill, they risked having to offer Henry a big extension, which would be a nightmare for any general manager. Even still, Tennessee is likely to consider extending Henry. So, why not tag Tannehill instead?

    Though the Titans likely felt an urgency to lock up their quarterback, they also priced themselves out of Conklin's market and probably traded Casey to the Broncos over future salary concerns. Tennessee really could not have gotten more than a seventh-round pick for Casey?

    It could still bring back cornerback Logan Ryan, but that remains to be seen.

    In many ways, this offseason will hinge on how Tannehill performs. That should provoke a worrisome feeling among Titans fans.

    Grade: C-

Washington Redskins

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    Adam Hunger/Associated Press

    Notable Additions: CB Kendall Fuller, LB Thomas Davis Sr., S Sean Davis, OG Wes Schweitzer

    Notable Losses: QB Case Keenum, OG Ereck Flowers, CB Josh Norman, CB Quinton Dunbar

    The Redskins are in a rebuild, but they made some interesting moves in free agency. 

    Fuller returns to Washington after a two-year stint in Kansas City, and he should be more comfortable slotting back in to an outside corner spot after playing a roaming safety role for the Chiefs last year. 

    Thomas Davis is at the end of his career, but he had a nice bounce-back season with the Chargers last year and should provide some veteran leadership for a young team hoping to make strides. 

    Sean Davis might also be a decent pickup for the secondary. He missed all but one game last year but showed flashes in his first three seasons with the Steelers.

    Schweitzer figures to slide into one of the guard spots to replace Flowers.

    Most of this offseason has centered on the ongoing saga between the team and Trent Williams. There is no excusing the organization's past errors with respect to this relationship, but it is also true it could acquire multiple future assets if it finds the right trade partner. 

    Grade: B-


    Stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference and Football Outsiders unless otherwise noted. Contract information courtesy of Spotrac unless otherwise noted.


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