5 NFL groups who improved in free company probably the most, and a pair of groups who didn’t


When 12:01 p.m. hit on Monday afternoon, the authorized tampering window was blasted open and NFL free company acquired underway. Groups had been wheeling and dealing, spending wild quantities of cash by the primary two days. NFL Community’s Gregg Rosenthal made a listing of the high 101 free brokers earlier than the league 12 months began, and that is the state of the listing now:

Yeah, quite a bit cash has been thrown round quick by this level within the free company window. Nonetheless, not each transfer is made equal. Whereas some groups drastically modified the outlook of their roster, some nonetheless have loads of questions left to reply. With that being stated, listed below are 5 groups that acquired higher and a pair of groups that want some extra work to be carried out in free company.

5 NFL groups that acquired higher in free company

New Orleans Saints v Minnesota Vikings

Houston Texans

With one of many NFL’s finest passers going into his second 12 months on a rookie deal, the Texans got here in with some huge cash to spend to enhance on a workforce that went to the divisional spherical final 12 months.

They went in and hit a grand slam with their early free company interval. The large fish of their haul was DE Danielle Hunter, signing a two-year, $49 million cope with $48 assured. After dropping Jonathan Greenard in free company, the Texans made a more economical transfer for a greater move rusher in Hunter, and have created the most effective EDGE duo within the division.

On high of that, signing LB Azeez Al-Shaair upgrades the emptiness Blake Cashman left in free company. Al-Shaair has expertise with Demeco Ryans, and is a bodily run defender that may play MIKE. Denico Autry supplies some depth and flexibility up entrance, with the ability to play 3T or kick exterior. That protection has immediately gotten extra juice, strengthening the weakest level of the Texans from final 12 months.

Offensively, with most of their guys being on rookie offers or long run contracts, they primarily retained their very own. A commerce for RB Joe Mixon may very well be actually good if Mixon returns to his 2021 type, however Houston immediately fastened their defensive points, elevating their inventory going into 2024.

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Atlanta Falcons

Atlanta landed the massive QB fish in Kirk Cousins, which mechanically makes them a winner. The contract construction additionally works nicely right here, however on the sector it is a good match for a workforce that feels they’re just a few small items away from being severe contenders in an NFC that has good, however flawed groups. Cousins performed the most effective soccer of his profession underneath Kevin O’Connell, who got here from the identical McVay system as new Falcons OC Zac Robinson. There’s a perception that in an offense with the identical bones because the one in Minnesota, he can succeed.

As well as, the Falcons added WR Darnell Mooney, a speedy receiver who can do loads of work on jet motions in 11 personnel. He’s an important complement to Drake London and Kyle Pitts, and might function very well with Kirk Cousins downfield. Atlanta nonetheless must make a pair extra strikes, however they began off very well.

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Los Angeles Rams

Huge. Beefy. Linemen. Paving. Roads.

The Los Angeles Rams have undergone a shift of their offensive philosophy, going from an out of doors zone heavy method to extra duo and vertical of their run sport. They solidified this by paying huge cash to retain RG Kevin Dotson, then shelling out cash to signal LG Jonah Jackson and TE Colby Parkinson. Their motive is evident: they need to have the ability to grind groups into the grime within the run sport, making life a bit bit simpler on QB Matthew Stafford and firm within the passing sport. I’ve beloved their strikes offensively, and it exhibits that they wish to get forward of the curve on the NFL, schematically.

They haven’t made many strikes defensively, however bringing again CB Darious Williams is an superior transfer. He’s an skilled nook who excels in off protection, one thing the Rams do loads of. Not solely that, however he’s a veteran in a room with loads of undrafted and late spherical younger guys. Williams was on the Rams workforce that received the Tremendous Bowl, and he can deliver that again with him to LA.

Carolina Panthers v Miami Dolphins

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Carolina Panthers

Let’s be very clear right here: there was nowhere to go however up for the Panthers on this free company window. After having the worst document within the NFL and no first spherical draft decide, the Panthers had been kinda hamstrung in first 12 months GM Dan Morgan’s first offseason in cost. Nonetheless, the strikes that they made did make them higher. Buying and selling away Brian Burns (particularly for that worth) sucks, however the strikes they made offensively assist them to get off the ground and provides us a glimpse into what they wish to be offensively.

Spending large capital on guards Robert Hunt and Damien Lewis make it clear that the run sport is a serious precedence, together with defending stress up the center for second-year QB Bryce Younger. As well as, they solely had to surrender CB Donte Jackson and a seventh-round decide for Steelers WR Diontae Johnson, which is able to give Younger somebody who creates straightforward separation. Yeah it’s some huge cash, however while you’re the Panthers, you’ll need to overpay. It’s not franchise-altering, however it’s a begin.

NFL: DEC 31 Panthers at Jaguars

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Washington Commanders

I’ve truthfully beloved the strikes the Commanders have made in free company, particularly on protection. Loads of Cowboys came to visit, resembling EDGEs Dorance Armstrong and Dante Fowler Jr.. Each guys won’t be three-down starters, however can present rotational move rush for head coach Dan Quinn’s stress packages. LB Frankie Luvu signing for $36 million over three years is nice worth, and S Jeremy Chinn is a good match for what Quinn desires to do defensively.

Offensively, there’s some intriguing strikes right here. Heart Tyler Biadasz coming over from Dallas makes an fascinating logjam on the inside with Ricky Stromberg presumably being the odd man out. Austin Ekeler comes over from Los Angeles and might be an fascinating match within the Kliff Kingsbury offense. QB Marcus Mariota is right here too. Washington has made some good strikes this free company interval, strikes that may assist a rookie QB.

NFL groups with extra work to do

Seattle Seahawks

I’ve loads of questions for what the Seahawks are planning in head coach Mike MacDonald’s first 12 months. Re-signing TE Noah Fant and DT Leonard Williams had been cool, however they nonetheless have much more work to do. Letting LB Jordyn Brooks stroll, and seeing him solely get $10M per 12 months from the Dolphins has to sting a bit bit. Dropping Damien Lewis felt like a given, however now it’s only a bit complicated what they’re doing.

Dallas Cowboys

Uhhh…have the Cowboys discovered that free company began? All of their strikes appear to go in opposition to the “all-in” mantra that Jerry Jones stated earlier than the window opened. What has “all-in” seemed like? Nicely, right here goes:

  • Re-signing lengthy snapper Trent Sieg
  • Letting LT Tyron Smith stroll, with out a true succession plan
  • Not extending QB Dak Prescott to create extra cap to…
  • Give WR CeeDee Lamb a brand new contract

CB Stephon Gilmore can be a free agent, but the Cowboys have been oddly quiet. Letting RB Tony Pollard stroll is likely to be good for them, however there’s no viable alternative plan at this second exterior of the draft. Even then, there are holes at LB nonetheless, and the free agent market at linebacker is shortly really fizzling out. I’m simply confused by the plan and imaginative and prescient in Dallas, and we would not be capable of discover out till free company ends.