Free agency is always one of the most eventful periods in the NFL world, and this offseason has continued that trend signifcantly. With some big moves flying around the league, here are the winners and losers (so far) of this year’s free agency.
The Jaguars to me are the biggest winners of free agency so far. I feel like every time I look at Twitter, I see a new big name headed to Jacksonville and making them a contender, as weird as that is to say. The list of names added is huge: cornerback Prince Amukamura, running back Chris Ivory, safety Tashaun Gibson, and defensive tackle Malik Jackson, along with resigning tight end Mercedes Lewis. Jacksonville is stacking its defense, and with a few more offensive weapons to surround quarterback Blake Bortles, this team will be dangerous in 2016.
The Raiders are another team that has been making big moves in free agency, signing big names like linebacker Bruce Irvin, cornerback Sean Smith, and offensive lineman Kelechi Osemele. Oakland’s offense is already pretty talented with Derek Carr under center and Amari Cooper out catching his passes, so adding in Irvin and Smith to the defensive side of the ball are huge moves. I was already scared of the Raiders last year, and these moves make them even stronger.
Osweiler made out with potentially one of the biggest robberies in NFL history. Obviously he performed well in his short starting stint in Denver this past season, but to say he’s worth the four-year, $72 million contract he agreed to with the $37 million guaranteed in the first two years is a bit of an exaggeration. Time will tell if Osweiler is worth the money in Houston, who lost in the first round of the playoffs against the Chiefs because of poor quarterback play, but for now Osweiler is the biggest winner in Houston.
This one is obvious, but the Broncos have lost in a ton of ways so far this offseason. Denver fell short in the Brock Osweiler sweepstakes, and also lost key defensive talents in Malik Jackson and linebacker Danny Trevathan. The team is also in danger of losing star running back CJ Anderson to Miami, which would be a huge loss in the Denver backfield. The team needs to make some moves offensively to fill some serious voids, and potentially needs to fill some holes defensively to continue as a contender in the AFC next year.
The Dolphins have been making moves left and right, but I see a lot of them as negatives rather than positives. Getting rid of stars like cornerback Brent Grimes and defensive end Olivier Vernon are big losses for this talented defense, and trading with the Eagles for Byron Maxwell and Kiko Alonso are mediocre replacements for the two. The team needs to focus on the offense, which is what they’re doing with CJ Anderson, and needs to start making big moves to contest the New England Patriots in the AFC East.
The Bengals had a very talented offense last season and, with smarter decision-making, could’ve made some noise in the playoffs if healthy. That same offense seems to be falling apart, as wide receivers Mohammed Sanu and Marvin Jones fled the scene for brighter horizons. The team is now left with just quarterback Andy Dalton, wide receiver AJ Green, and a talented running back duo of Giovanni Bernard and Jeremy Hill. The team will need to get some targets for Dalton if they want to make another playoff run in 2016.