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NFL Free Agency: Three Winners and Losers From the First Wave

Photo Credit Bill Streicher/USA Today Sports

The first major part of free agency is now essentially over. At the time of this writing, it’s been nearly two weeks since free agency started, and most free agents have found their home for the next year. Of course, there are a ton of quality players who remain unsigned, but we’ve definitively passed the first checkpoint of free agency. With that complete, here are three winners and losers from the NFL free agency period up to this point.

Winner: Detroit Lions

Detroit has one of the youngest, most exciting rosters in the NFL. The Lions missed the playoffs last year by the skin of their teeth, despite an impressive 2022 campaign.

With money to spend, the Lions made a handful of moves. Detroit signed C.J. Gardner-Johnson, Emmanuel Moseley, and Cameron Sutton on the defensive side of the ball. Those three should dramatically improve a secondary that was torched for most of the 2022 season.

They lost Jonathan Williams, but replaced him with a more-than-capable David Montgomery. Losing Williams might hurt the locker room, but this young team is easily one of, if not the, biggest winners from the first wave of NFL free agency.

Loser: Philadelphia Eagles

The Eagles are coming off a wildly successful year, but their roster has taken a bit of a hit during this free agency period.

The Eagles have lost a whopping seven starters to free agency this year. Javon Hargrave, T.J. Edwards, Kyzir White, C.J. Gardner Johnson, and Marcus Epps have left the defensive side of the ball. The offense has lost Miles Sanders and Isaac Seumalo. All this adds up to the Eagles being one of the big losers from the NFL free agency period thus far.

This isn’t exactly a surprise. Philadelphia had a laundry list of players hitting the market this offseason, without the funds to keep them all. Still, losing seven starters hurts, and this team will look very different come training camp.

Winner: Carolina Panthers

The Panthers have had a very interesting offseason. Carolina sent an envoy of assets to Chicago for the number one pick. They’ve recouped some of those in free agency as well.

Carolina did have to send away their star receiver, D.J. Moore, in order to get the first pick. However, they recovered some of that lost talent by signing Adam Thielen. Staying on the offense, the Panthers also picked up tight end Hayden Hurst, running back Miles Sanders, and wide receiver D.J. Chark. With these additions, whichever quarterback they take will have a lot of weapons around him.

Loser: Las Vegas Raiders

The Raiders have undergone more change than most of the NFL as a whole during this offseason. They’ve rid themselves of Derek Carr and Darren Waller, with many fans wondering who the next player to go is.

Jimmy Garoppolo will be their quarterback in 2023, but his deal makes it so he can be cut after a year without too much dead money. It seems like Josh McDaniels and Dave Ziegler are aiming for a Patriots reunion, picking up Jakobi Meyers to pair with Garoppolo. The Raiders have made every move possible on offense, while mind-numbingly ignoring a defensive unit that, on paper, is easily one of the worst in the league.

The Raiders are in NFL purgatory. They don’t know whether they want to contend or rebuild, and by not making a choice, they’ve made the worst choice possible.

Winner: Atlanta Falcons

The Falcons made a variety of key signings during this period. Atlanta is a team on the rise, and with some of their moves this offseason, they seem to be just a quarterback away from contention.

On defense, the Falcons were able to grab Jesse Bates and David Onyemata. On offense, they added Mack Hollins and Jonnu Smith. These two, with Drake London and Kyle Pitts will make for a dynamic receiving corps.

Atlanta just needs their quarterback now. Whether their franchise quarterback will come through the draft, a trade, or he’s already in house, one thing is for sure: The Falcons have set themselves up very well and are a clear winner of this year’s NFL free agency period so far.

Loser: Green Bay Packers

The Packers have found themselves in quite the pickle. Green Bay has had a bit of a stagnant free agency, but their hands are tied. The main reasons for this are a lack of cap space, and the whole Aaron Rodgers situation.

The Packers do have his predecessor in Jordan Love, but they’ve been put in a precarious situation. Until they agree with the Jets on compensation for a Rodgers trade, their lack of cap space prevents them from signing any new free agents.

After the Rodgers saga is over, the Packers might very well come out of this offseason in a better place. As of now though, their lack of ability to sign notable free agents makes them a loser up to this point in the NFL free agency period.

NFL Free Agency: Biggest Moves From First Three Days

Photo Credit: Michael Owens/Getty Images

The NFL’s offseason period is typically a long, boring one. However, one of the most exciting days during that period is the onset of free agency, which we got to witness on Monday. Teams all around the league are making moves, and each one of these moves provides optimism and renewed hope for even the most pessimistic fanbases. A lot happened over these first couple of days. Let’s recap some of the biggest signings of the first three days of NFL free agency.

NFL Free Agency: Biggest Moves

Bears Sign TJ Edwards to 3-Year Deal

The Chicago Bears made the first big move of the NFL free agency period, signing former Eagles’ star linebacker TJ Edwards to a three-year contract worth $19.5 million. Edwards is one of the more underrated defenders in the league, and Chicago was able to grab him for a surprisingly small price.

Broncos Sign Ben Powers to 4-Year Deal

The next big name to come off the board was Ben Powers, who got a massive contract in Denver. After the debacle that was the Broncos’ 2022 season, they came into this off-season understanding the need to upgrade their offensive line. Denver had a pay a hefty price, one of $52 million, but they get some valuable help on the line.

49ers Sign Javon Hargrave to 4-Year Deal

Javon Hargrave entered NFL free agency as one of, if not the best defensive tackles available. He got paid as such, receiving $84 million over the course of this new contract. Hargrave was a staple piece on an excellent Eagles’ defense, and will make an immediate impact in Santa Clara

Raiders Sign Jimmy Garoppolo to 3-Year Deal

The Raiders made their big splash early, signing Jimmy Garoppolo. With a vacancy at the quarterback position, and the fact that their seventh-overall selection in the NFL draft is too low for a top quarterback prospect, this move makes sense. Josh McDaniels and Jimmy Garoppolo will reunite in Las Vegas, attempting to resuscitate the franchise.

Falcons Sign Jesse Bates to 4-Year Deal

The Falcons made a huge move, landing one of the best players in the entire free agent class. They’ll be paying Bates $16 million per year, but given his level of play throughout his career, his impact on the defense will be well worth it.

Giants Sign Bobby Okereke to Four-Year Deal

After a surprising and quick rise to contention last year, the Giants suddenly find themselves in win-now mode. They helped their chances out a lot with this signing. The former Colts linebacker is one of the better linebackers in all of football, and they were able to sign him for just about $10 million a year.

Vikings Sign Marcus Davenport to 1-Year Deal

Minnesota made their first big move of the period, signing star defensive lineman Marcus Davenport to a one year, $13 million deal. The Vikings get immediate pass-rush help, and they won’t be on the hook for a multiple-year commitment, either.

Raiders Trade Darren Waller to Giants

In one of the more shocking moves of the off-season, the Raiders’ traded Darren Waller to New York. Waller has missed a lot of time due to injuries recently, but he remains one of the better tight ends in the league. Now, he joins a talented, young Giants roster.

Panthers Sign Miles Sanders

On day three, the Panthers continued their string of big moves during this off-season. Carolina picked up former Eagles’ running back Miles Sanders. Sanders remains one of the premier running backs in the league, and will help whichever quarterback they draft.

Bengals Sign Orlando Brown to Four-Year Deal

The Bengals made their first splash on the market on Wednesday, signing Orlando Brown to a four year, $64 million deal. Over the past couple of years, the Bengals have made efforts to shore up the offensive line, and they got a stud in Orlando Brown.

Patriots Sign JuJu Smith-Schuster to Three-Year Deal

The Patriots made their first major investment on day three. New England signed Juju to the three-year, $33 million deal. Juju will replace Jakobi Meyers, and will be the newest weapon at the Patriots’ disposal.

Colts Trade Stephon Gilmore to Cowboys

In another big trade coming on Tuesday, the Colts sent five-time Pro Bowler Stephon Gilmore to Dallas. Gilmore is a bit past his prime, but he still has a ton of talent to bring. Indianapolis received a fifth-round pick for Gilmore.

Saints Re-sign Michael Thomas to 1-Year Deal

The Saints don’t have a lot of cap room, but they were able to retain Thomas. Thomas has struggled with injuries recently, but is one of the better receivers in the league — when healthy. He’ll be catching passes from Derek Carr in 2023.

Buccaneers Sign Baker Mayfield

As Tampa bay searches to find a replacement for Tom Brady, the first player they’ve set their eyes on is Baker Mayfield. Baker has bounced around a bit since leaving Cleveland, but will compete for the #1 spot in training camp.

Packers Offseason: What Would I Do If I Was Brian Gutekunst?

The offseason is here; we are all disappointed in the Packers performance. Changes will have to be made, like any other offseason. This article will explore what I would do with this offseason if I was Packers GM Brian Gutekunst?

There is a lot to do for him and the front office. There will be a lot of moving parts that affect one another. Beyond the usual free agency and NFL draft that has to be dealt with, there is of course the cap. At this point they are over by 5.36 million per OverTheCap. There is also the Aaron Rodgers ‘will he or wont he retire’ issue. That one will be the most important one that needs dealt with, and should be dealt with first. So, let’s get to it.

Will Packers QB Aaron Rodgers retire in the offseason?
Credit: Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

What to do with Aaron Rodgers?

This is obviously a complicated situation. The Packers kind of married themselves to him last offseason with the contract extension they gave him. It does not make it easy for them to get out of. With his massive cap hit, there isn’t a lot of maneuvering to be done other than restructures — and the Packers have borrowed from the future three off-season’s in a row. Eventually you have to pay the man, so to speak.

As we all know, there is the old saying of about the definition of insanity… Well they would be doing this offseason what they did the previous three; and it has not worked out. What makes them think it magically will this time? I would rip off the band-aid. If he wants to come back, I would trade him after June 1. The Packers get a net gain of about one million in cap space in that scenario.

Packers Offseason Free Agents

Gutekunst has a number of free agents he will have to figure out what the Packers want to do with in the offseason — and not much cap space to work with. The unrestricted free agents are Allen Lazard, Eric Wilson, Justin Hollins, Rudy Ford, Keisean Nixon, Corey Ballentine and Dallin Leavitt.

I would attempt to re-sign Hollins to a 1-year 1.80 million deal with a 500k signing bonus. With Nixon, I would offer him a two-year, 2 million dollar deal with a 1 million dollar bonus. I would also offer Rudy Ford a vet minimum deal with a small signing bonus, but he probably gets more on the open market.

Adrian Amos, Randall Cobb, Dean Lowry, Marcedes Lewis, Robert Tonyan, Jarran Reed, and Mason Crosby all have voids in their contracts. In this scenario, I let them walk and thank them for their service.

The Packers have just four restricted free agents in Yosh Nijman, Krys Barnes, Tyler Davis, and Jake Hanson. I would give Nijman the 2nd-round tender and Barnes that right of first refusal. I would let Hanson and Davis walk.


Since we are ripping off band-aids here, we will be also cutting any vets who don’t fit in the long term with the roster. I will cut David Bahktiari, Preston Smith, Aaron Jones, Vernon Scott, Luke Tenuta, and Jonathan Garvin.

Where does that leave us?

All these moves leave the Packers with 8.4 million in cap space. That is not enough for the draft class, UDFAs, and in-season space. Per Ken Ingalls, the Packers will need about 11 million for their draft class, 3.45 for the practice squad, and about 5 million in season. Which means they need to create almost another 20 million in space.


This obviously means restructures need to be made. It was going to have to be done regardless of what happens with Rodgers this offseason. With a simple restructure of Kenny Clark’s contract they can create $10.37 million in space, which gets us half way there.

Restructuring Jaire Alexander’s contract gets the Packers another $8.86 million which gets them to 19.23 million. Then we get a simple restructure of De’Vondre Campbell to get the Packers another 2.46 million. We are done. This would leave the Packers with almost $22 million in space so they could also sign a couple vet minimum guys. They could also redo Douglas’ deal and clear up another $1.5 million. The Packers could do that this offseason, but we don’t need to here.


Rashan Gary is an obvious first thought for a contract extension, but coming off the ACL I would want to see him play in-season just to make sure he gets back to his previous self. It might cost more in the long run, but its safer. AJ Dillon is another player you could think about extending, but I don’t think he has done enough to warrant one. Yet.

Where does this leave the Packers in 2023?

It actually leaves them with a competitive roster. They won’t get in the playoffs, but they won’t be competing for at top five pick in April either. They’d have to bite the cap bullet in 2023, but would get some relief in 2024 with $62 million in cap space and are pretty much in the clear beyond that.

Packers Offseason Roster

QB: Jordan Love/rookie or cheap vet

RB: Dillon/rookie

WR: Watson/Doubs/Toure or rookie or Melton

TE: Deguara/Austin Allen/rookie/rookie and or cheap vet

OT: Tom/Nijman

OG: Jenkins/Runyan

C: Myers

or my favorite

OT: rookie/Nijman

OG: Jenkins/Runyan or Myers

C: Tom

ED: Enagbare/rookie or Hollins (until Gary is back)

DL: Clark/Slaton/Wyatt

LB: Campbell/Walker

CB: Stokes/jaire

Nickel/Safety: Rasul

S: Savage/rookie

Final thoughts on the Packers Offseason Plans

The Packers could start to build through the draft and augment any holes with free agents starting in 2024. If Jordan Love isn’t the guy, there is going to be a pretty good quarterback class that year. With picks from a Rodgers trade, they could move up to take one. Also note the numbers in this article are all ball park figures. I’m not the best “numbers” guy.

If you have enjoyed reading the article you can check out my other stuff. I will also be doing a second part on what I think Gutekenst will do, so be on the look out for that.

Miami Dolphins cornerback Xavien Howard

Miami Dolphins Agree to Extension with Xavien Howard

Miami Dolphins cornerback Xavien Howard
Photo Credit: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

The Miami Dolphins have agreed to a contract extension with cornerback Xavien Howard, per his agent.

Contract terms

The deal will keep the disgruntled Howard in Miami for an additional five years and give Howard an additional $50+ million in new money. The deal also reportedly contains the most guaranteed money for a cornerback in NFL history.

A step in the right direction

The Dolphins have clearly gone into “all-in” mode this off-season. It started with a revamp of the coaching staff, spurred by new head coach Mike McDaniel.

McDaniel promises to bring a fresh, new offense to the team. One that should maximize the talents of third-year quarterback Tua Tagovailoa.

From a personnel standpoint, the Dolphins “all-in” approach has seen the team add Terron Armstead, Connor Williams, Raheem Mostert, Chase Edmonds, Cedrick Wilson, and Trent Sherfield in free agency to help bolster a struggling offense and implement McDaniel’s system.

The off-season also brought former Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill to Miami in a blockbuster trade. It’s clear the Dolphins think their time is now.

In hindsight, all the moves on the offense were going to ring hollow if Howard wasn’t wrapped up long-term. The two sides had their dispute last off-season.

What it means

In exchange for Howard signing a one-year extension, the two sides agreed to come back to the table this off-season and once again attempt to get the young star manning the Dolphins defensive backfield for years to come.

Today, those efforts have come to fruition. This extension with Xavien Howard is the feather in the Miami Dolphins cap that is the 2022 NFL free agency period.

Now, the team – and fans – can fully turn their attention to the NFL Draft. Miami doesn’t have a pick in the first two rounds, but there should be plenty of excitement around the event nonetheless.

A new era has come to South Florida as the team is finally starting to keep their developed talent. Xavien Howard’s contract extension is a step in the right direction.

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Free Agency Week 2: The Raiders continue adding depth to their roster

Former Seahawks TE Jacob Hollister was signed by the Raiders in free agency
Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images

Last week, the Raiders made a few big splashes in free agency. They signed Pro-Bowl linebacker and Super Bowl champion Chandler Jones, All-Pro wide receiver Davante Adams, and added many more game-changing pieces to their roster. Heading into week two, the focus seemed to be continuing to add depth behind their impressive starting players.

More offensive additions

Las Vegas opened week two of free agency by signing a QB, Garret Gilbert. Gilbert is highly familiar with the Raiders’ new front office after spending time on the Patriots and Raiders practice squads previously. He is heading into his ninth year in the league. Gilbert is in line to back up Derek Carr, as they are the only two QBs on the Raiders roster currently.

Josh McDaniels is famous for loving his tight ends and that can be seen clearly in what he has done during his time in Las Vegas already. The Raiders headed into free agency with TEs Darren Waller, Foster Moreau, and Nick Bowers on the roster. This week, they added Jacob Hollister to that list. Hollister is a sixth-year veteran coming off his lone season for the Jaguars. He has 83 career receptions for 707 yards and seven touchdowns, per Pro Football Reference.

Last week, the Silver and Black added one of the best wide receivers in the league when they traded for Davante Adams. This week, they added some depth at wide receiver by signing Demarcus Robinson. Robinson spent the previous six seasons with AFC West rival the Kansas City Chiefs. He is coming off a season with 264 receiving yards and three touchdowns. Robinson inked a 1-year contract on Tuesday.

Defense is still the focus

In 2021, the Raider’s defense was much improved over the last three seasons. They ended the year ranked 26th  per PFT. This is a significant improvement from 2020 and 2019 when they ranked 31st. To continue their upward trend, they knew they needed to add some force to their roster this offseason. Chandler Jones and Rock Ya-Sin were the first dominoes to fall, but they aren’t anywhere close to done.

After releasing Cory Littleton and Nick Kwiatkoski, the Las Vegas linebacker corps was looking thin. They addressed that this week with the additions of Micah Kiser and Kyler Fackrell. Fackrell joins the Raiders after one season with the Chargers, in which he appeared in 13 games. Kiser spent the 2021 season with both the Broncos and Rams, appearing in 11 total games throughout the season.

Along with LB, the Raider’s interior defensive line was lacking. They had a whopping four defensive tackles hit the open market after the 2021 season, and they haven’t brought back any of them. On Tuesday, they partially addressed this need with the addition of DT Kyle Peko. Peko spent 2021 with the AFC’s top seed, the Titans. He appeared in eight games, starting three. 2021 was his best season and now he gets the chance to improve in the Silver and Black.

As free agency trucks along, the Raiders have roughly $15 million left in cap space. Their big-name signings may be done, but look for Dave Ziegler and McDaniels to continue adding depth before the 2022 NFL Draft begins on April 28th.