The start to NFL free agency was just as wild as expected.
With the signing period entering its second week, here’s a team-by-team breakdown of what players were added, lost and what still must get addressed during the offseason.
Free-agent signings: WR Mike Wallace (Pittsburgh), WR Brandon Gibson (St. Louis), TE Dustin Keller (New York Jets), LB Dannell Ellerbe (Baltimore), LB Phillip Wheeler (Oakland).
Players lost: RB Reggie Bush (Detroit), TE Anthony Fasano (Kansas City), LT Jake Long (St. Louis), LB Kevin Burnett (cut/Oakland), LB Karlos Dansby (cut), CB Sean Smith (Kansas City).
What was addressed?: Although they needed to tender a whopping five-year, $60 million contract to seal the deal, the Dolphins got the deep threat the offense sorely needed in Wallace. Keller should prove a receiving upgrade to Fasano if he can stay healthy and Gibson is another nice upgrade for the wide receiver corps. Miami must hope that Ellerbe and Wheeler provide more defensive juice than Dansby and Burnett, who didn’t make enough big plays after signing as free agents.
What wasn’t?: Smith’s departure creates an even big hole at cornerback. Atlanta’s Brent Grimes took a free-agent visit last Friday as a potential addition. The Dolphins lost out to St. Louis on re-signing Long but could move 2012 second-round pick Jonathan Martin from right to left tackle.
Summary: Jeff Ireland has taken plenty of grief (especially from me) during his six seasons as Miami’s general manager, but he has handled this offseason masterfully.
Free-agent signings: LB Manny Lawson (Cincinnati).
Players lost: G Andy Levitre (Tennessee), QB Ryan Fitzpatrick (cut), S George Wilson (cut/Tennessee), OLB/DE Shawne Merriman (retired), DE Chris Kelsay (retired), WR Donald Jones (New England), G Chad Rinehart (San Diego).
What was addressed?: Lawson will fill one of the outside linebacker spots at a position where the Bills were sorely lacking talent in 2012.
What wasn’t?: The Bills didn’t sign a quarterback to replace Fitzpatrick following last week’s release, but it’s universally expected the team will select one in April’s draft. Buffalo lost the services of one of the league’s best young guards when unable to re-sign Levitre.
Summary: The Bills haven’t reached the playoffs since 1999. Nothing that has transpired in free agency thus far provides inspiration that the longest drought in the league will end in 2013.
Team: New York Jets
Free-agent signings: RB Mike Goodson (Oakland), QB David Garrard (Miami), G Willie Colon (Pittsburgh), DT Antonio Garay (San Diego), S Jaiquawn Jarrett (Philadelphia).
Players lost: RB Shonn Greene (Tennessee), TE Dustin Keller (Miami), TE Josh Baker (cut), T Jason Smith (cut), DL Marcus Dixon (Kansas City), DL Sione Pouha (cut), DL Mike DeVito (Kansas City), LB Calvin Pace (cut), LB Bart Scott (cut), S Yeremiah Bell (Arizona), S LaRon Landry (Indianapolis).
What was addressed?: Signings like Goodwin, Colon and Garay fill holes created by the departures of Jets free agents rather than create more competition at their respective positions.
What wasn’t?: Cornerback Darrelle Revis’ future with the Jets remains uncertain as trade rumors swirl. Garrard was a bargain-basement signing as the Jets didn’t have the salary cap space needed to sign a quarterback with a better chance of besting embattled starter Mark Sanchez. The Jets entertained free agents at wide receiver (Brandon Gibson) and outside linebacker (Antwan Barnes) but signed neither after their visits. Gibson headed to Miami and signed with the Dolphins; Barnes is still on the market as the Jets still seek outside pass-rush help.
Summary: Cleaning up the personnel and cap mess left behind by former general manager Mike Tannenbaum wasn’t going to be an easy task. This offseason is proof.
Team: New England
Free-agent signings: RB Leon Washington (Seattle), WR Donald Jones (Buffalo), WR Danny Amendola (St. Louis), T Will Svitek (Atlanta), S Adrian Wilson (Arizona).
Players lost: RB Danny Woodhead (San Diego), WR Brandon Lloyd (cut), WR Wes Welker (Denver), G Donald Thomas (Indianapolis), S Patrick Chung (Eagles)
What was addressed?: The Patriots quickly moved to replace Welker by signing Amendola to a five-year contract. New England hopes the hard-hitting Wilson can provide the type of veteran presence in the secondary that another accomplished veteran Rodney Harrison did in the past. Washington replaces Woodhead in the running back rotation and also provides an upgrade as a kickoff returner. The Patriots kept both starting cornerbacks by re-signing Aqib Talib and Kyle Arrington after both hit free agency.
What wasn’t?: The Patriots are still seeking veteran pass-rush help. John Abraham and Dwight Freeney took free-agent visits without being signed.
Summary: The Patriots are primed for another playoff run, but there is pressure on Amendola to fill the big shoes that Welker left behind.
Free-agent signings: None of note.
Players lost: QB Bruce Gradkowski (Pittsburgh), DT Pat Sims (Oakland), LB Manny Lawson.
What was addressed?: The Bengals kept their defensive end rotation intact by re-signing Wallace Gilberry and Robert Geathers and using the franchise tag on Michael Johnson, who had 11 sacks in 2012. Kicker Mike Nugent and punter Kevin Huber, both of whom were also re-signed, are Cincinnati’s best specialist combination since Doug Pelfrey and Lee Johnson in the mid-1990s.
What wasn’t?: The Bengals need to replace Gradkowski as Andy Dalton’s backup. Ex-Buffalo starter Ryan Fitzpatrick, who played with the Bengals in 2007 and 2008, met with the team about returning, the team’s website reported.
Summary: Even with gobs of cap space, Cincinnati is being judicious because of the desire to re-sign their own free agents – right tackle Andre Smith tops the list – as well as extend contracts of quality players already on the roster like Johnson and defensive tackle Geno Atkins.
Free-agent signings: LB Paul Kruger (Baltimore), LB Quentin Groves (Arizona), DL Desmond Bryant (Oakland), TE Gary Barnidge (Carolina).
Players lost: DE Frostee Rucker (cut), LB Kaluka Maiava (Oakland).
What was addressed?: The Browns found a key pass-rushing component for their new 3-4 defense by swiping Kruger from a division rival. Groves and Bryant also bolster the front seven.
What wasn’t?: Cleveland is looking for a starting cornerback to pair with Joe Haden. As first reported by FOXSports.com, Atlanta’s Brent Grimes took a free-agent visit on Saturday.
Summary: The Browns are hoping that Kruger and Bryant are just starting to reach their NFL peak because nothing those players have accomplished so far justifies the lucrative contracts they received.
Free-agent signings: DE Chris Canty (New York Giants), DE Marcus Spears (Dallas).
Players lost: WR Anquan Boldin (trade/San Francisco), LB Dannell Ellerbe (Miami), C Matt Birk (retired), LB Paul Kruger (Cleveland), LB Ray Lewis (retired), CB Cary Williams (Philadelphia), SS Bernard Pollard (cut), QB Curtis Painter (New York Giants).
What was addressed?: A Drew Brees-style controversy was averted when quarterback Joe Flacco signed a six-year, $120 million contract extension. This helped the Ravens avoid the salary-cap issues that New Orleans faced last offseason when forced to place a franchise tag on Brees before ultimately re-signing him. The defensive line got stouter with the signing of Spears and Canty.
What wasn’t?: Ellerbe’s loss stings because he was considered the likely heir apparent to Lewis at linebacker. Six other starters or significant contributors left without a veteran signed to take their place.
Summary: Although Ravens fans are understandably stunned at how quickly a Super Bowl-winning roster began getting dismantled, general manager Ozzie Newsome deserves the benefit of the doubt as he opted not to sacrifice the future with short-sighted decisions. Few players have left Baltimore via free agency to become superstars elsewhere during Newsome’s tenure. Still, the Ravens may have to take a step backward before moving forward once again with so many departures.
Free-agent signings: QB Bruce Gradkowski (Cincinnati), QB John Parker Wilson (Jacksonville), TE Matt Spaeth (Chicago), CB William Gay (Arizona).
Players lost: RB Chris Rainey (cut), RB Rashard Mendenhall (Arizona), WR Mike Wallace (Miami), G Willie Colon (cut/New York Jets), LB James Harrison (cut), CB Keenan Lewis (New Orleans), S Ryan Mundy (New York Giants).
What was addressed?: Gay and Jason Worilds are expected to replace Lewis and Harrison as starters. Spaeth’s return to Pittsburgh will provide more oomph to the run-blocking. Gradkowski is better suited for the short passing game installed by offensive coordinator Todd Haley than previous Ben Roethlisberger backup Byron Leftwich.
What wasn’t?: Mendenhall’s departure furthers the need to find a starting running back.
Summary: The Steelers traditionally don’t make many moves in free agency, but the team’s options were even more limited this season by salary cap problems.
Free-agent signings: RB Justin Forsett (Houston), DT Roy Miller, LB Geno Hayes (Chicago), S Alan Ball (Houston).
Players lost: QB John Parker Wilson (cut/Pittsburgh), WR Laurent Robinson (cut), OL Guy Whimper (cut), S Dawan Landry (cut), DL Terrance Knighton (Denver), CB Derek Cox (San Diego), CB Aaron Ross (cut/New York Giants).
What was addressed?: Miller will replace Knighton as a starting defensive tackle.
What wasn’t?: First-year Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley has yet to land the LEO (outside linebacker/defensive end) he wants to rush the passer. The Jaguars need cornerbacks to replace Cox and Ross.
Summary: No team lacks as much blue-chip talent as Jacksonville. New general manager David Caldwell realizes it will take some time to rebuild so he didn’t squander big money adding free agents on a squad unlikely to make the playoffs in 2013.
Free-agent signings: None of note.
Players lost: RB Justin Forsett (Jacksonville), FB James Casey (Philadelphia), WR Kevin Walter (cut), LB Connor Barwin (Philadelphia), S Glover Quin (Detroit), S Alan Ball (Jacksonville).
What was addressed?: Honestly? Not much. The Texans didn’t have cap space available to keep some of their top young players or sign comparable replacements.
What wasn’t?: Another fullback/H-back as versatile as Casey wasn’t on the market as a replacement. The rotation of outside linebackers was lessened with Barwin’s departure. The loss of Quin stung and led to the courtship of Baltimore free safety Ed Reed, who hadn’t decided whether to sign with the Texans as of Monday morning. There are even more questions about who will be Houston’s No. 2 receiver following Walter’s release.
Summary: The Texans have enough talent to make another postseason run but getting some immediate help from April’s draft would help considerably.
Free-agent signings: T Gosder Cherilus (Detroit), G Donald Thomas (Indianapolis), DE Ricky Jean Francois (San Francisco), DL/OLB Lawrence Sidbury (Atlanta), LB Erik Walden (Green Bay), CB Greg Toler (Arizona), S LaRon Landry (New York Jets).
Players lost: QB Drew Stanton (Arizona), WR Donnie Avery (Kansas City), WR Austin Collie (cut), CB Jerraud Powers (Arizona), S Tom Zbikowski (cut).
What was addressed?: Walden should set the edge in run defense like Jarret Johnson did for Baltimore when Colts head coach Chuck Pagano was Ravens defensive coordinator. Cherilus didn’t draw as much publicity as other right tackles entering free agency like Cincinnati’s Andre Smith or New England’s Sebastian Vollmer. But as evidenced by the size of his contract (five years for $34 million with $10 million guaranteed), the Colts held Cherilus in high regard. Thomas also will upgrade the pass protection for quarterback Andrew Luck, who took a beating in his rookie season. Landry is a more physical presence than Zbikowski but his injury history could prove a concern.
What wasn’t?: Colts owner Jim Irsay went on Twitter last week to tease that the team was pursuing a wide receiver.
Summary: After last year’s salary purge, Colts general manager Ryan Grigson entered the offseason with about $40 million available in cap space. Obviously, he wasn’t afraid to spend it.
Free-agent signings: RB Shonn Greene (New York Jets), TE Delanie Walker (San Francisco), G Andy Levitre (Buffalo), DT Sammie Hill (Detroit), S George Wilson (Buffalo).
Players lost: TE Jared Cook (St. Louis), G Steve Hutchinson (retired).
What was addressed?: The void created by the retirement of a potential Pro Football Hall of Fame guard (Steve Hutchinson) was adroitly filled with the Levitre signing. The same goes for acquiring the versatile Walker to replace Cook. Greene is a bigger-bodied complement to running back Chris Johnson a la LenDale White in 2008 and 2009.
What wasn’t?: The interior offensive line could still use some upgrading even with Levitre’s arrival.
Summary: The Titans needed to make some bold moves after a 6-10 season. The magnitude of free-agent maneuvers was a positive step in the right direction.
Team: San Diego
Free-agent signings: RB Danny Woodhead (New England), TE John Phillips (Dallas), T King Dunlap (Philadelphia), G Chad Rinehart (Buffalo), CB Derek Cox (Jacksonville), CB Johnny Patrick (New Orleans).
Players lost: TE Randy McMichael (cut), G Louis Vasquez (Denver), DT Antonio Garay (New York Jets), LB Takeo Spikes (cut), S Atari Bigby (cut), CB Antoine Cason (Arizona).
What was addressed?: The Cox addition was needed with Cason leaving to Arizona and Jammer unlikely to return. Woodhead and Brown are good options in the passing game. Their presence raises the pressure on Ryan Mathews to better produce after three disappointing seasons.
What wasn’t?: The Chargers still need offensive line help.
Summary: The previous Chargers regime made a desperate free-agent stab last year hoping to get the team back into the playoffs. High-priced signings like left tackle Jared Gaither and wide receiver Robert Meachem instead set the franchise back. New general manager Tom Telesco is taking a more conservative approach as the Chargers attempt to rebuild around Philip Rivers while working to get their quarterback at an elite level once again after two subpar seasons.
Free-agent signings: WR Wes Welker (New England), G Louis Vasquez (San Diego), DT Terrance Knighton (Jacksonville), LB Stewart Bradley (Arizona), CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (Philadelphia).
Players lost: DE Elvis Dumervil (cut), DE Jason Hunter (Oakland), LB D.J. Williams (cut).
What was addressed?: Welker was an out-of-the-blue signing that adds even more juice to Denver’s already potent passing game. Peyton Manning also should be happy the Broncos opened their wallet to add Vasquez to the offensive line. Rodgers-Cromartie boosts a secondary still smarting from last season’s playoff collapse against Baltimore. The Knighton-Vickerson tandem gives defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio the type of beefy defensive tackle tandem he liked to employ in Jacksonville.
What wasn’t?: The contract snafu that led to Dumervil’s release hurts the Broncos from both a salary cap and pass-rushing standpoint. The Broncos are more likely to address running back in the draft after Rashard Mendenhall skipped his free-agent visit to sign with Arizona. Clady remains unsigned and could be headed for a holdout if some significant negotiating strides aren’t taken over the next few months.
Summary: The Dumervil mess aside, the Broncos appear to have taken one big step closer to the Super Bowl with these signings.
Team: Kansas City
Free-agent signings: QB Alex Smith (trade/San Francisco), QB Chase Daniel (New Orleans), WR Donnie Avery (Indianapolis), TE Anthony Fasano (Miami), OL Geoff Schwartz (Minnesota), DL Marcus Dixon (New York Jets), CB Dunta Robinson (Atlanta), CB Sean Smith (Miami).
Players lost: WR Steve Breaston (cut), QB Matt Cassel (cut/Minnesota), TE Kevin Boss (cut), T Eric Winston (cut), DL Glenn Dorsey (San Francisco), G Ryan Lilja (retired).
What was addressed?: The Chiefs have a new starting quarterback (Smith) and backup (Daniel) to address what was the franchise’s biggest personnel weakness in 2012. Smith and Robinson upgrade the secondary. DeVito will fill the run-stuffing role that Dorsey played in the defense.
What wasn’t?: Winston’s release created a void at right tackle, but the Chiefs may fill that by selecting Texas A&M’s Luke Joeckel or Central Michigan’s Eric Fisher with the No. 1 pick in April’s draft. Either could play left tackle with incumbent Branden Albert being switched – albeit begrudgingly — to the opposite side.
Summary: Rather than tear down what former general manager Scott Pioli had built over the past four seasons, the new Andy Reid-John Dorsey regime has augmented it with some sensible free-agent signings. If Smith plays as well as he did before his controversial benching in San Francisco last season, the Chiefs are viable playoff contenders.
Free-agent signings: DL Jason Hunter (Denver), DT Pat Sims (Cincinnati), LB Kevin Burnett (Oakland), LB Kaluka Maiava (Cleveland), LB Nick Roach (Chicago).
Players lost: RB Mike Goodson (New York Jets), WR Darrius Heyward-Bey (cut), TE Brandon Myers (New York Giants), DL Desmond Bryant (Cleveland), DE Matt Shaughnessy (Arizona), DL Dave Tollefson (cut), LB Phillip Wheeler (Miami), S Michael Huff (cut).
What was addressed?: Roach, Burnett and Burnett should help make up for Wheeler’s departure and the imminent release of Rolando McClain.
What wasn’t?: There are still holes across the board for a franchise that hasn’t reached the playoffs since 2002.
Summary: The new front-office regime continues to pay the price for players who didn’t live up to their first-round draft standing like Heyward-Bey, Huff and McClain. Oakland didn’t have the cap space available to make a free-agent splash, but general manager Reggie McKenzie may have gotten some modestly-priced steals in Roach and Sims.
Free-agent signings: None of note.
Players lost: DE Marcus Spears (cut/Baltimore), WR Kevin Ogletree (Tampa Bay), TE John Phillips (San Diego), LB Dan Connor (cut/New York Giants)
What was addressed?: The use of the franchise tag on Spencer allows Dallas to keep the pass-rushing complement for DeMarcus Ware in the 4-3 defensive being installed by new coordinator Monte Kiffin.
What wasn’t?: The Cowboys still don’t have a big-play safety and the offensive line remains a major concern.
Summary: The failure to restructure quarterback Tony Romo’s contract has kept the Cowboys from being active in free agency.
Free-agent signings: T Jeremy Trueblood (Tampa Bay), T Tony Pashos (Cleveland).
Players lost: LB Lorenzo Alexander (Arizona), CB DeAngelo Hall (cut).
What was addressed?: The Redskins signed Tony Pashos and Jeremy Trueblood in hopes that one of those two veterans can rebound from injury to replace Tyler Polumbus, who appears likely to leave as a free agent. The re-signing of Paulsen provides protection in case Davis leaves elsewhere. Even if Davis returns, Paulsen gives Washington flexibility in two tight-end sets.
What wasn’t?: The Redskins lost a locker-room leader and one of the NFL’s best special teams standouts when Alexander took a more lucrative contract offer from Arizona. Hall’s release creates a void for a starting cornerback, but there are some low-priced options out there.
Summary: An $18 million salary cap penalty against the Redskins for 2013 crippled the team’s chances of being more active in free agency. Judging by Washington’s history under owner Daniel Snyder, maybe that’s a good thing.
Team: New York Giants
Free-agent signings: DT Cullen Jenkins (Philadelphia), LB Dan Connor (Dallas), CB Aaron Ross (Jacksonville), S Ryan Mundy (Pittsburgh), WR Louis Murphy (Carolina), K Josh Brown (Cincinnati), TE Brandon Myers (Oakland), QB Curtis Painter (Baltimore).
Players lost: RB Ahmad Bradshaw (cut), TE Martellus Bennett (Chicago), DL Chris Canty (cut/Baltimore), LB Michael Boley (cut), S Kenny Phillips (Philadelphia).
What was addressed?: No longer sold on Canty, the Giants feel they upgraded by signing Jenkins as his replacement. New York eschewed blockbuster signings in favor of bargain-basement newcomers like Ross, Mundy, Murphy and Connor. Myers will replace Bennett, who signed a more lucrative contract with Chicago.
What wasn’t?: The Giants will have an opening in their defensive line rotation if free-agent end Osi Umenyiora signs elsewhere.
Summary: One big offseason task for Giants general manager Jerry Reese is to decide how to proceed with wide receivers Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz, both of whom are slated to become unrestricted free agents in 2014.
Free-agent signings: FB James Casey (Houston), WR Arrelious Benn (trade/Tampa Bay), G Allen Barbre (Seattle), NG Isaac Sopoaga (San Francisco), LB Connor Barwin (Houston), CB Bradley Fletcher (St.. Louis), CB Cary Williams (Baltimore), S Patrick Chung (New England), S Kenny Phillips (New York Giants).
Players lost: QB Mike Kafka (New England), P Chas Henry (Tampa Bay), T Demetress Bell (cut), T King Dunlap (San Diego), DT Mike Patterson (cut), DT Cullen Jenkins (cut/New York Giants), CB Nnamdi Asomugha (cut), CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (Denver)., S Jaiquawn Jarrett (New York Jets).
What was addressed?: The entire secondary was revamped with the signings of Chung, Fletcher, Phillips and Williams. If he can rebound from a disappointing 2012 campaign in Houston, Barwin will provide punch as a pass-rushing outside linebacker in Philadelphia’s new 3-4 defense. Sopoaga will man the nose tackle spot. The Eagles hope they can get more production out of Benn, a 2010 second-round pick who never did much in Tampa Bay.
What wasn’t?: The Eagles could still use help along the offensive line.
Summary: Eight free-agent signings reflect the roster transformation underway in Chip Kelly’s first season as Eagles head coach.
Team: Green Bay
Free-agent signings: None of note.
Players lost: WR Greg Jennings (Minnesota), TE Tom Crabtree (Tampa Bay), LB Erik Walden (Indianapolis), C Jeff Saturday (retired).
What was addressed?: Nothing. The Packers haven’t made a free-agent signing.
What wasn’t?: Green Bay was outbid by Atlanta for the services of Steven Jackson, who would have proven an upgrade to the team’s current group of running backs. The loss of Jennings to a division rival like Minnesota stings, but the Packers didn’t need to try and match the lucrative offer with ample wide receiver talent already on the roster.
Summary: While he may be getting second-guessed (again) by Packers fans who want the team to add veterans from elsewhere, general manager Ted Thompson is sticking to his guns by eschewing such signings in favor of developing his own talent through the draft, waiver wire and college free agents. The biggest offseason priority for Green Bay is to work toward re-signing outside linebacker Clay Matthews and defensive end B.J. Raji, both of whom are slated to become unrestricted free agents in 2014, and giving quarterback Aaron Rodgers a well-deserved pay raise.
Free-agent signings: TE Martellus Bennett (New York Giants), T Jermon Bushrod (New Orleans).
Players lost: TE Matt Spaeth (cut/Pittsburgh), TE Kellen Davis (cut), LB Nick Roach (Oakland), LB Geno Hayes (Jacksonville).
What was addressed?: The need for a left tackle was filled with the acquisition of Bushrod, whose position coach in New Orleans (Aaron Kromer) is now Chicago’s offensive coordinator. Bennett is the best receiving threat since the Bears foolishly traded Greg Olsen to Carolina in 2011.
What wasn’t?: The middle linebacker spot is vacant with Roach leaving to Oakland and Bears legend Brian Urlacher unsigned.
Summary: There weren’t many holes that needed filling on a team that went 10-6 in 2012.
Free-agent signings: RB Reggie Bush (Miami), DL Jason Jones (Seattle), S Glover Quin (Houston).
Players lost: WR Titus Young (cut), T Gosder Cherilus (Indianapolis), DT Sammie Hill (Tennessee), DE Kyle Vanden Bosch (cut), T Jeff Backus (retired), DE Cliff Avril (Seattle).
What was addressed?: The Seahawks and Lions essentially swapped pass-rushing defensive linemen with Avril heading to Seattle and Jones coming to Detroit as a lesser-priced option. Bush should provide a speedy option out of the backfield that the Lions thought they were getting in 2010 first-round pick Jahvid Best, whose NFL career was derailed by concussions. The Lions addressed the safety position by landing Quin and re-signing Louis Delmas.
What wasn’t?: The tackle positions took a hit when Cherilus left to Indianapolis followed by Backus’ retirement. Riley Reiff is probably better suited for right tackle, leaving open the possibility Detroit selects a left tackle with the No. 4 overall pick in April’s draft.
Summary: Even with the salary cap issues that Detroit faces, especially after being unable to restructure quarterback Matt Stafford’s contract before the signing-period began, general manager Martin Mayhew did a nice job upgrading the roster.
Free-agent signings: WR Greg Jennings (Green Bay), QB Matt Cassel (Kansas City).
Players lost: OL Geoff Schwartz (Kansas City), WR Michael Jenkins (cut), WR Percy Harvin (trade/Seattle), LB Jasper Brinkley (Arizona).
What was addressed?: The void created by the Harvin trade to Seattle was filed with Jennings, a move that also weakens a division rival (Green Bay). Loadholt leads a sizeable list of veterans who were re-signed. Cassel upgrades the backup quarterback position and provides an insurance policy in case starter Christian Ponder doesn’t take some significant strides in 2013.
What wasn’t?: The Vikings are in need of cornerback help after releasing Antoine Winfield. More wide receiver help will likely come in the draft.
Summary: Vikings fans who panicked when Harvin was traded should breathe easier with Jennings coming to town.
Team: New Orleans
Free-agent signings: CB Keenan Lewis (Pittsburgh).
Players lost: QB Chase Daniel (Kansas City), TE David Thomas (cut), T Jermon Bushrod (Chicago), LB Jon Casillas (Tampa Bay), CB Johnny Patrick (cut/San Diego).
What was addressed?: A shaky secondary should receive a boost from Lewis.
What wasn’t?: The Saints re-signed Gallette, who is being converted from defensive end, but are still lacking a complementary pass-rusher at outside linebacker. Unless the Saints draft or sign a left tackle, 2010 second-round pick Charles Brown is projected to replace Bushrod as quarterback Drew Brees’ blindside protector.
Summary: A tight salary cap has kept the Saints from doing more in free agency. That makes the NFL’s revocation of a 2013 second-round pick stemming from last year’s bounty scandal even more painful.
Free-agent signings: CB Drayton Florence (Detroit), DL Colin Cole (Seattle).
Players lost: WR Louis Murphy (New York Giants), CB Chris Gamble (retired), LB James Anderson (cut), DT Ron Edwards (cut), TE Gary Barnidge (Cleveland),
What was addressed?: The Panthers released Gamble to clear cap space and replaced him with a cheaper option in the well-traveled Florence. Carolina secured Cam Newton’s backup by re-signing Anderson.
What wasn’t?: A glaring need remains at wide receiver opposite Steve Smith.
Summary: New general manager Dave Gettleman should have more cap flexibility in 2014 after fixing the fiasco left behind by predecessor Marty Hurney.
Free-agent signings: RB Steven Jackson (St. Louis).
Players lost: RB Michael Turner (cut), DE John Abraham (cut), T Will Svitek (New England), DE Lawrence Sidbury (Indianapolis), C Todd McClure (retired), CB Dunta Robinson (cut).
What was addressed?: General manager Thomas Dimitroff’s philosophy is to re-sign his own players first, which is what he did with tight end Tony Gonzalez, left tackle Sam Baker and right guard Garrett Reynolds. He then found a replacement for Turner in Jackson, who has strung together seven consecutive 1,000-yard rushing seasons despite playing on some horrible teams in St. Louis.
What wasn’t?: The Falcons are in desperate need of a pass-rusher following Abraham’s release. Cornerback is another area that needs addressing with Robinson released and Brent Grimes on the free-agent market.
Summary: The next looming task for Dimitroff and the Falcons: Trying to re-sign quarterback Matt Ryan before his rookie contract expires following this season.
Team: Tampa Bay
Free-agent signings: WR Kevin Ogletree (Dallas), S Dashon Goldson (San Francisco), TE Tom Crabtree (Green Bay), P Chas Henry (Philadelphia), LB Jon Casillas (New Orleans).
Players lost: WR Arrelious Benn (trade/Philadelphia), T Jeremy Trueblood (Washington), DT Roy Miller (Jacksonville), DE Michael Bennett (Seattle), LB Quincy Black (cut),
What was addressed?: The Bucs now have a tip-top safety combination by pairing Goldson with 2012 first-round choice Mark Barron. Crabtree is a nice low-cost addition as a receiving threat to complement tight end Luke Stocker.
What wasn’t?: The Bucs took some hits along the defensive line by opting not to bid competitively for Bennett or Miller despite having ample cap space. Tampa Bay still hasn’t added a cornerback to a secondary that leaked like a sieve in 2012.
Summary: The Bucs remain linked to a trade with the New York Jets for cornerback Darrelle Revis. Pulling that deal off, as pricy as it is, would be a major defensive upgrade for a team that needs one.
Team: San Francisco
Free-agent signings: WR Anquan Boldin (trade/Baltimore), DL Glenn Dorsey (Kansas City), S Craig Dahl (St. Louis).
Players lost: QB Alex Smith (trade/Kansas City), TE Delanie Walker (Tennessee), K David Akers (cut), DE Ricky Jean Francois (Indianapolis), NT Isaac Sopoaga (Philadelphia),S Dashon Goldson (Tampa Bay).
What was addressed?: Ian Williams was re-signed in anticipation of Sopoaga departing in free agency. Dahl is a lower-priced safety option than Goldson, who scored big bucks with the Bucs.
What wasn’t?: The 49ers haven’t signed a tight end to replace Walker but Boldin is physically capable of handling some of his duties. The loss of Jean Francois weakens defensive line depth. The 49ers don’t have a clear-cut replacement at kicker for Akers, who was released after injuries negatively affected his 2012 campaign.
Summary: The 49ers have a whopping 14 draft picks so any remaining holes can be filled there.
Free-agent signings: WR Percy Harvin (trade/Minnesota), DE Cliff Avril (Indianapolis), DE Michael Bennett (Tampa Bay).
Players lost: RB Leon Washington (cut/New England), WR Ben Obamanu (cut), DL Jason Jones (Detroit), DL Colin Cole (Carolina), G Allen Barbre (Philadelphia).
What was addressed?: The pass-rush received a major boost with the signings of Avril and Bennett. Both players can hold the fort as Chris Clemons recovers from a torn anterior cruciate ligament suffered in a January playoff win over Washington. Bennett’s run-stuffing ability is underrated. Harvin is the type of dynamic receiver the Seahawks thought they were getting when signing ex-Minnesota wideout Sidney Rice to a free-agent contract in 2011.
What wasn’t?: The Seahawks have yet to find a trade partner for quarterback Matt Flynn, a free-agent bust who was beaten out for a starting spot last preseason by Russell Wilson.
Summary: Under the guidance of general manager John Schneider, the Seahawks have all the earmarks of a Super Bowl team.
Team: St. Louis
Free-agent signings: TE Jared Cook (Tennessee), T Jake Long (Miami).
Players lost: RB Steven Jackson (Atlanta), WR Danny Amendola (New England), WR Brandon Gibson (Miami), T Wayne Hunter (cut), CB Bradley Fletcher (Philadelphia), S Craig Dahl (San Francisco), S Quintin Mikell (cut).
What was addressed?: The Rams now have a major receiving threat at tight end after spending big bucks to land Cook. St. Louis hopes Long is the shutdown left tackle the franchise thought it was getting when selecting Jason Smith with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2009 draft.
What wasn’t?: Wide receiver remains a major red flag with Amendola and Gibson leaving.
Summary: St. Louis didn’t go ga-ga in free agency, but don’t forget the Rams have two first-round draft picks thanks to the 2012 trade with Washington that netted the Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III.
Free-agent signings: QB Drew Stanton (Indianapolis), RB Rashard Mendenhall (Pittsburgh), DE Matt Shuaughnessy (Oakland), LB Lorenzo Alexander (Washington), LB Jasper Brinkley (Minnesota), CB Antoine Cason (San Diego), CB Jerraud Powers (Indianapolis), S Yeremiah Bell (New York Jets).
Players lost: S Adrian Wilson (cut), QB Kevin Kolb (cut), RB Beanie Wells (cut), CB William Gay (cut/Pittsburgh), SS Adrian Wilson (cut/New England), FS Kerry Rhodes (cut), LB Stewart Bradley (cut/Denver), LB Quentin Groves (Cleveland), CB Greg Toler (Indianapolis)
What was addressed?: Stanton has a bona fide shot at competing to become Arizona’s new starting quarterback after he was signed and Kolb released following two nondescript seasons at a high salary. Alexander led the NFL last season in special teams tackles with 19 and will provide quality depth at inside linebacker. Mendenhall has a history with new Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians from their days in Pittsburgh. Cason and Powers upgrade the secondary on a defense with a potent front seven.
What wasn’t?: The Cardinals desperately need to upgrade at left tackle, which could come with the No. 7 overall pick in April’s draft.
Summary: Arians and new general manager Steve Keim didn’t waste any time changing the roster from a team that finished 5-11.
- Free Agency: Bad Branding-Bad PR
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