NFL Free Agency: AFC Winners and Losers
If you have been wondering where the blogs went, I apologize! I know you love them and they educate you like no other blog does. I have been very sick for the past 2 weeks. I fought through it to give you podcast episodes but I could not type up my thoughts, since my only thoughts were that of dying. Don’t worry! It was not Corona, but just a bad cold that turned into a sinus infection. We are on the mend now, so I am prepared to give you a full blown, epic blog!
Everyone can just go to NFL.com or any free agency tracker to see what has happened. Every major and minor move in the league is tracked by people who are professionals and are paid to do so. The real question is, were they good moves? Did the moves my team made smart and did they help my team get closer to a Super Bowl?
The reality is, some teams moves are to help them tank harder so they can work towards the future (see: Miami Dolphins). They accepted they are not ready to win now, so the front office decides to dump talent, free up cap space and collect draft capital, and pray they can fix their issues for a run next year.
In this post, I will use my football knowledge to determine if the moves made by each AFC team in the first week of free agency made them winner, losers, or maybe they have not done anything yet to determine their status either way. It will be broken down by division, so feel free to skip around to find your team.
New England Patriots – Losers
- Everyone knows Tom Brady is out of New England by now. If not, get out from under your rock. This will obviously leave a giant hole at the QB position for the team regardless of what you think of TB12. The team is still putting out the message that Jarrett Stidham will be the QB moving forward and maybe he will shock us all. I don’t see them bringing in a veteran, but rather drafting a new, younger QB to really take over when Stidham starts to struggle, which seems inevitable.
- The bigger issue is that they lost 3 starting LBs in free agency. Kyle Van Noy, Jamie Collins and Elandon Roberts along with Nate Ebner who was a special teams beast. They have so many holes on this team, not even the great Bill Belichick can fix them all in one off season. Sorry Patriot hopefuls.
Buffalo Bills – Winners
- Yes, the Bills got Stefan Diggs in a trade and that is a big deal. Diggs was spotted in Buffalo several times during the off season and it ended up being relevant. The Bills gave up a lot of draft capital for him, but this is a team that is ready to win now. They still have a decent number of picks, but they don’t need a young guy to come in and make an impact. They have enough talent at almost every position to win big games now and Diggs was that final piece the offense really needed. Good luck covering Beasley, Brown, Diggs and Knox. Not to mention Singletary out of the backfield.
- They were even able to address the run defense with additions like Vernon Butler, Mario Addison and Quinton Jefferson. Brandon Beane has been a master GM this off season and I tip my cap to him!
New York Jets – Undetermined
- I want to make the Jets winners, but I need to see a little bit more. Robby Anderson remains unsigned which would be a huge mistake to let him leave. The one thing they did that I liked is they beefed up the OL with George Fant, Alex Lewis and Connor McGovern. They need to sign another blocking TE and make LeVeon Bell earn his paycheck. Still a lot of work to do for the Jets, but they are on the right path.
Miami Dolphins – Winners
- Some people might see a team that blew all their money, but I see them using the money they earned back by getting rid of overpaid, below average players and having one really bad season. They were the laughing stock of the NFL last year, but now, they have built a team of quality players on both offense and defense. Are some of them (Byron Jones) overpaid? Sure, maybe a little. But they can afford it because they had almost $100M in cap space this season! Give Byron some extra scratch just to ensure you have a captain on defense now. Protect Tua (predicting you get him) by signing Ereck Flowers, and Ted Karras. Get some more pass rush with Shaq Lawson and Emmanual Ogbah. I love this. I love all of it! Well done Miami! Are they Super Bowl contenders? Probably not, but give them a year to come together. Love it.
Baltimore Ravens – Winners
- They snached Michael Brockers from the Rams, the tagged Matthew Judon and traded for Calais Campbell. Go ahead and check “improve the defense” off the list! If they bluster the OL after the departure of Marshall Yanda, they will have completed their whole list of off season needs. Sure, go get a WR in the draft or grab a free agent if you can afford it. Other than that, well done!
Pittsburgh Steelers – Undetermined
- I don’t know. They tagged Bud Dupree, brought in Eric Ebron and FB Derek Watt. One more Watt to complete the trifecta! Outside of that, it’s been nothing. The defense is good still and they won’t lose a lot since most are under contract and younger. The offense gives me no hope. JuJu showed he can’t be a #1 WR and unless the Steelers have high hopes for the draft, they need to bring some other threat in. I lean towards “loser” but I want to see a little more still.
Cleveland Browns – Winners
- The Browns have been very busy this off season and I really don’t hate any of it. They may have given Austin Hooper a bit much, but if that’s what they needed to do to get him, I’m fine with it. I was not on the side of “winning” for the Browns until they brought in Jack Conklin to bolster that terrible OL. They can still use another tackle for depth at least, but it’s a good start.
- They brought in Karl Joseph, Andrew Sendejo and Kevin Johnson to assist on the back end of the defense which was very much needed. I mean, I really think they did a good job. I am saying positive things about the Browns. It feels weird.
Cincinnati Bengals – Always Losers
- Truly, they are undetermined because I need to physically see them draft Joe Burrow and I need AJ Green to commit to playing. Yeah, he was tagged. Cool beans. He could still get “hurt” and not play out the season. This team is in shambles and I am not sure how it gets fixed. I am almost positive it’s not by the baby hands of Joe Burrow. Sadness Factory 2.0 over in Cincy.
Indianapolis Colts – Undetermined
- Well, Phillip Rivers was finally made official. I don’t know why everyone is so excited about this, but they are. Have you watched Phillip throw a ball lately? Turn on his “highlight” reel and tell me if he’s throwing a football or doing shot put for field and track. When he throws a ball, I feel like there is zero accuracy and it’s going on a prayer. They still got their QB so, yay.
- They did secure the best OL in the NFL by extending Anthony Castonzo two years and improved the defense by trading for DeForest Buckner from the 49ers. They still need weapons. TY Hilton is not going to be all you need. They need WR’s and now TE’s since Eric Ebron is officially gone. Maybe they get it done, maybe not. Wait and see.
Houston Texans – Losers
- Hard losers. Right up there with the Rams (wait for the NFC edition). I put all the blame on Bill O’Brien. Is it fair? Probably not, but I am going to anyways. He is the coach, GM and dictator of the Houston Texans and he has screwed them left and right. Leaving all personal thing out of it, he traded Hopkins because he didn’t want to pay him his 17-20 million a season. He’s a top 3 WR in the game! You pay him! He had a season with zero drops! ZERO!! I hate this man so much. What makes it worse is he got an aging, middle of the road RB out of it in David Johnson. Okay, cool. Someone impeach him.
- They replaced Hopkins with Randell Cobb and extended Darren Fells. You’re welcome DeShaun Watson. Have fun!
Jacksonville Jaguars – Losers
- I was so ready to call them winners. You have no idea how close I was! They are copying the Miami Dolphins, and if you have not realized that yet, you need to go ask Jameis Winston for a LASIK doctor recommendation. Unfortunately, it is impossible to call them winner without seeing the end result, which won’t come until next season.
- The cool thing is we get to see Gardner “Jock Strap King” Minshew for an entire season! LET’S GO! They will also get to build their defense around a very good, young, LB in Justin Schobert.
Tennessee Titans – Winners
- Yeah, this was a toss up and it is based on who you ask. I love what they have done because I am a firm believer that you don’t over pay for your running back. How many have we seen just in the last 5 years where a RB has a great season, gets paid too much, and loses production every year there after? Sometimes to the extreme like Todd Gurley! The Titans played it well by tagging Derek Henry and signing TANNYHILL long term. If Derek has a down year, they can pay him a little less. If not, they can spend another year trying to find the money to pay him. They might even still pay him since the tags are not paid out until July 15th.
- They also brought in Vic Beasley which will be a great addition to a lacking pass rush. The loss of Jack Conklin could not be understated though. That is a HUGE loss, but one they could not avoid with having to pay TANNYHILL now and Henry later down the road.
Kansas City Chiefs – Undetermined
- I mean, what do the Super Bowl defending champs need to do to improve? They tagged Chris Jones and picked up the option on Damien Williams. If they want to improve, they can do it through the draft. Depending on how well that goes, they will be winners or losers. Right now, I think they are fine. Bring in DL for the run game or pass rush if you want, I don’t care.
Oakland Raiders – Winners
- I am not calling them winners due to the fact they brought in Marcus Mariota. I don’t believe in him after he quit on the Titans. It worked out well for the team, but he quit while he was having a bad day. No, the Raiders have done very well improving the defense. LB Nick Kwiakoski from Chicago is a stud and Chicago is going to miss him. CB Eli Apple will get another attempt at being decent in the NFL and will play next to S Jeff Heath. Then two DL/Edges in Carl Nassib and Maliek Collins.
- Little improvement on offense, but they don’t expect to keep up with the Chiefs, they just want to slow them down. Trying to bolster the defense as much as they can is a good move in my eyes. Then they brought in Jason Witten and I was like, wow, winners! No, just kidding, I don’t care for that. But still winners.
LA Chargers – Winners
- I am not sure about riding Tyrod Taylor, but I am sure they will try and draft Justin Herbert or Jordan Love. That would make some sense, but similar to the Raiders, let’s slow the Chiefs down. The addition of CB Chris Harris to Derwin James, Casey Hayward and Desmond King proves to be a terrifying secondary. Then, let’s add Linval Joseph to the DL with Joey Bosa, Melvin Ingram and Uchenna Nwosu. Yeah, that’s a defense that can get it done!
- I also like the bolstering of the OL with the Trai Turner trade and bringing in Bryan Bulaga. If Hunter Henry can stay healthy, I like this team overall.
Denver Broncos – Undetermined
- Sometimes I forget the Broncos exist. Melvin Gordon signed a two year deal with them today as I was writing this blog and I was like “Wow, the Broncos? Is that an expansion team?”. I listed them as undetermined because I literally know nothing about them. Are they going to be good? Is Von Miller going to come back to his good football state? Is Bradley Chubb going to stay healthy? Can Drew Lock actually be a good QB? Can Melvin Gordon stop caring about himself for one week and play for his TEAM? The only part about them I am confident works is Cortland Sutton. He had a great season!
- Free agency wise, they did get Gordon along with Jurrell Casey and AJ Bouye on trades and tagged Justin Simmons. Again, bolstering the defense to stop the Chiefs. It’s a common theme in the AFC West.
I hope you learned something here today and I didn’t completely rip your team a new one…unless they deserved it. Then i’m not sorry. If you enjoyed the post, leave a comment, email the show or go to our social media pages and message us! We love to communicate with other fans of the NFL! As always, All Hail the Jock Strap King!