NFL free agency grades: Day 1 of NFL free agency is in the books

Photo credit: Rich Barnes / Getty Images Sport

Author: Jon Kuzma

With NFL free agency entering day 2 we have already seen a lot of action taken place.
The Eagles made some quality moves, the Bears feel like they found their franchise quarterback, and the Saints beefed up their line on both sides of the ball. In order to get a feel for which teams made the biggest splash in free agency has graded some of the free agency moves up to this points.

The Eagles are soaring high in NFL free agency

The Philadelphia Eagles landed Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith to help bolster their aerial attack. Jeffery has been banged up the last 2 seasons and Smith has underachieved his last 2 years but make no mistake about it these were 2 good football moves. Now the Eagles have a boatload of competent receivers that can help Carson Wentz in his 2nd season. Philly also signed Chance Womack away from the Tennessee Titans too. Overall you have to give the Eagles an A grade so far.

New York Giants lure Jets receiver away

The New York Giants have been making a push under Jerry Reese and this year they did that by signing Brandon Marshall. The risk to Marshall is he could be trending downward at 32 years old and he could be a cancer in the locker room. However if Marshall can hit his stride again the Giants will walk away from this deal the big winner and could become a legitimate Super Bowl contender. The G-men deserve a B+ for this signing, they still need to do more to improve that grade.

Saints beef up their offensive and defensive lines

The New Orleans Saints knew they had to get better in order to compete in 2017, and that meant getting better in the trenches. The Saints did that by signing Larry Warford an offensive guard who last played with the Detroit Lions and Nick Fairley who was with New Orleans in 2016. Warford will give Drew Brees a little bit more time to operate in the pocket, while Fairley should give good effort  on the defensive line. These were 2 significant moves for the Saints and they deserve a B grade.

Jacksonville gets a defensive boost

The Jacksonville Jaguars were 3-13 last season and it’s clear they are trying to improve defensively. The Jaguars signed Calais Campbell to a 4 year $60 million dollar contract. They will put Campbell next to Malik Jackson and try to stir some stuff up on the defensive front. Campbell has 8 sacks last season so he is a very effective defensive line. The Jaguars also added A.J Bouye to their secondary after they signed Bouye to a 3 year $44 million dollar contract. We’ve seen the Jaguars spend big money in the past and flop, hopefully theseacquisitions help provide more wins for this franchise. The Jaguars deserve a B grade for these moves.

Chicago uses NFL free agency to reshape their roster

The Chicago Bears clearly made offense a priority in this free agency period. The Bears first pegged Mike Glennon as their franchise quarterback and then they signed Markus Wheaton who was formally a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Wheaton is a 26 year old wide receiver who has show glimpses of potential at times. Chicago is hoping Wheaton can get back to playing quality football after a poor 2016 and they are also hoping Glennon can live up to his $15 million dollar a year pay check. So far Glennon has a 2:1 pass to touchdown ratio with 30 touchdown passes and 15 interceptions. Glennon will have to maintain that efficiency over the course of a full season now though. It becomes much tougher when you’re in that lead role but Mike Glennon has been in this league for 3 seasons now. He is ready for the next step. The Bears deserve a B- so far, they are trying to get better and that’s a good start.

Los Angeles Rams get better offensively

The Los Angeles Rams had one of the worst offenses in all football last season and decided they would get better on that side of the ball in free agency. The Rams signed Andrew Whitworth, a 3 time Pro Bowler Whitworth still has some gas in the tank at 35 years old. Whitworth will be paid $36 million dollars on a 3 year contract. The Rams also added Robert Woods to their roster who used to play for the Bills. Woods signed a 5 year $39 million dollar contract with the Rams and should help Jared Goff make some plays through the air. The Rams deserve a B- for these moves.

Patriots and Titans each land a cornerback

The New England Patriots signed Stephon Gilmore to a 5 year $65 million dollar contract. The Patriots will be tough in the defensive backfield in 2017 because of this move and they deserve an A grade. The Titans signed former Patriots corner Logan Ryan to a 3 year $30 million dollar contract. Ryan will improve the Titans against the pass and definitely deserve a B- grade.

The rest of the teams that made some noise

The Dolphins re-sign Rashad Jones and Kenny Stills. Grade: B+
The Lions made Ricky Wagner the highest paid right tackle in the NFL. Grade: C+
Browns re-sign Kevin Zeitler, trade for Brock Osweiler, sign JC Tretter. Grade: C+
Ravens re-sign Brandon Williams. Also signed Danny Woodhead and Tony Jefferson. Grade: C
Panthers signed Matt Khalil. Grade: B

The losers on day 1
Arizona Cardinals- lost Calais Campbell and Tony Jefferson.
Buffalo Bills- lost Stephon Gilemore and Robert Woods.
Minnesota Vikings- Lost Matt Khalil.

Charity of the day: Marine Mammal Center

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