News & Analysis

2020 NFL Free Agency: Grades for all 32 teams

The free agency frenzy has come and gone, and now we are left with a much better understanding of the teams to beat in 2020 as well as those in the rebuilding process that might be thinking about tanking for Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence.

With the help of PFF’s advanced database that is used by all 32 NFL teams, let’s break down the state of every franchise and analyze their gains and losses while grading each team’s moves this past week.

ARIZONA CARDINALS

Additions/players brought back:

WR DeAndre Hopkins (via trade)

WR Larry Fitzgerald (re-signed for one-year, $11 million)

RB Kenyan Drake (transition tag)

EDGE Devon Kennard (signed for three years, $20 million)

DI Jordan Phillips (signed for three years, $30 million)

LB De’Vondre Campbell (signed for one year, $8.5 million)

T D.J. Humphries (re-signed)

Losses:

RB David Johnson (via trade)

If it weren’t for the Arizona Cardinals swindling the Houston Texans for one of the best wide receivers we have seen in the last decade for a second-round pick and one of the worst running back contracts in the NFL, they would be sitting in the below-average range. Getting DeAndre Hopkins is an absolute game-changer for Arizona. Their offense improved drastically with the additions of Kyler Murray and Kliff Kingsbury, going from 32nd in expected points added per play in 2018 to 13th in 2019. Larry Fitzgerald was Arizona’s only receiver to produce an above-average PFF receiving grade last year, but he can’t do it forever. The Cardinals needed a solidified WR1, and they just happened to get the second-most valuable non-quarterback in the NFL since 2017 — behind only Michael Thomas — to fill that spot.

FREE AGENCY GRADE: AVERAGE

ATLANTA FALCONS

Additions/players brought back:

EDGE Dante Fowler Jr. (signed for three years, $48 million)

TE Hayden Hurst (via trade)

DI Tyeler Davison (signed for three years, $12 million, $4.5 million guaranteed)

RB Todd Gurley (signed for one year)

Losses:

CB Desmond Trufant (cut)

RB Devonta Freeman (cut)

EDGE Vic Beasley Jr.

LB De’Vondre Campbell

EDGE Adrian Clayborn

G Wes Schweitzer

TE Austin Hooper

The Falcons were in a tough spot with their cap situation entering free agency, and while they made smart decisions by cutting Devonta Freeman and not even attempting to bring back Austin Hooper and Vic Beasley, it was questionable to sign Dante Fowler Jr. for as much as they did. Fowler had a career year in 2019 by producing a 73.4 pass-rush grade, but he saw a high percentage of his pressures come as unblocked or from a cleanup (50.7%, fourth highest rate) and ranked just 40th in win rate as a result.

Atlanta also did nothing to improve its secondary. Cutting Desmond Trufant helped with the Falcons’ cap situation but created an even bigger need in their secondary. Injuries hindered Trufant’s 2019 campaign, but he’s still been the sixth-most valuable cornerback since he entered the league in 2013 — it’s a bigger loss than most think. Trading for Hayden Hurst was not a bad move by any means. Considering what Hooper received in free agency, it might even be considered an upgrade. Hurst can actually win in single coverage — an area Hooper struggled in — as he has produced a top-10 receiving grade on such plays over the past two seasons.

FREE AGENCY GRADE: BELOW AVERAGE

BALTIMORE RAVENS

Additions/players brought back:

EDGE Calais Campbell (via trade)

EDGE Matthew Judon (franchise tag)

C Matt Skura (original-round tender)

DI Michael Brockers (signed for three years, $30 million, $21 million guaranteed)

CB Jimmy Smith (re-signed for one year, up to $6 million)

S Anthony Levine (re-signed)

Losses:

DI Michael Pierce

S Tony Jefferson (cut)

CB Brandon Carr

TE Hayden Hurst (via trade)

DI Chris Wormley (via trade)

The fact that Baltimore traded only a fifth-round pick for the second-most valuable defensive lineman over the past four seasons in Calais Campbell is pretty remarkable. Yes, he’s going to turn 34 years old before the season starts, but the man is a game-wrecker compared to his counterparts. Campbell has produced a PFF overall grade that has ranked sixth or better among all defensive linemen in each of the past four seasons. He has plenty of gas in the tank.

Michael Brockers has been a solid run defender throughout his career but a pretty subpar pass-rusher playing alongside the league’s most dominant interior defensive lineman in Aaron Donald. In his eight-year career, Brockers has never cracked the top 40 in pass-rush grade. As for tagging Matthew Judon, it’s a good move if the Ravens trade him away. Judon had a career year like Dante Fowler Jr. above but saw most of his production handed to him, as he owned the highest rate of cleanup/unblocked pressures.

FREE AGENCY GRADE: AVERAGE

BUFFALO BILLS

Additions/players brought back:

WR Stefon Diggs (via trade)

EDGE Mario Addison (signed for three years, $30.45 million, $15.25 million guaranteed)

DI Vernon Butler (signed for two years, $18 million, $9.3 million guaranteed)

DI Quinton Jefferson (signed for two years, $13.5 million)

CB Josh Norman (signed for one year, $6 million)

G Quinton Spain (re-signed for three years, $15 million)

LB A.J. Klein (signed)

Losses:

EDGE Shaq Lawson

EDGE Lorenzo Alexander

CB Kevin Johnson

DI Jordan Phillips

The Buffalo Bills own arguably the best receiving unit in the entire AFC now with Stefon Diggs, John Brown and Cole Beasley on the roster, as all three were among the 35 highest-graded wide receivers of 2019, making Buffalo the only team with three such players to reach that mark. The biggest flaw within the Bills’ receiving unit was their ability to win in contested situations. They ranked 28th among 32 offenses in team receiving grade on those plays, but that’ll certainly change with Diggs considering he’s been one of the 10 highest-graded receivers on those plays since 2017.

While Josh Norman had one of the worst seasons we saw at his position last season, we shouldn’t forget that coverage is unstable year-to-year and Norman was one of the 10 most valuable cornerbacks from 2014 to 2018. Getting him at that price point and pairing him with Tre’Davious White could pay huge dividends. The only things keeping Buffalo from the “excellent” grade are the moves made on the defensive line, as none of the additions have really proven themselves as a reliable pass-rusher.

FREE AGENCY GRADE: ABOVE AVERAGE

CAROLINA PANTHERS

Additions/players brought back:

QB Kyle Allen (signed to a one-year extension)

S Tre Boston (re-signed for three years, $18 million, $9.5 million guaranteed

QB Teddy Bridgewater (signed for three years, $63 million, $33 million guaranteed)

T Russell Okung (via trade)

WR Seth Roberts (signed)

G John Miller (signed for one-year, $4 million)

EDGE Stephen Weatherly (signed for two years, $12.5 million)

Losses:

G Trai Turner (via trade)

CB James Bradberry

DI Gerald McCoy

EDGE Mario Addison

TE Greg Olsen (cut)

DI Vernon Butler

S Eric Reid (cut)

QB Cam Newton (likely cut or trade)

The new regime in Carolina wasn’t messing around this past week and made a lot of impactful moves. The Panthers got one of the biggest steals of the week by re-signing Tre Boston for only $6 million per year over the next three seasons. Boston has been the league’s most underrated player over the past three seasons as the sixth-most valuable safety in the NFL in that span. He made more plays on the ball (24) than catches allowed (13). And he did it while playing for three different teams.

PFF has been vocal about how Carolina should be the team to tank for Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence in 2020. By signing Teddy Bridgewater, they might be out of reach on Lawrence as more of just a subpar team. Bridgewater was solid in filling in for Drew Brees when he went down to injury in 2019 but was a game manager more than anything. He had great decision-making but was incredibly conservative and was aided by a good scheme and supporting cast. Bridgewater owned the lowest average depth of target (6.1), had the lowest rate of pass attempts travel 10 or more yards (21%, lowest by four percentage points) and the highest percentage of completions coming from underneath targets (49%) in his five starts with New Orleans this past year. Considering that was his first string of considerable reps since 2015 due to his career-altering injury before the 2016 season, there’s even more risk with Bridgewater.

FREE AGENCY GRADE: AVERAGE
Oct 20, 2019; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky (10) talks with Chicago Bears head coach Matt Nagy, center, against the New Orleans Saints during the second half at Soldier Field. Credit: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

CHICAGO BEARS

Additions/players brought back:

QB Nick Foles (via trade)

LB Danny Trevathan (re-signed for three years, $21.75 million base, $14 million guaranteed)

EDGE Robert Quinn (signed for five years, $70 million, $30 million guaranteed)

TE Jimmy Graham (signed for two years, $16 million)

S Deon Bush (re-sign for one year)

CB Artie Burns (signed for one year)

S Jordan Lucas (signed for one year, $1 million)

Losses:

CB Prince Amukamara (cut)

WR Taylor Gabriel (cut)

LB Nick Kwiatkoski

EDGE Leonard Floyd (cut)

LB Kevin Pierre-Louis

QB Chase Daniel

G Kyle Long (retired)

S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix

It was still up in the air in the weeks leading up to free agency as to whether Chicago would be pursuing a quarterback to compete with Mitchell Trubisky (or perhaps replace him) for the starting job, but it was apparent as soon as the week kicked off that they were going to do just that. And the result is Nick Foles. The 31-year-old has spent time with numerous members of the Bears’ coaching staff both in his time in Philadelphia as well as in Kansas City, so the move made sense for Chicago. Foles’ high-end is great — he owned the eighth-best passing grade back in 2013 and had one of the best postseason runs we have seen in a quarterback in 2017, when he recorded overall grades of 93.8 and 92.3 in the Conference Championship and Super Bowl, respectively. That said, we’ve seen him perform at an average level more often than not, as he was 15th and 18th in PFF passing grade in 2017 and 2018. Some are criticizing the move more than they probably should — he’s by no means a top-10 quarterback, but Foles still presents a far better option over Mitchell Trubisky.

Chicago’s other signings, however, weren’t the best. Jimmy Graham was once one of the league’s best tight ends, but the 33-year-old hasn’t been the same since he left Seattle and is coming off the two lowest-graded seasons of his career in Green Bay. Robert Quinn is a great pass-rusher and is coming off a season in which he was 17th in pass-rush grade, but coverage is more vital to team success than pass-rush, and there are huge question marks at outside corner after the Bears cut Prince Amukamara. Not to mention, they opted not to re-sign one of the 20 most valuable safeties last year in Ha Ha Clinton-Dix.

FREE AGENCY GRADE: BELOW AVERAGE

CINCINNATI BENGALS

Additions/players brought back:

WR A.J. Green (franchise tag)

CB Mackensie Alexander (signed for one year, $4 million)

DI D.J. Reader (signed for four years, $53 million)

CB Trae Waynes (signed for three years, $42 million)

Losses:

DI Andrew Billings

CB Darqueze Dennard

T Cordy Glenn (cut)

LB Nick Vigil

G John Miller (cut)

CB B.W. Webb

TE Tyler Eifert

Cincinnati has been known to hold back in paying for high-dollar free agents and opting to “build from the draft,” but they went against their old ways this year. First and foremost, bringing back A.J. Green on a franchise tag that’ll likely turn into a longer-term deal is a great decision. There’s risk given his age and recent injuries, but he is easily one of the best wide receivers in the game when on the field. From 2012 to 2018, Green ranked 11th or better in PFF grade in all but one season — and he was still at a respectable 22nd in the lone year he didn’t.

By signing D.J. Reader, the Bengals now own one of the more undervalued defensive lines in the league. He’s a rare nose tackle who is more than just a two-down run-stuffer and gets nasty in the pass-rush. He recorded one of the five best win rates and pass-rush grades at 0/1-technique. All in all, Reader was the eighth-most valuable interior defensive lineman of 2019. The Bengals also got an absolute steal in Mackensie Alexander for just $4 million — among 41 slot corners, Alexander ranked 19th in two-year coverage grade and produced the fourth-highest forced incompletion rate.

The move for Trae Waynes was a bit much, though. He’s never ranked higher than 58th in a single season in PFF coverage grade and was a liability on the outside for Minnesota. Waynes did play in a zone-heavy scheme with the Vikings despite being a far better man corner, and he’ll play a lot more man with the Bengals, so hopefully that helps turn his career around.

FREE AGENCY GRADE: ABOVE AVERAGE

CLEVELAND BROWNS

Additions/players brought back:

RB Kareem Hunt (second-round tender)

QB Case Keenum (signed for three years $18 million, $10 million)

FB Andy Janovich (via trade)

T Jack Conklin (signed for three years, $42 million, $30 million guaranteed)

TE Austin Hooper (signed for four years, $44 million, $23 million guaranteed)

S Karl Joseph (signed for one year)

DI Andrew Billings (signed for one year, $3.5 million guaranteed)

CB Kevin Johnson (signed for one year, $3.5 million)

S Andrew Sendejo (signed for one year, $2.25 million)

Losses:

S Damarious Randall

LB Joe Schobert

CB T.J. Carrie (cut)

T Greg Robinson

Jack Conklin’s signing highlights the good moves made by the Cleveland Browns. He fits perfectly into Kevin Stefanski’s scheme, as his zone-blocking is arguably the best among offensive tackles. He produced a 94th percentile run-blocking grade on such reps in 2019. Overall, Conklin was among the 10 highest-graded tackles of 2019, and he provides an immediate upgrade at right tackle —Chris Hubbard, the Browns’ starter there in 2019, was the sixth lowest-graded tackle last season. Don’t sleep on Kevin Johnson, either — he’s had an inconsistent, injury-riddled career but performed fairly well in his one season with Buffalo in 2019, owning a 73.6 coverage grade on his 277 coverage snaps.

As said earlier, paying Austin Hooper as much as the Browns did was a bit of a stretch considering most of his production was schemed with the Falcons. Since entering the league, Hooper has picked up a top-three figure in percentage of receiving yards coming from underneath routes or from finding holes in zone coverage. He was rarely tasked with having to win one-on-one, and when he was, it wasn't pretty. His career receiving grade against single coverage sits as the sixth-lowest in the NFL over that span. Hooper might fit in well in Stefanski’s offense, but not for $11 million per year.

FREE AGENCY GRADE: AVERAGE

DALLAS COWBOYS

Additions/players brought back:

QB Dak Prescott (exclusive franchise tag)

WR Amari Cooper (re-signed for five years, $100 million, $60 million guaranteed)

CB Anthony Brown (re-signed for three years, $15.5 million)

TE Blake Jarwin (re-signed for four years, $22 million)

LB Sean Lee (re-signed for one year, $4.5 million, $2 million guaranteed)

iOL Joe Looney (re-signed)

DI Gerald McCoy (signed for three years, $18.3 million)

K Kai Forbath (re-signed)

S Darian Thompson (re-signed)

S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (signed for one year, $4 million)

Losses:

CB Byron Jones

EDGE Robert Quinn

WR Randall Cobb

DI Maliek Collins

S Jeff Heath

TE Jason Witten

If it weren’t for the Cowboys paying Ezekiel Elliott a ridiculous six-year, $90 million contract with $50 million guaranteed prior to the season that caused them to lose one of the NFL’s best outside man-to-man corners in Byron Jones, they would have had a near-perfect free agency. Amari Cooper was a must to lock up long-term — he is easily one of the best route-runners in the league. Since coming to Dallas, Cooper has seen 58% of his 20-plus yard targets come with a step or more of separation, which leads the NFL and is nearly 20 percentage points above the average. He’s been a game-changer for the Dallas offense.

Getting Ha Ha Clinton-Dix for just $4 million in 2020 is one of the biggest steals of free agency. In his career, Clinton-Dix has totaled 38 combined interceptions and pass breakups and will rarely give up multiple big plays in a single game. In fact, out of his 96 games played, he allowed more than 45 yards in coverage in just six outings and has surrendered only six touchdowns and 23 explosive plays of 15-plus yards on 3,936 coverage snaps. Clinton-Dix will reunite with his former head coach Mike McCarthy in Green Bay and be a huge addition to the Dallas defense. Getting Gerald McCoy for the price the Cowboys did is sneaky good, too. He’s not nearly as disruptive as in past years, but McCoy was still one of the 10 most valuable interior defensive linemen in 2019.

FREE AGENCY GRADE: ABOVE AVERAGE

DENVER BRONCOS

Additions/players brought back:

S Justin Simmons (franchise tag)

DI Jurrell Casey (via trade)

CB A.J. Bouye (via trade)

G Graham Glasgow (signed for four years, $44 million, $25 million guaranteed)

RB Melvin Gordon (signed for two years, $16 million, $13.5 million guaranteed)

TE Nick Vannett (signed for two years)

Losses:

CB Chris Harris Jr.

DI Shelby Harris

C Connor McGovern

DI Derek Wolfe

FB Andy Janovich (via trade)

They may have lost solid players in Chris Harris Jr. and Connor McGovern, but Broncos made great acquisitions. Tagging Justin Simmons and trying to lock him up long-term was priority number one for Denver — and understandably so. He was the most valuable safety of the 2019 season and was a playmaker in coverage, with 15 combined pass breakups and interceptions leading to an NFL-best 32.1 passer rating allowed. He’s a versatile player and thrived in whatever he was tasked with in Vic Fangio’s defense. There’s some risk involved considering he was a poor performer leading up to his breakout campaign, but it’d be hard to let a guy like Simmons walk after what he displayed in his one season with Fangio.

Before free agency, Denver traded a fourth-round draft pick for cornerback A.J. Bouye. From 2016 to 2018, Bouye posted the third-highest grade at outside corner in the NFL. Bouye’s play wasn’t at that same level in 2019, but again, coverage is unstable year-to-year, and Denver took advantage of that by buying him for a low cost. The Broncos also got a pretty good deal by trading just a seventh-round pick for Jurrell Casey — an interior defensive lineman who has ranked among the 25 highest-graded players at the position in each of the past five years. And last, but certainly not least, Denver got a great deal in Graham Glasgow, who has shown to play any position on the interior at a high level. Glasgow ranked 12th among all guards in grade this past year and was 13th among centers in 2018.

If it weren’t for handing $13.5 million guaranteed to Melvin Gordon over the next two seasons while rostering Phillip Lindsay, who has generated a higher overall grade over the past two years and costs under $1 million in 2020, the Broncos would have had an excellent grade.

FREE AGENCY GRADE: ABOVE AVERAGE
Dec 21, 2019; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; New England Patriots outside linebacker Jamie Collins (58) celebrates after Buffalo couldn't convert on a fourth down late in the fourth quarter of their win over the Buffalo Bills at Gillette Stadium. Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY

DETROIT LIONS

Additions/players brought back:

CB Desmond Trufant (signed for two years, $21 million)

S Jayron Kearse (signed for one year, $2.75 million)

LB Jamie Collins Sr. (signed for three years, $30 million, $18 million guaranteed)

QB Chase Daniel (signed for three years, $13 million)

S Duron Harmon (via trade)

DI Danny Shelton (signed for two years, $8 million)

T Halapoulivaati Vaitai (signed for five years, $50 million)

Losses:

CB Darius Slay (via trade)

DI Mike Daniels

G Graham Glasgow

DI Damon Harrison Sr. (cut)

DI A’Shawn Robinson

EDGE Devon Kennard (cut)

CB Rashaan Melvin

Signing Desmond Trufant was a good move on Detroit’s part, but trading away Darius Slay was not. Slay had a down year from a grading perspective, but he’s been one of the NFL’s best cornerbacks since 2014. Instead of paying him, they paid tackle Halapoulivaati Vaitai a whopping $50 million over five years. Vaitai wasn’t a bad run-blocker on his 209 run-block snaps in 2019, having posted a 76.2 run-block grade, but he's been wildly inconsistent during his four-year career and a rather poor pass-protector. In his two years prior to 2019, Vaitai performed below a replacement-player level.

On the bright side of their week, the Lions made a great move in acquiring Duron Harmon, who has been great in coverage throughout the entirety of his career. He’s totaled up 31 pass breakups and interceptions and has been responsible for only 47 catches allowed. He has produced an above-average coverage in every single one of his seven seasons.

Jamie Collins is a high-risk, high-reward type of acquisition for Detroit. After playing fairly well with the Patriots during the first three and a half years of his career from 2013 to mid-2016, Collins move on to Cleveland where his career spiraled a bit. He spent the first eight weeks of 2016 in New England and had an 82.9 overall grade before being traded to Cleveland for the remainder of the season. There, his grade dropped to 54.2, and he subsequently posted the worst marks of his career in his two full seasons with the Browns in 2017-18. Collins then returned to New England in 2019 and got back to form, ranking as the 12th most valuable linebacker in the league. Hopefully, playing in a near-mirror defense with Matt Patricia’s Lions helps Collins remain that same great player.

FREE AGENCY GRADE: BELOW AVERAGE

GREEN BAY PACKERS

Additions/players brought back:

LB Christian Kirksey (signed for two years, $16 million)

T Rick Wagner (signed for two years, $11 million)

TE Marcedes Lewis (re-signed for one year, $2.25 million)

Losses:

LB Blake Martinez

T Bryan Bulaga

CB Tramon Williams

WR Geronimo Allison

EDGE Kyler Fackrell

TE Jimmy Graham

The number one priority for Green Bay this offseason was to get Aaron Rodgers more receiving weapons. As of now, there are still a few solid options on the market in Robby Anderson and Breshad Perriman, but there haven’t been any signs that the Packers will add either one, instead likely pursuing a receiver in the NFL Draft. That's a fine route considering the loaded recruiting class, but even with a high-end rookie addition, the team will lack depth at the position.

It was known that Blake Martinez would be on his way out of Green Bay, but paying Christian Kirksey $8 million in each of the next two seasons to replace him was not the route to go. He’s been a liability in coverage over the last four years, ranking 64th of 75 off-ball linebackers in coverage grade and 65th in passer rating allowed at 113.2.

FREE AGENCY GRADE: BELOW AVERAGE

HOUSTON TEXANS

Additions/players brought back:

RB David Johnson (via trade)

CB Bradley Roby (re-signed for three years, $36 million)

WR Randall Cobb (signed for three years, $27 million, $18.75 million guaranteed)

K Ka’imi Fairbairn (re-signed for four years, $17.65 million, $9 million guaranteed)

TE Darren Fells (re-signed for two years, $7 million)

QB A.J. McCarron (re-signed for one year, $4 million)

Losses:

WR DeAndre Hopkins (via trade)

DI D.J. Reader

CB Johnathan Joseph

Where to begin with what the Houston Texans have done in the last week. First off, they traded away one of the best wide receivers PFF has ever seen in DeAndre Hopkins for essentially nothing. They have an extra second-round pick now and are taking on the full contract of David Johnson, who will be paid $14.2 million next season. Johnson has underwhelmed over the last few years, ranking 49th of 55 running backs in PFF overall grade since 2017. If he didn’t have $16.2 million in dead money, there was a real chance Arizona was going to cut him. Instead, they somehow convinced Houston to take him on. And instead of Houston paying Hopkins long-term, they paid Randall Cobb, who has been a good slot receiver but far from anything spectacular. Over the last five seasons, Cobb has ranked in the top 50 in PFF receiving grade among wide receivers only once.

FREE AGENCY GRADE: POOR

INDIANAPOLIS COLTS

Additions/players brought back:

DI DeForest Buckner (via trade)

T Anthony Castonzo (re-signed for two years, $33 million)

QB Philip Rivers (one year, $25 million guaranteed)

Losses:

TE Eric Ebron

WR Devin Funchess

EDGE Jabaal Sheard

S Clayton Geathers

13th overall pick (via trade)

There seems to be a divide among Colts fans over the Philip Rivers signing. Some think they should have pursued Jordan Love in the draft, some think Jacoby needs another year and some like the addition of the veteran Rivers. In PFF’s eyes, we are in the crowd of loving Rivers to Indy. He was by no means polished in 2019, but he was still an average quarterback, whereas Jacoby Brissett was not. Rivers' 73.6 passing grade ranked 17th among quarterbacks and his accuracy was far better than Brissett’s. On throws targeted 10-plus yards downfield, Rivers produced the eighth-highest rate of accurate passes thrown — a statistical category in which Brissett ranked second-to-last.

Re-signing Anthony Castonzo was a great move and gives Rivers a drastic improvement over what he had last year in Los Angeles. In every single season since 2014, Castonzo has ranked among the 20 highest-graded tackles in the NFL, with three of those seasons placing him in the top 10. If it weren’t for trading away the 13th overall pick for DeForest Buckner and extending him for over $21 million per year, Indy would be in the excellent category.

FREE AGENCY GRADE: ABOVE AVERAGE

JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS

Additions/players brought back:

EDGE Yannick Ngakoue (franchise tag)

LB Joe Schobert (signed for five years, $53.75 million, $22.5 million guaranteed)

CB Darqueze Dennard (signed for three years, $13.5 million, $6 million guaranteed)

IOL Tyler Shatley (re-signed for one year, $1.5 million)

Losses:

EDGE Calais Campbell (via trade)

DI Marcell Dareus

QB Nick Foles (via trade)

CB A.J. Bouye (via trade)

The Jaguars made it clear the last few weeks that the tank has officially commenced for their franchise. After trading away A.J. Bouye, Calais Campbell and Nick Foles, the Jags own 12 picks in the 2020 NFL Draft and will likely add more after they trade Yannick Ngakoue, whom they tagged. In other words, they are going to roll with Gardner Minshew for one more season to see what they have in him, and, if all fails, they’ll hopefully be in the position to snag Trevor Lawrence or Justin Fields in the 2021 NFL Draft, which is a smart plan. The only issue with the trades they've made is that they only got Day 3 picks for both Bouye and Campbell.

Darqueze Dennard was one of the more underrated signings made in free agency. Over the last three years, Dennard owns the 12th-best slot coverage grade among 42 qualifying cornerbacks and has had two of those three seasons end with a top-30 finish among all cornerbacks in PFF WAR. On targets of 10-plus yards from the slot in that timespan, Dennard has allowed the lowest catch rate in the NFL. It’s a great signing at a valuable position. Joe Schobert isn’t a terrible signing, with just the first two years guaranteed. He’s had his fair share of struggles in defending the run but has been a valuable player in coverage the last couple of years. He ranks among the 10 highest-graded off-ball linebackers in coverage since 2018.

Most would call this a bad offseason for the Jaguars, and while the trade compensation was pretty poor, we here at PFF respect the tank.

FREE AGENCY GRADE: AVERAGE
Jan 19, 2020; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Kansas City Chiefs defensive end Chris Jones (95) celebrates after a play during the game against the Tennessee Titans at Arrowhead Stadium. Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

KANSAS CITY CHIEFS

Additions/players brought back:

DI Chris Jones (franchise tag)

RB Damien Williams (option picked up)

Losses:

CB Kendall Fuller

EDGE Emmanuel Ogbah

The defending Super Bowl champions didn’t have to do much in free agency, and even if they wanted to, they really couldn’t due to their cap situation. They franchise tagged Chris Jones, and with Patrick Mahomes’ contract extension looming in the near future, it might be best to trade Jones on the tag. Jones is a phenomenal player and one of the most dominant pass-rushers at his position. He has produced top-10 pass-rush grades in all four of his seasons in the NFL and owns the second-best grade over the last two years behind only Aaron Donald. Jones' performance on the field isn’t the reason why they should trade him — it's just the lack of positional value and limited cap space.

FREE AGENCY GRADE: AVERAGE

LAS VEGAS RAIDERS

Additions/players brought back:

LB Cory Littleton (signed for three years, $36 million)

LB Nick Kwiatkoski (signed for three years, $21 million, $13.5 million guaranteed)

CB Eli Apple (signed)

QB Marcus Mariota (signed)

TE Jason Witten (signed for one year, $4.75 million)

S Jeff Heath (signed for two years, $8 million)

EDGE Carl Nassib (signed for three years, $25 million, $17 million guaranteed)

WR Nelson Agholor (signed for one year)

Losses:

S Karl Joseph

CB Daryl Worley

S Curtis Riley

Las Vegas hit an absolute home run by locking up two of the best linebackers on the market in Nick Kwiatkoski and Cory Littleton. During his time in Chicago in a rotational role, Kwiatkoski looked every bit like an off-ball linebacker. His three-year PFF grade ranks among the top 15 at his position, and he was one of six to produce a 70-plus grade as a run defender, as a pass-rusher and in coverage over that span.

Littleton broke out in his first full season starting in 2018 and has since been one of the top coverage linebackers, owning a two-year grade in that facet that ranks second and combing for 24 pass breakups and interceptions. His tackling has been sharp, too — in 2019, he missed just one of his 126 tackling attempts.

The Raiders could have done a bit more to improve their secondary (like a Byron Jones), but Eli Apple is better than nothing. Apple has been nothing but average in his career and never quite lived up to expectations, but he's been a decent press-man corner. Apple’s 0.87 yards allowed per coverage snap in press at outside corner ranked 13th in the NFL in 2019.

FREE AGENCY GRADE: ABOVE AVERAGE

LOS ANGELES CHARGERS

Additions/players brought back:

T Bryan Bulaga (signed for three years, $30 million)

G Trai Turner (via trade)

TE Hunter Henry (franchise tag)

RB Austin Ekeler (re-signed for four years, $24.5 million, $15 million guaranteed)

CB Chris Harris Jr. (signed for two years, $20 million, $7.5 million guaranteed)

DI Linval Joseph (signed for two years, $17 million)

Losses:

T Russell Okung (via trade)

QB Philip Rivers

RB Melvin Gordon III

S Adrian Phillips

LB Thomas Davis

The Chargers still don’t have a quarterback to get excited about, but they had perhaps the best free agency of any team. Upgrading at tackle was a must this offseason — their tackles surrendered the worst pressure rate of all 32 tackle units and their offensive line as a whole ranked 31st in pass-block grade. They signed Bryan Bulaga to a reasonable deal, getting themselves one of the best right tackles in the game as he has ranked among the top 10 at the alignment in pass-block grade in every single season since 2014.

Franchise tagging Hunter Henry was a great move, too. Injuries have derailed his last couple seasons, but when healthy in 2016 and 2017, Henry ranked behind only Rob Gronkowski and Travis Kelce in PFF receiving grade. He’s athletic and can play inline, in the slot or out wide and gives Tyrod Taylor a legit receiving weapon.

Before signing Chris Harris Jr., the Chargers secondary was already one of the top units. Now they are just flat-out lethal and are going to cause issues for opposing offenses. Harris played in the slot for the entirety of his career until 2019 when he moved outside and posted the worst season of his career. Granted, he was still one of the 30 most valuable cornerbacks in the league but wasn’t his elite self as he had been in the slot. With the move to L.A., Harris will be kicking back inside where he belongs — he has allowed the fourth-fewest yards per coverage snap at 0.86 since he came into the league in 2011.

FREE AGENCY GRADE: EXCELLENT

LOS ANGELES RAMS

Additions/players brought back:

C Austin Blythe (re-signed)

T Andrew Whitworth (re-signed for three years, $30 million, $12.5 million guaranteed)

DI A’Shawn Robinson (signed for two years, $17 million)

EDGE Leonard Floyd (signed for one year, $10 million guaranteed)

Losses:

LB Cory Littleton

CB Nickell Robey-Coleman

EDGE Dante Fowler Jr.

DI Michael Brockers

S Eric Weddle

RB Todd Gurley (cut)

Andrew Whitworth didn’t have his best year in 2019, but he still certainly proved he has plenty left in the tank. The now 38-year-old posted an 84.7 pass-block grade, which cracked the top 10 among all tackles. He has finished among the top 10 tackles in pass-pro in all but one season since he moved to tackle in 2009. His run-blocking dipped off some, but the Rams offensive line was poor outside of Whitworth, so it was a great idea on the Rams' part to bring him back. The fact they didn’t address other areas on the line is one of the issues with the Rams’ free agency. They were 29th in PFF pass-block grade as a unit last year, and at this rate, it won’t get much better.

Signing Leonard Floyd to a guaranteed $10 million one-year deal is a risky move, considering Floyd has produced a below-average pass-rush grade in all four of his career seasons. He’s an athletic player for sure and can bring value in dropping into coverage on a limited basis, as he showed in 2018 when he allowed 68 yards on his 119 coverage snaps while tacking on four plays made on the ball. But his primary role is in the pass-rush, and Floyd still has a lot to prove there.

The Rams lost Michael Brockers and paid A’Shawn Robinson a generous contract to replace him. Robinson was a near-elite player in 2018, owning an 89.7 overall grade ranking 11th at his position — a result of his stout run-defense. He declined significantly in 2019, posting a 56.0 grade that ranked 95th. The biggest concern with Robinson is his pass-rushing, as he has generated only 65 pressures on his 1,163 pass-rush reps. Playing alongside Aaron Donald might help, but allocating the money to other areas of need may have been the better route to take.

FREE AGENCY GRADE: BELOW AVERAGE

MIAMI DOLPHINS

Additions/players brought back:

G Ereck Flowers (signed for three years, $30 million, $19.95 million guaranteed)

CB Byron Jones (signed for five years, $82 million, $54 million guaranteed)

RB Jordan Howard (signed for two years, $10 million)

EDGE Shaq Lawson (signed for three years, $30 million)

C Ted Karras (signed for one year, $4 million)

EDGE Kyle Van Noy (signed for four years, $51 million, $30 million guaranteed)

EDGE Emmanuel Ogbah (signed for two years, $15 million, $7.5 million guaranteed)

S Adrian Colbert (signed for one year, $1.775 million)

Losses:

No one notable

Miami made one of the best signings of the week by locking up Byron Jones with one of the largest contracts we have seen at his position. After manning the safety position over his first three seasons, Jones moved to the outside in 2018 and has since blossomed into one of the five highest-graded players at the alignment. Jones’ press-man skills are flat-out elite. In 2019, he allowed just 0.39 yards per coverage snap in press, the second-lowest figure at the position — and over eight-tenths of a yard lower than the average. He’s going to fit like a glove into Brian Flores' man-heavy scheme.

The Dolphins also made a great value-signing in center Ted Karras, whom they snagged from the Patriots. During his lone season as the starter in 2019, Karras sneakily was one of the top centers in the league. In true pass sets (i.e., no play-action, no screens, no rollouts, etc.), Karras ranked 12th among centers in PFF pass-block grade, and his 2.2% pressure rate allowed was the sixth-best. As a run-blocker, Karras ranked 16th among 39 qualifying centers in grade.

After those two great signings by Miami, there’s a handful of risky ones. Ereck Flowers spent the first four seasons of his career at left tackle and produced a below-average PFF grade every year and combined to allow the highest pressure rate of anyone at 9.6%. He kicked over to guard in 2019 and was average in that role, ranking 18th of 39 left guards in PFF grade. Given what he was paid, he should have performed far better than that. Keeping Flowers at guard will extract his best play, but regardless this was a questionable move.

Miami’s edge unit was easily the worst in the NFL last season. They recognized that and signed Shaq Lawson, Kyle Van Noy and Emmanuel Ogbah to some hefty deals. Lawson, in particular, received far more than what our friends at OverTheCap projected. He generated a consistent amount of pressure last year at 14.2%, which ranked 21st, but was slightly above-average in pass-rush grade, ranking 41st of 104 qualifying edge players. Van Noy played mostly off-ball linebacker in his career but transferred to the edge in 2019 and recorded a career-high PFF grade that was 16th at his position. Like Lawson, Van Noy was an above-average pass-rusher, ranking 34th at the position in pass-rush grade. As for Ogbah, he has never bloomed into the pass-rusher we expected him to be at the NFL level. In his four career seasons, Ogbah has never ranked higher than 65th in PFF pass-rush grade. Miami had the most money to spend in free agency, but they might have given out just a little too much to edge rushers here.

FREE AGENCY GRADE: AVERAGE
Jan 5, 2020; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; Minnesota Vikings defensive back Anthony Harris (41) intercepts a pass interned for New Orleans Saints wide receiver Ted Ginn (19) as Minnesota cornerback Trae Waynes (26) backs up the play during the second quarter of an NFC Wild Card playoff football game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Credit: Chuck Cook -USA TODAY Sports

MINNESOTA VIKINGS

Additions/players brought back:

DI Michael Pierce (signed for three years, $28 million, $18 million guaranteed)

S Anthony Harris (franchise tag)

FB C.J. Ham (re-signed for four years, $12.25 million)

LB Eric Wilson (second-round tender)

22nd overall pick (plus a fourth-, fifth- and sixth-round pick via trade with Buffalo)

Losses:

WR Stefon Diggs (via trade)

CB Trae Waynes

EDGE Everson Griffen

CB Mackensie Alexander

DI Linval Joseph

S Jayron Kearse

S Andrew Sendejo

CB Xavier Rhodes

The best move the Minnesota Vikings made was cutting Xavier Rhodes. He's been a liability in coverage, ranking 112th of 119 in PFF coverage grade and allowing an incredibly high 83.5% catch rate. The cornerback position outside of Rhodes was nothing special, either, as the unit ranked 27th in PFF coverage grade. The top two corners on the roster were Trae Waynes and Mackensie Alexander, and both of them are now Cincinnati Bengals, leaving the cornerback position depleted. Instead of paying for a cornerback in free agency, which is the second-most valuable position on the field behind quarterback, the Vikings paid run-stuffing nose tackle Michael Pierce. Minnesota also placed the franchise tag on Anthony Harris, who has been the highest-graded safety over the last two seasons and was responsible for only 21 catches allowed in that stretch while combing for 17 pass breakups and interceptions. It would be a great idea for the Vikings to lock Harris up long-term given their already poor secondary, but there’s a real possibility they trade him on the tag for assets.

FREE AGENCY GRADE: POOR

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

Additions/players brought back:

G Joe Thuney (franchise tag)

S Devin McCourty (re-signed for two years, $23 million, $17 million guaranteed)

ST Matthew Slater (re-signed for two years, $5.3 million)

DI Beau Allen (signed for two years, $8 million)

WR Damiere Byrd (signed for one year, $2.5 million)

Losses:

QB Tom Brady

EDGE Kyle Van Noy

LB Jamie Collins Sr.

DI Danny Shelton

C Ted Karras

S Duron Harmon (via trade)

Losing Tom Brady is obviously a crushing loss to the New England Patriots. As of now, Jarrett Stidham is New England’s QB1, and he has very little receiving talent to throw to. After Tom Brady, New England’s top two impending free agents were Joe Thuney and Devin McCourty, and Bill Belichick wasn’t going to let either walk, which was probably a good idea.

The Patriots used the franchise tag on Thuney, who has been the fifth most valuable guard in the league since 2017, per PFF WAR. Thuney has also been one of the NFL's five best guards on true pass sets since 2018 and is the only one to not allow a single sack over that period. In terms of PFF run-blocking grades, Thuney has ranked 15th or higher at his position in each of the last three seasons.

McCourty is getting ready to turn 33 years old but has shown little to no sign of slowing down. He’s been one of the 10 most valuable safeties in each of the last two seasons and owns a two-year coverage grade that ranks among the top five at the position. There’s still a lot of work to be done to improve the passing attack, but Belichick still has one of the best secondaries in the NFL.

FREE AGENCY GRADE: AVERAGE

NEW ORLEANS SAINTS

Additions/players brought back:

QB Drew Brees (re-signed for two years, $50 million)

QB Taysom Hill (first-round tender)

S Malcolm Jenkins (signed for four years, $32 million, $16.25 million guaranteed)

DI David Onyemata (re-signed for three years, $27 million)

G Andrus Peat (re-signed for five years, $57.5 million)

WR Emmanuel Sanders (signed for two years, $16 million)

Losses:

S Vonn Bell

CB Eli Apple

LB A.J. Klein

If they had not handed Andrus Peat an incredible five-year, $57.5 million deal, the Saints likely would have had one of the best offseasons of any franchise.

Peat was a relatively average player from 2015-17, splitting time between left tackle and left guard. He then stepped into a full-time left guard role in 2018 and 2019 and saw his play drop off significantly. Peat posted overall grades of 39.8 and 48.5 in those two seasons, respectively, en route to a PFF WAR figure that ranked second to last among guards.

On the bright side, the Saints brought back Drew Brees on a team-friendly deal. Even with a thumb injury to his throwing hand that caused him to miss five weeks of action, Brees still managed to post the second-best grade of the 2019 season at an elite 90.6. His rate of accurate passes thrown was four percentage points higher than any other quarterback, and his decision-making was as sharp as ever. However, while Brees may have had one of the best wide receivers in the NFL at his disposal in Michael Thomas, he still desperately needed reliable options to go to after Thomas, as both Ted Ginn Jr. and Tre’Quan Smith failed to earn a 60.0 receiving grade.

To fix that, New Orleans brought in Emmanuel Sanders, who owns the eighth-lowest drop rate among NFL receivers since 2014. He fits perfectly into Drew Brees’ short, quick passing attack, as his receiving grade on short-to-intermediate targets (less than 20 yards downfield) that were thrown within 2.5 seconds of the snap ranked behind only Michael Thomas last year.

FREE AGENCY GRADE: ABOVE AVERAGE

NEW YORK GIANTS

Additions/players brought back:

CB James Bradberry (signed for three-years, $45 million, $32 million guaranteed)

DI Leonard Williams (franchise tag)

LB David Mayo (re-signed for three years, $8.4 million)

TE Levine Toilolo (signed for two years, $6.2 million)

LB Blake Martinez (signed for three years, $30 million)

S Nate Ebner (signed)

EDGE Kyler Fackrell (signed for one year, $4.6 million)

T Cam Fleming (signed for one-year, $4 million)

Losses:

QB Eli Manning (retired)

EDGE Markus Golden

S Antoine Bethea (cut)

LB Alec Ogletree (cut)

T Mike Remmers

The Giants had every opportunity to make splash signings and really revamp their roster as they head into the second season of the Daniel Jones era in New York, but instead of splash plays, they made numerous questionable moves, starting with tagging Leonard Williams.

They traded a 2020 third-round pick and a 2021 fifth-round pick in exchange for Williams midway through the 2019 season. And by tagging him, that 2021 fifth-round pick becomes a fourth, and they’ll also have to pay him like an elite interior defensive lineman. Williams has by no means been terrible, but he hasn’t exactly been elite — he's earned 70.0-plus run-defense grades in each of the last three seasons while his PFF pass-rush grade has cracked the 70.0 mark just once.

James Bradberry was a “buyer beware” candidate entering free agency, and New York made him one of the three highest-paid corners in the NFL. Bradberry has failed to produce a 65.0 coverage grade in each of the past three seasons; none of the seasons ended with him cracking 50th percentile in that metric, and he’s given up five more explosive plays than any other outside corner in that span.

The Giants were 30th in team coverage grade a year ago, and it seems like they may be headed in that direction once again in 2020.

FREE AGENCY GRADE: POOR

NEW YORK JETS

Additions/players brought back:

CB Brian Poole (re-signed for one year, $5 million)

T George Fant (signed for three years, $30 million)

C Connor McGovern (signed for three years, $27 million, $18 million guaranteed)

G Alex Lewis (re-signed)

Losses:

WR Robby Anderson

WR Demaryius Thomas

RB Ty Montgomery

C Ryan Kalil

T Brandon Shell

T Kelvin Beachum

CB Trumaine Johnson (cut)

Giving George Fant a three-year deal worth $30 million was quite generous on the New York Jets' part when you consider the fact that Fant has only played 1,146 snaps over his four-year career.

Looking at true pass sets only over the last four seasons, Fant ranks 86th among the 99 qualifying tackles in terms of PFF pass-blocking grade, while his pressure rate rings in at 96th.

The Jets' offensive line needed help from top to bottom, and while they may have struck out on Fant, they got a solid center in Connor McGovern. The former Bronco broke out in 2019 by posting an 82.5 pass-block grade that ranked fifth at his position.

In addition to signing McGovern, re-signing slot corner Brian Poole to a cheap deal was a great move. After performing at an average level with the Falcons in his first three seasons in the league, Poole joined the Jets in 2019 and was the NFL’s seventh most valuable cornerback.

The big issue with the Jets' free agency is the marginal improvement made to an offensive line that ranked 28th as a unit in PFF grade a season ago coupled with the fact that they haven't yet made a single move to bolster a wide receiver unit that is set to lose both Robby Anderson and Demaryius Thomas. While Sam Darnold is far from a polished passer, he’s really not being put into a position to succeed at the moment.

FREE AGENCY GRADE: BELOW AVERAGE
Dec 8, 2019; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Detroit Lions cornerback Darius Slay (23) breaks up a pass intended for Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Stefon Diggs (14) during the first quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Credit: Harrison Barden-USA TODAY Sports

PHILADELPHIA EAGLES

Additions/players brought back:

DI Javon Hargrave (signed for three years, $39 million, $26 million guaranteed)

CB Darius Slay (via trade)

S Jalen Mills (re-signed for one year, $5 million)

S Rodney McLeod (re-signed for two years, $12 million)

QB Nate Sudfeld (re-signed for one year, $2 million)

S Will Parks (signed for one year)

Losses:

T Jason Peters

WR Nelson Agholor

CB Ronald Darby

RB Jordan Howard

EDGE Vinny Curry

T Halapoulivaati Vaitai

S Malcolm Jenkins

Philadelphia simply needed to improve their cornerback unit, as they ranked 29th in grade at the position in 2019, and they did just that by trading for (and extending) Darius Slay. The price of the contract makes Slay the highest-paid at his position, and understandably so. Since 2014, Slay has been the NFL’s fifth-most valuable cornerback, and he has recorded the third-most forced incompletions (77).

With the addition of Javon Hargrave, the Eagles now own one of the league’s most ferocious defensive fronts. They were already one of the five highest-graded pass-rushing units with Fletcher Cox and Brandon Graham, and it’s only going to get better with Hargrave, who was a top-10 finisher in PFF pass-rush grade last year.

They also retained Rodney McLeod, who has been one of the team's few stars in the secondary. Since joining Philly in 2016, McLeod ranks 17th of 101 qualifying safeties in PFF coverage grade, and he has made almost as many plays on ball (20) as the number of first downs that he's allowed (21) as an Eagle. There’s work to be done within their receiving unit, but overall, there's not much to complain about so far this offseason.

FREE AGENCY GRADE: ABOVE AVERAGE


PITTSBURGH STEELERS

Additions/players brought back:

EDGE Bud Dupree (franchise tag)

FB Derek Watt (signed for three-years, $9.75 million, $3.25 million guaranteed)

G Stefen Wisniewski (signed for two-years)

TE Eric Ebron (signed for two-years, $12 million)

DI Chris Wormley (via trade)

Losses:

DI Javon Hargrave

CB Artie Burns

LB Mark Barron (cut)

S Sean Davis

T Anthony Chickillo (cut)

Compared to what some teams paid for offensive guards, Pittsburgh got an absolute steal in Stefen Wisniewski, who was one of the league’s most reliable pass-blocking centers with the Raiders and Jaguars from 2012-2015 and owned an above-average pass-block grade in all four years with multiple seasons in the top 10. He kicked over to left guard with the Eagles in 2016 and posted back-to-back to years in the top-25 among guards before struggling in a limited role in 2018 (61st). Wisniewski joined forces with the Chiefs in 2019 and performed considerably well in his limited-turned-starter role and ended the season ranked 16th among guards in overall grade.

Signing athletic tight end Eric Ebron to just a two-year deal worth $12 million was another great move on the Steelers' part. His hands have never been great — he’s dropped over 8% of his catchable targets in every single season of his career — but he is one of the few tight ends who can play in the slot or outside and remain productive. Ebron has run the fifth-most routes from the slot or outside over the last two seasons and averaged an impressive 1.62 yards per route run.

While we like the Wisniewski and Ebron signings, we weren’t fans of tagging edge defender Bud Dupree. Yes, he had a career year in 2019 and generated a 76.3 pass-rush grade that ranked 24th at his position, but he had never even touched the top-60 in any of his four seasons prior.

Some Steelers fans make the argument that Dupree can drop into coverage and play at an elite level, which makes him such a valuable player to the team. Sure, he has the athleticism to drop into coverage, but his performance is far from elite. He has dropped into coverage 457 times in his career (just 48 times in 2019, for what it’s worth) and has made just two plays on the ball while allowing 39 catches on 48 targets.

FREE AGENCY GRADE: AVERAGE

SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS

Additions/players brought back:

EDGE Arik Armstead (re-signed for five years, $85 million, $48.5 million guaranteed)

S Jimmie Ward (re-signed for three years, $28.5 million)

C Ben Garland (re-signed for one year, $2.25 million)

EDGE Ronald Blair III (re-signed for one year)

13th overall pick (via trade with Indianapolis)

Losses:

DI DeForest Buckner (via trade)

WR Emmanuel Sanders

TE Levine Toilolo

San Francisco made one of the best moves of the entire week by trading away interior defensive lineman DeForest Buckner to the Indianapolis Colts for the 13th overall pick in this year’s NFL draft. With Emmanuel Sanders departing, they’ll need another receiver to go alongside Deebo Samuel, and they are now in a position to possibly grab either Jerry Jeudy, CeeDee Lamb or Henry Ruggs III at Pick 13 — which could be very lethal in an offense like Kyle Shanahan’s.

Jimmie Ward had a lot to prove in 2019 after missing well over half of his career games due to injury. After finishing the season ranked sixth in PFF grade, it’s safe to say that Ward proved that he is one of the best at his position when healthy. He’s an athletic, versatile player and was vital to the Niners' defensive success last season.

Re-signing Arik Armstead for as much as they did was a bit risky considering what we've seen from him so far. Armstead has played under 400 snaps in each of his three seasons, and while he flashed some potential in his rookie campaign by earning a 79.0 overall grade, he saw most of that success come from his run defense and not his pass-rushing. From 2015-18, Armstead’s career-high pass-rush grade was just 70.6. In 2019, he greatly improved on that by recording a 75.1 pass-rush grade that ranked 27th. He’s a good player, but five years, $85 million with $48.5 million guaranteed is a bit hefty.

FREE AGENCY GRADE: ABOVE AVERAGE
Jan 5, 2020; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Seattle Seahawks defensive tackle Jarran Reed reacts late in the fourth quarter against the Philadelphia Eagles in an NFC Wild Card playoff football game at Lincoln Financial Field. Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

SEATTLE SEAHAWKS

Additions/players brought back:

TE Greg Olsen (signed for one year, $7 million)

DI Jarran Reed (re-signed for two years, $23 million)

EDGE Bruce Irvin (signed)

TE Jacob Hollister (second-round tender)

C B.J. Finney (signed for two years, $8 million)

T Cedric Ogbuehi (signed)

T Brandon Shell (signed)

CB Quinton Dunbar (via trade)

Losses:

DI Quinton Jefferson

EDGE Ezekiel Ansah

T Germain Ifedi

WR Josh Gordon

T George Fant

G Mike Iupati

Quarterback Russell Wilson can't make magic outside the pocket forever. At some point, he'll need a stout offensive line in front of him, but the Seahawks had the opposite of that in 2019 and actually ranked 30th in pass-blocking grade. Instead of replacing their subpar tackles with at least somewhat reliable ones, they replaced them with other subpar tackles.

In his three seasons starting at right tackle for the Jets, Brandon Shell has never cracked the top 50 in PFF pass-block grade. Cedric Ogbuehi, on the other hand, has logged only 957 pass-blocking snaps in his five-year career and produced a pass-blocking grade that ranks 83rd of 87 qualifying tackles.

B.J. Finney could end up a solid add on the interior of the line, though. He has a very limited sample size as a pass protector (he has recorded just 591 pass-block snaps in his four seasons), but he still owns a pass-blocking grade that would rank among the 15 best interior offensive linemen.

Seattle did have one of the biggest steals of the past week by trading just a fifth-round pick to Washington for cornerback Quinton Dunbar. That move now gives Seattle two of the top 15 cornerbacks in regard to PFF coverage grade from last season.

FREE AGENCY GRADE: BELOW AVERAGE

TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS

Additions/players brought back:

QB Tom Brady (signed for two years, $50 million)

EDGE Shaquil Barrett (franchise tag)

EDGE Jason Pierre-Paul (re-signed for two years, $27 million)

iOL Joe Haeg (signed for one year, $2.3 million)

LB Kevin Minter (signed)

Losses:

QB Jameis Winston

WR Breshad Perriman

DI Ndamukong Suh

EDGE Carl Nassib

DI Beau Allen

As much as people don’t want to admit it, the addition of Tom Brady makes the Tampa Bay Buccaneers a legit contender for Super Bowl LV. Brady owned the 12th-best passing grade among quarterbacks in 2019, and he did it with one the worst receiving units of his career. His accuracy was still as sharp as ever, though; he was among the 10 most accurate passers when throwing 10 or more yards downfield, while his negatively graded throw rate on those passes was also among the 10 best. When you pair Brady with one of the best wide receiver duos in recent memory in Chris Godwin and Mike Evans, you have yourself a lethal offense.

Tampa Bay also went out and tagged Shaquil Barrett, who is coming off a career year. And while his 82.0 pass-rush grade was, in fact, the best mark of his career so far, it was also his fifth straight season of him ranking among the 30 best edge rushers in the NFL. The coast may be high, but you know you’re getting a top-tier player in Barrett.

The best part? Tampa Bay is far from done. They still have over $20 million in the bank account to play with, and a move for tackle Jason Peters or safety Anthony Harris is a real possibility — and those kinds of moves would make their Super Bowl case even better.

FREE AGENCY GRADE: ABOVE AVERAGE

TENNESSEE TITANS

Additions/players brought back:

RB Derrick Henry (franchise tag)

QB Ryan Tannehill (re-signed for four years, $118 million, $62 million guaranteed)

T Dennis Kelly (re-signed for three years, $21 million, $8.75 million guaranteed)

EDGE Vic Beasley Jr. (signed for one year, $12 million, $9.5 million guaranteed)

Losses:

QB Marcus Mariota

T Jack Conklin

CB Logan Ryan

EDGE Cameron Wake (cut)

TE Delanie Walker (cut)

RB Dion Lewis (cut)

DI Jurrell Casey (via trade)

Ryan Tannehill had a remarkable year, finishing the 2019 regular season as the NFL's highest-graded quarterback just one year after posting one of the worst single-season passing grades of the PFF era.

Tennessee had just the right scheme, play-caller and supporting cast to bring out the best in Tannehill, as his positively graded play rate (which is dependent on external factors) nearly doubled. The contract was a lot higher than anyone thought it’d be, and with regression right around the corner, it may have been a risky amount to pay.

It would have been a shock to see the Titans let go of Derrick Henry, but we don’t particularly condone investing that much cash to the running back position.

Tennessee also paid a hefty amount for Vic Beasley, who has had one of the most disappointing NFL careers given his promise coming out of college. Beasley flashed a lot of potential in the first two seasons of his career in 2015 and 2016 by posting pass-rush grades of 70.6 and 79.9 but has dipped off significantly since by recording pass-rush grades of 53.5, 55.8 and 62.3, respectively. Tennessee’s pass-rush was the biggest flaw in their 2019 season, and we aren’t too sure if the addition of Beasley even moves the needle there.

FREE AGENCY GRADE: BELOW AVERAGE

WASHINGTON REDSKINS

Additions/players brought back:

G Brandon Scherff (franchise tag)

CB Kendall Fuller (signed for four years, $40 million)

LB Kevin Pierre-Louis (signed for one year, $3.45 million)

LB Thomas Davis (signed)

S Sean Davis (signed for one year, $5 million)

RB J.D. McKissic (signed for two years)

G Wes Schweitzer (signed for three years, $13.5 million)

Losses:

QB Case Keenum

G Ereck Flowers

CB Josh Norman (cut)

CB Quinton Dunbar (via trade)

The Ron Rivera era is off to a good start, as Washington made some really good moves this past week. They brought back Kendall Fuller, who spent the first three seasons of his career in the slot before being used in a hybrid safety role with the Chiefs in 2019. Fuller was the league’s highest-graded slot corner in 2017.

The price is high for Brandon Scherff, but it’s not a bad move, given that he is one of the league’s best offensive guards. He’s battled a couple of injuries over the last two years, but he's remained a top-tier player — he has never ranked lower than 21st among guards in overall grade, and he has been the sixth-best run-blocker since entering the league.

Don’t sleep on the signing of Kevin Pierre-Louis, either. He’s been mostly a special-teamer in his six-year career but saw some time at linebacker for the Bears in 2019 and flashed some serious potential. He recorded a 90.5 overall grade across his 213 snaps, shining in coverage by allowing only 82 yards and 14 catches on 21 targets with three combined pass breakups and interceptions.

Washington had a near flawless free agency. Then, they traded away Quinton Dunbar, who ranked second in PFF grade last year behind only Richard Sherman, for a fifth-round draft pick. They now have Kendall Fuller, Jimmy Moreland and Fabian Moreau, all of whom have spent most of their time away from outside corner. And when they were there, they didn’t really perform all that well. Moreau has played the most there of the three and has posted a career coverage grade at the alignment that ranks 100th of 110 outside cornerbacks. Washington now has a huge need at outside corner, and we all know it isn’t being addressed with the second overall pick.

FREE AGENCY GRADE: AVERAGE
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