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2022 NFL Free Agency: The best and worst deals so far

Atlanta, Georgia, USA; New England Patriots cornerback J.C. Jackson (27) celebrates after an interception against the Atlanta Falcons in the second half at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

The 2022 NFL league year is less than 24 hours old, yet many free-agency deals are already in place.

The Jacksonville Jaguars have spent the most so far, while the Los Angeles Chargers seem fully determined to take advantage of Justin Herbert‘s rookie contract.

While several big-name stars have finalized deals with new franchises, many of PFF's top free agents are still available: players such as Terron Armstead, Allen Robinson II, Bobby Wagner, Jadeveon Clowney, Stephon Gilmore, Tyrann Mathieu and Odell Beckham Jr are still yet to find a new home.

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Still, there has been more than enough movement for me to identify the moves I like and don’t like so far.

My colleagues Brad Spielberger and Ben Linsey have already graded every deal, and this article will add another — and different, in some cases — layer of analysis to these signings.

The deals I like

Cincinnati Bengals sign G ALEX CAPPA to a four-year, $40 million deal and G TED KARRAS to a three-year, $18 million deal

Are Alex Cappa and Ted Karras better guards than Brandon Scherff? No, probably not. However, they combine for a lower average per-year salary (APY) than Scherff’s new contract with the Jaguars, and they will team up to make a much bigger impact on the Bengals' pass protection and run blocking.

Instead of overreacting to the sheer volume of Burrow’s sacks in the regular season and playoffs, the Bengals took the intelligent route here and went to the sweet spot of free agency instead of investing more top-level money for diminishing returns.

Last season, the Bengals' guards combined for a 53.8 pass-blocking grade, 23rd in the league. But after the first wave of free agency, the chances are good that they will be at least average in 2022.

Karras has graded above 65.0 in each of the past three seasons and earned a 76.5 pass-blocking grade in 2021. Cappa has improved in every single of his career in pass protection and run-blocking — following the normal learning curve for interior offensive linemen — and earned a 71.9 offensive grade in 2021.


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