AFC South rivals
Signed: Matt Kalil, left tackle. Tashaun Gipson, safety. Bradley Roby, cornerback.
Lost: Demaryius Thomas, wide receiver. Kevin Johnson, cornerback. Tyrann Mathieu, safety. Kareem Jackson, secondary. Kendall Lamm, tackle
The Texans added players in the same position they lost. Still, the new acquisitions are considerably worse than the players they are replacing. Gipson is nowhere near the talent level of Mathieu, and Kareem Jackson is a much more consistent player than Bradley Roby. The fact that this team still needs to sign franchise pass-rusher Jadeveon Clowney to a long-term contract must have also been influential in a slow free-agency.
Signed: Nick Foles, quarterback. Jake Ryan, linebacker. Chris Conley, receiver. Geoff Swaim, tight end.
Lost: Malik Jackson, defensive tackle. Blake Bortles, quarterback. T.J Yeldon, running back. Tashaun Gipson, safety. Donte Moncrief, receiver.
Nick Foles got a huge contract from the Jaguars, in what was perhaps the riskiest move of free-agency. The Jaguars’ future depends solely on one question: “Which Foles are they getting?” Do they get the Super Bowl champion with an incredible playoff magic and winning pedigree, or do they get the quarterback that went 4-7 as the Rams starter, with 7 touchdowns and 10 picks?
Signed: Rodger Saffold, guard. Adam Humphries, receiver. Cameron Wake, defensive end.
Lost: Josh Kline, guard. Luke Stocker, tight end.
The Titans made Saffold the highest paid guard in the League, a bold move for someone not named Quenton Nelson or Zach Martin. They also gave a big contract to slot receiver Adam Humphries. They did not lose any significant amount of talent, so if Mariota finally develops into a franchise quarterback they could transform into a dangerous team, but knowing the Titans, everything that could go wrong will go wrong, and they will rot away in mediocrity.
AFC Playoff rivals
New England Patriots
Signed: Mike Pennel, defensive end. Brandon Bolden, running back. Matt LaCosse, tight end. Austin Seferian-Jenkins, tight end.
Lost: Trey Flowers, defensive end. Eric Rowe, cornerback. Cordarrelle Patterson, wide receiver/returner. Trent Brown, left tackle. Malcolm Brown, defensive tackle. Dwayne Allen, tight end. Rob Gronkowski (R), tight end
Once again, free-agency comes and goes and it seems like the Patriots lost nearly all of their talent while signing plenty of scrubs and trash from other teams. Learning from past mistakes, I will not judge what seems like one of the worst offseasons in Patriots history, so when Matt LaCosse posts a 50/750/8 line next season it seems like I knew it would happen.
Kansas City Chiefs
Signed: Tyrann Mathieu, safety. Alex Okafor, defensive end. Damien Wilson, outside linebacker. Bashaud Breeland, cornerback.
Lost: Eric Berry, safety. Justin Houston, outside linebacker. Dee Ford, outside linebacker. Mitch Morse, center. Steven Nelson, cornerback. Chris Conley, receiver. Kareem Hunt, running back(*)
The Chiefs defense lost an alarming amount of talent and longtime franchise players. Signing Tyrann Mathieu helps, but the loss of players like Berry, Houston and Ford will surely hurt the culture and overall talent of the defense. The Chiefs also lost starting cornerback Steven Nelson and starting center Mitch Morse. Kansas might be the team that lost the most talent in free-agency. Furthermore, star wide receiver Tyreek Hill could be suspended due to domestic violence. Ouch.
Los Angeles Chargers
Signed: Tyrod Taylor, quarterback. Thomas Davis, linebacker.
Lost: Jason Verrett, cornerback. Tyrell Williams, wide receiver. Darius Philon, defensive tackle.
Overall it was a quiet free-agency for the Chargers. Thomas Davis is a nice addition to the linebacker group and will provide some much needed leadership on the defensive side of the ball. Losing #2 receiver Tyrell Williams hurts the offense, as he was incredibly productive in his contract year. Philon and Verrett were nice defensive pieces, but they were not essential.
Signed: Mark Ingram, running back. Earl Thomas, safety. Justin Bethel, cornerback.
Lost: C.J Mosley, linebacker. Za’Darius Smith, outside linebacker. John Brown, receiver. Eric Weddle, safety. Terrell Suggs, outside linebacker.
The Ravens signed Ingram to be the power running back their offense desperately needed, and he will form a nice duo with Lamar Jackson. Earl Thomas has not been the same player he was before but can still provide above-average play at safety. Still, this team lost and absurd amount of talent on defense. Losing 4 starters on one side of the ball is insane. Mosley was one of the best linebackers in the NFL. Smith was a very productive pass rusher, and Suggs and Weddle were solid veteran presences.
Signed: Odell Beckham Jr. (trade), wide receiver. Olivier Vernon (trade), defensive end. Sheldon Richardson, defensive end. Morgan Burnett, safety. Kendall Lamm, tackle. Kareem Hunt, running back.
Lost: Tyrod Taylor, quarterback. Breshad Perriman, receiver. E.J Gaines, cornerback.
The Browns are being labeled as one of the biggest winners in the off-season after trading for star wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr, and also getting Olivier Vernon, Sheldon Richardson and Kareem Hunt (after an 8 game suspension). In the process, they lost backup quarterback Tyrod Taylor, Breshad Perriman and E.J Gaines, none of those are big losses. On paper, the Browns might look like Super Bowl contenders, but taking a deeper look, there are some reasons for concern. Baker Mayfield went 1-5 against teams above .500 last season. The Browns locker room is filled with big egos, couple this along with a rookie head coach who may over his head and you have a perfect recipe for disaster. In case you did not notice, I am not sold on the Browns just yet.
New York Jets
Signed: Le’Veon Bell, running back. C.J Mosley, linebacker. Jamison Crowder, wide receiver. Chandler Catanzaro, kicker
Lost: James Carpenter, guard. Buster Skrine, cornerback. Jason Myers, kicker. Spencer Long, center. Mike Pennel, defensive end.
The Jets were by far free-agency’s biggest spenders. Bell and Mosley are game-changing talents, and were paid as such. Crowder is a solid receiver who will help Darnold immediately. On the downside, the Jets lost an incredible amount of depth, while they did not solve their biggest problems (offensive line, secondary). The Jets lost two key members of the offensive line in Carpenter and Long, while also losing always reliable kicker Jason Myers, and solid depth defensive players Pennel and Skrine.
Overall, the rest of the AFC got much weaker in my opinion. The biggest rivals lost plenty of starters and solid talent, while the emerging threats still have plenty of questions to answer before being considered serious contenders. If Chris Ballard drafts another solid class with immediate contributors, then the Colts could surprisingly have one of the best all- around rosters in the entire AFC. (Now that is a sentence I thought I would not write in a long time)