The initial NFL free agency rush of 2023 was a frenzy, as hundreds of players were given millions of dollars to relocate to new cities.
There were quarterbacks on the move (though the fates of the two big names have yet to be finalized), and teams such as the Bears and Broncos took big swings to try to improve. Other teams tried to weather the storm (including the defending NFC champs), while many others tried to find smart, budget-friendly solutions to roster issues.
Now that we’re more than a week removed from the start of free agency, our NFL Nation reporters took the pulse of the teams they cover. Not only did they pick out big additions (and costly subtractions), but they also provided the vibes of each franchise and hints to what they might do next in the second wave of free agency or the draft in preparation for the upcoming season.
ARI | ATL | BAL | BUF | CAR | CHI | CIN
CLE | DAL | DEN | DET | GB | HOU | IND
JAX | KC | LAC | LAR | LV | MIA | MIN
NE | NO | NYG | NYJ | PHI | PIT | SF
SEA | TB | TEN | WSH
Marquee additions: Jordan Poyer (S), Connor McGovern (G), Deonte Harty (WR)
Marquee subtractions: Tremaine Edmunds (LB), Case Keenum (QB), Isaiah McKenzie (WR)
Did the Bills hit their free agency goals? Pretty much. There’s still work to be done and additions to be made, but the Bills didn’t go into free agency expecting to make massive moves, and the team was able to address some key areas in a manageable way, including bringing back Poyer on a team-friendly deal.
One thing we heard: Safety Damar Hamlin continues to have medical consultations as he recovers from going into cardiac arrest on the field in Week 17. Hamlin said that his goal is to return to football. The Bills have more security at safety with Poyer returning, but they haven’t signed additional help and there’s little depth at the position. General manager Brandon Beane said last week that “everything is checked out to this point, and so it’s trending in the right direction” for Hamlin to return to playing, but he still has steps to take.”
Biggest remaining roster hole: Middle linebacker. There is a big hole with Edmunds gone. While there are players on the roster whom the Bills want to give the opportunity to compete — Tyrel Dodson, Terrel Bernard and Baylon Spector were all mentioned by Beane — there isn’t a lock to pair with Matt Milano. — Alaina Getzenberg
Marquee additions: Jalen Ramsey (CB), David Long Jr. (LB), Braxton Berrios (WR)
Marquee subtractions: Mike Gesicki (TE), Elandon Roberts (LB), Byron Jones (CB)
Did the Dolphins hit their free agency goals? The Dolphins entered the new league year with a bang, trading for Ramsey — who technically wasn’t a free agent but a major addition nonetheless. They addressed their need at linebacker by signing Long, before filling their running back room by re-signing Raheem Mostert, Jeff Wilson Jr., Myles Gaskin and Salvon Ahmed.
One thing we heard: The Dolphins believe their championship window is now, which inspired the Ramsey trade and their decision to exercise quarterback Tua Tagovailoa‘s fifth-year option. Even before any roster moves, arguably their biggest addition of the offseason came in February when they hired defensive coordinator Vic Fangio. Future salary cap be darned, the Dolphins are all-in.
Biggest remaining roster hole: The Dolphins could stand to add more receiving talent at tight end. Durham Smythe still has one year remaining on the two-year contract he signed last offseason, and Eric Saubert has flashed in the receiving game. The wild card in the room is 2022 undrafted free agent Tanner Conner, who was a big-play threat throughout training camp. If he takes a step forward this offseason, he’ll be an interesting name to watch as the team fills the void left by Gesicki’s departure. — Marcel Louis-Jacques
Marquee additions: JuJu Smith-Schuster (WR); Mike Gesicki (TE); Jonathan Jones (CB)
Marquee subtractions: Jakobi Meyers (WR); Jonnu Smith (TE); Devin McCourty (S)
Did the Patriots hit their free agency goals? The Patriots’ activity is best summed up this way: Swapping out Meyers for Smith-Schuster; Smith (traded) for Gesicki, building OT depth at modest financial prices; targeting special teams reinforcements; and bringing back as many defenders as possible.
One thing we heard: Gesicki might have a TE in front of his name on the roster, but he will be utilized more as a big slot receiver.
Biggest remaining roster hole: Offensive tackle. While the Patriots signed Riley Reiff and Calvin Anderson, and return Trent Brown and backups Conor McDermott and Yodny Cajuste, they are still looking for a long term answer at the all-important position. — Mike Reiss
Marquee additions: Allen Lazard (WR), Chuck Clark (S), Mecole Hardman (WR)
Marquee subtractions: Mike White (QB), Sheldon Rankins (DT), Elijah Moore (WR)
Did the Jets hit their free agency goals? The Jets have been more measured than in past years, in large part because they expect to take on a large quarterback contract (see: Aaron Rodgers). Lazard, Clark and Hardman are mid-level starters. The loss of Rankins, coupled with a giant hole at center, leaves them vulnerable up the middle.
One thing we heard: The Jets are showing interest in WR Odell Beckham Jr, who is on Aaron Rodgers’ so-called wish list. If they sign him, it means Corey Davis could be released or perhaps included in a proposed package for Rodgers.
Biggest remaining roster hole: Everything hinges on completing the trade for Rodgers. They’re too far down the road to turn back — a potentially scary position, considering they have no faith in Zach Wilson as a starter. It behooves them to get it done sooner than later so they can get on with business. — Rich Cimini
Marquee additions: None
Marquee subtractions: Calais Campbell (DE), Ben Powers (G), Chuck Clark (S)
Did the Ravens hit their free agency goals? No. The Ravens want to upgrade their wide receiver group, and they need to find a replacement at starting cornerback for free agent Marcus Peters. Baltimore is one of two teams that has yet to sign a free agent from another team. But it’s difficult for the Ravens to make any major moves when quarterback Lamar Jackson‘s $32.4 million franchise tag accounts for nearly 15% of their salary cap.
One thing we heard: Ravens cornerback Marlon Humphrey took to social media to try to address Baltimore’s biggest need at wide receiver and created some buzz by mentioning a former division rival. “OBJ looks like a Raven to me is all I’m saying.”
Biggest remaining roster hole: Wide receiver. Even if Jackson returns, who is he throwing the ball to on the outside? Rashod Bateman is coming off foot surgery that caused him to miss the last nine games of the season. The other six wide receivers on Baltimore’s roster have never caught more than 40 passes in a season. The problem is the Ravens have limited cap room in free agency and one selection among the first 85 picks in the draft. — Jamison Hensley
Marquee additions: Orlando Brown Jr. (LT), Nick Scott (S), Cody Ford (OL)
Marquee subtractions: Jessie Bates III (S), Hayden Hurst (TE), Vonn Bell (S)
Did the Bengals hit their free agency goals? The Bengals were able to beef up the offensive line and replace Bell at safety but haven’t been able to fill gaps at tight end or running back. Cincinnati used the savings from some of the departures to spend on Brown, who received a $31 million signing bonus on a four-year deal.
One thing we heard: Cincinnati quarterback Joe Burrow remains a top attraction for free agents. Brown and Scott both cited Burrow’s status with the Bengals among their reasons for signing with the club. “Being able to play with a guy like [Burrow], that’s a tough opportunity to pass up, knowing that we’re both the same age and at similar points in our career,” Brown said.
Biggest remaining roster hole: Tight end is the biggest concern. The Bengals don’t have any under contract, with Mitchell Wilcox and Drew Sample free agents after their deals expired. Adding a veteran and finding a quality tight end in the draft, along with bringing back Sample or Wilcox, could be the best strategy. — Ben Baby
Marquee additions: Dalvin Tomlinson (DT), Elijah Moore (WR), Juan Thornhill (S)
Marquee subtractions: John Johnson III (S), Greedy Williams (CB), Jadeveon Clowney (DE)
Did the Browns hit their free agency goals? The Browns entered free agency hoping to bolster their defensive line, and they accomplished just that. Tomlinson was one of the top five DTs on the market, while defensive end Ogbonnia Okoronkwo quietly was 13th last year in pass rush win rate for the Texans. The Browns added depth inside as well, signing veteran tackles Trysten Hill and Maurice Hurst.
One thing we heard: The Browns traded for Moore on Wednesday but also kicked the tires on other receivers, including Denver’s Jerry Jeudy. The Browns ultimately believe they didn’t have to surrender a lot (a second rounder) to get Moore, a young player who gives them much needed speed and playmaking.
Biggest remaining roster hole: The Browns have addressed almost all of their glaring needs. They signed Tomlinson, Okoronkwo and Juan Thornhill, then traded for speedy slot receiver Elijah Moore. They also addressed backup quarterback (bringing back Joshua Dobbs) and inside linebacker (re-signing Anthony Walker). Still, Cleveland could use another veteran, starting-caliber defensive tackle alongside Tomlinson. The Browns were next to last in run defense expected points added (EPA) last season. They do, however, have several young defensive tackles they are trying to develop, notably Perrion Winfrey. — Jake Trotter
Marquee additions: Patrick Peterson (CB), Isaac Seumalo (OG), Cole Holcomb (LB)
Marquee subtractions: Cameron Sutton (CB), Myles Jack (LB)
Did the Steelers hit their free agency goals? With general manager Omar Khan steering the ship, the Steelers were uncharacteristically aggressive in free agency for the second year in a row. This time around, they checked significant boxes by bringing in two interior offensive linemen, including Eagles starter Seumalo. And in adding Holcomb and Elandon Roberts, they improved their inside linebacker group with physical run-stoppers.
One thing we heard: Peterson is open to playing multiple positions: “… it’s no secret that I’m not 28 years old anymore. I’ll be 33 here in July, but the body feels great. I want to be able to be in position to continue to help my team but also be in a position that’s going to continue to help me be successful.”
Biggest remaining roster hole: Outside linebacker. It’s not enough that the Steelers have former Defensive Player of the Year T.J. Watt and up-and-comer Alex Highsmith. They need quality depth outside, something that was exposed last season when Watt missed an extended period. Bringing in Bud Dupree, recently released from the Titans, for a reunion could be one way to check that box. — Brooke Pryor
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Marquee additions: Dalton Schultz (TE), Robert Woods (WR), Jimmie Ward (S)
Marquee subtractions: Brandin Cooks (WR), Jonathan Owens (S), Ogbonnia Okoronkwo (DE)
Did the Texans hit their free agency goals? The Texans improved their offensive line and tight end position by acquiring guard Shaq Mason, who allowed one sack last season for the Buccaneers, and signed Schultz, a former Cowboy. On defense, they added two starters in Ward and defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins.
One thing we heard: The Texans added one of the better tight ends in the NFL. In the past three seasons, Schultz ranks seventh among tight ends in receiving yards (2,000), fourth in catches (198) and fifth in touchdown receptions (17).
Biggest remaining roster hole: Receiver is a need to help with the development of the Texans’ next quarterback. Having an abundance of skill-position threats is never a bad thing, and the Texans don’t have enough. Right now their leading receiver is Woods, who had 53 catches for 527 yards and two TDs last season for the Titans. — DJ Bien-Aime
Marquee additions: Samson Ebukam (DE), Gardner Minshew (QB), Matt Gay (K)
Marquee subtractions: Stephon Gilmore (CB), Bobby Okereke (LB), Parris Campbell (WR)
Did the Colts hit their free agency goals? That depends on how you define the goal. The Colts did address some key needs with a quarterback and kicker signing. But trading Gilmore downgrades their secondary, and Ebukam will presumably be replacing unsigned free agent Yannick Ngakoue, the Colts’ 2022 sack leader.
One thing we heard: The Colts haven’t ruled out a pursuit of Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson, who was designated a nonexclusive franchise player. That said, we’re a long way from Indianapolis taking substantive steps toward acquiring the former MVP, as it would take a historic contract offer and a decision by the Ravens to not match it for the Colts to land the 26-year-old.
Biggest remaining roster hole: Quarterback is the primary focus for the Colts right now. They hold the fourth overall pick in next month’s draft, but it’s anyone’s guess what the QB-needy teams in front of them will do before the Colts are on the clock. Indianapolis likely won’t have much control over which QB it ends up with. — Stephen Holder
Marquee additions: None
Marquee subtractions: Jawaan Taylor (RT), Arden Key (DE)
Did the Jaguars hit their free agency goals? The Jaguars had roughly $9 million in salary cap space heading into free agency after restructuring the contracts of receivers Christian Kirk and Zay Jones, guard Brandon Scherff and linebacker Foyesade Oluokun, so they weren’t going to be major players. They did put the franchise tag on tight end Evan Engram, which was a top priority, and re-signed cornerbacks Tre Herndon and Tevaughn Campbell, safety Andrew Wingard and defensive end Adam Gotsis. But they have yet to sign a player from another team.
One thing we heard: The Jaguars found out pretty quickly that Taylor would be out of their price range (the Chiefs gave him $20 million annually) but believed they had a good chance to bring Key back. Instead, Key signed with the Titans. Look for the Jaguars to start bargain shopping soon.
Biggest remaining roster hole: While Key wasn’t a big-time pass-rusher (4.5 sacks in 2022), losing him and the uncertainty surrounding Dawuane Smoot (he remains unsigned and is coming off an Achilles injury) makes adding to the pass rush a top priority. The Jaguars might add a lower-tier free agent, but the best chance for shoring this up will be the draft. — Michael DiRocco
Marquee additions: Andre Dillard (LT), Arden Key (DE), Azeez Al-Shaair (LB)
Marquee subtractions: Nate Davis (RG), David Long Jr. (LB), DeMarcus Walker (DL)
Did the Titans hit their free agency goals? No. General manager Ran Carthon plugged some roster holes with low-cost deals, especially at offensive line. However, the offense still needs help. Wide receiver, tight end and left guard remain positions of need. Coach Mike Vrabel wanted more speed on the roster, but none of the additions make the Titans faster.
One thing we heard: The Titans approached safety Kevin Byard about a pay cut — which he declined. Byard feels his play doesn’t warrant the reduction. It has always been his goal to play for one team, the Titans. That remains his mission, even after this.
Biggest remaining roster hole: The Titans desperately need a veteran wide receiver. Right now the group lacks a proven playmaker, though second-year receiver Treylon Burks showed promise as a rookie. Nick Westbrook-Ikhine was retained on a one-year deal, but the group is incomplete even if the Titans select a receiver in the first round. — Turron Davenport
Marquee additions: Mike McGlinchey (OT), Ben Powers (G), Zach Allen (DT)
Marquee subtractions: Dre’Mont Jones (DT), DeShawn Williams (DT), Graham Glasgow (G)
Did the Broncos hit their free agency goals? It was easy to see where Broncos general manager George Paton and coach Sean Payton thought the biggest problem with the offense was the offensive line. They spent big on McGlinchey and Powers, and added blocking tight end Chris Manhertz and fullback Michael Burton.
One thing we heard: The Broncos considered Dre’Mont Jones‘ asking price too much, so he either lowered his demands for others or just wanted to move on. The Broncos signed Allen for a deal that averages $16 million per year, Jones signed in Seattle for about $17.1 million per year. That wouldn’t seem that big a difference if the Broncos really wanted to keep him or if he really wanted to stay.
Biggest remaining roster hole: They need offensive line depth and another defensive lineman, but it remains to be seen if they will create their biggest roster hole themselves in the coming weeks by trading a wide receiver before the draft. They’re listening to offers. — Jeff Legwold
Marquee additions: Jawaan Taylor (OT), Charles Omenihu (DE)
Marquee subtractions: Orlando Brown Jr. (OT), Frank Clark (DE), JuJu Smith-Schuster (WR)
Did the Chiefs hit their free agency goals? Not completely. The Chiefs wanted to re-sign Smith-Schuster, whose departure in free agency to the Patriots leaves a hole in their receiving group that they have yet to fill. In Taylor and Omenihu, they added younger replacements for Brown and Clark.
One thing we heard: While the Chiefs aren’t necessarily done in free agency, they are looking toward the draft, where they have 10 picks and feel good about their ability to get good players. They Chiefs have found several productive players in later rounds in recent years.
Biggest remaining roster hole: The Chiefs lost Smith-Schuster and Mecole Hardman, so they have work to do at wide receiver. They have a start on next year’s group with Kadarius Toney, Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Skyy Moore, but there’s plenty of room for a veteran or a draft pick to come in and claim playing time. — Adam Teicher
Marquee additions: Jimmy Garoppolo (QB), Marcus Epps (S), Jakobi Meyers (WR)
Marquee subtractions: Derek Carr (QB), Darren Waller (TE), Jarrett Stidham (QB)
Did the Raiders hit their free agency goals? Depends. They got their quarterback, a veteran with experience in coach Josh McDaniels’ system who is a locker room leader in Garoppolo. And they got a solid No. 2 receiver in Meyers and an alpha for the secondary in Epps. But most of the others inked in the first wave of free agency felt like second- or third-wave signings.
One thing we heard: While there is no question Garoppolo is QB1, he does not want to be handed anything. “I want to come in and earn it,” he said. “I want to be the leader because guys respect me and believe in me … I think it will happen naturally. I don’t want to force anything, be inauthentic. I just want to be myself, and it’s done me well in the past.”
Biggest remaining roster hole: How about another defensive back — or two? Because while Las Vegas signed Epps and CB Brandon Facyson and return corners Nate Hobbs and Amik Robertson along with safety Tre’von Moehrig, CB Rock Ya-Sin remains on the market. Plus, Raiders Hall of Famer Charles Woodson went on Twitter and advocated his old team signing safety C.J. Gardner-Johnson before he signed with the Lions on Sunday, so DB is a stated need. — Paul Gutierrez
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Marquee additions: Eric Kendricks (LB)
Marquee subtractions: Drue Tranquill (LB), Nasir Adderley (S), Kyle Van Noy (OL)
Did the Chargers hit their free agency goals? The Chargers entered free agency with a short list of priorities, among them: re-signing offensive tackle Trey Pipkins III and defensive lineman Morgan Fox and filling the role of Tranquill. Pipkins — a top priority after demonstrating marked improvement in his fourth season — signed a three-year, $21.75 million deal, and Fox will stick around on a two-year, $7.25 million contract after producing a career-best season. The Bolts also were able to sign Kendricks, a salary-cap casualty in Minnesota, where he played for eight seasons. Kendricks immediately provides leadership and playmaking ability.
One thing we heard: Multiple teams expressed interest in Kendricks, and there’s buzz that he received a strong offer from Pittsburgh, but ultimately Kendricks decided to return to Los Angeles, where he starred at UCLA. The Chargers are thrilled to add the ninth-year pro, who one person inside the organization said has the “it” factor and he’ll prove especially helpful to the continued development of teammate Kenneth Murray Jr.
Biggest remaining roster hole: Safety. The Chargers let Adderley depart in free agency, and a day later, the 2019 second-round pick announced his retirement. Though Adderley was not part of the plan going forward, the Bolts must fill the hole the three-year starter left behind. Alohi Gilman proved last season that he could step in, but it’s unclear whether he is a long-term solution. The Chargers have expressed interest in signing free agent safety John Johnson III, whom the Cleveland Browns released. — Lindsey Thiry
Marquee additions: Stephon Gilmore (CB), Brandin Cooks (WR)
Marquee subtractions: Ezekiel Elliott (RB), Connor McGovern (G)
Did the Cowboys hit their free agency goals? The goal was to keep their own, so the answer is yes. For now. They re-signed safety Donovan Wilson, linebacker Leighton Vander Esch, defensive end Dante Fowler Jr. and quarterback Cooper Rush. Their biggest moves were trades for Gilmore and Cooks.
One thing we heard: Everybody wanted to link the Cowboys to Odell Beckham Jr., but it wasn’t going to happen before the addition of Cooks and especially not after even after last year’s flirtation. They wanted somebody to take the top off the defense. That’s Cooks, not Beckham.
Biggest remaining roster hole: The Cowboys have covered just about every spot with their offseason moves so far, but adding another linebacker could make some sense even after re-signing Vander Esch. They lost Luke Gifford to Tennessee and Anthony Barr will not be back. The Cowboys love Damone Clark, but still have questions about Jabril Cox and Devin Harper. Oh, and Micah Parsons is more pass rusher than linebacker now. — Todd Archer
Marquee additions: Darren Waller (TE), Bobby Okereke (LB)
Marquee subtractions: Julian Love (S)
Did the Giants hit their free agency goals? General manager Joe Schoen fulfilled his top goals in free agency: find a young middle linebacker, improve the offensive playmakers and add defensive line depth. The Giants were realistic about this team, despite making the playoffs. It wasn’t about making a huge splash to get over the top, but rather the long-term vision.
One thing we heard: “They’re a heck of a lot faster,” one source said about the Giants’ free agent moves. Speed, speed, speed. That is what Schoen was looking to add to this offense. They have that now with receivers Darius Slayton, Parris Campbell and Jeff Smith, along with Waller, in the mix.
Biggest remaining roster hole: Cornerback. Adoree’ Jackson is the only proven outside corner on the roster, and he has an extensive injury history and is in the last year of his contract. Expect the Giants to add veterans moving forward and a cornerback early in the draft, perhaps even in the first round. — Jordan Raanan
Marquee additions: Rashaad Penny (RB), Marcus Mariota (QB), Greedy Williams (CB)
Marquee subtractions: Javon Hargrave (DT), C.J. Gardner-Johnson (S), Miles Sanders (RB)
Did the Eagles hit their free agency goals? Pretty much. With 19 free agents of their own, the Eagles knew they were going to lose key contributors. But they were able to re-sign cornerback James Bradberry, defensive tackle Fletcher Cox and defensive end Brandon Graham and worked out a new deal with corner Darius Slay to keep the defense at least partially intact. Backup quarterback is always a priority for this organization. The addition of Mariota helps offset the loss of Gardner Minshew to the Colts.
One thing we heard: Philly offered Gardner-Johnson a multiyear deal early in free agency, but he didn’t feel it reflected his value and declined. The Eagles then shifted their focus to bringing back Bradberry and Slay. With the market not materializing the way he hoped, Gardner-Johnson opted for a one-year deal with Detroit.
Biggest remaining roster hole: Safety. Both of their 2022 starters, Gardner-Johnson and Marcus Epps, moved on in free agency. Reed Blankenship showed promise in spot duty his rookie season, but the Eagles need to add at least one veteran safety between now and the start of the season. It’s worth keeping in mind that they didn’t acquire Gardner-Johnson until late August last year. There’s still plenty of time to fill out the roster. — Tim McManus
Marquee additions: Jacoby Brissett (QB), Andrew Wylie (RT), Cody Barton (LB)
Marquee subtractions: Taylor Heinicke (QB), Cole Holcomb (LB), Carson Wentz (QB)
Did the Commanders hit their free agency goals? Sort of. They found a quarterback who can either challenge Sam Howell or serve as a strong mentor. They added a starter in Wylie and depth or another starter in C/G Nick Gates. Barton replaces Holcomb, but they wanted — and are still seeking — more help at linebacker.
One thing we heard: After losing Heinicke, Washington quickly pounced on Brissett. The Commanders were able to for two reasons: First-year quarterback coach Tavita Pritchard called his old Stanford QB Andrew Luck to pick his brain about the former Colt, and defensive tackle Daron Payne‘s extension before free agency provided the necessary cap space.
Biggest remaining roster hole: Offensive line. Questions will surround Howell, but he’s likely going to start. So they must figure out the group in front. They’ll slide Sam Cosmi to right guard, but who will play left guard and who will start at center? Washington likely will seek more line help in the draft. — John Keim
Marquee additions: DJ Moore (WR), Tremaine Edmunds (LB), Nate Davis (G)
Marquee subtractions: David Montgomery (RB), Riley Reiff (OT)
Did the Bears hit their free agency goals? Getting a No. 1 receiver is pivotal for Justin Fields‘ development at quarterback, which was why general manager Ryan Poles was comfortable trading the top overall draft pick to Carolina in exchange for Moore and four picks ahead of free agency. The Bears still have roster holes — notably with their pass rush — and can’t realistically fill every void in one offseason, but the moves they made in the first wave and secondary signings such as TE Robert Tonyan and RB D’Onta Foreman check the value and need boxes.
One thing we heard: Tonyan, who has a career a 77.8% catch rate and averages 10.5 yards per reception, has the Bears eager about his ability to stretch the field. I’m hearing that Chicago coaches envision fellow tight end Cole Kmet playing more of the “Y” position, where he’ll be counted on as a blocker. Kmet is eligible for an extension this offseason. Keep an eye on how this affects what the Bears opt to do with a potential second contract.
Biggest remaining roster hole: The offensive and defensive lines. The Bears own the ninth pick in the draft and could be in play for a top offensive tackle — like Northwestern’s Peter Skoronski or Ohio State’s Paris Johnson Jr. — or draft a pass-rusher at that spot. However Chicago chooses to improve its pass protection and blocking will lead to a shuffle of personnel during offseason workouts. — Courtney Cronin
Marquee additions: C.J. Gardner-Johnson (S), Cameron Sutton (CB), David Montgomery (RB)
Marquee subtractions: Jamaal Williams (RB)
Did the Lions hit their free agency goals? Absolutely. The secondary was by far the biggest weakness on the roster last season, and the front office addressed it by signing former Eagles safety Gardner-Johnson, ex-Steelers defensive back Sutton and former 49ers cornerback Emmanuel Moseley.
One thing we heard: Montgomery says he sees the Lions “starting something crazy” in Detroit and wants to do his part. “I’m here to be me,” Montgomery said. “I know I can bring a lot to the table. I don’t want to be labeled as just ‘can do this for a team or for the offense.’ I want to be able to do everything or whatever [offensive coordinator] Ben [Johnson] or Coach [Dan] Campbell asks me to do.”
Biggest remaining roster hole: Backup quarterback. Although Jared Goff has proved himself, the front office still needs to address who plays behind him. The Lions cut both Tim Boyle and David Blough coming out of training camp last season, and GM Brad Holmes has vowed to do a better job managing the position in 2023. — Eric Woodyard
Marquee additions: Keisean Nixon (KR/DB), Tarvarius Moore (S), Matthew Orzech (LS)
Marquee subtractions: Aaron Rodgers (QB), Allen Lazard (WR), Robert Tonyan (TE)
Did the Packers hit their free agency goals? They needed clarity on the Rodgers’ situation, and while they haven’t executed a trade to the Jets yet, it’s clear his era is over in Green Bay. Not surprisingly, at least one Packers free agent (Lazard) is going with him. As for the additions, other than re-signing Nixon — the All-Pro return man — they added a special-teamer (Moore) and a long-snapper (Orzech).
One thing we heard: One former Packers employee on an underrated reason the team might have been so willing to move on from Rodgers: “I could see them saying, ‘You know what? It’d be nice to have sort of a low-maintenance situation and somebody who thinks we’re the greatest that ever lived at what we do.'”
Biggest remaining roster hole: Pass-catchers: With Lazard and Tonyan gone, the Packers lost a combined 113 catches for 1,258 yards and eight touchdowns from last season. Throw in receiver Randall Cobb and tight end Marcedes Lewis, who won’t be re-signed, and 42.3% of last season’s receptions, 44.8% of last season’s receiving yards and 40.7% of last season’s touchdown catches are out the door. — Rob Demovsky
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Marquee additions: Josh Oliver (TE), Byron Murphy Jr. (CB), Marcus Davenport (DE)
Marquee subtractions: Patrick Peterson (CB), Dalvin Tomlinson (DT), Adam Thielen (WR)
Did the Vikings hit their free agency goals? The short answer is yes. Because they were $24 million over the salary cap a week before the market opened, they knew they weren’t going to have a ton of cap space to work with. But they managed to grab two likely starters in Murphy and Davenport, while Oliver’s arrival is likely to lead to extensive use of two-TE personnel.
One thing we heard: The most notable takeaway from the Vikings’ first week of free agency is the apparent decision not to extend quarterback Kirk Cousins‘ contract in a meaningful way and instead lower his 2023 cap number by $16 million. That means the Vikings envision moving past Cousins as early as the 2024 season. The big question: With whom?
Biggest remaining roster hole: Although Murphy is a likely starter at cornerback, the Vikings still have a big hole at the position. They released 2022 starter Cameron Dantzler, bid farewell to Peterson and haven’t re-signed either Chandon Sullivan or Duke Shelley. Even if 2022 draft picks Andrew Booth Jr. and Akayleb Evans recover from a series of injuries, this group probably needs reinforcements in the draft. — Kevin Seifert
Marquee additions: Jessie Bates III (S), David Onyemata (DT), Kaden Elliss (LB)
Marquee subtractions: Isaiah Oliver (CB), Rashaan Evans (LB)
Did the Falcons hit their free agency goals? Atlanta made its defense better on all three levels with the signings of Bates, Onyemata and Elliss, plus took care of their own on offense with a new contract for right tackle Kaleb McGary and a monster extension for right guard Chris Lindstrom. So overall — yes, although there’s still more to do.
One thing we heard: Here’s what new Falcons quarterback Taylor Heinicke said about his role: “Try to be the best backup I can and try to help him any way I can. I remember as a rookie, my second year as well, we had Shaun Hill in the room when I was in Minnesota. … Shaun was a great mentor for me, helped me through that process, and I hope to be the same to Desmond [Ridder].”
Biggest remaining roster hole: It’s still in the front seven despite the additions of Elliss and Onyemata. Adding them shouldn’t preclude Atlanta from signing a veteran still out there or looking to the draft, particularly on the defensive interior. Edge rusher and interior defensive line still need to be deeper, followed closely by the receiving corps. — Michael Rothstein
Marquee additions: Miles Sanders (RB), Hayden Hurst (TE), Adam Thielen (WR)
Marquee subtractions: DJ Moore (WR), D’Onta Foreman (RB)
Did the Panthers hit their free agency goals? Sanders, Hurst and Thielen give Carolina veteran skill players who will take the pressure off whichever quarterback the team takes with the top pick of the draft. Thielen, despite his age (32), will bring vocal leadership to a young receiver room where Moore used to lead more by example. Hurst is a big target the team hasn’t had since Greg Olsen in 2019. Sanders is a more versatile version of Foreman because of his pass-catching ability. The additions by far outweigh the subtractions.
One thing we heard: Coach Frank Reich when asked how much weight he puts into a quarterback’s height — specifically in reference to the 5-foot-10 Bryce Young being considered for the top pick — said that would be like Kentucky Fried Chicken giving away its “proprietary formula” on its secret recipe. He added he had a “very high grade” on the 5-11 Russell Wilson in the 2012 draft in his attempt to dissuade those who say he likes only tall quarterbacks.
Biggest remaining roster hole: Quarterback. The Panthers traded Moore, the No. 9 overall pick this year, next year’s first-rounder and additional picks, so they will have their choice of Young, Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud, Kentucky’s Will Levis or Florida’s Anthony Richardson with the top pick of the draft. They built a veteran roster in free agency that will give that player a chance to succeed right away as the starter. — David Newton
Marquee additions: Derek Carr (QB), Jamaal Williams (RB), Khalen Saunders (DT)
Marquee subtractions: David Onyemata (DT), Marcus Davenport (DE), Andy Dalton (QB)
Did the Saints hit their free agency goals? Yes. The Saints needed to turn their offense around after struggling to find a quarterback following Drew Brees’ retirement, and securing Carr fits that mold. Additionally, they added a running back and replenished the interior of their defensive line after losing several players in free agency.
One thing we heard: Excitement. It’s clear how many players are looking forward to a stable situation at quarterback after the past two seasons, and wide receiver Michael Thomas‘ reaction alone said it all after he tweeted, “Thank you Jesus,” when the acquisition of Carr was announced. Both Thomas and recently re-signed tight end Juwan Johnson said they’re ready to get to work with him.
Biggest remaining roster hole: Pass-rusher. Cameron Jordan will be 34 this season, and former first-round pick Davenport left in free agency. Payton Turner, 2021 first-rounder, needs to step up in a big way, and while Carl Granderson had 5.5 sacks in 2022, the Saints need to continue to look for the next Jordan. — Katherine Terrell
Marquee additions: Baker Mayfield (QB), Greg Gaines (DT), Chase Edmonds (RB)
Marquee subtractions: Leonard Fournette (RB), Donovan Smith (LT), Cameron Brate (TE)
Did the Buccaneers hit their free agency goals? They managed to erase a $55 million salary cap overlap while re-signing cornerback Jamel Dean, regarded as one of the top players at any position, in free agency. They brought back longtime captain Lavonte David and signed a former No. 1 overall draft pick in Mayfield. They met and possibly exceeded expectations in what they were financially capable of delivering but still have a lot of needs, including who will start opposite Antoine Winfield Jr., assuming he moves back to safety full time, and offensive and defensive line help.
One thing we heard: Here’s what general manager Jason Licht said about the team’s run to the Super Bowl LV title, which required salary cap maneuvering: “If I go back in time, I would do it all again. We pushed, we borrowed about $100 million against this year’s cap and future cap to do what we did. Came close the second time, but you know if anybody wants to criticize what they did, they can come to any of our three homes and look at our ring.”
Biggest remaining roster hole: How do they fill the left tackle and both guard spots? There are too many unknowns right now. Licht said the team was looking into moving All-Pro right tackle Tristan Wirfs to the left side, but who steps in at right tackle? Luke Goedeke, a second-round draft pick who struggled at left guard last season, makes sense since right tackle was his position in college. Or there’s Brandon Walton, who started two games there last season. But they could use a bona fide starter there. Then at guard, they’ll have Robert Hainsey, Nick Leverett, Aaron Stinnie and John Molchon competing. — Jenna Laine
Marquee additions: Kyzir White (LB), Hjalte Froholdt (OL)
Marquee subtractions: Zach Allen (DL), Byron Murphy Jr. (CB)
Did the Cardinals hit their free agency goals? No. The Cardinals left quite a few needs across its roster unfilled during free agency. They brought back a handful of players but didn’t address significant holes.
One thing we heard: White comes to Arizona with considerable knowledge of head coach Jonathan Gannon and defensive coordinator Nick Rallis, since he played for them last season in Philadelphia, but White’s ability to make plays as the off-ball linebacker should keep him on the field quite a bit.
Biggest remaining roster hole: Edge rusher. By releasing Markus Golden and losing Allen to the Broncos, the Cardinals don’t have much experience at the edge. And those moves show they’re going to ride with second-year linebackers Cameron Thomas and Myjai Sanders for now. — Josh Weinfuss
Marquee additions: None
Marquee subtractions: Jalen Ramsey (CB), Bobby Wagner (LB), Leonard Floyd (LB)
Did the Rams hit their free agency goals? After years of aggressively adding players, even if it meant sacrificing high draft capital and incurring dead money, the Rams have clearly taken a step back to try and fix their cap and cash situation. That started with cutting Wagner and Floyd and then trading Ramsey to the Dolphins.
One thing we heard: Here’s what general manager Les Snead said: “Our DNA is to attack, hit the gas, [but] we’re going to hit the brakes a little bit. That does not change how we’re going to approach the season, how we’re going to approach the day-to-day, but it will definitely change how we approach constructing the roster.”
Biggest remaining roster hole: There are quite a few, as keeping offensive lineman Coleman Shelton is the Rams’ only significant signing in free agency. Los Angeles has lost starters on all three levels of the defense and will have to draft heavily on that side of the ball or attack the later stages of free agency to add players on short-term deals. — Sarah Barshop
Marquee additions: Javon Hargrave (DT), Sam Darnold (QB), Isaiah Oliver (CB)
Marquee subtractions: Mike McGlinchey (OT), Jimmy Garoppolo (QB), Jimmie Ward (DB)
Did the 49ers hit their free agency goals? Yes. For the second straight year, the 49ers knew they were going to lose key players and approached free agency with the idea to take one big swing and then bargain hunt. Hargrave helps atone for trading DeForest Buckner and drafting Javon Kinlaw, who has fallen short of expectations since being selected in the first round in 2020. And though the Niners lost many contributors, they’ll again reap the rewards with compensatory draft picks next year.
One thing we heard: The Niners had to add a quarterback from somewhere, but Darnold’s deal left some wondering if he’s expected to be just QB3 or if he has a shot to compete for the No. 2 job or even the starting role. Darnold was diplomatic when asked about it but acknowledged there are some unknowns that could change his role. “As a competitor, you wanna play, but at the end of the day, you gotta do what’s right for the team,” Darnold said. Regardless, with Brock Purdy out until close to the season opener, Darnold will get plenty of snaps.
Biggest remaining roster hole: Kicker. The Niners need additional help on both lines and elsewhere, but replacing Robbie Gould at kicker won’t be easy. Gould has never missed a kick in the postseason. It might seem like a luxury to have a high-priced kicker, but teams without a dependable one would say it’s worth it. That’s especially true for a team that expects to play in big games like the 49ers do. — Nick Wagoner
Is Sam Darnold to 49ers a win-win?
Nick Wagoner breaks down the 49ers’ decision to sign Sam Darnold.
Marquee additions: Dre’Mont Jones (DL), Julian Love (S), Jarran Reed (DL)
Marquee subtractions: Rashaad Penny (RB), Cody Barton (LB), Shelby Harris (DL)
Did the Seahawks hit their free agency goals? So far, so good. Re-signing QB Geno Smith to a team-friendly contract before free agency has allowed the Seahawks to focus their efforts — and money — on upgrading their front seven. That included an out-of-character splurge on Jones and a reunion with Reed on a smaller deal.
One thing we heard: Adding Love is by no means an indication that Seattle plans to cut Jamal Adams this offseason. It is a sign of their uncertainty over Adams’ availability for the start of the season. They were surprised Love was still on the market and pounced at the chance to add a young and versatile player.
Biggest remaining roster hole: The Seahawks need another outside linebacker to start opposite Uchenna Nwosu — a position they could fill with the fifth overall pick — and more help in the interior of their D-line. Love’s addition allows Adams to play some linebacker, but Seattle needs another player there in addition to newcomer Devin Bush. — Brady Henderson