Winners and Losers of NFL Free Agency

Gavin McAferty, Journalist

The NFL Free Agency period is a time where teams can revamp positions and either improve or regress while taking a major hit to their salary cap. It usually begins around two months after the Super Bowl. Throughout this article, I will give my analysis on acquisitions and transactions that I admired and some that I disapproved of. I will also mention the winners and losers of free agency.

Many criticize the Kansas City Chiefs for the decision to part ways with their tackles, Mitchell Schwartz and Eric Fisher. I however feel that they were smart to do that because they both were going to need to recover from surgery and they cleared up to $18 million in cap space. They also compensated for their releases by adding Joe Thuney to their now depleted offensive line. Another team that was flawless in free agency was the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as they restructured Tom Brady’s contract. That restructure led to the resigning of Rob Gronkowski, Shaquille Barrett, and Lavante David. They were also able to secure Chris Godwin with a franchise tag. All of those players played roles in the Buccaneer’s success during the season last year.

I absolutely adore what Joe Judge and the New York Giants are doing. I did not think that Kenny Golladay and Adoree Jackson would land there, those signings themselves make them one of the winners of free agency. Along with those acquisitions came Zach Fulton, Kyle Rudolph, and the resigning of Leonard Williams. The Denver Broncos also made strategic moves. General Manager George Paton was aggressive but not reckless. He seemed to focus on securing the people’s house first and then building the secondary; he also managed to pay multiple players huge contracts with only a $6 million cap hit total.

One of the teams that I’m not impressed with at all is the Houston Texans.The Houston Texans organization is currently a complete dumpster fire, even after rebuilding the front office and coaching staff. The Deshaun Watson saga worsens by the day, not only does he want to be traded, he’s now facing rape allegations from more than 20 women. New general manager, Nick Caserio, has made 30 moves and although they’ve been impactful, I don’t believe it’s enough to save this season. Speaking of fresh starts, another team that is seemingly rebuilding are the Detroit Lions. They traded long-time quarterback Matthew Stafford and forfeited future first round picks and Jared Goff in the process. If Stafford is anything like his 2018 self it will open up a super bowl contender discussion for the Rams. 

While this season’s free agency wasn’t as exciting as past years, I believe a lot of teams improved and there were still some big moves. Also, the COVID-19 guidelines were adjusted and things seem to be returning to normal following the release of the vaccine. Hopefully, that means that the NFL can host full capacity stadiums this upcoming season.