Day one of the 2023 NFL Free Agency was a wild one and there were a ton of signings across the board. Free agency doesn’t stop and there are still many talented players out on the market waiting to be signed. However, some teams did better than others in this first round of free agency. Here are some of the biggest winners and some of the biggest losers from the first day of legal tampering period of the offseason.
San Francisco 49ers
The 49ers were once again in the NFC championship game and fell short. So they decided to double down on defense and bring in Javon Hargrave to pair with Nick Bosa on their defensive line. This gives them a very scary pair of defenders that will strike fear in the hearts of any opposing quarterback. San Francisco also signed former top three draft pick in quarterback Sam Darnold to a one-year deal. It’s a team friendly signing that allows them to have a decent option under center if their recent trend of injuries to the quarterback position keep happening.
The Bears had to be on this list as they entered free agency with the most amount of cap space and a willingness to spend. They completely upgraded the middle of their defense by signing linebackers Tremaine Edmunds and T.J. Edwards. This gives them a nice duo at the position and has many Bears fans salivating at what these two can do together. They still need to shore up the offensive line but they have plenty of money left to spend and there are still a ton of good options left on the board.
Sean Payton wanted to shore up and invest in the offensive line and the Broncos sure did that. They grabbed guard Ben Powers and tackle Mike McGlinchey to help bolster their offensive line so it could do a better job protecting quarterback Russell Wilson. They also signed quarterback Jarrett Stidham to backup Wilson, giving Denver a nice alternative in case Wilson struggles again. It was a busy day for the Broncos but a clear sign that change has arrived.
Honorable Mentions: Atlanta Falcons and the Washington Commanders
The Eagles lost a ton of talent on the defensive side of the ball and while they still have time to make up for that, it’s a tough loss. They had one of the better defenses across the NFL last season and losing three key starters is going to hurt them. Center Jason Kelce looks to be returning but they lost Andre Dillard to the Titans so Philadelphia will need to shore up the rest of their offensive line. It was a tough start to the offseason for the defending NFC champions.
The Bengals lost both starting safeties and now will need to make the position a major focus going forward. Many expected them to lose Jessie Bates but the loss of Vonn Bell came as a surprise. The team did hold onto linebacker Germaine Pratt on a very team friendly contract so that is a plus but losing two of their best defenders in Bates and Bell hurts. There is still plenty of time for Cincinnati to recover but they need to work quickly to do so.