Grading the Biggest Moves on Day Two of 2023 NFL Free Agency

Chris Unger/Getty Images

Grading the Biggest Moves on Day Two of 2023 NFL Free Agency


Grading the Biggest Moves on Day Two of 2023 NFL Free Agency


Chris Unger/Getty Images

Day two of free agency is complete, and I’ve got you covered with grades and analysis for each signing from the day. If you missed my grades & analysis for each day one signing and want to check it out, click here.


Atlanta Falcons sign Quarterback Taylor Heinicke

Contract: Two years, $14 million ($6.32 guaranteed, max value of $20 million)

The Falcons want to see what Desmond Ridder’s got, but it’s clear they’re not completely sold on him. Heinicke gets high-end backup money from Atlanta, and if Ridder fails to take the step forward, he could step in as the starter. The Falcons went 7-10 last year, made additions to the roster, and would like to compete in this weak NFC South. Heinicke is far from an elite quarterback, but he’s beloved by teammates, a nice backup option, and worth adding to this roster given the weak nature of the NFC South.

Grade: B+


Las Vegas Raiders sign Wide Receiver Jakobi Meyers

Contract: Three years, $33 million ($21 million guaranteed)

Jakobi Meyers was the top wide receiver on the free agency market. Not a super flashy player that makes a ton of explosive plays, but he’s a big slot that separates in the shorter area of the field, demanding over a 25% target rate in each of the past three seasons. Both Meyers and Hunter Renfrow are a bit redundant to one another, but this was a nice value signing on a good, young player both Josh McDaniels and Dave Ziegler are familiar with from New England.

Grade: A


Dallas Cowboys re-sign Safety Donovan Wilson

Contract: Three years, up to $24 million

Donovan Wilson is a hard-hitting safety that grew into more of a full-time role in Dallas last season. Wilson delivers tone-setting blows to ball carriers, and can get after the quarterback. He fits best in a run support, box role, with enough coverage ability to serve a purpose against the pass.

Grade: B

Miami Dolphins re-sign Running Back Raheem Mostert

Contract: Two years, $5.6 million ($2.2 million guaranteed)

Raheem Mostert fits Miami’s “we want to be the league’s fastest-paced offense” motto to a tee. He’s a home run hitter with crazy speed that ran for nearly 900 yards in 16 games last year. There are concerns, though. He’s nearly 31 years old with a lengthy injury history, and outside of his speed, isn’t a very well-rounded back. Those concerns are minimized by a fairly cheap contract, though.

Grade: B-


Miami Dolphins re-sign Running Back Jeff Wilson

Contract: Two years, up to $8.2 million

The Dolphins are bringing their one-two punch of Mostert and Wilson back. The two were a near 50/50 split in terms of workload, with Mostert bringing the home run hitting speed, and Wilson serving as a more well-rounded runner. Wilson got a bit overpaid, but it’s nothing to write home about. The Dolphins ensure they’ve got backfield depth for 2023, but should still heavily consider taking a running back in this April’s Draft.

Grade: B-


San Francisco 49ers re-sign Center Jake Brendel

Contract: Four years, $20 million ($8 million guaranteed)

After starting just three games in his career, Jake Brendel started the entire season for San Francisco last year at 30 years old. He was great for the 49ers last year, as a great leader, stout pass protector, and with his smaller build, he does a great job working up into space to spring runs free in the ground game. The concerns are that he’s nearly 31 years old, lacks size, and hardly started before last season, but considering how he played last year, I do like this re-signing.

Grade: B


Minnesota Vikings re-sign Center Garrett Bradbury

Contract: Three years, $15.75 million 

Garrett Bradbury has failed to live up to his first round pedigree, but that doesn’t mean he’s bad. Bradbury served as a well-rounded starting center for Minnesota last season, and is coming off his best season as a pro. If Bradbury plays like he did last year, the Vikings retain a nice starter at a reasonable cost.

Grade: B+


Detroit Lions sign Cornerback Emmanuel Moseley

Contract: One year, $6 million

Emmanuel Moseley was great for the 49ers before suffering a season-ending ACL tear. From Cam Sutton, and now Moseley, the Lions keep making necessary additions to their cornerback room with young, underrated talents. The biggest concern for Moseley is the fact that it’s his first-year off an ACL tear, but he’s a great fit in their man-heavy defense. This is a low-risk, high-reward signing. If Moseley plays anything like he did last year, Detroit will be very happy.

Grade: A


Philadelphia Eagles sign Running Back Rashaad Penny

Contract: One year, $1.35 million ($600k guaranteed, max value of $2.1 million)

Make no mistake about it, Rashaad Penny is one of the best pure runners in football. Not to mention, he’s an amazing fit in this Eagles offense. He’s not a great pass-catcher, but Philadelphia doesn’t ask for a ton from their running backs as pass-catchers. And on the ground game, Penny rushing behind one of the best offensive lines in football with the threat of Jalen Hurts providing horizontal pressure is going to be scary good. Yes, Penny has serious durability issues, but on such a cheap contract with so much ability when on the field, Philadelphia can hardly lose.

Grade: A+


Tennessee Titans sign Linebacker Azeez Al-Shaair

Contract: Unknown

With the loss of David Long, the Titans hope to replace him with Azeez Al-Shaair. He slid back into a part-time role for the 49ers last season, but remember, he was playing behind two of the best linebackers in the league. Al-Shaair isn’t a finished product, from missed tackles to coverage mishaps, but he’s a good run-stopper with nice range at 25 years old.

Grade: To be determined once contract specifics are released


Arizona Cardinals sign Linebacker Kyzir White

Contract: Two years, $11 million

Kyzir White follows Jonathan Gannon to Arizona. He’s an extremely well-rounded linebacker, with lots of range, nice instincts, and awesome coverage skills. The Cardinals have got multiple versatile coverage linebackers, and I’m excited to see how Gannon – who only used two off-ball linebackers in Philadelphia – plans on deploying them.

Grade: A


New York Jets sign Wide Receiver Allen Lazard

Contract: Four years, $44 million ($22 million guaranteed)

The New York Jets are all in on acquiring Aaron Rodgers, and this signing is part of their pursuit. Rodgers gave Joe Douglas a wishlist of players he’d like for them to acquire, which included one of his favorite receivers in Allen Lazard. He’s a great blocker, fine outside option, and has the trust of Aaron Rodgers, but this contract is a tough pill to swallow. New York is willing to take some hits if that’s what it takes for Rodgers, but in a vacuum, this is an obvious overpay.

Grade: C-


Pittsburgh Steelers re-sign Defensive Tackle Larry Ogunjobi

Contract: Three years, $28.75 million

Larry Ogunjobi had an up-and-down campaign for the Steelers last season, but showcased enough to earn a multi-year deal. He’s an awesome athlete that can make an impact on all downs as a 3-tech, but just needs to iron out the mistakes in order to play up to this contract. A healthier 2023 season could make that possible.

Grade: B


Denver Broncos sign Running Back Samaje Perine

Contract: Two years, $7.5 million

Outside of Javonte Williams – who’s still recovering from a torn ACL and LCL – Denver didn’t have a noteworthy running back on the roster, nor do they have much draft capital to dip into this loaded 2023 rookie class. Perine’s not super explosive, but he’s a physical back that can also catch passes and be trusted in pass protection. Perine might find himself in a key role for Denver’s backfield next year.

Grade: B


Philadelphia Eagles re-sign Cornerback James Bradberry

Contract: Three years, $38 million ($20 million fully guaranteed, max value of $44 million)

The Eagles have lost quite a few key pieces from last year’s NFC championship team, but James Bradberry isn’t one of them. I don’t see this as some fantastic re-signing for the Eagles like many others do, but I certainly can’t say it’s a bad one either. According to Bradberry, he took a pay cut to stay in Philadelphia, so the Eagles retained a very good cornerback at a discounted price relative to the market.

Grade: B+


Carolina Panthers sign Quarterback Andy Dalton

Contract: Two years, $10 million ($8 million guaranteed, max value of $17 million)

The Panthers will obviously be selecting a quarterback with the first overall pick, but signing Dalton gives Carolina a trusted mentor for their rookie, and a potential stopgap if the first overall pick isn’t ready to go by week one.

Grade: B-


Dallas Cowboys re-sign Linebacker Leighton Vander Esch

Contract: Two years, $11 million 

Since an incredible rookie campaign back in 2018, Vander Esch hasn’t quite been the same player. This has mainly been due to injury, and with a fairly clean bill of health over the past two seasons, he’s slowly starting to trend back in the right direction. Vander Esch is a big linebacker with tons of athleticism. He’s been more timid firing downhill and tackling since his neck surgery, but is still fine in this department. He’s also got coverage upside, and had a nice season in that department last year.

Grade: A


Seattle Seahawks sign Defensive Tackle Jarran Reed

Contract: Two years, $10.2 million

After spending the past two years in Kansas City and Green Bay, Jarran Reed reunites with the Seahawks. The 30-year-old’s recent play suggests he’s past his prime at this point, but maybe a return to Seattle playing next to newly signed Dre’Mont Jones will help. At the least, Reed gives the Seahawks some much needed, familiar defensive line depth that can serve as a rotational piece.

Grade: C+


Atlanta Falcons re-sign Right Tackle Kaleb McGary

Contract: Three years, $34.5 million

Kaleb McGary has had his struggles as a pass protector, which probably held him back from cashing in on an even higher-end right tackle deal. With that being said, he’s an absolute mauler in the run game, and given Arthur Smith’s philosophy and the current quarterback situation, the Falcons will probably remain a ground-and-pound team for at least the next one-two years. McGary has steadily developed throughout his career, is a great fit in this offense, and signed for a lower number than I expected.

Grade: A


Indianapolis Colts sign EDGE Samson Ebukam

Contract: Three years, up to $27 million

Samson Ebukam creates a nice tandem off the edges with Kwity Paye and Dayo Odeyingbo. He’s a high-impact pass-rusher that compliments this Colts’ personnel well, and I feel they got him on a pretty nice contract. He’s played in EDGE-friendly defenses (San Francisco 49ers and Los Angeles Rams), but with six years of production, Ebukam’s proven himself.

Grade: A-


Detroit Lions sign Running Back David Montgomery

Contract: Three years, $18 million ($11 million guaranteed)

The Lions appear to be letting Jamaal Williams walk in free agency, replacing him with David Montgomery. He’s an underrated power back with pretty solid rushing metrics over his career in Chicago, although his lack of pass-catching and explosive athleticism holds him back from the “elite” tier. I’m fine with the Lions moving on from Jamaal Williams given his age and possible market being a little too large, but that doesn’t mean I love this signing. Obviously, Detroit would need to add another running back with Williams walking, but I don’t love this contract. The Lions will have plenty of opportunities to take a running back in the NFL Draft, and Montgomery is nearly 26 with over 200 rushing attempts in each of the past four seasons.

Grade: C-


Kansas City Chiefs sign Defensive Line Charles Omenihu

Contract: Two years, max value of $20 million

Charles Omenihu is a versatile defensive lineman that’s particular specialty comes as a pass-rusher. He’s a lengthy, explosive mover with some nice moves in his portfolio. Omenihu has never developed into a full-time starter, though, mainly due to his struggles against the run. However, he still serves as an immediate upgrade over Frank Clark, and with youth on his side, Kansas City hopes he can take the strides necessary to become more every-down reliable. If that doesn’t happen, though, this will go down as an overpay.

Grade: C+


Minnesota Vikings sign Cornerback Byron Murphy

Contract: Two years, roughly $22 million

The Vikings find themselves in desperate need of cornerback help. Byron Murphy is far from elite, but he does offer inside/outside versatility as a serviceable starter. He’ll need to take another step forward to justify $11 million annually, though, and Minnesota still has their work cut out for them in the secondary.

Grade: B-


Tennessee Titans sign Defensive Line Arden Key

Contract: Three years, $21 million ($13 million fully guaranteed, max value of $24 million)

Arden Key’s a versatile pass-rusher, with the size, length, athleticism, and clubs in his bag to get after the quarterback from a 3-tech role, all the way to the edge. His struggles against the run must be noted, though, as over the past four seasons, he hasn’t played over 45% of the defensive snaps in any season. Luckily for Key, the Titans are in need of some more pass-rushing juice, and they’ve got plenty of run-stoppers around him on their defense for support. Both a nice player and a decent fit.

Grade: B-

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