NFL free agency has come and gone and with the NFL Draft happening in a couple weeks teams are shifting their focus towards that instead of focusing on the current free agents that are on the market. Some teams have made major improvements with their roster additions, while other teams stood by and made little to no improvements. Here are three teams that didn’t necessarily improve in any way during this free agency period.
Key Additions/Re-signings: LB Kyzir White (PHI Eagles), WR Zach Pascal (PHI Eagles), G Will Hernandez (re-signed on a two-year deal)
Key Losses: DE Zach Allen (DEN Broncos), EDGE Markus Golden (released), CB Byron Murphy (MIN Vikings), DE J.J. Watt (retired), WR A.J. Green (retired), WR DeAndre Hopkins (TBD), WR Robbie “Chosen” Anderson (released)
Two years ago, the Arizona Cardinals were fresh off a playoff appearance and many believed the team would take the next step and become a legit playoff contender in the NFC. So much for that. Outside of the head coaching hire of Philadelphia Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon which many believe was a “reach”, Arizona’s offseason has been underwhelming. Defensive end J.J Watt and wide receiver A.J. Green decided to retire. Defensive end Zach Allen and cornerback Byron Murphy are also not on the team anymore.
Releasing wide receiver Robbie Anderson wasn’t surprising but releasing edge rusher Markus Golden was. Wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins is likely to be cut instead of traded due to teams not wanting to give up the compensation to get him, which will leave the wide receiver room in Arizona in a bit of disarray. Signing linebacker Kyzir White from the Eagles and re-signing guard Will Hernandez was fine but outside of that, it has been uninspiring.
The roster is devoid of talent as it’s currently constructed and with Kyler Murray potentially not playing for the entire season, this team is likely going to be picking in the top five in the NFL Draft in back to back years. New general manager Monti Ossenfort has his work cut out for him for a team that looked like it was trending upwards a few years ago, but now it seems like this team is heading in the wrong direction.
Key Signings/Re-signings: WR Nelson Agholor (NE Patriots), RB Justice Hill (re-signed on a two-year deal)
Key Losses: DE Calais Campbell (ATL Falcons), G Ben Powers (DEN Broncos). SS Chuck Clark (NYJ Jets), CB Marcus Peters (TBD)
Since the Baltimore Ravens gave quarterback Lamar Jackson the non-exclusive tag you would think they likely made improvements to help their team right? The answer to this question is no. Outside of that noticeable move, Baltimore hasn’t done anything to improve the quality of their team. I guess signing wide receiver Nelson Agholor is helping Jackson out by getting him more receivers but Agholor isn’t particularly great.
Releasing defensive end Calais Campbell was more of a cap casualty and the team considered bringing him back but he chose to sign with the Atlanta Falcons instead. With Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens front office in a staring contest, waiting for someone to blink in regards to the contract extension situation, it is hampering their ability to go after free agents to help improve their team. Baltimore is the only team in their division that hasn’t done much of anything during this free agency period, the Cleveland Browns got better, same for the Cincinnati Bengals and Pittsburgh Steelers.
I don’t see Jackson returning to Baltimore, considering how he requested a trade and Baltimore essentially alienated Jackson during this entire process. If Baltimore wants to redeem themselves, they have to start by first signing Jackson to an extension and attempt to improve the quality of their team. Sometimes teams sitting out of free agency is a good thing but if you are the Ravens, that is the last thing you need to be doing considering you have a quarterback who is unhappy with how they are currently treating him.
Los Angeles Rams
Key Additions/Re-Signings : TE Hunter Long (acquired in trade from MIA Dolphins), DE Mike Hoecht (tendered), C Brian Allen (signed to a three-year extension), G Coleman Shelton (re-signed to a two-year deal)
Key Losses: CB Jalen Ramsey (traded to the MIA Dolphins), LB Bobby Wagner (released), S Taylor Rapp (signed with BUF Bills), EDGE Leonard Floyd (released), S Nick Scott (signed with CIN Bengals), G David Edwards (signed with BUF Bills), D A’Shawn Robinson (TBD), K Matt Gay (signed with IND Colts), DL Greg Gaines (signed with TB Buccaneers)
Two years removed from winning a Super Bowl, the Los Angeles Rams are both attempting to re-tool or rebuild their roster. Either way, this team hasn’t improved in any aspect. Trading All-Pro cornerback Jalen Ramsey and receiving essentially a back-up tight end wasn’t ideal. I understand the trade was made due to the salary cap issues that the Rams are currently facing but they could’ve received a better haul for someone who is still a top 10 cornerback in this league.
Releasing linebacker Bobby Wagner after signing him to a huge contract last offseason wasn’t necessarily a surprise, Wagner was good for the Rams in his lone season with the team but he wasn’t asked to do much in the role he was given. It is clear that the Los Angeles Rams still believe that this team contends in an NFC that is wide open right now but I would expect the Rams to be more active than they are. The signings that the Rams did make were more for quality depth pieces.
I am not going to be too harsh to this team considering how an offseason like this is possible due to the lack of resources the team possesses in regards to salary cap and draft picks. Overall, this is a team that hasn’t improved in many ways instead they got worse, but not significantly. If the Rams want to get back to being a playoff contender, they have to start by doing more than what they are doing.