Grading the good, bad and ugly of every major NFL free agency 2024 deal

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By journalsofus.com


The 2024 NFL year officially started on Wednesday, and thanks to the “legal tampering window” for free agency that opened Monday, it has been a frenzied week.

Marquee free agents at every position and side of the ball have changed addresses to the tune of handsome contracts. Up-and-coming players have agreed to deals with the expectation they can become franchise cornerstones. And aging stars have secured opportunities that perhaps represent their final shots at glory.

Much like the teams acquiring talent, we entered free agency with a ranking of the top 150 players, thanks to the expertise of former NFL executive of the year Randy Mueller. As the agreements and signings have piled up, we’ve ranked the acquisitions of those top 150 players.

Some teams have pulled off bold moves that seem destined to propel them toward their goals. The Atlanta Falcons set the quarterback market in motion by luring Kirk Cousins away from the Minnesota Vikings on a four-year, $180 million contract with $100 million guaranteed. The Philadelphia Eagles awarded former NFC East rival Saquon Barkley a $46.75 million deal — one of the richest running back contracts in the last four years. The Houston Texans bolstered their defense by landing the leading pass-rushing free agent Danielle Hunter on a $49 million contract. The list goes on.

There were smart bargain deals like the New England Patriots signing Jacoby Brissett to be their bridge quarterback, headscratchers, like the Washington Commanders choosing Marcus Mariota, potentially for the same role, and gambles, like the Pittsburgh Steelers turning to Russell Wilson and Minnesota entrusting Sam Darnold with the task of replacing Cousins.

An era ended as the Tennessee Titans let Derrick Henry depart for Baltimore, where he’ll aim to help Lamar Jackson and the Ravens get over the hump. And in Henry’s place, former Dallas Cowboys star Tony Pollard now takes over as the Titans’ feature back. And then Tennessee pulled off an upset, luring top wideout Calvin Ridley away from Jacksonville for $92 million ($50 million guaranteed).

We’re breaking it all down: the good, the bad and the ugly that has unfolded during this first week of free agency. Here we go. (Players are listed below in order of their free-agent ranking.)

Live updates: Free-agent news from across the NFL
FA tracker: New teams and contract details for the top 150 free agents
Best available players: Who’s still on the market?

Texans land edge rusher Danielle Hunter

Grade: A

Randy Mueller’s Top 150 ranking: No. 1

Already boasting a talented young pass rusher in Will Anderson Jr., the Texans pull off a move to make their defense that much more formidable, adding Hunter — the top edge rusher on the free agent market.

Hunter, who agreed to a two-year, $49-million deal, is coming off a career year, recording 16 1/2 sacks to go with 83 tackles (a league-best 23 for a loss). It was his fifth double-digit sack season for the eight-year veteran.

go-deeper

GO DEEPER

Texans, Danielle Hunter agree to 2-year deal

Eagles add RB Saquon Barkley

Grade: B-plus

Randy Mueller’s Top 150 ranking: No. 2

Another running back comes off the market as the former Giants star heads to NFC East neighbor Philadelphia. Barkley, who played on the franchise tag last season, lands a three-year deal that could pay him up to $46.75 million and includes $26 million guaranteed. Barkley will not reset the running market with this deal, but if he meets incentives, he could draw an average salary of $15.83 million, which would be the second-most for running backs in NFL history.

The Eagles wanted to upgrade their rushing attack despite receiving a 1,000-yard season from newcomer D’Andre Swift last season. Philadelphia let Swift depart via free agency to the Bears, however, and zeroed in on Barkley, who has recorded three 1,000-yard seasons in the last six years, and came close last season (962 rushing yards and six touchdowns on 247 carries). Barkley just turned 27, but the Eagles expect him to continue to produce like one of the top backs in the league, which would add a welcome element to an offense that features dual-threat quarterback Jalen Hurts and the dynamic wide receiver tandem of A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith.

go-deeper

GO DEEPER

Howe: A peek behind the scenes of the Kirk Cousins, Russell Wilson, Baker Mayfield deals

Falcons add QB Kirk Cousins

Grade: A

Randy Mueller’s Top 150 ranking: No. 3

Kicking off a new era under recently hired head coach Raheem Morris, the Falcons also are starting over at quarterback after landing the four-time Pro Bowl passer on a four-year, $180 million contract that comes with a $50 million signing bonus and $100 million guaranteed.

Cousins had spent the last six seasons in Minnesota. He now heads South, where he reunites with Morris, who was an assistant during Cousins’ early years in Washington.

go-deeper

GO DEEPER

How to sum up Kirk Cousins’ six prolific seasons in Minnesota? It’s complicated

Cousins is coming off a season shortened by a torn Achilles, but has looked good in recent workouts and is expected to be ready to go by the start of the season. Cousins not only has familiarity with Morris, but he will also recognize elements of Atlanta’s offensive scheme because Falcons coordinator Zac Robinson learned under Vikings coach Kevin O’Connell when both were assistants with the Rams in 2020 and 2021.

The NFC South is wide open, so Cousins and the Falcons, who boast a roster full of young, up-and-coming talent, could make some noise immediately.

Browns keep edge rusher Za’Darius Smith

Grade: A

Randy Mueller’s Top 150 ranking: No. 4

The Browns wanted to hold onto Smith, who was a nice complementary pass rusher opposite Myles Garrett. Cleveland and the 11th-year veteran agreed to a two-year deal worth $23.5 million. Smith recorded 27 tackles, 5.5 sacks and 20 quarterback hits last season with the Browns, who ranked first in the NFL in total defense and sixth in sacks (49).


Defensive tackle Christian Wilkins, a hot commodity on the FA market, chose the Raiders. (Sam Navarro / USA Today)

Raiders add DT Christian Wilkins

Grade: A

Randy Mueller’s Top 150 ranking: No. 5

Eager to bolster the interior of a line that features the talented Maxx Crosby on the edge, the Raiders added Wilkins, the top defensive tackle outside of Chris Jones. Wilkins, who recorded nine sacks for the Dolphins last season, is expected to sign a four-year deal worth $110 million with $85.75 million guaranteed.

Wilkins drew interest from the Vikings, Browns, Texans and Lions, but opted for Las Vegas, where head coach Antonio Pierce and defensive coordinator Patrick Graham seek additional impact players to bolster their attack in the trenches.

Vikings add edge Jonathan Greenard

Grade: B

Randy Mueller’s Top 150 ranking: No. 6

It appears likely they will lose pass rusher Danielle Hunter to free agency, so the Vikings are bringing Greenard into the mix. The 27-year-old recorded 12 1/2 sacks and 48 pressures for the Texans last season. Hunter’s deal features $42 million in guaranteed money, according to The Athletic’s Jeff Howe.

The Vikings are hoping that last year’s career year was a sign of things to come from Greenard and not just a flash in the pan. He had eight sacks as a second-year pro in 2021, but just 1 1/2 sacks in an injury-shortened campaign in 2022. He rebounded with his first double-digit sack season in 2023. If he can stay healthy, Greenard has the potential to be a real force up front for Brian Flores’ defense, which is among the most blitz-happy in the league.

Packers add RB Josh Jacobs

Grade: A

Randy Mueller’s Top 150 ranking: No. 7

Hoping to provide young quarterback Jordan Love the support of a more effective rushing attack, the Packers agreed to a deal with the two-time Pro Bowl running back. Jacobs, who has recorded 1,000-yard campaigns in three of the last five seasons with the Raiders, was regarded as one of the top backs on the market, along with Saquon Barkley, Derrick Henry and Austin Ekeler.

He should help ensure balance to Green Bay’s offense, which wants to establish the run and then capitalize on big plays downfield out of the play action. It’ll be interesting to see how this impacts the role of Aaron Jones, who is in the final year of his contract.

go-deeper

GO DEEPER

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Packers add S Xavier McKinney

Grade: A

Randy Mueller’s Top 150 ranking: No. 8

After opting to let safety Darnell Savage depart earlier in the day (he agreed to terms with the Jaguars), the Packers upgraded with McKinney, who agreed to a four-year deal worth $68 million.

McKinney has great range and ball skills and should help shore up the back end of a Packers defense that ranked among the bottom third in the league in takeaways. It now finds itself in transition after coach Matt LaFleur switched defensive coordinators in the offseason, firing Joe Barry and luring Boston College head coach Jeff Hafley to Green Bay.

Titans add C Lloyd Cushenberry

Grade: A

Randy Mueller’s Top 150 ranking: No. 9

Second-year general manager Ran Carthon has attacked this offseason with the goal of upgrading the offense around young quarterback Will Levis and finding a reliable center to anchor the line is a big part of that. Cushenberry, a third-round pick out of LSU in 2020, steadily improved each season with the Broncos and now comes to Tennessee. His strength, athleticism and keen instincts are a big reason why he’s regarded as one of the best young centers in the game.

Eagles add edge rusher Bryce Huff

Grade: A

Randy Mueller’s Top 150 ranking: No. 10

Adding disruptive edge rushers ranked high on the Eagles’ shopping list this offseason, and they have acquired one in Huff, agreeing to pay him $51.1 million over three seasons. Huff, who went undrafted out of Memphis in 2020, had a breakout season with the Jets in 2023, racking up 10 sacks and 29 tackles as a rotational pass rusher. Now he’ll presumably move into a starting role with the Eagles, who hope he can continue to ascend and give new defensive coordinator Vic Fangio a force off the edge.

go-deeper

GO DEEPER

Why the Jets let Bryce Huff leave, and how they plan to fill his void

Giants add G Jon Runyan

Grade: B

Randy Mueller’s top 150 ranking: No. 11

The Giants have questions at running back (with Saquon Barkley now headed for Philadelphia) and quarterback, where Daniel Jones continues to disappoint. But they’re trying to at least ensure whoever lines up at those positions will have adequate pass protection and run support.

Runyan comes to New York from Green Bay, where he established himself as an effective and versatile interior lineman. He’ll try to help upgrade a line that surrendered a league-high 85 sacks in 2022.

49ers add pass rusher Leonard Floyd

Grade: B

Randy Mueller’s Top 150 ranking: No. 12

Could the 49ers’ long search for a reliable pass-rushing sidekick for Nick Bosa finally have come to an end? They certainly hope so after agreeing to a two-year deal worth up to $24 million. The 49ers gave Bosa’s former college teammate Chase Young a try via trade last season, but Young was wildly inconsistent. So, GM John Lynch turned his attention to the 31-year-old Floyd, a consistent and durable player who in the last four seasons has recorded 10-1/2, 9-1/2, nine and 10-1/2 sacks (and has missed only one game during that time). He will now reunite with his former Rams defensive coordinator Brandon Staley, a new assistant head coach for San Francisco.

Titans land WR Calvin Ridley

Grade: A

Randy Mueller’s Top 150 ranking: No. 13

Second-year GM Ran Carthon pulls off an upset, signing Ridley away from Jacksonville, and beating out New England for his services as well. Ridley agreed to a four-year, $92 million deal with $50 million guaranteed.

The move essentially gives Tennessee and second-year QB Will Levis two No. 1 receivers in Ridley (76 catches, 1,016 yards, eight touchdowns) and DeAndre Hopkins (75 catches, 1,057 yards, seven touchdowns).

Seahawks keep DE Leonard Williams

Grade: A

Randy Mueller’s Top 150 ranking: No. 14

Months after acquiring him in a midseason trade, the Seahawks are hanging onto Williams, giving the defensive lineman a three-year, $64.5 million deal. Williams, the sixth pick of the 2015 draft, had stints with the Jets and Giants, but has settled in nicely with Seattle. He recorded four sacks, 41 tackles (nine for a loss) and 11 quarterback hits in 10 games for the Seahawks.The Seattle defense will look different in 2024 as former Ravens defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald takes over for Pete Caroll and revamps the unit to fit his vision. But Williams will hold down a crucial role regardless.

Bills re-sign DT DaQuan Jones

Grade: B

Randy Mueller’s Top 150 ranking: No. 15

The Bills parted ways with a handful of defensive mainstays in recent days, but they’re holding onto one in the 32-year-old Jones, who has spent the last two seasons in Buffalo. Jones missed 12 games last season with a pectoral injury, but when healthy is disruptive in the trenches. In 2022, Jones had 38 tackles (three for a loss) and 11 quarterback hits, two sacks and a fumble recovery. He agreed to a two-year, $16 million deal with $10.5 million guaranteed

Giants add OT Jermaine Eluemunor

Grade: A

Randy Mueller’s Top 150 ranking: No. 16

Revamping their offensive line yet again, the Giants added the versatile Eluemunor, who started at right tackle in Las Vegas, but also can play left tackle. Eluemunor, whose deal is for two years, $14 million, is the second free-agent offensive line addition made by New York, which agreed to terms with guard Jon Runyan earlier Monday. The Giants gave up 85 sacks in 2023, making the line an offseason priority.

Steelers add LB Patrick Queen

Grade: A

Randy Mueller’s Top 150 ranking: 17

The Ravens made the tough call to forgo picking up the fifth-year option on Queen’s rookie contract after they paid Roquan Smith, and now they’ll have to face Queen twice a year as their 2020 first-round pick joins the rival Steelers. Queen, who agreed to a three-year, $41 million deal, is coming off a career-best 133-tackle season. He also had 3.5 sacks and six pass breakups, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. The Pro Bowl linebacker will help fortify a Steelers defense that ranked 21st in the league in yards allowed, yet did hold foes to just 19.1 points per game (sixth best).

Jets add G John Simpson

Grade: B-plus

Randy Mueller’s Top 150 ranking: No. 18

Keeping Aaron Rodgers upright is the highest priority for the Jets, so they agreed to a two-year, $18 million deal with Simpson, who started all 19 of the Ravens’ games (regular season and playoffs) at left guard last season. While durable, Simpson does need to become more consistent, but the Jets are counting on the 2020 fourth-round pick to do just that.

Falcons add WR Darnell Mooney

Grade: C-plus

Randy Mueller’s Top 150 ranking: No. 19

Mooney, who agreed to a three-year, $39 million contract, certainly has big-play ability. He showed in 2021, his second NFL season, what a threat he can be, with 81 catches for 1,055 yards. However, Mooney hasn’t topped 500 yards in either season since then. The 2020 fifth-round pick leaves Chicago with 213 catches with 2,593 yards and 11 touchdowns. Can a fresh start and pairing with Kirk Cousins, Kyle Pitts and Drake London translate into a revival for Mooney?


Frankie Luvu is coming off back-to-back 100-plus tackle seasons with the Panthers. (Jim Dedmon / USA Today)

Commanders add LB Frankie Luvu

Grade: B

Randy Mueller’s Top 150 ranking: No. 20

Badly in need of playmakers with sideline-to-sideline range thanks to misses in the draft and free agency, Washington agreed to a three-year, $36 million contract with Luvu, who is coming off back-to-back 100-plus tackle seasons with the Panthers. Luvu is now on his third team in seven seasons, but he has displayed steady improvement after entering the league as an undrafted player out of Washington State. Last season’s 125 tackles, five pass deflections and two forced fumbles all represent career highs.

Jets add LT Tyron Smith

Grade: A

Randy Mueller’s Top 150 ranking: No. 21

Determined to avoid the mistake they made last year, the Jets are investing heavily in their defensive line. Smith — an eight-time Pro Bowl and two-time All-Pro selection — will protect Aaron Rodgers’ blind side after agreeing to a one-year deal worth up to $20 million. Smith has to stay healthy. The 34-year-old hasn’t played a full season since 2015 and has played a combined 30 games in the last four seasons. But if he can stay on the field, while paired with the recently acquired Morgan Moses (trade with Baltimore), the Jets could have a very talented set of bookends to help keep Rodgers, who is coming off an Achilles tear and repair surgery, upright in a make-or-break season for coach Robert Saleh and GM Joe Douglas.

Texans add DE Denico Autry

Grade: C

Randy Mueller’s Top 150 ranking: No. 23

Autry comes at a relatively affordable price for a pass rusher (two years, $20 million with $10.5 million guaranteed), and he will give Houston a complement to young Will Anderson Jr. But Autry is coming off his first double-digit sack season and is 34, so a decline is possible. That means Houston may not see the full return on its investment.

Cardinals add DT Justin Jones

Grade: C

Randy Mueller’s Top 150 ranking: No. 24

Arizona makes a move to beef up the interior of its defensive line, giving Jones a three-year deal worth $30.1 million with $19.75 million guaranteed. Jones is coming off his two most productive seasons (52 tackles, three sacks in 2022; 49 tackles, 4 1/2 sacks in 2023). His new deal represents a significant bump from his two-year, $12 million deal he played on in Chicago, where he did have his share of ups and downs. That raises the question of whether the Cardinals overpaid.

Saints add edge rusher Chase Young

Grade: C

Randy Mueller’s Top 150 ranking: No. 25

After wearing out his welcome in Washington and failing to make a home for himself in San Francisco after last season’s midseason trade, Young heads to New Orleans, where he’ll play on a one-year, $13.5 million fully guaranteed deal. The Saints needed pass-rushing help after losing Marcus Davenport to the Lions in free agency. Young had a decorated college career and went second overall to Washington in the 2020 draft. But he has yet to record a double-digit-sack season and has never played a full season. Even when healthy, Young was criticized in Washington and San Francisco for a lack of discipline and consistency. The Saints probably overpaid.

Chargers keep S Alohi Gilman

Grade: B

Randy Mueller’s Top 150 ranking: No. 28

The Chargers reward their 2020 sixth-round pick with a two-year, $11 million contract as he comes off of a career year (73 tackles, two interceptions, three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries). L.A. has limited resources because of salary cap restrictions but still manages to keep a promising young player in the mix.

Commanders add S Jeremy Chinn

Grade: B

Randy Mueller’s Top 150 ranking: No. 29

In need of playmakers on the back end of their defense, the Commanders are hoping Chinn can recapture the form he sported in 2020 and 2021 when he recorded 117 and 107 tackles, respectively. He has battled injury in each of the last two seasons, but if healthy, the former second-round pick boasts great versatility as a hybrid safety/linebacker and will make his presence felt. At one year, $5.1 million, Chinn, who has played a combined 18 games the last two seasons, comes at a good price.

Lions add G Kevin Zeitler

Grade: B

Randy Mueller’s Top 150 ranking: No. 31

For what he lacks in athleticism, the 34-year-old Zeitler makes up for it with toughness and a high football IQ. He’s a strong locker-room leader and will fill the void created by Jonah Jackson’s departure for the Rams in free agency.


WR Gabe Davis joins the Jaguars after four seasons with the Bills. (Gregory Fisher / USA Today)

Jaguars add WR Gabe Davis

Grade: C-plus

Randy Mueller’s Top 150 ranking: No. 32

This may not be the wide receiver news the Jaguars and their fans most desperately want to hear. Leading wideout Calvin Ridley (1,016 yards, eight touchdowns) remained unsigned during the opening of the legal tampering window. But in Davis, the Jaguars get a solid No. 2 option on a three-year, $39 million deal. Incentives could bump his earnings up to $50 million.

Davis spent the first four seasons of his career as Stefon Diggs’ sidekick in Buffalo, averaging 682 yards and 6.75 touchdowns on 40.75 receptions a season. At 6-2, 225, Davis knows how to use his size to his advantage and plays with physicality, but still needs to execute with greater consistency.

go-deeper

GO DEEPER

Bills clear cap-space hurdle with Josh Allen’s contract restructure

Eagles reunite with S C.J. Gardner-Johnson

Grade: B

Randy Mueller’s Top 150 ranking: No. 33

Two seasons ago, Gardner-Johnson led the NFL with six interceptions while helping the Eagles reach the Super Bowl. He left Philly for Detroit last offseason, but injuries limited him to just three games. Now, the 26-year-old Gardner-Johnson is headed back to Philly, where he hopes he can recapture his playmaking ways. The Eagles missed Gardner-Johnson and his ball-hawking skills, and they opened up the checkbook to prove it, awarding him a three-year contract worth up to $33 million. If Gardner-Johnson can stay healthy, he’ll make a difference on a defense that’s starting over under the recently hired Vic Fangio.

Lions add DT D.J. Reader

Grade: A

Randy Mueller’s Top 150 ranking: No. 34

Looking to further bolster their defense in hopes of building on last season’s success, the Lions added the massive run-stuffer with a two-year, $27.5 million deal with $9 million guaranteed. The 6-3, 335-pound Reader recorded 34 tackles and seven quarterback hits for Cincinnati last year.

Chargers add RB Gus Edwards

Grade: C

Randy Mueller’s Top 150 ranking: No. 35

The Chargers appear set to move on from Austin Ekeler and have reunited Edwards with his former Ravens offensive coordinator Greg Roman. Curious move. Edwards is a good runner, but he has always shared the workload and has never had a 1,000-yard season. He will come at a cheaper price than Ekeler, but Ekeler is one of the most versatile backs in the game. So unless the Chargers are planning on drafting someone as well and using him as the lead back (and Edwards as the complementary piece), the Chargers will likely see a drop-off here.

Panthers add pass rusher D.J. Wonnum 

Grade: B 

Randy Mueller’s Top 150 ranking: No. 36

The Panthers have made a concerted effort to strengthen their defensive front after shipping Brian Burns to the Giants. The latest addition is Wonnum, the Vikings’ 2020 fourth-round pick who has spent the last two seasons at outside linebacker after playing defensive end his first two seasons. It’s a two-year deal for Wonnum, who recorded a career-high eight sacks in 15 games (14 starts) in 2023.


The Ravens believe Derrick Henry has enough left in the tank to be their workhorse back. (Steve Roberts / USA Today)

Ravens add RB Derrick Henry

Grade: B

Randy Mueller’s Top 150 ranking: No. 38

After allowing Gus Edwards to depart via free agency, the Ravens needed an impact running back in the worst way and have agreed to terms with the powerful Henry. The four-time Pro Bowl back and five-time 1,000-yard rusher agrees to a two-year deal worth up to $20 million. Henry is coming off of a 1,167-yard, 12-touchdown campaign and just turned 30 in January. The Ravens believe that he has enough left in the tank to serve as their workhorse back. If that’s the case — and that’s the only question in this scenario, given the mileage Henry has logged during his career — Henry will in turn ease pressure on Lamar Jackson, who has led the team in rushing more times than anyone within the organization would like. After years of piecing together a rushing attack with Jackson and a committee of backs, the Ravens could now have the ability to produce the most potent ground game (and most balanced offense) they have fielded in years.

Panthers add G Robert Hunt

Grade: B-minus

Randy Mueller’s top 150 ranking: No. 39

With protecting and developing second-year quarterback Bryce Young the highest of priorities, the Panthers made a move to fortify the interior of their offensive line. Hunt is a 2020 second-rounder who has played both guard and tackle, but he’s now viewed as a guard. Hunt has dealt with some injuries, but is big, physical and powerful. If he can remain healthy, he’ll make an impact. He will have good familiarity with the concepts of the Panthers’ offense because new coach Dave Canales runs an offshoot of the Shanahan offense that Mike McDaniel runs in Miami.

Patriots re-signing OL Mike Onwenu

Grade: B

Randy Mueller’s Top 150 ranking: No. 40

Amid great waves of change, the Patriots made continuity along their offensive line a priority. The 2020 sixth-rounder agreed to a three-year, $57 million deal with $38 million guaranteed. Onwenu offers great versatility with his ability to play both tackle and guard.

Panthers add DT A’Shawn Robinson

Grade: A

Randy Mueller’s Top 150 ranking: 41

Fortifying a defense that served as the bright spot last season, Carolina has added the ninth-year veteran on a three-year, $22.5-million deal. Robinson has great familiarity with Panthers defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero, having played for him when Evero was an assistant with the Rams, so the transition should be smooth.

Dolphins re-sign G Isaiah Wynn

Grade: C-plus

Randy Mueller’s Top 150 ranking: No. 44

When he’s on the field, the 6-foot-2, 310-pound Wynn is a strong, quick and athletic interior lineman capable of bolstering an offensive attack in the trenches. But “when he’s on the field” is the key phrase. Durability has proven extremely challenging for the 2018 Patriots first-round pick. Wynn played in the first seven games of the 2023 season, helping Miami to a 5-2 start. But a quad injury caused him to miss the remainder of the season. Wynn has played guard and tackle, but is best suited for guard. The Dolphins gave him a one-year deal so it’s not a huge risk or commitment, but the move is still a bit of a gamble considering Wynn has played in only 50 of 99 possible games over six seasons.

Bears add RB D’Andre Swift

Grade: A

Randy Mueller’s Top 150 ranking: No. 45

Agreeing to a three-year deal worth a reported $24 million, the fifth-year veteran cashes in on a career season with the Eagles in which he served as a feature back for the first time. Swift rushed for 1,049 yards and five touchdowns on 229 carries; he also recorded 39 catches for 214 yards and a touchdown for Philadelphia. Regardless of what they do at quarterback, the Bears badly needed a reliable back after trying to piece together a rushing attack last season. Justin Fields led the team with 657 rushing yards while Khalil Herbert and D’Onta Foreman combined for 1,036 yards and six touchdowns. Swift receives a significant raise after playing on a one-year, $1.7 million deal last season.

Steelers add QB Russell Wilson

Grade: B

Randy Mueller’s Top 150 ranking: No. 46

After two tumultuous years in Denver, Wilson gets a fresh start with Pittsburgh. He’ll sign a one-year deal for the league minimum (just over $1 million) to play for the Steelers while also earning the almost $38 million owed to him by the Broncos.

Adding Wilson creates an intriguing situation for the Steelers, who have said they remain committed to 2022 first-rounder Kenny Pickett. The former Pitt star has been rather mediocre, however. Presumably, Pickett and Wilson will battle for the starting job. Wilson’s resume certainly dwarfs Pickett’s, but does Wilson still have the skills to be an effective NFL starter after posting some of the worst numbers of his career in Denver? Multiple talent evaluators around the league believe the answer is yes and chalk up the struggles of 2023 and 2022 to two bad situations with the Broncos.

This is a low-risk move for Pittsburgh. If Pickett wins, the Steelers have a veteran mentor/backup in Wilson at a low cost. If Wilson wins the starting job, which he should if he does indeed still have his fastball, new offensive coordinator Arthur Smith has a crafty veteran capable of directing a unit that must contend with the Ravens, Bengals and Browns and their star quarterbacks.

go-deeper

GO DEEPER

Kaboly: Russell Wilson could set the Steelers back years, so they better win now

Seahawks re-sign TE Noah Fant

Grade: C-plus

Randy Mueller’s Top 150 ranking: No. 47

Fant boasted great potential when he came to Seattle as part of the Russell Wilson trade. But he has just 82 catches for 900 yards and four touchdowns in the last two seasons combined. Fant, who agreed to a two-year, $21 million contract, has all of the tools to become a more impactful weapon for Seattle. Can new offensive coordinator Ryan Grubb help him maximize his potential?

Rams add G Jonah Jackson

Grade: A

Randy Mueller’s Top 150 ranking: No. 49

Aiming to extend Matthew Stafford’s career a bit further, the Rams are investing heavily in the interior of their offensive line after reaching an agreement with Jackson on a three-year, $51 million deal that features $34 million guaranteed. The Pro Bowl left guard became an instant starter for the Lions, who selected him out of Rutgers in the third round of the 2020 draft (Stafford’s final season with the team). Now Jackson will reunite with the quarterback and aim to solidify a line that has endured a good deal of change the last two seasons.

Eagles add LB Devin White 

Grade: A 

Randy Mueller’s Top 150 ranking: 51 

The Eagles’ defensive overhaul continues with the addition of former Pro Bowl linebacker Devin White, who agreed to a one-year deal worth up to $7.5 million. White, a first-round pick in 2019, reeled off three straight 100-plus tackle seasons from 2020 to 2022, but he missed three games last season and finished with 83 tackles to go with two interceptions and 2.5 sacks. He gives new Philadelphia defensive coordinator Vic Fangio another instinctive, aggressive playmaker with good range.

Jaguars keep C Mitch Morse

Grade: A

Randy Mueller’s Top 150 ranking: No. 52

After reworking the deal of guard Brandon Scherff, the Jaguars made another move to ensure Trevor Lawrence has the best possible pass protection, giving Morse a two-year, $10.5 million contract. Jacksonville was middle-of-the-pack in passing despite boasting a quarterback regarded as a generational talent coming out of college, and ranked among the bottom third of the league in rushing, so Morse should help coax the Jaguars toward improvement.

Packers re-sign KR Keisean Nixon

Grade: A

Randy Mueller’s Top 150 ranking: 55

The All-Pro kick returner lands a three-year deal worth up to $19.2 million. Nixon has led the NFL in kick returns the last two seasons, averaging 27.45 yards per attempt, earning All-Pro honors each year.

Raiders add RB Alexander Mattison

Grade: B-minus

Randy Mueller’s Top 150 ranking: No. 55

Hoping to at least partially fill the void created by Josh Jacobs’ departure for Green Bay, the Raiders reached a deal with the former Viking. Mattison, 25, is coming off a career year with 180 carries for 700 yards in 13 starts, but no rushing touchdowns. He did score three receiving touchdowns. Mattison will likely split time with Zamir White, who enters his third season and rushed for 451 yards and a touchdown on 104 carries behind Jacobs last season.

Vikings add LB Blake Cashman

Grade: B

Randy Mueller’s Top 150 ranking: No. 57

The VIkings continue their mission of upgrading a defense that ranked 16th in the league, adding Cashman on a three-year, $25.5 million deal. This is a bit of a projection signing because Cashman’s resume features just one season as a starter. However, the former Texans fifth-rounder was strong against the run and solid in pass-coverage while notching a career-best 106 tackles, five pass deflections and an interception in 2023. The Vikings now hope he can continue his ascent with them.


RB Austin Ekeler heads east to join the Commanders. (Gary A. Vasquez / USA Today)

Commanders add RB Austin Ekeler

Grade: B

Randy Mueller’s Top 150 ranking: No. 60

One of the most versatile backs in the league over the last seven seasons (39 rushing touchdowns, 30 receiving touchdowns), Ekeler will now take his talents to Washington, where the Commanders are starting afresh with a new owner, general manager and head coach. The 29-year-old Ekeler is coming off an injury-hampered season (628 rushing yards and five touchdowns and 436 receiving yards and a touchdown after flirting with 1,700 all-purpose yards in 2021 and 2022). But he still can be an effective back as long as health is on his side. The two-year, $11.43 million deal is a good investment for Washington, and significantly less per season than running backs Saquon Barkley, Tony Pollard, Josh Jacobs and D’Andre Swift landed.

Lions add edge rusher Marcus Davenport

Grade: B-minus

Randy Mueller’s Top 150 ranking: No. 61

An ankle injury cut Davenport’s lone season with the Vikings to four games. He recorded just two sacks and seven pressures. But at 28, and with a resume that includes 142 tackles, 21 1/2 sacks and seven forced fumbles in five seasons with the Saints, Davenport seemingly boasts the potential to have an impact for Detroit as long as he can stay healthy. The one-year deal is a low-risk investment for the Lions.

Jaguars add CB Ronald Darby

Grade: C

Randy Mueller’s Top 150 ranking: No. 62

Entering his 10th NFL season and about to turn 30, Darby lands with his sixth team, agreeing to a two-year deal worth up to $10 million. Darby provides good versatility, but struggles with durability, having played a full season just once in his career. He started seven of 16 games for Baltimore last season in his return from a 2022 torn ACL and recorded 28 tackles and seven pass breakups.

Dolphins add LB Jordyn Brooks

Grade: B

Randy Mueller’s Top 150 ranking: No. 63

The Dolphins are getting a run-stopping linebacker who has recorded 100-plus tackles each of the last three seasons while playing alongside Bobby Wagner. Brooks has also steadily improved in pass coverage. Brooks suffered a torn ACL in Week 17 of the 2022 season, but returned to action in Week 1 the following year. He had 111 tackles, 4.5 sacks and four pass breakups in 2023, which he now has cashed in for a three-year, $30 million deal.

Commanders add C Tyler Biadasz

Grade: B

Randy Mueller’s Top 150 ranking: No. 65

With their offensive line badly in need of an overhaul, the Commanders and new head coach Dan Quinn lured the Pro Bowl center to Washington. The Commanders last season ranked 27th in rushing and yielded the second-most sacks in the league (65), so Biadasz and other reinforcements (who could follow through free agency and the draft) meet a real need. Adding a quality, veteran center also is a smart move with Washington expected to use the No. 2 pick on a quarterback. Whether it’s Jayden Daniels or Drake Maye, the young passer will have the luxury of leaning on Biadasz to help identify blitzes and the necessary protections.

Vikings add edge rusher Andrew Van Ginkel

Grade: B

Randy Mueller’s Top 150 ranking: No. 67

Brian Flores gets a familiar face in Van Ginkel, a 2019 fifth-round pick who played under the Vikings defensive coordinator when Flores was head coach in Miami. Van Ginkel brings good versatility as an edge rusher capable of bringing pressure from either side. He also comes at an affordable price (two years, $20 million — $14 million guaranteed).

Bills add WR Curtis Samuel

Grade: B

Randy Mueller’s Top 150 ranking: 69

The Bills have found their replacement for former No. 2 wideout Gabe Davis, who signed with Jacksonville earlier this week. Samuel, a second-rounder in 2017, agreed to a three-year deal worth up to $30 million, with $15 million in guaranteed money. Samuel, 27, is coming off of a 62-catch, 613-yard season with four touchdowns for Washington. He recorded 64 catches for 656 yards and four touchdowns in 2022. Samuel battled injuries in 2021, playing just five games, but proved much more durable last season and was used in a variety of ways, which will enable him to complement Stefon Diggs nicely.

Dolphins add CB Kendall Fuller

Grade: B

Randy Mueller’s Top 150 ranking: No. 70

The Dolphins signed the ninth-year veteran to a two-year deal worth $16.5 million in hopes that Fuller, who won a Super Bowl with Kansas City in 2019, can help bolster their secondary. Fuller, who spent the last four seasons in Washington, has the ability to play on the outside and in the slot and at times has been used at free safety.

Buccaneers re-sign LB Lavonte David

Grade: A

Randy Mueller’s Top 150 ranking: 71

After locking up wide receiver Mike Evans and quarterback Baker Mayfield just before the start of free agency, the Bucs have retained another roster cornerstone. David agreed to a one-year deal worth $10 million.  The 13th-year veteran remains a force, having racked up 134 tackles (his 10th 100-tackle season) along with 4 1/2 sacks for the Bucs. The 34-year-old has shown no signs of a drop-off.

Bills keep edge rusher A.J. Epenesa

Grade: B

Randy Mueller’s Top 150 ranking: No. 76

The 2020 second-round pick will remain in Buffalo on a two-year deal worth up to $20 million after recording 6 1/2 sacks in each of the last two seasons as a rotational pass rusher. Epenesa wasn’t drafted in the second round (54th overall) to be a part-time player, but he and the Bills seem comfortable with his role, and he has found a way to maximize his opportunities in each of the last two seasons. It’ll be interesting to see if Leonard Floyd’s departure will translate into more snaps for Epenesa.

Chiefs add WR Marquise Brown

Grade: B

Randy Mueller’s Top 150 ranking: 79

The Chiefs have needed a speedster to help take the top off defenses and restore the home-run threat to their offense. They may have found their man in Brown, who is available but coming off back-to-back injury-shortened seasons. Brown recorded 51 catches on 101 targets for 574 yards and four touchdowns in 14 games last season with the Cardinals, who spent the first half of the season without a rehabbing Kyler Murray. But the Chiefs are hoping health and a pairing with Patrick Mahomes can help Brown recapture the form that helped him reel in 91 receptions for 1,008 yards and six touchdowns his final season in Baltimore (2021). Brown is a sixth-year pro who was a first-round pick by Baltimore in 2019; he spent the last two seasons in Arizona. If he stays healthy, Brown could fit well with Travis Kelce and Rashee Rice.

Broncos re-sign TE Adam Trautman

Grade: C

Randy Mueller’s Top 150 ranking: 80

The fifth-year pro returns on a two-year deal. A starter in 12 of Denver’s games last season, Trautman isn’t a major offensive weapon. He recorded 22 catches for 204 yards and three touchdowns, but Sean Payton is a fan, having drafted him in New Orleans.

Titans add G/T Saahdiq Charles 

Grade: D 

Randy Mueller’s Top 150 ranking: 81

The Titans make a move to bolster their line by adding Charles on a one-year, $2.5 million deal. Charles has talent. But he struggled to find a fit with Washington at guard or tackle and had a hard time staying on the field because of injuries. Can he turn over a new leaf with a new franchise and system?

Dolphins add DT Neville Gallimore

Grade: C 

Randy Mueller’s Top 150 ranking: No. 82 

The Cowboys’ 2020 third-round pick didn’t start a single game last season but appeared in all 17 contests, tallying 16 tackles, a sack and two tackles for a loss. Miami has a hole at defensive tackle after losing Christian Wilkins to Las Vegas. But Gallimore feels like more of a depth signing than a replacement for the highly disruptive Wilkins.

Jets add DT Javon Kinlaw

Grade: B-plus

Randy Mueller’s Top 150 ranking: No. 85

In need of big bodies to pair with Quinnen Williams, Robert Saleh reached back to his San Francisco days to bring the 2020 first-round pick to New York. Kinlaw battled injuries for much of his time in San Francisco, but when finally healthy, he made his presence felt. In 2023, Kinlaw recorded 25 tackles, 3 1/2 sacks, six quarterback hits and three pass breakups while starting all 17 games. The 49ers were expected to face competition in their efforts to retain Kinlaw, and their former defensive coordinator won. If Kinlaw, who agreed to a one-year deal, can stay healthy, this could wind up being a steal.

Dolphins add C Aaron Brewer

Grade: C

Randy Mueller’s Top 150 ranking: No. 86

Looking to further upgrade Tua Tagovailoa’s supporting cast, the Dolphins agreed to a three-year, $21 million deal with Brewer, the former Titans center. The only problem is Brewer gave up seven sacks in 2023, according to TruMeda, and the Dolphins have to do everything possible to protect Tagovailoa. Brewer is, however, a good run blocker, possessing the athleticism that makes him ideal for Miami’s zone-blocking scheme. Undrafted in 2020 out of Texas State, Brewer must take another leap forward in his development.

Cardinals add OT Jonah Williams

Grade: B

Randy Mueller’s Top 150 ranking: No. 87

Working to fortify Kyler Murray’s line, the Cardinals signed Williams away from the Bengals. Williams moved from left tackle to right tackle last season and started every game there for Cincinnati. He presumably will play right tackle for Arizona as well after signing a two-year, $30 million deal that features $19 million in guaranteed money.

Bengals add TE Mike Gesicki

Grade: C

Randy Mueller’s Top 150 ranking: No. 88

Cincinnati adds a serviceable piece to the puzzle in the seventh-year veteran, who recorded 29 catches for 244 yards and a touchdown with New England last season. That was the least-productive season of Gesicki’s career since his rookie year in 2018. He did record two 700-yard seasons with Miami in 2020 and 2021. But a 362-yard 2022 campaign followed before he departed for New England. So, which version of the 2018 second-round pick are the Bengals getting? They certainly hope for something more closely resembling the 2020/2021 version. But at one-year, $3.25 million, this isn’t a high-risk move.


QB Sam Darnold gets (another) fresh start, this time with the Vikings. (Sergio Estrada / USA Today)

Vikings add QB Sam Darnold

Grade: C

Randy Mueller’s Top 150 ranking: No. 89

After losing Kirk Cousins to the Falcons, the Vikings are rolling the dice with Darnold, the third pick of the 2018 draft. Darnold failed miserably with the Jets and Panthers, but the Vikings are hoping that a season on the sidelines and classroom with Kyle Shanahan has turned the turnover-prone USC product (Darnold has thrown 63 touchdowns and 56 interceptions while fumbling 38 times) into a more fundamentally sound player and decision-maker.

Darnold got a one-year deal worth $10 million, so it’s a low-risk commitment for the Vikings. And Darnold will recognize large portions of Minnesota’s offense because coach Kevin O’Connell is a disciple of Sean McVay, who is a disciple of Shanahan. But this still feels like the Vikings, who might have made the playoffs for a second straight season if not for Cousins’ season-ending Achilles tear and poor depth at quarterback, are taking a gamble when other options had included Jacoby Brissett (now with the Patriots), Gardner Minshew (joined the Raiders) and Ryan Tannehill (still available).

Seahawks add S Rayshawn Jenkins

Grade: C 

Randy Mueller’s Top 150 ranking: No. 90

Looking for help in the secondary after releasing Jamal Adams and Quandre Diggs, Seattle reached a two-year, $12 million contract with Jenkins, an eighth-year veteran who spent the last three years with Jacksonville. Jenkins is best suited in man coverage and is a half-beat slow to react in zone coverage, according to Mueller’s scouting report. New Seattle coach Mike Macdonald got a lot out of a patchwork secondary in Baltimore, so it’ll be interesting to see how he does with Jenkins, who is coming off back-to-back 100-tackle seasons.

Chiefs add TE Irv Smith Jr.

Grade: C

Randy Mueller’s Top 150 ranking: No. 91

Intriguing signing by the Chiefs. The 2019 second-round pick by the Vikings has spent the last two seasons in Cincinnati but hasn’t had a prolific role, recording a combined 18 catches for 115 yards and a touchdown in 12 games (six starts). His best season came in 2020 when he had 30 catches for 364 yards and five touchdowns. Smith is athletic and versatile enough to serve as a run blocker or line up in the slot or split out wide. But he hasn’t flashed enough to give reason to believe that he will have a significant enough role to ease pressure on Travis Kelce.

Texans add LB Azeez Al-Shaair

Grade: B-plus

Randy Mueller’s Top 150 ranking: No. 92

DeMeco Ryans pulls off another reunion with one of his former 49ers charges. Al-Shaair, who served as a rotational linebacker in San Francisco and left for Tennessee last season, is headed to Houston on a three-year, $34 million contract. Al-Shaair recorded 163 tackles, two sacks, four pass breakups and a fumble recovery for Tennessee and now joins the AFC South rival Texans and Ryans, who want to defend their divisional title.

Titans add RB Tony Pollard

Grade: B-minus

Randy Mueller’s Top 150 ranking: No. 93

It seemed highly likely that Derrick Henry would be moving on from Tennessee, and now that is essentially a surety. The Titans agreed to terms on a three-year, $24 million deal with Pollard, the former Cowboys running back. The 26-year-old Pollard isn’t as accomplished as Henry. He has two 1,000-yard seasons to his name compared to Henry’s five (including Henry’s 2,000-yard 2020 campaign). But Pollard is three years younger and has 1,268 fewer carries, meaning he could have longevity on his side.

Pollard’s first season as a feature back came in 2023, after he split time with Ezekiel Elliott to start his career in Dallas. But he proved versatile as a runner and pass-catcher out of the backfield. Pollard lacks the power of Henry, but the Titans apparently are looking for a different brand of running back to support young quarterback Will Levis. Pollard also is likely a cheaper alternative to Henry, who likely seeks an increase on last year’s earnings of $10.5 million.

Jets add QB Tyrod Taylor

Grade: A

Randy Mueller’s Top 150 ranking: No. 94

Determined not to make the same mistake they did last year by neglecting to sign a proven backup to Aaron Rodgers, the Jets added the well-traveled Taylor. The 34-year-old QB possesses all of the skills and smarts necessary to enter a game on short notice and keep his team afloat. He also can man the helm as an effective interim starter, something Zack Wilson, who is on his way out, could not do last year.

Commanders add LB Bobby Wagner

Grade: A

Randy Mueller’ Top 150 ranking: No. 95

As he looks to instill a new culture and install a new defense, head coach Dan Quinn is reaching into his past, bringing his former Seahawks star to Washington with him. Wagner, a nine-time Pro Bowl linebacker and six-time All-Pro selection, agreed to a one-year contract worth $8.5 million, including $6 million guaranteed. A physical playmaker and vocal leader, the 33-year-old Wagner led the NFL with 183 tackles last season.

Giants add RB Devin Singletary

Grade: C

Randy Mueller’s Top 150 ranking: No. 97

Looking to fill the void left by Saquon Barkley’s departure for Philadelphia, the Giants add Singletary, who rushed for a career-high 898 yards on 216 carries last season while with Houston. Singletary is steady, but he’s not on Barkley’s level in terms of explosiveness, and will not command the attention from defenses that will ease pressure on Daniel Jones.

Jaguars add S Darnell Savage

Grade: C

Randy Mueller’s Top 150 ranking: No. 98

The Jaguars get a sixth-year pro who certainly has playmaking ability, but also lacks the consistency necessary to go from borderline solid to great. Savage recorded four interceptions and 75 tackles as a second-year pro in 2020, but his production has declined ever since.

Patriots reunite with QB Jacoby Brissett

Grade: A

Randy Mueller’s Top 150 ranking: No. 114

Looking for a fresh start at quarterback as they kick off the Jerod Mayo era, the Patriots are bringing back a familiar face in Brissett, whom New England drafted in the 2016 third round. Brissett agreed to a one-year $8 million deal with a potential $4 million more in incentives.

Brissett is the perfect bridge for the Patriots, who hold the third pick and could use that on a quarterback. He has played in a variety of systems, is durable and possesses strong leadership skills.


“Minshew Mania” heads to Las Vegas after Gardner Minshew’s deal with the Raiders. (Marc Lebryk / USA Today)

Raiders add QB Gardner Minshew

Grade: B

Randy Mueller’s Top 150 ranking: No. 120

After stepping in for an injured Anthony Richardson, keeping the Colts afloat and helping lead them on a surprise playoff hunt, Minshew lands in Las Vegas, where he’ll have a chance to start as the franchise begins a new era in earnest.

Minshew went 7-6 as a starter last season and threw 15 touchdown passes and nine interceptions. He will compete with Aidan O’Connell, who went 5-5 as a starter last season with 12 touchdown passes and seven interceptions. Minshew has proven he can make plays and win games in this league. But at the very least, the Raiders get a quality backup with starting experience.

Colts add QB Joe Flacco

Grade: B

Randy Mueller’s Top 150 ranking: No. 128

With last year’s prized first-round pick Anthony Richardson coming back from season-ending shoulder surgery, and Gardner Minshew now with the Raiders, the Colts needed a reliable veteran. Enter Flacco, who came off the couch last season and led the Browns on an improbable playoff hunt. The 39-year-old Flacco agreed to a one-year deal with the Colts worth up to $8.7 million with $4.5 million guaranteed. Most of the quality backups – and some shaky backups – agreed to deals within the first two days of the legal tampering window opening. The Colts chose Flacco, who went 4-1 as a starter last year, over Ryan Tannehill (the other unsigned veteran with significant starting experience, who is younger but comparable and didn’t play as well as Flacco last season) and Tyler Huntley, a career backup.

Browns add QB Jameis Winston

Grade: C

Randy Mueller’s Top 150 ranking: No. 131

Last season showed why the Browns need a veteran, starter-capable backup to Deshaun Watson. Winston, who spent the last four seasons in New Orleans and went 6-4 as a starter while appearing in 21 games, certainly can step in and sling the rock around the yard. He’ll also fit well into any locker room. Winston, however, remains a roller-coaster at quarterback. If he’s called upon to provide the same stabilizing force and effectiveness Joe Flacco provided during last season’s playoff run, the Browns may wind up disappointed.

Giants add QB Drew Lock

Grade: B

Randy Mueller’s Top 150 ranking: 140

Daniel Jones’ days as Giants starter could be numbered after a 2023 campaign marked first by poor play and then a season-ending ACL tear. Jones is expected to make a full recovery, but he may return to competition from Lock — the 2019 second-round pick shipped by Denver to Seattle as part of the Russell Wilson trade. Lock has spent the last two seasons as Geno Smith’s backup. He went 1-1 in place of an injured Smith this past season and threw three touchdown passes and three interceptions. If Lock has developed while learning behind Smith, and if he can cut down on the turnovers, he could be an option for Brian Daboll and the Giants.

Commanders add QB Marcus Mariota

Grade: C

Randy Mueller’s Top 150 ranking: No. 144

It’s a good move in that Mariota will provide a much-needed veteran presence and mentorship to whomever Washington drafts with the No. 2 pick. It’s a shaky move if the Commanders expect much more than that out of Mariota, who went 5-8 in his last stint as a starter (Atlanta, 2022) while throwing for just 2,219 yards and 15 touchdowns along with nine interceptions.

Unranked additions

49ers add QB Joshua Dobbs

Grade: B

After losing backup Sam Darnold to Minnesota last week, the 49ers tabbed one of the Vikings quarterbacks to fill his spot behind Brock Purdy on a one-year, $2.25 million fully guaranteed deal. Dobbs split time between two teams last season — Arizona, where he started eight games in place of Kyler Murray; and Minnesota, where he started four games after Kirk Cousins’ season ended. The fifth-year veteran posted a combined 3-9 record as a starter with 2,464 passing yards, 13 touchdowns and 10 interceptions with a completion percentage of 62.8. Dobbs should make a rather smooth transition to San Francisco’s system because the Vikings run an offshoot of the same offense. Dobbs, who majored in aerospace engineering at Tennessee, also has a photographic memory, which has served him well while playing in five different systems in the NFL.

Rams add QB Jimmy Garoppolo

Grade: B

The former 49ers starter will miss the first two games of the season for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs. Still, this move makes a lot of sense for the Rams. Garoppolo played under Sean McVay mentor Kyle Shanahan in San Francisco, so he should be able to make a seamless transition to L.A.’s offense, even though there are some differences. The acquisition gives the Rams a quarterback with Super Bowl experience to back up Matthew Stafford, who is 36 and has missed a combined 10 games the last two seasons.

Titans add QB Mason Rudolph

Grade: B

In need of a veteran insurance policy for the young Will Levis, the Titans got former Steelers third-round pick Mason Rudolph on a one-year, $3.62 million deal. A seventh-year pro, Rudolph has started 13 of his 21 NFL games. That includes the final four games of the 2023 season, of which he won the last three. He had three touchdown passes and no interceptions in those three wins. The Titans plan for Levis — their 2023 second-round pick — to enter the season as their starter, but have elected not to re-sign Ryan Tannehill. Malik Willis, a third-year pro, is the only other quarterback on the roster.

Jaguars add DL Arik Armstead 

Grade: B

A late cut this offseason after refusing to take a pay cut from the 49ers, Armstead finds a home and a new three-year, $51 million deal. Armstead was due to count roughly $18 million against San Francisco’s cap. He finds a familiar face in Jacksonville as GM Trent Baalke drafted him with the Niners in 2015. This past season, Armstead was limited to 12 games by various injuries and planned to have surgery to repair a torn meniscus this offseason. If healthy, he gives the Jaguars a disruptive force in the trenches and a veteran presence on the defense.

Vikings add RB Aaron Jones

Grade: B-minus

Minnesota needed a running back after releasing Alexander Mattison, last year’s leading rusher. Jones needed a home after the Packers released him upon signing Josh Jacobs. And so, the two former rivals will team up in hopes of blocking Green Bay from the NFC North. Jones has gone from fifth-round pick (2017) to Pro Bowl rusher (2000) with three 1,000-yard seasons to his name, and he should fit well in Minnesota’s system, because it’s very similar to Green Bay’s. The main question: Can Jones stay healthy? A hamstring strain limited him to just 11 games, 656 yards and two touchdowns last season, and he turns 30 this season. But at one year, $7 million, he comes at a reasonable price.

Colts re-sign DB Kenny Moore II

Grade: A

In a move that reflects the evolution of the game and importance of depth at defensive back because of how heavily teams rely on the pass, the Colts have re-signed Moore to a three-year, $30 million contract that makes him the highest-paid nickel corner NFL history. The Pro Bowl back has averaged 2.4 interceptions and 7.8 pass breakups per season.

Saints add QB Nathan Peterman

Grade: D

After losing Jameis Winston to the Browns, the Saints sought a veteran backup and settled on Peterman. There’s a significant drop-off from Winston, who for his nine-year career has passed for 22,104 yards, 141 touchdowns and 99 interceptions, to Peterman, however. Peterman, a seventh-year pro, has thrown four touchdown passes and 13 interceptions in 15 appearances (five starts) and owns a 1-4 record as a starter. The Saints’ quarterback depth chart currently consists of starter Derek Carr, Taysom Hill, who splits time between quarterback, tight end and running back and receiver, Peterman and second-year pro Jake Haener.

(Top photo of Chase Young: Mike Carlson / Getty Images)



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