The first wave of free agency is more or less over. All of the biggest names, at all of the most important positions, have found new homes. In some cases they re-upped in their homes of the old. Whatever the case, the landscape of the NFL has been severely changed - or at least that’s what the bigger spenders have in mind. That’s not to say there aren’t a few good names left on the market, but most of them are of the north of thirty variety. In the meantime though, here’s my list of free agency’s winners to this point.
Oh how the Dolphins have spent to this point in the offseason. They are clear winners of the offseason Super Bowl, and now look poised to compete for the AFC East. So far the Dolphins have added just about every offensive player worth adding on the market. Slight exaggeration, but I mean very slight. The Dolphins have added Brandon Gibson, Mike Wallace, Dustin Keller to what is shaping up to be a potent offense and Dannell Ellerbe and Phillip Wheeler to their new look defense. Before free agency even started they found a way to keep Matt Moore and Chris Clemons in town. The excitement doesn’t end there for the Dolphins though, as their fans eagerly await the new logo.
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John Elway is taking no prisoners this offseason. If it weren’t for the mixup in faxgate involving Elvis Dumervil it would be a near perfect offseason. He snagged the favorite target of Manning’s arch rival in Wes Welker and added some help on the defensive side of the ball as well. The addition of Terrance Knighton and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie should help in preventing another post season disaster reminiscent of the tying touchdown from this year’s divisional playoff loss to Baltimore. If they can get Elvis Dumervil back in the fold, watch out.
Kansas City Chiefs
The new regime has been making changes aplenty in KC. Be it on the offensive or defensive side of the ball, the Chiefs haven’t been shy. On offense they kept Branden Albert in town with the franchise tag and signed Dwayne Bowe long term. After finding a way to keep some of their offenses best players off the market, the Chiefs added Donnie Avery and Anthony Fasano. Should Alex Smith get injured, or falter, they signed Chase Daniel as the backup. The defense was hardly a victim of neglect to boot. They signed Dunta Robinson before free agency started, then added Sean Smith. Throwing against this team will be no easy task.
If you thought the Seahawks defense was good last season, just wait until you see what they have in store for the next one. John Schneider, much like the rest of us, seemed to notice the Seahawks needed to get better in the pass rush. The signing of Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett does that, and then some. It’s an embarrassment of riches. When the Seahawks get Chris Clemons back from his ACL injury there rotation at defensive end will be absurdly good. They still have another $6M or so in cap space. That number could easily jump to 9+ if they trade Matt Flynn.
The Titans are more than deserving of the participation medal in this year’s group of winners. Often accused of never making a splash in free agency, and often watching their own talent walk out of town, they took a step in the right direction with a slew of quality signings this offseason. They aren’t the sexiest names on the market, but the additions of Delanie Walker, Andy Levitre, Shonn Greene, George Wilson, Moise Fokou, Tyronne Green and Ryan Fitzpatrick will go a long way in making this team competitive again.
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