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USA Today Sports Media Group
USA Today Sports Media Group
Adam Stites

Every NFL team’s biggest move to start 2024 free agency

The first week of NFL free agency is in the books, and it was certainly an eventful one filled with big signings, releases and trades that will have lasting implications heading into the 2024 season.

The first day of the negotiation period of free agency proved to be one of the more active Mondays that we’ve seen in recent years, where some big-name veterans found new homes and there were some surprising moves around the league. But there were plenty of surprises in store as the week wore on.

Our NFL Wire editors are breaking down the most noteworthy moves made by their respective teams through the first wave of free agency. From signings to trades to moving on from veterans, here’s every NFL team’s biggest move from the first week of free agency:

Arizona Cardinals: Signing DT Justin Jones

Dec 31, 2023; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Chicago Bears defensive lineman Justin Jones (93) hits Atlanta Falcons quarterback Taylor Heinicke (4) in the second half at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports

The Cardinals gave three-year deals to four different defensive players, all of whom probably will start on defense in 2024, but it is Jones that is the biggest move. They are giving him over $31 million over three seasons. It is a big deal for a guy who has a career-high of 4.5 sacks, but his pass-rushing production spiked last season with 4.5 sacks and 17 quarterback hits last season, suggesting they can get strength against the run and some pass-rushing juice from the defensive interior. — Jess Root, Cards Wire

Atlanta Falcons: Signing QB Kirk Cousins

Nov 24, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) celebrates the win after the game against the New England Patriots at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

This was a tough call but I think signing quarterback Kirk Cousins to a four-year, $180 million contract was Atlanta’s biggest free-agent acquisition. Even though Cousins is coming off an Achilles injury and will be 36 when the season begins, the Falcons desperately needed a QB and they landed arguably the top one on the market. With plenty of pieces on offense, including Kyle Pitts, Bijan Robinson, Drake London and Darnell Mooney, Cousins is set up for success in 2024. Atlanta will look to its new quarterback to lead the team back to the playoffs after a six-year postseason drought. — Matt Urben, Falcons Wire

Baltimore Ravens: Signing RB Derrick Henry

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA – SEPTEMBER 10: Derrick Henry #22 of the Tennessee Titans warms up against the New Orleans Saints at Caesars Superdome on September 10, 2023 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)

Baltimore found their new king, pun intended, as Henry has the ability to take the Ravens’ rushing attack to another level while lessening the load on MVP quarterback Lamar Jackson. Henry, who turned 30 in January, finished second in rushing last season with 1,167 yards and tied for fifth among running backs with 12 rushing touchdowns. His yards-per-game average did drop to 68.6, his lowest mark since 2018, but that number should increase with Jackson at QB and viable options in the passing games with WR Zay Flowers and TE Mark Andrews. — Glenn Erby, Ravens Wire

Buffalo Bills: Signing WR Curtis Samuel

Oct 1, 2023; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Washington Commanders wide receiver Curtis Samuel (4) scores on a one- yard touchdown run against the Philadelphia Eagles during the first quarter at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

There isn’t much to pick from here for the Bills, so Samuel is the easy selection. Much of the headlines involving Buffalo during free agency have revolved around departures. The likes of center Mitch Morse and defensive backs Jordan Poyer and Tre’Davious White were tough losses. But the hope is that Samuel’s ability to move around an offense could help the Bills. He’s split snaps in his career both in the slot and on the outside. Regardless of what side of the ball a player is on, the Bills coaching staff loves a versatile player. — Nick Wojton, Bills Wire

Carolina Panthers: Double-dipping at G with Robert Hunt, Damien Lewis

Nov 27, 2022; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Miami Dolphins offensive tackle Robert Hunt (68) takes the field prior to a game against the Houston Texans at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

We're sure our pals over at Giants Wire will have the Brian Burns trade covered down below. So while it's the obvious choice here, we'll leave their new two-time Pro Bowl pass rusher to them. (Plus, we should be used to the Panthers giving away their best players at this point. No biggie.) Instead, let's focus on what is here-an improved interior offensive line. Carolina started six different guys at left guard and seven different guys at right guard in 2023, which helped lead to 62 sacks of quarterback Bryce Young. Although the deals come in at a pricey total of $153 million, adding Lewis and Hunt fortifies the middle for Young-a particularly important advantage for a 5-foot-10 passer. -- Anthony Rizzuti, Panthers Wire

Chicago Bears: Trading QB Justin Fields

Sep 17, 2023; Tampa, Florida, USA; Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields (1) looks on prior to the game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports

It's been an eventful free agent period for the Bears between re-signing star CB Jaylon Johnson and trading for stud WR Keenan Allen. But no doubt the biggest move to come out of free agency for Chicago was trading QB Justin Fields to the Steelers for a conditional sixth-round pick. It's a move that didn't come as a surprise, but it officially signals the beginning of the Caleb Williams era for the Bears, who are on the clock at No. 1. While GM Ryan Poles expected a market to develop for Fields, it seems as if teams didn't think as highly as he expected. Poles had been shopping Fields since the Senior Bowl, and he could've dragged this out until the NFL draft and capitalized on a panicked team that didn’t land their QB. While a conditional sixth-round selection (that could turn into a fourth) might be viewed on the service as a "fleece," Poles made good on his promise and did right by Fields. Now, it's a guarantee that Chicago will draft a quarterback at No. 1 -- and there's a 99 percent chance it'll be Williams, barring unforeseen complications. -- Alyssa Barbieri, Bears Wire

Cincinnati Bengals: Signing DL Sheldon Rankins

Houston Texans defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins (98) celebrates his touchdown off a ball fumbled by Tennessee Titans quarterback Will Levis during the second quarter at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas., Sunday, Dec. 31, 2023.

The Bengals apparently won a mini-bidding war for Rankins, and it’s not hard to see why the front office went after him. He’s a disruptor from the interior who will help free up edge rushers like Trey Hendrickson and first-rounder Myles Murphy while helping to keep B.J. Hill fresh. Granted, there’s the whole issue of losing nose tackle DJ Reader and not having any depth at the nose, either. But investing big in pass-rush was a priority for the Bengals to help the whole scheme tick and Rankins is a nice solution before the draft. -- Chris Roling, Bengals Wire

Cleveland Browns: Trading for WR Jerry Jeudy

Dec 5, 2021; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Denver Broncos wide receiver Jerry Jeudy (10) runs the ball as Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Charvarius Ward (35) defends during the second half at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

While the Browns have had a productive free agency period, headlined by re-signing DE Za'Darius Smith, their best move thus far was no free agency move at all. On the heels of the start of the legal tampering period, the Browns and Broncos agreed to send WR Jerry Jeudy to Cleveland in exchange for a 2024 NFL draft fifth and sixth round pick. The Browns are shifting their offense, overhauling the entire offensive staff, to create more explosive plays. Their passing attack lacked any consistency outside of WR Amari Cooper and TE David Njoku. While Jeudy has not had a consistent career to this point, a change in scenery may be just the cure as the Browns also get another dynamic route runner and vertical threat to add to their offense. Now, they just need the quarterback play to follow suit… -- Cory Kinnan, Browns Wire

Dallas Cowboys: Re-signing CB Jourdan Lewis

Sep 25, 2017; Glendale, AZ, USA; Dallas Cowboys cornerback Jourdan Lewis (27) against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Cowboys clearly aren't interested in making big splashes and it would be easy to choose letting Tyron Smith walk in free agency. And while picking bringing back the long snapper here, just to prove how frustrating the offseason has been for fans, this comes down to two choices. Linebacker Eric Kendricks is going to help teach that group the intricacies of Mike Zimmer's defense, but far more important will be the slot corner responsible for the myriad of coverage calls Zimmer will make. Lewis is an underrated player who will coordinate a group of All-Pros and higher pedigree guys such as Trevon Diggs, DaRon Bland and Malik Hooker. -- K.D. Drummond, Cowboys Wire

Denver Broncos: Releasing QB Russell Wilson

MIAMI GARDENS, FLORIDA – SEPTEMBER 24: Head coach Sean Payton of the Denver Broncos talks to Russell Wilson #3 of the Denver Broncos prior to a game against the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium on September 24, 2023 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Megan Briggs/Getty Images)

No move was bigger -- or more costly -- for the Broncos this week than the release of quarterback Russell Wilson, who went 11-19 as a starter over the last two seasons. Wilson's release created the largest "dead money" salary cap hit ($85 million) in NFL history, but Denver will get (a little) relief by spreading it over two years. The Broncos are officially rebuilding. -- Jon Heath, Broncos Wire

Detroit Lions: Trading for CB Carlton Davis

Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Carlton Davis III (24) against the Los Angeles Rams during the first half of an NFL divisional round playoff football game Sunday, Jan. 23, 2022, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Jason Behnken)

It's not technically a free agent move, but the Lions dealing for former Buccaneers cornerback Carlton Davis is the most impactful on Detroit's roster and draft outlook. Davis instantly becomes the Lions' top cover corner on the outside, which was the biggest need on defense heading into the offseason. He'll get a chance to play more man and press-man coverage in Detroit than he did in Tampa Bay, which suits the veteran's skills nicely. The cost to acquire Davis was a late third-round pick, and Detroit also picked up two sixth-round picks in return. -- Jeff Risdon, Lions Wire

Green Bay Packers: Signing S Xavier McKinney

Dec 31, 2023; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; New York Giants safety Xavier McKinney (29) is introduced before a game against the Los Angeles Rams at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The Packers released David Bakhtiari and Aaron Jones, two of the best offensive players in team history, and also signed Josh Jacobs, the 2022 NFL rushing champion, but the biggest move for the 2024 team is the addition of McKinney, the top safety on the market. McKinney is a perfect fit as the new weaponized free safety for Packers defensive coordinator Jeff Hafley. A team captain in New York, McKinney is still only 24 years old and ascending as a player. Safety was the Packers' biggest need entering free agency and they landed the top target available. McKinney could be a transformative player for a new-look Packers defense. Here's a film breakdown of what McKinney will bring to Green Bay. -- Zach Kruse, Packers Wire

Houston Texans: Signing DE Danielle Hunter

Dec 8, 2019; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings defensive end Danielle Hunter (99) celebrates after sacking Detroit Lions quarterback David Blough (not pictured) during the first quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Harrison Barden-USA TODAY Sports

The Texans made a lot of big moves this offseason as they enter their contention window with quarterback C.J. Stroud. But the addition of edge rusher Danielle Hunter to replace the departing Jonathan Greenard is unequivocally the most impactful of the signings. Hunter is a little bit older but just had a career season in 2023. He's an explosive pass rusher who improves Houston's defensive line. DeMeco Ryans now has one of the most explosive defensive lines in the NFL with Hunter, NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year Will Anderson Jr. and Denico Autry. Good luck to Trevor Lawrence, Will Levis, Anthony Richardson and the rest of the quarterbacks who'll face the Texans in 2024. -- Tyler Greenawalt, Texans Wire

Indianapolis Colts: Re-signing WR Michael Pittman Jr.

Sep 11, 2022; Houston, Texas, USA; Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Michael Pittman Jr. (11) scores a touchdown against Houston Texans Houston Texans safety Jonathan Owens (36) in the fourth quarter at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports

The Colts haven't done much in the way of adding outside free agents. Instead, they've focused on re-signing a number of their big in-house free agents. After applying the franchise tag to Pittman before free agency, the two sides were able to come together on a three-year deal worth $70 million. Retaining Pittman was the first and foremost priority for the Colts this offseason. Ensuring that young quarterback Anthony Richardson has a top target to rely on is key for his development, and Pittman will provide that for at least the next three seasons. -- Kevin Hickey, Colts Wire

Jacksonville Jaguars: Signing DT Arik Armstead

SANTA CLARA, CALIFORNIA – JANUARY 14: Arik Armstead #91 of the San Francisco 49ers celebrates after sacking Geno Smith #7 of the Seattle Seahawks during the first quarter in the NFC Wild Card playoff game at Levi’s Stadium on January 14, 2023 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Losing Calvin Ridley was a rough outcome for the Jaguars and leaves the team in need of a receiver early in the draft, even after signing Gabe Davis. But it's hard to say free agency was a net-loss for Jacksonville after adding Armstead up front. While the Jaguars got 27.5 sacks from Josh Allen and Travon Walker (the most of any duo in the NFL), they were still near the bottom of the league in sacks as every other player on the team combined for 12.5. Not only will Armstead improve a run defense that struggled down the stretch, he should provide the interior rush that the Jaguars so desperately lacked in 2023. -- Adam Stites, Jaguars Wire

Kansas City Chiefs: Signing WR Marquise "Hollywood" Brown

Oct 8, 2023; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Marquise Brown (2) against the Cincinnati Bengals at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Kansas City desperately needed to find Patrick Mahomes a wide receiver who can stretch the field next season, and got their guy in former Baltimore Raven and Arizona Cardinal Marquise "Hollywood" Brown. Though he wasn't as productive in the desert as he was in the Old Line State, Brown has an uncanny ability to get open deep downfield, and should prove to be an explosive asset for Mahomes as the Chiefs attempt to complete a Super Bowl three-peat. Paired with Travis Kelce, Rashee Rice, and potentially an early selection in April's draft, "Hollywood" Brown may be the piece Kansas City needed to revitalize its offense as he looks to get his career with a perennial contender. -- John Dillon, Chiefs Wire

Las Vegas Raiders: Signing DT Christian Wilkins

Dec 25, 2022; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Miami Dolphins defensive tackle Christian Wilkins (94) reacts as he takes to the field prior to the game against the Green Bay Packers at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

The Raiders were always going to be aggressive in free agency as new head coach Antonio Pierce wants to win right now. Pierce talked all offseason about improving the "spine" of the defense, so it wasn't a surprise that they targeted the top defensive tackle on the market. The Raiders are paying Christian Wilkins to be an elite pass rusher and that's what he's been so far in his career in Miami. Pairing him with Maxx Crosby will give Las Vegas one of the best defensive lines in the entire NFL. For once, it appears that the Raiders are serious about getting better on defense. -- Marcus Mosher, Raiders Wire

Los Angeles Chargers: Trading away WR Keenan Allen

INGLEWOOD, CALIFORNIA – OCTOBER 16: Keenan Allen #13 of the Los Angeles Chargers runs after his catch in front of DaRon Bland #26 of the Dallas Cowboys and Joshua Palmer #5 during a 20-17 loss to the Cowboys at SoFi Stadium on October 16, 2023 in Inglewood, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

If you would've told me that Keenan Allen wouldn't be donning the Powder Blues, I would say that you're crazy. Well, that's the reality for the Chargers fan base, as Allen was shipped to the Bears for a fourth-round pick. Los Angeles had a decision to make on Allen in order to get cap-compliant. Rather than extending him, they asked for him to take a pay cut after one of the best seasons of his career and he declined. Now the Chargers, on paper, have one of the worst wide receiver groups in the NFL, as Mike Williams was also let go of to clear up cap space. Los Angeles could turn their attention to the NFL draft, which is loaded at the wide receiver position. Still, Allen is one of the best players in franchise history and letting him go was a mistake. -- Gavino Borquez, Chargers Wire

Los Angeles Rams: Signing LG Jonah Jackson

Detroit Lions guard Jonah Jackson warms up before the Denver Broncos game at Ford Field in Detroit on Saturday, Dec. 16, 2023.

This was a pretty unexpected move after the Rams re-signed Kevin Dotson a few days earlier. However, it's a big addition to the offensive line, allowing the Rams to move Steve Avila to center -- which many saw as his better position coming out of TCU. Jackson is a road-grader in the running game and very good in pass protection, so he'll certainly help not only clear lanes for Kyren Williams, but keep Matthew Stafford upright in the pocket. The Rams are building their O-line from the inside out, which bodes well for Stafford as a quarterback who likes to step up in the pocket. -- Cameron DaSilva, Rams Wire

Miami Dolphins: Agreeing to terms with EDGE Shaq Barrett

Feb 7, 2021; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers outside linebacker Shaquil Barrett (58) reacts during the fourth quarter against the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LV at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

While the Dolphins have two great edge defenders in Jaelan Phillips and Bradley Chubb, the two are recovering from serious injuries that occurred late last season, so they could miss some time in 2024. The addition of Barrett should allow either or both of them to take their time coming back, as his veteran presence and savvy should be a big boost to a group that lost some talented players this offseason. And, if Miami can employ all three on the field at once, opposing quarterbacks and offensive coordinators will be shaking in their boots. -- Mike Masala, Dolphins Wire

Minnesota Vikings: Letting QB Kirk Cousins walk

Sep 10, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) leaves the field after the game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Vikings have been in a stagnant position for the last six years mostly because of Cousins. His contract was debilitating for the Vikings in being able to keep a quality roster because he wasn't good enough to elevate the talent around him. Now that he is gone, the Vikings will eat $28.5 million in dead cap but have a chance to draft the quarterback of the future to a team that is perfectly set up to nurture him. Not only that, the Vikings just traded for the 23rd overall pick to make the jump that much easier. Talk about being aggressive. -- Tyler Forness, Vikings Wire

New England Patriots: Re-signing OT Mike Onwenu

New England Patriots guard Mike Onwenu during an NFL football game against the Cleveland Browns at Gillette Stadium, Sunday, Nov. 14, 2021 in Foxborough, Mass. (Winslow Townson/AP Images for Panini)

The Patriots haven’t done much as far as outside moves, but it’s nearly a clean sweep of retaining integral in-house free agents. There’s no question the biggest was re-signing versatile offensive tackle Mike Onwenu. Things were an absolute mess along the offensive front for the Patriots last season due to injuries and coach Bill Belichick’s personnel decision-making blunders. The only good thing to come out of it was Onwenu showing his ability to switch from guard to tackle on the fly. He’s a rare talent at one of the Patriots’ biggest positions of need, which meant keeping him on the roster was a must in the offseason. -- Jordy McElroy, Patriots Wire

New Orleans Saints: Moving on from older, injured players

Sep 11, 2022; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; New Orleans Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas (13) prepares for a game against the Atlanta Falcons at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

This is tricky because the Saints haven't made any big additions yet, so we'll get creative. The team made the difficult decision to part ways with three key players on offense this week: quarterback Jameis Winston, wide receiver Michael Thomas, and offensive lineman Andrus Peat. Winston quickly signed with the Cleveland Browns but the others' futures are unknown. Saying goodbye to them ends an era for New Orleans. All three players were divisive among Saints fans either being too old, too injury-prone, or too highly paid, if not some combination of the three. The team is going to have a healthier salary cap situation and more opportunities for younger players to shine in their absences. -- John Sigler, Saints Wire

New York Giants: Trading for EDGE Brian Burns

Aug 25, 2023; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Carolina Panthers linebacker Brian Burns (0) warms up before the game at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

The Giants entered the offseason desperately needing to boost their pass rush and pair Kayvon Thibodeaux with someone of quality. Over the past two seasons, the defense has relied heavily on creating pressure off the blitz but with Wink Martindale gone, they'll need something more organic. Brian Burns has been remarkably consistent over the course of his career and should benefit from playing alongside Thibodeaux and Dexter Lawrence. -- Dan Benton, Giants Wire

New York Jets: Letting DE Bryce Huff walk

EAST RUTHERFORD, NEW JERSEY – DECEMBER 10: Bryce Huff #47 of the New York Jets celebrates after a sack during the first quarter in the game against the Houston Texans at MetLife Stadium on December 10, 2023 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

The Jets have filled some holes in the early part of free agency (backup QB, likely starters at DT and OG) but the Jets' worst fears came true early in free agency when their 2023 sack leader, Bryce Huff, agreed to join the Philadelphia Eagles. The Jets had opportunities over the last calendar year to keep Huff (at a much cheaper price) and it never happened. Now they have a void to fill on the edge. They hope Will McDonald comes to help fill that void and they're hoping to meet with Jadeveon Clowney, but losing Huff is an early blow to the Jets' defense. -- Billy Riccette, Jets Wire

Philadelphia Eagles: Signing RB Saquon Barkley

Oct 9, 2022; London, United Kingdom; New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley (26) celebrates after a run in the fourth quarter against the Green Bay Packers during an NFL International Series game at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Barkley says he's a "special" player, and the Eagles have been front and center to witness his dual-threat heroics twice a year in the NFC East. In 2023, Barkley played in 14 games, rushing for 962 yards and six touchdowns while adding 280 receiving yards and four touchdowns. Most importantly, according to PFF, Barkley was effective as a pass blocker on 95.9% of his pass-blocking snaps. That ranked first among running backs with 100+ pass-blocking snaps last season. The addition will provide production in the passing and running game while giving Philadelphia a three-down running back. -- Glenn Erby, Eagles Wire

Pittsburgh Steelers: Signing QB Russell Wilson

Aug 11, 2023; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson (3) warms up prior to facing the Arizona Cardinals at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Opinions are divided about how much better the Steelers are with Russell Wilson at quarterback but bigger than his addition, it is the philosophical shift by the front office and coaches to bring in a player they hope will help them win now as opposed to simply treading water. The corresponding move to trade former first-round pick Kenny Pickett is even more proof that the Steelers are hoping to maximize the remaining window of this aging core of players. -- Curt Popejoy, Steelers Wire

San Francisco 49ers: Letting DL Arik Armstead walk

Jan 19, 2020; Santa Clara, California, USA; San Francisco 49ers defensive end Arik Armstead (91) celebrates a sack against Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (not pictured) in the fourth quarter of the NFC Championship Game at Levi’s Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

A salary cap crunch was always going to lead to some tough decisions for the 49ers over the next couple years. The first of those choices came when the team asked Armstead to take a pay cut. He opted to be released instead, leaving a sizable void on the 49ers' defensive front. Hitting the market was the right move for Armstead who received a three-year, $51 million deal from the Jaguars. For the 49ers they've aimed to replace Armstead, who was a stalwart on their defensive line for the last eight years, by trading for DL Maliek Collins and signing DL Jordan Elliott. Perhaps the 49ers will replicate Armstead's production with a rotation of players, but Collins said it best in his introductory press conference, "I don't think you replace a person like Arik Armstead, the person he is in the community, the person he is on the field." -- Kyle Madson, Niners Wire

Seattle Seahawks: Shifting $$$ from back end of defense to front

Dec 10, 2023; Santa Clara, California, USA; Seattle Seahawks defensive end Leonard Williams (99) before the game against the San Francisco 49ers at Levi’s Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

Former Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll did a lot of things well during his run controlling the roster. One of his flaws was investing too many resources at non-premium positions like safety, linebacker and running back. It seems GM John Schneider is determined to push in the other direction. First, Seattle cut safeties Jamal Adams and Quandre Diggs, saving a bunch of cap money. Then, they let inside linebackers Jordyn Brooks and Bobby Wagner walk, avoiding two significant investments on the back end of that defense. Their biggest free agent move thus far has been re-signing defensive end Leonard Williams to a massive three-year, $64.5 million deal. You can balk at the original trade or the size of the contract but given what we know about the relative value of interior defensive linemen, this was the right call. Dumping the others and keeping Williams will make the Seahawks more competitive where it matters most. -- Tim Weaver, Seahawks Wire

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Getting the Band Back Together

Oct 9, 2022; Tampa, Florida, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans (13) runs with the ball after a catch during the second half against the Atlanta Falcons at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Pendleton-USA TODAY Sports

Heading into this offseason, Bucs general manager Jason Licht's to-list was obvious. There were five in-house free agents he had to keep, all big names who were sure to get plenty of attention should they hit the open market. Licht batted 1.000 before the league year even started, inking new deals with quarterback Baker Mayfield, wide receiver Mike Evans, linebacker Lavonte David, and kicker Chase McLaughlin, and keeping safety Antoine Winfield Jr. with the franchise tag (a placeholder for the eventual long-term extension). He even brought back safety Jordan Whitehead, a key piece of their Super Bowl defense from 2020, on a cheap two-year deal. Even without any big splashes in terms of new additions, Licht crushed this offseason by keeping all of the Bucs' best free agents from leaving. -- Luke Easterling, Bucs Wire

Tennessee Titans: Signing WR Calvin Ridley

Aug 26, 2023; Jacksonville, Florida, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Calvin Ridley (0) catches a pass during pregame against the Miami Dolphins at EverBank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Melina Myers-USA TODAY Sports

The Titans desperately needed an upgrade at the wide receiver position in order to put Will Levis in the best possible position to succeed in his second season and the Calvin Ridley signing is just what the doctor ordered. Ridley can win in the short-to-intermediate area, and he’s a deep threat, which is perfect for Levis, who loves to push the ball downfield. With Ridley in tow, the Titans now have two No. 1-caliber wideouts entering 2024, as DeAndre Hopkins is set to return. Honorable mention goes to the signing of center Lloyd Cushenberry, who is also a massive upgrade upfront for Tennessee. -- Mike Moraitis, Titans Wire

Washington Commanders: Everything

Oct 25, 2021; Seattle, Washington, USA; Seattle Seahawks middle linebacker Bobby Wagner (54) walks to the locker room following a 13-10 loss against the New Orleans Saints at Lumen Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

The Commanders went into free agency with over 20 unrestricted free agents and a ton of needs. Fortunately, Washington had the NFL's most cap room and went to work. GM Adam Peters quickly went to work during the early tampering period, agreeing to terms with six players on Monday. That continued Tuesday and Wednesday. The Commanders completely revamped the LB position, signing the underrated Frankie Luvu and future Hall of Famer Bobby Wagner. They addressed the center position by signing Tyler Biadasz away from the Cowboys and left guard, signing Nick Allegretti of the Chiefs. Washington added three edge rushers, most notably Dorance Armstrong from Dallas. The Commanders still have a need at offensive tackle and cornerback, which will both likely be addressed in the draft. Peters adding a veteran at both positions ahead of the draft is still likely. Oh, and Washington signed veteran QB Marcus Mariota, signaling the end of Sam Howell's time in DC. Howell was traded in a pick swap, with the equivalent return being a third-round pick. Considering what some of the other QBs were going for, it was an excellent return for Howell, giving the Commanders six top 100 picks in next month's draft. -- Bryan Manning, Commanders Wire

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