Free Agency

2023 NFL Free Agency: 7 Biggest Winners Through First Week

When you talk about free agency in the NFL, it’s always exciting for the fans and even the coaches. Here are some of the biggest winners so far from the opening week of free agency.

7 Biggest Winners

New York Giants

“In free agency, it’s really important to know about the guys you’ve kept that could have gone away. The New York Giants kept Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley, and then added tight end Darren Waller.” — Mike Zimmer

“They lost a starting guard in Nick Gates, but added an inside linebacker in Bobby Okereke.” — Marvin Lewis

Philadelphia Eagles

“The Philadelphia Eagles, like the Giants, have also kept a lot of their own players. They lost some, but kept a lot of their best ones like Jason Kelce. It’s not all about who went where, it’s about who stayed there.” — Zimmer

“They lose three defensive starters, but they kept Fletcher Cox as well as Brandon Graham, they keep James Bradberry, they re-did Darius Slay‘s contract, they got Kelce back, they kind of kept the front in place. They keep that front group in place, and now they’ll use the draft and fill in some spots, and develop some more young players.” — Lewis

Chicago Bears

“The Bears made the trade with Carolina that brought in receiver D.J. Moore, then they went out and get two inside linebacker starters. That’s big for them, and they’ll continue to fill in spots. They made some good moves getting players who will help them as they go through a rebuild.” — Lewis

“Tremaine Edmunds is a terrific linebacker. They also signed T.J. Edwards there, they got Nate Davis for their O-line, and they’ve got a lot more draft capital they can use by trading the first overall pick. I think that’s good.” — Zimmer

Atlanta Falcons

“I think the Atlanta Falcons did a nice job with their offensive line with Kaleb McGary and Chris Lindstrom.” — Zimmer

“They also made the trade to get Jonnu Smith, and signed Jessie Bates III on defense. He’s a great young player and great kid. But the thing that Atlanta is riding on is that quarterback. They kind of hedged their bet, they were going with Desmond Ridder as starter, but added Taylor Heinicke in case things don’t go well. ” — Lewis

“They signed Heinicke for two years, $20 million — $10 million a year for him, I don’t know, seems like a good bit of money there.” — Zimmer

Cincinnati Bengals

“They lost Bates but did sign Orlando Brown Jr. to help quarterback Joe Burrow. They lost Samaje Perine and a couple other guys, as well. But in the back of their mind, they’re sitting there thinking, OK, we’re going to have to pay Burrow, Ja’Marr Chase, we want to keep Tee Higgins, so some of these things are all being reworked throughout the whole organization because they’re looking to the future, too.” — Zimmer

“And Brown was in the 2018 draft, so he’s still somewhat of a young guy, and still improving. He’s a worker.” — Lewis

Carolina Panthers

“They’re picking off some needs on their roster. They signed quarterback Andy Dalton to be the backup because they’re going to get a quarterback with the first pick.” — Lewis

“Who knows if those guys that they pick are going to be ready. Just because you pick him No. 1 doesn’t mean he’ll be ready. One of the guys they signed was Sam Martin, he’s a really good punter, so that will help them with field position whether the top pick is ready right away or not.” — Zimmer

New Orleans Saints

“Trying to solidify the quarterback position and then going about it and trying to fill other spots, when you’re trying to fill that quarterback chair, that’s really important, and the Saints did that with Derek Carr.” — Lewis

“They re-signed Michael Thomas, signed a couple of defensive tackles, then added Jamaal Williams, who had a lot of touchdowns last season. They’ve done a good job, as well.” — Zimmer

Marvin Lewis is a former head coach of the Cincinnati Bengals. He won AP Coach of the Year in 2009, and helped the Ravens win a Super Bowl as defensive coordinator. Follow him on Twitter at @MarvinLewis.

Mike Zimmer is a former head coach of the Minnesota Vikings. He won Super Bowl XXX as defensive coordinator of the Dallas Cowboys.

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