At some point in the coming days, weeks or – God forbid – months, Aaron Rodgers will become a member of the New York Jets.
How much of an impact will the 39-year-old quarterback with 475 career touchdown passes and a .659 winning percentage have on a franchise that hasn’t qualified for the playoffs since 2010?
Rodgers’ eventual arrival in North Jersey helped the Jets jump nine spots – from 22nd to 13th – in The 33rd Team’s latest power rankings.
No other team jumped that significantly following the first wave of free agency. The Denver Broncos, thanks to the hiring of new head coach Sean Payton and the signings of free agent offensive linemen Mike McGlinchey and Ben Powers, moved up five spots from 27th to 22nd. The belief that Payton is going to be able to fix Russell Wilson had more than a little something to do with that improvement.
The Chicago Bears, who traded away the first pick in the draft to the Carolina Panthers for a stack of draft picks and a proven wide receiver (D.J. Moore), jumped from 31st to 26th.
The Super Bowl-champion Kansas City Chiefs remained in the top spot, and the Super Bowl-runner-up Philadelphia Eagles stayed at No. 2 despite losing seven starters so far in free agency.
The only movement in the top 10 was the Detroit Lions, who moved up one spot, from nine to eighth, changing places with the Los Angeles Chargers.
Post-Free Agency Power Rankings
1. Kansas City Chiefs (17-3)
Good news: The Chiefs have improved their defense with the acquisitions of edge rusher Charles Omenihu, linebacker Drue Tranquill and safety Mike Edwards.
Bad news: The Chiefs’ belief that new addition Jawaan Taylor, who has spent most of his career on the right side, can replace Orlando Brown Jr. at left tackle might be wishful thinking.
2. Philadelphia Eagles (16-4)
Good news: With 19 unrestricted free agents, limited salary cap space and a franchise quarterback to extend, this could have been a disastrous offseason for the Eagles. But general manager Howie Roseman managed to hang on to both of their starting corners and re-signed veteran defensive linemen Fletcher Cox and Brandon Graham to team-friendly one-year deals. All-Pro center Jason Kelce, coming off one of the best seasons of his career, also put off retirement at least one more year.
Bad news: They still lost five defensive starters, as well as running back Miles Sanders and underrated guard Isaac Seumalo.
3. Cincinnati Bengals (13-5-1)
Good news: The Bengals, who need to do a better job of protecting franchise quarterback Joe Burrow, signed the top offensive tackle in free agency in Brown.
Bad news: The man Brown replaced at left tackle, former first-round pick Jonah Williams, has requested a trade.
4. San Francisco 49ers (14-5)
Good news: The league’s best defense got even better with the addition of ex-Eagles defensive tackle Javon Hargrave.
Bad news: The team’s top two quarterbacks – Trey Lance and Brock Purdy – have a combined nine career starts. Both are coming off serious injuries.
5. Buffalo Bills (14-4)
Good news: They re-signed two key members of their defense – linebacker Matt Milano and safety Jordan Poyer — and added a solid pass-protecting left guard, Connor McGovern.
Bad news: Their respected defensive coordinator, Leslie Frazier, announced late last month that he’s taking a year off.
6. Jacksonville Jaguars (10-9)
Good news: Wide receiver Calvin Ridley, who sat out last season after being suspended for gambling, was reinstated earlier this month. Ridley, who was acquired in a trade with Atlanta last year, had 90 catches for 1,374 yards and 9 touchdowns in 2020. He gives quarterback Trevor Lawrence a big pass-catching weapon.
Bad news: The Jags lack depth at most of their offensive positions. Injuries could be fatal this season.
7. Dallas Cowboys (13-6)
Good news: The Cowboys added another pass-catching weapon for quarterback Dak Prescott, trading for Brandin Cooks, who has six 1,000-yard seasons in the last eight years.
Bad news: Despite his ability, Cooks is also on his fifth team in the last eight years.
8. Detroit Lions (9-8)
Good news: The Lions’ pass defense was a major liability last year. It gave up the third-most 20-plus yard pass plays (60) and second-most yards per attempt (7.9) in the league and had just 12 interceptions. Detroit went big on the back end, signing corners Cameron Sutton and Emmanuel Moseley and getting former Eagles safety C.J. Gardner-Johnson. Gardner-Johnson had six interceptions in 11 games last season.
Bad news: You certainly can make the case that David Montgomery is a more versatile running back than Jamaal Williams. But replacing Williams’ league-high 17 rushing touchdowns and 65 rushing first downs (T-4th) won’t be easy.
9. L.A. Chargers (10-8)
Good news: The addition of linebacker Eric Kendricks, who was a Vikings’ cap casualty, should help the Chargers’ porous run defense, which allowed a league-worst 5.4 yards per carry.
Bad news: With Keenan Allen and Mike Williams missing a combined 11 games, Justin Herbert’s touchdown total dropped from 38 (in 2021) to 25. They need to add some speed at wide receiver in the draft.
10. N.Y. Giants (10-8-1)
Good news: The Giants added some pass-catching weapons for quarterback Daniel Jones, trading for tight end Darren Waller and signing wide receiver Parris Campbell.
Bad news: They still have a lot of areas that need upgrading, including their interior offensive line.
11. Pittsburgh Steelers (9-8)
Good news: Kenny Pickett’s rookie passing numbers weren’t very good – he had the league’s lowest touchdown percentage and the second-lowest yards-per-attempt average – but the Steelers won seven of his 12 starts. The experience he gained will benefit him in Year 2.
Bad news: Patrick Peterson is an eight-time Pro Bowl corner who had five interceptions with the Vikings last year. But he’ll be 33 in July, and you have to wonder how much gas is left in the tank.
12. Baltimore Ravens (10-8)
Good news: The Ravens gave up the third-fewest points (18.6 per game) in the NFL last season and held seven of their last nine opponents to 16 points or less.
Bad news: The uncertainty over quarterback Lamar Jackson’s future with the Ravens is a significant distraction a month before the draft.
13. N.Y. Jets (7-10)
Good news: Whenever Rodgers finally arrives, he’ll immediately make the Jets a legitimate playoff contender.
Bad news: The Jets’ defense gave up the fourth-fewest points in the league (18.6 per game) but had just 16 takeaways, the fourth-fewest in the NFL.
14. Minnesota Vikings (13-5)
Good news: The Vikings fired defensive coordinator Ed Donatell after just one season and replaced him with Brian Flores.
Bad news: Even with the additions of Flores and free agent edge rusher Marcus Davenport and cornerback Byron Murphy, the Vikings still have a lot of work to do to improve a defense that finished tied for 29th in points allowed and 31st in total defense.
15. Miami Dolphins (9-9)
Good news: Assuming Jalen Ramsey’s poor 2022 season was more aberration than the beginning of the end, the six-time Pro Bowl corner should improve a pass defense that finished near the bottom of the league in interceptions, touchdown passes allowed and opponent completion percentage.
Bad news: The Dolphins say they are completely committed to Tua Tagovailoa. But the harsh reality is that his concussion history makes for an uncertain future.
16. Seattle Seahawks (9-9)
Good news: The Seahawks got very little pass-rush push from their interior defensive line last season. That should change with the additions of free agent defensive linemen Dre’Mont Jones and Jarran Reed.
Bad news: In his last five games, including the Seahawks’ 18-point playoff loss to the Niners, Geno Smith had an 86.2 passer rating and averaged just 6.1 yards per attempt.
17. Green Bay Packers (8-9)
Good news: The defense held the Packers’ last five opponents to 17.6 points per game.
Bad news: The Packers are about to wave bye-bye to a quarterback with a plus-370 career touchdowns-to-interceptions differential.
18. Carolina Panthers (7-10)
Good news: The Panthers are rebuilding their offense this offseason. They traded for the first pick in the draft so they can get their quarterback of the future and signed veteran Andy Dalton to tide them over until the kid-to-be-determined is ready. They also signed free agent running back Miles Sanders, receiver Adam Thielen and tight end Hayden Hurst.
Bad news: They had to give up D.J. Moore, who is one of the league’s better intermediate pass-catchers, as part of the trade package for the top pick.
19. New Orleans Saints (7-10)
Good news: Derek Carr became the best quarterback in the NFC South the moment his plane touched down in the Big Easy.
Bad news: The Saints’ D-line needs upgrading. Cam Jordan will be 34 in July and three 500-snap players – defensive tackles David Onyemata and Shy Tuttle and edge rusher Marcus Davenport – have all departed.
20. Cleveland Browns (6-11)
Good news: The Browns upgraded their defensive line with the signings of edge rusher Ogbonnia Okoronkwo and defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson. Okoronkwo gives the Browns a needed pass-rusher opposite Myles Garrett. Tomlinson, who can play the nose or 3T, should help a run defense that allowed 4.7 yards per carry last season.
Bad news: With Houston holding their first-round selection for the next two drafts from the Watson deal, the Browns don’t have a pick in the first round. Plus, they traded pick No. 42 for Elijah Moore, meaning their first selection isn’t until the third round.
21. Washington Commanders (8-8-1)
Good news: The Commanders took a significant step in fixing their offensive line problems with the signing of Chiefs right tackle Andrew Wylie. That will allow them to kick Sam Cosmi inside to right guard.
Bad news: Washington is hoping quarterback Sam Howell might be another late-round success story like Tom Brady. Good luck with that.
22. Denver Broncos (5-12)
Good news: Upgrading the offensive line in front of Wilson, who was sacked 55 times last season, has been the Broncos’ top offseason priority. They handed nearly $80 million in guaranteed money to two of the top free agent offensive linemen in Powers and McGlinchey.
Bad news: Powers and McGlinchey are better run blockers than pass blockers.
23. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8-10)
Good news: The Bucs still have a pretty good defense that will keep them in games.
Bad news: That Baker Mayfield–Kyle Trask quarterback battle is going to be epic.
24. New England Patriots (8-9)
Good news: Additions of tight end Mike Gesicki and wide receiver Juju Smith-Schuster should benefit quarterback Mac Jones, who had the fifth-lowest touchdown percentage in the league last year.
Bad news: The Patriots’ defense wasn’t nearly as good as their 20.4 points allowed per game suggested. That number was built on the backs of a lot of bad offenses. They gave up 27-plus points six different times.
25. Atlanta Falcons (7-10)
Good news: The Falcons managed to sign two valuable defensive free agents away from the division rival Saints – defensive tackle David Onyemata and linebacker Kaden Elliss. Onyemata has the league’s 11th-best pressure percentage among defensive tackles over the last three years.
Bad news: The jury still is out on the Falcons’ projected 2023 starting quarterback, Desmond Ridder, who has four career starts and two career touchdown passes.
26. Chicago Bears (3-14)
Good news: Chicago got a king’s ransom, including Moore, from the Panthers in exchange for the first pick in the draft, and are still going to get a plug-and-play guy at No. 9. The Bears have seven of the first 150 picks in the draft.
Bad news: If the Bears are wrong about Justin Fields, they’re screwed.
27. Tennessee Titans (7-10)
Good news: A Titans defense that gave up 29 touchdown passes last season should be better with the additions of edge rusher Arden Key, linebacker Azeez Al-Shaair and cornerback Sean Murphy-Bunting.
Bad news: Their offensive line was a mess in 2022, and signing former Eagles’ first-rounder Andre Dillard, who has nine career starts in four NFL seasons, isn’t really going to change that.
28. Houston Texans (3-13-1)
Good news: Unless they unexpectedly trade down, the Texans are going to get one of the top two quarterbacks in the draft.
Bad news: The Texans only gave up 15 touchdown passes last season but need to improve their pass rush. Ogbonnia Okoronkwo signed with the Browns and Jerry Hughes turns 35 in August.
29. L.A. Rams (5-12)
Good news: Quarterback Matthew Stafford and wide receiver Cooper Kupp, who missed a combined 16 games last season with injuries, are both expected to be ready for spring OTAs and minicamp.
Bad news: The Rams, who need just about everything, have been a cap-strapped spectator in free agency. They have 11 draft picks, but eight of them are in the fifth, sixth and seventh rounds. They have no first-round pick. Don’t look for a quick rebound from them.
30. Las Vegas Raiders (6-11)
Good news: Is Jimmy Garoppolo better than Derek Carr? Probably not. But Josh McDaniels’ familiarity with him should help him maximize Jimmy G’s strengths.
Bad news: Maxx Crosby needs help up front. The Raiders had just 27 sacks last season, and Crosby had 12.5 of them.
31. Arizona Cardinals (4-13)
Good news: With the third overall pick in the draft, the Cardinals should be able to add an immediate-impact edge-rusher to a pass rush that had just 36 sacks last year.
Bad news: I’m not sure a 36-year-old offensive coordinator (Drew Petzing) is what Kyler Murray really needs right now.
32. Indianapolis Colts (4-12-1)
Good news: The Colts’ new head coach, Shane Steichen, wisely retained Gus Bradley to run his defense.
Bad news: Besides finding a quarterback, the Colts need to upgrade an offensive line that gave up the second-most sacks in the league last season (60).
Paul Domowitch covered the Eagles and the NFL for the Philadelphia Daily News and Philadelphia Inquirer for four decades. You can follow him on Twitter at @pdomo.