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NFL Free Agency 2023: Grades for Every Signing, Trade

Trackers: Signings | Signings by Team | Best Available | Original Top 150

The 2023 NFL league year officially started at 4 p.m. EST on Wednesday, March 15.

I will be grading every major free agent signing and trade as they happen through the first week of free agency. Grades for each move will be based on cost, fit, talent, need and expected contribution.

Let's take a look at the latest major moves around the NFL:

Bills Keep S Poyer On Bargain Deal

Player: S Jordan Poyer

Terms: Two years, $12.5 million ($7 million guaranteed)

The Bills got quite the bargain deal on their Pro Bowl safety compared to the four year, $64 million ($36 million guaranteed) that another top safety on the market--Jessie Bates--received from Atlanta. This is due to Poyer turning 32-years old next month while Bates is 26. Poyer also missed five games last season due to a knee injury but he has otherwise been a durable player in recent years.

He’s a former seventh round pick of the Eagles who has been a fixture in the Bills secondary since 2017. He’s solid against the pass and run as shown by his five interceptions, 93 tackles and three sacks as an all-pro in 2021 and he was productive despite his knee problem last season with four interceptions and 63 tackles in 12 games.

Poyer earned $9.75 million per year on his last two-year deal so he’s taking a pay cut to again lead the Bill’s secondary after the market wasn’t as receptive as he’d hoped.

Grade: A-

Patriots Add Athletic Tight End

Player: TE Mike Gesicki

Terms: One year, $9 million

This is a good value signing for the Patriots and a great fit for Gesicki with a team that utilizes a lot of two tight end offense so he’ll be paired with Hunter Henry and replace Jonnu Smith (who was traded to Atlanta). Gesicki is an athletic tight end who often lines up as a big slot receiver. He’s a former second round pick of the Dolphins in 2018 and his best season was in 2021 with 73 catches for 780 yards and two TDs. Gesicki played under the $10.9 million franchise tender last season but wasn’t a good fit in Mike McDaniels’ offense as his targets and catches dropped significantly (from 112 targets to 52 and 73 catches to 32). He’s a good red zone receiver with 18 career TDs.

Gesicki joins JuJu Smith-Schuster as excellent additions to New England’s passing attack under new (and returning) offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien and in support of QB Mac Jones. It’s also always nice for a team to sign a free agent from a divisional opponent which strengthens their team while weakening a key rival. 

Grade: A

Browns Sign C Pocic

Player: C Ethan Pocic

Terms: Three years, $18 million ($10 million guaranteed)

Ethan Pocic comes off an excellent season when he was paid $1.187 million after being signed by the Browns to back up Nick Harris at center but Pocic took over when Harris suffered a season-ending knee injury in preseason. He graded out as a top 10 center last season, equally adept at run and pass blocking with only two sacks allowed and one penalty against him.

Pocic was drafted in the second round by Seattle in 2017 and battled injury issues as he was in and out of the lineup during his five years with the Seahawks before joining the Browns. He also missed four games last season with a knee injury. At 27-years old, he should have a lot of good years ahead if he can shake off the injury bug.

Grade: B

Panthers Add O-Line Help

Player: C Bradley Bozeman

Terms: Three years, $18 million ($10 million guaranteed)

Bradley Bozeman was a three-year starter at center and guard in Baltimore where he was a sixth-round pick in 2018. The Panthers signed him for $2.8 million last season to compete for the starting center spot and an ankle injury in training camp set him back. He returned as the starter in October and helped the Panthers running game improve by 50 yards per game (to 149.5 yards per game) during his 11 starts. His pass protection also graded out better in 2022. Bozeman’s fine play made him a priority re-signing for the Panthers who now have their entire starting offensive line from last season under contract.

Grade: B+

Orlando Brown Jr.

Bengals Find Protection for Joe Burrow

Player: OT Orlando Brown

Terms: Four years, $64 million ($43 million guaranteed)

It’s been quite the turn of events in the Orlando Brown saga which started with him reportedly turning down $139 million over six years last year from the Chiefs because Brown didn’t like the guarantees. After playing a Pro Bowl and Super Bowl-winning season under the $16.7 million franchise tender, Brown hit the open market after the Chiefs didn’t franchise him again. Brown and his agent surely expected a long term deal at the top of the tackle market (Trent Williams’ $23 million per year in San Francisco).

The Bengals got a steal in signing a 26-year old, four-time Pro Bowler for $16 million per year (that ranks far down the list of offensive linemen salaries). They gave him a $31 million signing bonus to get the deal done which is a record for an offensive lineman. Joe Burrow has to be thrilled to have a left tackle of Brown’s caliber to aid an O-line that allowed 44 sacks last season (11th worst in the league) after 55 sacks allowed in the Bengals’ 2021 Super Bowl season which was third worst among NFL teams.

It’s hard to understand the Chiefs giving up the draft choices they did to acquire Brown from Baltimore in 2021 (including a first round pick) and not signing him long term. Now Kansas City is paying a lesser tackle in Jawaan Taylor $20 million per year and perhaps asking him to move from right to left tackle but the K.C. brass obviously didn’t want to absorb a $20 million franchise tag hit to their cap on Brown and couldn’t reach a long term deal. So the Bengals swooped in and surprisingly got Brown signed with a favorable first year cap that is likely about $10 million, leaving plenty of cap room for their most important deal—Burrow’s extension.  

Grade: A

Panthers Land Pro Bowl Running Back

Player: RB Miles Sanders

Terms: Four years, $25.4 million ($13 million guaranteed)

The pay scale for top running backs continues its downward trajectory with the Panthers’ bargain signing of a Pro Bowl running back in Miles Sanders who played a big role in the Eagles’ 2022 Super Bowl season. He rushed for 1,259 yards, a 4.9 yard average and 11 TDs and added 20 receptions for 78 yards last season. Sanders is capable of a lot more production as a receiving back but he shared that load with Kenneth Gainwell last season. Sanders had 50 catches for 509 yards and three TDs in his rookie season of 2019 when he joined the Eagles as a second round pick.

Sanders played in every game last season after missing nine games due to injuries over the 2020 and 2021 seasons. He totaled 4,650 yards from scrimmage over the past four seasons but he was not a priority re-signing for Philadelphia with so many other free agents to deal with and a Jalen Hurts extension looming along with Gainwell and Boston Scott returning at running back plus the addition of former Seahawks first round pick Rashaad Penny on a $1.35 million deal for 2023.

Grade: A-

Saints Add 2022 Touchdown Leader

Player: RB Jamaal Williams

Terms: Three years, $12 million ($8 million guaranteed)

If Jamaal Williams was a wide receiver with 17 touchdowns last season heading into free agency, he probably would’ve received close to $20 million per year or more. Alas, not the case for running backs these days (see Miles Sanders). The Lions moved on to a younger and more versatile back in David Montgomery to pair with D’Andre Swift.

Williams was a fourth round pick of Green Bay in 2017 and had his best season in 2022 with 1,066 rushing yards and the 17 rushing TDs that led the NFL as he played in every game. But he added only 12 catches for 73 yards (although he did have a 39 catch season with the Packers in 2019). He should provide a good 1-2 punch as a power back with the dual-purpose Alvin Kamara in New Orleans once Kamara sorts out his legal difficulties from an incident in Las Vegas last year. This is a good value signing for a productive, well-liked player.

Grade: B+

Patriots Hope for Good JuJu

Player: WR JuJu Smith-Schuster

Terms: Three years, $33 million ($22.5 million guaranteed)

JuJu Smith-Schuster took a one-year deal with the Chiefs last season and it paid off with a Super Bowl title and a nice raise from the $9.2 million he made in Kansas City. It’s interesting that the terms are the same in total money and per year average (and close in guarantees) to what ex-Patriot receiver Jakobi Meyers signed for in Las Vegas and the $11 million per year average is the same as Allen Lazard’s deal with the Jets. So perhaps the Patriots preferred Smith-Schuster over the other two players based on his career productivity (401 catches for 4,788 yards) being significantly greater and he’s the same age as Meyers and one year younger than Lazard.

Smith-Schuster was a second-round pick of the Steelers in 2017 and had his best season in 2018 with 11 catches for 1,426 yards and seven touchdowns. After an injury-filled season in his final year in Pittsburgh when he missed 12 games, he was productive in the Chiefs offense last season with 78 catches for 933 yards (second most in his career) and three TDs. He’s more of a possession receiver who is a great route runner than a deep threat. This is a good signing at a need position for New England.   

Grade: A-

Bills Land OL McGovern

Player: OG Connor McGovern

Terms: Three years, $22.35 million ($11 million guaranteed)

Connor McGovern was a third round pick in 2019 for the Cowboys and became a full-time starter at guard for the first time last season. He has been better in pass protection than as a run blocker thus far in his career (which will be fine with Josh Allen). McGovern is expected to replace 34-year old free agent Rodger Saffold whose play regressed last season.

McGovern has good size and mobility for a big man. He’s had only two penalties called on him his entire career. This is an upgrade on the O-line for the Bills at a reasonable price and a big pay raise for McGovern off his rookie contract.   

Grade: B

Bears Shore Up O-Line

Player: OG Nate Davis

Terms: Three years, $30 million ($19.25 million guaranteed)

Nate Davis was a third-round pick of Tennessee in 2019 and is a four-year starter who helped pave the way for Derrick Henry’s great success as a two-time league rushing leader. Davis moves well and was one of the top guards available in free agency. He should be an excellent run blocker for the Bears top-ranked rushing attack and he’s improved as a pass protector which is where Justin Fields needs help (sacked a league-high 55 times).

Davis has dealt with injury problems and ended last season on injured reserve with an ankle injury.  

Grade: B

Germaine Pratt linebacker Cincinnati Bengals

Bengals Keep LB Pratt

Player: LB Germaine Pratt

Terms: Three years, $20.25 million ($19.25 million guaranteed)

After losing safeties Jessie Bates and Vonn Bell in free agency, the Bengals rightfully believed it was important to keep Germaine Pratt. They got a bargain deal done for a productive middle linebacker in their 4-3 defense who says he wanted to stay in Cincinnati in large part because the Bengals have a great QB in Joe Burrow and Pratt wants to win.

Pratt was the Bengals’ third-round pick in 2019 and is a three-year starter who had his best season in 2022 with 99 tackles and six tackles for loss. He brings size and speed so he’s effective against the run and pass in coordinator Lou Anarumo’s defense.

Grade: A

Eagles Retain Important Part of Super Bowl Defense

Player: DT Fletcher Cox

Terms: One year, $10 million

Philadelphia GM Howie Roseman is again working his magic with one year deals that include several voidable years to get the cap number lowered. He did a bunch of these deals last year and the Eagles defensive leader, Fletcher Cox, is the latest after Jason Kelce and Brandon Graham did similar one-year deals this week.

The 32-year old Cox, a 2012 first-round pick of the Eagles, is an important returnee for the NFL’s second ranked defense after fellow defensive tackle Javon Hargrave left for San Francisco. While playing only 65 percent of the defensive snaps, the six-time Pro Bowler had an excellent 2022 season with seven sacks (plus one in postseason), 14 QB hits, seven tackles for loss and 25 pressures (seven more than Hargrave who just signed a $21 million per year deal).

Cox’s salary was $14 million last season so he’s taking a significant pay cut after reportedly receiving more lucrative offers elsewhere. That’s a big win for the defending NFC champs even if these voidable deals are going to come home to roost and bite the Eagles salary cap eventually.

Grade: A

Colts Land Edge Rusher Ebukam

Player: Edge Samson Ebukam

Terms: Three years, $24 million ($10.75 million guaranteed)

Originally a fourth-round pick of the Rams in 2017, Samson Ebukam signed with the 49ers in 2021 and has been a productive defensive end who benefits from playing with the league’s top sacker in Nick Bosa. Ebukam has never had over five sacks in a season and in 2022, he had five sacks, 13 QB hits and 36 tackles. He was not a full-time player in Los Angeles or San Francisco as his play time was 59 percent last season so he was more of a passing downs player. This is too much money to pay for a player who has not proven to be worthy of more play time thus far in his career.

Grade: C-

Chiefs Add Rotational Pass Rusher

Player: Edge Charles Omenihu

Terms: Two years, $20 million ($8.6 million guaranteed)

Charles Omenihu was a fifth-round pick of the Texans in 2019 who was traded to San Francisco in 2021 for a sixth round pick. He is another ex-49er who played limited snaps (54 percent) last season and is getting a huge pay raise off his rookie contract by the Chiefs who expect him to replace Frank Clark at defensive end.

Omenihu made only three starts as he was a rotational player in 2022 and had 4.5 sacks, 16 QB hits and 20 tackles plus two sacks of Geno Smith in the 49ers wild card win over the Seahawks. He’s a good player but as with Ebukam, it’s hard to justify $10 million per year (although it’s reported that he needs to hit some incentives to reach that amount) for a player who hasn’t been an every down player. GM Brett Veach and Coach Andy Reid deserve the benefit of the doubt but it’s questionable whether Omenihu will play up to this contract.  

Grade: C-

Vikings Find Patrick Peterson Replacement

Player: CB Byron Murphy Jr.

Terms: Two years, $17.5 million ($12.6 million guaranteed)

Byron Murphy was a high second-round pick in 2019 and three-year starter for the Cardinals, with his best year in 2021 when he had four interceptions, 12 passes defensed and 64 tackles. He had a game-winning fumble return for a TD against the Raiders last season. Murphy missed eight games last season with a back injury but should help fill a massive need at cornerback with the departure of Patrick Peterson and injury issues with other Vikings corners (and there’s a good chance Minnesota picks a corner at No. 23 overall in next month’s draft). Murphy is seven years younger than the 32-year old Peterson and will bring more speed at outside corner. He also has played effectively as a slot corner. 

It’s smart for the Vikings to put a lot of active roster bonuses and play time incentives into this deal and it’s a good move for Murphy to do a shorter deal to prove he can be a consistent, elite corner.  

Grade: B+

Falcons Keep O-Line Intact

Player: OT Kaleb McGary

Terms: Three years, $34.5 million

The re-signing of right tackle Kaleb McGary along with right guard Chris Lindstrom keeps the right side of the Falcons offensive line in place for the next few years. They helped lead the way for the league’s third ranked rushing attack last season. McGary was Atlanta’s first-round pick in 2019. He’s a four-year starter who didn’t have his fifth year option exercised but he had his best season in 2022 as one of the league’s top run-blocking tackles. He does need to improve in pass protection (13 sacks allowed last season).

There were rumblings that the Falcons might put the franchise tag on McGary but it worked out well for them that they didn’t as they saved a lot of money by waiting it out. This deal looks good for the team in comparison to Mike McGlinchey’s new $17.5 million per year deal with Denver but that is for five years so if McGary plays well, he’ll have a good chance to sign a big extension in two years since this is a three year deal.

Grade: A-

Buccaneers Keep LB David

Player: LB Lavonte David

Terms: One year, $7 million

This is a bargain deal for the Bucs. Lavonte David is a 33-year old linebacker who is coming off another excellent season with 124 tackles and three sacks. He’s an every down player who remains excellent against the run or pass (he is considered one of the league’s best linebackers in coverage). David is a major force on Coach Todd Bowles’ top 10 defense.

David made $12.5 million per year on his last deal so he’s taking a pay cut to stay with the Bucs where he is a team leader. He’s a former second round pick and a three-time all pro. It’s a great move for the team to have found a way to fit him under their tight cap and they’re not on the hook for future dead money on an older player with the one-year deal.

Grade: A

Bucs Add Baker Mayfield

Player: QB Baker Mayfield

Terms: One year, $4 million (worth up to $8.5 mil. with incentives)

Tampa Bay will be Baker Mayfield’s fourth team in his six-year career after being drafted No. 1 overall by Cleveland in 2018 (ahead of Josh Allen and Lamar Jackson). His best season was in 2020 when he passed for 3,563 yards with 26 TDs and only eight interceptions (95.9 passer rating) as he led the Browns to an 11-5 record, their first playoff appearance in 18 years and a road playoff win in Pittsburgh. Then things went downhill for Mayfield as a partially torn labrum wrecked his 2021 season before he was traded to Carolina, released from the Panthers last December and was claimed by the Rams. He raised his stock in his four games starting for the injured Matthew Stafford by completing 64% of his passes for 850 yards, four TDs and just two interceptions and he led a game-winning 98-yard drive to beat the Raiders.

The Rams reportedly wanted him to return as Stafford’s backup but Mayfield has chosen Tampa Bay where he has a better shot to start (and replace Tom Brady) as he competes with 2021 second-round pick Kyle Trask. It will help that he’s going to be coached by new offensive coordinator Dave Canales who played a major role in helping Geno Smith elevate his game to a career year in Seattle last season as his QB coach.

This is a low risk, high reward signing for the Bucs at minimal cost with their salary cap difficulties. For Mayfield, the one year deal is an opportunity to jump-start his career when he’s still only 28 years old. He has the arm strength and is accurate enough to do so if his supporting cast cooperates and if he stays healthy.

Grade: B+

Lions Add RB, Goodbye Jamaal Williams?

Player: RB David Montgomery

Terms: Three years, $18 million ($11 million guaranteed)

This is a fair market deal for a good dual-purpose back in David Montgomery, who stays in the NFC North as he leaves Chicago where he was the Bears’ top running back since being drafted in the 2019 third round. His best year was in 2020 when he rushed for 1,070 yards and eight TDs along with 54 receptions for 438 yards. He ran for 801 yards and five TDs (plus 34 catches for 316 yards) last season as teams loaded up to stop he and Justin Fields on the ground with the Bears’ league-worst passing attack.

Detroit will likely move on from Jamaal Williams despite his league-leading 17 rushing TDs last season. So Montgomery should be sharing the load at running back with D’Andre Swift.

Grade: B

Patriots Retain CB Jones

Player: CB Jonathan Jones

Terms: Two years, $19 million ($13 million guaranteed)

This is an important re-signing for the Patriots secondary, especially after safety Devin McCourty’s retirement. Jonathan Jones was primarily a slot corner in his first six years after joining the Patriots as an undrafted player. He stepped up to be the team’s top corner with four interceptions and 56 tackles after J.C. Jackson left last year in free agency. Jones is a two-time Super Bowl champ in New England who receives high praise from Coach Bill Belichick for his preparation and communication skills along with his solid play. This is a good value signing for the team on a fine cornerback.

Grade: A-

Falcons Add Pass Rusher

Player: Edge Kaden Elliss

Terms: Three years, $21.5 million ($11 million guaranteed)

The Falcons continue to add talent on defense with the addition of Kaden Elliss at linebacker after their big signing of top safety Jessie Bates. Elliss had a breakout season with New Orleans in 2022 after Pete Werner was hurt. Elliss started 11 games and made the most of his opportunity with 78 tackles, seven sacks and 10 QB hits. He played all the linebacker positions in the Saints’ 4-3 defense but he’ll be shifting to a 3-4 in Atlanta which is an adjustment. Elliss was a seventh-round pick in 2019 and his father is Luther Elliss, a former Pro Bowl defensive end with Detroit.

Grade: B


Jets Add WR on Rodgers' Wishlist

Player: WR Allen Lazard

Terms: Four years, $44 million ($22 million guaranteed)

Does Allen Lazard’s signing mean Aaron Rodgers is locked in with the Jets? We’ll soon see, but regardless, the Jets have signed a good No. 2 receiver to play with Garrett Wilson, last season’s Offensive Rookie of the Year. Lazard entered the NFL in 2018 as an undrafted player in Jacksonville before the Packers signed him off the Jaguars’ practice squad.

His production increased last season with the departure of Davante Adams and he set career-highs with 60 receptions for 788 yards (along with six TDs). He’s big (6-foot-5, 227-pounds) and fast but has missed 10 games over the last three years with injuries. This contract is fair based on his expected production in the Jets offense.

Grade: B+

Turns into an A- if it helps get Rodgers to the Jets

Eagles Re-sign Key Secondary Piece

Player: CB James Bradberry

Terms: Three years, $38 million ($20 million guaranteed)

The Eagles re-signed a key player on their second-ranked defense in James Bradberry. The former second-round pick was named second-team All-Pro after a season in which he had three interceptions, 17 passes defensed and 44 tackles. He had joined Philadelphia after being released by the Giants and combined with Darius Slay to form a top pair of corners for the league’s best pass defense. He had the critical late holding penalty in the Super Bowl but it didn’t stop the Eagles from giving him a long term deal at 29 years old. The team got a good deal at close to $13 million per year when the NFL’s top corners are at $20 million per year.

Grade: A

Cowboys Acquire Former Pro-Bowl CB

Cowboys Receive: CB Stephon Gilmore

Colts Receive: 2023 fifth-round pick (compensatory)

Stephon Gilmore was the Bills’ first round pick in 2012 and was the 2019 NFL Defensive Player of the Year while with the Patriots. He’s a five-time Pro Bowl pick and started 16 games last season for the Colts with two interceptions and 66 tackles. At his $9.92 million salary, he should be a starter alongside Trevon Diggs at the outside corner spots, but he’s not the player he was a few years ago. Gilmore has battled injuries in the past so the Cowboys need him to stay on the field to make this deal work out for them. But he will add depth at a position where Dallas was banged up at the end of last season. 

The Colts are in rebuilding mode and will be drafting one of the top four quarterbacks with their No. 4 overall pick so Gilmore and his salary didn’t fit for them. A fifth-round pick is reasonable compensation for a 32-year old corner.    

Dallas Cowboys Grade: C

Indianapolis Colts Grade: B 

Titans Overpay for Offensive Tackle

Player: OT Andre Dillard

Terms: Three years, $29 million

The Titans are desperate for offensive line help but are signing Dillard to an overpriced deal for a player who has been a backup in Philadelphia and has battled injuries (missing the entire 2020 season with torn biceps). At tackle for Tennessee, Taylor Lewan has retired and Dennis Daley is unsigned. The Titans’ best offensive lineman last year was guard Nate Davis who is headed to Chicago. The Titans either were outbid or not interested in the top tackles on the market—Orlando Brown, Mike McGlinchey, Jawaan Taylor and Kaleb McGary.

Andre Dillard could play guard but he was drafted No. 22 overall in 2019 by the Eagles to be their left tackle. Injuries and inconsistency held him back, and Jordan Mailata won the spot with Lane Johnson entrenched at right tackle. Dillard needed a change of scenery so this is a good move for him at great money based on his lack of production. For the Titans, this deal is far too rich for a player with an injury history who played five percent of his team’s offensive snaps in 2022 and has only nine career starts.  

Grade: D-

Browns Shore Up Defensive Front

Player: Dalvin Tomlinson

Terms: Four years, $57 million ($27.5 million guaranteed)

The Vikings wanted to re-sign Dalvin Tomlinson but were outbid by the Browns for the 29-year old who entered the league as the Giants’ second-round pick in 2017. He is a strong run defender (42 tackles in 13 games in 2022) which will help the Browns’ No. 25 ranked run defense. He also can put pressure on the quarterback (2.5 sacks and 10 QB hits last season which are OK but not the numbers of the best DTs). This is a good value signing for Cleveland when compared to the deals for the top defensive tackles on the market—Javon Hargrave (four years, $84 million) and Daron Payne (four years, $90 million).  

Grade: B+

Panthers Pull Safety From Bengals

Player: Vonn Bell

Terms: Three years, $22.5 million ($13 million guaranteed)

Vonn Bell began his career as a second-round pick of the Saints. He started 48 games for Cincinnati over the past three years as a solid safety against the run and pass. Bell had a career-high four interceptions and eight pass break-ups along with 77 tackles last season as he teamed with Jessie Bates to form one of the league’s top safety duos. Bell had 97 tackles in the Bengals’ Super Bowl season in 2021. He’s a physical player who can effectively match up with tight ends. He and Jeremy Chinn should be an excellent pair of safeties in Carolina.

Grade: B+

Commanders Add OT Wylie

Player: Andrew Wylie

Terms: Three years, $24 million

Andrew Wylie started 59 games over the past five seasons for the Chiefs and has been an effective right tackle, protecting Patrick Mahomes for the Chiefs. He joins former Kansas City offensive coordinator Eric Bienemy who is now the Commanders’ OC. Wylie was undrafted and bounced around on the practice squads of four teams before being promoted to the Chiefs active roster in 2018. This is a reasonable deal for a good but not great player who started for a Super Bowl champion team last season. The Chiefs apparently didn’t feel he was worth stepping up to pay what he could get from Washington. He’ll help a Commanders offensive line that allowed 48 sacks to rank No. 26 in the league last season.

Grade: B

Texans Grab Versatile Safety

Player: Jimmie Ward

Terms: Two years, $13 million ($8.5 million guaranteed)

Jimmie Ward was the 49ers’ first-round pick in 2014 and was a big contributor in their secondary for nine seasons. He also was a team leader but the 49ers are tight against the cap and have two solid safeties in Tashaun Gipson and Pro Bowler Talanoa Hufanga who are younger and cheaper than Ward who is coming off a $9.5 million per year deal. Ward had three interceptions and 50 tackles in a limited role last season so he’s still a capable safety and a good signing on a short term deal as he turns 32-years old in July. Ward now follows his former defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans to Houston as Ryan takes over  as head coach which bodes well for Ward’s new opportunity.

Grade: B

Giants Make Big Move for Former Pro-Bowl TE

Giants Receive: TE Darren Waller

Raiders Receive: 2023 third-round pick (No. 100)

Darren Waller is an elite tight end when healthy. He was drafted in the sixth-round in 2015 as a wide receiver by Baltimore and the 6-foot-6, 238-pound Waller converted to a hybrid tight end/wide receiver once in the NFL. After battling through substance abuse issues, he committed himself to sobriety in 2017 before having a breakout season in 2019 (90 catches, 1145 yards, three TDs) after the Raiders had signed him off the Ravens practice squad. In his Pro Bowl season in 2020, he caught 107 passes for 1,196 yards and nine TDs. But he’s missed 14 games the past two seasons with injuries and his production dropped to 28 catches for 388 yards in nine games last season after signing a three year, $51 million extension.

The Raiders take a small dead money hit of $660,000 in trading Waller and would’ve loved to get more than a late third-round pick for the talented but injury-prone and now 30-year-old Waller. The Raiders have added Jimmy Garoppolo and Jakobi Meyers in major free agency signings and did not want to pay Waller $11.9 million this season so they are dealing him to the Giants.

If Waller is healthy and productive, he is a steal for a late third-round pick and the Giants will pay him a total of $40 million if he stays for the next three seasons—a bargain if he plays at his Pro Bowl level. He’ll provide another top quality receiving target for QB Daniel Jones who just signed a $40 million per year deal. Again the big if—if Waller stays healthy.   

New York Giants Grade: B

Grade will rise if Waller returns to Pro Bowl status

Las Vegas Raiders Grade: C


Patriots WR Jakobi Meyers

Raiders Add WR Depth

Player: WR Jakobi Meyers

Terms: Three years, $33 million ($21 million guaranteed)

Jakobi Meyers reunites with Raiders Coach Josh McDaniels from their years with the Patriots, and joins Davante Adams to form a strong pair of wide receivers in Las Vegas. The undrafted Meyers had his best season in 2021 with McDaniels as his OC when he had 83 catches for 866 yards. He had 67 receptions for 804 yards and six TDs last season despite missing three games. Meyers has been an excellent slot receiver in New England so it will be interesting to see if he plays more outside with his good size or in the slot where the Raiders also have Hunter Renfrow.

Grade: A-

Buccaneers Retain CB Dean

Player: CB Jamel Dean

Terms: Four years, $52 million ($26 million guaranteed)

Jamel Dean is an important re-signing for the Bucs who are tight cap-wise. He was a third-round pick who has great speed and produced well in his first year as a full-time starter in 2022 with two interceptions, eight pass break-ups and 57 tackles. He allowed a 47 percent completion rate in coverage last season. His best years should be ahead of him and this is a good deal for the Bucs to hold onto a quality starting corner on their  top 10 defense.

Grade: A

Giants Snag Tackle Machine LB

Player: LB Bobby Okereke

Terms: Four years, $40 million ($20 million guaranteed)

Bobby Okereke had great production the past two years as a Colts starting linebacker. He’s a 26-year old former third-round pick. Okereke had 151 tackles last season, is a smart player with good instincts and can play different linebacker spots. He has been better against the run than the pass in his Colts years but his coverage skills have improved. He should help the Giants at a need position.

Grade: B+

Cowboys Extend Breakout Safety

Player: Donovan Wilson

Terms: Three years, $24 million ($13.5 million guaranteed)

The 28-year old was a sixth-round pick in 2019. Donovan Wilson is a versatile safety who had a career-high 101 tackles along with five sacks as an excellent blitzer in his first year as a full-time starter last season. He was a priority re-signing for the Cowboys with his playmaking ability on their No. 12 ranked defense and his new contract is affordable for a Dallas team with a mature payroll and lots of stars.

Grade: B+

Seahawks Pay Big Money to DE Jones

Player: Dre'Mont Jones

Terms: Three years, $51 million ($30 million guaranteed)

Dre'Mont Jones will play as a 3-4 defensive end with the Seahawks as he did with the Broncos. He’s only started one full season and had 6.5 sacks with 10 QB hits in 2022 in 13 games played. He’s not great against the run which was a problem last year in Seattle where they ranked No. 30. Jones was a third-round pick in 2019 so he’s only 26-years old and should have good upside for the Seahawks who will hope to make his overall game more consistent and impactful considering how much they’re paying him (which seems like a stretch).  

Grade: C

LB Eric Kendricks Finds New Home with Chargers

Player: Eric Kendricks

Terms: Two years, $13.25 million

The 31-year old linebacker was cut by the Vikings for cap reasons and will be making less money than his $10 million per year deal in Minnesota. He led the Vikings in tackles seven times and was at his best in Mike Zimmer’s 4-3 defense as the middle linebacker (he was all-pro in 2019). At his peak, he was one of the best linebackers in pass coverage in the league. But his play fell off last year in Minnesota’s 3-4 defense that is similar to the Chargers scheme where he’ll start at inside linebacker.

Eric Kendricks was a team leader as a captain and great off the field in community service in Minnesota. Kendricks surely is excited to be playing in his native California and in L.A. where he played college ball at UCLA. This is not a costly move for the Chargers and he joins a defense with a lot of veteran stars so it will be interesting to see his effectiveness.

Grade: C+

Eagles Won't Lose Top Center

Player: Jason Kelce

Terms: One year, $14.25 million

The NFC champion Eagles are losing several valuable players in free agency but their All-Pro center, Jason Kelce, will return to lead one of the NFL’s best offensive lines. The 35-year old Kelce pondered retirement but the Eagles are thrilled to have their team leader and one of the league’s top centers back in 2023. His athleticism, communication skills up front and toughness are renowned for this six-time Pro Bowler who is a key part of the Eagles offense that ranked third last season and averaged 35 points per game in the 2022 postseason.

Grade: A

Vikings Pay For Za'Darius Smith Replacement

Player: Marcus Davenport

Terms: One year, $13 million

Marcus Davenport was the No. 14 overall pick in the 2018 draft by the Saints due to his athletic ability for a big man. He had a career-high nine sacks in 11 games in 2021 before having a poor season with only a half-sack in 14 games last season. Davenport has missed 20 games due to injuries in his five-year career and it appears he will be the replacement in Minnesota for another injury-prone edge rusher in Za’Darius Smith. Davenport also will be shifting from a 4-3 defensive end to a 3-4 defender in new coordinator Brian Flores’ defense. He’s a powerful player but his lack of consistent production coupled with his injury history make this a risky signing considering the cost (but at least it’s a one year deal so if he doesn’t pan out, both sides will move on).

Grade: D+

Dolphins Add More CB Depth

Player: David Long

Terms: Two years, $11 million

David Long was a two-year starter in Tennessee who was productive when not sidelined with injuries. The 26-year old former sixth-round pick had 86 tackles, two interceptions, seven tackles for loss and three QB hits in 12 games last season before a hamstring injury landed him on injured reserve. He’s an every down linebacker who is instinctive as a blitzer and run defender. This is a good value signing for Miami as  they seek to improve their No. 18 ranked defense by adding players such as Jalen Ramsey and Long along with Bradley Chubb in 2022 mid-season.

Grade: B

Jawaan Taylor Chiefs

Chiefs Beef Up Offensive Line

Player: OT Jawaan Taylor

Terms: Four years, $80 million ($60 million guaranteed)

This is a mild surprise since it was expected that the Chiefs would either franchise Pro Bowl left tackle Orlando Brown or sign him to a long term deal. Neither happened as the Chiefs went the less expensive route by signing Taylor who will carry a first year cap number of $5.825 million. Brown apparently is looking to be the highest paid tackle (over Trent Williams’ $23 million per year in San Francisco).

Taylor has played right tackle his entire career in Jacksonville and is projected to play left tackle and replace Brown which is a bit of a risk. Chiefs right tackle Andrew Wylie is signing with Washington so Taylor could take his spot if the left side doesn’t work as well for him. Taylor has been a solid player as a former second-round pick but has not yet played at an elite level so this seems like an overpay but he fills a need with Brown too expensive for the Chiefs taste. Patrick Mahomes is probably a bit nervous about what’s happened to his tackles from last season’s Super Bowl champs.

Grade: C+

Broncos Add High-priced Pass Rusher

Player: DE Zach Allen

Terms: Three years, $45.75 million ($32.5 million guaranteed)

The 25-year old Allen is a former third-round pick who had only 5.5 sacks last season along with 47 tackles but added 20 QB hits from his 3-4 defensive end spot (and he will play in a similar system in Denver). He has improved a lot over his four years in Arizona but has missed several games each season with injuries. Allen follows his former defensive coordinator from the Cardinals—Vance Joseph—to Denver. This seems like a slight overpay which often occurs in free agency but he should be able to help the Broncos replace Bradley Chubb who was traded last season to Miami and also step in for Dre’Mont Jones who had 6.5 sacks last season and is signing with Seattle.

Grade: C+

Steelers Add Former Pro-Bowl CB

Player: CB Patrick Peterson

Terms: Two years, $14 million ($5.85 million guaranteed)

Peterson is an eight-time Pro Bowl cornerback who turns 33 in June and after two seasons playing under one-year deals in Minnesota, he’s off to Pittsburgh who stepped up with a two-year deal at a significant increase over what he was paid in Minnesota last year ($4 million in 2022 after earning $8 million in 2021). Peterson’s five interceptions last season were the second most among NFL corners and the most he’s had since 2012. His end zone pick of Josh Allen in overtime sealed the Vikings upset win in Buffalo. Peterson’s 66 tackles were a career high so he can still play at a reasonably high level.  

Peterson also was a leader in Minnesota and a great mentor for younger players which surely appeals to Steelers Coach Mike Tomlin.

Grade: B

Bears Get Roquan Smith Replacement

Player: LB Tremaine Edmunds

Terms: Four years, $72 million ($50 million guaranteed)

The Chicago Bears continue to re-make their linebacker corps with the signing of Tremaine Edmunds, the Buffalo Bills’ No. 1 pick in 2018 who is a two-time Pro Bowl pick and has five straight seasons with over 100 tackles, That includes last season when he had 102 tackles despite missing four games with a groin injury. The Bears traded their leading tackler Roquan Smith to the Baltimore Ravens last season when they couldn’t get him extended, and now they are paying Edmunds $2 million less per year than Smith received from the Ravens. 

The Bears have signed Edmunds and T.J. Edwards, who can both play middle or weakside linebacker in Chicago’s 4-3 defense. It will be a smooth transition for both players since they played in a 4-3 at their previous teams. Edmunds also is good in coverage so he’s an every down backer. With six missed games over the past two seasons, the Bears will need him to stay healthy to justify this expensive deal.

Grade: A-

Falcons Find Answer at Safety

Player: S Jessie Bates

Terms: Four years, $64 million ($36 million guaranteed)

Jessie Bates played the 2022 season in Cincinnati under the franchise tender and had another excellent season with 71 tackles, four interceptions and eight passes defensed. He got the long-term deal he sought and will be one of the NFL’s highest-paid safeties. He’s a durable player and should provide a big boost to the Atlanta Falcons’ pass defense that ranked No. 25 last season.

Bates was a second-round pick in 2018 who was a starter throughout his Cincinnati Bengals years and was named second-team All-Pro in 2020. The Bengals surely wanted to keep him but they have to save cap room and cash for Joe Burrow’s looming extension.

Grade: A

Lions Bolster Secondary, Add CB Sutton

Player: CB Cameron Sutton

Terms: Three years, $33 million ($22.5 million guaranteed)

The Detroit Lions had only three interceptions by cornerbacks last season, the same number Cameron Sutton posted for the Pittsburgh Steelers while also having a career-best 15 passes defensed. He allowed a passer rating of only 69.6 when targeted last season. A third-round pick in 2017, Sutton was a two-year starter and has played both outside and in the slot. He will help a Lions secondary that was one of the league’s worst in 2022 at No. 30 in passing yards allowed per game. This is a very affordable deal for a solid corner.

Grade: A

Broncos Add OT To Protect Russell Wilson

Player: OT Mike McGlinchey

Terms: Five years, $87.5 million ($50 million guaranteed)

The No. 9 overall pick in 2018 is one of the league’s better right tackles and the top right tackle available in free agency. He’s leaving the San Francisco 49ers to provide better protection for Russell Wilson, who was sacked a league-high 55 times in his disappointing first season in Denver. McGlinchey also is a fine run blocker. He’s had some injury problems, missing four games in 2019 and 12 games in 2021. At 28 years old, he’s shown improvement as his career has progressed, and he’s at a prime age to further excel if he stays healthy.

Grade: A-

Broncos Sign Additional Interior Line Help

Player: OG Ben Powers

Terms: Four years, $52 million ($28.5 million guaranteed)

Lamar Jackson is not going to be happy with Ben Powers leaving Baltimore, where he was an excellent pass blocker and helped the Ravens become the league’s second-ranked rushing attack. He committed only one penalty last season. He was a fourth-round pick in 2019 so he’s coming off his rookie deal, which is the best time to sign free agents. Powers was a two-year starter on one of the league’s best O-lines. With the highest-paid guards at the $20 million level, this is a good deal for the Broncos who also added McGlinchey to beef up the protection for Wilson and help the running game. 

Grade: A

Raiders Sign QB Jimmy Garoppolo

Player: QB Jimmy Garoppolo

Terms: Three years, $67.5 million ($34 million guaranteed)

The Las Vegas Raiders went the less expensive route in seeking a veteran QB to replace Derek Carr with the signing of Garoppolo as opposed to battling the Jets for Aaron Rodgers. Jimmy Garoppolo’s deal includes $11.25 million in a roster bonus on the fifth day of the 2024 league year and his $11.25 base salary in 2024 is guaranteed as of the third day of the 2024 league year. This means if the Raiders draft a QB with their No. 7 overall pick, they can move on from Garoppolo next year with only $7.5 million in dead money.

This is a low-risk deal for a quarterback who has proven to be a winner with a 44-19 record as a starter (including playoffs) in New England and San Francisco. He also quarterbacked the 49ers to Super Bowl LIV. He was 7-3 last year before his broken foot shut him down and had a 103 passer rating with a 67 percent completion rate. The problem is he missed 30 games with various injuries during his six years in San Francisco.

Garoppolo will be reunited with Raiders coach Josh McDaniels, his former offensive coordinator at the Patriots, and will have an elite receiver in Davante Adams. The Raiders have signed a very good QB at a bargain rate with an easy escape, but they need to protect him and have a good vet backup QB (along with a possible high draft pick) because Jarrett Stidham reportedly is headed to Denver to back up Wilson.

Grade: B

49ers Sign Top DT on Market

Player: DT Javon Hargrave

Terms: Four years, $84 million ($40 million guaranteed)

The depature of Javon Hargrave was another big loss to the NFC champion Eagles' second-ranked defense. The rich got richer as the 49ers’ No. 1-ranked defense signed one of the top players available in free agency in the 30-year old Hargrave, who is an elite interior pass rusher (11 sacks and 16 QB hits last season) and solid against the run (60 tackles with 10 tackles for loss).

Hargrave will benefit from playing on the same front-four with 49ers All-Pro DE Nick Bosa. Hargrave started his career as a third-round pick in Pittsburgh before joining the Eagles on a $13 million-per-year contract in 2020. This is an example of a team with a low-cost quarterback  (both Trey Lance and Brock Purdy on rookie deals in San Francisco) being able to spend big money elsewhere. The Seahawks did the same thing in building the NFL’s best defense and going to two Super Bowls when Russell Wilson was the starting QB early in his career under a third-round contract. With $5.7 million of cap room entering free agency, the 49ers will need to clear some space before officially signing Hargrave.     

Grade: A

Bears Add LB To Help Fix Defense

Player: LB T.J. Edwards

Terms: Three years, $19.5 million ($12 million guaranteed)

The Bears are tapping into their excessive cap room to sign the Eagles’ leading tackler last season. Edwards had 159 tackles, 10 tackles for loss, seven pass break-ups and two sacks. He should have a seamless transition from Philadelphia’s 4-3 defense to the similar scheme of Bears Coach Matt Eberflus. Edwards will be an excellent addition to Chicago’s defense that ranked No. 29 last season and was No. 31 against the run. The undrafted Edwards also was the signal-caller on D for the Eagles.

Grade: A

Jets Retain LB Quincy Williams

Player: LB Quincy Williams

Terms: Three years, $18 million ($9 million guaranteed)

The older brother of Jets’ star defensive tackle Quinnen Williams had 106 tackles, three sacks and 12 tackles for loss last season (despite missing two games with an ankle injury) for the league’s fourth ranked defense. Quincy Williams is undersized at 5-foot-11, 225 pounds but has good speed. He was drafted in the third round by Jacksonville in 2019 but was released in 2021. He was claimed on waivers by the Jets and has started 28 games over the past two seasons. Williams’ new deal includes $3 million in potential incentives.  

Grade: B+

Falcons Make Lindstrom Highest-Paid Guard

Player: OG Chris Lindstrom

Terms: Five years, $105 million ($63 million guaranteed)

Chris Lindstrom becomes the league’s highest-paid guard (in new money) under this contract, overtaking the Colts’ Quenton Nelson. The 2019 first-round pick was scheduled to earn $13.2 million on his fifth-year option, and this deal — with the signing bonus —  should lower his cap hit although the Falcons had the second most cap room at $54 million entering free agency. Lindstrom was a Pro Bowl pick and second-team All-Pro in 2022 to set up this big contract extension. He’s an elite run blocker and has allowed only two sacks over the past two seasons.  

Grade: A

49ers Keep Gipson On Bargain Deal

Player: Tashaun Gipson

Terms: One year, $2.9 million

This is a smart one-year bargain deal for the 49ers for a 32-year old safety who came aboard last year when Jimmie Ward was hurt. Tashaun Gipson started every game and had five interceptions and 61 tackles for the league’s top-ranked defense. Ward is a free agent and Gipson is a cheaper alternative to play alongside Pro Bowl safety Talanoa Hufanga. The 49ers can use the extra cap room on Gipson vs. Ward, who is coming off a $9.5 million-per-year deal.

Grade: A-

Dolphins Acquire Jalen Ramsey From Rams

Miami Receives: CB Jalen Ramsey

LA Rams Receive: TE Hunter Long, 2023 third-round pick

The Rams traded cornerback Jalen Ramsey, who cost them two No. 1 picks and a fourth-round pick when they acquired him from Jacksonville in 2019. He has made six straight Pro Bowls and, at 28 years old, is one of the league’s best corners.

Los Angeles picks up little cap relief in trading Ramsey ($5.6 million in savings while absorbing a $19.6 dead money hit) and they surely hoped to gain more than a third-round pick and a tight end in Hunter Long who projects as a backup to Tyler Higbee. Long was a third-round pick in 2021, but he’s an injury risk with 18 games missed over the past two seasons. With no first-round pick because of the Matthew Stafford trade, the Rams added a much-needed second-day pick to help fill their roster.

The Dolphins should have one of the NFL's top cornerback pairings between Ramsey and Pro Bowler Xavien Howard. They added a great player in Ramsey at a relative bargain in trade compensation and salary ($47 million over the next three years).

Rams Grade: D+

Dolphins Grade: A

Washington Commanders DL Daron Payne

Commanders Sign DT Payne

Player: DT Daron Payne

Terms: Four years, $90M ($59M guaranteed)

This was an excellent signing by Washington. They retain a 25-year old Pro Bowl defensive tackle who comes off a career-high 11.5 sacks (third most last season among DTs) with 20 QB hits, 18 tackles for loss and 64 tackles. He becomes the NFL’s second-highest paid interior defensive lineman, behind only Aaron Donald and is part of the best interior duo in the league with Jonathan Allen.

Daron Payne is durable, with only one game missed in his five-year career, which always is an important consideration for GMs in giving out big second contracts. With this deal, the Commanders lowered his 2023 cap hit from the franchise tender of $18.9 million to $10 million which will help them in free agency.

Grade: A

Texans Add S Stewart

Player: S M.J. Stewart

Terms: Two years, $6 million ($3 million guaranteed)

M.J. Stewart had no starts at safety but made 41 tackles for a lousy Texans defense that ranked No. 30 overall and No. 32 against the run. He’s a former second-round pick (Buccaneers, 2018) and is on his third team in a six-year career. He is a good special teamer. The Texans have plenty of salary cap room ($39.5 million going into free agency) but it seems they could have spent this money on a more impactful player.

Grade: C

Carolina Panthers Acquire No. 1 Pick From Bears

Panthers Receive: No. 1 pick

Bears Receive: No. 9 pick, No. 61 pick, 2024 first-round pick, 2025 second-round pick, WR D.J. Moore

The Bears likely won't be able to land the top-rated pass rusher in the draft, Will Anderson (scouting report), but Chicago should still be able to draft a blue chip defensive player at No. 9 to improve their league-worst pass rush. The Bears will also be able to add to their receiving corps with the second-round pick acquired in this deal.

The Panthers lost their leading receiver in D.J. Moore (63 catches, 888 yards, 7 TDs), who was a 1,000-yard plus receiver three straight years from 2019-2021 while dealing with shaky quarterback play. The Panthers also take a $14.6 million dead money hit on Moore after extending him last year.

Moore fortifies Chicago’s passing attack for Justin Fields and will start opposite Darnell Mooney. From Chicago’s perspective, there is a reasonable chance that Carolina’s first-round pick in 2024 could be a top-10 pick. Of course, the success of this trade for both teams will be determined by how well the drafted players and Moore perform and especially if whichever quarterback the Panthers take at No. 1 (from Bryce Young, C.J. Stroud, Will Levis and Anthony Richardson) develop into an elite QB.

Chicago Bears Grade: A

Grade will fall if GM Ryan Poles doesn’t hit on these picks and Moore falls off.

Carolina Panthers Grade: C

Gave up a ton in desperation to solve their QB problem but grade will rise if they pick the right franchise QB.

Giants Extend QB Daniel Jones

Player: QB Daniel Jones

Terms: Four years, $160 million ($94M guaranteed)

After compiling a 12-25 record in his first three seasons with a shaky supporting cast, Daniel Jones had his first winning season in 2022 along with a playoff win. He made a big step forward under Coach Brian Daboll as a passer (3,205 passing yards and a 92.5 passer rating) and runner (708 yards, seven TDs).

The Giants would’ve preferred to sign him for $35 million per year but stretched to $40 million per year to get a first-year cap number of $19 million in the deal vs. the $32.4 million if they had been forced to franchise Jones. They also kept the guaranteed money under $100 million which is a win for the team.

By getting this deal done, they were able to franchise top back Saquon Barkley at $10.1 million.   Under Daboll (who was Josh Allen’s offensive coordinator in Buffalo), Jones has a good chance to further ascend to the level of a Pro Bowl-caliber QB.

Grade: B+

Saints Find Franchise QB in Derek Carr

Player: QB Derek Carr

Terms: Four years, $150 million ($100 million guaranteed)

New Orleans pounced on Derek Carr early this offseason after the Raiders released him. The Saints have dealt with quarterback inconsistency since Drew Brees retired two years ago. Jameis Winston and Andy Dalton couldn’t lead the team to the playoffs, and the 7-10 mark in 2022 was the team’s first losing season since 2016.

Carr is a four-time Pro Bowl QB and led the Raiders to the playoffs in 2021 before having an up-and-down final season in Las Vegas where he and Coach Josh McDaniels weren’t in sync. He still was selected to the Pro Bowl even as his passer rating of 86.3 — with 24 TD passes but 14 interceptions — was his lowest since 2014). He reunites with his former head coach in Oakland (Dennis Allen) and has a lot of talent to work with on offense.

At 31, Carr is still a quality QB and the opportunity is there for him to do well in The Big Easy. After Daniel Jones received $40 million per year, this is a good deal for the Saints in the current QB market.   

Grade: B+     

Seahawks Reward Geno Smith

Player: QB Geno Smith

Terms: Three years, $75 million ($40 million guaranteed)

Geno Smith’s performance was a big surprise last season after a lackluster first seven years in the league. He outplayed Seattle legend Russell Wilson, who was dealt to Denver. Smith was the NFL’s Comeback Player of the Year after leading the Seahawks to a wild-card berth in a season in which he threw for 4,282 yards, 30 TD passes and rushed for 366 yards.

The new contract is a good deal for the Seahawks, who can move on next year at a cost of $27.3 million. Smith also has protection if he has a great year with $15 million available in escalators if he reaches high performance levels and he leads the Seahawks to 10 or more wins or the playoffs (which the team would be happy to pay the escalated salary in that event).

With this deal in place for Smith, Seattle can feel comfortable drafting a QB with their No. 5 overall pick if that’s their desire and grooming him behind Smith for one or two years. The big question is if Smith can repeat his career year.

Grade: A-

Philadelphia Eagles Brandon Graham

Eagles Keep DE Graham

Player: Brandon Graham

Terms: One year, $6 million

The Eagles were happy to re-sign Brandon Graham on this bargain deal after he had a career-high 11 sacks and 26 QB hits as a rotational defensive end last season. Graham is taking a reduction from the $13.3 million per year on his last Eagles contract to stay with the NFC champs in the city where he has spent his entire career.

Philadelphia GM Howie Roseman has a lot of work to do as he tries to keep his No. 2-ranked defense relatively intact and the Graham signing is a great first step.

Grade: A

Saints Retain TE Juwan Johnson

Player: TE Juwan Johnson

Terms: Two years, $12 million ($11.5 million guaranteed)

Juwan Johnson was a restricted free agent but signed for two years and the Saints tacked on several voidable years to get a 2023 cap number of $2 million. The deal can max out at $14.5 million via incentives for the former wide receiver who transitioned to tight end and appears to have great upside as he gets more accustomed to a new position.

He had a productive 2022 season with 42 catches for 508 yards and seven TDs. This is a good signing for the cap-strapped Saints but voidable deals like this can come back to haunt them in the future.

Grade: B+

Tennessee Titans wide receiver Robert Woods

Texans Bolster WR Group By Adding Woods

Player: WR Robert Woods

Terms: Two years, $15.25 million ($10 million guaranteed)

Robert Woods had 53 receptions for 527 yards and two TDs with the Titans last season before his cap-related release. He’s been a productive receiver in the league with two seasons of over 1,000 receiving yards with the Rams and could be a replacement for Brandin Cooks if he is traded by the Texans.

Woods will be a good veteran option for whoever the Texans likely draft with the No. 2 overall pick but he comes with some injury risk. Hhe’s missed time in six seasons including an ACL injury that kept him out of the Rams’ last 12 games in 2021 including the Super Bowl.

Grade: B

Falcons Extend LB Carter

Player: LB Lorenzo Carter

Terms: Two years, $9 million ($4.25 million guaranteed)

A former Giants third-round pick, Lorenzo Carter performed well in Atlanta under a one-year contract last season with 58 tackles, four sacks and 12 QB hits from his outside linebacker position in the Falcons’ 3-4 defense. This is a solid signing for a $4.25 million cap hit this season on a player who is solid against the run and a decent but not great pass rusher.

Grade: B

Jeff Diamond is a former Minnesota Vikings general manager and Titans team president. He was selected NFL Executive of the Year after the Vikings’ 15-1 season in 1998. Follow him on Twitter at @jeffdiamondnfl.