2022 NFL free agency team-by-team grades: Browns, Bills, Broncos, Raiders, Rams among offseason winners

The 2022 NFL offseason is officially upon us. Several big-name quarterbacks found new homes ahead of the kickoff of the legal tampering period Monday, but now dozens of notable veterans are actually moving around on the market. From blockbuster moves to bargain-bin shopping, we’ve got you covered below with a running tracker of every team’s 2022 additions, including external signings and trade acquisitions:

It’s not that the players the Cardinals added or retained are bad; Conner and Ertz are vital to their offense. But paying those two a combined $50M+ on long-term deals? What is this, 2017? Arizona went all in on older and/or injury-prone veterans a year ago, but it’d be nice to see the team go a little greener if its gonna spend big money. Pass rusher still needs to be addressed.

Locking up one of the NFL’s most accurate kickers is fine. But they’ve got lots of holes still to fill, especially if they plan on competing with Matt Ryan (or, somehow, Deshaun Watson) at QB. Letting Russell Gage walk may haunt them. Hayward gives them a quality starting corner for a reasonable price, but their offense is sorely lacking.

Williams is a top-flight ball hawk who will instantly improve their defense in transition, especially alongside a healthier Marcus Peters, Marlon Humphrey, etc. Moses gives them quality insurance up front to protect Lamar Jackson. And Pierce is exactly the kind of reunion they needed on defense, especially after the Za’Darius Smith deal fell through.

Von Miller will be a huge difference-maker for an already-stout defense, even if his deal was bigger than expected. They basically swapped out Daryl Williams for Saffold, which isn’t an obvious upgrade. But Settle is another solid pickup for the D-line, as is Howard for the offense, giving Josh Allen a high-upside Dawson Knox complement.

Foreman gives them big-bodied insurance for Christian McCaffrey, which is smart. Higgins is an underrated backup plan behind Robby Anderson. And Corbett is their best O-line investment in two years. Woods, meanwhile, brings experience to the back end of the defense at a reasonable price. Now, what happens at QB?

They were betting big on DT Larry Ogunjobi’s continued development, committing $13.5M per year to the ex-Bengals starter before a failed physical killed the deal. They still have big holes to fill at key spots, from WR to pass rusher.

Good for them, finally getting Joe Burrow some more help up front. Cappa and Karras weren’t necessarily the best options out there, but they’ll do. Also, was B.J. Hill worth locking up over Larry Ogunjobi? Maybe. Maybe not. Hurst is a fine bet for tight end help, and maybe Burrow will boost his stock, but he’s still just a mid-level flyer.

The Browns get a clear upgrade at quarterback by slotting in Watson over Baker Mayfield, but this move does come with risks. The most immediate is Watson’s off-the-field issues with his outstanding civil lawsuits by 22 different women who allege sexual misconduct or assault. The NFL is still investigating Watson regarding this situation and, when you look at how his new contract is structured, it appears like he is bracing for some type of suspension. Losing Jarvis Landry hurts, but getting Cooper gives them a bona fide No. 1 — at a reasonable cost, considering the free-agent market, no less. Bryan and Winovich are decent depth additions. 

Dallas Cowboys: C

Gallup was worth keeping, no doubt, but they’re gonna miss Amari Cooper more than most realize, especially with Cedrick Wilson now gone as well. They deserve props for retaining Schultz, too, but there’s still a glaring pass-rushing need to fill after they whiffed on re-signing Randy Gregory. With La’el Collins gone, they’ve also got some questions up front.

It’s hard to give them anything but an “A” this offseason, because, well, Russell Wilson. They promised to be aggressive at QB, and they delivered. Jones is their next-best addition, giving an already-solid defense an ascending big man on the interior. They may well have overpaid for Gregory, but he at least brings long-term upside opposite Bradley Chubb.

  • QB Tim Boyle (1 year, $2 million)
  • QB David Blough
  • FB Jason Cabinda (2 years, $4.1 million)
  • Jaguars WR D.J. Chark (1 year, $10 million)
  • WR Josh Reynolds (2 years, $6 million)
  • WR Kalif Raymond (2 years)
  • C Evan Brown (1 year, $2.05 million) 
  • DE Charles Harris (2 years, $14 million)
  • LB Josh Woods (1 year, $1.55 million)
  • LB Alex Anzalone (1 year, $2.25 million) 
  • LB Shaun-Dion Hamilton (1 year, $1.035 million) 
  • S Jalen Elliott (1 year, $825,000)
  • S Tracy Walker (3 years, $25 million)
  • S C.J. Moore (1 year, $1.75 million)

Nothing splashy here, but they were always gonna make more of their noise in the draft. Chark and Reynolds are an underrated duo out wide, giving Jared Goff — or whomever they draft at QB — some big-play talent.

Retaining Aaron Rodgers was the biggest move of the offseason, even if the QB wasn’t technically a free agent. Keeping Preston Smith on a new deal was fine, too. But what else has gone right here? Campbell is a rock-solid play-maker for their defense, but $50M for a soon-to-be 29-year-old linebacker is a little rich. More importantly, Rodgers is now without his go-to man — and the only real No. 1 wideout on the team — with Davante Adams shipped to the Raiders. They better add another WR or two soon.

  • Commanders QB Kyle Allen (1 year, $2.5 million)
  • WR Chris Conley (1 year, $2 million)
  • Jaguars RB Dare Ogunbowale (2 years, $3.3 million)
  • RB Royce Freeman (1 year, $1.187 million)
  • TE Pharaoh Brown (1 year, $4 million)
  • Titans OT Cedric Ogbuehi (1 year, $1.4 million)
  • Jaguars OG A.J. Cann (2 years, $10.5 million)
  • C Justin Britt (2 years, $9 million)
  • DT Maliek Collins (2 years, $17 million)
  • LB Christian Kirksey (2 years, $10 million)
  • Rams LB Ogbonnia Okoronkwo (1 year)
  • Lions LB Jalen Reeves-Maybin (2 years, $7.5 million)
  • Jets LB Blake Cashman (via trade)
  • DB Desmond King (2 years, $7 million)
  • S Eric Murray (2 years, $10 million)
  • Browns S M.J. Stewart (1 year, $3 million)
  • S Terrence Brooks (1 year, $2 million)

Another year, another free agency filled with cheap deals for mid- and low-tier veterans. In truth, none of these moves are glaringly bad, but the talent is still sorely lacking in Houston. Does even one of these additions stand out as significantly upgrading their lineup?

The clock is ticking on a QB addition, unless they’ve got a draft-day surprise up their sleeve. They also still need help up front and out wide. Ngakoue, however, is a potential steal entering his age-27 season, giving them a potential long-term answer off the edge.

The toughest team to grade, the Jags have certainly improved the supporting cast for Trevor Lawrence. But it’s awfully hard not to think they could’ve allocated resources better. Kirk, Jones and Engram, for example, are all nice upside bets, but did they deserve such lucrative deals? Why not just go all in on an Allen Robinson reunion? On defense, it’s the same thing: Oluokun is a rangy building block, but did a LB really need $15M per year? Their best work has been up front, where Lawrence should have a better line. Williams should also help shore up their secondary.

Adding Reid signaled the end of the Tyrann Mathieu era, but it’s a decent long-term gamble. Let’s see how they handle the D-line beyond restructuring Frank Clark’s deal. Judging by AFC West standards, they’ve had a very quiet offseason.

Apparently they are all in on Derek Carr and an immediate title run. Adams is the biggest addition, by far, and suddenly elevates the Vegas offense from “probably good” to “probably dangerous,” with No. 17 joining Josh Jacobs, Darren Waller and Hunter Renfrow in silver and black. Jones, meanwhile, gives them an elite one-two punch off the edge opposite Maxx Crosby.

It’s very possible they overpaid for Jackson at corner, but at the same time, they are absolutely right to go all in on their opening window with Justin Herbert at QB. Their defense already looks much better on paper, and retaining Williams out wide was huge.

With Andrew Whitworth retiring, they wisely locked up his successor, basically at the price tag of a starting right tackle. Keep Matthew Stafford upright, that was always most important. A-Rob is their latest luxury addition out wide, allowing them to roll into 2022 with one of the NFL’s best/deepest pass-catching groups, with or without moves involving Robert Woods and Odell Beckham Jr.

  • Broncos QB Teddy Bridgewater (1 year, $6.5 million)
  • Cardinals RB Chase Edmonds (2 years, $12.6 million)
  • 49ers RB Raheem Mostert (1 year, $3.125 million)
  • Raiders FB Alec Ingold (2 years, $7.5 million)
  • Cowboys WR Ced Wilson (3 years, $22.8 million)
  • WR Preston Williams (1 year, $1.99 million)
  • 49ers WR Trent Sherfield (1 year)
  • TE Mike Gesicki (franchise tag)
  • Cowboys OG Connor Williams (2 years, $14 million)
  • DE Emmanuel Ogbah (4 years, $65 million)
  • LB Sam Eguavoen (1 year, $2 million)
  • LB Elandon Roberts (1 year, $3.25 million)
  • OLB Brennan Scarlett (1 year)
  • LB Duke Riley (1 year, $3 million)
  • CB Keion Crossen (3 years, $10.5 million)
  • S Sheldrick Redwine (1 year)

New coach Mike McDaniel needed bodies in the backfield and up front, and he got both. Teddy also makes a solid backup and spot starter behind Tua Tagovailoa, especially at a bargain price. And retaining Ogbah is good news for the front seven.

They came in with little money to spend, and Phillips is a so-so investment as a replacement for Michael Pierce, but Hicks is an underrated leader for the middle of a rebuilding “D” alongside Eric Kendricks. Reworking Adam Thielen’s deal to stick around at WR will surely come in handy.

Not a whole lot of action here, besides dealing Shaq Mason out of town. Getting White back should be helpful for Mac Jones, but they still need an addition out wide.

The Saints made quick work of replacing Marcus Williams, who inked a long-term deal with the Ravens in free agency. Maye should be expected to slot in as the starter, but he is rehabbing from a torn Achilles and could face discipline from the league for a DUI arrest last February. The other big questions lie at QB and WR.  

Like a few other teams, they didn’t have much money to spend in the first place. Good for them getting a rock-solid interior starter to put in front of Daniel Jones in Glowinski. Taylor is an uninspiring starting option at QB, but he at least has the Bills connection and gives New York higher-floor insurance/competition for Jones.

  • QB Joe Flacco (1 year, $3.5 million)
  • RB Tevin Coleman (1 year, $1.5 million)
  • WR Braxton Berrios (2 years, $12 million)
  • Bengals TE C.J. Uzomah (3 years, $24 million)
  • Vikings TE Tyler Conklin (3 years, $21 million)
  • 49ers OG Laken Tomlinson (3 years, $40 million)
  • OG Dan Feeney (1 year)
  • DT Nathan Shepherd (1 year)
  • Texans OLB Jacob Martin (3 years, $13.5 million)
  • Seahawks CB D.J. Reed (3 years, $33 million)
  • Buccaneers S Jordan Whitehead (2 years, $14.5 million)
  • S Lamarcus Joyner (1 year, $4.5 million)

If they just get another starting-caliber option out wide, they’ll stay in the “A” territory. Uzomah is a nice pass-catching addition for Zach Wilson, and Tomlinson helps beef up the line. Their best moves may have come in the secondary, however, where Reed and Whitehead instantly improve their defensive backfield.

They’ve got other needs (WR, LB, S), but Reddick is a supreme get at a premier position, giving them the most explosiveness off the edge they’ve had in years.

They were never gonna definitively solve QB through free agency, so Trubisky is a perfectly fine, decent-upside addition there. Good on them for addressing the trenches, too, particularly with Daniels. Wallace is a quality plug-and-play corner.

Ward is a fine gamble at corner, where they needed to get younger. But they’ve got holes to address yet, with Laken Tomlinson departing as a starting guard and Jimmy Garoppolo’s market yet to materialize.

Seattle Seahawks: C+

They got a nice haul for Russell Wilson, but the sting of losing the franchise QB will linger until they get it right under center again. Also, was it really necessary to pay Dissly big bucks after landing Fant at tight end? Diggs is the only other name you’re really proud of here, serving as Seattle’s best back-end playmaker.

Somehow, they didn’t just get Tom Brady back from retirement, but also found a way to keep the anchor of his line and their top young cover man. Gage, meanwhile, is a sneaky good addition as a new No. 3 wideout who should draw all kinds of targets.

Locking up Landry was key for the front seven. Investing in the line is also smart, considering the turmoil Ryan Tannehill endured for parts of 2021. They’ve got secondary needs still, with Jackrabbit Jenkins gone.

Washington Commanders: C

The Wentz move could certainly blow up in their face, given the QB’s polarizing tendencies. But you can’t fault them entirely for swinging higher than the free-agent market, even if someone like Mitchell Trubisky would’ve been a more cost-effective gamble.

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