The first few days of NFL Free Agency is over, and while there are still several moves left to be made, most of the biggest names are already off the market. Some of those moves were smart ones, while others were foolish. As is often the case, the first day resulted in several players being overpaid badly.
As a reminder, ending up as a winner in free agency isn't achieved by throwing a ton of money at players. It's about filling needs, finding values and not overpaying. For some teams, that last part is difficult. The winners didn't all make perfect moves and success in March doesn't always translate to success in the regular season. The losers didn't necessarily fail in every move, but as whole, their offseason is off to a rough start. With that in mind, here are the winners and losers from free agency so far:
New England Patriots
Bill Belichick is the puppet master that keeps playing the 31 other NFL teams as puppets. First, New England signed Stephon Gilmore, giving the Patriots two legitimate lockdown corners with him and Malcolm Butler. Then, they sent a second-round pick to the Panthers for Kony Ealy and a third-round pick, then sent another third-round pick and their first rounder to the Saints for wideout Brandin Cooks.
They've also made some other smaller moves, but in conclusion, they added a No. 1 caliber cornerback, one of the best young receivers in the league and a promising young versatile defensive end/outside linebacker. If they can re-sign Dont'a Hightower, they're offseason couldn't have gone any better.
Philadelphia went into free agency with a priority on upgrading their receiving core, and they were able to accomplish that goal on the first day, signing both Torrey Smith and Alshon Jeffery.
Jeffery gives Carson Wentz a big, No. 1-caliber receiver, while Smith gives them a legitimate deep threat they've been lacking since they got rid of DeSean Jackson.
The Texans are on this list for one reason - they got rid of Brock Osweiler's massive contract. Yes, it cost them some draft picks, but getting rid of that contract has freed up the cap space for them to pursue Tony Romo. And now with reports that the Broncos may not be interested in pursuing Romo, Houston is in the driver's seat to land him. With them being so close to being a championship contender, it was a move they needed to make.
The Jaguars had a lot of money to spend this offseason, and used it in a big way. They upgraded their defense by signing safety Barry Church, cornerback A.J. Bouye and defensive lineman Calais Campbell.
After considering Denver, Calais Campbell is going to sign a 4-year, $60 million deal that includes $30M gtd with Jacksonville, per source.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 9, 2017
Jacksonville clearly made their defense a priority, handing out over $150 million in contracts to those three players. That's a lot of money and look like overpays, but they had the cap space and all three are expected to start right away and elevate the defense to elite status.
New York Jets
New York needs a quarterback, there's no secret about that. However, they have been unable to fill that need. Tyrod Taylor was their top target, but he agreed to restructure his deal with the Bills. They were going after Mike Glennon as a backup plan, but he signed with the Bears. Then Brian Hoyer signed with the 49ers, leaving the Jets without a suitable option at the position. Now, they're thinking that they may re-sign Geno Smith and go into the season with him as their starting quarterback. That is far from ideal.
As if Washington's front office upheaval that has resulted in the ousting of general manager Scot McCloughan wasn't enough, quarterback Kirk Cousins wants to be traded because of the discord in the front office, with the San Francisco 49ers being his preferred destination.
"Cousins has made it clear he does not want to be there. He wants to get to San Francisco and play for Kyle Shanahan." @wyche89 on Cousins— NFL Media (@NFLMedia) March 8, 2017
No matter what anyone thinks of Cousins' ability, he is a person of principle. Unless he changes, not enough money in world to want this.— Jason Reid (@JReidESPN) March 9, 2017
The 49ers and Redskins have reportedly already had talks about a possible Cousins trade, but several things - including Redskins owner Dan Snyder's distain for new 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan, who he fired in 2013 - have kept it from happening, and will likely continue to do so.
Kirk Cousins appealed personally to owner Dan Snyder for a trade but was basically told not to get his hopes up, per sources.— Chris Mortensen (@mortreport) March 9, 2017
So now the Redskins are in a situation where they don't currently have a general manager and their franchise quarterback (who they only have under contract for one season) doesn't want to play for them. In fact, Cousins said he doesn't even want to sign a long-term deal with them after the season. Everything is fine.
The flip side of Houston's deal with Cleveland, Osweiler went from being the starting quarterback on a division-winning team to the Browns - and the Browns don't even want him. Cleveland plans to release Osweiler if they can't trade him, and while he'll still see the rest of his guaranteed money, it's a big blow going from the most prized free agent available to a player the worst team in the league doesn't even want in just one season. Life comes at you fast.