Forget how the dominoes fell in free agency -- where do the teams stand now?
The initial wave of the open signing period started before it officially started, then hit a crescendo at the end of Day 1 on Wednesday. By Friday, Ryan Tannehill getting traded drew a collective yawn. When the free agency frenzy starts with such a bang, subsequent transactions inevitably get reduced to a thud. The mind can only be blown so many times before it turns to mush.
In that flurry of early trades and signings were a few social-media busters, like OBJ relocating to CLE and Le'Veon taking his mixtape to NYC. But don't sleep on the smaller, less-covered transactions. We didn't.
Some teams improved a rung or three, others were worse for the wear. Still others were worse for the financial wear, but are making a run at winning now. (Think: The Jags and their new Super Foles quarterback.)
A week after the marketplace maelstrom, now is as good a time as any to reorder the whole lot. Below you will find your team's significant moves covered, or exposed. Reveal your take to me: @HarrisonNFL is the place.
Let the dissension commence!
Previous rank:*No. 1*
Draft watch is already on after a (sorta) relatively quiet free-agent period for the Patriots. New England did engineer a trade for DE Michael Bennett, though most of the action consisted of watching various ingredients of the latest Lombardi-winning concoction walk out the door. The departures of OT Trent Brown, DT Malcom Brown and DE Trey Flowers were no small things. Do-everything talent Cordarrelle Patterson, who played the Swiss Army Knife type of role that had been filled in the Patriots' past by the likes of Mike Vrabel and Troy Brown, is a Bear. If Rob Gronkowski retires? Let's not think about it. Draft-wise, the idea of Bill Belichick rolling the dice on Kyler Murray (should he fall within range of the Pats, who currently pick 32nd) is admittedly exciting. Murray could contribute in packages, perhaps in ways not too dissimilar from what Taysom Hill does down in New Orleans. Not that they are the same player by any stretch of the imagination; I'm thinking Murray is a get him on the field right now kind of prospect, rather than someone you'd want to sit for three years.
Side note: I was surprised the Pats made no play for Cole Beasley. Wait, they did? He picked the Bills?!
Previous rank:*No. 2*
The Saints are clearly already circling 2019 as THE season. Drew Brees will be ready, as will the bulk of a roster that pushed the team to the doorstep of Super Bowl LIII. The primary issue regarding free agency was what to do with -- and what to pay -- veteran running back Mark Ingram, who ended up heading to Baltimore. Though these things rarely matter to organizations anymore, did you know that Ingram only trailed New Orleans' all-time leading career rusher by 89 yards? (Any non- Saints fans want to guess who the leader is?) Now, recent signee Latavius Murray will presumably fill Ingram's role complementing Alvin Kamara. So much of New Orleans' offense is built around Kamara's flexibility that I would rather have Kamara than Le'Veon Bell, price being equal. The Malcom Brown signing was sharp, especially with DT Sheldon Rankins*ending last season hurt.*
Previous rank:*No. 3*
DT Ndamukong Suh and RB C.J. Anderson might have their feet out the door as free agents, but the most important offseason question was answered: Would 37-year-old -- and four-time Pro Bowler -- Andrew Whitworth call it a day? No. The veteran left tackle will lace 'em up for one more go at the Super Bowl. How much running back Todd Gurley will go this season is another issue. With many pundits punditing over Gurley's knee, it was obvious which Rams RB was most effective down the stretch. (Hint: It wasn't Gurley.) If the organization doesn't snag a guy up off the street, look for a slick Day 3 pick to hit this area come draft time. Center and guard should be considered, especially with Rodger Saffold now playing in Tennessee.
Previous rank:*No. 6*
Feel like the best respite for the Chargers following the horrific ending to the 2018 campaign would have been to head south to Cabo Wabo and guzzle tequila with Sammy Hagar. The Patriots gave the Bolts the boot in an Eddie Van Halen you-can't-be-in-my-band-and-we-are-gonna-erase-all-memory-of-your-residence-here kind of way. If tomorrow is a new day, last week was an old, fresh start, with the arrival of longtime Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis. The free-agent signee will bring leadership to a defense that can use it; meanwhile, the returns of DT Brandon Mebane and LB Denzel Perryman will maintain continuity on that side of the ball. Was sad to see cornerback Jason Verrett go. The former TCU standout and first-round pick -- who signed with San Francisco -- could never stay on the field for the Bolts (25 games in four seasons), but when he was able to play, he revealed the makings of an eventual stud. Some players are star-crossed, it seems. Onward and upward.
Previous rank:*No. 5*
So, general manager Chris Ballard has kept pretty quiet in terms of adding talent thus far, and that's OK. Hope the Colts' encore to their fun 2018 campaign is not a 7-9 flop. Or worse, like the stuff they used to show on Encore. (Does that channel even exist anymore?) Indy has done its part to keep the personnel consistent, re-signing CB Pierre Desir and DL Margus Hunt, two ample pieces of a defense that contributed a strong (well, stronger) performance last year. Meanwhile, kicker Adam Vinatieri returns for his 55th NFL season. More importantly, Ballard wants to build through the draft. Considering the slick results from last year's class, which included two starting offensive linemen and Defensive Rookie of the Year Darius Leonard, we will move on from this blurb and let the man do his work.
Previous rank:*No. 4*
The Chiefs own a championship-caliber offense thanks mostly to their MVP quarterback. The question is, how is Kansas City going to get to the other guys' quarterback? Alex Okafor aside, with Justin Houston departed and Dee Ford traded, pass rush must be coach Andy Reid's No. 1 concern. Not to mention the potential patchwork awaiting new defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo. Spags made his name by leading a Giants defense that knocked off the top-seeded Cowboys and the Brett Favre Packers (at Lambeau) in the 2007 playoffs, and then finally the undefeated Patriots in Super Bowl XLII. Great stuff. Well, that ain't Michael Strahan, Osi Umenyiora and Justin Tuck peeling out after the quarterback out there at Arrowhead. Adding Honey Badger helps the back end. Losing center Mitch Morse to the Bills, though ... is not helpful.
Previous rank:*No. 7*
It seemed GM Howie Roseman wanted seven first-round picks and a third-rounder for Nick Foles this offseason. Then Foles voided his option, and all of the trade chatter became moot. While all that speculation was going on, the front office got busy, re-signing DE Brandon Graham and signing DT Malik Jackson ... and suddenly, the Eagles were winning the offseason again. That's because the defections were not major. Foles (signed by Jacksonville) wasn't gonna start. DE Michael Bennett (traded to New England) was a luxury member of the D-line rotation. LB Jordan Hicks (signed by Arizona) was often not available (he missed 21 of 64 games in his four-year career). Wait. We almost got out of here without mentioning the return of the home-run ball to Philly. We'll take a Mike Schmidt and Von Hayes to go with that cup of DeSean.
Previous rank:*No. 9*
The rumor mill had company -- about 50,000 fantasy teams tried to trade Jordan Howard, too. GM Ryan Pace further tried to address the running game by signing ex-Seahawk Mike Davis, who enjoyed his moments in the sun (rain) in Seattle. He also brought on Cordarrelle Patterson. Who knows if Matt Nagy will employ Patterson in the same manner that Bill Belichick and Josh McDaniels did in New England, utilizing the former first-rounder in a Brad Muster/Dennis Gentry kind of role. It played well to Patterson's strength and versatility. If you are a bit young to recall Muster (good old No. 25), he was the Bears running back in Tecmo Super Bowl who always busted your guys up when they were trying to tackle Neal Anderson. You would have Anderson on the edge, and this super slow dude would jog over and knock your player halfway up the sideline ... while Anderson sprinted 80 more yards. Memories.
Previous rank:*No. 16*
The only thing in greater abundance than the talent up and down the Browns' roster is the pressure mounting on Freddie Kitchens. Forget about the normal burden facing rookie head coaches -- Kitchens might be shouldering heavier expectations than any front man in pro football. Consider: Cleveland went 5-3 under interim coach Gregg Williams, wrapping with a narrow loss on the season's final day. No franchise contributed more frenzy to the Free Agency Frenzy formula than the Browns did when they hatched the blockbuster acquisitions of Giants receiver Odell Beckham Jr. and defensive end Olivier Vernon, while also signing DT Sheldon Richardson. Kitchens, who served as offensive coordinator for much of 2018, is an in-house hire, which is good in that the nucleus is familiar with him. Not so good if this new-look group gets housed a couple times early in the season, like olden times.
Previous rank:*No. 10*
Dude, Russell Wilson, Doug Baldwin, K.J. Wright and Bobby Wagner are the survivors from those Super Bowl teams. It's so crazy how, with so much player movement these days, rosters morph over three years or so. The turnover was seen coming far in advance, as the Seahawks weren't going to employ Wilson on a cheap rookie contract forever. All those fans who wonder how the Browns are able to accomplish so much in free agency should remember that second-year pro Baker Mayfield is costing Cleveland a mere fraction of what franchise quarterbacks who aren't on their first contracts cost their teams. Seattle did use its cap room to bolster the interior of the offensive line, re-signing D.J. Fluker and bringing in Mike Iupati. There was also room to retain two key contributors to a defense that was surprisingly effective last season (despite withstanding waves of injuries, defections and retirements over the last two years). Frank Clark and Wright return to the front seven, although the franchise-tagged Clark is, for now, a temporary buy. Expect the Seahawks to hit this side of the ball further in the draft.
Previous rank:*No. 8*
All of the Earl Thomas talk clouded out David Irving's Blair Witch-esque Instagram video, even though the latter served as Irving's apparent retirement from football. Down one pass rusher already with the Randy Gregory*suspension,* and now down two with Irving also suspended, you know which position the Cowboys are eyeing in the draft. Especially with the twice-franchise-tagged DeMarcus Lawrence essentially serving as a temp employee. Looking at college DTs is a certainty. Dallas ought to start thinking about left tackle Tyron Smith's replacement, too. I know. Dallas fans want a wide receiver.
Previous rank:*No. 12*
Forgive Texans fans if they want to fast-forward to January to see if their team will ever make it out of the early rounds of the playoffs. Winning nine, 10 or even 11 games just isn't that much fun if, after sitting through the draft, minicamp updates, training camp "diaries," preseason matchups that cost full price to see but don't feature anybody playing, and the regular season, you just end up seeing your team lose to the other guys, 21-7, when it counts. Will this be another version of the almost-championship-caliber Texans team? Honey Badger, Kareem Jackson and Kevin Johnson no longer roam Houston's secondary. In their stead are Tashaun Gipson and Bradley Roby, who are more than capable. So the Texans aren't particularly better or worse at this stage. If we were to blink our eyes like Barbara Eden and grant the Texans a need filled, though, it would be a mammoth, hearty tackle who keeps Calais Campbell and every other AFC South monster off Deshaun Watson's tail all afternoon.
Previous rank:*No. 13*
Part of me wishes the Vikes -- and not the Redskins -- would have acquired Case Keenum and made Kirk Cousins compete. Skol. Cousins was far from the only issue in Minnesota in 2018; in fact, he was part of this team's strength in September and October. Midseason was when team and QB hit a lull, with an intermittently used running game and a formerly standout defense unable to overcome inopportune turnovers and mistakes. The latter received a boost when Anthony Barr*left the Jets standing at the altar.* Barr said signing in New York would have been like marrying "the wrong woman." I mean, who doesn't know that feeling? Um, that's not what I meant to say. GM Rick Spielman also brought back DT Shamar Stephen, who became a starter in Seattle last year after serving as a member of the Vikings' defensive line rotation. TheVikings' Defensive Line Rotation sounds like a synth band that would have opened up for Yes. Curious to see what this Minnesota group does in Round 1 of the draft. My colleague Charles Davis has the team going for tight end T.J. Hockenson at No. 18 overall. The guess here is offensive line.
Previous rank:*No. 14*
The biggest news of the Titans' offseason is that, no, Andrew Luck is not out for the year again. There's that, and the organization's apparent robbery of the state of Florida. Tennessee acquired former Dolphins starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill via trade and signed the best pass rusher Miami has owned (or rented) since Jason Taylor in Cameron Wake. GM Jon Robinson also took Adam Humphries off the market; the receiver had been a consistent performer for an inconsistent Bucs squad. And the pesky Titans pilfered former Rams guard Rodger Saffold from the marketplace. Yep, this team is better. Would be really cool if Brian Orakpo*unretired,* though.
Previous rank:*No. 11*
Can't wait to see Lamar Jackson operating at quarterback with a full offseason as the starter under his belt -- I want this just a smidge more than I want to engage in the debate about Joe Flacco being a Hall of Famer because he won a Super Bowl, which is sure to come down the pike soon. Make no mistake, the Ravens were plenty occupied outside of trading Flacco to Denver. They picked up a reliable running back in Mark Ingram, who can grind out tough yards in the cold of December, when Baltimore should be in the heart of the AFC North race (with Cleveland). Having Earl Thomas replace Eric Weddle is quite the luxury. Re-signing TE Nick Boyle was the tight move. But, but, but ... if the Ravens don't draft a pass rusher, other tight ends are gonna rack up 200 yards on them. This group lost two edge rushers -- Terrell Suggs, who signed with Arizona, and Za'Darius Smith, who signed with Green Bay -- to the marketplace. Smith's exit hurts. Suggs is irreplaceable in the intangibles department. C.J. Mosley (New York Jets) is gone, too. Ouch.
Previous rank:*No. 17*
The Falcons miss former offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian like you miss living with your mother-in-law. Fans in Atlanta want the offensive fireworks of 2016 back. GM Thomas Dimitroff wanted (and got) Grady Jarrett back, even if he had to use the franchise tag -- the Falcons' top free agency priority was to make sure the uber-disruptive DT didn't fly away. Losing RB Tevin Coleman and CB Robert Alford should sting a bit, but not enough to dim hopes for 2019. Coleman never evolved into a true lead back in Sark's offense, while last year was far from Alford's prime. The corner also didn't manufacture any takeaways despite starting the full season. Atlanta could go in any direction in the draft -- this is the consummate BPA team, if you will -- but a decent bet is that the organization (which holds the 14th overall pick) will look hard at D-line/edge-rushing talent. Early.
Previous rank:*No. 18*
It's no fun writing about the Packers during free agency anymore. Because with the famously FA-averse Ted Thompson no longer GM, I actually have to update this blurb with a signing or two. Never had to worry about that prior to the beginning of current GM Brian Gutekunst's reign last year. Green Bay stayed busy this past week, closing deals on S Adrian Amos, TE Marcedes Lewis, edge rushers Preston Smith and Za'Darius Smith, and OL Billy Turner. Packers fans are straight up googly-eyed over the additions of Smith and Smith to the pass rush ... especially when a Nick Perry sack was coming in as often as one of those Civil War chess pieces in the mail.
Previous rank:*No. 15*
Dumpst_r fir_. "Pat, I would like to buy a vowel ..." Welp. Did you hear the Steelers re-signed Ramon Foster? And added Steven Nelson, late of getting toasted in Kansas City on the reg? Get excited. Perhaps Pittsburgh will be fine sans the players who*shall not be named.* RB James Conner is legit. And you know Ben Roethlisberger will target JuJu Smith-Schuster 500 times in September alone, just to make sure a certain someone on the West Coast doesn't outproduce him. Looking forward to seeing how this team approaches the draft. Is GM Kevin Colbert content with James Washington, Eli Rogers and Donte Moncrief as his WR2, WR3 and WR4?
Previous rank:*No. 20*
Watching "The Return of the King" the other day, I realized how closely Matt Patricia resembles a young Peter Jackson. Appropriate, because the Lions have needed to CGI a consistent run game for the last decade now. That doesn't mean they sat on their hands during free agency -- in fact, they added a reliable pair of them, belonging to Danny Amendola. We'll find out together how much the slot receiver has left in the tank in his 12th year. Signing DL Trey Flowers was a masterstroke. Nickel CB Justin Coleman could help a beleaguered secondary, although paying $9 million per year for a player who has never started more than five games in a season and picked off three career passes was a microcosm for this entire free agency period. The salary cap rises proportionately with questionable fiscal judgement.
Previous rank:*No. 22*
The 49ers should consider wrapping newly signed RB Tevin Coleman in cellophane until September. Maybe they could hang him up on the wall in the package like those Starting Lineup figurines. (I still have a Roger Craig Starting Lineup figure, in the package.) We saw what happened to San Francisco's prized free-agent skill player of last year. Moving away from the offense ... opponents might struggle to move the ball freely against this Niners defense. Shocking that GM John Lynch would go all out on that side of the ball, considering his past. First, Lynch brought LB Kwon Alexander into the building. Then he traded for Chiefs pass rusher Dee Ford. The coolest add: Jason Verrett. The former Chargers corner has but one asterisk, which is a difficulty staying healthy. This could be an example of a minor move that packs a wallop toward a playoff push. By the way, you shouldn't remove your G.I. Joe figures from the package. Is that the Six Million Dollar Man's boss?
Previous rank:*No. 30*
If, in the spring of 2016, someone had said the organization was gonna dump Blake Bortles for Nick Foles, Jags fans would've thought that person was a straw short of a Capri Sun. Bortles had just tossed dozens of touchdown passes to the Allen Bros., while Foles was coming off a season in St. Louis in which he'd tossed more interceptions (10) than touchdowns (seven). Now Jacksonville is using Foles to push season-ticket sales (which is a far better option than the champagne monochrome jerseys), while Bortles is scrounging up backup work with the Rams. Outside of the quarterback, GM David Caldwell allowed defensive stalwarts Malik Jackson and Tashaun Gipson to walk. But they were far from the key components of what can still be an elite unit. Also worth noting: The team grabbed a nice player in TE Geoff Swaim.
Previous rank:*No. 24*
This just in: The Raiders have 50 other players. While the world revolves around whether or not a certain player has a blonde mustache, here are a few -- frosted -- tips as to how Oakland/Las Vegas can get back to the postseason. First, draft two pass rushers. Sure, the Raiders had one elite dude in Khalil Mack at this time a year ago. Now new GM Mike Mayock has four picks in the first 35 with which to obtain two, even if neither is of Mack's caliber. You'll recall that part of the Raiders' problem when they did have Mack's services is that they also had zero other serviceable pass rushers. Second, a corner should be part of the Day 1 plans, unless the corners available when the Raiders are picking are nowhere near the best players available (safety was addressed when Mayock inked Lamarcus Joyner to a deal). Third, get Marshawn Lynch back at the office. He hasn't lost much effectiveness, despite the wear and tear. You might not give him 300 carries, but he can still carry linebackers a few yards.
Previous rank:*No. 29*
From the Department of Things That Could Depress You About Your Life: Jets QB Sam Darnold is still only 21. The kid has already accomplished much at such a young age. My high point by the time I was 21 was making payments on a 1989 Mitsubishi Mighty Max. (Put a "system" in it, though, with an Alpine removable deck, too.) As if things weren't going well enough, the Jets just added the top running back in pro football from 2014 to '17 and a big-time guard in Kelechi Osemele. Successfully seducing C.J. Mosley was a huge bonus.
New York still has plenty of boxes to check in the draft, though. Oddly -- but appropriately -- enough, "Hulk" was on HBO while I was writing Gang Green's blurb. I'm not talking about the Sulking Ed Norton version, but the Eric Bana vehicle from 2003. This was back when Bana was on a run. He went on to star in "Troy" in 2004, protecting his wimpy little brother (Orlando Bloom, who did not make you forget Bloom had once played an elf). All of which is to say ... are Bell's days as the most effective tailback in the NFL as far gone as Bana's days as a youngish heartthrob? It merits asking. Most players who hold out a year don't have a great track record upon return, with Hall of Famer (and former Jet) John Riggins being an exception. Now NYJ needs to find a pass rusher in the draft.
Previous rank:*No. 21*
Hey, stay upbeat. Remember, Carolina ended last season on a winning "streak." This group will be different come training camp, although whether it's for the better or not is certainly up for debate. Gone are a ton of vets, including the Kalil brothers, Captain Munnerlyn, future Hall of Famer Julius Peppers, Devin Funchess and longtime mainstay Thomas Davis. Carolina fortified the offensive line (always fun news with Cam Newton coming off surgery), signing Matt Paradis and re-upping Daryl Williams. Now team brass is reportedly kicking the tires on Jermon Bushrod. All of which should also help Christian McCaffrey, who is sure to receive 350 touches. That is probably a low figure, frankly.
Previous rank:*No. 23*
No, I didn't buy all the AB midnight trade tweets, either. Think of the poor old Bills fan who was watching infomercials for the Elvis comeback edition plate and decided on a whim to hop on the internet in the wee hours. Buffalo instead obtained speedster John Brown, which, after the AB flirtation, might feel a bit like getting excited that "Star Wars" is on AMC, only to realize it's "Attack of the Clones." But Josh Allen's ability to launch the deep ball supersedes Hayden Christensen's ability to drive a film franchise.
Buffalo didn't stop there, signing a ton of players, paying good coin for a gold-star slot player in Cole Beasley. Don't let his numbers in a run-based offense led by an oft-inaccurate quarterback fool you. (Although that's kinda the same offense the Bills are firing up right now.) C Mitch Morse was a smart addition. Frank Gore was an odd but fun one, as well. Nothing like spelling a 30-year-old running back with a 35-year-old running back. Between LeSean McCoy and Gore, Buffalo is gearing up to win your 2010 fantasy league.
Previous rank:*No. 26*
If you want expressionless football at its zenith, Broncos fans, you got it. That's OK. They'll take it over another Case Keenum-led three-point outburst. Joe Flacco will need to be cool given that Denver's offensive line has changed personnel once again, losing center Matt Paradis and guard Billy Turner while adding Ja'Wuan James from the Dolphins. What will allow Flacco to breathe easily is the development of Courtland Sutton and the return of Emmanuel Sanders from a torn Achilles. Sutton was the most polished rookie wideout last year. Without dipping into fantasy too deep, he should be quite the sleeper. Look for Sutton to post 1,100 yards and seven touchdowns. How Denver's run game fares should influence how many touchdowns Flacco is capable of throwing. But here's guessing second-year RB Phillip Lindsay, like Sutton, is the real deal.
Previous rank:*No. 19*
It appears kicking nets are now safe on the Giants' sideline. The Giants traded their best player in OBJ, but while Twitter was quick to anoint the team a disappointment, and the team deserves to drop in these rankings, don't ignore the quality players the organization acquired last week. Golden Tate, Jabrill Peppers, and Kevin Zeitler can play. When and if Markus Golden is right, the difference between he and Olivier Vernon at this stage of their respective careers is close to negligible. Meanwhile, I sure like Eli Manning and all, but I'm looking forward to the day a Giants discussion centers around somebody else. I'll take Matt Dodge at this point. Anybody got any Ron Dayne stories? I miss "Thunder and Lightning."
Previous rank:*No. 25*
While it would be easy to make fun of Bruce Arians for intimating that Jameis Winston can be an All-Pro, keep in mind he did make Drew Stanton look effective during his time with the Cardinals. Arians is taking over a squad that is down a few major pieces, with DeSean Jackson, Kwon Alexander, and the oft-underrated Adam Humphries all residing in new cities. GM Jason Licht will be looking to the draft to retool the Bucs so they can compete in a wicked-tough division. Re-signing Donovan Smith provides one less headache, but Arians and Licht will have a lot of pain to deal with if they can't establish a respectable ground game this year.
Side note: This ranking could very well be too low for Tampa Bay, but there are too many unknowns with the club right now.
Previous rank:*No. 27*
No AB. No Flacco. No sh*^#y Browns. No Marvin Lewis. I feel like I don't even know you anymore, AFC North. So where do the Bengals fit in this division makeover? Last place. Probably. But that doesn't necessarily mean they're a bad team. Cincy will see plenty of its offensive talent return in a healthy Andy Dalton, A.J. Green, and Joe Mixon. Tyler Eifert is back on a one-year contract. The defense is the worry, as the Bengals added very little on that side of the ball in free agency. League observers aren't exactly, uh, observing this franchise at the moment. Understandable, given the Bengals' shoddy record last season and the fact that they have arguably the least-known rookie head coach in Zac Taylor, and a first-round pick just outside the top 10. Yet, given the state of the AFC North, a few deft maneuvers could have Taylor's group contending for the division title. Needs: OL, LB, and more pass rush. My NFL Network colleague Charley Casserly says preferably an interior rusher. Those don't grow on trees, unfortunately.
Previous rank:*No. 28*
Case Keenum!!Colt McCoy!! It'sRedskins*_Training Camp__Live!!!_ Yes, Keenum has been added to an offensive blend that will once again include the aging-but-still-productive *Adrian Peterson. Yet, the coup for Washington thus far this offseason was landing Landon Collins. After the team released D.J. Swearinger before the sun had even set on the 2018 season and bid adieu to Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Collins represents an upgrade -- some might say a massive upgrade -- at the safety position while being young enough to reward this organization's investment of $45 million guaranteed. Swearinger, however, was the emotional spark plug for Washington's defense. Going further, the departures of Preston Smith and Zach Brown must now be mitigated at the great college marketplace next month.
Previous rank:*No. 31*
Remember when you got your first car, and you daydreamed about what your first ride was gonna be? Your buddy went to South Padre for spring break in his 5.0. Becky next door had an orange Jeep Wrangler with the top down all summer. And then you got your Aunt Petunia's '89 Topaz, maroon on maroon, which you've seen at various family gatherings since 1989. That might be how Dolphins fans feel about their quarterback situation right now. Miami's QB depth chart currently consists of Ryan Fitzpatrick, Jake Rudock and Luke Falk. With Ryan Tannehill, Cameron Wake, and Ja'Wuan James gone, this Miami outfit is barely recognizable. (Never mind Josh Sitton, Frank Gore, Danny Amendola, Andre Branch and others.) The team did sign TE Dwayne Allen and CB Eric Rowe, both from New England, but that pair isn't exactly going to make the Patriots and Dolphins swap places in the AFC East. To put it bluntly, this is a start-from-scratch team. The bloated payroll is out; youth movement in. Now what? Take the best player available or grab a quarterback like Drew Lock with that first-round pick? O-line help would be wonderful, particularly if Miami goes QB1 in Round 1. Finding some pass rush to make life difficult for the opponent's quarterback makes sense, too.
Previous rank:*No. 32*
They're still last. The Cardinals did make some nifty moves in free agency, though. The most interesting of which was the signing of one Terrell Suggs, he of Arizona roots -- and the NFL's active sack leader now that Julius Peppers has retired. Jordan Hicks will be another nice addition to the defense. Kevin White might yet develop into something after injuries and a slow progression have resulted in a less-than-sterling first four seasons of his career. Ah, but who is playing quarterback? The easy pickin' is to slate Kyler Murray at No. 1 overall. How often do you see a franchise take a quarterback in the top 10 two straight years? Amazing.