Another measure of success is a team knowing itself, whether it is positioned as a rebuilder or contender and whether the moves it has made works in conjunction with the status or is futile spending.
Keeping all that in mind with the early but busy action on the NFL’s open market in the 2022 offseason, here’s The Sporting News’ grades and rankings for how every team has done with personnel decisions before the draft next month:NFL DRAFT 2022: SN’s latest mock | Top 100 big board
NFL free agency grades: Ranking the best & worst offseason moves1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Key re-signings: WR Chris Godwin, C Ryan Jensen, CB Carlton Davis, G Aaron Stinnie, WR Breshad Perriman
- Key additions: G Shaq Mason, WR Russell Gage, S Logan Ryan
- Key losses: S Jordan Whitehead, G Alex Cappa, G Ali Marpet, TE O.J. Howard, EDGE Jason Pierre-Paul, DT Ndamukong Suh, CB Richard Sherman, RB Ronald Jones, RB Giovani Bernard, RB Le’Veon Bell
The Bucs retained Tom Brady after his brief flirtation with retirement and found a way to keep their key pieces intact (minus Leonard Fournette and Rob Gronkowski for now) to remain formidable Super Bowl contenders.
2. Buffalo Bills
- Key re-signings: DE Shaq Lawson, WR Isaiah McKenzie, WR Jake Kumerow, CB Siran Neal
- Key additions: EDGE Von Miller, G Rodger Saffold, TE O.J. Howard, RB Duke Johnson Jr., WR Jamison Crowder, DT Tim Settle, DE Jordan Phillps, DT DaQuan Jones
- Key losses: QB Mitchell Trubisky, DT Harrison Phillips, DT Star Lotulelei, CB Levi Wallace, C Jon Feliciano, WR Emmanuel Sanders, WR Cole Beasley, OT Daryl Williams
Miller was a surprise coup for this strong AFC championship contender. The Bills reloaded their defensive line rotation and worked patiently to find depth elsewhere.
3. Cleveland Browns
- Key re-signings: TE David Njoku, LB Anthony Walker
- Key additions: QB Deshaun Watson WR Amari Cooper, EDGE Chase Winovich, WR Jakeem Grant, QB Jacoby Brissett, DT Taven Bryan
- Key losses: WR Jarvis Landry, TE Austin Hooper, WR Rashard Higgins, LB Mack Wilson, K Chase McLaughlin, CB M.J. Stewart
Unless Watson is suspended by the NFL for a significant portion of the 2022 season, the Browns upgraded from Baker Mayfield on the field and are back in the conversation for AFC title contention, too. Cooper was a nice new No. 1 to get for their new franchise QB, too.
4. Los Angeles Chargers
- Key re-signings: WR Mike Williams, K Dustin Hopkins, QB Chase Daniel, DT Christian Covington
- Key additions: CB J.C. Jackson, EDGE Khalil Mack, DT Sebastian Joseph-Day, DT Austin Johnson, TE Gerald Everett
- Key losses: EDGE Uchenna Nwosu, DT Linval Joseph, CB Chris Harris Jr., TE Jared Cook, OT Bryan Bulaga, LB Kyzir White, C/G Scott Quessenberry
Let’s throw down the Chargers as another AFC contender that spent its resources well to take advantage of Justin Herbert’s rookie contract. Jackson and Mack can be an incredible new 1-2 punch for Brandon Staley’s defense.
5. Las Vegas Raiders
- Key additions: WR Davante Adams, EDGE Chandler Jones, CB Rock Ya-Sin, RB Brandon Bolden, DT Bilal Nichols, FB Jakob Johnson, CB Anthony Averett, WR Mack Hollin, RB Ameer Abudllah
- Key losses: EDGE Yannick Ngakoue, CB Casey Hayward Jr., EDGE Carl Nassib, FB Alec Ingold, LB Nicholas Morrow, QB Marcus Mariota, RB Peyton Barber, DT Quinton Jefferson
The Raiders gave Derek Carr a dominant No. 1 to strengthen their playoff status in a very tough AFC West. Jones is a nice complement to Maxx Crosby, too. There’s smart spending here overall from the new ex-Patriots braintrust.
6. Tennessee Titans
- Key re-signings: EDGE Harold Landry, C Ben Jones, K Randy Bullock, RB Dontrell Hilliard, RB Jordan Wilkins
- Key additions: WR Robert Woods, TE Austin Hooper, RB Trenton Cannon, OT Jamarco Jones, CB Buster Skrine
- Key losses: WR Julio Jones, OT David Quessenberry, G Rodger Saffold, RB D’Onta Foreman, CB Jackrabbit Jenkins, TE Anthony Firsker
The Titans weren’t looking all that good early in free agency, but then Hooper and Woods became the ideal offensive skill players available to boost Derrick Henry and Ryan Tannehill. They’re looking great in the AFC South again, especially when keeping Landry.
7. New York Jets
- Key re-signings: WR Braxton Berrios, QB Joe Flacco, RB Tevin Coleman, DT Nate Shepard, OT Conor McDermott, S Lamarcus Joyner
- Key additions: G Laken Tomlinson, S Jordan Whitehead, CB D.J. Reed, TE C.J. Uzomah, TE Tyler Conklin, LB Jacob Martin
- Key losses: DT Foley Fatukasi, S Marcus Maye, OT Morgan Moses, WR Jamison Crowder, WR Keelan Cole, G Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, LB Blake Cashman
Joe Douglas and Robert Saleh didn’t go nuts with the spending but were very calculated in the needed upgrades for the defense and offense with great draft capital ahead to continue the expedited turnaround centered around Zach Wilson.
8. Indianapolis Colts
- Key re-signings: TE Mo Alie-Cox, LB Zaire Franklin, OT Matt Pyror, DT/DE Tyquan Lewis
- Key additions: QB Matt Ryan, EDGE Yannick Ngakoue, CB Brandon Facyson
- Key losses: QB Carson Wentz, OT Eric Fisher, G Mike Glowinski, TE Jack Doyle, CB Rock Ya-Sin, S George Odum, DE Al-Quadin Muhammad, RB Marlon Mack
The Colts were sitting on a lot of money but have slow-played free agency under sometimes-aggressive GM Chris Ballard, who waited patiently to upgrade from Wentz to Ryan at QB.
9. Miami Dolphins
- Key re-signings: EDGE Emmanuel Ogbah, TE Mike Gesicki, WR Preston Williams, LB Duke Riley, LB Elandon Roberts, LB Brenann Scarlett, TE Durham Smythe
- Key additions: RB Chase Edmonds, LG Connor Williams, WR Cedrick Wilson, RB Raheem Mostert, QB Teddy Bridgewater, WR Trent Sherfield, CB Keion Crossen
- Key losses: QB Jacoby Brissett, WR Mack Hollins WR Will Fuller, RB Phillip Lindsay
Keeping Ogbah and Gesicki was a great start and then they loaded up Mike McDaniel with several key versatile pieces and a better backup to Tua Tagovailoa in Bridgewater.
10. Cincinnati Bengals
- Key re-signings: S Jessie Bates, DT B.J. Hill, QB Brandon Allen, CB Eli Apple, S Michael Thomas, WR Mike Thomas
- Key additions: G Alex Cappa, G Ted Karras, OT La’el Collins
- Key losses: DT Larry Ogunjobi, TE C.J. Uzomah, CB Darius Phillips
The AFC champions had to be careful with spending with a big contract for Joe Burrow just around the corner. They did good value work on the offensive line, the biggest need, and kept some key role players under Duke Tobin.
11. Seattle Seahawks
- Key re-signings: S Quandre Diggs, TE Will Dissly, CB Sidney Jones, DT Al Woods, Rashed Penny
- Key additions: TE Noah Fant, DT Shelby Harris, DT Quinton Jefferson, EDGE Uchenna Nwosu, QB Drew Lock, G Austin Blythe, CB Artie Burns
- Key losses: QB Russell Wilson, CB D.J. Reed, OT Jamarco Jones, TE Gerald Everett
The Seahawks were a last-place team with Wilson, so they had to move their unhappy QB and got tremendous return for him. They were able to give themselves some flexibility to spend elsewhere and save big at the most important position in their necessary hastened rebuild for Pete Carroll and John Schneider.
12. Arizona Cardinals
- Key re-signings: RB James ‘Conner, TE Zach Ertz, TE Maxx Williams, QB Colt McCoy, LB Dennis Gardeck, P Andy Lee
- Key addition: CB Jeff Gladney
- Key losses: RB Chase Edmonds, WR Christian Kirk, EDGE Chandler Jones, LB Jordan Hicks, DE Jordan Phillips, CB Robert Alford, WR A.J. Green, DT Corey Peters
The Cardinals had to get younger after being the oldest team based on average player age last season. It also looks like the Kyler Murray drama has cooled for Steve Keim and Kliff Kingsbury and they re-signed the right guys without overspending based on their cap situation.
13. Los Angeles Rams
- Key re-signings: OT Joe Noteoom, C Brian Allen
- Key addition: WR Allen Robinson
- Key losses: EDGE Von Miller, RB Robert Woods, CB Darious Williams, G Austin Corbett, DT Sebastian Joseph-Day, P Johnny Hekker, TE Johnny Mundt
Les Snead and Sean McVay had an interesting follow to winning the Super Bowl, taking some expected hits. Losing Miller hurts, but they upgraded wide receiver and kept the offensive line strong.
14. Philadelphia Eagles
- Key re-signings: DT Fletcher Cox, RB Boston Scott, S Anthony Harris, WR Greg Ward
- Key additions: EDGE Haason Reddick, WR Zach Pascal
- Key losses: EDGE Derek Barnett, DT Hassan Ridgeway, LB Alex Singleton, DE/LB Genard Avery, G Brandon Brooks, S Rodney McLeod, CB Steven Nelson, EDGE Ryan Kerrigan
The Eagles had to work some good cap magic with extended GM Howie Roseman and still got one of the most impactful free agents in former Temple star Reddick. They also moved on from fading players.
15. Washington Commanders
- Key re-signings: RB J.D. McKissic, WR Cam Sims, CB Bobby McCain, C Tyler Larsen
- Key additions: QB Carson Wentz, G Andrew Norwell
- Key losses: G Brandon Scherff, G Ereck Flowers, QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, DT Tim Settle, DT Matt Ioannidis, S DeShazor Everett, S Landon Collins, TE Ricky Seals-Jones, QB Kyle Allen, WR Adam Humphries, ILB Jon Bostic
Wentz is a bit of a gamble but does potentially stabilize QB for Ron Rivera and Scott Turner based on how well he can do in the system. The offensive line, defensive line, secondary and wide receiver corps required a collective shakeup and that happened.
16. Atlanta Falcons
- Key re-signings: RB/WR Cordarrelle Patterson, K Younghoe Koo, CB Isaiah Oliver
- Key additions: QB Marcus Mariota, CB Casey Hayward Jr., RB Damien Williams
- Key losses: QB Matt Ryan, LB Foyesade Oluokun, TE Hayden Hurst, WR Russell Gage, EDGE Dante Fowler Jr.
The Falcons enter a new era after trading Matt Ryan and now have a chance to start fresh by drafting his replacement to develop behind Mariota. Hayward was a nice get given their tough cap spot.
17. Jacksonville Jaguars
- Key re-signings: OT Cam Robinson, G Tyler Shatley, CB Tre Herndon
- Key additions: G Brandon Scherff, WR Christian Kirk, DT Foley Fatukasi, LB Foyesade Oluokun, CB Darious Williams, WR Zay Jones, TE Evan Engram
- Key losses: LB Myles Jack, WR D.J. Chark, G Andrew Norwell, TE James O’Shaughnessy, G A.J. Cann, DT Taven Bryan, LB Damien Wilson, RB Dare Ogunbowale
The Jaguars get this grade more of their defensive quality in the midst of all the quantity, as their offensive moves remained questionable based on the lack of value to help Trevor Lawrence under Doug Pederson and Trent Baalke.
18. San Francisco 49ers
- Key re-signing: RB JaMycal Hasty
- Key additions: CB Charvarius Ward, LB Oren Burks, DT Hassan Ridgeway, S George Odum, WR Ray-Ray McCloud
- Key losses: G Laken Tomlinson, DT D.J. Jones, RB Raheem Mostert, WR Trent Sherfield, G Tom Compton, RB Trenton Cannon
The 49ers took some hits on the offensive and defensive lines but John Lynch did some good work on the back seven of the defense to mitigate some of that. The big remaining question is whether they can successful deal Jimmy Garoppolo, harder now with the Colts getting Ryan.
19. Denver Broncos
- Key re-signings: LB Josey Jewell, DT DeShawn Williams
- Key additions: QB Russell Wilson, EDGE Randy Gregory, DT D.J Jones, LB Alec Singleton
- Key losses: DT Shelby Harris, TE Noah Fant, QB Drew Lock, QB Teddy Bridgwater, LB Alexander Johnson
The Broncos are doing their best to build a championship potential roster for Russell Wilson, but they aren’t there yet and gave up a lot key draft resources and a couple key veterans, too. There’s a good chance they remain the fourth-best team in a loaded AFC West.
20. Pittsburgh Steelers
- Key re-signings: OT Chukwuma Okorafor, LB Robert Spillane, CB Arthur Maulet, S Miles Killebrew, QB Dwayne Haskins
- Key additions: QB Mitchell Trubisky, G James Daniels, LB Myles Jack, C Mason Cole, CB Levi Wallace, CB Ahkello Witherspoon, WR Gunner Olszewski
- Key losses: QB Ben Roethlisberger, CB Joe Haden, OT Zach Banner, WR JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR James Washington, WR Ray-Ray McCloud
The Steelers worked on their offensive line, linebacker and secondary issues and also got a contingency at QB in Trubisky. Per usual, their bread and butter for big improvement is the draft.
21. Dallas Cowboys
- Key re-signings: WR Michael Gallup, TE Dalton Schultz, LB Leighton Vander Esch, S Malik Hooker, S Jayron Kearse
- Key additions: WR James Washington
- Key losses: WR Amari Cooper, OT La’el Collins EDGE, Randy Gregory, G Connor Williams, WR Cedrick Wilson, S Xavier Woods, K Greg Zuerlein
The Cowboys had to get creative to keep some preferred contracts and took real hits at wide receiver, offensive line and defense. They came out OK given they were bound to lose something significant with their cap situation.
22. Baltimore Ravens
- Key re-signings: TBD
- Key additions: S Marcus Willams, DT Michael Pierce, OT Morgan Moses
- Key losses: C Bradley Bozeman, OT Alejandro Villanueva, CB Anthony Averett
The Ravens had limited means for improving their team going in but managed to solve a big issue at safety by splurging on Williams. Moses proves good swing depth with Villanueva retiring.
23. Detroit Lions
- Key re-signings: S Tracy Walker, LB Alex Anzalone, EDGE Charles Harris, WR Josh Reynolds, WR Kalif Raymond, QB Tim Boyle, QB David Blough, CB D.J. Moore
- Key addition: WR D.J. Chark
- Key loss: EDGE Trey Flowers, OLB Jalen Reeves-Maybin
The Lions kept some so-so talent and Chark was their notable young veteran signing in lieu of being all about the youth movement in the draft. They’ve been a solid rebuilding team, but far short of spectacular.
24. Kansas City Chiefs
- Key re-signings: OT Orlando Brown, QB Chad Henne, OT Andrew Wylie
- Key additions: CB Justin Reid, WR JuJu Smith-Schuster
- Key losses: CB/S Tyrann Mathieu, CB Charvarius Ward, EDGE Melvin Ingram, RB Darrel Williams, G/T Mike Remmers, WR Demarcus Robinson, WR Byron Pringle, G Austin Blythe
The Chiefs downgraded by going from Mathieu to Reid and also took another considerable secondary hit in Ward. Smith-Schuster is intriguing in the offense. But Kansas City got little edge here compared to their very active division opponents, who gained ground.
25. Green Bay Packers
- Key re-signings: LB De’Vondre Campbell
- Key additions: P Pat O’Donnell
- Key losses: WR Davante Adams, EDGE Za’Darius Smith, OT Billy Turner, G/C Lucas Patrick, LB Oren Burks, WR Equanimeous St. Brown
The Packers did everything for Aaron Rodgers only to need to pass on re-signing Adams. Campbell was the priority to keep over the others with little money to spend.
26. New England Patriots
- Key re-signings: S Devin McCourty, RB James White, OT Trent Brown, QB Brian Hoyer, LB Ja’Whaun Bentley, G James Ferentz, K Nick Folk, WR Matthew Slater
- Key additions: LB Mack Wilson, CB Terrance Mitchell, RB Ty Montgomery
- Key losses: CB J.C. Jackson, G Shaq Mason, LB Kyle Van Noy, LB Dont’a Hightower, LB Chase Winovich, RB Brandon Bolden, WR Gunner Olszewski
New England’s typical exodus of particular veterans vs. the others wasn’t inspiring given how well Buffalo, Miami and New York did in the division. They’re for a status quo team at best in Year 2 of Mac Jones.
27. Minnesota Vikings
- Key re-signing: P Jordan Berry
- Key additions: DT Harrison Phillips, LB Jordan Hicks, TE Johnny Mundt
- Key losses: LB Anthony Barr, LB Nick Vigil, CB Patrick Peterson, CB Mackensie Alexander, DE Everson Griffen, G Rashod Hill, DT Sheldon Richardson, DT Michael Pierce, TE Tyler Conklin, S Xavier Woods, C Mason Cole
The Vikings committed to Kirk Cousins more on an extended deal as their most notable pre-draft move with a new coach and GM combination of Kevin O’Connell and Kwesi Adofo-Memsah. They are slowly retooling for new leadership but lost a lot in the process.
28. New Orleans Saints
- Key re-signing: QB Jameis Winston
- Key addition: S Marcus Maye
- Key losses: LT Terron Armstead, S Marcus Williams, RB Ty Montgomery
The Saints started free agency trying to dig out of salary-cap hell and then threw a lot into Maye downgrading for Williams. They ended it with bigger QB questions after failing to land Watson.
29. New York Giants
- Key re-signings: OT Korey Cunningham
- Key additions: QB Tyrod Taylor, G Mike Glowinski, C Jon Feliciano, E Ricky Seals-Jones, RB Matt Breida
- Key losses: TE Evan Engram, S, Logan Ryan, DT Austin Johnson, CB Keion Crossen
The Giants couldn’t do much with their new coach and GM combination of Brian Daboll and Joe Schoen. The offensive line pickups help, but there’s not much to see here ahead of the team having two high first-rounders in the draft.
30. Chicago Bears
- Key re-signing: S DeAndre Houston-Carson
- Key additions: C/G Lucas Patrick, DT Justin Jones, LB Nicholas Morrow, WR Equanimeous St. Brown, WR Byron Pringle, DT Al-Quadin Muhammad
- Key losses: EDGE Khalil Mack, DT Akiem Hicks, WR Allen Robinson, G James Daniels, DE Bilal Nichols, RB Damien Williams, WR Jakeem Grant, CB Artie Burns, P Pat O’Donnell
The Bears were another weak performing team in free agency as it feels like GM Ryan Poles is pushing to be fully committed to a massive rebuilding situation across the roster.
31. Carolina Panthers
- Key re-signings: CB Donte Jackson, WR Brandon Zylstra, EDGE Marquise Haynes, K Zane Gonzalez
- Key additions: RB D’Onta Foreman, G Austin Corbett, C Bradley Bozeman, LB Cory Littleton, S Xavier Woods, P Johnny Hekker, WR Rashard Higgins, LB Damien Wilson
- Key losses: EDGE Haason Reddick, CB Stephon Gilmore, CB A.J. Bouye, DT DaQuan Jones, DE Morgan Fox
The Panthers also lost on Watson and are committing more to Sam Darnold. They’ve worked a little at the offensive line, but they seem to be all over the place in the questionable plans of Scott Fitterer and Matt Rhule.
32. Houston Texans
- Key re-signings: DT Maliek Collins, CB Desmond King, C Justin Brit QB Jeff Driskel, WR Chris Conley, RB Royce Freeman, LB Christian Kirksey, S Terrance Brooks, TE Pharaoh Brown
- Key additions: G A.J. Cann, LB Jalen Reeves-Maybin, LB Blake Cashman, QB Kyle Allen, RB Dare Ogunbowale, LB Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, CB M.J. Stewart, OT Cedric Ogbuehi, C Scott Quessenberry
- Key losses: QB Deshaun Watson, QB Tyrod Taylor, S Justin Reid, LB Jacob Martin, RB David Johnson
The Texans seem like they’re just shuffling around average players under Nick Caserio and Lovie Smith to field a passable starting team. The whole Watson debacle can’t be forgotten in stamping their personnel acquiring dysfunction.