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The student news site of Freehold Township High School

Patriot Press

The student news site of Freehold Township High School

Patriot Press


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NFL Free Agency Grades: Week 1


The NFL off-season is in full swing and many marquee free agents have found new homes. Teams are spending money like wildfire. Here are seven that spent it well and won the early stages of free agency.

Philadelphia Eagles

Considering how bad the Eagles’ year ended, it is no surprise that they went all out in free agency, and the result of the spending is a much-improved lineup. Saquon Barkley was their parmount signing, and behind one of the best offensive lines in football, he looks set to flourish. Extending Landon Dickerson was crucial after Jason Kelce’s retirement, and signing Matt Hennessy adds depth at longtime great Jason Kelce’s position of center. On the other side of the ball, Bryce Huff offers up deadly speed off the edge, and the resigning of Brandon Graham ensures that the Eagles have someone to lead in the locker room. The CJ Gardner-Johnson contract was long overdue, as Howie Roseman should have given him this contract this time last year, correcting that error. Keep an eye out for Devin White. He has not been at his best, but at his best, he can be a monster in the middle of the defense. And don’t be surprised if Kenny Pickett proves to be a solid backup if Jalen Hurts gets injured–the Ocean Township native is bulky enough to run the “Tush Push” with. Basically, every signing the Eagles made can contribute in some way, and that is the ideal free agency window for an NFL team.

Atlanta Falcons

The Falcons only made one notable signing, but it was an extremely notable one. Kirk Cousins’s 4-year deal is one that takes the Falcons from middle of the pack to playoff contenders. If that wasn’t enough, the Falcons traded Desmond Ridder for Rondale Moore and signed Darnell Mooney, giving Cousins three dynamic receiving weapons alongside Kyle Pitts and Bijan Robinson. Look out for Charlie Woerner, too. The ex-49er is a coveted blocking tight end who will contribute immediately, despite being a backup. Be ready for the Falcons to unleash their wrath next year.

Chicago Bears

Will I have the Bears winning the NFC North next year? Maybe, but they are definitely in the running for the playoffs. The signing of DeAndre Swift adds a lot of juice to the run game, and the Keenan Allen acquisition is (and likely will remain) the bargain trade of the offseason. Gerald Everett gives Caleb Williams a second solid red zone option, so expect the offense to be a bit of a juggernaut. On the other side of the ball, Kevin Byard and Jonathan Owens are both starter-quality additions that instantly upgrade the safety position. Retaining Jaylon Johnson was key, and though they may be short on personnel in the front seven, the draft offers up a lot of high-upside options, so the Bears may end up entering 2024 with a complete team.

Jacksonville Jaguars

The late-season collapse served as a wake-up call for the Jaguars to improve their defense, as reflected by the tagging of Josh Allen and the signings of Darnell Savage and Arik Armstead, the latter of which will flourish in a front seven combined with Allen and Travon Walker. On offense, Gabe Davis looks to be a solid Calvin Ridley replacement at a discounted price, Mitch Morse looks to be a solid starting center at a bargain price, Devin Duvernay gives the Jags a new special teams weapon, and hometown kid Mac Jones offers a nice insurance policy should Trevor Lawrence get hurt. The Jaguars look poised for a post-season return.

Detroit Lions

Number one priority for Detroit? Defense. It let them down in the third quarter of the NFC Championship game, but the new additions decrease the probability of that happening again. Carlton Davis and Amik Robertson give Dan Quinn two solid options at corner, whilst DJ Reader and Marcus Davenport offer great run defending and high pass rush upside, respectively. The offense is nearly complete, with only Jonah Jackson leaving behind any sort of substantial hole (filled by Kevin Zeitler), so kudos to GM Brad Holmes for going all out to fix the defense.

Los Angeles Rams

Yes, losing Aaron Donald is a big loss. Yes, other teams lost big pieces and improved (honorable mention to the Tennessee Titans). But, the Rams made a big splash in free agency. They signed Jonah Jackson from fellow playoff contenders Detroit to play left guard, and his counterpart, Kevin Dotson, justifiably got a massive extension off the back of an elite season. Plus, DeMarcus Robinson is staying. Colby Parkinson can do many things for an offense, and Darious Williams and Kamren Curl are both underrated players who look like they can elevate the Rams to new heights, even without their best player.

Houston Texans

Our last team is one that used this offseason to make a statement of intent to the rest of the league. The Texans’ 10-7 record and divisional playoff run showed that this team had potential, but this offseason, Houston looked to lay the foundation for a dynasty. They re-signed tight end Dalton Schultz to a hefty $36 million extension before signing the fifth-leading sack producer from 2023, Danielle Hunter, and landing Joe Mixon in a trade involving a 2024 7th-round pick. Houston also signed Denico Autry and Azeez Al-Shaair from rival Tennessee, reuniting the latter with his old defensive coordinator from the 49ers. The Jaguars certainly improved, but don’t be surprised if these signings (complemented by a major breakout season from Will Anderson) take Houston to the top of the division and maybe even the AFC.

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