Around the NFL  

 

Free agency grades: AFC West

Print


After more than a week of free-agency action, it's time to take stock of what teams have accomplished thus far. We'll assign highly scientific and inarguable grades for each NFL team's free-agent haul thus far, noting their additions and subtractions. The AFC West is below.

Denver Broncos

It's been a bad month for John Elway, no matter how you spin it. The Broncos general manager wanted to keep Brock Osweiler and he failed to do so. Forget the "players that want to be here" line. The Broncos were willing to pay Osweiler $16.5 million per season, but they slow-played negotiations and wasted four years of development. Now they are starting over from scratch at the game's most important position with Mark Sanchez and possibly a broken-beyond-repair Colin Kaepernick.

That mistake alone is worthy of a poor grade, but it impacted so many other decisions. Would the Broncos have extended more to keep Danny Trevathan (or Malik Jackson) if they knew Osweiler was out the door? Perhaps it was a factor in trying to go cheap with C.J. Anderson's initial restricted free-agent tender. When the Broncos matched Anderson's offer sheet with Miami, Elway essentially was admitting another $3.5 million mistake (he could have kept Anderson for $2.5 million and will instead pay Anderson $6 million in 2016). Denver also saw Von Miller's price tag go up as guys like Olivier Vernon signed monster deals. The Broncos can replace role players like David Bruton and Evan Mathis. And they made a smart deal with Russell Okung on Thursday, which could lead to Ryan Clady getting cut. But the Osweiler decision was botched, no matter how his tenure in Houston goes. Grade: D+

Watch:

Kansas City Chiefs

This was such an Andy Reid/John Dorsey free-agent period. They stayed out of the headlines and were quietly effective, retaining Jaye Howard, Derrick Johnson and Tamba Hali for reasonable prices (Howard came at an especially surprising price). Right tackle Mitchell Schwartz upgrades a longtime trouble spot. Losing Sean Smith to a division rival stings, but this is the type of no-nonsense free agent periods that good teams enjoy before putting up another 10 wins in the standings. Grade: B+

Oakland Raiders

You know the Raiders are on to something when longtime critic Chris Wesseling can't contain his excitement. Sean Smith reminds us of all the classic, physical cornerbacks the Raiders have employed over the years, and his arrival makes a division rival worse. Kelechi Osemele and Donald Penn form a terrific left side of the offensive line. This group might be pricey, but it has a chance to be a dominant offensive line. Bruce Irvin adds a versatile element to the team's front seven, even if he's not a true bookend pass rusher with Khalil Mack. Meanwhile, the best Raiders player that left was ... Tony Bergstrom? Grade: A-

San Diego Chargers

Cornerback Casey Hayward came at a great price. Is he really that much worse than Janoris Jenkins? Heyward, Brandon Flowers and Jason Verrett form one of the best cornerback trios in the NFL. The Chargers did a nice job retaining tackle Joe Barksdale and tight end Antonio Gates, although it hurts to see Gates' running mate Ladarius Green leave town. Wide receiver Travis Benjamin looks like a perfect receiver for Philip Rivers to target deep up the seams. The Chargers would have an even higher grade, but they deserve to be knocked some for the way they handled the end of safety Eric Weddle's career in San Diego. Grade: B-

Print