The most enjoyable part of free agency, and the most hectic, is now behind us. In what was an opening unlike any other, more teams are trying to make their mark than ever thanks to a consistently rising salary cap that's more than $20 million ahead of where many general managers thought it would be at this time. So who did well, who did poorly and who didn't do enough? That's why we're here to pass out our executive superlatives for 2015.
MOST LIKELY TO SUCCEED: John Schneider, general manager, Seattle Seahawks: Yes, the team will struggle if the offensive line struggles. But Schneider added a sure-fire playmaker to his offense in tight end Jimmy Graham in order to counter-balance a defense that was once again sapped of some serious firepower. Pairing Graham with Russell Wilson should be a fantasy dream come true, and it should change the way we think about Seattle as an offense that relies primarily on ball control and play action.
MOST FORGETFUL: Ted Thompson, GM, Green Bay Packers: This isn't a bad thing. I'm sure Bill Gates was voted this once in high school or something. But people will forget that Thompson made one hell of a deal for the best receiver in free agency, bringing a 24-year-oldRandall Cobb back for four years at $40 million. Some in the Packers' organization bristle at their lack of free agency gusto, but when they're right back in the thick of the Super Bowl race this year, Thompson won't be so forgetful.
CUTEST COUPLE: Doug Whaley, Rex Ryan and Terry Pegula, GM, head coach and owner, Buffalo Bills: A Rex Ryan team will always enter with fireworks, and the brass in Buffalo understood that well. Say what you will about the moves they've made, and the relatively limited salary-cap space they've left themselves with, but Buffalo is providing its fan base with something it deserves. At this point, it's playoffs or bust, a point of view that was still a ways away before Percy Harvin and LeSean McCoy walked in the door. Now, it's up to Ryan and offensive coordinator Greg Roman to make the pieces fit.
MOST CREATIVE: Mickey Loomis, Khai Harley and Joey Laine, GM, Director of Football Administration and Salary Cap Analyst, New Orleans Saints: The trio has done wonders getting their team under the cap despite a hellish outlook, while replacing some recent departures with some interesting additions in Max Unger and C.J. Spiller. The Saints are building up the power element of their offense and had to make some bold choices. In the long term, upgrading their offensive line and adding a Pro Bowl running back might not be the worst way to prolong an already legendary career from Drew Brees.
MOST UNIQUE: Chip Kelly, head coach, Philadelphia Eagles: Had this been a ho-hum offseason, the award might have gone to Giants general manager Jerry Reese, who, despite an aggressive $100 million spending spree last offseason, continues to remain tight to his convictions, a rare find in today's NFL. Alas, Kelly dealt LeSean McCoy and Nick Foles, and brought in Sam Bradford, DeMarco Murray and Ryan Mathews. What will the experiment yield in 2015? For owner Jeffrey Lurie, he'd better hope a playoff win, or at least an extremely dominant regular season. Now that Kelly's in charge of the groceries, the meal cannot disappoint.