Typically a writer for the Around the NFL team here at NFL.com, Gregg Rosenthal channeled his inner soothsayer when he correctly predicted that a massive wave of trades would hit the NFL world this offseason. The movement Rosenthal dubbed the "trade tsunami" over a month ago, quickly reached a fever pitch. Teams left and right couldn't help themselves, swapping picks and players at a breakneck pace.
Now that we've had some time to marinate on these trades and the effect they'll have on the teams involved, we can assign grades for all the major transactions. In true youthful contrarian fashion, we won't go off an A-F traditional grading scale. Rather, I graded the trades in one of the following categories:
-- Love it.
-- Like it.
-- Cool with it.
-- Not a fan.
Now, let's pore over all this madness!
Bucs make a move for pass-rush help
Tampa Bay ranked 28th in total pressures recorded with 169 in 2017, per Next Gen Stats, and was dead last in sacks with 22. The pass rush was a glaring weakness, weighing down the entire sinking defense. With that in mind, sending a third-round pick and swapping selections in the fourth is a fine price to pay for a proven defensive end. Pierre-Paul is unlikely to be the solution to the Buccaneers' pressure woes at this stage of his career, but he can certainly be part of the solution. The Bucs will get the best out of him if they can put him in a rotation with 2016 rookie Noah Spence, the newly signed Vinny Curry and an incoming draft selection. Pierre-Paul's down-to-down effectiveness tailed off this past season because he handled an outrageous 91.7 percent snap rate. No pass rusher can be effective when he is rotated with such little frequency. Bucs' trade grade: Like it.
After playing just 20 games in 2015 and '16, Pierre-Paul stayed healthy for a full season this past year and led the Giants with 8.5 sacks. However, the Giants were not a good pass-rushing unit overall last season, even with him in tow. New York totaled just 146 pressures in 2017, per Next Gen Stats, good for dead last in the league. The lack of depth was a big issue, as both JPP and Olivier Vernon were rarely subbed out over the last two seasons when they were healthy. A shakeup was needed and the Giants recouped a third-rounder for a declining 29-year-old. However, by shipping JPP out of town, they shoveled deeper into an area on their roster where they already had a hole. Giants' trade grade: Cool with it.
Jets trade up to No. 3 overall
Indianapolis acquires: 2018 first-round pick (sixth overall), two 2018 second-round picks, 2019 second-round pick.
The Jets paid more than the value determined "worth it" by football luminaries of the past to jump up three spots. Whatever. When we re-examine a team's pursuit of a franchise quarterback, no one cares about the journey it takes to get there. History only remembers whether you arrive at the destination of picking a future starter at the position. Not a soul breathes a word of regret over the draft picks lost by the Rams and Eagles in the trade-ups for Jared Goffand Carson Wentz after stellar second seasons for each. We won't hear anyone bemoan these lost second-rounders by the Jets as long as they nail the quarterback evaluation of the player they select third overall. Jets' trade grade: Love it.
Chris Ballard and the Colts were strangely quiet during the opening wave of free agency, despite sitting on a mountain of open salary-cap space. The easy assumption, as a result, was that this organization planned on building through the draft. Their trade with the Jets solidified that course of action loud and clear. By agreeing to just move down three spots, the Colts acquired a trio of second-round picks over the next two drafts. That's an incredibly impactful haul for a team that has layers of holes to fill. Ballard's patient calculation paid off in this move and he's set up to replenish a barren Colts roster with multiple young players. The sweetener of the deal is remaining in the top 10 at sixth overall, where Ballard still stands to benefit from a falling blue-chip prospect as a result of a quarterback run during the picks ahead of him. Colts' trade grade: Love it.
Patriots boost special teams
The Patriots value special teams and it's certainly part of what makes them a perennially elite organization. Patterson will take the place of 2017 leading kick returner Dion Lewis and complement special teams stalwart Matthew Slater on the coverage unit. Patterson likely won't push to climb a stacked wide receiver depth chart in New England, but he brings needed reinforcements to the third phase of the game. Patriots' trade grade: Like it.
New Raiders head coach Jon Gruden must see no need for a player like Patterson on his roster, as this essentially amounts to a giveaway for Oakland. Everyone knows the Patterson experience as a wide receiver is a dream long since given up on. But the former first-round pick has developed into both a top kick returner and gunner. The Raiders clearly want to remake their wide receiver room, but will miss Patterson's presence on special teams. Raiders' trade grade: Not a fan.
Patriots reunite the McCourty brothers
New England essentially swapped a sixth-round pick out for a seventh to acquire the rights to McCourty. With Malcolm Butler leaving the team via free agency, the Patriots needed a starter across from Stephon Gilmore. McCourty can execute the team's preferred plan of aggressive press-man coverage and gets to join his twin brother, Devin, in this move. Patriots' trade grade: Love it.
The Browns were going to release McCourty and even went so far as to announce their plans to do so, but New England swooped in at the last minute to seal a trade. You could argue that the Browns were savvy to move up a round in the draft by shipping out a player they were going to part with anyway. But the decision to jettison McCourty in the first place is a puzzling one. The 30-year-old corner played 84 percent of the defensive snaps last year and allowed a 79.3 passer rating in coverage, per Next Gen Stats. Cleveland needs all the help it can get and has money to spare, so it's unclear why the Browns found no use for this capable asset. Browns' trade grade: Not a fan.
Dolphins find O-line replacement
The Dolphins made the move to release longtime starter Mike Pouncey and quickly identified a replacement plan in Kilgore. Miami's offensive line has been a source of constant turmoil over the last several seasons. It's clear that the team wants a makeover. Going from Pouncey to Kilgore is a downgrade, but this gives the Fins a solid and cheap starter at a position where they were set on transitioning. Dolphins' trade grade: Like it.
On the surface, this one seems strange for the 49ers, who just signed Kilgore to a three-year contract extension for $12 million with $7 million guaranteed a month ago. However, the team identified former Giants center Weston Richburg as an upgrade and scooped him off the free-agent market. Kyle Shanahan values the pivot man on the offensive line and wants Richburg to be that guy. This move helps the 49ers get Kilgore's money off the books without having to incur a major cap charge. 49ers' trade grade: Like it.
Vikings continue QB room makeover
The Vikings loudly declared who would sit atop their depth chart by signing Cousins to a three-year, fully guaranteed big-money deal. Yet, with all three of their 2017 passers flying the coup, they needed to add further layers of reinforcements. Trevor Siemian saw his play crater after an excellent first month, but showed enough promise to be considered a capable backup when the conditions around him are intact. Few offenses provide better conditions than the Vikings' unit. Siemian provides the team a strong depth option who comes with a similar skill set to their starter. Vikings' trade grade: Like it.
After signing Case Keenum to serve as their starting quarterback, Denver sent their 2017 Week 1 starter to Keenum's former team. John Elway appears comfortable moving forward without Siemian in the mix for the backup quarterback competition, and in that case, it's wise to accrue some value out of Siemian. Another quarterback addition could come to Denver in the form of a draft pick next month. Broncos' trade grade: Cool with it.
Bills deal to move up in draft
The Bengals went into the 2017 season hoping that their first- and second-round picks from 2015, Cedric Ogbuehi and Jake Fisher, would be ready to take over as bookend offensive tackles. They came out of 2017 with clear knowledge they were not. The team makes a shrewd move here to acquire a potential solution in Glenn. While Glenn has struggled with injuries, playing just 17 games over the last two years, dropping down from pick No. 12 to 21 in the upcoming draft is worth the risk to acquire a left tackle once near the top tier of the position. Glenn's mammoth presence should help an offensive line that ranked 23rd in creating rushing yards before defenders closed within 1 yard of their running backs, per Next Gen Stats. Bengals' trade grade: Love it.
When healthy, Glenn is a good player and his presence on the 2018 roster would have helped the Bills, without question. However, a fulfilled pursuit of a franchise quarterback makes all costs worth it. It's clear Buffalo is positioning itself to climb the draft board even further, going from the 21st to 12th overall pick while still possessing another first-round selection. This trade is just the first step on a path the Bills hope will end with them securing a top-level quarterback prospect. Bills' trade grade: Love it.
Browns send run-stuffer to New England
New England got great play out of one-dimensional run-stuffing defensive tackle Alan Branch in 2015 and '16, but he was less of a factor last season. Injuries were an issue for the 33-year-old defender. The front seven struggled without a gap-plugger up front and the team allowed the third-highest yards per carry in 2017. Shelton will fill the mammoth presence in the middle on run downs. He might be just a role player, but no organization finds a way to get the most of these assets like New England. Patriots' trade grade: Like it.
Not having Shelton will bring some issues to the Browns' defense next season. Cleveland was surprisingly stout against the run last year, allowing just 3.3 yards per carry to running backs. However, the Browns determined they were not willing to pay his hefty upcoming fifth-year option for just a plain run-stuffer. With that in mind, it was a solid forward-thinking move to snag a third-round pick for a player who wasn't likely to be on the squad for the long term. Browns' trade grade: Cool with it.
Green Bay takes on a QB project
The Browns give Kizer a fresh start while washing their hands of a former second-round pick who was not going to be in the mix for them this year. To snag a player who will more than likely start in a defensive backfield that was a major weakness last season is an excellent haul. Randall had highs and lows as a cornerback for the Packers, but will move to safety with the Browns. Gregg Williams sacrificed the middle of the field by strangely lining up Jabrill Peppersoutrageously deep as the free safety last season:
The Packers hope the specter of an Aaron Rodgers injury doesn't cast a shadow over another season. Should that disaster strike for the second season in a row, they don't want to weather the storm aboard the Brett Hundley express again. The move to get Kizer provides them another option to groom behind Rodgers. The decision-makers and coaching staff must have had a high opinion of Kizer as a prospect to move on him after a, by any measure, disastrous rookie year. He should benefit from a far more stable ecosystem while hitting the reset button on his career. Giving up a starter in a defensive backfield that needs the help is a hefty price to acquire a player you hope never sees the field, though. Packers' trade grade: Cool with it.
Browns build a bridge
The criticism of this trade makes no sense within the context of where Cleveland currently stands as an organization. The Browns had more money and draft picks than they knew what to do with heading into the offseason. As such, giving up a "possible starter" (you must be really brave to say "likely") by way of the 65th overall selection to get Taylor is hardly a big deal in the grand scheme. Cleveland still holds two firsts and three seconds in the upcoming draft. They won't miss this third-rounder. Yes, the Browns will still likely go quarterback with the first overall pick, making Taylor a one-year patch, at best. However, this organization needs to stack some wins. While he's a flawed player, Taylor is a major upgrade over the young and incapable passers the Browns rolled out over the last two years. This move helps them get back to respectability in the short term while also incubating their rookie quarterback for the long term. That's not worth the 65th overall pick? Get out of here. Browns' trade grade: Love it.
The Bills have signaled two things loud and clear over the past year: They're interested in acquiring draft currency above all else, and they're not committed to Tyrod Taylor as their starting quarterback. This move brought both agendas to fruition, though it won't be the last time they move assets for more picks. You can argue that Buffalo undervalued Taylor's contributions during his time as their starter, but it was clear a divorce was all but inevitable. Acquiring the first pick in the third-round while sending Taylor on his way is a good return and gives the Bills more flexibility to move up in the draft for a franchise passer. Bills' trade grade: Cool with it.
Dolphins move on from Jarvis Landry
Despite all the catches he's amassed in his first four NFL seasons, Landry is polarizing. His yards-per-catch figures and pigeon-hole role as a slot receiver cause many to question just how much he's worth. Those are worthwhile conversations to have in a vacuum. Yet, for a team like the Browns that is flush with cap and draft resources and utterly bereft of reliability at the receiver position, the move to acquire Landry makes all the sense in the world. The Browns are building from the ground up in the passing game after Rashard Higgins and Ricardo Louis co-led the wide receiver group with 27 measly catches each in 2017. At some point, you just need players who are going to produce. No matter how high you'd like to rank Landry among NFL receivers, there's no question he'll bring production to this needy passing game. The fact that they only had to surrender a pair of Day 3 draft picks to get a proven player like this makes the trade a grand slam for Cleveland. Browns' trade grade: Love it.
The Dolphins backed themselves into a spot where they had to move Landry -- a player they had telegraphed as not being in their long-term plans for the better part of the last year. While they didn't just want to let such a productive young player walk without immediate compensation, their mismanaged cap situation made it impossible to hold his $16 million tag on the books any longer. They certainly expected a better market for Landry and thus a stronger return. The Dolphins didn't want Landry to be a part of their team anymore, and it's nice they got some compensation for him. But the way this trade went down, in conjunction with them handing out $14 million to a pair of slot receivers shortly after, reeks of a lacking plan. Dolphins' trade grade: Cool with it.
Panthers begin overhaul, Eagles continue stocking up
It was probably too early to throw in the towel on Worley, but the Panthers didn't exactly jettison a clear starter here. The team was abused by wide receivers down the stretch last season, and Worley gave up an 88.7 passer rating and 61.5 percent catch rate in coverage, per Next Gen Stats. The move to acquire Torrey Smith in the year 2018 is ... whatever. The Panthers need help at wide receiver, perhaps more than any other team, and Smith could plug a hole as the situational deep threat. However, this is a player on the back nine of his career, and the Panthers need to make more marquee moves at the position. Panthers' trade grade: Cool with it.
You can never have too many options at cornerback. The Eagles lost top slot corner Patrick Robinson in free agency, but will return CB1 Ronald Darby, fellow outside starter Jalen Mills and 2017 rookies Sidney Jones and Rasul Douglas. Worley was not a consistent starter for the Panthers, but he flashed potential. Philadelphia was going to cut Smith anyway, so adding a 23-year-old corner to create flexibility at an important position essentially for free is a no-brainer. Eagles' trade grade: Love it.
Rams pick up Talib on the cheap
Losing Talib is not good for the Denver defense. He's still playing at a high level, and his departure dings a secondary that had been among the NFL's best over the last several seasons. Talib's hefty cap hit did get cleared from the Broncos' books, which had to happen so they could pursue a solution at quarterback. You never like to see a team that wants to contend ship off even aging high-quality starters for Day 3 picks, but the quarterback chase tied Denver's hands. Broncos' trade grade: Cool with it.
Slam dunk. The Ramsalready acquired a top-flight corner in Marcus Peters to man one side of the field and be the ballhawk. Talib is another lockdown defender, one who received rave reviews for his approach and football IQ in Denver. Last season, Talib allowed just 47.8 percent of the passes sent his way to be completed, per Next Gen Stats. In conjunction with the Peters trade and re-signing slot corner Nickell Robey-Coleman, this move puts the Rams right near the top of the league when it comes to CB groups. Rams' trade grade: Love it.
Giants and Rams signal a changing course
Sending Ogletree packing just a few months after inking him to a contract extension was a bit peculiar, but this is a great move for the Rams. They had a poor run defense last year, and Ogletree was a big reason why, despite being a big-name player. Ogletree closed within 1 yard of a running back on 38 plays last season and recorded a tackle on 18 of them. That "close-in" tackle conversion rate ranked 70th among 76 linebackers to take at least 200-plus run snaps, per Next Gen Stats. Losing him is far from a damaging blow to the team. Los Angeles' corresponding moves to bolster its secondary signaled buyer's remorse on his contract, which jumps to over $10 million against the cap after the 2018 season. Rams' trade grade: Like it.
Just as the Rams signaled a change in their defensive approach by shipping Ogletree across the country, so did the Giants by bringing him on. During his time in Carolina, new general manager Dave Gettleman oversaw a defense that was deep at linebacker and excelled because of the flexibility that afforded it. The previous Giants regime operated in direct contradiction to that philosophy, largely ignoring the position for years. Ogletree at least shows the team is intent on plugging that perennial hole. He won't be a transformative figure in that endeavor, but it's something. This trade would be far better for New York if Ogletree's contract wasn't set to be such a burden in the coming years. Giants' trade grade: Cool with it.
Eagles strengthen their strengths
The Seahawks are waving the white flag on a great era of defensive football. Sending Bennett on his way kicked off a wave of change for the storied stop unit. The Seahawks could have made it work with Bennett still on the roster, as he wasn't going to eat a sizable chunk of the salary-cap space. It seems this move was done for the sake of turning over a new leaf. In a vacuum, parting with a player who will turn 33 this season isn't the worst move for an organization set on reloading. However, Bennett is still playing at a high level, and the Seahawks got little of note in return. Seahawks' trade grade: Not a fan.
The Eagles already led the NFL in pressures last season, but like most good teams, they understand the key to sustaining success is making your strengths even stronger. Bennett will just make the already-stellar Philadelphia defensive line that much more difficult to deal with. Last season, Bennett recorded 80 disruptions (plays with a run stuff or pressure), good for sixth-most among all defenders. He's still a difference-maker, and any time you can give up a sack of pennies for a player like that, you do it. Eagles' trade grade: Love it.
Dolphins bring in Robert Quinn
A few years back, it looked like Quinn would be an annually dominant defender, but then his career was sidetracked by injuries. He did bounce back to a minor degree in 2017, finishing second on the Rams in pressures (48), per Next Gen Stats. Nevertheless, Los Angeles decided he was no longer worth his hefty cap charge. With that in mind, they were wise to secure a fourth-round pick for him rather than severing ties with nothing to show for it. The move looks even better given that they made effective use of the savings in assembling an elite secondary. Rams' trade grade: Like it.
Miami, which ranked 31st in pressures last season, badly needed some juice in the pass-rush department. Quinn could help, but they're paying a premium to find out. Taking on an $11.4 million cap hit for Quinn caused ripple effects across the roster, including cutting ties with a dominant defender in Ndamukong Suh. Quinn might be on the way back to peak form at just 27 years old, but it's hard to see how he instantly boosts the prognosis of Miami's defense. Dolphins' trade grade: Cool with it.
Chiefs send Marcus Peters on his way
The Rams are in a clear window where they're willing to spend the resources needed to beef up their team around a young quarterback on a cheap deal. The shipping of a 2019 second-round pick for a difference-making cornerback makes all the sense in the world. Peters allowed a 63.4 passer rating in coverage last season, despite some rocky moments. He's a ballhawking corner tailor-made for an attacking Wade Phillips-led defense. Peters helps the contending Rams continue to build a dominant pass defense to feast on opposing aerial attacks as they in turn chase Los Angles' high-flying offense. Rams' trade grade: Love it.
It appears the Kansas City brain trust had determined Peters was not going to be a part of the team's long-term future. Peters came into the league with off-the-field question marks and incurred a one-game suspension last season for a strange meltdown during a loss to the Jets. It's understandable if the franchise power brokers decided they did not want to pay his upcoming fifth-year option down the line because of this. However, the Chiefs are losing a premier cornerback and their defense was already the clear weak point of the team. Kansas City certainly didn't recoup value in the compensation for what it'll lose on the field in the wake of this movie. Almost a month removed from this trade, it's clear to see the Chiefs are all in on exercising the max amount of resources to constructing a quality offensive ecosystem for Patrick Mahomes, and the defense will bear the burden of that allocation. Chiefs' trade grade: Not a fan.
Alex Smith goes to Washington
The Chiefs set this move in motion last year when they traded up to draft Patrick Mahomes in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft. In moving on from Smith, they essentially recouped the value they gave up in acquiring him heading into the 2013 season. Back then, they shipped what ended up being a pair of second-rounders to get Smith. Five years later, they got Washington's 2018 third-round pick and an ascendant young defender in Fuller. The 23-year-old cornerback had a breakout season in 2017, allowing the lowest passer rating (54.5) when the nearest defender to slot receivers, per Next Gen Stats. Cornerback was a striking weakness on the team and Kansas City made big strides in filling that while moving to the Mahomes era. Chiefs' trade grade: Love it.