2023 NFL Free Agency Winners: Dallas Cowboys, Miami Dolphins and Daniel Jones Win Offseason

When it comes to identifying the “winners” of NFL Free Agency, fans and the media often roll their eyes — didn’t the Philadelphia Eagles’ “Dream Team” fall apart in 2011? But another Eagles team — the 2022 roster that made it to the Super Bowl — showed the true value of being smart and capable in the free hand.

The Kansas City Chiefs and Cincinnati Bengals also leveraged agency for critical players, and deals made in March are influencing who plays 11 months later in February. Not every free agent signing will be a hit, nor will the free agent “winners” always be the best teams during the regular season. But smart teams do smart things, and that includes filling their roster and signing good players.

Let’s look at which NFL teams and players have won free agency.

2023 NFL Free Agency Winner

New York Jets

The New York Jets pulled off a tremendous free hand win when Aaron Rodgers announced his intention to play for them. There’s some concern over whether or not the Jets and Green Bay Packers can agree to a compensation package, but it’s pretty clear the Jets have pounced on playoff — or even Super Bowl — relevance.

The Jets didn’t just gain a free hand with the Rodgers announcement, however. They reinforced their offensive line depth – perhaps their greatest weakness – with several signings of inside offensive linemen and added a good rotary receiver in Allen Lazard. They’ve made a few missteps in free agency, which include Quincy Williams’ contract, but keeping Quinnen Williams in the future could serve a larger purpose.

Overall, New York didn’t add a bevy of players or keep any major departing free agents. But they’ve gotten a lot better.

Jordan love

The Jets weren’t the only winners of the Rodgers announcement, of course. Jordan Love has been waiting in the wings for his platoon for quite some time and could have earned the starting job a bit earlier if Rodgers hadn’t put together some stellar seasons after Love was drafted.

But Rodgers has exhausted his long reception and Love has the ability to develop into a leading role with up-and-coming players like Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs to throw behind a stellar offensive line.

Chicago Bears

The Chicago Bears won before free agency began when they traded the first overall pick for a bushel of draft selections and a senior receiver in DJ Moore. If they had never made the trade, they would still have won.

The addition of two linebackers, including one with an incredible deal in TJ Edwards, helps quite a bit defensively, while a flyer to Robert Tonyan should increase the number of pass catchers Justin Fields can throw at.

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The Bears made some negative value moves, like with Tremaine Edmunds, Nate Davis, and DeMarcus Walker. But the deals are relatively front-loaded, meaning they won’t be capping too much in the future if they decide to move on or need room for other free agents down the road.

Instead, Chicago can celebrate the fact that even if the deals weren’t great value, they made the team better and the sting won’t last too long. Meanwhile, the Bears can also feel comfortable with smart newcomers like Andrew Billings, D’Onta Foreman and PJ Walker.

Jimmy Garoppolo

After the San Francisco 49ers established themselves in the trade market in 2022, Jimmy Garoppolo was free to choose a free hand and choose his target. Garoppolo chose the Las Vegas Raiders, who offered him above the market for a quarterback with his production profile and allowed him to reunite with Josh McDaniels.

Additionally, the Raiders have extra familiarity to work with. Jakobi Meyers has worked with Garoppolo in New England, and Hunter Renfrow plays the short game reminiscent of Garoppolo’s playing style. Losing Darren Waller didn’t help, but overall Garoppolo’s situation improved tremendously.

Cincinnati Bengal

The Cincinnati Bengals didn’t do much in free hands, losing key plays in Jessie Bates III and Vonn Bell. After anticipating the Bates’ departure, Cincinnati drafted Daxton Hill last year, moving from Bell by signing Nick Scott on an under-market deal for just $4 million a year. It’s not exactly an upgrade from an on-field perspective, but the Bengals will likely get more value for the dollar from these players so that the bleeding will be stemmed.

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But the reason the Bengals ended up winning a free hand — despite some fresh drama with left-tackle-turn-right-tackle Jonah Williams — is the incredible bargain they got on Orlando Brown Jr. They had other victories, too — like resolution by Joe Mixon’s fall, much-needed offensive line depth, and the return of underrated linebacker Germaine Pratt. All in all, the Bengals seem to be on the up.

Daniel Jones

Quarterback Daniel Jones landed a notable deal, earning $82 million in the first two years of his new contract with the New York Giants. It was a masterful piece of negotiation from his agent and fetches him more than he probably could have gotten on the open market.

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From a bankroll standpoint, Jones pulled ahead. But on the field, the Giants have improved. Not only have they made sure to return the few receivers that played well, but they’ve added players like Waller and Parris Campbell, both of whom will likely return more value than it took to bring them in.

With other upgrades here and there — linebacker Bobby Okereke springs to mind — and limited offhand losses, the Giants are poised to go from a happy team in 2022 to a reasonably good team in 2023. If Jones can keep up.

Houston Texans

The Houston Texans may have made more moves in the days leading up to free agency and since the start of the league year than any other team in the NFL. Many of Houston’s signings are low-floor, high-ceilinged types, with players like Robert Woods facing the possibility that he may never get back on form but if he does could be an incredibly talented receiver.

He is joined at this club by Sheldon Rankins and Chase Winovich, both of whom had some stellar seasons not too long ago. But there are also clearly good additions, like the trade for guard Shaq Mason and the addition of Jimmie Ward, who has experience with DeMeco Ryans’ system.

With that, and a few solid pieces like Andrew Beck and Noah Brown, Houston also pays attention to the Texans’ lack of depth. The fact that they haven’t traded Brandin Cooks yet could also tell us that they might actually keep him in the near future and turn a fine receiving corps into a pretty good one.

Javan Taylor

The Kansas City Chiefs may have overpaid Jawaan Taylor, but that’s only a bad thing if you’re not Taylor. Not only does Taylor take home a nice paycheck for his services, but he gets to play the position he played in college (left tackle). If he’s successful there, Taylor can capitalize on the higher paychecks LTs receive, and he could get a ring on the side.

The move from Trevor Lawrence, who got rid of the ball fairly quickly, to Patrick Mahomes (the opposite) will be a difficult transition, but Taylor comes out of it with an opportunity for both cash and fame.

Dallas Cowboys

The Dallas Cowboys got away with a robbery when they traded Stephon Gilmore just a fifth-round pick to pair with Trevon Diggs. Gilmore played without lights last year, and having the two plus DaRon Bland on the corner is a huge boon for a Dallas defense that seems to be getting better, despite being the best defense in the NFL for a good chunk of the year .

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The Cowboys also brought back Leighton Vander Esch and Donovan Wilson and kept the defense intact into next year, with some restructuring to make it work. The headlines could focus on their decision to let go of Ezekiel Elliott but Tony Pollard is the better back and this will allow them to focus on the future without worrying about RB stock.

Geno Smith

Both Geno Smith and the Seattle Seahawks made their way out of the newly signed contract, with Seattle taking little risk if Smith can’t repeat his efforts from last year. But Smith gets more than many commentators thought possible.

If Smith hits every one of his escalators, which he did last year, he’ll make $35 million a year over the life of his contract and likely make more thereafter. If not, he still has good guarantees and a high salary to fall back on.

Seattle haven’t made too many other moves aside from improving their depth in almost every position group. That’s not a bad thing, but it makes it difficult to rate. But all that counts for Smith’s money is the trust the Seahawks showed in him.

Miami Dolphins

The Miami Dolphins had a great offseason marked by a very smart trade for Jalen Ramsey that cost just a third-round pick and a backup tight end. Miami also signed key players like Jeff Wilson Jr. and Raheem Mostert while improving their depth.

One of the biggest signings of that nature was Mike White, who for the most part played well for the Jets to replace Zach Wilson and could have a future as a high-end backup in the league. Getting Nik Needham back isn’t bad either.

That helps a lot, but the addition of LB David Long Jr. to an incredibly cheap deal allows the Dolphins to really push forward as an offseason winner. The Miami defense has had some really high highs and really low lows, and it’s great to have some extra talent that allows them to have quality playmakers at all three levels of defense.

With Jaelan Phillips, Bradley Chubb and Christian Wilkins up front, Long at the second level and the combination of Kader Kohou, Ramsey, Xavien Howard, DeShon Elliott and Jevon Holland, the Dolphins defense is poised to do some damage.

Source : www.profootballnetwork.com

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