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The Early Winners Of NFL Free Agency

by Photo of Quentin Haynes

As teams invest in free agents, three teams stand out to me, and two get a small shoutout.

The Early Winners Of NFL Free Agency

We've entered day two and NFL free agency is picking up. Some teams have made some questionable moves (Looking at you Indianapolis and Miami), but there's three teams that started off on the right foot. From a team plucking a star guard, to robbing the Super Bowl champion of a young pass rusher, to a team shedding themselves of their past blunders. Let's look at each three.

Tennessee Titans: After a terrible 2012 season, the Tennessee Titans needed to make a couple of splashes this offseason. In result, the Titans went out and added multiple pieces for a wildcard run. The first addition was safety George Wilson from Buffalo. The Wilson addition begins to stabilize a pass defense that ranked 22nd passing yards allowed and tied for last in the league in touchdown passes given up with 29. As the offseason started, Tennessee added Buffalo Bills guard Andy Levitre and San Francisco 49ers tight end Delanie Walker. Levitre was ranked as the top guard in free agency, and his addition will open holes for Chris Johnson. Walker is the curious piece. After allowing Jared Cook to walk, Walker was a huge addition to Tennessee, and that should give Jake Locker a fast and versatile target at tight end.

Update: The Titans made a couple more signings. The first was Shonne Greene. While Greene isn’t a huge name, in his expected role with Tennessee as a backup to Chris Johnson, he can thrive as short gain/goal line running back. The other move was huge, literally and figuratively. Sammie Lee Hill provides a huge body in the middle of a Titans defense that allowed 30 points or more six times last season. Even if Hill falls behind on the depth chart, he’s a large run-stuffer that could receive 100-150 snaps next season.

Cleveland Browns: Coming into the offseason, many pundits believed Cleveland was one of the teams expected to make a free agency splash. With a new head coach, a new general manager, and a philosophy change on the defense (switching from a 4-3 to a 3-4 defense), the Browns were looking to add weapons to Ray Horton's dangerous defense. In one day, the Browns added Paul Kruger, Desmond Bryant, and Quentin Groves. These three moves help bolster a defense that ranked 23rd last season. The biggest move was Kruger, who after a breakout season (42 tackles, 9.0 sacks, 6 pass deflections) will be in line to start at outside linebacker. Desmond Bryant helps with their front three, possibly at the right defensive end position. Groves will come into the fold as a backup at outside linebacker. All these moves are signaling that Cleveland wants to win now, and with a top ten pick come April, the Browns are moving in the right direction.

Philadelphia Eagles: After a disappointing season (sense a trend?), the Eagles went out, fired their head coach, and cut most of the disappointing “dream team” members. Now, the Eagles revamped the roster with multiple additions on the first day of free agency. Philly signed Patrick Chung, Bradley Fletcher, James Casey, Jason Phillips, and Isaac Sopoaga. Overall, I like the additions Philadelphia made mainly because they can all contribute right away. Chung is an immediate upgrade at safety, and with Nnamdi Asomugha cut, Bradley Fletcher was a solid signing as a number two corner. The biggest addition was Casey. His ability to play both tight end and fullback gives Michael Vick someone to catch out of the backfield, and that’s very valuable in this day and age. While I'm not high on either Jason Phillips and Isacc Sopoaga, both hold specific roles in this defense. Phillips will be used as a valuable reserve at middle linebacker, while Sopoaga is expected to take a majority of snaps at nose tackle in Philadelphia's new 3-4 defense. 

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