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5 Best NFL Free Agent Signings (So Far)

by Photo of Ross Bernhardt

The Patriots, Broncos and Saints all made solid pickups early on in the NFL’s free agency period.

5 Best NFL Free Agent Signings (So Far)

The NFL free agency period is only in its infancy, and there are plenty of attractive players left waiting to be signed, but several big dominoes already fell in the first two days. A lot of players have moved, but let's look at the five best moves we think were made so far.

1. New England Patriots Sign Darrelle Revis

The Patriots lose Aqib Talib (which we'll get to in a moment) and what do they do? They go and replace him with the best cornerback in football, regardless of what Richard Sherman has to say about it. Darrelle Revis is still at the top of the pantheon of NFL cornerbacks right now, and even in a slightly diminished state last season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Revis was near the top or at the top of every one of Pro Football Focus's rankings. 

Acquiring a player that can completely shut down a team's top receiving weapon is transformative for a defense. Adding Revis to a Bill Belichick scheme is going to cause nightmares for opposing offenses. And while the deal is for $32 million, it's only for two years. They didn't have to give six years for someone like Talib. Revis will be even healthier in 2014, and that can only be a good thing for the Patriots.

2. Denver Broncos Sign DeMarcus Ware, Aqib Talib and T.J. Ward

It might seem backwards to rank the acquisition of one elite player above the combined acquisitions of three very, very good players, but none of those three players are the best at their positions. Still, the Broncos are really going for it, dishing out a ton of money for three definite impact players. Pairing a rusher like Ware with a healthy Von Miller is going to be a terrifying prospect for quarterbacks, and Talib and Ward help shore up a secondary that was a hampered by age and injuries late in the season. Denver's defense is going to be much better in 2014 because of these guys.

3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers Sign Josh McCown and Alterraun Verner

This one might seem like a stretch, but hear me out. McCown filled in more than admirable for the injured Jay Cutler in Chicago last season. He threw for 1,829 yards on 66% passing with 13 touchdowns to just one interception. Even though the won-loss record wasn't great, McCown played some pretty great football and was secure with the ball. Tampa Bay already has a quarterback who performed well as a rookie last season, Mike Glennon (2,608 yards, 19 TD, 9 INT), so the move is a bit surprising. But new coach Lovie Smith obviously saw something in McCown that he liked. 

Among other moves by Smith since his arrival, young cornerback Alterraun Verner will help fill the void left by Darrelle Revis. Verner was a Pro-Bowler last season for the Tennessee Titans and has emerged as one of the best young secondary talents in the league. As a cheaper alternative to Revis, Verner should be just fine.

4. Detroit Lions Sign Golden Tate

It's not like Calvin Johnson needed help, but he kind of did. Johnson's never really had a true number two, and while Tate is still young, he has really come into his own over the last two years as a dynamic playmaker out wide. He won't wow anyone with the numbers he puts up, but as a secondary receiver, he's going to take a lot of pressure off of Johnson and be a nice weapon for Matthew Stafford. 

5. New Orleans Saints Sign Jairus Byrd

Byrd was maybe the most talented player on the Buffalo Bills roster over the last few seasons, and now he heads to New Orleans to team up with another talented safety in Kenny Vaccaro. Byrd is a true ballhawk. In his five seasons in Buffalo, Byrd intercepted 22 passes and picked off four in just 10 games last season. Byrd is a perfect replacement for the recently departed Malcolm Jenkins. There's no drop-off, and Byrd might actually be better. 

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