Free agency Day 1 is (almost) in the books. Free agency never really ends, per se, but there is a huge surge during the initial day. This year’s version saw a crazy surge -- only six of Pete Prisco’s top 20 free agents still remain available. For such a bad free-agency class there sure is a lot of money being thrown around! 

At any rate, the first round of signings are starting to slow down. So let’s make some snap judgments about the players that were signed. Namely, let’s put up some winners and losers from Day 1 of free agency.

Reminder: if your team didn’t spend money, your team is not a loser. If you spent money in a terrible way, you probably are a loser. Titles aren’t won in March, they’re won in January and February. Not spending money rarely equates to not winning, and most of the deals we’re looking at here involved a lot of cash. So it’s hard to judge. But here’s who won and lost based on our point of view.


Howie Roseman and the Eagles: The embattled former Eagles general manager returned to a personnel role after owner Jeffery Lurie canned Chip Kelly. And Roseman promptly extended the longest digit on his hand in Kelly’s direction with his first few moves of free agency.

Roseman didn’t just ditch questionable contracts handed out by Kelly the GM last season. He worked magic over the past few days in getting rid of DeMarco Murray, Byron Maxwell and Kiko Alonso. Maxwell signed a six-year, $63 million deal with the Eagles last offseason and Roseman picked up five spots in the draft (moving from No. 13 to No. 8 overall) for his salary dump. If Alonso comes back to form, great for Miami, but again -- Chip’s guy. (Kelly dealt LeSean McCoy for the former Bills linebacker.)

The DeMarco Murray trade was less magical because of the return, but getting rid of a high-priced running back with a lot of mileage isn’t easy. Ryan Mathews was a better fit in Kelly’s offense last year and he hasn’t been kicked to the curb yet. It’s possible he’ll be the guy in Doug Pederson’s attack. It still only cost the Eagles 13 draft slots in the fourth round of this year’s draft to dump Murray’s salary. Philadelphia used the cap room saved to sign safety Rodney McLeod and guard Brandon Brooks, both 27 years old or less. 

Roseman and the Eagles are all smiles heading into the new league year. (USATSI)

Oakland Raiders: The Raiders learned from their first disastrous turn into free agency under Reggie McKenzie and there’s a clear model for this franchise moving forward. Three home runs in the draft -- Derek Carr, Amari Cooper and Khalil Mack -- are being complimented by smart, aggressive signings. Kelechi Osemele is a 26-year-old lineman who should help improve the protection for Carr. Bruce Irvin hasn’t had double-digit sacks in a season but put him on the other side (or same side, whatever) of Mack and good luck blocking him. He can be a terror on third-and-long. Oakland keeps building its roster in the right way. The Raiders will be a popular playoff sleeper in 2016. 

Irvin (above) and Mack in Oakland will be tough to block. (USATSI)

Houston Texans: After managing an impressive turnaround amid a potential nightmare season, coach Bill O’Brien helped the Texans win the AFC South and make the playoffs. Their performance in the postseason notwithstanding, it was a pretty strong season for Houston given the Arian Foster injury and total lack of a quarterback. Now Brock Osweiler is in town and we can debate the merits of signing him to a $72 million contract all we want. But it’s only 50 percent guaranteed and Osweiler is a top-25 quarterback. That doesn’t sound great but is he worse than Sam Bradford? There’s upside here and O’Brien has a history of getting the most from quarterbacks.

Miller is also headed to Houston. (USATSI)

Additionally, bringing in Lamar Miller ($26 million) could be a boon. He’s a home-run hitting young running back with little tread on his tires. Given O’Brien’s track record with backs he could have a huge season next year.

Olivier Vernon: Not even really sure whether or not the Giants won or lost in free agency. They spent a huge amount this week, signing Vernon, paying Damon Harrison $46 million and laying out big cash for Janoris Jenkins as well. This all on the heels of Jason Pierre-Paul signing a one-year deal for $10.5 million. The Giants' defense is definitely better today than it was yesterday, but Jerry Reese laying out a bunch of money is decidedly un-Giants-esque. I do know this: Vernon is a HUGE winner. He just signed the largest defensive end deal in NFL history and made more guaranteed money than J.J. Watt on the deal. It’s only five years so he’ll be hitting free agency when he turns 30. 


Miami Dolphins: The Dolphins lost Vernon (25 years old), signed Mario Williams (31) and kept Cameron Wake (34). You do the age-related math there. Mike Tannenbaum also gave up five draft slots in the 2016 NFL Draft in order to acquire the onerous contract of Maxwell. Not paying Vernon what he was going to get on the market is understandable, but they just let a guy they drafted and developed walk for what will amount to a compensatory pick so they could sign an over-the-hill rusher in Williams.

Mario Williams and Ryan Tannehill are going to be teammates in Miami. (USATSI)

At least they don’t have to deal with Brent Grimes’ wife anymore, right? No one does March like the Dolphins. 

Cincinnati Bengals: Cincy will be totally fine and, again, not being active during the first day of free agency isn’t necessarily a bad thing. But it stings when your No. 2 and No. 3 wide receivers are two of the five best wide receivers on the market. In a normal year, Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu aren’t considered worthy of getting $7 or $8 million a year from other teams. Jones went early to the Lions (good luck replacing Calvin Johnson!) and Sanu is talking to the Patriots and Falcons. Cincy will be hard-pressed to retain them, especially with A.J. Green’s deal already on the books. They also lost Emanuel Lamur to former DC Mike Zimmer. Getting Adam Jones back for three years (even if he’s 32) is nice but largely a tough day for Cincy dictated by the market. 

The Bengals lost Marvin Jones, who is going to Detroit. (USATSI)

Cleveland Browns: Rough day for the Browns but at least it wasn’t because they went out and set a bunch of money on fire. Cleveland let center Alex Mack leave, which is fine. He was out the door. But then the Mitchell Schwartz thing happened and it’s a bad look. Schwartz was negotiating with Cleveland in good faith and they apparently pulled their offer. That’s the opposite of good faith. It reflects poorly on the organization. They also lost Tashaun Gipson, Travis Benjamin and, well, didn’t bring anyone in.

It’s easy to make fun of the Browns. Also sometimes fun. Maybe they’re doing this rebuild the right way and just starting over from scratch. But it wasn’t a strong first day for this regime and after losing all those players, they didn’t even release Johnny Manziel

Johnny Football is still in Cleveland ... for now. (USATSI)

Denver Broncos: The great thing about winning a Super Bowl is you won a Super Bowl. The bad thing is it’s hard to defend a title when everyone is trying to get paid. And the Denver Broncos are all trying to get paid. Or already got paid. A bunch of guys left town at the start of free agency, including Brock Osweiler ($72 million, Texans), Malik Jackson ($90 million, Jaguars) and Danny Trevathan ($28 million, Bears). The Broncos will be fine because John Elway is smart and the defense is really good. There are also plenty of interesting “Plan B” options out there. But it’s tough to be a Super Bowl champion in free agency. Everyone wants to pay your players.