2020 NFL Free Agency Grades: Tom Brady to Bucs gets an 'A,' while Colts get 'B+' for Philip Rivers addition
The Colts, 49ers and Raiders also earn high marks for keeping key players
Guys haven't even officially signed contracts, and already NFL teams are throwing around money like they print it.
Welcome to, 2020.
The period officially began on Wednesday, but deals were already getting done on Sunday when teams could still negotiate with their own players. Once the legal tampering period opened on Monday, more deals started to get reported.
Expect a lot more outrageous deals this week, including big money going to a lot of good players, not great ones.
Here are my grades for this week's moves. Quarterbacks can be found at the top, and then the remaining players are listed alphabetically by last name.
Buccaneers land QB Tom Brady
Brady will reportedly get a two-year deal for $30 million a year. That's pricey, but the Bucs are all in. In that offense, with those weapons, Brady will be back to being Brady. It's a smart signing – for the short term.
Saints re-sign QB Drew Brees
This was a no-brainer, but the Saints got him at a good price at $50 million on a two-year deal. Brees isn't what he was five years ago, but he can still play at a Super Bowl level.
Panthers add QB Teddy Bridgewater
I love this kid as a person and his story is great, but is he really a step up from Cam Newton? I might have played another year with Newton and drafted a quarterback. They opted to sign Bridgewater for a $20-million-year deal.
Raiders add QB Marcus Mariota
Mariota is coming off a disappointing season in 2019 where he was benched for Ryan Tannehill. Now he will get a chance to compete with Derek Carr for coach Jon Gruden. Mariota has talent, and maybe Gruden can get that out of him.
Colts pick up QB Philip Rivers
This was rumored since he was released by the Chargers, and I think it's the right move. He only got a one-year deal, so it's a look-see type of situation. It's a great team for Rivers and I think he will lead them to the division title.
Titans re-sign QB Ryan Tannehill
Tannehill did some good things last year when he came off the bench in place of Marcus Mariota, but is he really worth $30 million per year? He did throw for under 100 yards in two of his three playoff games. The price seems high for me. Why not tag him?
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Lions grab CB Desmond Trufant
This kid can be the precursor to the Lions sending Darius Slay packing in a trade. The Falcons released Trufant for cap reasons this week, but he's been a decent starter -- and sometimes a Pro Bowl player -- for seven seasons. He did not play as well last season.
Browns sign S Karl Joseph
The Browns signed the former first-round pick to a one-year deal, so it's a look-see situation. He has been a solid starter at times, but he's never lived up to the billing of being a top pick. Even so, he's worth a look.
Vikings land DT Michael Pierce
Pierce replaces Linval Joseph, who the Vikings released for cap reasons earlier this week. Pierce is a good run player when he keeps his weight in check. He had issues with that last year.
Bills add DE Mario Addison
He played for Bills coach Sean McDermott in Carolina, so he knows him well. Addison is a good pass rusher who will help the Bills improve in that area, especially with Shaq Lawson leaving to sign with Miami. Addison does turn 33 this September if age is an issue.
Patriots land DT Beau Allen
After taking some hits to their defense, the Patriots added a solid inside player in Allen. He is likely being signed for rotational depth and at 28 he can help the Pats.
Raiders add CB Eli Apple
The Raiders needed a starting corner, so they grabbed Apple, who played well for the Saints after coming over from the Giants in a trade last year. Apple will be an immediate upgrade for the Raiders.
49ers re-sign DE Arik Armstead
The pass rush was the key to the San Francisco Super Bowl run last season and Armstead had a career-high 10 sacks. It makes sense to keep him, but is he an elite down player. He's good, but he's being paid like he's elite.
Titans pick up OLB Vic Beasley
The Titans gave him a one-year, prove-it deal, so it clearly means they are hoping he can get back to player who led the league in sacks in 2016. Good luck. He just isn't that type of player, but a one-year deal makes it interesting.
Panthers re-sign S Tre Boston
He's an underrated player who is coming off a good season after signing a one-year deal last year with the Panthers. This is a smart move for a young team.
Giants add CB James Bradberry
The Giants needed help on the corner, so they get a player in Bradberry who has developed into a top cover player. The Giants are giving the former Panther a reported $15 million a year, which is steep, but they had to land a top corner.
Ravens add DT Michael Brockers
Brockers is a nice run player, but he won't give much in terms of pass rush. Even so, landing the ex-Ram and Calais Campbell to go with Brandon Williams gives the Ravens a nice big, power group among their down players.
Cowboys re-sign CB Anthony Brown
When the Cowboys lost Byron Jones to the Dolphins, they had to make bringing Brown back a priority. He is a good nickel corner who was limited to nine games last season because of injury. He can also play outside if need be.
Chargers land OT Bryan Bulaga
This move upgrades a Chargers tackle spot that badly needs it. Bulaga has been a good starter for the Packers and will step in at right tackle and help a line that has struggled in recent years.
Lions add LB Jamie Collins
Lions general manager Bob Quinn and coach Matt Patricia know Collins well from their days with the Patriots. Collins played great football last year for New England after returning from the Browns, but he was a disappointment in Cleveland. The Lions have to be hopeful that they are getting the Collins we saw last season for the $10-million a year they will pay him.
Browns add OT Jack Conklin
I love this signing by the Browns. Their tackles were a major issue last season, impacting the offense in a big way. Conklin was good for the Titans last year and will be a major upgrade at right tackle.
Cowboys re-sign WR Amari Cooper
After tagging Dak Prescott, the Cowboys had to keep Cooper so they gave him a $20-million-a-year deal. That's a bit pricey for five years, especially since Cooper didn't play well on the road last season, but they had to keep him after trading a first-round pick to get him from the Raiders. It was the right thing to do, even if the cost was high.
Colts re-sign OT Anthony Castonzo
Castonzo was considering retiring, but instead gets a two-year deal from the Colts for a reported $16.5 million per year. That's pricey, but Castonzo is a solid player who can still play at a high level.
Raiders add DT Maliek Collins
This could end up being a really good signing for the Raiders. He has 55 starts and he's just 24 years old. He will be in the rotation up front with Maurice Hurst and Jonathan Hankins.
Redskins add S Sean Davis
This could end up being a sneaky good deal. Davis was a solid starter before he suffered a shoulder injury in Week 2 that put him on injured-reserve. He has 41 starts in his career.
Jaguars land CB Darqueze Dennard
He is coming off a good season playing inside as a slot corner. He will likely replace the departed A.J. Bouye outside for the Jaguars since D.J. Hayden played so well in the slot last year.
Falcons add DE Dante Fowler
The Falcons are in desperate need of a pass rusher, so signing Fowler makes sense. He is coming off an 11 ½ sack season, but he isn't an elite edge player. He is a good football player who plays hard and should be able to amp up the pass rush.
Dolphins add OL Ereck Flowers
While Flowers played better at guard last year, it's still a big deal to give him $10 million a year. I get the Dolphins need help, and he did do some good things at guard last year, but this is a strange one.
Rams pick up OLB Leonard Floyd
The Rams lost Dante Fowler and quickly replaced him with Floyd, who was let go by the Bears when they signed Robert Quinn. Floyd is a former first-round pick who hasn't lived up to the hype, but maybe a change of scenery will do him wonders.
Redskins add CB Kendall Fuller
Fuller has the versatility teams love. He can play corner, slot corner or safety, which he did late last year for the Chiefs. He returns to the Redskins after being part of the Alex Smith trade two years ago. Four years, $40 million is a bit pricey for Fuller.
Broncos add OL Graham Glasgow
The Broncos had some issues last season inside, and Glasgow, a former Lion, is an upgrade. But is he worth the money they paid him? Probably not, but he will help inside.
Bears add TE Jimmy Graham
Can Graham play anymore? Does he have much left? The Bears had injury issues last season at tight end, but I just don't think Graham is the answer, especially not for the reported $8 million a year.
Eagles add DT Javon Hargrave
This might seem like a strange move, since the Eagles had other needs (see corner), but Hargrave will be a nice addition inside next to Fletcher Cox. It gives them a power twosome and they might be able to play Malik Jackson at big end if he stays after suffering a foot injury in the first game last season. The former Steeler is a rising player who can push the pocket.
Chargers nab CB Chris Harris
This is a heck of a signing by the Chargers. Harris gives them a great trio along with Casey Hayward and Desmond King. Harris can play inside and outside, but he will likely play outside here.
Raiders pick up S Jeff Heath
Heath is an OK starter, but he's a good special-teams player. He will likely compete for a starting job with Erik Harris in Vegas.
Browns land TE Austin Hooper
Hooper was the best tight end on the market with Hunter Henry tagged by the Chargers, so he was a wanted commodity, which is why his reported $11 million deal is a little bloated. But new Browns coach Kevin Stefanski will use a lot of double-tight formations, so it fits.
Saints reunite with S Malcolm Jenkins
How much does Jenkins have left? He returns to the Saints from the Eagles where his play slipped off some last season. Even so, he gives the Saints a nice veteran presence.
Dolphins add CB Byron Jones
Yes, they will pay him a lot of money, but they locked down a top corner to go with Xavien Howard. That's smart. Jones brings the versatility Brian Flores likes on the back end. This was a smart signing.
Chargers land DT Linval Joseph
The Chargers needed to get an inside player and they landed a good one in Joseph, who was let go by the Vikings. Joseph is 31, so age could be an issue, but he's still a good player.
Dolphins pick up C Ted Karras
The Dolphins were rumored to be in on Karras for a month and it played out that way. Karras is a good, solid center who has been mostly a backup but he has started at both guard and center.
Raiders add LB Nick Kwiatkoski
This is s sneaky-good signing that won't get a lot of attention. Kwiatkoski played well last season for the Bears when Danny Trevathan went down and the Raiders have a major need in the middle of their defense.
Dolphins add DE Shaq Lawson
Lawson is coming off his best season when he had 6.5 sacks for the Bills. He's not an elite edge rusher, but he's a good, sound defensive end who can hold up against the run.
Raiders add LB Cory Littleton
The Raiders went into free agency with the idea they needed to improve the defense and they've done so with the addition of linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski and now Littleton. In Littleton, they are getting a rangy run-and-chase linebacker who will give them a lot more speed on defense. This is a good move.
Giants add LB Blake Martinez
Martinez made a lot of tackles for the Packers, despite playing the second half of the season with a broken hand. This addresses a major need for the Giants and the contract isn't out of line at $10 million a season.
Jets land OL Connor McGovern
The Jets had to upgrade their offensive line, and they've done that in this free-agency period. Landing McGovern, who can play guard or center, is a nice pickup. It's a deal that will pay him $9 million a year, which is a decent contract for both sides.
Eagles keep CB Jalen Mills
Mills only got a one-year deal because he didn't play well and had injury issues in recent seasons. But the corner-starved Eagles were wise to bring him back on a one-year, prove-it deal.
Cardinals add DT Jordan Phillips
One of the priorities this offseason for Arizona was to improve the interior of the defensive line. They've done that with Phillips. He is coming off his best season, getting 9.5 sacks in 2019 for the Bills, and he at 27 years old his best football is coming. I love this signing for the Cardinals.
Buccaneers re-sign DE Jason Pierre-Paul
This was a move the Bucs planned to make. They didn't want to let Pierre-Paul get out and they did a nice job signing him to a two-year deal. After his back injury forced him to miss the first six games last season, he had 8.5 sacks in 10 games and was a great locker-room guy.
Bears add DE Robert Quinn
The Bears weren't happy with former first-round pick Leonard Floyd, so they dumped him and signed Quinn. The price was a little high and Quinn plays best with his hand as a down end, which he won't be in the Chicago scheme. The former Cowboy turns 30 this year.
Bengals pick up DT D.J. Reader
I love this move. He is a power player coming off his best season and he will provide a nice inside presence on the Bengals' young defense. Yes, the price is high at over $13 million a year, but pairing him inside with Geno Atkins gives them a nice duo.
Seahawks add DT Jarran Reed
I like this move a lot. Reed missed time with a league-imposed suspension last season and didn't play as well as expected when he returned. But two years ago, he was a force and the Seahawks take little risk with a two-year deal.
Texans re-sign CB Bradley Roby
The Texans had to do something at corner and bringing back Roby after signing him to a one-year deal last year was a good move. The three-year deal is decent at an average of $12 million for a guy who played well last season, despite missing six games.
Jaguars land LB Joe Schobert
This is a good signing for the Jaguars. Schobert is a good player, an underrated player, but it will allow them to play Myles Jack at weak-side backer if they stay in their usual defense. If they move to a 3-4 look, much like Tampa Bay did last year, they can both play inside.
Lions pick up DT Danny Shelton
We know Lions general manager Bob Quinn likes ex-Patriots, and Shelton is another. Shelton is a power player inside who can anchor against the run.
Lions add OT Halapoulivaati Vaitai
The Lions gave him a five-year, $50-million deal, and I like this move. The former Eagle is a young rising player. Those are the players you should target in free agency.
Dolphins add LB Kyle Van Noy
This is an outstanding move by Miami. They are doing a great job in free agency. Van Noy was a big part of the Patriots defense the past four seasons and will be a nice off-the-ball linebacker for the Dolphins. Dolphins coach Brian Flores knows him well from his days coaching him with the Patriots.
Packers add T Rick Wagner
This one is perplexing since the Packers could have brought back Bryan Bulaga. Wagner isn't an upgrade, although the ex-Lion is younger. But he didn't cost that much on a two-year, $11-million deal.
Bengals add CB Trae Waynes
They needed help on the corner and Waynes will step in and be an immediate starter opposite William Jackson. Waynes isn't a great man-to-man player, but he's still a quality corner who will be an upgrade over Dre' Kirkpatrick.
Rams re-sign OT Andrew Whitworth
The Rams were hoping Whitworth would return for another season, and he will. He didn't play as well as he has in recent years in 2019, but he is still a good, quality left tackle.
Raiders bring on TE Jason Witten
What does Witten have left? We know he can block, which has to be why the Raiders are signing him since they have Darren Waller. It's a one-year deal, so it's not that punitive.
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