For the most part, the 2023 NFL free agency period has come and gone. There are still some quality players out there waiting for new contracts, and some trades may materialize in the lead-up to the 2023 NFL Draft, but much of the moving and shaking that teams will do this offseason to position themselves for next year has already been done.
After three weeks of free agency signings, it's time we take stock of what each team has gained and lost, roster-wise, and grade their performance during the early portion of the player-acquisition phase of the offseason. Throughout this week, you've seen us take a look, division by division, and what has been done. We're finishing up that exercise today, and below, you'll find out grades for the NFC West.
Arizona Cardinals: C
- Players lost: WR A.J. Green, WR Chosen "Robbie" Anderson, TE Max Garcia, LG Justin Pugh, RG Cody Ford, ED Markus Golden, IDL J.J. Watt, IDL Zach Allen, IDL Trysten Hill, IDL Michael Dogbe, CB Byron Murphy, P Andy Lee
- Players added/retained: QB David Blough, RB Corey Clement, WR Zach Pascal, WR Greg Dortch, RG Dennis Daley, RG Hjalte Froholdt, RT Kelvin Beachum, IDL Jonathan Ledbetter, IDL L.J. Collier, IDL Kevin Strong, LB Kyzir White, LB Krys Barnes, LB Zeke Turner, CB Antonio Hamilton, CB Nate Hairston, K Matt Prater
Arizona's roster still has some serious issues. A lot of the players the Cardinals "lost" are either retirees (Green, Watt) or players who still have not signed elsewhere, but seeing both Zach Allen and Byron Murphy leave the building left new head coach Jonathan Gannon with a defense that is almost entirely bereft of talent. Gannon brought linebacker Kyzir White along with him from Philadelphia, as well as wide receiver Zach Pascal, but most of the other additions and retentions here are not high-impact players. This is a team that badly needs to stockpile draft picks and think about how best to surround Kyler Murray (who seems likely to miss at least part of next season, if not all of it) with talent. Because what they did during the Steve Keim and Kliff Kingsbury era ain't it.
Los Angeles Rams: D
- Players lost: QB Baker Mayfield, RB Malcolm Brown, WR Brandon Powell, RG David Edwards, ED Leonard Floyd, IDL A'Shawn Robinson, IDL Greg Gaines, LB Bobby Wagner, CB Jalen Ramsey, CB David Long, S Taylor Rapp, S Nick Scott, K Matt Gay, P Riley Dixon, LS Matthew Orzech
- Players added/retained: TE Hunter Long, C Brian Allen, RG Coleman Shelton, IDL Michael Hoecht, IDL Marquise Copeland, CB Shaun Jolly
There has been a serious talent drain here, and it might not be over with. The Rams are clearly retooling, if not outright rebuilding. In Floyd, Robinson, Gaines, Wagner, Ramsey, Long, Rapp and Scott, the Rams are down EIGHT players who at one time or another have been significant contributors or outright stars on their defense. And they did not do all that much to replace that group of players. Among the offensive losses, only Edwards feels like one of great significance, but even he played only four games last season. Much as was the case for Arizona, none of the players the Rams have added or retained via free agency or trade feels like a major piece. They're going to be counting on Matthew Stafford, Cooper Kupp and Aaron Donald returning to full health for most of their improved performance in 2023, assuming those guys remain on the team. There's a lot of work to do to get back to the Super Bowl-caliber team they were for most of the Sean McVay era prior to last season.
San Francisco 49ers: B+
- Players lost: QB Jimmy Garoppolo, RT Mike McGlinchey, RG Daniel Brunskill, ED Charles Omenihu, ED Samson Ebukam, ED Jordan Willis, IDL Hassan Ridgeway, IDL Maurice Hurst, LB Azeez Al-Shaair, CB Emmanuel Moseley, S Tarvarius Moore, S Jimmie Ward, K Robbie Gould
- Players added/retained: QB Sam Darnold, LT Matt Pryor, LT Colton McKivitz, LG Jon Feliciano, C Jake Brendel, WR Jauan Jennings, TE Ross Dwelley, ED Clelin Ferrell, IDL Javon Hargrave, IDL Austin Bryant, IDL Kevin Givens, IDL T.Y. McGill, LB Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles, CB Isaiah Oliver, CB Myles Hartsfield, S Tashaun Gipson, LS Taybor Pepper, K Zane Gonzalez
Before really going through and cataloguing who the Niners have signed and lost, I was ready to give them an A grade here. But then I realized exactly how much talent had walked out the door. They have a replacement or two for Garoppolo in Brock Purdy and Trey Lance, brought in Feliciano to replace Brunskill and Oliver to hopefully help replace Moseley. Losing Omenihu, Ebukam and Willis is hopefully mitigated by the addition of Hargrave, even if that changes the look of the defense a bit. But there's still some adding to do on the back end of the defense, with Al-Shaair and Ward being the most obvious guys for whom the Niners will need to find adequate replacements. They're not nearly in crisis mode on defense, obviously, but there's a little bit more work to be done than what I had initially thought. San Francisco should again be one of the best teams in the NFC, but this year's roster does look a bit thinner at certain spots than it has been in recent years -- at least at the moment.
Seattle Seahawks: A
- Players lost: RB Rashaad Penny, RB Travis Homer, WR Marquise Goodwin, C Austin Blythe, RG Gabe Jackson, IDL Poona Ford, IDL Al Woods, IDL Quinton Jefferson, IDL L.J. Collier, LB Cody Barton, S Johnathan Abram
- Players added/retained: QB Geno Smith, QB Drew Lock, LG Phil Haynes, C Evan Brown, IDL Dre'Mont Jones, IDL Jarran Reed, IDL Myles Adams, LB Bobby Wagner, LB Devin Bush, LB Nick Bellore, LB Jon Rhattigan, CB Mike Jackson, S Julian Love, S Ryan Neal, K Jason Myers
With Kenneth Walker breaking out last season and DeeJay Dallas still in town to work in some obvious passing situations, the Seahawks were just fine letting both Penny and Homer leave. They shuffled some things along the interior offensive line and brought in a big upgrade on the interior defensive line by adding Jones in free agency, and they completely overhauled the linebacker room, which probably needed to be overhauled -- especially with Jordyn Brooks working his way back from a torn ACL. I love what they did in bringing back Jackson, who had a terrific 2022 season, and supplementing the safety room with Love, who brings needed versatility on the second level of the defense. But the structure of the Geno Smith contract is really what puts this offseason over the top for me. Geno got paid, and deservingly so, but Seattle did not tie itself to him for all that long, and has the ability to move on if it finds a QB of the future type in the draft and/or Geno struggles to replicate last year's success. That's very strong work.