NFL free agency highlights—who won?

Many NFL teams have already made short-term moves in hopes of securing a Super Bowl next season, but some transactions in particular have stood  out.

With sports temporarily on hold, NFL free agency has stepped to the forefront of our attention. This offseason produced a few teams that look primed for a deep playoff run. How does every division look, and who made the best moves in the league?

AFC East: Bye-bye Brady

The AFC East is up for grabs now that Tom Brady has departed for warmer waters. The Bills made a great move in securing Stefon Diggs’ talents, but Miami’s transactions should be noted. The Dolphins signed Byron Jones and Jordan Howard and managed to lure Kyle Van Noy away from division rival New England.

AFC North: Ravens patch defensive holes

After last year’s playoff collapse thanks to Titans running back Derrick Henry, the Ravens have looked to shore up their defense. On the defensive line, Calais Campbell might be on the decline, but he is a significant addition, along with Derek Wolfe and the resigning of Matthew Judson. Cleveland also did well in adding Jack Conklin to their O-line to help protect quarterback Baker Mayfield.

AFC South: Henry stays

Derrick Henry re-signing with the Titans is the biggest move in the division. Phillip Rivers may have journeyed to Indianapolis and the Jaguars managed to clear a lot of cap space, but Derrick Henry is the premier player in the division. Houston still fields a strong roster to challenge the Titans, but the DeAndre Hopkins trade is still polarizing. 

AFC West: Chiefs are broke, Gordon to Denver

The Kansas City Chiefs kept their roster intact — but at great cost. Patrick Mahomes is eligible for a new contract soon, and the Chiefs will require significant roster changes to afford their star quarterback. Denver made an excellent under-the-radar signing in Melvin Gordon, and they can build around the running back.

NFC East: Cowboys survive Cooper scare

The Redskins tried to steal Amari Cooper from the Cowboys, but Dallas kept the receiver and tied him to a generous contract. The Cowboys also used the franchise tag on Dak Prescott, buying them time to work out a long-term extension. Key mention to the Eagles for bringing in cornerback Darius Slay from Detroit.

NFC North: Everyone loses

The Packers did not acquire much in terms of talent, and the Vikings lost Stefon Diggs via trade. The Lions lost Darius Slay and made a subpar replacement in Desmond Trufant, while the Bears made plenty of questionable signings. Nick Foles and Jimmy Graham on expensive contracts will not excite Chicago fans.

NFC South: Saints and Bucs go all-in, Panthers and Falcons eye the future

The most activity so far has happened in the NFC South, so the most focus should be given to this division.

Tom Brady’s presence in Tampa Bay creates an intriguing option for many remaining free agents. Keeping Tampa Bay’s standout defensive players makes the Bucs Super Bowl contenders.

Elsewhere in the division, the Saints are giving Drew Brees another run, and Emmanuel Sanders will be an addition to the Saints arsenal. Carolina has moved on from Cam Newton and signed Teddy Bridgewater from the Saints as his replacement.

The Falcons quietly had the best free agency of the lot, however. Dante Fowler Jr. provides star power in Atlanta’s defense, while Hayden Hurst and Todd Gurley get the chance to restart their careers.

NFC West: Cardinals land the heir to Fitzgerald

Arizona shocked the world when it landed DeAndre Hopkins in exchange for the injury-prone David Johnson. Keeping Kenyan Drake and Larry Fitzgerald in place gives Kyler Murray a cornucopia of options. The 49ers did a fairly good job of keeping their roster together, and the Rams beefed up their lines, even while losing Gurley.

Overall winners:

1.     Arizona Cardinals—They signed top players and got rid of bad contracts. Excellent job.

2.     Miami Dolphins—The Dolphins landed a lot of pieces. Now they need to draft a quarterback.

3.     Baltimore Ravens—Defensive additions ensure the Ravens to be the class of the AFC.

Honorable mention: Atlanta Falcons—Great long-term additions with little risk.

Luke Randle is a sports reporter for the Liberty Champion

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