The 2013 NFL free agency period began on Tuesday afternoon, and since that time teams have been furiously working to make themselves better, or in some cases, worse.
As always, a few stand out from the rest, making solid decisions both personnel-wise and financially. Others, well, they provide a good laugh.
Denver Broncos: Give general manager John Elway a ton of credit. After finishing 13-3 last season and earning the No. 1 seed in the AFC playoffs, Elway has been aggressive in making the team better. He somehow snagged corner Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie on a one-year, $5 million deal and brought in slot receiver specialist Wes Welker for two years and $12 million. Don't forget about guard Louis Vasquez either, who is an excellent young player whom Elway signed for four years. Grade: A+
Kansas City Chiefs: No team has been more active in free agency than Kansas City and first-time general manager John Dorsey, which started with the acquisition of Alex Smith before free agency began. The Chiefs have done well for themselves, picking up the top corner available in Sean Smith, speedy wideout Donnie Avery, defensive lineman Mike DeVito, quarterback Chase Daniel and tight end Anthony Fasano, among others. I'm not a huge fan of the Dunta Robinson signing, so Kansas City gets a little knock there, but not much considering it's basically a one-year deal. Grade: A
Seattle Seahawks: After acquiring wide receiver/kick returner Percy Harvin, the Seahawks didn't rest in free agency. Pete Carroll and co. went out and found themselves another pass-rusher in Cliff Avril on a cap-friendly two-year contract and added defensive end Michael Bennett, another quarterback chaser. Seattle is clearly in win-now mode and is making the right moves. Grade: A-
New York Giants: As usual, general manager Jerry Reese and head coach Tom Coughlin did a masterful job in free agency. Without losing any key pieces and managing the cap, Big Blue picked up linebacker Dan Connor and tight end Brandon Myers from Oakland along with nice depth in safety Ryan Mundy and defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins. Grade: B+
Detroit Lions: The pickup of Reggie Bush can't be understated here. The former USC star will be the ultimate weapon in this offense, giving Detroit a true running back who can also catch the ball and make plays in space. Despite losing Avril, the Lions upgraded their defense with the additions of safety Glover Quin, defensive end Jason Jones and the re-signing of corner Chris Houston and safety Louis Delmas. Grade: B
Miami Dolphins: No team threw around more money and accomplished less than Miami. The Dolphins spent near $100 million on wide receiver Mike Wallace and linebacker Dannell Ellerbe, two solid players that don't warrant top money. General manager Jeff Ireland has proven once again he doesn't understand football, going after high-priced free agents instead of building through the draft. Who ever thought Miami would be the new Washington? Grade: D
Oakland Raiders: This isn't entirely fair because general manager Reggie McKenzie is doing the right thing long--term by getting under the cap. However for next season, this offseason has been a nightmare. Oakland has lost most of its top players for nothing, including defensive tackle Richard Seymour, tight end Brandon Myers, safety Michael Huff and linebacker Philip Wheeler. And yet they retained Carson Palmer. What? Grade: D-
Indianapolis Colts: The Colts made a common mistake among quickly rising teams. Indianapolis thinks it's close to the Super Bowl, so it spent a ton of money on average players like linebacker Erik Walden, corner Greg Toler and defensive lineman Ricky Jean-Francois. Think of it this way: you never want to be that guy who buys four bottles of crappy liquor instead of two top-shelf ones for a party, right? The Colts are that guy. Grade: D-
Baltimore Ravens: Has a championship team outside of the 1997 Florida Marlins ever been destroyed so quickly? The Ravens watched Ellerbe, defensive end Paul Kruger, cornerback Cary Williams and safety Bernard Pollard walk, after center Matt Birk and linebacker Ray Lewis retired. On top of that, they traded Anquan Boldin before he left, might see safety Ed Reed leave and overpaid Joe Flacco with what could prove to be the worst signing in the history of football. Grade: F
Arizona Cardinals: The quarterback competition next year? Drew Stanton, Brian Hoyer, John Skelton and Ryan Lindley behind the worst offensive line in football. Good times! Grade: F-