Free Agency Winners and Losers

Mar 14, 2024; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Eagles running back Saquon Barkley speaks during a
Mar 14, 2024; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Eagles running back Saquon Barkley speaks during a / Kyle Ross-USA TODAY Sports

Free agency is a very important part of the NFL offseason that can either catapult your team forward or set them back for years to come. Now that NFL free agency is mostly wrapped up it's time to look back at which teams won and which teams lost .


Jan 13, 2024; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Texans tight end Dalton Schultz (86) scores a touchdown
Jan 13, 2024; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Texans tight end Dalton Schultz (86) scores a touchdown / Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

 Houston Texans

How did the Texans do following their surprising AFC South title and a trip to the Divisional Round? Well, they followed up by trading for running back Joe Mixon to help improve a rushing attack that finished 28th in rushing yards per game (92.7). Mixon’s best days seem to be behind them but he can still be a key contributor to the Texans and help take pressure off of C.J. Stroud and the pass attack.

Houston didn’t stop there; they re-signed tight end Dalton Schultz to a three-year deal worth $36 million with $23.5 million guaranteed. Schultz was a main target for C.J. Stroud in 2023 finishing third on the team in receiving yards (635), and third in touchdowns (five). He also was second on the team in targets (88) and receptions (59).

The Texans also went on to sign edge rusher Danielle Hunter to a two-year deal, a $49 million deal with $48 million guaranteed. Hunter is a 4-time Pro Bowler coming off a career year in which he had 16.5 sacks finishing fifth in the NFL. 

The duo of Hunter and Defensive Rookie of the Year Will Anderson who finished with seven sacks in 2023 could be one of the most disruptive pass-rushing duos in the NFL next season.

Philadelphia Eagles 

Philly had a disappointing end to their season losing to the Buccaneers in the Wild Card Round. The Eagles wasted no time signing star running back Saquon Barkley away from their division rival the New York Giants. Barkley signed a three-year $37.75 million deal that has gotten mixed reviews. 

Barkley has had health issues but when healthy is one of the most dynamic backs in football. Last season Barkley finished with 962 yards and six rushing touchdowns behind an offensive line that PFF ranked 30th in run blocking. 

Adding Barkley to this Eagles team even without Jason Kelce still will give Saquon plenty of opportunities to break off long runs and make defenses choose between either stopping the run or focusing on A.J. Brown and Devonta Smith out wide.

Philly also was able to bring back Chauncey Gardner-Johnson on a 3-year $33 million deal. Gardner-Johnson played a pivotal role for the Eagles in 2022 leading the team in interceptions (six). Gardner-Johnson should bring back the swagger and intensity this Eagles defense needed in 2023.

Chicago Bears

The Bears as soon as free agency began signed D’Andre Swift to a 3-year $24 million deal and then traded only a fourth-round pick for Keenan Allen. Chicago also traded Justin Fields to the Steelers for a conditional sixth-round pick. That means barring a surprise Caleb Willimas will be the quarterback for what could be a very dynamic offense in 2024. 

I have the Bears as winners due to the potential of this offense and its play caller Shane Waldron.

Atlanta Falcons

The Falcons finally got their guy-signing quarterback Kirk Cousins. Cousins signed a four-year deal worth $180 million giving the Falcons something they haven’t had since they traded Matt Ryan in 2022. 

The Falcons have had talented teams the last two seasons under former head coach Arthur Smith but in the end, his inability to find a solution at quarterback whether it be Desmond Ridder, Taylor Heinicke, or Marcus Mariota. Atlanta finished 31st in passing yards per game in 2022 (158.8) and although they had a slight improvement in 2023 it still was nothing to write home about. They finished 22nd (207.3).

They were unable to connect with weapons Drake London and Kyle Pitts but Cousins will get the most out of them and with the additions of deep threats Darnell Mooney and Rondale Moore the Falcons offense should be explosive in 2023. 

Having running back Bijan Robinson arguably the best offensive player on the team doesn’t hurt either. The rookie running back finished with 976 rushing yards and four touchdowns despite only having four games over 15 carries.  

Detroit Lions 

The Lions, similar to the Texans, overachieved in 2023 as they reached the 2023 NFC Championship game. Detroit isn’t getting comfortable with last year's success as they attacked free agency to fix holes in their defense. They traded for Carlton Davis III to hopefully get the number one cornerback they’ve been desperate to find since trading Darius Slay.

The move they made that I loved the most was adding defensive tackle D.J Reader, one of the best run-stoppers in football. Adding him to a unit that was already 2nd in rush defense in 2023 only allowing 91 rushing yards per game. With Reader in the mix expect even fewer rushing yards allowed by Detroit in 2024.


Bryce Young
Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Carolina Panthers / Grant Halverson/GettyImages

Carolina Panthers

The Panthers have become the worst-run franchise in the NFL and this free agency showed it. They did add wide receiver Dionte Johnson which will help with Bryce Young’s development but they traded star pass rusher Brian Burns for only a second -and fifth-round pick when they could’ve gotten two first-round picks from the Rams in 2022 if they traded Burns then.

Carolina doesn’t have a first-round pick this year as the Bears hold that pick from last year's trade. Expect another bottom-tier season from the Panthers.

Dallas Cowboys

The Cowboys were supposed to be “all-in” this offseason but didn’t make any big moves. Well, they didn’t make any moves at all. No calls to Derrick Henry or Saquon Barkley, no moves to bring in offensive line help just sitting in the wind as Cowboys fans are still in shock from their Wild Card round loss to the Packers.

Dallas has holes at linebacker, especially after the retirement of Leighton Vander Esch and they haven’t addressed the running back position after losing Tony Pollard to Tennessee. 

In the end, just more empty promises to a fanbase hoping to one day no longer be the most popular joke in the NFL.

Miami Dolphins

The Dolphins lost an insane amount of talent in free agency. Christian Wilkins, Robert Hunt, Van Ginkel, and Brandon Jones just to name a few. 

Instead of going in and improving a team that has fallen off in the second half of the season two years in a row, they regressed. Miami is in a division with the Jets who are getting Aaron Rodgers back and the Bills who are 4-1 against Miami the last two seasons.

The Dolphins need to hit their draft picks and hope they can avoid the injury bug in 2024 if they wish to go further than the Wild Card round.