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Seven winners & seven losers from 2023 NFL free agency

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Before the NFL Draft starts to take hold of everyone’s attention, now is a good time to look at NFL free agency winners and losers for 2023.

As usual, there was a flurry of moves made as soon as the new league year started, leaving some fans to need the franchise tag explained while testing many of our bold offseason predictions. Granted, offseason NFL grades can’t be completed until after the draft, but now is a good time to share our initial reaction to NFL free agency.

NFL free agency winners and losers 2023

So who were the NFL free agency winners and losers in 2023?

It’s not always clear what teams won and what teams lost because most teams gained new players but may have lost some key pieces in the process. Fortunately, we took a close look at all 32 teams to give you our reaction to NFL free agency and run down the NFL free agency winners and losers for 2023.

Winners: Lions

Detroit nearly made the playoffs last season and now looks like they might be the team to beat in the NFC North.


Obviously, Detroit’s defense has been an issue in recent years, but they’ve signed cornerbacks Cameron Sutton and Emmanuel Moseley to help address that issue. Signing David Montgomery was also a nice addition to the offense, as the Lions have made some nice moves without having to overspend.

Losers: Falcons 

The Falcons deserve some credit for signing safety Jessie Bates. However, they’ve spent too much money re-signing players that have been a part of losing teams in recent years.

For instance, re-signing Chris Lindstrom for five years and $105 million is way too much despite him being a Pro Bowler last year. The Falcons haven’t done enough to overhaul their roster with the money they’ve spent. Also, spending money on a high-quality backup quarterback like Taylor Heinicke is a somewhat questionable move without a clear starter in place.

Winners: Saints

New Orleans was aggressive in signing Derek Carr early in the offseason. That signing immediately makes the Saints the team to beat in the NFC South, a division with few answers at quarterback.

It also helps to bring back Michael Thomas and add Jamaal Williams. The rest of the roster was already in decent shape, so signing Carr alone makes this a good offseason for the Saints.


Losers: Raiders

Was ditching Derek Carr for Jimmy Garoppolo really an upgrade? The Raiders are reportedly still looking for rookie quarterbacks, making the Garoppolo signing even more puzzling.

The other big signing Las Vegas has made is Jakobi Meyers, who is another former Patriot who Josh McDaniels likes more than most people. The bottom line is that the Raiders haven’t done much to move the needle after last year’s 6-11 season.

Winners: Jets

Assuming that they actually end up with Aaron Rodgers, the Jets will surely be one of the biggest winners of the offseason.

Adding a veteran like Allen Lazard to a young but promising set of skill players is also a good move. The Jets also deserve a lot of credit for acquiring Chuck Clark for a seventh-round pick, improving their defense without giving up much.

Losers: Packers

The debacle that has been the Aaron Rodgers situation is close to finished, and it’s going to end with the Packers no longer having one of the best quarterbacks of all time leading their team.

Green Bay has made no significant additions this offseason, which doesn’t help them. With Jordan Love set to take over for Rodgers, there is an argument that the Packers have the worst roster in the NFC North right now.

Winners: Broncos

When it comes to NFL free agency winners and losers in 2023, the Broncos are walking the tightrope. But we think the Broncos are among the offseason winners.

For starters, bringing in Sean Payton is a huge upgrade from a coaching standpoint. Of course, one could argue that they overpaid to sign Mike McGlinchey and Ben Powers. However, they needed to upgrade their offensive line to keep Russell Wilson better protected.

Keep in mind that Denver’s defense was among the best in the NFL last year, so they don’t need to do a ton of work on that side, meaning the Broncos could afford to overpay a little to improve their offensive line.

Losers: Eagles

A Super Bowl loss has been followed by a sub-par offseason. To their credit, the Eagles were able to keep James Bradberry.

However, also re-signing Fletcher Cox and Brandon Graham continues to give them an aging defensive line, albeit a talented one. There are no other highlights to Philadelphia’s offseason, although adding Marcus Mariota and Rashaad Penny at affordable prices were decent moves.

Winners: 49ers

After having one of the best defenses in the NFL last season, the 49ers were able to re-sign players like Tashaun Gipson and Kevin Givens to help keep that defense together. But they also added Javon Hargrave, who was arguably the best interior lineman available in free agency, and Clelin Ferrell, who adds to their depth on the edge.

It may not sound like much, but as long as the 49ers have a healthy quarterback, they’ll be in good shape on offense. Since they haven’t been weakened on defense, the 49ers have had a positive offseason.

Losers: Chiefs

This hasn’t been an ideal offseason for the Chiefs, who released Frank Clark and lost Orlando Brown in free agency to the rival Bengals.

Kansas City then overpaid for Jawaan Taylor as a replacement for Brown. Despite some modest signings on defense, the Chiefs haven’t done much to improve themselves this offseason, not that they needed to do much with Patrick Mahomes leading the way.

Winners: Bears

Even if the jury is still out on Justin Fields, the Bears have done a good job improving the rest of their roster.

To be fair, there is still work to do on the offensive side of the ball, although trading for D.J. Moore and getting extra draft picks should help. Defensively, signing Tremaine Edmunds, T.J. Edwards, and DeMarcus Walker should help to transform Chicago’s front seven and make the Bears more formidable on that side of the ball after giving up the most points in football last year.

Losers: Ravens

The whole situation with Lamar Jackson has made the Ravens one of the biggest losers of the offseason. It’s not even given that Jackson will be their quarterback in 2023 or that he’ll be happy in Baltimore following his trade request.

At the same time, the Ravens have done nothing to improve the rest of their team and don’t have much money to spend unless Jackson signs elsewhere as a non-exclusive franchise player. That has made this an offseason to forget for a franchise that’s typically one of the most well-run in the league.

Winners: Panthers

By trading for the top overall pick, the Panthers will have their top choice of quarterbacks in this year’s draft, not to mention Andy Dalton as a veteran who can help mentor him.

But that’s not all that Carolina has done this offseason. The Panthers also added Miles Sanders, Adam Thielen, and Hayden Hurst, so the cupboard won’t be bare for their young quarterback. Defensively, the signings of Shy Tuttle and Vonn Bell also move the needle for a team that could be one of the most improved in the NFL in 2023.

Losers: Chargers

The fact that Austin Ekeler has asked for a trade is a bad indicator of how this offseason has gone for the Chargers.

Keep in mind they entered the offseason fresh off one of the greatest playoff collapses ever seen. Outside of signing linebacker Eric Kendricks, the Chargers haven’t done anything to address any of their flaws. If they can’t work things out with Ekeler, this offseason could get even worse.

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