NFC Offseason Grades: Ranking All 16 Teams After Free Agency and NFL Draft

With free agency and the 2024 NFL Draft in the books, it's time to reassess. Grading and ranking the free agent and draft hauls for every team in the NFC.

Now that NFL free agency and the 2024 NFL Draft are in the rearview mirror, the player procurement period is all but complete. While a few high-profile names remain available on the free agent market, NFL rosters are largely set for next season.

Which NFC teams have the best offseasons in 2024? Let’s run through every club in the conference and rank their free agent and draft hauls.

Although every team hopes it made the right combination of moves over the past several months, the NFL’s stark reality is that most free agent signings and draft picks don’t work out.

With that in mind, we’ve tried to be tough graders as we assess how the NFC conducted its offseason business.

Want to get a better sense of how the entire league has done this offseason? Make sure to also check out our AFC offseason grades.

Ranking Every NFC Offseason After Free Agency and the 2024 NFL Draft

16) Atlanta Falcons

  • Notable signings: QB Kirk Cousins, WR Darnell Mooney, WR Rondale Moore (trade)
  • Notable departures: QB Desmond Ridder (trade), TE Jonnu Smith, CB Jeff Okudah, RB Cordarrelle Patterson
  • Top draft picks: QB Michael Penix Jr., DT Ruke Orhorhoro, EDGE Bralen Trice

Adding Kirk Cousins to an offense with a solid line and three first-round picks — RB Bijan Robinso, WR Drake London, and TE Kyle Pitts — was a smart play for the Falcons, who are now the favorite to win the NFC South in 2024.

But it’s hard to reconcile the Cousins signing with the decision to draft Michael Penix Jr. at No. 8 overall. Sure, having a quarterback succession plan is admirable. But Penix is an older prospect with injury issues, while Cousins’ presence means Atlanta will likely burn the first two years of Penix’s affordable rookie contract.

Although the end result may still be a division title, the Falcons’ decision-making over the past several months is concerning.

Grade: D+

15) Dallas Cowboys

  • Notable signings: RB Ezekiel Elliott, LB Eric Kendricks, CB Jourdan Lewis
  • Notable departures: RB Tony Pollard, LT Tyron Smith, C Tyler Biadasz, EDGE Dorance Armstong, CB Stephon Gilmore
  • Top draft picks: OT Tyler Guyton, EDGE Marshawn Kneeland, OL Cooper Beebe, LB Marist Liufau

The Cowboys always draft well, and Dallas may have found two long-term offensive line starters in Tyler Guyton and Cooper Beebe.

But Jerry Jones and Co. have thus far failed to extend QB Dak Prescott, WR CeeDee Lamb, or EDGE Micah Parsons. With that trifecta’s hefty cap charges on their salary cap, the Cowboys could barely enter the free agent market.

Grade: D+

14) Carolina Panthers

  • Notable signings: WR Diontae Johnson (trade), G Robert Hunt, G Damien Lewis, EDGE Jadeveon Clowney, EDGE D.J. Wonnum, DT A’Shawn Robinson, LB Josey Jewell, CB Troy Hill, CB Dane Jackson, S Jordan Fuller
  • Notable departures: EDGE Brian Burns (trade), CB Donte Jackson (trade), LB Frankie Luvu, S Jeremy Chinn, C Bradley Bozeman, TE Hayden Hurst
  • Top draft picks: WR Xavier Legette, RB Jonathon Brooks, LB Trevin Wallace

The Panthers have undoubtedly raised their roster floor as they enter QB Bryce Young’s second NFL season. Robert Hunt and Damien Lewis should help prevent interior pressure from reaching Carolina’s 5’10” quarterback while acquiring Diontae Johnson for pennies on the dollar was a coup.

On defense, the Panthers seemingly signed every available FA who’d ever played with DC Ejiro Evero.

Two moves drag Carolina’s grade down.

Receiving just a second-round pick and change for Brian Burns was a disaster. Trading up for a running back like Jonathon Brooks was a puzzling transaction for a team that’s hardly an RB away from contending.

Grade: C-

13) New Orleans Saints

Cap-strapped as usual, the Saints didn’t have the financial wherewithal to add impact-free agents this offseason.

Chase Young is still young enough to be intriguing and dominated during his early-season run with the Washington Commanders. Still, he struggled after being traded to the San Francisco 49ers and will be sidelined into training camp after undergoing March neck surgery.

MORE: NFL UDFA Winners and Losers

Although New Orleans only had two selections in the first four rounds, it wisely used those choices on premium positions. Taliese Fuaga could be the Saints’ long-term left tackle following the 2022 Trevor Penning mistake. Kool-Aid McKinstry might’ve been a first-round pick if not for injury concerns.

Grade: C

12) San Francisco 49ers

  • Notable signings: EDGE Leonard Floyd, EDGE Yetur Gross-Matos, DT Maliek Collins (trade), DT Jordan Elliott, CB Rock Ya-Sin, CB Isaac Yiadom
  • Notable departures: DT Arik Armstead, QB Sam Darnold, EDGE Chase Young, EDGE Clelin Ferrell
  • Top draft picks: WR Ricky Pearsall, CB Renardo Green, G Dominick Puni

The 49ers are essentially returning the same roster that almost won Super Bowl LVIII with a downgrade along the defensive line.

Leonard Floyd, Yetur Gross-Matos, Maliek Collins, and Jordan Elliott probably won’t make as much of an impact as Arik Armstead, Chase Young, and Clelin Ferrell did, but San Francisco signed some experienced defensive back depth in Rock Ya-Sin and Isaac Yiadom.

Moreover, the 49ers held onto both Brandon Aiyuk and Deebo Samuel while selecting Ricky Pearsall in Round 1. Assuming it doesn’t trade one of those veteran WRs over the summer, San Francisco will again be in the Lombardi mix despite not adding a significant name in free agency.

Grade: C+

11) Seattle Seahawks

  • Notable signings: QB Sam Howell (trade), DT Leonard Williams, TE Noah Fant, OT George Fant, LB Tyrel Dodson, S Rayshawn Jenkins, G Laken Tomlinson
  • Notable departures: LB Jordyn Brooks, LB Bobby Wagner, G Damien Lewis, TE Colby Parkinson, TE Will Dissly, QB Drew Lock, S Quandre Diggs, S Jamal Adams
  • Top draft picks: DT Byron Murphy II, G Christian Haynes, LB Tyrice Knight

The Seahawks were in a slightly odd position this offseason. General manager John Schneider called the personnel shots for the first time after Pete Caroll’s departure, while Mike Macdonald was in his first offseason as Seattle’s head coach.

Leonard Williams was probably an overpay at $21+ million per year. He doesn’t make enough game-changing plays to warrant the same kind of payday as fellow DTs like Dexter Lawrence, Javon Hargrave, or Christian Barmore.

Still, considering Geno Smith’s contract situation, taking a swing on a quarterback prospect like Sam Howell made sense. Laken Tomlinson and George Fant give the Seahawks ample offensive line depth, while Seattle largely went best-player-available in the draft.

Can Byron Murphy II become Macdonald’s new Justin Madubuike?

Grade: C+

10) Detroit Lions

  • Notable signings: CB Carlton Davis (trade), DT D.J. Reader, G Graham Glasgow, G Kevin Zeitler, EDGE Marcus Davenport, CB Amik Robertson
  • Notable departures: G Jonah Jackson, S Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, CB Cameron Sutton
  • Top draft picks: CB Terrion Arnold, CB Ennis Rakestraw Jr., OT Giovanni Manu

Detroit clearly went into the 2024 offseason with a plan to improve its secondary.

The Lions sent a third-round pick to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to land Carlton Davis, signed Amik Robertson to a two-year deal in free agency, and then used their first two draft picks on Terrion Arnold and Ennis Rakestraw Jr.

Kevin Zeitler was an affordable replacement for Jonah Jackson, while D.J. Reader — if healthy — will team with Alim McNeil to give Detroit a dominant interior defensive line.

Marcus Davenport’s health and production will determine whether the Lions should have pursued another edge rusher to pair with 11.5-sack artist Aidan Hutchinson.

Grade: B-

9) Arizona Cardinals

  • Notable signings: OT Jonah Williams, QB Desmond Ridder (trade), CB Sean Murphy-Bunting, DT Justin Jones, DT Bilal Nichols, LB Mack Wilson
  • Notable departures: WR Hollywood Brown, WR Rondale Moore (trade), OT D.J. Humphries
  • Top draft picks: WR Marvin Harrison Jr., EDGE Darius Robinson, CB Max Melton, RB Trey Benson, OL Isaiah Adams, TE Tip Reiman

The Cardinals probably overpaid for veteran defenders like Sean Murphy-Bunting, Justin Jones, Bilal Nichols, and Mack Wilson, all of whom are (at best) league-average starters. But this Arizona roster simply needed bodies, especially on the defensive side of the ball.

On offense, Marvin Harrison Jr. should instantly become Kyler Murray’s WR1 and threaten for Offensive Rookie of the Year honors in 2022. Trey Benson is James Conner’s eventual successor, while Jonah Williams is a former first-round pick with positional flexibility.

Grade: B

8) New York Giants

  • Notable signings: EDGE Brian Burns (trade), RB Devin Singletary, QB Drew Lock, G Jon Runyan Jr., OL Jermaine Eluemunor, CB Jalen Mills
  • Notable departures: RB Saquon Barkley, S Xavier McKinney, QB Tyrod Taylor, DT A’Shawn Robinson, G Mark Glowinski
  • Top draft picks: WR Malik Nabers, S Tyler Nubin, CB Andru Phillps

Brian Burns was a steal and could form a devastating pass rush alongside 2023 No. 5 overall pick Kayvon Thibodeaux. Malik Nabers is the most dynamic Giants receiver since Odell Beckham Jr., Tyler Nubin should be an immediate starter, and New York’s offensive line additions will bolster a weak unit.

The only thing New York didn’t do was find a quarterback alternative. After failing to trade up for Drake Maye, the Giants passed on J.J. McCarthy in favor of Nabers. Taking a Day 3 chance on Spencer Rattler or another passer might’ve been worthwhile, but Big Blue made the most of its offseason lot.

Grade: B

7) Minnesota Vikings

  • Notable signings: QB Sam Darnold, RB Aaron Jones, EDGE Jonathan Greenard, EDGE Andrew Van Ginkel, LB Blake Cashman
  • Notable departures: QB Kirk Cousins, EDGE Danielle Hunter, EDGE D.J. Wonnum, EDGE Marcus Davenport, RB Alexander Mattison, LB Jordan Hicks
  • Top draft picks: QB J.J. McCarthy, EDGE Dallas Turner, CB Khyree Jackson

The Vikings essentially completed their “competitive rebuild” this offseason, culminating the process by swapping out QB Kirk Cousins and EDGE Danielle Hunter for younger options in J.J. McCarthy, Jonathan Greenard, and Dallas Turner.

MORE: Best Fits for Top Remaining Free Agents After NFL Draft

Aaron Jones could be a missing piece for a Minnesota offense that couldn’t create explosive plays in the run game, while Greenard, Andrew Van Ginkel, and Blake Cashman should be nearly perfect fits for aggressive DC Brian Flores.

The Vikings would’ve received a B+ had they not sacrificed so many picks to move up for Turner.

Grade: B

6) Tampa Bay Buccaneers

  • Notable signings: QB Baker Mayfield, WR Mike Evans, S Antoine Winfield Jr. (franchise tag), LB Lavonte David, S Jordan Whitehead
  • Notable departures: CB Carlton Davis (trade), EDGE Shaquil Barrett, LB Devin White
  • Top draft picks: OL Graham Barton, EDGE Chris Braswell, S Tykee Smith, WR Jalen McMillan

Tampa Bay will return most of the same team after winning the NFC South and advancing to the Divisional Round last season.

Baker Mayfield’s three-year, $100 million extension gives the Buccaneers a potential exit after Year 1 but also rewards the veteran QB for his outstanding 2023 campaign. Mike Evans (two years, $41 million) also received a fair value, allowing him to stick with the only team he’s ever known.

An Antoine Winfield Jr. extension is probably the next item on Tampa Bay’s docket. He’ll line up next season alongside Jordan Whitehead, a familiar face who began his career with the Bucs and signed for far less than expected ($4.5 million AAV).

Grade: B+

5) Green Bay Packers

Josh Jacobs might not return to the first-team All-Pro he was with the Las Vegas Raiders in 2022, but he should be better than he was in 2023. Losing Aaron Jones hurts, but the Packers understandably preferred to roll with the younger Jacobs and Marshawn Lloyd.

Few teams needed to fix the spine of their defense more this offseason than Green Bay. Xavier McKinney was the best non-franchise-tagged safety on the market, while Edgerrin Cooper and Javon Bullard could start from Day 1. Some things just make sense.

Grade: B+

4) Los Angeles Rams

  • Notable signings: G Kevin Dotson, G Jonah Jackson, CB Tre’Davious White, CB Darious Williams, S Kamren Curl, TE Colby Parkinson, WR Demarcus Robinson, QB Jimmy Garoppolo
  • Notable departures: DT Aaron Donald, C Coleman Shelton, S Jordan Fuller
  • Top draft picks: EDGE Jared Verse, DT Braden Fiske, RB Blake Corum, S Kamren Kinchens

The Rams were unafraid of spending in free agency. Kevin Dotson and Jonah Jackson should stop interior pass rushers before they become a problem for Matthew Stafford. Tre’Davious White, Darious Williams, and Kamren Curl will form a rebuilt secondary under first-year Los Angeles DC Chris Shula.

Losing a future Hall of Famer like Aaron Donald can’t be understated. But the Rams targeted their defensive line in the draft, adding college teammates in Jared Verse and Braden Fiske who could start as early as 2024.

L.A. paid too much to trade up for Fiske, sending a 2025 second-round pick in a deal with the Panthers; otherwise, Sean McVay and Co. would’ve received an A.

Grade: A-

3) Philadelphia Eagles

  • Notable signings: RB Saquon Barkley, EDGE Bryce Huff, S Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, OT Mekhi Becton, QB Kenny Pickett (trade), EDGE Brandon Graham, LB Devin White
  • Notable departures: RB D’Andre Swift, EDGE Haason Reddick, DT Fletcher Cox, S Kevin Byard, QB Marcus Mariota, LB Nicholas Morrow
  • Top draft picks: CB Quinyon Mitchell, DB Cooper DeJean, EDGE Jalyx Hunt

Howie Roseman is still arguably the best GM in the game. Adding Quinyon Mitchell and Cooper DeJean to fix a broken Eagles secondary was a home run, while picking up extra third and fourth-round picks in what should be a deeper 2025 NFL Draft was shrewd, too.

Signing an expensive running back like Saquon Barkley was out of character for Philadelphia, but the former No. 2 pick could thrive behind the Eagles’ elite offensive line.

KEEP READING: Predicting the 2024 NFL Playoffs

Swapping out Haason Reddick for the younger Bryce Huff, taking a swing on Makhi Becton, and getting ahead of the WR market with extensions for A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith, were all value-add transactions.

Grade: A-

2) Chicago Bears

  • Notable signings: WR Keenan Allen (trade), CB Jaylon Johnson, RB D’Andre Swift, S Kevin Byard, TE Gerald Everett, OL Ryan Bates (trade), C Coleman Shelton
  • Notable departures: Justin Fields (trade), WR Darnell Mooney, S Eddie Jackson, OL Cody Whitehair, DT Justin Jones, RB D’Onta Foreman
  • Top draft picks: QB Caleb Williams, WR Rome Odunze, OT Kiran Amegadjie

The Bears’ string of transactional success dates back to March 2023, when Chicago landed the Panthers’ first-round pick that eventually became Caleb Williams. Grabbing a franchise quarterback and then watching Rome Odunze fall to pick No. 9 had to be a dream come true for Bears GM Ryan Poles.

Despite missing time, Keenan Allen still ranked 12th in the league with 1,243 receiving yards and finished with 2.36 yards per route run, the 10th-best in the league and his top mark since 2017. Giving Swift $14 million guaranteed was puzzling, but finishing offensive line options like Ryan Bates, Coleman Shelton, and Kiran Amegadjie made sense for Chicago.

The Bears had no choice but to extend Jaylon Johnson after how dominant he was in coverage last season. Chicago got a surprisingly good deal, keeping the second-team All-Pro CB under $20 million annually while crafting a four-year contract that’s really more of a two-year deal upon closer inspection.

Grade: A-

1) Washington Commanders

  • Notable signings: RB Austin Ekeler, LB Frankie Luvu, LB Bobby Wagner, EDGE Dorance Armstrong, C Tyler Biadasz, G Nick Allegretti, QB Marcus Mariota, TE Zach Ertz, S Jeremy Chinn
  • Notable departures: QB Sam Howell (trade), QB Jacoby Brissett, WR Curtis Samuel, CB Kendall Fuller, OT Charles Leno, TE Logan Thomas, RB Antonio Gibson
  • Top draft picks: QB Jayden Daniels, DT Johnny Newton, CB Mike Sainristil, TE Ben Sinnott, G Brandon Coleman, WR Luke McCaffrey

The Commanders’ roster had been so depleted in recent years that simply adding competent, NFL-caliber players in free agency represented a noticeable upgrade.

In many cases, Washington opted for familiarity, reuniting new head coach Dan Quinn with players like Bobby Wagner, Dorance Armstrong, and Tyler Biadiasz.

Frankie Luvu’s prowess as a blitzer makes him one of the best scheme-talent fits of free agency, while a hybrid safety-linebacker like Jeremy Chinn could resurrect his career under Quinn.

Austin Ekeler’s best days are behind him, but the Commanders are only paying him $4.2 million per year.

Washington’s free agent approach should lift the club’s roster floor, while its draft haul could increase its ceiling.

Jayden Daniels has dual-threat ability, and his fit within Kliff Kingsbury’s offense makes him an obvious Week 1 starter. Johnny Newton might have been a mid-first-round pick if not for a foot injury; Washington got him at pick No. 36. Mike Sainristill is a lockdown slot option, Ben Sinnott was PFN’s No. 2 draftable TE by a wide margin, while Brandon Coleman will get a shot at left tackle.

Grade: A

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