The first and major wave of free agency has come and gone with a barrage of activity. With more roster turnover on the horizon before the 2021 season kicks off, let’s pause briefly to take stock of how the NFL Power Rankings structure has shifted thus far in free agency.
NFL Power Rankings, Post-Free Agency | 32-21
32) Houston Texans
Deshaun Watson is still a member of the Texans organization, but would he even play in Week 1? Houston’s free-agency period has been somewhere between odd and awful.
If Watson is gone, the Texans are the clear favorite for the first overall pick next year.
31) Detroit Lions
The Lions picked up a few useful skill players around Jared Goff, but the Lions are still littered with roster questions.
30) Jacksonville Jaguars
The Jaguars won just one game last year. So there is nowhere to go but up. They are improving, and the draft should bring a bounty. However, right now, this roster is still quite lean but more promising than in recent years.
29) Cincinnati Bengals
The Bengals invested in cornerbacks and defensive linemen, and that could pay some dividends. It would have been nice to see more help around Joe Burrow at this point of the process, though.
28) New York Jets
The Jets are being built the right way. They have added a few key pieces in 2021 free agency, and the draft should bring a wealth of new talent into the fold. Expect New York to be ranked higher on my NFL Power Rankings after the 2021 NFL Draft.
27) Chicago Bears
This hasn’t been a great offseason for the Bears. Andy Dalton might be an upgrade over last year’s quarterback situation, but it isn’t exactly the prize at the position that Chicago fans were hoping for.
26) Carolina Panthers
The Panthers are still rumored to being heavily in the Deshaun Watson sweepstakes. In the meantime, they are taking some chances on offensive linemen and defensive front seven additions.
25) Philadelphia Eagles
The Eagles are rolling with Jalen Hurts, and hopefully, he will have a healthier offensive line than what Philadelphia had in 2020. This team has added very little to the equation thus far.
24) Las Vegas Raiders
This has been yet another peculiar offseason for the Raiders. Kenyan Drake and John Brown bring a big-play element, but will the offensive line be nearly as good this year? Yannick Ngakoue is useful, but the defense needs a lot more attention.
23) New York Giants
Getting Saquon Barkley back is great, and the Giants made a big splash signing in Kenny Golladay. This is a crucial season for Daniel Jones, and he is set up pretty well now to succeed.
22) Minnesota Vikings
The Vikings added Patrick Peterson and Dalvin Tomlinson but could use another horse or two on defense for Mike Zimmer. The guard position also must be addressed.
21) Atlanta Falcons
The Falcons have done almost nothing. Their passing game — now led by Arthur Smith — still looks formidable. Atlanta’s running game and defense still need serious work.
NFL Power Rankings, Post-Free Agency | 20-11
20) Dallas Cowboys
Locking up Dak Prescott is obviously the big move here; the Cowboys offense could be exceptional this year. The draft should be all about improving the defensive side of the ball for Dallas.
19) Denver Broncos
The Broncos haven’t done anything yet of note at quarterback — that could be a big issue. On the other hand, the rest of this squad is somewhat quietly impressive.
18) Tennessee Titans
Tennessee has put some resources into boosting their pass rush that was dreadful a year ago. But can the Titans passing game remain as productive with Jonnu Smith and Corey Davis now playing elsewhere?
17) Miami Dolphins
Since Brian Flores and this new regime took over, Miami has constantly improved its roster. It still needs work, and they are sure to supplement the squad even more by way of young assets in the 2021 NFL Draft. A lot hinges on Tua Tagovailoa, though, any way you cut it.
16) Arizona Cardinals
The Cardinals certainly were not bashful about adding marquee stars. At any rate, how much collectively do those guys have left? Chandler Jones’ return is big, but this seems like a bit of a crossroads season for Kliff Kingsbury.
15) Washington Football Team
It might not be a long-term solution, but Ryan Fitzpatrick gives this passing game a huge shot in the arm over what Washington was playing with last year. You also have to love the additions of William Jackson III and Curtis Samuel.
14) Los Angeles Chargers
We have a new, young head coach here, with an amazing, young talented quarterback. The Chargers also now finally have an offensive line and have some serious pieces on defense for Brandon Staley to work his magic with.
13) Indianapolis Colts
The Colts traded for Carson Wentz, but do we know that he will be better than what Philip Rivers put on tape last year? Indianapolis still has ample salary cap space and surely will make some shrewd moves. But thus far, they haven’t done much to improve.
12) New Orleans Saints
Considering where New Orleans was with their salary cap, it looked like they could plummet in these 2021 NFL Power Rankings. However, they amazingly found a way to not tarnish their defense much while bringing back an elite offensive line and two great offensive weapons.
11) New England Patriots
Especially when you factor in the opt-out players returning, Bill Belichick’s roster will look totally different next year as opposed to last. It should be much better suited for Cam Newton in particular. That 2020 roster was amongst the worst in football and Belichick still won seven games.
Teams ranked 10-6
10) Pittsburgh Steelers
The Steelers should have a great defense once again, but still need to build a running game to make life easier for Ben Roethlisberger. Expect components of the rushing attack to be the focus of the draft for Pittsburgh.
9) San Francisco 49ers
Coming off a Super Bowl defeat, San Francisco was just riddled with injuries in 2020. Bringing back Trent Williams was massive and their offensive line should remain strong, but can Jimmy Garoppolo stay healthy? Is there a backup plan at quarterback still to come?
8) Cleveland Browns
Cleveland’s offense didn’t need any work, and they get Odell Beckham Jr. back. The defense needs work, but the Browns have made a few key additions on this side of the ball.
7) Baltimore Ravens
Adding Kevin Zeitler made a ton of sense. Right now, Orlando Brown is still on this team. However, the Ravens really haven’t addressed the big holes yet at wide receiver and edge rusher.
6) Seattle Seahawks
Despite the Russell Wilson drama, the Seahawks have recently added a few pieces to the offense. That side of the ball should be excellent, and Seattle’s defense improved throughout last season.
The top 5 NFL teams
5) Green Bay Packers
The Packers were able to bring back Aaron Jones but haven’t yet upgraded the second cornerback and wide receiver spot. They are far and away the best team in the NFC North on this 2021 NFL Power Rankings list, though.
4) Los Angeles Rams
Just adding Matthew Stafford boosts the Rams by a ton. His deep passing alone will be huge for this offense. The Rams are much better now than last year for that reason.
3) Buffalo Bills
This roster isn’t all that much different than when we saw the Bills in the AFC Championship Game. And that is just fine. Buffalo is an extremely strong organization.
2) Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs have been aggressive to build the interior of their offensive line, yet there are currently plenty of questions at offensive tackle. They didn’t play well in the Super Bowl, but this is still a powerhouse football team led by Patrick Mahomes.
1) Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Super Bowl champs are running it back with nearly the same cast of characters from a year ago. That is rare for the Super Bowl winner.
Want more 2021 NFL news and analysis beyond post-free agency NFL Power Rankings?
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Matt Williamson is a Senior NFL Analyst for Pro Football Network. You can follow him on Twitter: @WilliamsonNFL.