NFL Power Rankings Post-First Wave of Free Agency: What “big” March Madness moves actually helped?

How do the NFL Power Rankings shape out following the first wave of free agency? Are the Rams still the favorites?

NFL Power Rankings Post-First Wave of Free Agency: Tier 2 | Playoff contenders

The talent in the AFC has started to overwhelm the NFC. Nine of the top 14 teams are from the AFC, and it could be even more lopsided by the end of April.

14) Cleveland Browns

Jakeem Grant was a solid addition for the Browns. His special-teams ability is top-notch. They also acquired Amari Cooper through trade with Dallas, and then spent significant capital and money to trade for Watson to be their franchise QB. We’ll see what happens when September rolls around, but in theory, Cleveland upgraded at receiver and quarterback, which were two sore spots on a talented Browns roster in 2021.

13) Arizona Cardinals

The Cardinals haven’t made many splashes, but the team made some important moves to keep the roster together. Keeping both Zach Ertz and Maxx Williams around is big for the Cardinals’ offense. In addition, they extended a second chance to 2019 first-round pick Jeff Gladney, who hasn’t played since 2020.

12) Las Vegas Raiders

The AFC West doesn’t have a team below the top half of the NFL Power Rankings. It’s a complete arms race out there. It’s the Wild Wild West. Las Vegas signed Chandler Jones and then traded for the rights to Davante Adams, who is widely considered the best receiver in the NFL. He’ll pair with Darren Waller and Hunter Renfrow, who already make for a solid set of weapons at Derek Carr’s disposal.

11) Dallas Cowboys

As with all offseasons, the Cowboys aren’t moving in free agency. However, unlike most, they aren’t doing a great job of keeping their own around, either. Cooper, Connor Williams, and Randy Gregory are massive losses for the Cowboys’ roster. Williams and Cooper were expected, but Dallas willingly has gotten worse so far in the offseason.

10) Baltimore Ravens

Baltimore signed Marcus Williams to shut down the back end in coverage as a free safety. They continued their long-standing adoration of big guys with the Michael Pierce signing and tried to improve at tackle with Morgan Moses. The Ravens still have work to do in free agency and the draft. However, they already have a solid core and arguably the most electric QB in the NFL.

9) Tennessee Titans

Austin Hooper may not be a savior at tight end for Tennessee, but he’s inarguably an upgrade over what they fielded last season. Retaining Ben Jones to play center for the Titans was a huge move, and Jamarco Jones is a high-upside offensive lineman who’s played multiple positions in his NFL career. Tennessee also made sure Harold Landry III never saw the franchise tag or the open market, which was a win for the Titans defense.

8) Denver Broncos

An already solid roster made an enormous upgrade at quarterback. The Broncos are one of the most exciting teams in football. Denver also signed Gregory and D.J. Jones, which should help a talented, yet, underperforming secondary from last season. The Broncos also added former 49er offensive tackle Tom Compton, who played surprisingly well last season.

7) Los Angeles Chargers

In the same division, the Chargers might be the most exciting team in the NFL. However, because they’re the Chargers, they don’t receive the benefit of the doubt. While this offseason has easily been the most exciting Chargers offseason of this generation, we’ve been fooled by the powder blues before. Khalil Mack, J.C. Jackson, Sebastian Joseph-Day, Austin Johnson, and Gerald Everett were all outstanding additions to an already impressive roster.

6) San Francisco 49ers

Niners fans might be tired of using the “come on, do something” meme, but they should feel okay knowing most of their core is back and they’ve upgraded at cornerback. San Francisco still needs a safety to pair with Jimmie Ward, but they have more than enough to be excited about with Trey Lance coming into the fold as the new franchise quarterback.

NFL Power Rankings Post-First Wave of Free Agency: Tier 1 | Super Bowl contenders

The top five teams in the NFL all have evident strengths that set them apart from the rest.

5) Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Once Tom Brady returned, the flood gates opened for Tampa Bay. The retirement of Ali Marpet undoubtedly hurts, as does the loss of Alex Cappa. But adding Russell Gage as the new WR3 is an underrated move from this offseason. The price they got on Carlton Davis was superb, and bringing Ryan Jensen back keeps duct tape over the interior.

4) Kansas City Chiefs

Patrick Mahomes is still the best quarterback in the world. The Chiefs still have Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce on the outside. They decided not to pursue Tyrann Mathieu, but adding Justin Reid softens that blow. JuJu Smith-Schuster feels like a perfect fit to attack the intermediate areas of the field where he thrived before Big Ben’s arm fell off and the Steelers’ offensive line deteriorated.

3) Los Angeles Rams

The Rams lost Von Miller and Darious Williams, so they decided to address that by going full speed ahead on the offensive side of the ball with the Allen Robinson signing. Losing Robert Woods via trade is tough because he did so much for LA’s offense, but Robinson is only 28 and still has legitimate WR1 upside.

Obviously, Robinson will play second fiddle to Cooper Kupp, but the Rams might have gotten better offensively, and they could still keep Odell Beckham Jr. around, too. Nevertheless, they lost a few pieces on the offensive line, which drops them down a few spots.

2) Cincinnati Bengals

There was no more glaring hole than the right side of the Bengals offensive line. In addition to signing Alex Cappa and Ted Karras earlier in the week, the Bengals also added La’el Collins this past Sunday. Although Cincinnati’s OL is by no means an elite unit, it is a sufficient one. That’s all we asked for heading into next season. Now, we can expect Joe Burrow to survive another season. Keeping B.J. Hill around was also a fantastic move by the Bengals.

1) Buffalo Bills

Adding Von Miller to what was already the top defense in football last season despite missing Tre’Davious White for a good chunk is a disgusting move that shouldn’t be allowed. Call of Duty players would cry to Ravensoft for an immediate nerfing of Buffalo’s defensive talent.

Buffalo also tried to upgrade on the offensive line with Rodger Saffold. Isaiah McKenzie was a pleasant surprise in 2021 and will remain the slot receiver for Buffalo next season. O.J. Howard was also a sneaky high-upside TE2 signing. But Tim Settle, DaQuan Jones, Jordan Phillips, and Shaq Lawson all being added to this defensive line? Buffalo should be the Super Bowl favorite as of today.

Dalton Miller is the Lead NFL Analyst at Pro Football Network. You can read more of his work here and follow him @daltonbmiller on Twitter and Twitch.

Dalton Miller is the Lead NFL Analyst at Pro Football Network. You can read more of his work here and follow him @daltonbmiller on Twitter and Twitch.


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