The fun of NFL free agency tends to keep fans focused directly on the Cleveland Browns, as it should be. GM Andrew Berry has had the Browns as the most active team so far in free agency signing:
- Dalvin Tomlinson
- Juan Thornhill
- Ogbonnia Okoronkwo
- Sione Takitaki
- AJ Green
- Maurice Hurst
- Trysten Hill
- Ethan Pocic
- Jordan Akins
What about the rest of the AFC North? The road to the NFL playoffs goes directly through the division with three teams that have been more consistent winners than Cleveland. It doesn’t matter if the Browns “win the offseason” and get good grades but that is the only part of the game that is currently going on.
Last year, the Cincinnati Bengals ruled the division with a 12-4 record a year after losing in the Super Bowl. The Baltimore Ravens, despite not having Lamar Jackson for the end of the season, made the playoffs at 10-7 while the Pittsburgh Steelers missed the postseason but Mike Tomlin continued his streak of non-losing seasons at 9-8.
Now we take a look at how those three teams have done this offseason. Who have they added, lost:
- Non-exclusive franchise-tagged QB Lamar Jackson - Jackson is reportedly going to speak soon on the situation that seems problematic behind the scenes.
- One of just two teams that has not signed a free agent from another team
- Traded safety Chuck Clark
- Lost starting left guard Ben Powers to Denver
- Released DL Calais Campbell
- Re-signed LB Roquan Smith to a top-of-the-market contract
- Marcus Peters, Justin Houston, Jason Pierre-Paul, Sammy Watkins and Campbell are still on the open market
- Lost FS Jessie Bates III and SS Vonn Bell in free agency
- Lost TE Hayden Hurst and RB Samaje Perine
- Signed LT Orlando Brown
- LT Jonah Williams requested a trade after the Brown signing
- Signed RG Cody Ford
- Retained LB Germaine Pratt and backup safety Michael Thomas
- Signed CB Patrick Peterson
- Signed Philadelphia’s starting guard Isaac Seumalo
- Retained DT Larry Ogunjobi and CB Damontae Kazee
- Signed LB Cole Holcomb to help replace Devin Bush and Robert Spillane who left in free agency
- Lost CB Cameron Sutton, a good corner, to Detroit
All in all, the Browns added the most starters while the Ravens have made the fewest moves and are the most up in the air. For the Bengals, trading out their starting safeties for a good, not great, left tackle is an interesting move while the Steelers stabilized their roster with a couple of upgrades.
NFL free agency and the NFL offseason are far from over but at the end of the first week, it is interesting to look at where all the teams are. Based on last year’s records, Cleveland had the farthest to go and are trying to get there. Baltimore’s future is up in the air while Cincinnati and Pittsburgh just keep plugging along, in different ways.