Dec 30, 2012; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings defensive end Jared Allen (69) sacks Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) during the second quarter at the Metrodome. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

2014 NFL Free Agency: Updated Dynamos And Deadbeats

The main waves for the 2014 NFL free agency period are in the rearview mirror.  So who are the latest dynamos and deadbeats?


Denver Broncos

John Elway showed the type of urgency a GM should when his team reached the Super Bowl but failed to get over the top.  Instead of just trying to improve in a couple areas, he went out aggressively to overhaul his entire defense.  He nabbed two Pro Bowl pieces for the secondary in Aqib Talib and T.J. Ward and a veteran pass rusher to assist Von Miller in DeMarcus Ware.  Throw in the highway robbery of Emmanuel Sanders and this team might actually be a lot better than last year and the draft hasn’t even happened yet.

New England Patriots

It didn’t take long for the New England Patriots to realize that Denver was not going to rest on the laurels.  Having lost quite convincingly in the AFC championship, the team knew they had to alter their typical course of careful free agent maneuvers to get better quickly.  The cornerstones of their spending were two Pro Bowl corners in Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner and an understated receiver for Tom Brady in Brandon LaFell.  They didn’t go crazy like the Broncos did, but they are certainly much better on defense.

New Orleans Saints

They only made one significant move in 2014 NFL free agency but it was probably the biggest stunner of them all.  Already boasting the 4th ranked defense from a year ago and a promising young safety in Kenny Vaccaro, the New Orleans Saints looked to go get a playmaker on the back end.  Their signing of three-time Pro Bowler Jairus Byrd is a potential game changer that makes them instant favorites in the NFC South and perhaps more depending on how they do in the draft.

Chicago Bears

Phil Emery went into the 2014 off-season with one goal:  fix the defense.  He came out firing early and often for the Chicago Bears but didn’t overspend at the same time.  Among his early additions were two younger, quality defensive ends in Lamarr Houston and Willie Young, an experienced, athletic safety in Ryan Mundy and loads of special teams ability with safeties M.D. Jennings and Danny McCray, linebacker Jordan Senn and wide receiver Domenik Hixon.  That alone was a solid haul according to experts.  Then it all came together when Emery fired the big shot, stunning the football world by landing five-time Pro Bowl pass rusher Jared Allen.  The defense hasn’t played yet in 2014, but most already believe it will be considerably better.

Atlanta Falcons

With a mix of subtlety and speed the Atlanta Falcons somehow accomplished several of their off-season objectives without anybody taking much notice.  In the space of a day they beefed up their defensive front with defensive tackle Paul Soliai, defensive end Tyson Jackson and gave Matt Ryan some protection with quality guard Jon Asamoah.  To top it all off they gave their special teams a tremendous boost with the signing of record-holding return man Devin Hester who should have some gas in the tank to give them game-breaking plays.


Kansas City Chiefs

There is no denying the team made some nice adjustments to the defense in 2014 NFL free agency but given the offense was typically their primary issue, to lose three good starters up front in Branden Albert, Geoff Schwartz and Jon Asamoah is devastating.  Never mind the fact that dynamic utility man Dexter McCluster is now a Titan.  It is not the off-season Chiefs fans could hope for, especially since the team has no 2nd round pick this year.

Seattle Seahawks

Obviously as the defending champions the Seattle Seahawks deserve the benefit of the doubt but there’s no question they lost more than they gained in free agency this year.  Among the losses include receiver Golden Tate, corners Brandon Browner and Walter Thurmond, right tackle Breno Giacomini, defensive ends Red Bryant and Chris Clemons and underrated defensive tackle Clinton McDonald.  That is a lot of quality talent to lose for any team and will be up to Pete Carroll and John Schneider to replenish if they wish to stay on top.

Carolina Panthers

One primary goal sat in front of the Carolina Panthers at the start of free agency.  Improve at wide receiver.  Not only did they fail in that endeavor, they lost their four best targets at the position from a year ago.  Steve Smith was released and signed in Baltimore, Brandon LaFell went to New England, Ted Ginn sailed for Arizona while Domenik Hixon landed in Chicago.  Thus far the only replacements they’ve been able to bring in are Jerricho Cotchery and Tiquan Underwood.  Safe to say they need a productive draft.

New York Jets

It’s really been a mixed bag for the New York Jets in 2014 NFL free agency.  They did succeed in adding a quality weapon to their offense in Eric Decker as well as some competition for Geno Smith in Michael Vick but it’s not enough.  Their secondary took a big hit with the departure of Antonio Cromartie  and the failure to get any replacements despite multiple shots at names like Darrelle Revis and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie pretty much says they haven’t gotten significantly better from a year ago.

Buffalo Bills

Losing Jairus Byrd was the real gut punch for the Buffalo Bills even though it was expected by many.  What really hurts for this team is that they had plenty of cap space to spend but thanks to tough weather and lack of interest from free agents they weren’t able to greatly improve their roster.  There were some underrated signings like corner and special teams ace Corey Graham and linebacker Brandon Spikes but they still have unanswered questions across the roster.

Dick's Sporting Goods presents "Hell Week":

Tags: 2014 Nfl Free Agency Atlanta Falcons Buffalo Bills Carolina Panthers Chicago Bears Denver Broncos Kansas City Chiefs New England Patriots New Orleans Saints New York Jets Seattle Seahawks

  • Josh Landers

    If you watched the second half of the season, you would’ve seen that the offense in kc is not a problem. ALL of the players lost in fa are replaceable/replaced. Mccluster is an average slot receiver. He’s a good returner but hasn’t scored a st td since his rookie year. Toub made a bigger difference than DMC, it appears. We need a wr and some o-line depth/maybe a starting rg. Other than that, I think you’ll find that we’re in good shape. GO CHIEFS!!!

    • Erik Lambert

      Not saying they won’t be fine, just saying their job in the draft got a lot harder.

      • sidibeke

        No you’re not. You’re saying they’re a deadbeat.

        • Erik Lambert

          In free agency, Sidi. In free agency.

          • Josh Landers

            I think they made some solid moves in fa. Not game breakers but t-jax and Robinson have been upgraded. Fisher moves to ba’s spot and Stephenson, who surprised me last year, will take over for fisher. There’s been talk that Reid really likes rishaw Johnson at rg. I guess well see how that plays out. Mays is probably an upgrade over Jordan. To me, the chiefs did exactly what they should have in free agency. They have claimed since the beginning that they’ll use fa to supplement the draft, not replace it. I guess well really see in 6 months who was a dynamo and who was a deadbeat. GO CHIEFS!!!

          • Erik Lambert

            Reid has a history of being very good in the draft. I just wonder if he can replace all the losses on offense properly with no 2nd round pick.

          • Josh Landers

            I understand where you’re coming from. I just think that we have fewer holes to fill than you do, I guess. To me, Schwartz was the only real loss among the o-line. We may have his replacement already on the roster if what I read about Johnson is legit. I think it just being the 2nd year in the ayst will make a difference for a lot of these guys who were on the border of being good and being average. The 2nd half of the season the offense played well despite having bums for wr’s and no strong starting te. McGrath played well but he’s not a game changer. Just a solid, dependable receiver who could use a little work blocking. Call it optomism but I think the roster is pretty solid minus a little depth and a true number 2 wr. I can’t begin to explain how sick I am of the chiefs getting no love from the media. Sure, we’ve earned a lot of it in past years but those times are drawing to a close. The teams who don’t overspend in fa and draft well are the dynamos to me. Sorry if I came across as a db. Lol. I’m just really excited for my team.

          • Erik Lambert

            You should be. They’re a good team with a great coach. Just really pessimistic with those losses and that division only getting better.

          • sidibeke

            Yes, I know. But saying they’ve had one of the poorest FAs in the league and you base that on the fact that they’ve lost too much on the offensive side of the ball, it follows that they won’t be fine. KC has 6 picks, and if you watched the Indy game, they’ve got some holes to fill on the other side of the ball. It just seems inconsistent, what you are saying. Then again, perhaps you brought KC in on the list because Chiefs fans post a lot.

          • Erik Lambert

            They lost three starters on the offensive line and didn’t replace any of them. One of their better offensive weapons is gone and they also lost an underrated defensive lineman. I stated that despite their offensive success late in the season their unit could ill-afford these losses, and after all it was the defense that fell apart in the playoffs. They aren’t as close to championship-ready as one might think if they keep losing players like this. I don’t see what is so inconsistent about that.

          • sidibeke

            I think you’re misunderstanding me. I’m not saying that I agree or disagree with you one way or the other. What seemed inconsistent to me was your reply to Josh Landers that you weren’t saying “they won’t be fine.” That’s all. I think you’ve backed your position well. Well written. Thanks for the read.

          • Erik Lambert

            Ah. My mistake. Thank you very much for reading.

  • anon76returns

    Arizona and Tampa have impressed me with their moves.
    I’m even coming around on Oakland- their opening salvo was embarrassing, but since then they’ve done decent work, especially given the fact that talented players (such as Houston and Veldheer) don’t want to play in Oakland.

    • Erik Lambert

      I agree on Oakland. I thought they blew it for awhile but have since made some good moves. They aren’t a lot better yet, but it was enough to keep them off the list either way.

      • Johnathan Wood

        they keep adding old guys. Makes no sense for a team nowhere ready to contend. They should have been spending on the best young guys in FA. Keep their own young guys and bring in players coming off rookie deals and ready to hit their prime (like Linval Joseph).

        • Erik Lambert

          The problem with that is the young guys demand more money, something Oakland clearly wasn’t willing to fork out. Their plan clearly is to bring in some quality veterans to shore up certain areas in the short term and then trust McKenzie can hit on some draft picks to bring it all together.

          Not saying it’s wrong or right. Just saying that seems to be their plan. Besides, it’s not like Oakland didn’t try to get younger guys. Being a bad team for so long can often scare free agents away no matter how much money you have.