Offseason grades for every NFL team

The PFF analysis team hands out offseason grades to all 32 franchises, with evaluations of draft picks and roster moves included.

| 5 months ago
(Harry How/Getty Images)

(Harry How/Getty Images)

Offseason grades for every NFL team

With the dust on free agency largely settled and the draft a few weeks behind us, the analysis team at PFF recently began its evaluation of each team’s offseason progress thus far. Some teams improved with key acquisitions, while others bled talent due to limited cap space.

From May 17–26, PFF will be releasing offseason grades for all 32 NFL franchises. Be sure to check back daily for the reveal of a new division.

AFC East

Buffalo Bills: B+

The Buffalo Bills have likely found their franchise quarterback, with Tyrod Taylor putting together an impressive debut season as an NFL starter in 2015. After finishing back-to-back seasons with a .500 or better record—and with Taylor in place—the Bills will look to make their first playoff appearance since 1999. More…

Miami Dolphins: B-

New Miami Dolphins general manager Chris Grier didn’t exactly walk into the healthiest cap situation this offseason. With a handful of impending free agents, Grier had to make some difficult decisions on who to let walk and who to try and re-sign. The result was extensive roster turnover. Some players were obviously long-shots to come back (Lamar Miller, Greg Jennings, and Olivier Vernon) while others could have been made to work, yet Miami still decided to part ways (Derrick Shelby, Rishard Matthews, and Brent Grimes). More…

New England Patriots: B

It’s always an active offseason in New England. Even if the Patriots aren’t involved in many splash free-agent signings, Bill Belichick and company consistently look to find undervalued players around the league while adding depth to their playoff-bound roster. They often employ a “see what sticks” mentality in overstocking positions, and that will certainly be the case heading into training camp as positions like WR, DT, G, TE, and other spots appear loaded with options that will likely sort themselves out with on-field performance and attrition. More…

New York Jets: C

The Jets’ offseason has been one overshadowed by a single storyline: An ongoing game of chicken between the franchise and last year’s starting QB, Ryan Fitzpatrick, over the value of the veteran signal-caller. Against that recurring headline story, the Jets have hit the reset button in their offensive backfield around the QB position while bidding farewell to key members of both their offensive and defensive lines. Ultimately, the Jets’ offseason grade is still largely incomplete until the Fitzpatrick saga is brought to an end. More…

NFC East

Dallas Cowboys: C+

2016 brought a relatively quiet free-agency period for Dallas. The biggest moves came from retaining their own players, with LB Rolando McClain in particular being an important asset to keep around on defense. McClain may carry with him a certain stigma given his draft position and issues during his NFL career, but he is a talented player and has been a key member of this defense since his arrival. In addition, draftee Ezekiel Elliott and the Cowboys should be a match made in heaven, but the pick may be defined by who they passed up to make it happen—Jalen Ramsey. More…

New York Giants: B

The Giants focused on their defense in free agency, adding some of the top players available. All of their additions are upgrades, but at defensive end and cornerback, they are improvements where they already had someone good, but allowed them to leave in free agency. They added Olivier Vernon, who graded as our fourth-best 4-3 defensive end in pass-rushing productivity, but it comes at the expense of the departure of Robert Ayers, who was also in the top-10 at the position. More…

Philadelphia Eagles: B+

After moving on from Chip Kelly and bringing in former Chiefs OC Doug Pederson, the Eagles’ offseason headlines have been dominated by quarterbacks. First, the team spent a combined $34 million in guaranteed money on Sam Bradford and Chase Daniel. They then made a big draft trade, sending multiple picks to Cleveland for the chance to take North Dakota State’s Carson Wentz with the second pick — a move that reportedly (and understandably) displeased Bradford. However, that shouldn’t overshadow the team’s other good moves in both free agency and the draft, as they heads into the summer looking improved over what was a 7-9 team a year ago. More…

Washington Redskins: B

Washington parted ways with several players, either by letting them walk or waiving them entirely. But for the most part, replacing the production from those no longer with the team shouldn’t be difficult. They were able to retain Kirk Cousins, and at this point, have avoided overpaying him on a long-term deal after just one full season of above-average play. More…

AFC North

Baltimore Ravens: B+

2015 was a rare down year for the Ravens, and many fans were expecting big changes in the offseason. It was a strange season though, given just how decimated they were by injuries, losing their starting quarterback, running back, top receiver, and one of their best defensive players, all to season-ending injuries. With plenty of draft picks, they had the opportunity to set themselves up well for the future, and appear to have made the most of it, as five of their draft picks from the first four rounds are poised to make big rookie impacts. More…

Cincinnati Bengals: B

Perhaps the biggest achievement the Bengals made in the offseason was retaining as much of their secondary as they did. With Leon Hall, Adam Jones, George Iloka, and Reggie Nelson all out of contract, the Bengals could potentially have lost an entire secondary in a few days, but they managed to bring back Jones and Iloka—arguably the two most important players of the group. More…

Cleveland Browns: B+

There were some hiccups early in free agency with the waffling on re-signing Mitchell Schwartz, but when this offseason is taken as a whole, the organizational structure and continuity along with the transactions, it’s hard to not argue that the franchise is heading in the right direction. The front office is clearly committed to building through the draft and relying on an experienced coaching staff to get the most out of every player. Hue’s system—designed to play to his player’s strengths—will put the team in good situations. More…

Pittsburgh Steelers: C

The 2016 offseason has been a quiet one for the Steelers, as they so often are. Pittsburgh definitely prefers to build through the draft rather than overspend on free agents, and this offseason was no different. Considering the success they’ve had over the past many years, it’s a strategy that nobody should be arguing with. Despite some huge injuries at key points in the 2015 season, there was not a whole lot of change needed for the Steelers to compete again in 2016. More…

NFC North

Chicago Bears: A-

Since taking over last season, general manager Ryan Pace has made plenty of moves to overhaul a depleted Chicago Bears roster, and they appear to be heading in the right direction. Last year’s draft netted two players that played significant, quality snaps in FS Adrian Amos and DT Eddie Goldman, while the return of an injured first-round wide receiver Kevin White should make that class look even better. More…

Detroit Lions: C+

The Lions started the offseason behind the eight-ball with Calvin Johnson’s retirement. His decision is a massive loss for the team, as he is a player that is impossible to replace. Tasked with just that, Detroit went out and signed the best available free-agent wide receiver in a weak market at the position. More…

Green Bay Packers: B-

It’s been another solid, if unexciting, offseason for the Green Bay Packers under general manager Ted Thompson. The signing of a middle-level tight end like Jared Cook is about as active as Green Bay will ever be in free agency, yet it’s a move that could provide a serious impact in 2016. More…

Minnesota Vikings: B-

The Vikings had an interesting draft, if not a spectacular one. Laquon Treadwell is a player PFF has been less high on than others, given that he struggles to separate and does not have the kind of contested catch ability of a player like Josh Doctson. Mackensie Alexander is a player our analysts think has first-round talent, but like more in a man-coverage-scheme than in zone. More…

AFC West

Denver Broncos: C+

The offseason following a Super Bowl victory is rarely an easy one, and the Broncos have certainly been living proof of that in 2016, with the added complication of a backup quarterback cashing in to leave for good measure. The Broncos knew their price for their departing free agents, and weren’t going to budge to “keep the band together.” More…

Kansas City Chiefs: C+

On defense, Kansas City was able to retain long-time stars in Eric Berry at safety, and Derrick Johnson and Tambi Hali at linebacker, as well as the emerging Jaye Howard at defensive end. In the draft—despite trading out of the first round entirely—the Chiefs ended up with a first-round talent in the profoundly-disruptive Chris Jones. More…

Oakland Raiders: A

The Raiders added probably five starters in free agency and the draft who will make an instant impact. Sean Smith, Reggie Nelson, and Karl Joseph could take the secondary from good to excellent. Bruce Irvin and Shilique Calhoun should ensure that fresh edge rushers consistently disrupt opposing QBs. Retaining Donald Penn and signing Kelechi Osemele could transform the Raiders’ front five into the top unit in the league. More…

San Diego Chargers: B

The Chargers look improved heading into training camp following some solid moves made in free agency and the draft, but the playoffs still look far away given how poorly they played on both sides last season, and with Philip Rivers coming off the worst year of his career, grade-wise. More…

NFC West

Arizona Cardinals: B

The Cardinals already had a deep NFC-West-winning roster, with their most important pieces returning, but they used their offseason to improve in key areas. The additions of Jones and Nkemdiche, as well as the growth of Golden going into his second year, should make the Cardinals’ pass rush much more effective than their 29th-ranked unit last season. More…

Los Angeles Rams: B-

The Rams have a few clear strengths—RB and D-line—but too many weaknesses to expect the team to be successful with a rookie QB in year one. At least they can scratch quarterback off their list of needs, but in turn this offseason, they’ve added defensive back to that list. Typically, having a good QB is more important than having a strong secondary, but ideally, LA could have added more talent in various positions. More…

San Francisco 49ers: C+

With an obvious question mark at QB, the 49ers will hope Chip Kelly can elevate the play of either Blaine Gabbert or Colin Kaepernick. Kaepernick has shown the ability and talent to lead a team to the Super Bowl, so expect him to start under center in Week 1. The additions of Buckner and fifth-round pick Ronald Blair should improve the defense. The 49ers were quiet in free agency, and put together a solid draft, but this offseason—and the results of 2016—will be determined by the impact Kelly has on his offense. More…

Seattle Seahawks: C-

Iff there was an area the Seahawks needed to address coming into the offseason, it was their offensive line. While they have made plenty of changes to the O-line thus far, whether they have actually managed to improve the unit remains to be seen. This is a very talented roster, but the area that gave them the biggest problem in 2015 might do just the same in 2016. More…

AFC South

Houston Texans: B-

The three positions that touch the ball more than any other will all be different for the Texans in 2016 than they were in 2015. Center Ben Jones left to the Titans in free agency, while quarterback Brian Hoyer and running back Arian Foster were cut. The hope is that all their replacements—Nick Martin, Brock Osweiler, and Lamar Miller, respectively—will be upgrades to the offense. More…

Indianapolis Colts: C

Gone is 2015 breakout ILB Jerrell Freeman, as well as tight end Coby Fleener. With so little action in free agency—outside of the addition of CB Patrick Robinson from the Chargers—the Colts in 2016 will be reliant on immediate help from the rookie class, in particular their first-round pick, center Ryan Kelly. More…

Jacksonville Jaguars: A

Jacksonville was a real winner on draft weekend, making it out of the first two rounds with two of the arguably three best defensive players in the draft. Jalen Ramsey was the top run-defending cornerback in college football last season, which will greatly help the Jags’ nickel defense (where he will play in the slot). Looking to push recent futility aside, Jacksonville has assembled a 2016 roster with considerable talent, using both the draft and free agency. More…

Tennessee Titans: B

The Titans have focused most of their energy and resources this offseason in surrounding Marcus Mariota with a proper supporting cast. They’ll likely insert first-round pick Jack Conklin into the RT spot, and clearly would like to establish a dominant running game to assist Mariota—they made the move to acquire DeMarco Murray and added another powerful back in Derrick Henry. More…

NFC South

Atlanta Falcons: C

While there is reason for playoff expectations in Atlanta this season, there is still more work to be done. Although they’d like to eventually move Robert Alford to nickel corner, the thinned-out secondary needs immediate help. Without going back to the free-agent market, the Falcons will likely need to resort to giving a safety like Charles Godfrey or Kemal Ishmael snaps when in nickel formation—a less-than-ideal situation. More…

Carolina Panthers: C-

There wasn’t a tremendous amount of turnover on the Carolina Panthers’ offense this offseason, and their key pieces will return in MVP quarterback Cam Newton and his favorite weapon, tight end Greg Olsen. The Panthers focused heavily on defense in the draft and didn’t add any major offensive players in free agency. More…

New Orleans Saints: C+

The Saints’ biggest issue this offseason was their lack of cap space, and they managed to get some relief there by cutting some underperforming veterans loose. However, when it came to actually improving struggling units of their team, the Saints didn’t quite find the success they were hoping for. More…

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: C+

In terms of retentions, keeping star RB Doug Martin was the priority. He received a significant amount of guaranteed money ($15 million), but is inexpensive at $8 million per year for five years. Martin ranked first amongst RBS in pure rushing grade, while teammate Charles Sims ranked first when also considering passing game contributions. Also-retained Chris Conte is a serviceable safety, but misses too many tackles and has graded negatively three years in a row. More…

  • dlund6cutler

    The Bears have made good moves this off season but i’m not sold yet. Whenever I think the Bears will have a bad season they do a little bit better like this season (I expected 4-12 and I got 6-10). But when I expect them to be good we suck, Cough…2014 season.

    • crosseyedlemon

      The coaching staff is only in their second year so I would consider 8 wins this season as meeting expectations. Maybe with the great start the Cubs and White Sox are having, they can meet in the World Series and no one will notice the Bears.

      • dlund6cutler

        That is very true and I wouldn’t be shocked if the Cubs and White Sox made the world series.

  • Jacob Lamb

    “The Bills have likely found their franchise QB” what a joke, this guy clearly doesn’t follow all the teams as there is almost no chance that this guy is a franchise QB, he is a 1-2 year stop gap similar to QB’s before him — Cassel – Fitzpatrick — EJ Manuel. Hes barely 6 FT and now they have lost their best weapon for part of the year? I am betting the Bills flop.

    • Evan Zinger

      I don’t know if you follow all the teams, but Watkins will be ready for the start of training camp, start of preseason at the very latest. Don’t accuse someone of not knowing anything when you clearly don’t know anything yourself.

      • Jacob Lamb

        Dude don’t be a moron, the Watkins point is only a small part of my comment. And they say he will be back at some point, but those foot surgeries linger: see Dez and Julio before him. Watkins is going to miss most of the time leading up to the season then we will see if he can even stay on the field when he’s back. But the larger point was about Tyrod Taylor not being a franchise QB. Cause he’s not.

        • anon76returns

          Your only point appears to be that Tyrod Taylor is short. Russell Wilson and Drew Brees have completely destroyed the notion that a franchise QB has to be 6’3″ or taller, so I don’t think you really have any points other than asking wether Watkins will be ready for the season.
          Taylor had the 7th highest passer rating and 9th highest PFF grade among starting QBs last season. If he can provide that level of production consistently over the next several years, then he is a franchise QB, period. He’s already shown that he can produce at a high level, the only question now is if he can continue to do it.

        • Tim

          Someone is being a moron here… but it is not Evan.

          • Jacob Lamb

            Hey Tim and Evan, how did Tyrod look yesterday boys?? Lol

      • Jacob Lamb

        How did Tyrod look yeaterday lol

    • crosseyedlemon

      It probably isn’t crucial for the Bills to have a franchise QB at this time anyway. They have a couple of top offensive linemen and a solid run game. That’s the foundation you need if your going to play in a city known for it’s brutal December weather.

      • Jacob Lamb

        That’s true, if they can rebound their defense (and they should be much better from the draft) and sustain their running attack from last year they will be in the mix as a postseason contender. But that’s about it. And to me the main reason is that they don’t have a legit QB…

    • Tim

      Someone please remind Russell Wilson that if you are just barely 6′, let alone an inch or two shorter than 6′ you automatically suck. Oh, tell Drew Brees too.

  • JudoPrince

    Why didn’t the Cowboys sign McClain to a multi-year deal? Didn’t have to guarantee all the years obviously but at least you would have kept a productive player on the books. If McClain has another productive season, he’s going to get very expensive.

  • George

    this guy is a dumb ass

    • Tim

      Your comment, in comparison, looks so bright and intelligent.

      • John Rettberg

        Oh, you mean just like your comment up top about A.Smith? Just making sure.

  • John Phillips

    No grades below C. Does that mean everybody’s record next year is going to be the same or better?

    • Tim

      K, see, this is how it works….

      Say you won 4 games last year and had a C offseason grade. Then say another team won 14 games last year and had a C offseason grade…

      One of those two teams will most likely win considerably more games than the other. I don’t want to give away the answer to this complex riddle so that you can figure it out on your own.

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  • Tim

    I really hope the Raiders move to Las Vegas. I think that is the kind of town where Aldon Smith can thrive… lol

  • Tim

    Jacob, you are a simpleton. They provided examples of players who are considered good who are 6′ or below at the QB position because you insinuated that this automatically means they will suck. No one said that one good season makes him brees or wilson or even insinuated that except you. You are dumb.

    • Jacob Lamb

      Tim The guy literally said “Wilson and Brees have destroyed the notion that a qb has to be 6’3 or taller” that’s a direct comparison is it not? As I said you guys can have that dude.. He is a one year more, MAYBE 2 stop gap qb who was a career backup. He had some weapons and a weak schedule last year but I think he played way over his head. We will see who’s right come this season but if you guys want to put him in the elite “Franchise QB” conversation than its your funeral when he proves you wrong..