NFL

AFC South Free Agency Grades

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“If you’re not getting better, you’re getting worse.”

We’re through one week of free agency and there have been too many moves to count (that’s why you should check out our Free Agency Diary).

There are still some moves to make, but we’re going to grade the teams on what they’ve done during the first two weeks.

Houston Texans: B-

Most pundits and publications are naming the Houston Texans as one of the biggest winners in free agency, but there are a few reasons for concern.

Sure, they’ve upgraded the quarterback position with Brock Osweiler…unless they didn’t.  After seven starts, do we really know that Osweiler is better than Brian Hoyer?  For $18 million per year, making him the highest paid player on the team?

The Texans free agency class will go as Osweiler does, but he’s far from a sure thing, even if Houston paid him like he’s a multiple Pro Bowler.

We love the addition of Lamar Miller, but it came at the cost of Arian Foster.  Given both of their ages, it’s certainly a net upgrade for the Texans, but Miller hasn’t handled a full load for an entire season so there is some uncertainty.

Houston signed interior linemen Jeff Allen and Tony Bergstrom, but lost Ben Jones and Brandon Brooks, who are better football players.  They upgraded at safety with Antonio Allen over Rahim Moore, and kept running back Jonathan Grimes.

This looks like a boom or bust free agency class for Houston, and it will obviously depend on how Osweiler performs.

Indianapolis Colts: C-

The Colts had a disappointing year in 2015 after going on a free agent spending spree.  This year they’ve pretty much tapped out of the market.

Although that’s usually a smarter way to go, the Colts aren’t really any better than the team that finished .500 last year in a bad division.

They replaced backup quarterback Matt Hasselbeck with Scott Tolzien.  That’s a net loss.  They also added running back Robert Turbin to team up with Frank Gore, who had one of his worst “healthy” seasons of his career.

They lost linebacker Jerrell Freeman and tight end Coby Fleener, but managed to retain tight end Dwayne Allen.

Indy decided to part ways with wide receiver Andre Johnson, who was one of 2015’s big free agent busts. The Colts figure to be a better team than last year with a healthy Andrew Luck, but the roster as a whole isn’t one of the better ones in football and they didn’t get better in free agency.

Jacksonville Jaguars: A-

The Jaguars had the most free agency money to spend and they spent a good bit of it, although they didn’t get everything they were shopping for.

They opened free agency with a bang, signing former Broncos defensive end Malik Jackson to a huge money deal.  They then added former Jets running back Chris Ivory to pair with last year’s second-round pick T.J. Yeldon.

Jacksonville wasn’t done, as they addressed a major need by signing safety Tashaun Gipson away from the Cleveland Browns, and gave former second-overall pick Luke Joeckel some competition at left tackle with former Steeler Kelvin Beachum.  They even upgraded at punter with Brad Nortman, as they allowed Bryan Anger to test the market.

Jacksonville re-signed tight end Marcedes Lewis, who will likely finish his career with the same team that he started with in 2006.

The Jaguars free agent losses were less than nominal, as defensive end Andre Branch and offensive tackle Sam Young were not in the team’s plans.

There’s no team that addressed more needs and filled more holes than Jacksonville, but that doesn’t mean that they batted 1.000.  The Jaguars missed out on Olivier Vernon, as he chose the big city of New York over the smaller town of Jacksonville, and then failed to ink former Giants defensive end Robert Ayers, who signed with Tampa on a very moderate deal.

Now the team must address their lack of pass rush with a first-round pick from last year that hasn’t played a down and likely someone early in the draft.

Tennessee Titans: B

The Titans did a nice job of upgrading some key positions without breaking the proverbial bank on any one player.

With that said, Tennessee had a lot to upgrade and they still have a pretty long way to go.

Tennessee inked former Texans center Ben Jones to a deal, which hurts the division champs as much as it helps them.  They re-signed offensive lineman Byron Bell and defensive lineman Al Woods, and inked the reliable former Dolphins receiver Rishard Matthews.  Antwon Blake migrated from Pittsburgh to play cornerback for the Titans and defensive coorinator Dick LeBeau.

Tennessee didn’t have any huge free agent losses, so everything they did was a net gain, even if there were no superstars to add.

AFC East Free Agency Grades

AFC North Free Agency Grades


About Charlie Bernstein

Charlie Bernstein

Charlie Bernstein is the managing football editor for Football Insiders and has covered the NFL for over a decade.  Charlie has hosted drive time radio for NBC and ESPN affiliates in different markets around the country, along with being an NFL correspondent for ESPN Radio and WFAN.  He has been featured on the NFL Network as well as Sirius/XM NFL Radio and has been published on Fox Sports, Sports Illustrated, ESPN as well as numerous other publications.