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NFL free agency 2016 winners and losers: Here's why almost every team lost

Even in the offseason things can be won and lost.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The busiest part of free agency has passed, and while there are still good players out there for teams to sign, it's not too early to grade how teams have done in free agency. As the Eagles are the defending Offseason Champions, their second such title in five years, we can speak with expert experience as to what it takes to "win the offseason."

Free agency has increasingly become a fool's errand. Star players rarely become free agents in the prime of their career, and if they do they almost always have either a serious injury or personal baggage. Because of that, free agency is really just a race to sign second tier players to the most expensive contracts you are willing to give them. Which means most teams are losers in free agency.

Arizona Cardinals

After the best regular season since they were in Chicago, the Cardinals stood pat, which makes a certain amount of sense. After getting blown out in the playoffs, the Cardinals should have made some changes beyond getting Bruce Arians a new diaper. Losers.

Atlanta Falcons

With no pass rush, no secondary, no offensive line and nothing at WR opposite Julio Jones, the Falcons had a lot of holes to fill. To do so, they signed Alex Mack from the Browns, who cited working with Kyle Shanahan, his old offensive coordinator in Cleveland, as a reason why he signed. That alone is enough to determine that Mack is probably mentally ill, because nobody in their right mind would willingly work with Kyle Shanahan, whose growing list of players he has alienated includes the overly nice Matt Ryan. To upgrade the passing game, they sign Mohamed Sanu to starter money. He only needs to have 900 receiving yards and 4 touchdowns this season to be better than previous Falcons prize WR busts Peerless Price and Ashley Lelie. And they still have no pass rush or secondary. Losers.

Baltimore Ravens

Ozzie does it again. The Ravens made just two moves of note following their dismal 5-11 season. First, they gave Joe Flacco another contract extension, he has made $69M in the last four years on signing bonuses alone, and among QBs who have started at least 32 games during those four years, has been one the worst. Nice work if you can get it, though Rahim Moore should get a cut of those deals. Then then signed Ben Watson, who had a career year at the age of 35 with Drew Brees after having the worst year of his career the season before. Stupid money after bad money. Losers.

Buffalo Bills

The Bills didn't bring in anyone from free agency. It doesn't matter because they're not going anywhere this year. They did however give Richie Incognito money for not publicly being an asshole. Losers.

Carolina Panthers

The defending NFC Champions have an outstanding defense, the league's MVP in Cam Newton, and a sublime tight end in Greg Olson. But they need upgrades at offensive line, where Michael Oher is the starting left tackle, and at wide receiver, where Tedd Ginn is the best of the bunch. They signed nobody. That was wise to do when the OL market was immediately inflated by Kelechi Osemele and the WR market hilariously overinflated by it being so bad, but they still have Michael Oher at LT and Tedd Ginn as a starter. Losers.

Chicago Bears

The Bears were better than their record indicated in 2015, when injuries took their toll on the offense and Adam Gase did a really nice job dealing with them. However Gase is gone, replaced by Dowell Loggains, who used to be Jimmy the Cab Driver, and the team is stuck with John Fox. Losers.

Cincinnati Bengals

The Bengals were smart to not dive into the WR market, watching Marvin Jones and Mohammed Sanu get contracts they didn't deserve. They re-signed George Iloka, Adam Jones, Vincent Rey and Eric Winston, all solid moves, but didn't add anyone. They still have Andy Dalton at QB though, and Marvin Lewis is still around. Losers.

Cleveland Browns

Tashaun Gibson left Cleveland so that he could "start winning." In Jacksonville. Losers.

Dallas Cowboys

The Cowboys had a dismal year in large part because they had no depth. When Tony Romo went down, they ran through three other QBs and all of them stunk. When Dez Bryant went down, they had no one to catch the ball out wide or deep. And with no offense, the already bad defense struggled. To address these glaring holes, the Cowboys mostly stood pat. They did not sign a backup QB, they did not add any WRs, and added one starter on defense.

There's still time for them to sign Johnny Manziel and re-sign Greg Hardy. Losers.

Denver Broncos

Mark Sanchez is their top QB. Losers.

Detroit Lions

Once again a Hall of Fame player decided at the age of 30 that not playing football was better than playing for the Lions. Losers.

Green Bay Packers

The Packers once again did nothing in free agency, fulfilling their quest to have a 90 man training camp roster of players who have never played for another team and a 53 man regular season roster of guys who are good enough to make the playoffs but not good enough to win the Super Bowl because they never try to fill any needs in free agency. Losers.

Houston Texans

The Houston Texans are run like someone wanted to dare themselves to win with a poorly constructed roster in Madden just for the hell of it. In desperate need of a QB in the 2013 draft, they drafted Jadaveon Clowney, who took his last year in college off and hasn't come back since, and later took Tom Savage, passing on Teddy Bridgewater and Derek Carr (twice). In 2014 they added Ryan Fitzpatrick, got a decent year out of him, then traded him so they could start then bench then start then bench then start Brian Hoyer and promote then demote then promote then demote then release Ryan Mallett. Their defense is a one man band of JJ Watt, the shell of Brian Cushing's body and 9 guys, and the offense is too, DeAndre Hopkins is excellent, everyone else not so much. This offseason the Texans continued their plan for mediocrity by signing Brock Osweiler, the tallest, whitest QB available to a four-year contract with $37M guaranteed. That's $3.4 million for every touchdown he's ever thrown. Expect him to be benched for Christian Hackenberg by the end of October. Losers.

Indianapolis Colts

For the past few years, the Colts have tried to win championships during both the postseason and offseason, and have come pretty close in both. The team lost the AFC Championship Game in 2014 to the Patriots after pointing out that the Patriots might have cheated, and despite trying to once again buy a defense by giving money to guys who had good scouting reports in 2010, they lost the 2015 Offseason Championship to the Eagles. But things have changed. The Colts floundered to an 8-8 record in 2015, and this offseason they have been equally quiet. Their old and bad defense remains old and bad, their impressively weak supporting cast for Andrew Luck still lacks quality players, but hey, they've got Scott Tolzien. The greatness of Ryan Grigson knows no bounds. Losers.

Jacksonville Jaguars

Last year the Jags threw some money around, and improved to 5-11, so this year they threw even more money around, giving Chris Ivory starter money less than a year after drafting TJ Yeldon, and giving Malik Jackson a whole lot of money he didn't deserve and won't possibly live up to. Maybe they can go 7-9 and Gus Bradley won't be fired and people can still be in awe of whatever it is that Jacksonville calls a plan. Losers.

Kansas City Chiefs

So far as we know, they didn't tamper with any free agents this year. Winners.

Los Angeles Rams

When a team moves to a new stadium, they get an attendance boost in the first year as everyone wants to come see the shiny new toy their tax dollars are paying for, probably bringing their poorly educated kids with them and getting stuck in traffic on a road in poor condition because the city can't afford to pay for things people actually need because they had to help give a billionaire money to pay for a stadium that gets used 12 times a year. When they move to a new city, the excitement is so palpable that you don't even need to do anything, you can just import your crummy team to this new place and they'll be lining up around the block to come see you. Except probably in Los Angeles, which hasn't had a team since before Todd Gurley was a newborn baby because no one in LA cared and no one outside of LA cared either.

That, coupled with a coach and GM who are incompetent and stuck in a style of football from before Los Angeles had an NFL team the first time, the best thing the Rams could do this offseason was nothing. And that's exactly what they did. This should be Jeff Fisher's last year, and because of that the worst thing the Rams could do is add more players that fit the outdated vision he maintains. Winners.

Miami Dolphins

Let 26 year old Olivier Vernon go, which was a wise move considering he has been living off his 2013 reputation. Replaced him with 31 year old Mario Williams, who is living off his 2014 reputation. Losers.

Minnesota Vikings

The Vikings did not dip into the hilariously overinflated free agent market for pass catchers. For the long term, that's good. For Teddy Bridgewater in 2016, it's not. Losers.

New England Patriots

The Patriots did what they usually do in the offseason: sign a white guy to catch passes to replace or upgrade some other white guy. They also enter the draft with a first round pick stripped from them for allegedly cheating, again, so expect them to go 15-1 and win the Super Bowl. Winners.

New Orleans Saints

The Saints have no cap space due to $25 million in dead money from last year's moves, and because they haven't done anything to lower Drew Brees' $30 million cap hit. But they did sign Colby Fleener to a big money deal. Should have just kept Jimmy Graham. Losers.

New York Giants

Nobody spent more money in free agency this year than the Giants, who dropped $197 million in total contracts, $106 of it guaranteed. Impressively, they spent that on only five players, none of whom are remotely stars. Losers.

New York Jets

Ryan Fitzpatrick wants to get paid. The Jets, the Jets, have not ceded to his demands or the demands of any of the other lousy QBs available. Winners*.

*This will immediately change to losers if they double Fitzpatrick's salary.

Oakland Raiders

Signed three players: Sean Smith, who is 30 going on 38, Bruce Irvin, who was a bust, and Kelechi Osemele, who is a guard being paid like a tackle. Al Davis would be proud. Losers.

Philadelphia Eagles

After spending out the ass in 2015 and watching it all burn to the ground, the Eagles gave out $101 million in contracts, half of which is guaranteed. No lesson learned here. Losers.

Pittsburgh Steelers

Didn't do anything because they don't have any cap space. No credit is given for not doing something because you can not possibly do it. Losers.

San Diego Chargers

Plugged a few holes with reasonable contracts. (Someone actually did that?) Winners.

San Fransisco 49ers

Over $50 million in cap space to work with and holes all over the roster, the 49ers only signing was a third string QB. There's going to be a ton of cap space for Chip Kelly to blow next year when Trent Baalke is fired and the 49ers give Kelly and his BFF Tom Gamble the reins. Losers.

Seattle Seahawks

As usual they watched some rotational players get paid elsewhere and took care of their own starters. You'd think that would be the recipe to get back to the Super Bowl, but Russell Wilson got engaged so he's going to have sex now and that will ruin his season. Losers.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Signed Brent Grimes and his wife to a two-year contract. She quit Twitter, but there's still Instagram, Facebook, Tinder, WhatsApp and that thing that Mark Cuban is still trying to make happen. Losers.

Tennessee Titans

Traded for DeMarco Murray. Losers.

Washington Redskins

After winning the dreadful NFC East because somebody had to, the Redskins are having an offseason so quiet that one must assume that Daniel Snyder has been locked in a basement, fed only bread and water rations by Chris Cooley. The Redskins do have to work out a long term deal for future former franchise quarterback Kurt Cousins though. Losers.

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