The Los Angeles Chargers and Jacksonville Jaguars spent big money in NFL Free Agency, but who were the biggest winners and losers of Day 1?
The legal tampering period that kicks off NFL Free Agency started with a bang yesterday as teams threw out a ton of money to improve their rosters, with the Jacksonville Jaguars notably spending like drunken sailors.
A lot of big names found new homes as well, including cornerback J.C. Jackson and safety Justin Reid, while there are still plenty of talented players available entering today.
Who did the best work on Day 1 and whose actions (or inactions in some cases) are worthy of some serious side-eye? Check out the three biggest winners and losers from the first 24 hours of NFL Free Agency below.
Day 1 NFL Free Agency Winners
3. New York Jets
The Cincinnati Bengals are an honorable mention for doing a solid job improving their offensive line with the addition of guard Alex Cappa but the New York Jets had a quietly good day. GM Joe Douglas moved quickly to add guard Laken Tomlinson on a three-year deal, filling a huge need along the offensive line, while importing tight end C.J. Uzomah to significantly improve that position.
Those deals, along with the underrated move to retain All-Pro returner Braxton Berrios on an affordable two-year contract, helped the Jets get better without breaking the bank. All of those moves will also provide more support to second-year quarterback Zach Wilson, giving him even more tools to develop after a so-so rookie season.
2. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Buccaneers were a huge winner already thanks to Tom Brady’s decision to come out of retirement and it helped influence their early offseason maneuvers. Brady’s return helped center Ryan Jensen agree to re-sign quickly, an important offensive line signing following the retirement of Ali Marpet, while the Buccaneers also spent to keep ascending young cornerback Carlton Davis on a long-term deal.
Those decisions helped retain key pieces of Tampa Bay’s core while still affording GM Jason Licht plenty of room to improve around the edges of his roster. Fewer teams in the league had a better start to free agency than Tampa Bay.
1. Los Angeles Chargers
The AFC West has become an arms race and the Chargers knew they had to make some moves to keep up with the Kansas City Chiefs and Denver Broncos in the division. Re-signing Mike Williams was a great start prior to the official opening of free agency but Los Angeles did excellent work to improve its defense with a pair of key signings.
The headliner is cornerback J.C. Jackson, the top cover corner on the market and a necessary addition in a division where the Chargers have to face Patrick Mahomes, Russell Wilson and Derek Carr six times in a season. The move that will fly under the radar is the addition of defensive tackle Sebastian Joseph-Day, who should significantly bolster Los Angeles’ run defense, which was ranked 31st in the NFL last season.