2024 NFL free agency winners and losers from first 24 hours of tampering period

  • RBs are getting PAID, for better or worse
  • Vikings lost Kirk Cousins, but may still be winners
  • Raiders are leveling up with QB plans taking shape

Los Angeles Chargers v Las Vegas Raiders
Los Angeles Chargers v Las Vegas Raiders / Michael Owens/GettyImages
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If you were looking for a soft landing in the legal tampering period for 2024 NFL free agency, you were sorely mistaken with how things got started on Monday. It was an absolute free-for-all throughout the league, which then continued into Tuesday.

We're just over 24 hours into NFL free agency now with a plethora of huge deals handed out, including Saquon Barkley getting a massive deal for a running back with the Philadelphia Eagles, Christian Wilkins getting paid hugely by the Las Vegas Raiders, and much more as deals are being agreed upon left and right.

But who has garnered the best early returns and which teams have left their fans wanting -- be it because of inactivity or poorly conceived moves? We're breaking it down with our winners and losers of 2024 NFL free agency after the first 24 hours of action.

2024 NFL Free Agency winners and losers from first 24 hours of legal tampering period

Winner: Atlanta Falcons as a playoff team

If an NFL team has the means to upgrade substantially at quarterback in free agency when the opportunity presents itself, it's a chance that organization absolutely has to jump on. The Atlanta Falcons did just that with Kirk Cousins.

While Arthur Smith might've been a big part of the problem for the Falcons that Raheem Morris and new OC Zac Robinson should remedy, Cousins is a massive upgrade at quarterback from Desmond Ridder. His ability to distribute the rock to the likes of Drake London, Kyle Pitts, Bijan Robinson and another free-agent signee in Darnell Mooney (on a solid three-year, $39 million deal) should be huge for this offense.

Even better, the deal has outs for the Falcons after two years, despite it being a four-year, $180 million contract in totality. That gives Atlanta flexibility moving forward, but this is a roster firmly in position to win the AFC South with Cousins at the helm.

Somewhere In-Between: Washington Commanders

Few teams have been as busy as the Washington Commanders in free agency to this point. This was a relatively barren roster at a lot of spots that needed some upgrades and filler to make that happen. More importantly, they came into the offseason with cap space to burn, so they've been spending.

But how they've spent does leave some question marks. Austin Ekeler and Zach Ertz are familiar names on decently cheap contracts with Washington, but they have also looked well past their primes in recent years. The same could be said of Marcus Mariota, who is either coming in as a stopgap or backup to a rookie they likely draft at No. 2 overall.

Beyond that, Dan Quinn clearly liked his time with the Cowboys as he signed center Tyler Biadasz and defensive end Dorance Armstrong. Those moves, however, along with bringing in linebacker Frankie Luvu, defensive end Clelin Ferrell, and guard Nick Allegretti are all fine but were also perhaps overpays for the caliber of player coming in.

All that being said, the jury is still out, but it feels like the Commanders are buying in bulk rather than paying a premium for any top talent.