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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Loser: Philadelphia Eagles

Let's say we live in a world where hot names are how an NFL team wins free agency. Then in that case, the Philadelphia Eagles are surefire winners so far this offseason. But in the world where contract value and the minutia or risk involved with players are vitally important to assessing teams, then the Eagles have to come down as a loser for me.

With D'Andre Swift leaving, the Eagles had a hole at running back. But would you rather have a Zack Moss type of player or the boom-bust nature of Saquon Barkley when the price difference is more than $8 million per season by AAV? That Moss level is far more appealing, but the Eagles opted for the name brand at the name-brand price. They then signed pass-rusher Bryce Huff, who was great with the Jets the past two seasons -- but he was great in a limited role. He doesn't have any track record of being an every-down player, but the Eagles are paying him as such at $17 million in AAV.

It just feels like misguided spending on the part of the Eagles, especially considering their late-season collapse. They're spending big and forcing their hand in trade markets for Haason Reddick and/or Josh Sweat. And in doing so, I'm still not sure this team is markedly better than they were roster-wise going into 2024.

Winner: Saquon Barkley and the NFL RB market

If the adage of "never pay running backs" was supposed to be gospel, then the league needs to go back and start reading their NFL Bibles once again.

Saquon Barkley, as mentioned when discussing the Eagles, signed a three-year, $37.75 million contract. Josh Jacobs then all but matched that with a four-year, $48 million deal with the Packers, though that has options that heavily favor Green Bay. That's the richest AAV for a running back except for the ill-fated Le'Veon Bell contract with the New York Jets among deals signed since 2016. But he wasn't alone as D'Andre Swift landed with the Bears and Tony Pollard signed with the Titans, both on three-year, $24 million deals, also rank among the Top 10 running back contracts in that time.

It's a good offseason to be a top-of-the-market running back in free agency, especially with even players like Antonio Gibson and Austin Ekeler signing nice deals, among others.