The NFL’s free agency negotiation period opened on March 13 at 12 pm EST. Teams have been able to place the Franchise Tag or try to extend their own free agents for the last couple of days. Now other teams will have the opportunity to talk to their free agents.
Signing free agents will allow growing rosters to fill the major needs without using their draft capital at that position. It also allows contending teams to remain in the playoff picture by ensuring their roster is talented enough to compete.
More than any other event, Free Agency shapes the complexion of the league and how the team will be progressing their roster going forward toward the NFL Draft and the start of the regular season. Some teams make great value signings and others overpay for a popular commodity.
Here are the grades for the signings made during the second and third day of the 2023 NFL Free Agency Period:
New York Giants sign Parris Campbell to a one-year $4.7 million deal
The New York Giants added some much-needed receiver depth in former Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Parris Campbell. At times in Indianapolis Campbell played like the player the Colts took in the second round of the 2019 NFL Draft. However, Campbell had only played 15 games in the first three seasons of his career. This past season was the first time Campbell managed to stay healthy throughout an entire season. This is the type of signing New York needed to make to add depth to their thin receiving room. Campbell will compete with Sterling Shepard and Wan’Dale Robinson for reps in the slot for the Giants next season.
Cincinnati Bengals sign Cody Ford to a one-year deal
Cincinnati continued to add to their offensive line by signing Cody Ford to a one-year deal. Ford has the versatility to play both guard and right tackle. The former second-round pick started his career in Buffalo but was traded to Arizona in the preseason. He will likely compete with Jackson Carman and Cordell Volson for the starting left guard job. Ford could start at right tackle for Cincinnati if La’El Collins isn’t healthy and Jonah Williams is traded. This is a great addition by the Bengals who needed to continue to add depth to their offensive line.
New York Giants re-sign Darius Slayton to a two-year $12 million deal
After adding Parris Campbell to their receiving core the Giants retained one of their best receivers in Darius Slayton. Since being drafted Slayton has been one of the most consistent receivers for New York. Coming into the year Slayton was depth for the Giants but as the season went on he was forced back into a prominent role on their offense. He will likely be New York’s starting outside receiver opposite Isaiah Hodgins. There’s a more than solid chance that Slayton is New York’s top wide receiver next season.
Gardner Minshew signs a one-year $3.5 million deal with the Indianapolis Colts
When the Indianapolis Colts hired Shane Steichen the connection was made that the Indianapolis Colts could sign Gardner Minshew as a bridge quarterback. Minshew was coached by Steichen is Philadelphia over the past two seasons. Since being drafted Minshew has proven to be a capable starting quarterback whenever thrusted into action. He is the perfect quarterback for Indianapolis to have in the building incase the rookie that they draft isn’t ready to play Week One.
Philadelphia Eagles give Darius Slay a two-year $42 million extension
Against all odds, the Philadelphia Eagles managed to keep Darius Slay in the building under the salary cap. Following the re-signing of James Bradberry there was a report that Slay could be traded or released. Then there was reports that the Eagles could release Slay. However, it was clear that Slay wanted to stay with the organization so he reworked his contract to stay with the team. Now Philadelphia has retained their Pro Bowl cornerback duo that leads the conversation for being the best in the league.
D’Onta Foreman signs a one-year $3 million deal with the Chicago Bears
David Montgomery left the Chicago Bears to sign with the division-rival Detroit Lions. This left third-year running back Khalil Herbert atop the running back depth chart. The Bears signed former Seahawks running back Travis Homer to be the team’s change of pace back. They also brought in former Carolina Panthers running back D’Onta Foreman. Last season Foreman continued what he did in Tennessee the season prior. Foreman could lead a team’s backfield if put into the position to do so. He carried Carolina’s offense following the Christian McCaffrey trade. Foreman will likely be the team’s primary backup who could earn more snaps as the season goes on.
Seattle Seahawks sign Devin Bush to a one-year $4 million deal
The Seattle Seahawks have prioritized adding to their defense this offseason. They needed to add another linebacker to pair with Jordyn Brook. After rumors swirled about the Seahawks reuniting with Bobby Wagner they decided to take a chance on former Pittsburgh Steelers Devin Bush. The Steelers traded up in the 2019 NFL Draft to take Bush 10th overall. He hadn’t played up to that draft selection durin the time with the team. However Seattle is an ideal landing spot for Bush because he fits what they need. The Seahawks needed an athletic linebacker that could be responsible for covering tight ends and running backs in the middle of the field. That would open up Brooks to defend against the run and anything happening behind the line of scrimmage.
New England Patriots sign Mike Gesicki to a one-year $4.5 million deal
New England continued to add to their skill position group by signing former starting tight end for the division rival Miami Dolphins Mike Gesicki. The Patriots trade away Jonnu Smith earlier this offseason which cleared up the second tight end role in New England’s two tight end sets. There is a case that Gesicki is the most talented pass catcher on the roster. It was not long ago that Gesicki was a Pro Bowler and bonafide top-5 tight end in the league. However, Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel chose to give star receivers Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle huge target shares.
Gesicki is a hybrid slot receiver/tight end that could lead the Patriots in targets next season if he plays like he had during his best seasons in Miami. He could become the player the Patriots thought they were getting in Jonnu Smith for a fraction of the price. Mac Jones should be better next season with new offensive skill players JuJu Smith-Schuster, James Robinson, and Mike Gesicki.
Seattle Seahawks sign Julian Love to a two-year $12 million deal
Seattle also added Julian Love to their defense on Friday. Love developed into a key player for the Giants’ defense this past season. He was voted captain and was one of the best players on New York’s defense. It’s surprising to see New York let a player like Love walk when he seemed like a foundational piece to this team going forward. The Seahawks are getting a versatile defensive back that could play both safety and nickel-cornerback.
This signing is interesting for Seattle because they appear to be set at both safety and the nickel cornerback positions. Both Quandre Diggs and Jamal Adams received lucrative contracts from Seattle. But 2022 fourth-round pick Coby Bryant was one of the brightspots for this defense playing in the nickel for Seattle. Seattle could try playing Love or Bryant at outside cornerback while the other remains in the slot.
They could also be looking for a replacement for Jamal Adams who hasn’t been able to stay healthy since he was acquired. Even if Adams remains a Seahawk there are plenty of possibilities for lining up Seattle’s defense that will keep this unit multiple and complex for opposing offensive coordinators.
Drue Tranquill signs a one-year $5 million deal with the Kansas City Chiefs
Kansas City added a former key defensive player for their division rival Los Angeles Chargers in Drue Tranquill. The Chiefs already have a solid group of linebackers in Nick Bolton, Willie Gay, and Leo Chenal. Tranquill is likely seen as an upgrade over Gay who has not been a consistent contributor for Kansas City. He is a cheap addition that upgrades an underrated weakness on this defense giving the Chiefs four capable linebackers to rotate for their defense.
Cincinnati Bengals sign Nick Scott to a three-year $12 million deal
A major weakness opened up on Cincinnati’s defense when both Jessie Bates and Vonn Bell signed with new teams this offseason. The Bengals prepared for the loss of one if not both safeties by taking Daxton Hill at the end of the first round last year. However, the Bengals still needed to fill the other void in their defensive backfield. They brought in former Los Angeles Rams safety Nick Scott on a multi-year deal. Scott was a seventh round pick that developed into a contributor for the Rams defense. There were more notable players that could have filled this role for Cincinnati. However they signed a starting caliber safety at a value which is great considering the huge extensions they will have to make over the next few seasons.
Other transactions signings from that day
Miami Dolphins sign Dan Feeney to a one-year deal: B+
Pittsburgh Steelers sign Elandon Roberts to a two-year deal: B
New England Patriots re-sign Mack Wilson to a one-year $2.2 million deal: B
Chase Edmonds signs a one-year deal with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers: B+
Miami Dolphins sign Braxton Berrios to a one-year deal: B-
Cincinnati Bengals sign Trent Taylor to a one-year deal: B
Dallas Cowboys re-sign CJ Goodwin to a one-year deal: B
Baltimore Ravens re-sign Geno Stone to a one-year deal: B
TY McGill signs a one-year deal with the San Francisco 49ers: B-
New York Giants re-sign Jihad Ward to a one-year deal: A-
Detriot Lions sign Graham Glasgow to a one-year $4.5 million deal: B+
Tennessee Titans re-sign Nick Westbrook-Ihkine: A-
Andrew Billings signs a one-year $3.5 million deal with the Chicago Bears: B
Seattle Seahawks sign Evan Brown to a one-year deal: C+
Minnesota Vikings re-sign Austin Schlottman to a one-year deal: B
Cleveland Browns sign Trysten Hill: B-
P.J. Walker signs with the Chicago Bears: B+
Miami Dolphins re-sign John Lovett: B
New England Patriots resign Joe Cardona to a four-year deal: A-
Chicago Bears sign Robert Tonyan to a one-year deal: B+
Seattle Seahawks re-sign Drew Lock to a one-year $4 million deal: B+
Storm Norton signs a one-year deal with the New Orleans Saints: B
New York Jets re-sign Adam Pankey: B
New York Jets sign Wes Schweitzer to a two-year $7.5 million: A-
Philadelphia Eagles sign Greedy Williams to a one-year $1.9 million deal: A-
Los Angeles Rams re-sign Coleman Shelton to a two-year $8.75 million: B+
Marcus Mariota signs a one-year $5 million deal, with the Philadelphia Eagles: B+
New England Patriots re-sign Daniel Ekuale: B
Las Vegas Raiders re-sign Jermaine Eluemunor: B
Kansas City Chiefs re-sign Nick Allegretti: B
Dallas Cowboys re-sign Cooper Rush to a two-year $6 million deal: B+
Detriot Lions re-sign Michael Badgley: B
Atlanta Falcons sign Tae Davis: C+
Miami Dolphins re-sign River Cracraft: B
Los Angeles Chargers re-sign Donald Parham Jr. to a two-year $2.65 million deal: B
New York Jets sign Trystan Colon: B-
Thomas Morstead signs with the New York Jets: A-
Miami Dolphins sign Jake Bailey: A
Green Bay Packers sign Tarvarius Moore: B-
New England Patriots sign Chris Board to a two-year $6.7 million deal: C+
Cleveland Browns sign Jordan Akins two-year $5.2 million deal: B
JK Scott re-signs with the Los Angeles Chargers: B
Kansas City Chiefs sign Mike Edwards to a one-year $3 million deal: B+
Minnesota Vikings sign Dean Lowry to a two-year $8.5 million deal: B+
Jacksonville Jaguars r-esign Tre Herndon to a one-year $2.6 million deal: B
Green Bay Packers sign Rudy Ford to a one-year $2.5 million deal: B+
Las Vegas Raiders sign Jacob Bobenmoyer: B