Compared to the first week of 2023 NFL free agency, this week has been quite mild. All starting quarterback vacancies — save for that of the Jets, which has been reserved for Aaron Rodgers — are basically filled until April’s draft. Most of the big-name free agents are settling into their new homes. Still, dozens of moves have taken place, and sometimes, the transactions that fly under the radar end up being the most important.
Here, we’re grading each of the most notable signings and trades to occur during the second week of free agency. Check out grades from Week 1’s major acquisitions.
Browns sign QB Joshua Dobbs
Back for the second time in as many years, Dobbs proved capable of a spot start or two during his Titans run late in 2022. On a one-year, $2 milion deal replacing Jacoby Brissett behind Deshaun Watson, he’s a perfectly serviceable (and affordable) backup.
Texans sign RB Devin Singletary
Dameon Pierce is a promising bruiser atop Houston’s depth chart, but coming off injury, he could use a running mate. Singletary does everything well without necessarily doing anything special, making him a high-floor No. 2. On just a one-year, $2.75M deal, he’s a bargain considering his starting experience with the Bills.
Bills sign RB Damien Harris
With Singletary gone, Buffalo was in the market for a bigger back to pair with the shifty James Cook, the favorite to take over as RB1. Harris is a prototypical low-risk, high-reward bet coming from the rival Patriots. You can’t count on him to stay on the field, but when active, he’s a well-rounded option who should feature in the red zone.
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Cowboys sign RB Ronald Jones
Tony Pollard is locked in as the new No. 1 on the franchise tag, and Jones gives Dallas an experienced replacement for the departed Ezekiel Elliott. On a cheap one-year deal, he’s just fine. But his usage and effectiveness have waned in three straight years, most recently with the champion Chiefs.
Jaguars sign RB D’Ernest Johnson
Travis Etienne Jr. is a centerpiece of the Jaguars’ offense, and JaMycal Hasty fared relatively well in relief during the 2022 season. Johnson has low mileage even at 27, however, and was explosive in limited doses for the Browns.
Browns acquire WR Elijah Moore
Hungry for more juice out wide opposite Amari Cooper, Cleveland seized on Moore’s shaky standing with Jets brass by acquiring the former second-rounder via a pick swap — with a second going to New York and a third coming back. He’s been a bit volatile on and off the field, but on a rookie deal, the speedster represents a legit No. 2 option for Deshaun Watson.
Jets sign WR Mecole Hardman
Amid continued trade talks for Aaron Rodgers, New York has given its already-stocked WR corps a makeover. But it’s arguable they’ve now overpaid for two competent, if unspectacular, veterans in Allen Lazard ($11M per year) and Hardman, who can earn up to $6.5M on a one-year pact. No doubt the ex-Chiefs role player is electric, but he’s coming off an injury-riddled year and feels like an unnecessary luxury with Lazard, Garrett Wilson, Corey Davis and maybe soon Odell Beckham Jr. in tow.
Panthers sign WR D.J. Chark
There was never gonna be an easy way for Carolina to replace D.J. Moore, but consider these two options: A.) Moore stays as the WR1, with a middling veteran taking over at QB; or B.) Chark and Adam Thielen replace Moore, but a top rookie prospect takes over under center. Chark has yet to replicate his Jaguars peak, but his height and speed are well worth a one-year flyer.
Ravens sign WR Nelson Agholor
This won’t necessarily convince Lamar Jackson to come bolting back through the door, but on a one-year, $3.25M deal, you can do a lot worse for a No. 3-type wideout. Agholor is more mercurial than you’d like, but he’s still got juice downfield.
Colts sign WR Isaiah McKenzie
With Parris Campbell relocating to the Giants, Indy has replaced some of his speed with McKenzie, who flashed but couldn’t stick as a reliable outlet for Josh Allen in Buffalo. He’s a fine rotational and special teams piece, but you’d probably prefer to have Campbell’s upside, all things considered.
Cardinals sign WR Zach Pascal
Speaking of ex-Colts veterans, Pascal is following Jonathan Gannon from Philadelphia. He’s closer to a WR4 than WR3, but if that’s his role, he’ll thrive as a tone-setter, willingly setting up blocks, playing special teams and contributing to the locker room.
Giants sign WR Jamison Crowder
New York has certainly spent money at receiver; you just wonder how much the Giants will get in return. After adding Parris Campbell and retaining Darius Slayton and Sterling Shepard, Crowder feels a little redundant with Wan’Dale Robinson also onboard. He’s the type of vet who could easily post 400 yards as a Daniel Jones safety valve or fail to make the preseason cut.
Texans sign TE Dalton Schultz
The former Cowboys standout didn’t find the blazing market he might’ve enjoyed without a franchise tag a year ago, and he’s certainly a notch or two below the small tier of difference-makers at the spot. But for one year and $9M, this is a solid rental for a proven pass catcher, aiding whichever rookie QB they add next month.
Raiders sign TEs Austin Hooper, O.J. Howard
We’re lumping them together because they’re both on cheap one-year deals to replace the departed Darren Waller (traded to Giants) and Foster Moreau, who is stepping away from football after his cancer diagnosis. Their arrival is symbolic of the entire Raiders offseason: perfectly reasonable but mostly unexciting. Hooper and Howard are quality plug-and-play options, but they’re not giving you the pop that Waller does when healthy.
Eagles sign LB Nicholas Morrow
With T.J. Edwards leaving for the Bears and Kyzir White joining the Cardinals, the Eagles needed another body to compete with Nakobe Dean. Morrow, 27, was durable for Chicago in 2022 and has been a little bit better in each of his last three years.
Texans sign LB Cory Littleton
It’s been a few years since the ex-Rams starter was an above-average defender, but with 71 starts under his belt, he’s a serviceable one-year flyer for DeMeco Ryans‘ restocked “D.”
Titans sign CB Sean Murphy-Bunting
Some of Tennessee’s other gambles, such as for ex-Jaguars pass rusher Arden Key, deserve praise. And Murphy-Bunting, 25, at least brings fresh legs to their secondary. But he’s missed 13 games the last two seasons, and one of the Titans’ chief issues in the defensive backfield has been availability. For a few million more, they could’ve had a slightly more promising vet like Byron Murphy or Emmanuel Moseley.
Eagles sign S Terrell Edmunds
After losing both C.J. Gardner-Johnson and Marcus Epps in the first week of free agency, Philly appears content to have four or five veterans compete for the two open jobs on the back end. Edmunds is the latest addition — and most intriguing — of their bunch; he was more solid than splashy in Pittsburgh, but he’s only 26 and has positional versatility.