NFC power rankings, post-free agency

With all of the premiere free agents signed and most NFL teams turning their attention to the NFL Draft, it feels like a good time to do some old-fashioned power rankings. While these will certainly shift over the next six weeks with the remainder of free agency drying up and franchise quarterbacks being drafted, let’s take a look at where the NFC franchises check in.

16. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Other than shedding some large contracts, Tampa Bay did nothing to improve itself. Even with Jameis Winston, this looks like another tough year.

15. Washington Redskins

Washington had a solid offseason, adding players like Terrance Knighton. The problem is the coaching and quarterbacks are subpar, and the rest of the roster is still lacking.

14. Atlanta Falcons

Matt Ryan is a good quarterback and has weapons on the outside. Other than that, the cupboard is very bare. The Falcons are in bad shape.

13. San Francisco 49ers

No team had a worse offseason than the 49ers. San Francisco lost a bevy of playmakers and Jim Tomsula is a fairly uninspiring hire to replace Jim Harbaugh.

12. Chicago Bears

John Fox is a great hire and the offense has some potential, but the defense still has a long ways to go before this is a playoff contender.

11. New Orleans Saints

This team desperately needs to be blown up. General manager Mickey Loomis keeps plugging one hole while three more open up.

10. New York Giants

The Giants did little in free agency to make you think they have the playoffs in their future. Eli Manning is a decent quarterback, but he needs help up front.

9. Detroit Lions

The losses of Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley are huge. Detroit did acquire Haloti Ngata, but the nose tackle in on the downside. The Lions are poised to step back.

8. Minnesota Vikings

The Vikings went 7-9 last year and had Matt Cassel and Christian Ponder starting games early. With Teddy Bridgewater maturing and Mike Wallace in house, this is a sleeper.

7. Philadelphia Eagles

The Eagles are almost impossible to predict. If Sam Bradford is healthy, Philadelphia is a good team. If not, it is no better than a .500 club.

6. St. Louis Rams

Nick Foles represents a huge upgrade over Austin Davis and Shaun Hill. The Rams have a quality head coach and terrific defense, led by the NFL’s best defensive line.

5. Carolina Panthers

The Panthers are excellent defensively and have a talented quarterback in Cam Newton. This team wouldn’t make the playoffs in other divisions because of its punchless offense, but the NFC South boosts its rating.

4. Arizona Cardinals

The Cardinals are getting Carson Palmer back and added Mike Iupati to help fortify the offensive line. Arizona is a Super Bowl contender with a solid draft, which needs to fill in the defensive line.

3. Dallas Cowboys

Dallas lost DeMarco Murray but will likely make due with a rookie, Darren McFadden and Joseph Randle. The Cowboys also stand to improve defensively if Sean Lee stays healthy.

2. Seattle Seahawks

Why aren’t the Seahawks No. 1? Because they should have lost to Green Bay last year but escaped with a miracle. Losing Byron Maxwell hurts, but the loss of Max Unger stings more. That said, Seattle is still a great team.

1. Green Bay Packers

The Packers were able to retain Randall Cobb and Bryan Bulaga, making the offseason a success. Green Bay is flat-out loaded, boasting the best player in the game with Aaron Rodgers.

About Matt Verderame

Matt Verderame, 26, is a New Yorker who went to school at the frozen tundra of SUNY Oswego. After graduating, Verderame has worked for Gannett and SB Nation among other ventures.