Just like that, NFL free agency is over.
Okay, not over. But the vast majority of notable players scheduled to hit the open market were snatched up before the new league year officially got underway Wednesday afternoon.
With that in mind, we can already declare some losers.
Pittsburgh Steelers: After bringing back broken-down quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, the cap-strapped Steelers lost strong pass-rusher Bud Dupree, superb slot cornerback Mike Hilton, and starting-caliber offensive lineman Matt Feiler. That hurts even more with center Maurkice Pouncey retired and left tackle Alejandro Villanueva still unsigned for 2021.
Seattle Seahawks: With franchise quarterback Russell Wilson complaining about a lack of support, the Seahawks have sat on their hands. They aren’t loaded with salary-cap space, but they could have created tons by restructuring Bobby Wagner’s deal and extending Tyler Lockett, Jarran Reed, and Duane Brown. Wilson has every reason to be pissed.
Houston Texans: Same issue. Franchise quarterback Deshaun Watson wants out and has professed his love for top 2020 receiver Will Fuller V, but the Texans have ignored Fuller on the open market and done very little to raise salary-cap space in order to manufacture an olive branch for Watson by giving him more support. Throw in the loss of J.J. Watt, and it’s not a good scene in Houston.
New England Patriots: Obviously they’re improved because of how much money they’ve spent, but that doesn’t make them a winner. This looks a lot like a desperate team trying to arrogantly cling to relevance and remain a contender when it’s clearly too late. They aren’t winning with Cam Newton and an aging core elsewhere, so they’ve wasted their money on expensive newbies Matt Judon, Nelson Agholor, and Hunter Henry (especially with Jonnu Smith already on board at tight end).
Chicago Bears: Andy friggin’ Dalton? For at least $10 million? Is that a joke? The guy hasn’t been good in half a decade. He’s basically another version of Nick Foles, and you’re stuck with Foles already. The Bears had to get bold at quarterback and this was the offseason to do it, and they couldn’t even land Marcus Mariota, or Jameis Winston, or Jimmy Garoppolo, or Derek Carr? It’s hopeless.
Kansas City Chiefs: I mean, they’ve been forced to part ways with both of Patrick Mahomes’ offensive tackles, they’ve yet to re-sign their starting center and huge money for guard Joe Thuney doesn’t make up for that. Sammy Watkins also remains unsigned. It’s going to be hard for the Chiefs to remain on top in 2021.