When Tuesday's (Aug. 16) practice came to an end, Sean Payton said something to the effect that the Saints were pretty much finished adding free agents, unless someone they covet gets cut by another team or they incur a serious injury at a position with little depth. I think it is safe to say at this point in training camp that that probably holds true for most teams.
Adam Caplan published a list of the top offensive free agents on the market, and when he publishes a list for the defense, I'll include it in an update. While teams can still fill holes with guys on the street, most are choosing not to, or at the very least, waiting for the asking price to drop.
With the majority of free agent signings behind us and the first week of preseason football completed, I thought it would be fun to rank each team now that we have a little something to go off of. We don't learn much from the preseason, but at least we know who is healthy enough to step on the field, and for the most part, who teams value enough to be on the roster at this point. Make the jump to see how I rank the bottom tier of teams in the NFL at this early juncture. Check back later to see how the top half ranks.
32. Miami Dolphins-- Tried and failed to replace the head coach. Tried and failed to replace the quarterback. Didn't improve through the draft or through free agency. Note to Sparano and GM: if you are about to get fired, go for it in free agency and the draft. Mortgage the future. Do what you have to do to get what you need. Instead, you stood on your hands and looked stupid. Congratulations, you are the newest worst team in the NFL.
31. San Francisco 49ers-- I like Harbaugh, but the 49ers seem to have gotten worse in free agency. If Alex Smith is the answer, I'd like to know the question. I'd have taken Mallet. Just saying.
30. Cincinnati Bengals-- How dysfunctional can a franchise be? They've got a good defensive coordinator and head coach, and some nice young players at tight end and wide receiver. Yet despite the talent they do have, they don't have unity. And despite the quarterback situation, they could very well finish ten spots higher if this team wasn't so divided.
29. Carolina Panthers-- This team improves immediately with a healthy offensive line. They've got arguably the best linebacking corps in the NFL, and a great one-two punch at running back. Yet aside from Steve Smith, they don't have a wide receiver and Cam Newton has a long road ahead. Good thing they stole Greg Olsen from Chicago. I'd probably rank them a little higher if they had more continuity on the coaching staff.
28. Washington Redskins-- I think Rex Grossman can still be good. I don't think he's got a bonafide wide receiver to throw it too, despite all the guys they signed. I like the players on defense, but I don't like Haslett. This team still has plenty of holes, yet once again signed a million free agents who probably won't make any positive contributions. And is it me or does it feel like they are trying to force square pegs into round holes?
27. Minnesota Vikings-- I hate to put them this low (I like head coach Frazier), but I think McNabb is too comfortable in his past achievements to make the necessary sacrifice required to be his best. On top of that, their defense is getting old and aside from Harvin, their wide receiver's don't inspire me.
26. Oakland Raiders-- Al Davis forgot more about football than I'll ever know and he still knows more than all of us combined, but I don't believe in his secondary or his offensive line. Either Al wasn't in the draft room last year or he wasn't lucid (again) this year. This team actually got worse in free agency.
25. Arizona Cardinals-- Kevin Kolb and Larry Fitzgerald may only be a one year tandem. This team is in the process of replacing great contributors with young players and is well coached, but I don't think the transition is quite fast enough.
24. Buffalo Bills-- I'd love to rank this team higher. I believe in Ryan Fitzpatrick and Chan Gailey. But they have too many question marks on defense and offensive tackle for me to step out a little further on this branch.
23. Tennessee Titans-- I think Jake "Locklear" is the second best quarterback (behind Ryan Mallet) to come out of college this year. I also think he'll have to play sooner than planned because Matt Hassleback is fragile. Too bad they don't really have a plan at wide receiver, and too bad they decided to part ways with some of their best defensive players.
22. Cleveland Browns-- I'm prepared to go out on a limb because I believe Colt McCoy is for real. The Browns are waiting on the opportunity to add the right players; they've got the money and the GM who knows how to build a team. They went after a few players this off-season, but didn't overpay. They were smart in the draft, and will continue to set a solid foundation.
21. Denver Broncos-- If they have a good running game, I think you can swap Denver and Kansas City. I think John Fox is a very good coach who gets the most out of the talent he has. I think Denver will surprise teams this year and John Elway needs to slap the **** out of himself for considering a possible trade of Kyle Orton.
20. Seattle Seahawks-- I don't think this front office has a clear vision of how they want to build a team. They're all over the map. I wouldn't want either one of their "starting" quarterbacks as a back-up. Every other position on their team seems to be up for grabs. Perhaps the addition of Zach Miller and upgrades to the offensive line pay dividends in the passing attack and run blocking.
19. Jacksonville Jaguars-- I love Maurice Jones Drew. The Jags can't even replace Keenan McCardell, much lessJimmy Smith, and it's been what, at least five years, right? Expect another big year from Mercedes Lewis. The offensive line is questionable, but the Jags did look aggressive in filling weak spots along the defense.
18. Chicago Bears-- Two words: "offensive" line. Mike Tice should punch Mike Martz. When you don't have good pass protection, perhaps it would be a little smarter to call quicker developing pass plays with a three step drop. Yet Martz continues to try and force players into fitting his scheme, instead of catering his scheme to fit the players. Thanks for giving away Greg Olsen you d-bag.
17. Kansas City Chiefs-- Time to come back down to Earth. I don't understand the clashing ego of Todd Haley, but this constant turnover of offensive coordinators can't be good. At least he's kept Romeo Crennel, who finally got return on some high defensive draft choices.