The Top 5 Teams who won 2023 NFL Free Agency

The Top 5 Teams who won 2023 NFL Free Agency

Isaac Shrader, Reporter

The NFL’s free agency season is coming to a close, and it has brought exciting new changes to the league. Multiple teams have turned themselves from playoff wannabes to serious contenders, and some big names will be wearing some new threads next year. After the insanity that has been the 2023 NFL offseason, it’s best to take a step back to see which teams made the most improvements and will be a force to be reckoned with in the coming season. With Super Bowl LVIII on the horizon, here are the teams that made the biggest step toward hoisting the famed Lombardi Trophy. 


#5- Miami Dolphins

Coming off a modest 9-8 season, and a first round playoff exit to the Buffalo Bills, the Dolphins were certainly looking for ways to improve their team this offseason. While they did struggle with injuries in the 2022-23 season, particularly with their star quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, the Dolphins sought to bolster their defense in Free Agency by adding another star player in cornerback Jalen Ramsey. Jalen Ramsey is an elite defender and considered one of the best in the league, and putting him up alongside fellow big-hitter Xavien Howard will be an intimidating look for the Dolphin’s secondary. The Dolphins also promoted the defensive side of the ball with the addition of linebacker David Long Jr. from the Tennessee Titans. A linebacker who can cover a lot of the field was a necessity for the Dolphins and adding Long Jr. will certainly have an effect on their play. Another important aspect of the Miami Dolphins offseason was the resigning and extending of many key offensive players such as QB Tua Tagovailoa, RB Raheem Mostert, and OLB Andrew Van Ginkel. The Dolphins key defensive signings, and their maintaining of their talented offense will certainly allow them to improve much further into the postseason. 


#4- New York Giants

Despite a 9-7-1 record, the New York Giants finished third in the highly competitive NFC East last year, but still managed to advance as far as the second round of the playoffs. The Giants are surely looking to move higher up in their division, and certainly deeper into the postseason, and their offseason moves show it. Desperately in need of offensive weapons, the Giants acquired TE Darren Waller from the Las Vegas Raiders and WR Parris Campbell from the Indianapolis Colts. Waller, a top tight end in the league, will provide a much needed skillful target for QB Daniel Jones, who was also given a large sum of money from the franchise. Parris Campbell is a reliable receiver, who alongside re-signed Darius Slayton and Sterling Shepherd, will complete a competent wide receiver core. The Giants also secured star running back Saquon Barkely for at least another year, due to the franchise tag that was placed upon him. The team also addressed their arguably biggest necessity at the linebacker position by signing Bobby Okereke to a four-year, $40 million contract. Bobby Okereke performs at a very high level, and will certainly give the Giants defense the strength it needs. Due to their increased talent on both sides of the ball, the Giants are sure to improve significantly, and maybe even move up a couple spots in the division. 


#3- Carolina Panthers

The Carolina Panthers finished last season with a 7-10 record in arguably the worst division of the NFL. While this was not an ideal situation for the franchise, the Carolina Panthers are undeniably looking to turn things around based off of their offseason moves. The Panthers took one of the largest shots of the offseason by trading their number 9 pick in the draft for the Chicago Bears first pick, at the cost of DJ Moore, their wide receiver number one. The Panthers were in need of a quarterback to lead the team, having tried and failed in recent years, and experts predict that they will select Ohio State’s CJ Stroud or Alabama’s Bryce Young, who are both players with very high potential. Many fans worried about the idea of giving up the team’s top offensive weapon to the Bears, but the Panthers pushed to make up for this gap by signing WR Adam Thielen from the Vikings and WR DJ Chark from the Lions. Both receivers are significant additions to the Panther’s roster due to their consistent production and dependability. The Panthers also acquired an additional receiver in TE Hayden Hurst from the Bengals, a productive, mid-level tight end who will no doubt help the Panther’s offense perform. Another large offensive signing was dynamic RB Miles Sanders who is an offensive weapon and will be a useful option for whoever ends up in the quarterback position. Additionally, the Panther’s signing of presumably backup QB Andy Dalton, will allow a newer quarterback to have a veteran player behind him so he can learn the ropes. 


#2- New York Jets

The New York Jets finished the 2022-23 season last in the division with a 7-10 record, but also with a lot of hope for the future. Having both the Offensive Rookie of the Year and Defensive Rookie of the Year on their roster, the New York Jets went into the offseason looking to expand their budding team even further. Most notably, the Jets signed wide receivers Mecole Hardman from the Chiefs and Allen Lazard from the Packers, two very talented players who saw success on their previous teams. The Jets also signed a plethora of defensive players such as Soloman Thomas, Quinton Jefferson, Trystan Colon, and Isaiah Mack. There have also been many rumors about 4 time league MVP Aaron Rodgers joining the franchise, even Rodgers saying he would like to join them. Whether or not the Jets have the will or the ability to acquire him remains to be seen, but it would certainly add to their already improved roster.


#1- Chicago Bears

Of all the teams in the league, the Bears have had the most significant offseason turnaround. Coming out of last season, the Chicago Bears had the worst record in the league, finishing at the bottom of their division with a record of 3-14. However, their hopes for next season remain very much alive, beginning with the acquisition of WR DJ Moore and 4 draft picks from the Carolina Panthers, two of them being from this year’s draft. This brings the Bears total draft picks to 10, cementing their domination in the upcoming selection ceremony. The acquisition of DJ Moore provides a much needed weapon to second year QB Justin Fields, the signings of RB D’onta Foreman from the Carolina Panthers and top TE Robert Tonyan from the Green Bay Packers provide even more. The Bears offense now looks like a force to be reckoned with, and their defense is not lacking either. The Bears signed MLB Tremaine Edmunds, LB T.J. Edwards, and G Nate Davis to their roster, filling lacking spots and giving their defense the extra boosts that it needs to succeed. With the Green Bay Packers on the way out as regular division leaders and Justin Fields having more experience and weaponry, the Bears will now have the ability to turn their record around, and put up a fight for the top spot in their division. 


As the NFL Free Agency period comes to an end, and NFL Draft season quickly approaches, it will be interesting to see what changes are yet to come to our favorite teams. While all of these teams have made significant improvements to the rosters, there are many other teams to watch out for who could make noise next year.