clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

NFC North free agency Day 1 grades

New, comments

A huge day all around in the Lions division.

Divisional Round - Minnesota Vikings v San Francisco 49ers Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

The NFL tampering period kicked off Monday. Teams are now officially allowed to negotiate with the agents of impending free agents and agree to deals that will become official once the new league year starts of Wednesday. This meant a ton of players found new homes Monday, and it proved to be a big day for the Detroit Lions and the rest of the NFC North.

While the deals will continue to roll in on Day 2, let's take a look back at what each team did on Monday, and grade their performance thus far.

Note: Because I need to sleep tonight, this article will only include deals up to 12:30 a.m. ET. Moves completed after this will not be included.

Detroit Lions:

Signed: T Halapoulivaati Vaitai (5 years, $50m), LB Jamie Collins Sr. (3 years, $30m), DT Nick Williams (2 years, $10m)

Detroit added three potential starters to their depth chart on Monday. Jamie Collins headlines the day, as the former New England Patriot will reunite with Matt Patricia and a host of other former Patriots in the Motor City. He will instantly be the best linebacker on the roster (by far) and is an injection of talent into a position that has desperately needed one for years.

Halapoulivaati Vaitai arrives from Philadelphia and is likely to replace Rick Wagner at right tackle. The Eagles backup tackle will get his first full-time starting gig in Detroit, and a deal worth $10 million a year could be a risk for the Lions. They closed out the night by adding former Chicago Bears defensive tackle Nick Williams on a short-term deal, filling a need at defensive tackle and adding a second-tier potential starter.

The Collins and Williams deals both seem great, and Collins could even be considered a bargain. Bob Quinn took a risk with Vaitai, though, and may have overpaid for a player who is not anywhere near a highly-sought-after talent.

Grade: B

Minnesota Vikings

Extended: QB Kirk Cousins (2 years, $66m), FB C.J. Ham (4 years, $12.25m)
Franchise Tag: S Anthony Harris
Trade: WR Stefon Diggs, 2020 7th round pick to Buffalo Bills. 2020 1st round pick, 5th round pick, 6th round pick and 2021 4th round pick to Minnesota Vikings.

Minnesota may have had the most impactful day in the league. The early decisions to franchise tag star safety Anthony Harris and extend quarterback Kirk Cousins made it seem like they were going to reload and head into 2020 with the same group who earned a spot in the NFL divisional round last season.

Another string of cryptic tweets from wide receiver Stefon Diggs may have been enough to finally push the needle, though. After seemingly months of wanting out, Diggs finally was traded away. The receiver was dealt to the Bills for a treasure trove of picks. While Minnesota did get a lot in the deal, they lost their best offensive weapon and it is unlikely their offense will be better next year than they were last without Diggs.

The Vikings are in cap hell right now, so the moves for Harris and Cousins have huge ramifications for them. Those are both moves a team will only make in the Vikings situation if they truly plan to compete and want to stave off a rebuild. It is hard to justify those moves when you are also losing your best player on offense, though.

Grade: C

Green Bay Packers

Signed: LB Christian Kirksey (2 years, $16m), T Rick Wagner (2 years, $11m)

The Packers made two early additions on Monday then stayed relatively quiet. First, they gave a two-year, $16 million deal to linebacker Christian Kirksey. The move seems like an overpay, but they were able to quickly make up for the loss of star linebacker Blake Martinez (who later signed with the New York Giants). They then earned a steal by locking down former Lions tackle Rick Wagner for $11 million over two years. While the veteran tackle has struggled with health and consistency over the years, he is still a good player. Getting a player like Wagner on a discount in an inflated tackle market is a huge land for Green Bay.

Grade: B

Chicago Bears

Signed: TE Jimmy Graham (2 years, $16m)

Chicago’s cap situation meant they did not have much money to play with this offseason, and they probably will not be able to make more than one or two big-name signings. Giving Jimmy Graham, an aging tight end who is more of a name than a player at this point, a deal worth $8 million per year is a huge overpay.

It is hard to see what the logic behind this deal was. Now between Graham and Trey Burton the Bears have a lot of money tied up in the position without much talent to show for it.

Grade: D