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NFL Off-Season Storylines: Best Free Agent Additions

Robert Duff

by Robert Duff in NFL Football

Updated Jun 6, 2023 · 2:38 PM PDT

Javon Hargrave signed with the San Francisco 49ers in the NFL offseason.
Jan 29, 2023; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Philadelphia Eagles defensive tackle Javon Hargrave (97) on the field after win against the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship game at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
  • Among the NFL off-season free agent moves, DT Javon Hargrave to the San Francisco 49ers is considered the most significant
  • The Philadelphia Eagles lost Hargrave, as well as RB Miles Sanders, who went to the Carolina Panthers
  • Read on to find out which other major free agent shifts took place during the NFL offseason

During the NFL offseason, free agency is a lot like the presents under the tree on Christmas Eve. Wrapped in bright bows and pretty ribbons, they all offer the wonder and excitement of potential.

Some will live up to those expectations. However, in other cases, once the package is opened and the gift acquired, there will be some you’d wish you could take back to the store and get your money back.

It was a quieter free-agent period than in recent years past for the NFL. There wasn’t much in the way of franchise-changing moves at the offensive skill positions via free agency. At the same time, many teams were getting better through astute roster moves. Those roster moves are impacting the betting lines in the Super Bowl odds.

Let’s look at some of these changes and how they are impacting the NFL off-season odds as the September 7 kickoff to the NFL season looms on the horizon.

Hargrave Adding Beef To 49ers Defense

Isn’t the old saying if you can’t beat them, join them? Well, it would appear that defensive tackle Javon Hargrave got confused and put it in the wrong order.

Hargrave was an absolute wrecking crew for the Philadelphia Eagles as they dismantled the San Francisco 31-7 in the NFC Championship Game. He recorded a sack, a tackle for loss, a quarterback hit, and a pas deflection.

In the offseason, it was the 49ers who were signing Hargrave to a four-year, $81 million contract. Some $40 million of that deal is guaranteed. Hargrave finished last season with career highs in sacks (11.0), tackles (60), tackles for loss (10), QB hits (16), pass deflections (two), and fumble recoveries (two).

His addition makes San Francisco’s #1 ranked NFL defense even better if that’s possible. The 49ers are the +350 second betting choice to win the NFC in the NFL conference odds.

Tomlinson Could Make Garrett DPOY

It wasn’t cheap for the Cleveland Browns to sing DT Dalvin Tomlinson. He’s a veteran of 93 starts. Tomlinson is considered one of the most complete interior defensive linemen in the NFL. Tomlinson’s addition might not be as much about his stats as it is about the opportunity he could create for Browns edge Myles Garrett to shine.

With Tomlinson clogging up the middle, it should free Garrett to find more open lanes to get to the opposing QB. This could be the year that the Cleveland star finally gets over the hump and gains NFL Defensive Player of the Year honors. He’s been close in the past. This season, oddsmakers are listing Garrett as the +750 second pick in the NFL DPOY odds.

Lazard-Rodgers Connection Remains Intact

Even though injuries limited WR Allen Lazard to 15 games last season, he still led the Green Bay Packers with 60 receptions. He and QB Aaron Rodgers have a long-standing relationship. They’ve connected for 14 TD passes over the past two seasons.

That relationship will be continuing with the New York Jets. While the Jets traded to get Rodgers from the Packers, they also were signing Lazard to a four-year, $44 million pact.

Since speculation of Rodgers going to the Jets began, the Super Bowl betting line on the club has steadily shortened. They’ve gone from +4000 to +1400. The Jets are also -150 to qualify for postseason play in the NFL playoff odds.

Brown Should Keep Burrow Upright

The Cincinnati Bengals are the +125 chalk to win the AFC North in the NFL divisional odds. They’ve won back-to-back division titles. The addition of four-time Pro Bowl left tackle Orlando Brown from the Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs should only make the Bengals better.

Brown will be an upgrade over Jonah Williams at left tackle. He’ll help protect the blind side of QB Joe Burrow. Burrow was sacked 41 times last season. Ensuring the protection of their most valuable asset was worth Cincinnati giving Brown a four-year, $64 million pact.


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