- Bill Barnwell is a staff writer for ESPN.com.
When I used to grade every NFL free-agent signing, my average grade tended to be somewhere between a C-plus and a C. Why were my grades so low? Well, the reality is that most of the prominent signings or veteran trades you see during the first 72 hours of the window typically don’t work out.
For every Trent Williams, there’s typically a Kenny Golladay and a Bud Dupree. The Bills would make their Stefon Diggs trade 10 times out of 10 again, but they nearly ended up making a move first for Antonio Brown, who didn’t work out quite as well for the Raiders. Guys struggle in a new location. They get injured. They age out of the players they used to be. This stuff is hard.
Today, though, we’re going to focus on the positive. I’ve selected nine players acquired in the 2021 offseason who have turned out to be relative bargains for their respective new teams. I’ve also tried to identify a player expected to hit free agency or the trade market in 2022 who might represent a similar sort of appealing bargain for a different organization this upcoming offseason. I’ll start in Wisconsin, where the 1-seed in the NFC has been able to get through a rash of injuries with a series of surprisingly valuable additions (these are in no order):
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