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Playbook's free agency winners and losers

Joe Flacco has many reasons to smile. His teammates don't have as many. AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

With NFL free agency under way for more than 24 hours and big names on the move via signings and trades, it’s time to determine which teams are the winners and losers. There is no in between. Sorry. This is a pass/fail course.

Winners

Joe Flacco

He won a Super Bowl and signed the richest contract in NFL history, yet still many doubters remain. Fine. Let’s see the haters hate if he manages to win some games with a roster composed primarily of members of the Ravens marching band.

Cincinnati Bengals

The Ravens are in full Florida Marlins mode, the Steelers have lost talent and the Browns are paying a fortune to put free agent lipstick on their Brandon Weeden. Everything is aligning for the Bengals in the AFC North. This might be the year they lose in the first round of the playoffs, but at home instead of on the road. Progress.

Rust Belt cities

Cleveland and Detroit are bringing in a lot of players. Detroit even got Reggie Bush, who previously was employed in the sun and fun towns of Los Angeles, New Orleans and Miami. Maybe perceptions are finally changing. These cities can use this approach for their tourism campaigns.

“Vacation in [Rust Belt city]! No? OK, what if we pay you $40 million?”

The World

You may not be aware of this because it was rarely mentioned, but former Buffalo Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick went to Harvard. Now that he no longer has a team, he can use his brain power on things that can help humanity instead of for calculating angles to tackle defensive backs returning interceptions.

Indianapolis Colts

Whoa! They must have done awesome! Lemme guess: Jake Long, Cliff Avril and Greg Jennings?

Losers

Indianapolis Colts

I just checked and the Colts signed Gosder Cherilus, Donald Thomas, Erik Walden and Greg Toler. Eh. This Irsay fellow may be biased in his talent evaluation.

New York Jets

They haven’t been too active so far, yet a professional football-related Losers category just wouldn’t feel right without the Jets.

New pope

The Cardinals picked a bad week to pick a new pope. Good luck getting any media coverage on your faith’s new leader when a solid guard like Matt Slauson could be signed at any moment.

Minnesota Vikings

The Vikings dumped Percy Harvin and didn’t sign Mike Wallace. On the plus side, maybe Adrian Peterson was injured while getting kicked in the stomach, and will now return stronger than ever.

Fans

Nothing reveals the pettiness of sports fans more than free agency. Did one of your players sign with a new team? “He sucked anyway! We don’t need him! He’s overpaid!” But had that same player re-signed with your team, it’s: “Good to get him back. He’s not perfect, but he’s a player we can win with.” Did a rival sign a big-name player to a huge contract? “Great teams aren’t built through free agency, idiots! What a waste of money.” But if your team signs a big-name player to a huge contract? “Bringing him in is going to put us over the top! This is the year we win it all!”

Oh, fans. When will you learn to be analytical in all of your player evaluations and perfect with all of your predictions like those of us in the sports media?