With most of the major moves for the NFL offseason in the rearview mirror, 15 NFL executives, coaches and evaluators helped me hand out report cards for every franchise.
Click on the links below to go directly to your team.
The Patriots could have embraced the long-term approach taken by Kansas City and Pittsburgh, their primary challengers in the AFC. They still might have won 12-plus games and kept their edge in the conference. Instead, the Patriots grinded the way Tom Brady does -- as though they had no laurels to rest upon.
"The bottom line is that Kansas City and Pittsburgh, neither one made the impact moves to keep stride with a team like New England, who wins it all but still goes out and makes some pretty impressive moves," a personnel director said.
The other bottom line is that Brady's presence on the roster provides an iron-clad insurance policy against a losing season.
The Patriots supplemented a mostly young roster with veteran additions such as Brandin Cooks, Kony Ealy, Stephon Gilmore and Rex Burkhead. They bucked well-established protocols to do it, trading away draft choices for surer bets at a wide range of price points. Committing millions in guarantees to Gilmore while letting homegrown corner Logan Ryan leave wasn't a textbook move. It did make New England more talented on paper; Gilmore was the 10th pick in his draft class, while Ryan was the 83rd in his.
"When you bring in guys from other teams, you have to be able to teach them," an exec from another team said. "That is a challenge and that is why it has not always worked well for teams that have brought in a bunch of veterans from other teams. Those guys can migrate toward one another when the coach tries to put the hammer down. That will be [Bill] Belichick's challenge."