Road to Miami: 2019 NFL Free Agency Winners & Losers

As teams begin to shift their focus toward the 2019 NFL Draft, we’re looking back at the free agency winners and losers on the Road to Super Bowl 54 in Miami.


Cleveland Browns

“The Browns are building a powerhouse. Believe it. Those are words that don’t seem to go together, but General Manager John Dorsey continues to push the right buttons. He gave up plenty to the New York Giants in the trade for wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., but it was well worth it. The Browns get perhaps the game’s most dynamic player.

They’ll have to deal with expectations, for a change, and they’ll have a rookie head coach in Freddie Kitchens. But having expectations is a good problem to have.” — Mark Maske, Washington Post

Green Bay Packers

“The Packers ranked 22nd in points allowed, 22nd in rushing yards allowed, 19th in turnover differential and just weren’t able to get enough key stops on defense when it mattered most. As a result, we saw a rare strategy from Green Bay: spend big in free agency.

The Packers added linebackers Preston Smith (four years, $52 million) and Za’Darius Smith (four years, $66 million), as well as safety Adrian Amos (four years, $37 million) to help fix a mediocre to below-average defense. Amos’ addition also hurts the Packers’ biggest rival and top competitor in the NFC North division, the Chicago Bears.” — Nick Goss, NBC Sports

Indianapolis Colts

Selective and patient. Colts general manager Chris Ballard didn’t let last season’s 10-6 record and playoff appearance dictate how he would attack the offseason. He has been selective in how he has used the NFL’s most salary-cap space by signing just two outside free agents — defensive end Justin Houston and receiver Devin Funchess. He has remained patient and is committed to continuing to build the roster through the draft. The Colts currently have nine picks later this month.” — Mike Wells,

New York Jets

“Winning free agency in March rarely translates into winning games between September and December. But the Jets, like the Raiders, were in desperate need of upgrading the roster, and they have taken positive steps by adding running back Le’Veon Bell, wide receiver Jamison Crowder and linebacker C.J. Mosley.

On offense, it’s all about aiding the development of young quarterback Sam Darnold. And the arrivals of Bell and Crowder help greatly in that regard.” — Mark Maske, Washington Post


New York Giants

“If the best organizations follow a clear vision, what can we say about the Giants?

The Giants now have one of the NFL’s least-talented rosters, and hope for improving it is limited by their decision to let Collins walk away (rather than making a trade) and settling for a modest return in the Beckham trade. They don’t seem to be following a linear plan and are years late on initiating a succession plan at quarterback. It is as though the Giants — and general manager Dave Gettleman in particular — are operating in a long-discarded era of NFL team building.” — Kevin Seifert,

Pittsburgh Steelers

“The Steelers acquired just third- and fifth-round draft picks, as well as no salary cap relief, from the Raiders in exchange for Antonio Brown (arguably the league’s top wide receiver). Pittsburgh also wasn’t able to re-sign star running back Le’Veon Bell, and there are no running backs on the free agent market capable of adequately replacing him. The Steelers haven’t added any key pieces to a defense that was mediocre last season, either.

Could we finally be seeing the end of the Steelers’ run as a top contender in the AFC? It sure looks like it.” — Nick Goss, NBC Sports

Tennessee Titans

“The Titans were one of the most active teams in the NFL, making three major deals by signing offensive lineman Rodger Saffold, receiver Adam Humphries and defensive end Cameron Wake while also re-signing Vaccaro at safety. I’m just not certain what to make of it.

On the one hand, giving Wake $10 million guaranteed at age 37 seems excessively hopeful. But on the other, giving relatively inaccurate quarterback Marcus Mariota a productive slot receiver in Humphries seems like a good idea. Saffold, assuming he is healthy, fits the smashmouth run style the Titans are expected to pursue.

I understand the Titans’ incentive after they were in the AFC South division race until Week 17 last season. But will this eclectic haul do anything to push them past the Texans and Colts?” — Kevin Seifert,

Washington Redskins

“[Safety Landon] Collins is an excellent player who will help the defense. But $84 million to a safety? Some in and around the league were baffled about that.” — Mark Maske, Washington Post



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Countdown to Super Bowl 2019 Atlanta: Super Bowl XLV

The 2018 NFL playoffs are officially set.. what began with 32 teams now features just 12 with all eyes on Atlanta for Super Bowl 53 next month. Two teams that missed the playoffs this season, however, headline the latest in our Super Bowl countdown — the Pittsburgh Steelers and Green Bay Packers in Super Bowl XLV.

Aaron Rodgers Captures a Ring

Played in front of 91,060 fans at the home of the Dallas Cowboys, AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texans, Super Bowl XLV between the Packers and Steelers was one of the most exciting Super Bowls in recent memory. Head coach Mike McCarthy and the Green Bay Packers would take home the Lombardi trophy, by a final score of 31-25.

Super Bowl XLV MVP honors were awarded to Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, after completing 25 of his 39 pass attempts for 304 yards and three touchdowns. The Packers came out of the gates firing in the first half, building a lead that would prove to be insurmountable to the Steelers, eventually winning Green Bay the game.

Popular artist Christina Aguilera sang the national anthem before Super Bowl XLV, with the halftime show returning to it’s hip-hop roots with the Black Eyed Peas, Usher and Slash. FOX Network broadcasted Super Bowl XLV, with announcers Joe Buck, Troy Aikman, Pam Oliver and Chris Myers handling broadcasting duties. The cost of a 30-second commercial in Super Bowl XLV rose to $3 million.



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Countdown to Super Bowl 2019 Atlanta: Super Bowl XL

Just a few short weeks left on the Road to Super Bowl 53 in 2019 in Atlanta, we’re kicking it back to Super Bowl XL in the Motor City, with the Pittsburgh Steelers and Seattle Seahawks facing off from Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan.

Another For New England

A showdown between two of the best teams that season, the Pittsburgh Steelers would walk away from Super Bowl XL as champions, a 21-10 victory over the Seattle Seahawks. Played at the current home of the Detroit Lions, Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan, nearly 70,000 fans would pack the stands for Super Bowl XL.

Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward would walk away with Super Bowl MVP honors in 2006, caching five passes for 123 yards and a touchdown in Super Bowl XL. However, it was a different touchdown that Ward would go down in the history books for. Ward to this day remains as the only wide receiver to THROW a touchdown pass in the Super Bowl.

Super Bowl XL would feature a unique National Anthem ahead of kickoff, as the anthem would be performed by a variety of artists, includingAaron NevilleAretha Franklin and Dr. John. The coin toss to get the game started would be tossed by Patriots quarterback and former Super Bowl MVP Tom Brady, a coin toss representing all Super Bowl MVPs to come before him. Halftime would be performed by the legendary Rolling Stones to over 90.7 million viewers on ABC, with the broadcasting duties being handled by the legendary John Madden, Al Michaels, Michele Tafoya and Suzy Kolber.



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Countdown to Super Bowl 2019 Atlanta: Super Bowl XXX

As we continue on the countdown to the 2019 Super Bowl in Atlanta, two of the NFL’s most storied and historic franchises faced off in Super Bowl XXX from Tempe, Arizona.

A Classic: Cowboys vs. Steelers

Played in front of over 76,000 fans at Tempe, Arizona’s Sun Devil Stadium, Super Bowl XXX would eventually go to the Dallas Cowboys, who would go on to narrowly defeat the Pittsburgh Steelers 27-17.

Dallas Cowboys cornerback Larry Brown would make history in Super Bowl XXX as the first defensive back to be awarded Super Bowl MVP honors, after making quite the impact in the Cowboys’ victory. Brown would force two interceptions by halftime, helping lead the Cowboys to yet another Super Bowl title in their fifth appearance.


Over 94 million viewers tuned in to catch Super Bowl XXX, broadcast on NBC in 1996, with Dick Enberg, Phil Simms and Paul Maguire on the call. Performer Vanessa Williams would sing the National Anthem, and former 49ers quarterback Joe Montana would take part in the coin toss. Halftime for Super Bowl XXX was performed by the legendary Diana Ross, and the cost of a 30-second commercial for brands skyrocketed to over $1.085 million in cost.



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Countdown to Super Bowl 2019 Atlanta: Super Bowl XIV

As we continue on the Road to the 2019 Super Bowl 53 in Atlanta, the Los Angeles Rams make their first appearance in the Super Bowl 53 Countdown, facing off against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XIV.

Hometown LA Rams Fall to Steelers

Played at the gorgeous Rose Bowl in sunny Pasadena, California in front of nearly 104,000 fans, the Los Angeles Rams and Pittsburgh Steelers met for the first time in Super Bowl XIV. Pittsburgh would capture yet another Super Bowl title, defeating the Rams by a score of 31-19. This was the first time the NFL had a team that hailed from the same surrounding area as the Super Bowl host, with the Los Angeles Rams playing just 14 miles from the LA Memorial Coliseum.

The Steelers also made history in Super Bowl XIV by becoming the first team to capture four Super Bowl titles, doing so in just a six-year span. The game was close for the majority of Super Bowl XIV, with Steelers quarterback Terry Bradshaw connecting with wide receiver Lynn Swann for a 47-yard touchdown pass, highlighting the Steelers victory. Bradshaw would go on to win Super Bowl XIV MVP award honors, finishing the game with 309 yards and two touchdowns.

Pat Summerall and Tom Brookshier would once again handle the broadcast duties at the Super Bowl, broadcast on CBS in 1980. A 30-second commercial continued to rise in price, standing around $222,000 for Super Bowl XIV. The halftime show entertainment was provided by Up with People, presenting “A Salute to the Big Band Era.” Interesting enough, the Nielson Rating was 46.3 with an estimated 76.2 million viewers tuning into Super Bowl XIV.



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Countdown to Super Bowl 2019 Atlanta: Super Bowl XIII

Once again a showdown featuring two of the country’s most fan-favored teams, the Dallas Cowboys would face off against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XIII.

Steelers Stop “America’s Team”

Once again played in front of over 80,000 fans in Miami, Florida at the famed Orange Bowl, Super Bowl XIII would see the Pittsburgh Steelers, winners of the AFC, would go up against back-to-back NFC champion and the defending Super Bowl champion Dallas Cowboys. However, Super Bowl XIII would prove to be less enjoyable than the previous years for Dallas, as the Steelers would come away with the 35-31 victory in front of nearly 80,000 fans.

Steelers quarterback Terry Bradshaw would walk away with Super Bowl MVP honors, completing 17 of his 30 passing attempts for 318 yards and four touchdowns, as the Steelers would never trail throughout the game. The final score of 35-31 was much closer than the game itself, as the Steelers actually led 35-17 with 19 seconds to go in the game. Super Bowl XIII would become infamously known as Black Sunday in Las Vegas, as many notable sportsbooks lost big on wagers throughout the game.

Cost of commercials during the Super Bowl continued to rise in 1979, this year’s cost of a 30-second spot rising to over $185,000 per spot, by far the most expensive to date for a Super Bowl.The announcers for Super Bowl XII were none other than Curt GowdyMerlin Olsen, and John Brodie.



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Countdown to Super Bowl 2019 Atlanta: Super Bowl X

With the 2018 NFL season and the road to the 2019 Super Bowl in Atlanta just days away, two of America’s favorite teams, the Dallas Cowboys and Pittsburgh Steelers, are looking to rebound after disappointing campaigns in 2017. In 1976, however, the two were squaring off at Miami Orange Bowl Stadium for Super Bowl X.

Steelers Repeat

Touting the title of “America’s Team” heading into Super Bowl X, the Dallas Cowboys would square off against the Pittsburgh Steelers, defending champions from Super Bowl IX (against the Minnesota Vikings). And for the second-straight season, the Steelers would walk away victors, a 21-17 win over the Cowboys.

Featuring two of the most iconic franchises in Super Bowl and NFL history, Super Bowl X was one of the more anticipated Super Bowls to date leading up to the big game. Steelers wide receiver Lynn Swann, who managed to catch four passes for a record 161 yards and one touchdown, would become the first ever WR to walk away with Super Bowl MVP honors.

Pre-game, the National Anthem before Super Bowl X would be sung by Tom Sullivan in unison with “Up With People.” For halftime entertainment, fans were treated to an equally entertaining show by “Up With People,” who attributed the show to America’s Bicentennial. Pat Summerall and Tom Brookshier were the announcers for Super Bowl X on CBS, and brands could expect to pay around $110,000 for a 30-second commercial in 1976.



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Countdown to Super Bowl 2019 Atlanta: Super Bowl IX

After three-straight Super Bowl appearances by the Miami Dolphins, Super Bowl IX would have a new challenger in the AFC, as the Pittsburgh Steelers would face off against the Minnesota Vikings.

Franco Harris Takes Super Bowl MVP

Over 81,000 fans packed Tulane Stadium as the Super Bowl returned to New Orleans, Louisiana (host of Super Bowl 58 in 2024) for Super Bowl IX in 1975. The Pittsburgh Steelers, dethroning the Miami Dolphins after their three-straight appearances in the Super Bowl, would face off against the Minnesota Vikings in their second-straight appearance.

Pittsburgh would dominate in Super Bowl IX, with the Vikings’ only scoring of the game coming off of a blocked punt late in the game. And all of Pittsburgh’s efforts would be without some of their most noteworthy players, including linebackers Andy Russell and Jack Lambert, both of whom sat out due to injuries. The Super Bowl IX MVP award was given to Steelers running back Franco Harris, who recorded over 150 yards and one touchdown on the ground.

Super Bowl IX halftime entertainment was provided by none other than Mercer Ellington and the Grambling State University band, a tribute to the great Duke Ellington.

The game was once againbroadcast on NBC and was covered by announcers Curt Gowdy, Al DeRogatis, Don Meredith and Charlie Jones.



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Road to Super Bowl 53: AFC North Preview

With teams beginning to report for mandatory organized team activities (OTA’s), we get closer to kicking off the Road to Super Bowl 53 in Atlanta. Taking a quick look at how the AFC North stacks up compared to 2017, and which teams might surprise in 2018.

Pittsburgh Steelers

2017 Record: 13-3, AFC North Champions

A relatively quiet offseason for the Steelers in 2018 was headlined by the expected news of the return of quarterback Ben Roethlishberger,  but the future remains unclear for the team. With the core of Roethlisberger, wide receiver Antonio Brown and a disgruntled running back Le’Veon Bell still on the roster, the team still boasts the potential for an explosive offense. But losing wide receiver Martavis Bryant and a trio of defensive backs in Mike Mitchell, William Gay and Robert Golden leaves the team’s defensive identity and subsequent success hanging in the balance.


Baltimore Ravens

2017 Record: 9-7

An offseason of turnover for the Baltimore Ravens, headlined by an unclear direction for the team’s quarterback position, leaves fans wondering what the team might look like heading into the 2018 regular season. The Ravens have Joe Flacco, a Super Bowl winning quarterback, currently as their starter. However, that didn’t stop the team’s front office from both only signing Robert Griffin III this offseason, but trading into the first round to grab Louisville’s Lamar Jackson as well.

The team’s receiving corps also sports a new look, with 2017 wide receivers Mike Wallace, Jeremy Maclin and Chris Matthews being replaced by Michael Crabtree (OAK), Willie Snead (NO) and John Brown (AZ).


Cincinnati Bengals

2017 Record: 7-9

The trend of a relatively quiet offseason in the AFC North continues in Cincinnati, where the team didn’t make many moves to improve or hurt their depth chart. The team’s biggest transactions this offseason came in the form of signing tight end Tyler Effect to a one-year contract extension and trading for Buffalo Bills offensive tackle Cordy Glenn, adding some much needed depth on the front lines following the loss of offensive linemen Eric Winston, Russell Bodine and Andre Smith.


Cleveland Browns

2017 Record: 0-16

Arguably the team with the biggest makeover of the 2018 NFL offseason, the Cleveland Browns have (rightly so) completely revamped their roster. Holding the #1 and #4 overall picks in the 2018 NFL Draft, the Browns were able to grab two players they believe can be the cornerstones of a turnaround in quarterback Baker Mayfield and defensive back Denzel Ward, pairing the two first-round picks with the 2017 #1 overall pick Myles Garrett. But it wasn’t just the draft where the Browns looked to improve.

The team was also incredible active on the trade and free agency markets before the draft, acquiring Pro Bowl wide receiver Jarvis Landry from the Miami Dolphins, quarterback Tyrod Taylor from the Buffalo Bills and defensive back Damarious Randall from the Green Bay Packers. The team was also able to bring in former 49ers running back Carlos Hyde, defensive back E.J. Gaines and defensive end Chris Smith through free agency.



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2018 NFL Expert Mock Draft: Picks 25-32

As teams get set for the month of April, the next step on the journey toward Super Bowl 53 in Atlanta involves invigorating the team’s rosters with an infusion of youth; the 2018 NFL Draft. We’re gathering some of the top experts from around the NFL world and taking a look at who they predict will go where, finishing up with picks 26-32.


#26: Atlanta Falcons

CBS Sports: Taven Bryan, DT, Florida | Bleacher Report, Isaiah Wynn, G, Georgia

“The Falcons don’t have many needs, but one spot they could be targeting in the first round is defensive tackle, with Dontari Poe only signing a one-year deal last offseason. Bryan has earned some J.J. Watt comparisons despite the lack of stats at the collegiate level, and he put up similar numbers to Watt at the combine. Defensive tackle is one of the Falcons’ few needs, and they’ll be fortunate if Bryan makes it to them.” – R.J. White, CBS Sports


#27: New Orleans Saints

CBS Sports: D.J. Moore, WR, Maryland | Bleacher Report: Hayden Hurst, TE, South Carolina | Christian Kirk, WR, Texas A&M

“The New Orleans Saints have a legitimate Super Bowl window at the end of Drew Brees‘ career. The best way to take advantage of that after nailing the 2017 draft is to get him a weapon for the middle of the field and up the seam. Hurst might get knocked for being an older prospect (25 at the start of the season) after playing minor league baseball for two seasons before playing college football, but he’s a stud. Hurst has the best combination of traits, as a pass-catcher and blocker, to get onto the field right away. In New Orleans, he’ll open up the entire offense for Brees, Alvin Kamara, Michael Thomas and Co.” – Matt Miller, Bleacher Report


#28: Pittsburgh Steelers

CBS Sports: Derrius Guice, RB, LSU | Bleacher Report: Malik Jefferson, LB, Texas |  Leighton Vander Esch, LB, Boise State

“After signing Morgan Burnett to bolster the safety position, the Steelers turn their attention to linebacker, and find an instinctive one in Vander Esch” – Charles Davis,


#29: Jacksonville Jaguars

CBS Sports: Mason Rudolph, QB, Oklahoma State | Bleacher Report: Mick McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame | Dallas Goedert, TE, South Dakota State

Blake Bortles signed an extension that doesn’t necessarily lock him into being the Jaguars‘ long-term option at the position. With value not on the board at other potential positions worth targeting, the Jaguars grab Rudolph with the hope they can develop him into a guy who can raise the ceiling on the offense higher than Bortles has shown capable.” –  R.J. White, CBS Sports


#30: Minnesota Vikings

CBS Sports (traded to Cleveland Browns): Connor Williams, OT, Texas | Bleacher Report: Billy Price, OG, Ohio State | Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame

“Just call this Ohio State north. After drafting center Pat Elflein in the third round last year, the Minnesota Vikings can now select the guy who took his job and also played next to him in previous seasons. Price excelled at center in 2017, but in Minnesota he’d go back to playing guard and can be a dominant force there. Lining up these two maulers side by side and handing the ball off the Dalvin Cook makes this offense potent. Add in that Kirk Cousins needs interior pass protection, and suddenly the prospect of getting Price looks good.” – Matt Miller, Bleacher Report


#31: New England Patriots

CBS Sports, Bleacher Report, Kolton Miller, OT, UCLA

“The loss of starting LT Nate Solder to the Giants clears room for this athletically gifted youngster.” – Charles Davis,


#32: Philadelphia Eagles

CBS Sports: Justin Reid, S, Stanford | Bleacher Report: Ronnie Harrison, S, Alabama | Josh Jackson, DB, Iowa

“With two potential tackle options coming off the board right before their pick, the Eagles pivot to taking Reid, a safety they’ve reportedly had a lot of interest inCorey Graham is a free agent, so Reid can come in and immediately fill the third safety role for the Philadelphia defense while giving them a long-term plan when Malcolm Jenkins or Rodney McLeod get too old or expensive to keep.” – R.J. White, CBS Sports

To see full mock drafts:

For Matt Miller and Bleacher Report’s full 2018 NFL Mock Draft, click here.

For Charles Davis and’s full 2018 Mock Draft, click here.

For R.J. White and CBS Sports’ full 2018 NFL Mock Draft, click here.



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