I want to offer one big loss and one important addition in free agency that will make an immediate impact on each team’s 2017 season. Thanks to Pro Football Guru, we can look at every team’s additions and losses in free agency that’s updated on a daily basis. I started with the NFC East: you can read that here. Now I’ll take a look at the NFC West.
Note: For the sake of these series of articles, I’m only looking at players who were on the roster in 2016 who will no longer be there in 2017. Likewise, I’m looking at guys who were not on the roster in 2016, but will now be in 2017 (in-house re-signings and draft selections excluded).
The Seahawks really missed Marshawn Lynch last season; they struggled in the run game and their offense was never up to par with their defense. After a solid haul in free agency, that should change this season.
Addition: Eddie Lacy (from Packers)
- Lacy has had a couple down years after a really promising first two years in the NFL, but it can be a signing that really pays off for Seattle. They really missed Lynch’s bruising style of running; he moved the chains and helped Russell Wilson tremendously in the passing game. Seattle’s main problem has been their offensive line, so the additions of Luke Joeckel and Oday Aboushi are worth noting, too.
Loss: Steven Hauschka (Bills)
- Hauschka will be the only kicker to make the list, but for good reason. He was money on 33 of his 37 attempts last season, and having a reliable kicker is essential in the NFL. The Seahawks also technically lost Marshawn Lynch via trade to Oakland, but it’s tough to label him as the biggest loss of their offseason considering he never played a snap for them last season (temporary retirement).
The Cardinals had a down year after appearing in 2015’s NFC Championship game. It’s tough to tell how much Carson Palmer has left, and they need to protect him better than they did last year or he won’t last very long. On the defensive side of the ball, they’ll miss Safety’s DJ Swearinger and Tony Jefferson.
Addition: Antoine Bethea (from 49ers)
- Bethea is at the tail end of his career at age 32; he’s played 11 seasons, eight with the Colts and the last three with the 49ers. He still has good football left, brings a veteran presence, and is a reliable football player; he’s only missed 14 regular season games in his 11-year career (9 in 2015, 3 in 2007 and 2 in 2006). While Swearinger and Jefferson will be missed, Bethea will help fill in.
Loss: Calais Campbell (JAX)
- The Cardinals will miss quite a few players from their 2016 roster, but I think 10-year pro Calais Campbell will be missed most. Campbell has played all nine seasons with the Cardinals; he’s a pro’s pro and a leader in the locker room. On the field, he’s racked up over 50 tackles and five sacks in his last seven seasons. He’s a productive player who the Cardinals will miss both on and off the field.
San Francisco 49ers
The Niners are still far from contending, but hiring General Manager John Lynch seems to be a step in the right direction — they had a solid draft in his first go at the new gig.
Addition: Brian Hoyer (from Bears)
Again, the Niners aren’t going to make much noise in 2017. But Brian Hoyer is a veteran, competent quarterback who will at least help give the Niners a look at their offensive skill positions before inevitably drafting a quarterback next draft.
Loss: Antoine Bethea (Cardinals)
The 49ers released two starters in their secondary in Tramaine Brock and Antoine Bethea. It’s a really weak group now, but the Niners likely aren’t going anywhere for a few years anyway. Bethea will stay in the division, and the Niners will see what they’re missing first hand when they square up with Arizona twice next season.
Los Angeles Rams
The Rams, like the Niners, are probably a ways from contending. This year is all about Jared Goff and seeing how he adjusts to the NFL with a year under his belt. For a #1 pick, it was pretty disappointing that he couldn’t even start the season over Case Keenum.
Addition: Andrew Whitworth (from Bengals)
- As I said, it’s a huge year for Goff. The left tackle position is the most important along the offensive line, and that’s where Whitworth will be starting for the Rams in 2017. For obvious reasons, he’s their most important addition via free agency. Goff needs to have time to go through his reads and progressions, and Whitworth is a great veteran who will protect his blind side.
Loss: Kenny Britt (Browns)
- The pressure will be on Goff to prove he’s a franchise quarterback moving forward. Britt is the key loss this offseason because he was the best receiver on the team. It’ll be up to Goff to work with who he has; Robert Woods, Tavon Austin, Mike Thomas and rookie Cooper Kupp will be who he’s throwing to, and that’s a tough group to produce with. Britt will be missed.