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2021 Offseason Personnel Moves Tournament – AFC North

Date:
July 7, 2021 11:31 AM
July 7, 2021 11:29 AM

2021 Offseason Personnel Moves Tournament – AFC North

 

(Same intro everyday) We’re going to have a daily series (11 days) taking a look at the offseason moves for all the NFL teams – looking at the key adds and losses in personnel this offseason 2021 (whether free agent, draft, or trade).

I like to list out the key adds next to the key losses and just look at the lists for each team and see what their thinking was and if all the maneuvering made them better…or worse…or A LOT better…or A LOT worse – to help me digest the offseason impact to Fantasy performance and to over/under win total handicapping. So, we’re doing that with this series and having some fun with our research…pitting the teams in a tournament style format and evaluating who had the better offseason moves…with the winner advancing on until we have just one winning team of ‘best offseason’.

This season, we're looking at free agency and trades PLUS key draft picks (according to CFM/us)…and it’s not just me (RC) making the call on ‘who wins’ – a three person committee will vote (and provide commentary to their vote) and the majority vote winner moves on. RC + FFM analyst Ross Jacobs + The Computer (an RC program designed to try to evaluate the moves by talent and positional importance, etc.) – I (RC) pick my winner before I see what The Computer thinks, for fairness. RC and Ross make their choices without knowing what the other picked as well.

We’ll look at a division a day and declare a divisional winner, then the AFC and NFC finals and then a Final 2/Super Bowl to declare an overall offseason 2021 winner.

Here we go…

 

Pittsburgh vs. Cincinnati…

 

PITTSBURGH STEELERS

Key Personnel Adds: OT Joe Haeg (FA), RB Najee Harris (draft), TE Pat Freiermuth (draft), OT Dan Moore (draft), OG Kendrick Green (draft), OG Trai Turner

Key Personnel Losses: OLB Bud Dupree (FA), CB Mike Hilton (CB), Matt Feiler (FA), OT Alejandro Villanueva (FA), RB James Conner (FA), OC Maurkice Pouncey, OG David DeCastro

 

CINCINNATI BENGALS

Key Personnel Adds: DE Trey Hendrickson (FA), CB Mike Hilton (FA), CB Chidobe Awuzie (FA), OT Riley Reiff (FA), DT Larry Ogunjobi (FA), PK Evan McPherson (Draft), OT Jackson Carman (Draft), OLB Joseph Ossai (Draft), WR Ja’Marr Chase (Draft), CB Eli Apple (FA)

Key Personnel Losses: DE Carl Lawson (FA), CB William Jackson (FA), WR A.J. Green (FA), PK Randy Bullock (FA), RB Gio Bernard (FA)

 

RC: The Steelers, aging out as a team/franchise…go and fill two lesser needs with rookies at RB and TE in the draft, instead of making short-term veteran moves there. On the verge of an O-Line and DB collapse, and with a one more year of ‘going for it’ with Big Ben (hopefully/maybe) mindset -- and they waste a 1st-round pick on an RB…unbelievable…and totally believable.

The Steelers get a step better at RB and lose a bunch otherwise – the lost a decent pass rusher, FOUR key OLs, and two key corners. The Steelers took a MASSIVE step backwards…a year away from total collapse, which may start in 2021.

On the other hand, Cincinnati replaced every key loss with more firepower and then just added more talent in general. Lost Carl Lawson…got Trey Hendrickson and Joseph Ossai. Lost William Jackson…added Awuzie and Hilton and Apple. On top of that, they added OL firepower and a top kicking prospect and then whatever Ja’Marr Chase brings.

As bad as the Steelers’ offseason was, the Bengals was that good. Two teams hurdling at warp speed in opposite directions that will pass each other in 2022…if not 2021. WINNER = clearly, Cincinnati.

 

ROSS: This one isn't close. The Bengals had a fantastic off-season after spending some real money to bring in several defensive starters. Hendrickson is an upgrade on Lawson, and while losing William Jackson hurts, they were able to replace him with two very solid corners in Hilton and Awuzie. They could have hit the ball out of the park if they had picked up Penei Sewell in the draft instead of Ja'Marr Chase but adding veteran Riley Reiff in free agency and Jackson Carman in the draft was still an upgrade on the line. The Bengals definitely look much upgraded on paper.

The Steelers meanwhile are barely holding things together but seem to think they are just a step away from a Super Bowl. Spending a first-round pick on an RB is a complete waste no matter how good the back is. They did bring in several new offensive linemen in Joe Haeg, Dan Moore, and Kendrick Green to replace Pouncey, Villanueva, and other line departures over the past year or two, but it's mostly a wash or even a slight downgrade and the Pittsburgh line hasn't been very good recently anyways. The defensive losses are what's really going to hurt them though. Bud Dupree is one of the most underrated edge rushers in the league, and Mike Hilton is a very solid starting corner. Much of Pittsburgh's recent success was due to having one of the league's best defenses so every loss is really going to hurt. WINNER = Cincinnati.

THE COMPUTER: WINNER = Bengals 100%/0%

 

The Bengals advance (3-0) to the AFC North finals.

 

-------------------------------------------------

 

CLEVELAND BROWNS

Key Personnel Adds: SAF John Johnson (FA), CB Troy Hill (FA), DE Jadeveon Clowney (FA), DE Takk McKinley (FA), DT Malik Jackson (FA), LB Anthony Walker (FA), LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah (Draft), CB Greg Newsome (Draft)

Key Personnel Losses: OT Kendall Lamb (FA), CB Terrance Mitchell (FA), DT Larry Ogunjobi (FA), CB Tavierre Thomas (FA), DT Sheldon Richardson (FA),

 

BALTIMORE RAVENS

Key Personnel Adds: OG Kevin Zietler (FA), OT Andrew Villanueva (FA), WR Sammy Watkins (FA), OT Ja’Wuan James (FA), DE Jayson Oweh (Draft), OG Ben Cleveland (Draft), WR Rashod Bateman (Draft)

Key Personnel Losses: OLB Matt Judon (FA), DE Yannick Ngakoue (FA), OT Orlando Brown (Trade)

 

 

RC: The Browns just keep getting better. I don’t know that they got any silver bullet FA signing that changes everything, but they might have changed things by just adding such quality depth and lesser-name (but good/solid) starter capable defenders. A good Browns team got ‘gooder’ this offseason.

If a team does nothing but massively upgrades its O-Line, if they already have a QB in place…then it’s a smart offseason. I, personally, lost in the shuffle of this offseason the fact that the Ravens really beefed up their O-Line so much this offseason. A mix of veteran talent PLUS one of the best/most interesting OL prospects of 2021…Ben Cleveland. Bateman and Oweh are bonuses if either matters in 2021.

You could argue either way for who had the better offseason, but it’s so difficult and so important to have a top O-Line that I have to give the credit to Baltimore. WINNER = Ravens

ROSS: I have to give this one to Cleveland. They went hot and heavy trying to build the defense up. Just like with the Patriots I don't necessarily love every move they made, but the overall direction is good. I would never ever spend money on Clowney, it's just completely wasted, but again he probably isn't going to hurt your defense so why not take a stab shooting for a championship this year? The best pieces they added though are all decent to very good. Greg Newsome, Troy Hill, and John Johnson especially should really improve Cleveland's secondary.

The Ravens added a few interesting pieces mostly through the draft, but like some other teams their moves were mostly lateral. I love the Ben Cleveland pick and Zeitler is a potentially decent grab, but they also lost a Pro Bowl tackle in Orlando Brown. Rashod Bateman is a good player, but he needs a precision passing QB, not Lamar Jackson's strong suit. Sammy Watkins is just money set on fire. WINNER = Cleveland.

THE COMPUTER: Winner = Baltimore 55%/45%

 

The Ravens advance (2-1) to the AFC North finals.

 

**************************

 

***The 2021 FFM Draft Guide Package is now available – see the FFM homepage for more information, including Combo deals with the In-Season Package and Dynasty Stash reporting.

2021 College Football Metrics subscriptions are still available – all the NFL Draft/rookie prospect scouting reports, Dynasty Rookie Draft (weekly top 350) coverage and analysis PLUS our annual Devy scouting report/rankings summer series begins in July.***

 

*************************

 

--AFC NORTH FINALS--

 

BALTIMORE RAVENS

Key Personnel Adds: OG Kevin Zietler (FA), OT Andrew Villanueva (FA), WR Sammy Watkins (FA), OT Ja’Wuan James (FA), DE Jayson Oweh (Draft), OG Ben Cleveland (Draft), WR Rashod Bateman (Draft)

Key Personnel Losses: OLB Matt Judon (FA), DE Yannick Ngakoue (FA), OT Orlando Brown (Trade)

 

CINCINNATI BENGALS

Key Personnel Adds: DE Trey Hendrickson (FA), CB Mike Hilton (FA), CB Chidobe Awuzie (FA), OT Riley Reiff (FA), DT Larry Ogunjobi (FA), PK Evan McPherson (Draft), OT Jackson Carman (Draft), OLB Joseph Ossai (Draft), WR Ja’Marr Chase (Draft), CB Eli Apple (FA)

Key Personnel Losses: DE Carl Lawson (FA), CB William Jackson (FA), WR A.J. Green (FA), PK Randy Bullock (FA), RB Gio Bernard (FA)

 

RC: You know I love the teams that strengthen their O-Line this offseason, and the Ravens are one of the top teams that upgraded at O-Line between free agency and the draft. But Cincinnati did bump up their O-Line as well, but also improved drastically at CB as well.

Both teams improved, but I give the edge to Cincy. WINNER = Bengals.

ROSS: Cincinnati cleans this competition up easily. Upgraded pass rusher, upgraded secondary, upgraded offensive line, upgraded receiver.

Baltimore added a couple of good linemen but also lost a very good tackle. Bateman is good. Watkins sucks. And is Oweh better than Judon? I doubt it. Love what the Bengals did to improve this year. I just hope they continue to add linemen for Burrow. WINNER = Bengals.

THE COMPUTER: Winner = Bengals 59%/41%

 

The Cincinnati Bengals advance (3-0) to the AFC Final Four 



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About R.C. Fischer

R.C. Fischer is a fantasy football player analyst for Fantasy Football Metrics and College Football Metrics. 

Email rc4metrics@gmail.com

Learn more about RC and the Fantasy Football Metrics system >>