Predictions of NFL off-season winners: How accurate over recent years?

Happens every year in the off-season. After the free agency period, the draft, OTAs and some mini-camps, the predictions by NFL writers and talking heads start- “Which NFL teams won the off-season?”

Now we all know off-seasons are very important. What a team does with their roster does matter a ton. But not all offseason predictions of the winners and losers are accurate.

So I wanted to look back at previous NFL off-season “winners” and compare how well they did in the actual season results.

  • Here are some recent off-season winners as declared by several media outlets:
    • 2019 Cleveland Browns- because they added star WR Odell Beckham, Jr to pair with QB Baker Mayfield and also added 3 technique DL Sheldon Richardson, the brownies were declared huge off-season winners. They finished 6-10 and out of the playoffs.
    • 2021 NY Jets- the jets won the 2021 off-season trophy because they made QB Zach Wilson their quarterback of the future with the No. 2 overall pick. They traded prior QB hero Sam Darnold to help them select Wilson. They also drafted guard Alijah Vera-Tucker, wideout Elijah Moore and running back Michael Carter. Toss in notable free-agent additions like Corey Davis and Tevin Coleman and they were declared big off-season winners. They finished 4-13. Zach Wilson was traded this off-season.
    • 2022 LA Chargers- with rising star QB Justin Herbert still on his rookie deal, the chargers had an active off-season by extending Mike Williams, acquiring LB Khalil Mack, S Derwin James. The chargers did go 10-7 and make the playoff as a wild card but lost in the wild card round.
    • 2023 Baltimore Ravens- the ravens finally signed their QB Lamar Jackson, and needing to upgrade their receiver, signed OBJ (I don’t understand why this is always considered a great signing), drafted WR Zay Flowers, and also signed stone hands FA WR Nelson Agolor. It was a good off-season because the ravens did finish 13-4 and won the #1 seed in the AFC. They lost to eventual champ chiefs in the AFC championship game.

Like most fans here I have been very disappointed in the front office’s off-season approach. I cannot say we are even as good (On paper) as we were last year. Yes, we have all seen the Cowboys head the list of teams who are considered off-season losers in 2024. Maybe the examples above from the last 5 seasons will remind us as Cowboys fans that “winning the off-season“ may not be as good as the pundits say.

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