Teams rising after free agency

Browns among teams ID'd by coaches, scouts as having gotten better

Updated: March 18, 2014, 11:46 AM ET
By Field Yates | ESPN Insider

Ben Tate Bob Levey/Getty ImagesBen Tate is a perfect fit for the Browns' rushing offense.

Despite the fact they were waxed by the Seattle Seahawks on football's biggest stage last season, the Denver Broncos were clearly among the most talented teams on paper before the 2014 NFL league year began. Adding three impact defensive free agents, in cornerback Aqib Talib, pass-rusher DeMarcus Ware and safety T.J. Ward (not to mention the signing of wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders), bolsters an already stacked roster, making the Broncos a suitable choice as a team that got better during the free-agency period.

That idea was reinforced when I reached out to several NFL personnel folks to get their takes on the smartest moves of free agency, though some of the other teams they identified were more of a surprise.

Below is a list of five teams that are on the rise coming out of free agency, with comments from anonymous coaches and scouts on each.


Cleveland Browns

Best additions: LB Karlos Dansby, S Donte Whitner, RB Ben Tate

Scout's take: "They paid big for them, but from a pure talent standpoint, you can argue they added the best available inside 'backer, strong safety and running back."

Field Yates has previous experience interning with the New England Patriots on both their coaching and scouting staffs. A graduate of Wesleyan University (CT), he is a regular contributor to ESPN Boston's Patriots coverage and ESPN Insider.