Top winners and losers in early days of new NFL season


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The first week of the new NFL year has been a whirlwind, and lots of familiar names have moved to unfamiliar places.

Fan favorites have become villains, and newcomers are almost instant heroes.

In some parts of the country, some fans must wondering what their teams have planned.

With that said, here are three winners and three losers from the early days of the new NFL year.

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The NFL logo on the field before a game between the Tennessee Titans and the Indianapolis Colts at Nissan Stadium Dec. 3, 2023, in Nashville. (Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)

Winner: New York Giants

Did the Giants lose two of their best players? Yes. Did they make the right decision in doing so? Also, yes.

Simply put, the Giants’ new leadership regime will not pay a premium at a non-premium position, hence the departures of Saquon Barkley and Xavier McKinney. It’s a potential nightmare for Giants fans to see Barkley twice a year for the next three years in Eagles green. But Devin Singletary is a nice replacement after a resurgence last season.

The Giants also made moves to rebuild their offensive line that has needed help for nearly a decade.

The Giants still have plenty of question marks, but after a disappointing 2023, they’re making moves to get back to the playoffs.

Loser: New York Jets

Their quarterback, who is 40 and recovering from a torn Achilles, might be running for office. At least they got Tyrod Taylor.

Joe Douglas has always been a master of trades (see Jamal Adams), and he’s struck gold in the draft too (he’s also whiffed badly). But for a general manager who has always been able to command a room, until apparently recently with Rodgers in town, the biggest excitement Jets fans have had is bringing in Morgan Moses for a pick swap.

The Jets remain a laughingstock, and they aren’t doing much to change it. All will be cured if Rodgers plays well, but at this point, are we even sure he is playing?

Aaron Rodgers talks to media

New York Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers speaks to reporters in Florham Park, N.J., Jan. 8, 2024.  (AP Photo/Dennis Waszak Jr.)

Winner: Philadelphia Eagles

After an implosion late last year, Philly is looking to totally reverse course.

The Birds added Saquon Barkley, Bryce Huff and CJ Gardner-Johnson, three of the best available players at their respective positions. Jason Kelce is already regretting retirement.

The Eagles probably could have done nothing in free agency and still been a playoff contender. But adding superstar potential on both sides, which are already filled with talent, is going to make the Eagles a legitimate force.

Loser: Dallas Cowboys

Dallas won the division last year, and many thought it was actually the year they’d do serious damage in the playoffs. As the second seed, they were upset by the seventh-seeded Packers. So, how are they responding? They’re not.

The Cowboys typically stand pat during free agency, so maybe we shouldn’t be surprised. But one would think they’d try to figure out a way to replace Tony Pollard. Derrick Henry says they never even reached out to him.

The Cowboys even had replies turned off on X because of how frustrated their fans are.

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It’s hard to dislike the current Cowboys roster and playmaking ability with CeeDee Lamb, but after a failed season, it sure seems like Dallas is doing nothing but running it back.

saquon barkley free agent

New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley makes a play against the Philadelphia Eagles during a Christmas Day game in 2023.  (AP Photo/Rich Schultz)

Winner: Atlanta Falcons

Kirk Cousins is the best quarterback the Falcons have had since Matt Ryan, and whoever is second is a distant second. One could wonder how a 36-year-old quarterback coming off an Achilles tear will fare with a defensive-minded head coach, but Cousins remains one of the most underrated of our generation.

Already with Drake London, Kyle Pitts and Bijan Robinson, Atlanta also brought in Rondale Moore and Darnell Mooney, both of whom have shown flashes.

The weak NFC South has been up for grabs for a couple years, and the Falcons should find themselves in the mix for the crown at season’s end.

Loser: Minnesota Vikings

From Kirk Cousins to Sam Darnold. Oof.

Justin Jefferson is in line for a huge contract, but a serious downgrade at quarterback isn’t exactly the best way to get your stud receiver to stay put.

Kirk Cousins points

Kirk Cousins of the Minnesota Vikings reacts after throwing a pass for a touchdown during the first quarter against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field Oct. 29, 2023, in Green Bay, Wis.  (Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)

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There is lots of online speculation Jefferson could head to the Cincinnati Bengals and team up with his former LSU teammates in Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase. That would be … very good.

And if that happens, the Vikings, with T.J. Hockenson missing a chunk of the season and Darnold under center, would be … not very good.

Winner: Chicago Bears

A late edition here! The Bears pulled off a stunner late Thursday night when they acquired Keenan Allen for all of a fourth-round pick. When he’s on the field, Allen is still a monster, as his 108 receptions were a career-high, all while missing four games.

They brought back Jaylon Johnson and also inked D’Andre Swift to a deal after plenty of turnover with their running game.

And considering they’re still likely going to trade Justin Fields for a haul and drafting Caleb Williams at No. 1 (oh, they have the ninth pick, too), we could soon be saying the Bears were the biggest winners this offseason.

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