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NFL experts debate 2019 free agency: Favorite moves, most underrated, biggest surprises

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Barr to remain with Vikings, not signing with Jets (1:58)

Chris Mortensen says although Anthony Barr verbally agreed to sign with the Jets, it wasn't binding, so he could change his mind and remain with the Vikings. (1:58)

Through two days of the unofficial 2019 NFL free-agency period, dozens of the top free agents already have agreed to terms to new deals. The Jacksonville Jaguars have a new quarterback, the Green Bay Packers rebuilt their front seven, the Buffalo Bills addressed their need at receiver and the Kansas City Chiefs made a big addition to their secondary.

Ahead of Wednesday's official opening, seven of our insiders look at the winners -- both players and teams -- of free agency thus far, along with teams to keep an eye on over the next few days.

Note: This was completed before the Giants traded Odell Beckham Jr. to the Browns.

Jump to:
Favorite moves | Most surprising
Most underrated | Biggest winners | Teams to watch


What is your favorite move so far?

Matt Bowen, NFL writer: OLB Za'Darius Smith to the Packers. At 6-foot-4, 272 pounds, Smith is an easy mover as a 3-4 outside linebacker, with the sub-package versatility to rush off the edge or bump down inside as a defensive tackle. The former Raven posted 8.5 sacks last season, and the upside jumps on the film. He's physical at the point of attack, with the closing speed to track down the quarterback. Adding Smith -- along with former Redskins edge defender Preston Smith -- to pair with Mike Daniels and Kenny Clark creates a pretty salty pass rush in Green Bay.

Mike Clay, fantasy writer: OLBs Za'Darius Smith and Preston Smith to the Packers. General manager Brian Gutekunst added two of the best available free-agent pass-rushers. The ex-Raven and former Redskin, respectively, are both in their prime at 26 years old and -- along with new safety Adrian Amos -- help improve what was the 22nd-ranked defense in 2018.

Dan Graziano, national NFL writer: S Tyrann Mathieu to the Chiefs. Kansas City has holes all over its secondary, and Mathieu can help plug whichever ones need plugging on a given day. Plus, he's a disruptive playmaker in the secondary, and in case you weren't watching Tom Brady convert a million out of a million third-down chances in the fourth quarter and overtime of the AFC Championship Game, that's something the Chiefs need.

Jason Reid, The Undefeated senior writer: S Tyrann Mathieu to the Chiefs. There's no better fighter than star safety Eric Berry, who battled cancer to resume his All-Pro career. But after tearing an Achilles tendon in the first game of the 2017 season, he has played in only four games the past two seasons. With Mathieu -- a big-time playmaker who adeptly fills multiple positions in the defensive backfield -- the Chiefs won't have to rely on Berry. Mathieu is also great in the locker room. Here's a guy who was voted as a team captain with the Texans in his only season with the team. The Chiefs absolutely nailed it.

Mike Sando, senior NFL writer: QB Teddy Bridgewater planning to return to the Saints. Returning for another season as Drew Brees' backup would have been the best move for Bridgewater's career even if the market had offered a rich payday for him as a starter. He'll get another year in Sean Payton's system, another year to get stronger and, possibly, a chance to succeed Brees.

Kevin Seifert, national NFL writer: WR John Brown to the Bills. Brown will play with strong-armed but erratic quarterback Josh Allen. He still has top-end speed and ranked fourth in the NFL last season in average yards per reception (17). Speed can help compensate for inaccurate quarterbacks.

Field Yates, NFL analyst: DT Malik Jackson to the Eagles. The Eagles are among the most mindful teams as it pertains to the compensatory draft pick formula, which Jackson does not factor into because he was cut by the Jaguars. He's a talented and disruptive interior defensive lineman worthy of a hefty price tag -- three years, $30 million -- and a nice fit alongside the terrorizing force that is Fletcher Cox.


Which move has surprised you most?