The dust has settled after the major waves of the free agency period, and a couple of teams were surprisingly (to me, anyway) aggressive. Both the Washington Commanders and Tennessee Titans looked like teams in line to slowly build around young quarterbacks and draft picks, but instead they opened up their wallets for some veterans. is a cool site that tracks contracts and team spending against the salary cap. One page features money spent by each team on free agents since the end of last season (including their own free agents). It's broken down in various ways, including total contract value; here I'm going with the fully guaranteed money in each contract, which seems most meaningful to me. It doesn't matter much if a player signs a $50M deal, or what a contract is worth "up to...", if he's only likely to actually ever see $15-20M of it. Still a lot of money, obviously, but less than what agents feed the likes of Ian Rapoport to make it appear that they did great work for their clients.

Table shows the top 16 teams in terms of guaranteed money given out to free agents. No one will be surprised to hear that cap-strapped Dallas is at the bottom of the table, but I don't want to give up everything; you can check out the linked website to see all 32.

N.Y. Giants$84,762,500
New England$79,952,500
Tampa Bay$68,875,000
Las Vegas$56,860,000
Green Bay$54,227,500

The top four teams are Houston, Washington, Atlanta and Tennessee. We can explain Atlanta in two words: Kirk Cousins. Houston has discovered its franchise quarterback, so no surprise that they're looking to either add or retain key players around him to keep what looks like a good thing going. Joe Mixon is better than Devin Singletary. They've added a lot of teeth to their defense, including a pair of veteran pass rushers who combined for 28 sacks a year ago (Danielle Hunter and Denico Autry).

But the Titans and Commanders seem surprising. With Tennessee, I guess I was lulled into thinking they were in rebuild mode by parting ways with Derrick Henry. They fired Mike Vrabel and have a new, first-year head coach in Brian Callahan. They've got a second-year quarterback whose NFL future is uncertain, so I didn't see them adding a lot of veterans. I was wrong. They shelled out big bucks to sign 29-year-old Calvin Ridley (pictured) and pretty good money for 27-year-old (next month) Tony Pollard. About $58 million in guarantees just for those two, and they added several new defensive starters, most notably L’Jarius Sneed from Kansas City (who they then made one of the league’s highest-paid corners). They're looking to compete this year.

Washington doesn't even have a starting quarterback on its roster right now. They'll be drafting one at No. 2 overall, and plugging him into a roster where they've handed out $80 million in guarantees to a laundry list of veterans that includes several players whose remaining NFL years are few (Austin Ekeler, Zach Ertz, Bobby Wagner, Dante Fowler, Marcus Mariota). Center Tyler Biadasz from Dallas looks like a good move, as does another Cowboy, pass rusher Dorance Armstrong. Perhaps former Panther linebacker Frankie Luvu. They had to do something to improve what was the league's worst defense a year ago, even before they shipped half their defensive line off at the trade deadline.

So I am surprised that two teams I thought would be building through youth and the draft are instead building through a lot of veteran free agents. (Spoiler: I was even more surprised when I took a close look at the offensive lines for these teams, which have needs all over the place; I'll post my pre-draft thoughts on those sometime in the next week.)

On a certain level, perhaps it's reasonable to praise these teams for trying to put strong products on the field. The days of lengthy rebuilds are probably over; there's too much money involved and movement in free agency to really have a long-term plan anymore. Win now, or you'll be gone.

But I think it's very questionable whether these teams will be as competitive as their expenditures indicate, especially the Commanders. (Tennessee did sign a notable lineman in Denver’s Lloyd Cushenberry, so the line should be a little better; it could hardly be worse.) Washington has to hope they have the quarterback position solved (pretty much immediately) and hope they didn't spend too much money on guys whose best seasons are behind them. My initial impressions of what they've done with all the money they've spent aren't great.

--Andy Richardson