2021 NFL Free Agency Grades: AFC South

The AFC South is a very interesting division this year, given as they are set to welcome possibly three new starting quarterbacks into the mix. Carson Wentz was traded to Indianapolis, and Trevor Lawrence is set to become the Jaguars franchise quarterback. The Texans are a mess from top-to-bottom,  while the Titans saw multiple names leave the team this offseason. Out of the AFC divisions, the south might have been the busiest when it came to free agency.

Houston TexansHouston Texans: D

Key Additions
OT Marcus Cannon
RB Mark Ingram
RB Phillip Lindsay
CB Terrance Mitchell
LB Christian Kirksey

Key Departures
DE J.J. Watt
LB Benardrick McKinney

I mean, credit for Houston for adding names so they could legally field a team next year. This feels a bit odd given some of these veteran names could have been able to help out other teams, but it’s hard to turn down a paycheck and the chance at an 0-17 season if Deshaun Watson doesn’t play. Marcus Cannon is finally a move to help the offensive line, but it won’t be enough heading into next season. Houston also doesn’t have the picks to make major revamps in the draft.

However, old habits are hard to break as they decided to add two running backs to the one they traded DeAndre Hopkins for. For fantasy football purposes, this sucks, but I also have to feel Ingram and Lindsay deserved better.

Indianpolis ColtsIndianapolis Colts: C-

Key Additions
QB Carson Wentz (Via Trade)

Key Departures
OT Anthony Castonzo
QB Philip Rivers
DE Denico Autry
LB Anthony Walker

Indianapolis went another year not spending in free agency. They did re-sign Xavier Rhodes to a one-year extension, but the big deal was that they pushed their chips in on Carson Wentz. Indianapolis continues to find themselves in similar spots where they need a key player in crucial positions like an edge rusher, a left tackle, and then another secondary player. Indy saw Denico Autry go to a division rival as well. They addressed none in free agency and will now turn to the NFL Draft, where they have had some hits but have also traded back and passed on some notable players.

Looking at some of the offensive linemen in free agency, there were a few names that could have helped out the Colts, at least in the short term. The same could be said for adding a corner. Rock-Ya Sin has not been a successful pick, and the Colts need to add more impact names to make a jump on the defensive side. While they have done a great job at being a playoff team since the Andrew Luck retirement, they have yet to progress to another level.

Jacksonville JaguarsJacksonville Jaguars: C+

Key Additions
DE Tyson Alualu
CB Shaquill Griffin
WR Marvin Jones

Key Departures
CB Rashaan Melvin

Jacksonville made some sneaky good moves in free agency, but a large part of their rebuild will happen in the draft. While I grade this a C+, I am actually okay with them not spending like crazy just because they have the cap. My main issue was there were a few additions that they likely didn’t need, like Carlos Hyde and Phillip Dorsett. They have added depth pieces to a younger team, but with the picks in the draft they have, I will want to see younger players get snaps over them.

While Marvin Jones is on the older side, I like the addition for a young core and where Jones can be a third option. He still has some juice left to squeeze, and to take him for this year is a plus. The secondary needed some help, and while they will add to the safeties in the draft, or at least should, Shaquill Griffin is a quality addition.

Tennessee TitansTennessee Titans: B

Key Additions
CB Janoris Jenkins
CB Kevin Johnson
LB Bud Dupree
DE Denico Autry

Key Departures
WR Corey Davis
CB Malcolm Butler
CB Adoree Jackson
S Kenny Vaccaro
TE Jonnu Smith

Tennessee was wheeling and dealing this offseason. They saw big names go like Corey Davis, Adoree Jackson, Malcolm Butler, and Jonnu Smith all leave. I am fine with the secondary leaving, given these guys have big name value, yet the Titans secondary has struggled the last few years. The tall task will be replacing Davis and Smith, who leaves behind plenty of snaps and targets, but also they turned out to be very good receivers. Davis bounced back last season, and Smith had to wait his turn, but he is a special talent.

The Titans splashed some cash on the defense and have to be looking at the draft to add some weapons for Ryan Tannehill. They added Kevin Johnson and Janoris Jenkins, which help out in the secondary, but younger players will need to be added in the draft here still. Bud Dupree was a big contract to dish out, and we will see how he transitions to Tennessee.

Jason Guilbault has been writing and podcasting in the fantasy sports world for over five years. You can find his work at Daily Fantasy Cafe. He is an avid Tottenham fan, and follows the Boston sports teams. When he isn’t diving into stats, he is enjoying the outdoors or down at the local brewery.

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