At the end of the NFL season, most teams' general managers expressed a desire to keep their veteran free agents. The front offices of the Seattle Seahawks, the Arizona Cardinals and the St. Louis Rams spoke of holding onto established players like Golden Tate, Karlos Dansby and Cortland Finnegan.
None of those three players will play in the NFC West in 2014.
So much for talk.
PHOTOS: NFL's Top 100 Free Agents
We previewed free agency for each divisional team, but as we now know, things don't always go according to plan.
Here's what each club has been up to so far...
Free agents lost: WR Golden Tate (Detroit Lions), DL Clinton McDonald (Tampa Bay Buccaneers), S Chris Maragos (Philadelphia Eagles), T Breno Giacomini (New York Jets), CB Walter Thurmond (New York Giants), CB Brandon Browner (New England Patriots), OL O'Brien Schofield
Free agents cut: DL Red Bryant (Jacksonville Jaguars), DL Chris Clemons (Jaguars), WR Sidney Rice
Free agents gained: WR Taylor Price (Jacksonville Jaguars)
Free agents re-signed: DE Michael Bennett, K Steven Hauschka, QB Tarvaris Jackson, TE Anthony McCoy, DL Tony McDaniel
Remaining cap space: $15.4 million (according to spotrac.com)
Analysis: Two weeks into free agency and closing in on two months after their Super Bowl victory, Seattle has been subtracting more than adding. The team cut the pricey Rice and did the same with Zach Miller (TE) before re-upping with Miller at a lower price. The latter move will help maintain a pass-catching corps that has also lost Tate. This isn't the position group with the steepest decline. The Seahawks have lost three members of their defensive line rotation, plus two of its top cornerbacks. While they've done well to hold onto five key puzzle pieces – Bennett received a reported four-year, $28.5-million deal – they'll have to address their new holes with remaining free agent options and via the May 8-10 NFL Draft.
Free agents lost: LB Karlos Dansby (Cleveland Browns), WR Andre Roberts (Washington), TE Jim Dray (Browns), RB Rashard Mendenhall (retired), DB Javier Arenas (Atlanta Falcons)
Free agents cut: G Daryn Colledge
Free agents gained: T Jared Veldheer (Oakland Raiders), WR Ted Ginn (Carolina Panthers), RB Jonathan Dwyer (Pittsburgh Steelers), C/G Ted Larsen (Tampa Bay Buccaneers), CB Antonio Cromartie (New York Jets)
Free agents re-signed: LB Matt Shaughnessy, LB Marcus Benard , NT Alameda Ta’amu, DT Frostee Rucker, DB Bryan McCann
Remaining cap space: $8.5 million
Analysis: After a season of shuffling along the offensive line, Arizona may finally have its blindside protector in Veldheer, whom it gave a reported five-year, $35-million contract. The team's aggressive signing of Ginn, an ex-49ers return specialist, should also boost the offense while taking some of the special teams burden off of Patrick Peterson. The loss of a leader like Dansby, whom the Cardinals initially hoped would return, will hurt right away. With some room to add more salary, the Cards could continue to maneuver ahead of draft day.
St. Louis Rams
Free agents lost: QB Kellen Clemens (San Diego Chargers), G Chris Williams (Buffalo Bills), G Shelley Smith (Miami Dolphins)
Free agents cut: CB Cortland Finnegan (Dolphins)
Free agents gained: n/a
Free agents re-signed: T Rodger Saffold , LB Jo-Lonn Dunbar
Remaining cap space: $9 million
Analysis: For St. Louis, the Saffold signing is a story in and of itself. The offensive tackle was reported bound for the Oakland Raiders before a failed physical made him available again, at which point the Rams pounced. He's no sure thing to stay healthy and he won't solve the team's offensive line woes, but keeping Saffold around seems like a positive. The line lost two guards to other teams so far in free agency. It's hard to imagine the West's last-place finisher won't be focusing most of its efforts on college players coming into the pros. GM Les Snead has the No. 2 overall pick at his disposal, and the team needs a lot of players at a lot of positions, so expect things to be fluid this spring.
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