Post-NFL free agency Herd Hierarchy: 3 NFC North teams make Colin’s list

With the dust starting to settle in 2024 NFL free agency, Colin Cowherd is back with a special offseason, pre-NFL Draft edition of “Herd Hierarchy,” which features some surprising candidates among teams he thinks will break into the NFL’s elite.

[Related: 2024 NFL free-agency grades: Evaluating every major signing so far]

Here’s who Colin listed among his top 10 NFL teams right now, with Super Bowl odds from DraftKings Sportsbook.

10. Minnesota Vikings

Notable Additions: RB Aaron Jones, OLB Jonathan Greenard, LB Andrew Van Ginkel, QB Sam Darnold
Notable subtractions: QB Kirk Cousins, OLB Danielle Hunter

Early Super Bowl odds: +8000 (bet $10 to win $810 total)

Cowherd’s thoughts: “I’m calling my shot. Just go look at their coach and their offensive weapons. I think Kevin O’Connell, the tall Sean McVay, is the best coach in the league that nobody talks about. I like them. They saved money getting off Kirk Cousins coming off the [Achilles surgery. They bolstered their pass rush with those savings. They did what the Houston Texans did last year — they quietly made their defense better with a lot of B to B-plus moves.”

9. Los Angeles Rams

Notable additions: OL Jonah Jackson, CB Kamren Curl, QB Jimmy Garoppolo
Notable subtractions: DL Aaron Donald (retired), S Jordan Fuller

Early Super Bowl odds: +3500 (bet $10 to win $360 total)

Cowherd’s thoughts: “I don’t know how you replace Aaron Donald. If Aaron’s coming back, I probably have them at No. 5 or No. 6 because I love their young players. They did bolster their interior offensive line and they bolstered their back-end defense. I think Matthew Stafford and McVay may be the No. 2 combination of offensive head coach and quarterback in the league, second only to Patrick Mahomes and Andy Reid. But Donald is either the first, second or third-best defensive player I have ever seen. He had a better pass rush win rate last year getting double-teamed than everyone else had single-teamed. That’s how good he was.”

[Related: Rams must take out-of-box approach to replacing legendary DT Aaron Donald]

8. Buffalo Bills

Notable additions: WR Curtis Samuel, OL Dion Dawkins (extended)
Notable subtractions: WR Gabe Davis, OL Mitch Morse, S Jordan Poyer, S Micah Hyde, CB Tre’Davious White

Early Super Bowl odds: +1100 (bet $10 to win $120 total)

Cowherd’s thoughts: “They’re really pulling back. Joe Brady took over as offensive coordinator at midseason, and they went 6-1 after Brady replaced Ken Dorsey. But too many losses for me — White, [edge rusher] Leonard Floyd, Gabe Davis, Mitch Morse and leaders on the back end defensively. I don’t think they’ll be bad. Josh Allen will guarantee you win games. But as I said, your window to beat the Chiefs may have been this year. You got them at home. Kansas City was young and didn’t have a defined No. 1 receiver. I think Buffalo has hit their ceiling. They’ll be good, not special, going forward.”

7. Cleveland Browns

Notable additions: WR Jerry Jeudy, Edge Za’Darius Smith (re-signed), QB Jameis Winston
Notable departures: QB Joe Flacco, LB Sione Takitaki

Early Super Bowl odds: +4000 (bet $10 to win $410 total)

Cowherd’s thoughts: “The Deshaun Watson contract has some limitations. I kind of feel like they are what they are. They can maybe win a weaker division, but I just don’t think they’ll be as good as Baltimore. Because I don’t know what Joe Burrow is going to look like for the Bengals coming off his hand injury, I’ll put the Browns at No. 7. I do think defensively, especially at home last year, they were special. They’ve now added Jerry Jeudy at wide receiver alongside Amari Cooper, and I love head coach Kevin Stefanski, but they’re a bit of a mystery.”

Herd Hierarchy: Vikings, Packers, Rams leap into Colin’s Top 10 teams post-free agency

6. Baltimore Ravens 

Notable additions: RB Derrick Henry, DL Justin Madubuike (re-signed)
Notable departures: S Geno Stone, LB Patrick Queen, OL Morgan Moses, OL John Simpson, OL Kevin Zeitler, RB Gus Edwards

Early Super Bowl odds: +900 (bet $10 to win $100 total)

Cowherd’s thoughts: “Again, a slight pullback. They’ve lost all those offensive linemen and Patrick Queen. They’ll be good — they got Derrick Henry. But again, the offensive line for Lamar Jackson and the run game is so crucial. They’re very well run, so I don’t think there will be a huge drop-off. I think they’re good, but after that playoff performance and all those departures, I don’t know how great they are.”

5. Philadelphia Eagles

Notable additions: RB Saquon Barkley, DL Bryce Huff, S C.J. Gardner-Johnson
Notable departures: OL Jason Kelce (retired), DL Fletcher Cox (retired), S Kevin Byard, RB D’Andre Swift

Early Super Bowl odds: +1700 (bet $10 to win $180 total)

Cowherd’s thoughts: “I don’t know what to do with the Eagles, but I love the Barkley move. I think he’s the best running back in the league aside from Christian McCaffrey. Like the Rams with Donald, I don’t know what you do when you lose a Jason Kelce. The offensive line will not be as good, though it’s good at the tackle spots. They’ve got two star receivers, always good at tight end, and now have a star running back. I like Jalen Hurts to rebound. They have two new coordinators, and I like Bryce Huff on the defense. Like Baltimore, I know they’ll be fine, but will they be really good?”

4. Green Bay Packers

Notable additions: RB Josh Jacobs, S Xavier McKinney
Notable subtractions: RB Aaron Jones, OL David Bakhtiari, S Jonathan Owens, S Darnell Savage

Early Super Bowl odds: +1900 (bet $10 to win $200 total)

Cowherd’s thoughts:“I love their young talent. I really do. I think they’re really special. Go watch Jordan Love’s last eight to nine games, I think he was spectacular. Matt LaFleur now finally has his team. Aaron Rodgers‘ contract is off the books. They have 11 picks in this draft, the most out of any team, and they don’t miss on a lot of their early picks. I think they’re only getting better.”

Eagles, Falcons, Baker Mayfield highlight the winners post free agency

3. Detroit Lions

Notable additions: CB Carlton Davis, DL D.J. Reader, OL Kevin Zeitler
Notable departures: OL Jonah Jackson, S C.J. Gardner-Johnson

Early Super Bowl odds: +1200 (bet $10 to win $130 total)

Cowherd’s thoughts: “Detroit’s players are a little older and more established than Green Bay’s. The Lions addressed their weaknesses in free agency by going and getting a corner in Davis I’ve liked for a long time. If Davis works out and Detroit can get corner plugged up a little bit, I think they’re more than capable.”

2. San Francisco 49ers

Notable additions: Edge Leonard Floyd, QB Joshua Dobbs
Notable departures: DL Arik Armstead, Edge Chase Young, DL Javon Kinlaw, QB Sam Darnold

Early Super Bowl odds: +550 (bet $10 to win $65 total)

Cowherd’s thoughts: “Look, their roster is still really, really good. I think there’s limitations with Brock Purdy, and they needed to replace their defensive coordinator, but what happens when I like the general manager? And I like the coach? And I like the roster? I think it’s getting old, and I think it’s arguable that they have peaked and will need a strong draft. If they ever have to pay Purdy, it will feel different. But look at their seven to eight best players. If I like Detroit, why wouldn’t I like San Francisco?”

1. Kansas City Chiefs

Notable additions: DL Chris Jones (re-signed), LB Drue Tranquill (re-signed), TE Irv Smith Jr.
Notable departures: LB Willie Gay, OL Nick Allegretti

Early Super Bowl odds: +600 (bet $10 to win $70 total)

Cowherd’s thoughts: “The salary cap increase allowed them to bring back Drue Tranquill and Chris Jones. We still don’t know what they’re going to do with L’Jarius Sneed at cornerback, but Trent McDuffie is a great corner. When the NFL gave everyone an extra $30 million of cap space this offseason, I thought the winner was the Chiefs because they didn’t have to move off two of their best defensive players.”

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