2022 NFL free agency grades, Day 4: Allen Robinson to the Rams earns high mark, Bills add to defensive line

The reshuffling of rosters continued on Thursday throughout the NFL with the second day of the new league year. While Wednesday marked the official starting point of free agency, this is really Day 4 of the action with the legal tampering period kicking off earlier this week where we saw several big names come to terms on deals.

On Wednesday, there were also a number of major free agent shoes that dropped, particularly at pass rusher with Von Miller heading to Buffalo and Chandler Jones inking a deal with the Las Vegas Raiders. As Thursday tried to carry the baton, it was the offensive side of the ball that made the most waves with the defending Super Bowl champions giving quarterback Matthew Stafford another star weapon as they prepare for a title defense.

Below, you’ll find our rundown of all the top moves that occurred in the NFL on Thursday and our grades for those transactions.

Allen Robinson to the Rams

The Rich Get Richer in Los Angeles. The Rams were able to agree to a three-year, $46.5 million deal with former Bears wide receiver. With Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods still under contract, this is an embarrassment of riches for Matthew Stafford and the passing game and should help them tremendously as they look to become the first team to win back-to-back Super Bowls in nearly two decades. With Robinson now in the fold, it will be curious to see how hard the Rams will pursue retaining Odell Beckham Jr., who is recovering from a torn ACL.

grade: A

Casey Hayward joins Falcons secondary

Atlanta added the former Pro Bowl corner to its secondary after the two sides agreed on a two-year, $11 million contract. Hayward could very well be replacing Fabian Moreau as the team’s No. 2 corner opposite of AJ Terrell. Hayward is coming off a strong season in 2021 where he was one of Pro Football Focus’ highest grade corners and broke up nine passes through 17 games in Las Vegas. His presence in the secondary should help a Falcons secondary that ranked 29th in the NFL against the pass in DVOA last season.

grade: B

Jordan Phillips to the Bills

After being released by the Cardinals on Wednesday, it didn’t take long for Phillips to find a new — and familiar — home as he returned to the Buffalo Bills on a one-year deal. Phillips was with the Bills from 2018-2019 before leaving for Arizona. He adds to what is set to be a stout defensive line that just made a major splash on Wednesday with the blockbuster signing of pass rusher Von Miller and should be a strong depth piece behind Ed Oliver. The 29-year-old had his most productive season in the NFL with the Bills in 2019 (9.5 sacks). If he can rekindle that level of play, Buffalo got that much scarier in the AFC.

grade: B

Bengals add Hayden Hurst

The Bengals needed to find themselves a tight end after losing CJ Uzomah to the Jets in free agency and were able to land Hurst on a one-year deal. Hurst, a former first-round pick, requested a trade away from the Ravens after he was behind Mark Andrews on the depth chart and eventually found his way to Atlanta in 2020. In his first season with the Falcons, Hurst did flash some of that first-round potential, catching a career-high 571 yards and six touchdowns. However, with the Falcons drafting Kyle Pitts last offseason, he again found himself buried on the depth chart. In Cincinnati, he’ll have another chance to showcase his capabilities as a starter with plenty of other weapons garnishing the bulk of the coverage.

grade: C+

Ty Montgomery heads to Foxborough

The Patriots are signing the wide receiver/running to a two-year deal. While the veteran may have some thinking this could be a reincarnation of Cordarrelle Patterson from the 2018 season due to Montgomery’s versatility, he’s likely more of a Brandon Bolden replacement after he signed a deal with the Raiders. Montgomery played 48% of the special teams snaps for New Orleans last season and that’s a role he’ll likely be looking at with the Patriots as well with Damien Harris, Rhamondre Stevenson, and James White logging most of the work out of the backfield.

grade: C

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