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Grading Thomas Dimitroff: 2015 free agency

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We finish up our series with a look at last year’s free agent class.

Thomas Dimitroff Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

We come to the end of our series grading Thomas Dimitroff, and I hope by now you’ve seen that while he’s had his fair share of misses, Dimitroff has done a decent job. There have been some massive misses and some huge triumphs, but I don’t think you can reasonably argue he’s been significantly better or worse than the three other teams’ general managers that we’ve wound up comparing him to.

This is a pivotal year for Dimitroff, of course, and to help us understand why, let’s look at the mixed 2015 free agency class, which didn’t deliver the kind of standout players the team might have needed to make a leap in Dan Quinn’s first year, but did still deliver some value.

Atlanta Falcons

Combined with a useful draft class, this was a solid if not remarkable free agent class. The Falcons landed a useful starter in Clayborn, a useful and versatile piece in Schofield, and a quality starting tight end in Tamme, all for relatively little money. Durant was decent in the first half of the season before injury and declining play cost him his job, Hankerson impressed early and then got hurt and faded, and Reed has future promise but was objectively kind of a disaster in his first, injury-marred season in Atlanta on a fairly pricey multi-year deal.

Reed, Clayborn, and Tamme are still here and should be major contributors, while Schofield could still return. The Falcons didn’t swing for the fences a year ago with this class, and ultimately it wound up being about as average-to-mediocre as Dan Quinn’s first season.

New York Giants

The Giants had themselves a solid class last year. Vereen was a valuable running back and the team’s second-leading receiver, Casillas played at a pretty high level all year long, and Dwayne Harris was very valuable as a part-time receiver and one of the league’s most capable returners. They got value out of Newhouse (who was a mediocre 14 game starter) and Thomas (a decent reserve), while Ellis bounced on and off the roster and Selvie didn’t offer a whole hell of a lot as a part-timer on the defensive line. Like the Falcons’ class, this one was just solid, but I’d argue they got more value out of the likes of Vereen, Casillas, and Harris than the Falcons got overall.

Cleveland Browns

A healthy mix of signings, with McCown and Williams proving to be capable starters for the latest in a long line of tire fire Browns teams, and the rest offering underwhelming returns. Starks and Hartline played a lot but didn’t play at a particularly high level, which is why I’m giving them 2s. Bowe was an unmitigated disaster and a huge waste of time and money for the Browns, which probably anyone outside of the team’s facility could have told you.

Overall, not awful, but Bowe kind of leaves a sour taste for everything else.

Seattle Seahawks

There’s a small raft of guys the Seahawks signed who basically didn’t do anything. The Jimmy Graham trade could pay dividends down the line, but he was hurt and not great in his first year with Seattle. Cary Williams started 10 games, but didn’t play well and wound up a free agent quicker than he probably would’ve liked. Morgan was a fine reserve and special teamer for the team.

The Seahawks have had some of the best and worst offseasons on this running list, and this goes down as one of the worst, especially considering they dealt top-shelf center Max Unger to get Graham.

What we see

The Giants were the best team on this list by a comfortable margin, with the Falcons probably clocking in second. This simply wasn’t a great free agent class for any of our four teams, and unsurprisingly, none of these teams outside of Seattle (an already great team) had much success in 2015.

We’ll hope things are different in 2016, at least. After reviewing this whole series, how would you grade Thomas Dimitroff?