The first wave of free agency has come and gone, and while it's always entertaining, it felt more dramatic than usual this year. The Atlanta Falcons found a new quarterback in Kirk Cousins, Christian Wilkins left Miami for Vegas and the Tennessee Titans made some offensive splashes with Tony Pollard and Calvin Ridley.

It's exciting when franchises start throwing money around, but that doesn't always guarantee your team will increase its win total and make a playoff run the following season. Let's take a step back and attempt to judge the teams in the AFC following the first wave of free agency. Which free-agency additions will guarantee massive improvements from teams, and which aren't enough?

1. Kansas City Chiefs

Key additions: WR Marquise Brown
Key losses: OL Nick Allegretti

I'm not going to bump down the reigning Super Bowl champions just because they haven't dominated free agency. Still, they've done a good job. General manager Brett Veach locked down star defensive tackle Chris Jones on a five-year deal worth nearly $160 million, and franchise-tagged cornerback L'Jarius Sneed while keeping an open mind towards a trade. Maybe there's a possibility Sneed could remain in Kansas City and play on the tag in 2024. Offensively, the Chiefs added Hollywood Brown for Patrick Mahomes, which could be fun to watch. 

2. Baltimore Ravens

Key additions: RB Derrick Henry
Key losses: LB Patrick Queen, S Geno Stone, OG John Simpson

It felt like a secret everyone was in on before it actually happened, Derrick Henry is headed to Baltimore. The Ravens have been great running the ball no matter who was lined up next to Lamar Jackson, but now with Henry, maybe the Ravens take another step towards that Super Bowl. Baltimore has lost a couple of starters on defense and on the offensive line, but Justin Madubuike is back on a four-year, $98 million deal.

3. Houston Texans

Key additions: EDGE Danielle Hunter, LB Azeez Al-Shaair, DL Denico Autry, RB Joe Mixon
Key losses: EDGE Jonathan Greenard, DL Sheldon Rankins, DT Maliek Collins

Some may believe having the Texans at No. 3 in the AFC is high. Instead of an overreaction to one surprising season, consider it a prediction. Houston clearly has its quarterback of the future in C.J. Stroud, and the front office is working hard to surround him with talent. Nick Caserio gave quarterback-terror Danielle Hunter $48 million guaranteed to rush the passer opposite of Will Anderson Jr., and then Autry is a very underrated player. The Texans also upgraded at running back by trading for Mixon, which is something that can take this offense to another level. Additionally, remember Houston re-signed tight end Dalton Schultz as well. The Texans need to add to the secondary, potentially through the draft, and this team will be even more fun to watch in 2024. 

4. Cincinnati Bengals

Key additions: RB Zack Moss, DT Sheldon Rankins, S Geno Stone, TE Mike Gesicki
Key losses: CB Chidobe Awuzie, OT Jonah Williams, RB Joe Mixon, DT D.J. Reader

With Joe Burrow at quarterback, the Bengals are always going to be a contender. I'm interested to see if Cincinnati trades Tee Higgins and drafts a wideout, or if he plays this year on the tag. Another question to ponder is if Moss can build on his career year away from Indianapolis. Shane Steichen is one of the best run schemers in the league. The Bengals are reportedly hosting former Patriots offensive tackle Trent Brown on a free-agency visit, so another addition could be inbound. Gesicki could be a fun weapon for Zac Taylor, especially if Higgins gets traded. 

5. Cleveland Browns

Key additions: LB Jordan Hicks, WR Jerry Jeudy, LB Devin Bush, RB Nyheim Hines
Key losses: DT Jordan Elliott, LB Anthony Walker Jr., QB Joe Flacco

First of all, keep in mind that the Browns are getting a large chunk of their injured players from 2023 back. Even with all the backups, the Browns still won double-digit games and made the postseason. Imagine what this team is capable of if they remain healthy.

Cleveland re-signed Za'Darius Smith and Shelby Harris on the defensive front, added a couple of linebackers while losing Walker and traded for Jeudy -- who could thrive with a change of scenery. If Deshaun Watson can start playing good football consistently and stay healthy, the Browns are a contender. If he fails to do either of those things, don't worry because the Browns added two more Pro Bowl quarterbacks in Jameis Winston and Tyler Huntley

6. Buffalo Bills

Key additions: WR Curtis Samuel
Key losses: WR Gabe Davis, CB Tre'Davious White, S Jordan Poyer, EDGE Leonard Floyd, C Mitch Morse, CB Dane Jackson

The Bills have certainly lost more than they've gained this offseason, in large part due to their cap situation. The offseason isn't over and it's always possible Buffalo crushes the draft, but I'm curious how this team will look in 2024. Do we get the Weeks 1-10 Bills, or Weeks 11-18 Bills? And then what happens with Stefon Diggs? I like Sean McDermott, and he's allowing Bobby Babich to take over as defensive coordinator. Keeping Joe Brady was the correct decision. 

7. Miami Dolphins

Key additions: LB Jordyn Brooks, C Aaron Brewer, CB Kendall Fuller, TE Jonnu Smith, EDGE Shaquil Barrett, S Jordan Poyer, LB Anthony Walker, DL Neville Gallimore
Key losses: DT Christian Wilkins, CB Xavien Howard, LB Jerome Baker, OG Robert Hunt, LB Andrew Van Ginkel, S Brandon Jones

The Dolphins have to dispel the notion that they can't beat good teams ... and that they can't play in the cold. That sounds like a joke, but the AFC runs through cities that are very cold in December/January.

Once again, Miami should have one of the most explosive in the league, and Tua Tagovailoa has just gotten better and better each year. While the Dolphins have lost some pieces, I like that they've attempted to replace them. Maybe Fuller and Poyer aren't Xavien Howard, but they are still good players. I'm also super intrigued to see how Jonnu Smith fares under Mike McDaniel. Go back and watch how he played with Tennessee in 2020, when he caught eight touchdowns. Bottom line, the Dolphins are a good team. But can we say they are a contender? 

8. Jacksonville Jaguars

Key additions: DE Arik Armstead, WR Gabe Davis, S Darnell Savage, C Mitch Morse, QB Mac Jones, K Joey Slye
Key losses: WR Calvin Ridley, CB Darious Williams, CB Rayshawn Jenkins

The Jaguars are a better team than people may realize, but Trevor Lawrence suffering injuries from head to toe really derailed the 2023 campaign. So did the overall play of the defense, which is why Jacksonville went out and hired Ryan Nielsen. He should have some fun with Darnell Savage, and then Josh Allen is locked in for at least one more year. 

Offensively, Gabe Davis isn't Ridley, but Morse was a good grab on the offensive front. Again, the offseason isn't over. The Jags may retake their spot atop the AFC South in 2024. 

9. New York Jets

Key additions: LT Tyron Smith, RT Morgan Moses, OG John Simpson, DT Javon Kinlaw
Key losses: EDGE Bryce Huff, S Jordan Whitehead

Here's the real wild card in the AFC. Maybe in the NFL. The Jets have an elite defense under Robert Saleh and Jeff Ulbrich, but the offense was again a disaster. Remember this scheme was built for Aaron Rodgers, and New York has done a tremendous job shoring up the offensive front with the additions of Smith, Moses and Simpson. I bet they aren't done yet. So, will Rodgers again make the doubters look silly? Or will the Jets underperform yet again?

10. Pittsburgh Steelers

Key additions: LB Patrick Queen, S Deshon Elliott, QB Russell Wilson, QB Justin Fields, CB Donte Jackson
Key losses: WR Diontae Johnson, OT Chukwuma Okorafor

Queen got the bag to play for a rival, and then another former Raven in Elliott is joining him. The veteran Jackson is a solid addition in the secondary, but let's address the real story in Pittsburgh: Quarterback.

Who saw the Steelers parting ways with Kenny Pickett, Mason Rudolph and Mitch Trubisky, then bringing in both Russell Wilson and Justin Fields? I'm not someone who has a ton of confidence in Russ, but I do like the Field trade. Now comes the question of his fifth-year option. 

Arthur Smith should be an improvement compared to Matt Canada, and you can expect plenty of running. That's something that can hide some deficiencies of Wilson's, and work to Fields' advantage. Hmm. 

11. Indianapolis Colts

Key additions: DT Raekwon Davis, QB Joe Flacco
Key losses: QB Gardner Minshew, RB Zack Moss

It remains to be seen how good Anthony Richardson can be, or if he can remain healthy. But the Colts did pick up the Reigning Comeback Player of the Year to not only back him up, but mentor him as well. Indy also locked up Michael Pittman Jr. for Richardson as well. A great decision. 

There's been a ton of smoke around Sneed to Indy. I can't tell you what's true or not, but an addition at cornerback is smart.

12. Tennessee Titans

Key additions: WR Calvin Ridley, C Lloyd Cushenberry, CB Chidobe Awuzie, RB Tony Pollard, LB Kenneth Murray
Key losses: RB Derrick Henry, LB Azeez Al-Shaair, CB Sean Murphy-Bunting, C Aaron Brewer, DL Denico Autry

The Titans offense may be fun to watch in 2024 with Brian Callahan in charge. He and Ran Carthon went out and acquired a new starting wideout, running back and center to compliment DeAndre Hopkins and help Will Levis. However, Tennessee has some work to do on defense at all three levels, with needed additions on the defensive line, inside linebacker, cornerback and safety. 

13. Los Angeles Chargers

Key additions: RB Gus Edwards, TE Will Dissly, LB Denzel Perryman, C Bradley Bozeman
Key losses: LB Kenneth Murray, WR Mike Williams, RB Austin Ekeler, TE Gerald Everett, CB Michael Davis, LB Eric Kendricks, WR Keenan Allen

We knew the Chargers would have some tough decisions to get under the cap, and they parted ways with their top two wide receivers, and allowed their TE and RB to walk in free agency. Maybe the Chargers aren't going to be contenders immediately, but they got Jim Harbaugh and Justin Herbert. With new offensive coordinator Greg Roman, L.A. is going to want to run the ball. Edwards is an intriguing pickup you should keep a fantasy eye on, but I don't think the Chargers are done adding at running back. 

14. Las Vegas Raiders

Key additions: DT Christian Wilkins, QB Gardner Minshew, RB Alexander Mattison
Key losses: RB Josh Jacobs, DL Bilal Nichols, OL Jermaine Eluemunor, WR Hunter Renfrow, CB Amik Robertson, DL Jerry Tillery

The Raiders made quite a splash by handing Wilkins a four-year, $110 million contract -- filling a need on the interior defensive line. Minshew is an interesting addition. The Pro Bowl quarterback could end up starting for Vegas, but my guess is the Raiders are making a play for a signal-caller early. I'm excited for the Antonio Pierce era, but I also want to know who is playing quarterback.

15. New England Patriots

Key additions: WR K.J. Osborn, OT Chukwuma Okorafor, RB Antonio Gibson
Key losses: WR DeVante Parker, LB Mack Wilson, TE Mike Gesicki, DB Jalen Mills

The Patriots have a path to their new starting quarterback, which is a reason why they don't rank last on this list. Still, new head coach Jerod Mayo has plenty of work to do. 

16. Denver Broncos

Key additions: S Brandon Jones, DL Malcolm Roach
Key losses: C Lloyd Cushenberry, LB Josey Jewell, S Justin Simmons, WR Jerry Jeudy, QB Russell Wilson

The Broncos are in rebuild mode, and parting ways with Russ of course hurt financially. Denver has lost more than its gained in free agency, and then there's no clear-cut route to Denver acquiring its new QB1.