How Lions' 2016 opponents fared in free agency

The Lions know who their home and away opponents will be next season. The full schedule with dates and times will be released later.

Free agency is nearly a month old now and the NFL Draft is right around the corner. Some teams have made big splashes in free agency this offseason, while others have simply dipped their toes in the water. Whatever the strategy was, we now have a pretty good sense of how the Lions' 2016 opponents operated in free agency.

Here's a look at the Lions' 2016 opponents and how they fared in free agency:

Chicago Bears (home and away)

The biggest move was slapping the franchise tag on Alshon Jeffery.

The Bears ranked in the bottom third last season in points allowed (24.8) and rushing defense (120.9). It certainly makes sense that Chicago went hard after some of the Tier 1 defensive players in free agency. Their defense got better with the signings of linebackers Danny Trevathan and Jerrell Freeman and the addition of defensive lineman Akiem Hicks.

Acquiring right tackle Bobby Massie from Arizona allows the team to move Pro Bowler Kyle Long back to his more natural position at guard. The team also landed former Lions guard Manny Ramirez, arguably Detroit's most consistent performer upfront last season.

Green Bay Packers (home and away)

The Packers made a rare dip into free agency with the signing of tight end Jared Cook. In Cook, the Packers are hoping to have found the tight end weapon they've lacked since Jermichael Finley's career ended with a neck injury during the 2013 season.

Other than Cook, the Packers kept with their strategy of re-signing their own by locking up players like Mike Daniels, Letroy Guion, Mason Crosby, James Starks and others.

Minnesota Vikings (home and away)

Head coach Mike Zimmer knew a major weak point on his football team last season was the offensive line. So, the Vikings went out and addressed the weakness by signing right tackle Andre Smith from Cincinnati and guard Alex Boone from San Francisco. Zimmer wanted to get tougher upfront. The Vikings accomplished that. Minnesota also re-signed linebacker Chad Greenway, who plans to retire after one final year with the team. 

Philadelphia Eagles (home)

The Eagles moved quickly this offseason to undo what former head coach Chip Kelly had done in the personnel department over the last couple years. The Eagles traded the big contracts of cornerback Byron Maxwell and linebacker Kiko Alonso and their 2016 first-round (No. 13) draft pick to Miami for their 2016 first-round (No. 8) draft pick. They also traded running back DeMarco Murray and a 2016 fourth-round draft pick to Tennessee for a 2016 fourth-round draft pick.

The team added offensive lineman Brandon Brooks, guard/center Stefen Wisniewski, safety Rodney McLeod and quarterback Chase Daniel and re-signed cornerback Nolan Carroll. 

Washington Redskins (home)

The Redskins focused on re-signing some of their own players and improving their depth in a lot places. Placing the franchise tag on quarterback Kirk Cousins had to be done as the two sides work on a long-term deal. The Redskins also added tight end Vernon Davis, defensive end Kendall Reyes and safety David Bruton Jr.

The team retained the services of cornerback Will Blackmon and linebacker Junior Galette, who tore his Achilles tendon before the start of the regular season last year.

Dallas Cowboys (away)

The signing of running back Alfred Morris adds consistency and insurance to a Cowboys' running game that saw Darren McFadden rush for 1,000 yards last season.The only other big acquisition in free agency for the Cowboys was prying away defensive tackle Cedric Thornton from division rival Philadelphia.

New York Giants (away)

The Giants were all in when is came to free agency this offseason, spending a whopping $105 million in guaranteed money. On the defensive side of the ball alone, the Giants spent more than $204 million in contracts for defensive end Oliver Vernon ($85 million), cornerback Janoris Jenkins ($62.5 million), defensive tackle Damon Harrison ($46.25) and defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul ($10.5 million). New York ranked last in total defense and passing defense last year, so they decided to rectify that situation via free agency.

Houston Texans (away)

The biggest thing missing in Houston over the years has been consistent play from the quarterback position. They hope acquiring former Broncos backup/starter Brock Osweiler on a four-year, $72 million deal will help with that. The team parted ways with running back Arian Foster, but signed Lamar Miller to take his place. Losing guard Brandon Brooks and center Ben Jones will sting.

Indianapolis Colts (away)

The Colts have been big spenders in years past, but pushed down hard on the brakes this offseason. They added cornerback Patrick Robinson on a three-year deal, but that was their only big dip into the unrestricted free-agent pool. Re-signing tight end Dwayne Allen was a nice move, but the Colts appear to be looking toward the draft to make their biggest roster moves this offseason.

Jacksonville Jaguars (home)

The Jaguars had money to burn and boy did they, to the tune of $227.8 million so far. Their biggest addition was defensive lineman Malik Jackson on a five-year, $86 million deal. They also upgraded at offensive tackle with Kelvin Beachum, at safety with the addition of Tashaun Gipson and running back with Chris Ivory. They also added cornerback Prince Amukamara and punter Brad Nortman. The Jaguars are a more talented team now than they were at the end of the 2015 season.

Tennessee Titans (home)

Tennessee's big splash into free agency was trading for Eagles running back DeMarco Murray. After that, the Titans did a nice job of adding both veteran starting talent and depth. Cornerback Brice McCain started 20 games the last two seasons in Miami and Pittsburgh. Cornerback Antwon Blake started all 16 games in Pittsburgh last year. Ben Jones is an upgrade at center. Matt Cassel gives them veteran depth at quarterback and Rishard Matthews gives quarterback Marcus Mariota a big target to throw to.

Los Angeles Rams (home)

The big theme this offseason for the Rams was to sign their own players. They locked up cornerback Trumaine Johnson by putting the franchise tag on him. Safety/linebacker hybrid Mark Barron re-upped for five more years and defensive end William Hayes re-signed as well.

After losing Janoris Jenkins to the Giants, the Rams signed cornerback Coty Sensabaugh away from the Titans to take his place. Los Angeles' secondary will feel the loss of Jenkins and starting safety Rodney McLeod, who left for a five-year, $35 million deal in Philadelphia.

New Orleans Saints (away)

The Saints were last in points allowed and second to last in total defense, passing defense and rushing defense a season ago. They hope signing linebackers James Laurinaitis (Rams) and Craig Robertson (Browns), along with defensive tackle Nick Fairley (Rams), helps the middle of the defense.

They also signed tight end Coby Fleener after losing Ben Watson to the Ravens. The Saints will be a very different team than the one the Lions faced in 2015. They felt the salary cap pinch this offseason and had to release guard Jahri Evans, cornerback Brandon Browner and receiver Marques Colston.

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