Full Brad Holmes Analysis

I want to review all of the major (and some minor) moves that Brad Holmes has made so we can look at how he has actually done. Obviously, being 8-2 is phenomenal, and pretty much every person on the roster is here because Brad acquired them, so he gets big props for that. But let’s dig a little deeper and grade every move he’s made.

Player Trades

Stafford: Obviously the biggest and most significant trade Brad has made so far, this one has aged very, very well. To get pick #32 in 2022 and pick #6 in 2023, as well as a late 3rd AND Jared Goff for Stafford was absolutely a win for us. Definitely a win for the Rams as well, considering they won the Superbowl. Grade: A+

Trinity Benson: Traded a 5th and 7th in 2022 for Benson and a 2023 6th. Benson never turned into anything here and this was a total waste of a trade: Grade: F

Michael Brockers: 7th round pick for Brockers, but then extended him and gave him a 3/24M contract with 11M guaranteed. This was a total waste in terms of his on field production. You could argue that he brought culture and leadership in the locker room, so it may have been some value off the field. Even so, this was bad. Grade D

TJ Hockenson: Traded Hock, 4th in 2023, and 4th in 2024 for 2nd in 2023 and 3rd in 2024. Should also be noted that this move saved the Lions paying Hock 9M in 2023 and/or paying him the 17M contract the Vikings gave him. When you add in that he was able to replace Hock with LaPorta, this looks like a very good trade. Grade: A-

Jeff Okudah: Traded for a 5th round pick in 2023, which was used to move up and grab Brian Branch. Our secondary has been a weak spot this year and Okudah may have been able to help us, but I don’t think we are missing him too much. Wish we could have gotten more for him, but his value was pretty low. Grade: B-

D’andre Swift: Traded for a 2025 4th round pick. This has to be considered with the Jahmyr Gibbs pick. I constantly wonder what our team would look like if we had taken Jalen Carter at 6 and just kept Swift for this year. Will never know, obviously. We also could have just kept Swift, which might have been nice when Montgomery/Gibbs have been injured this year. Grade: C

Riley Patterson: Traded almost nothing to the Jags for Patterson. He has been reliable from inside 50 yards, but does not provide much in the distance category. He actually fits MCDC well, because we know Dan is aggressive on 4th down from that part of the field. Grade: B+

Free Agency/Waivers


Charles Harris: A for original signing, D for subsequent re-signing

Jamaal Williams: A (Another A is awarded for not re-signing him)

Breshad Perriman: F (Not signing him would have gotten us an additional compensatory pick, likely in the 6th round. I hated this signing at the time and still do)

Tyrell Williams: D+ (Could have worked out, but he was injured. Either way, he was just a body)

Alex Anzalone: B for original signing, A for subsequent re-signing

Kalif Raymond: B+ for original signing, B- for subsequent re-signing

Romeo Okwara: D for re-signing

Kenny Golladay: A+ for not franchising or extending him when many wanted us to

Josh Reynolds: A for original waiver claim, B+ for subsequent re-signing


Tracy Walker: C+ for re-signing (Injury cost him most of last year and he has been average this year. Could be a cap casualty or restructure after this season)

Evan Brown: B for re-signing

DJ Chark: C+ (Provided some valuable play down the stretch last year, but was often injured, which was the knock on him before he got here as well. He took a paycut moving to Carolina this year, so his year here did not boost his value. The contract 1 year/10M was also spread over two years, so we are paying 4M in cap this year for his average play last year).

Tim Boyle and David Blough: D (luckily Goff was healthy last year, but if he weren’t we would have been in big trouble)

John Cominsky A+ for original waiver claim, B for subsequent re-signing

Benito Jones A for original waiver claim, A for subsequent re-signing


Cam Sutton: B+ (Signed the biggest and longest deal of any Holmes FA deal so far, 3 years 33M. He has been fairly reliable with some struggles thus far, but if we didn’t have him, we would be really screwed.)

David Montgomery: A- (3 years/18M would have been a deal that I thought Jamaal Williams was going to get when FA started. But getting Montgomery instead has been a big upgrade. Montgomery has tackle breaking upside that Williams did not have, as well as a bit more breakaway speed.)

Emmanuel Moseley: F (Never got healthy, got more injured, total waste. Risky move that did not go our way. Though at the time it seemed like a nice bargain buy)

Graham Glasgow: A (Much needed depth at the time of signing, which has turned into a nice starting role. For 4M. Yes, please)

CJGJ: B (This was one of the hardest to judge because it looked to be a good signing for the value and the impact he was having on the defense in training camp/early in season. TBD if he can make it back at all, but wouldn’t mind bringing him back next year on another prove it deal)

Marvin Jones Jr.: D (Did not like it much at the time and it turned out pretty badly. I also wonder if they would have made a move for a different vet receiver who could have actually helped us if we had not signed Marv.)

Draft/Draft Trades


Penei Sewell: Best RT in football currently, only 23 years old. Could not have hit a bigger home run out of the gate with the first pick. Also, credit for not drafting Justin Fields, who many were clamoring for. Grade: A++

Levi Onwuzurike: Has been injured since he got here and never fully healthy. He is allegedly healthy now and is not in the rotation. He is not a part of this team in the future. Mostly a wasted draft pick. Grade: D-

Alim McNeill: Have seen steady growth and development from Alim over his first 3 years here and he is continuing to get better this season. Finding a guy like this in the 3rd round is a big win, and knowing that we sniped him from the Eagles makes it an even better pick. Grade: A

Ifeatu Melifonwu: Has never really settled into a position and has battled injuries. Has not worked out how Brad and company would have hoped. Has filled in as some nice depth this year though, so it has not been a total waste, but definitely disappointing. Grade: D+

Amon Ra St. Brown: Don’t need to say much here. Great pick. Grade A++

Derrick Barnes: Before this year I would have said this was a D+ or C- pick, but he has really come along nicely this year and made some solid plays for us. Hoping for continued growth and development. Grade B+

Jermar Jefferson: Hasn’t seen the field much at all, but he is still on the practice squad after 3 seasons. For a 7th round pick, that’s not bad. Grade: B-

Jerry Jacobs: UDFA pickup has been a key starter for much of this year. Not always great, but has made some nice plays. Grade: A+

Brock Wright: Another useful UDFA who has been reliable when called upon. Knows his role and does it well. Grade: A


Aidan Hutchinson: He has been everything we hoped for since we drafted him. Given what we know today we make this same pick again. Grade: A

Jameson Williams: Tough one to judge. Thus far he has been a massive disappointment, but over the past couple weeks there is some glimmers of hope that he could develop into a nice piece for this team. But trading up for him and using the 12th pick on a guy who is getting just a few targets a game is incredibly disappointing. Olave and Wilson went right before him and have been great so far. Williams is far behind, but hopefully gaining quickly. Grade: C- Trade grade: A

Josh Paschal: This was a pick I didn’t like when it was made. Paschal struck me as a guy who was just going to be a guy. Not an impact player. Thus far, that’s exactly what he’s been when he has been healthy. Hoping for more from him soon, but not expecting much. Grade: C-

Kerby Joseph: Has made some incredible splash plays, but has also been exposed in coverage more than a few times. He is a solid starter that we got late in the third. That’s good value. Grade: A-

James Mitchell: Has not done much here and probably won’t. But he is a fine TE3 and it is slim pickings in rounds 5+ for any kind of useful players. Grade B-

Malcolm Rodriguez: Solid rookie year and has been valuable and versatile this year on offense/defense/ST. Definitely a dude with grit and football character Brad looks for. Grade: A-

James Houston: Incredible stretch late last year, slowed by injury this year. TBD how effective he is when/if he comes back this year. But definitely looks like a late round steal by Brad. Grade: A

Chase Lucas: Still with the team in some capacity. For a 7th round pick, that’s good. Grade: B+


Jahmyr Gibbs: He has been very good as a rookie, but I am judging this combined with the D’andre Swift trade. I love the trade back from 6 to 12, which got us LaPorta at 34, but I am not convinced this was a good use of draft capital. Hope that Gibbs explodes over these last 7 games and into the playoffs so I am increasing the grade here. Grade B, Trade Grade: A-

Jack Campbell: Didn’t like the pick at the time, don’t like it now. He has not looked great so far, but maybe he will develop with more time like Derrick Barnes. But the early returns are not great, and the positional value argument is valid here. Grade: C-

Sam LaPorta: Has been historically good for a rookie TE, and better than anyone here thought right out of the gate. Excited to see him continue to grow and develop in this offense. Grade: A

Brian Branch: Got off to a hot start in camp and early in the season, but has not been the same since the ankle injury he suffered. This week he made some big plays, but also had two very costly penalties. Still, we should be excited about having him for the next few years. Good pick, and glad we traded up 3 spots to get him, but giving up the 5th we got for Okudah felt a little steep. But so far he is definitely worth it. Grade: A-, Trade grade: C

Hendon Hooker: Loved the pick and still love it. Upside QB who could potentially be a starter at some point, but with Goff playing as he is, we might just have a quality backup for a few years. With a 3rd round pick, that is fine by me. We needed to address the QB position and finally did. Also loved trading back multiple times to maximize value before picking him. Grade: A-, Trade grade(s): A

Brodric Martin: Did not like the pick at the time and has not shown much so far. We all knew he was a long term project, but I am hoping for him to become a rotational piece in this IDL rotation. The fact that he just got passed on the depth chart by Quinton Bohanna, who just came to the team a few weeks ago, is concerning. We also traded a bunch of picks to go up and get him. He was widely considered a day 3 pick, and maybe even late day 3. Grade: D, Trade grade: D

Colby Sorsdal: Was hoping for an OL with this pick and that’s what we got. Thought we might go with Jordan McFadden, but Holmes went with Sorsdal. He has started 2 games so far and hasn’t looked abysmal, but certainly not playing at a high level yet. Too early to say too much about this pick. Grade: B

Antoine Green: Made the initial 53 and has played on ST and a few snaps on offense. Don’t think he will be much more than he is right now. Fine pick for the 7th round. Grade: B-

Overall, Brad has done a great job, but he has not been perfect. Excited to see how he continues to shape this roster over time. We definitely have the right guy for the job.


Just one example of your opinion that i disagree with an how can you grade an question this before end of season plus what will Swift sign for an with who? Also the fourth round pick can be moved or we could get lucking an have a stud pick in 2025.

We don’t have crystal ball nor does Holmes I could agree with some of your thoughts an disagree with many also. I just used one example on your grading did you know ahead of time Monty would hurt his ribs? Get what I am saying.

I’d say nice job there. There might be a few quibbles, e.g. Levi O grade would be lower for me—more like an F.

1 Like

Good post. One argument I’d make is for bumping up the brockers grade slightly. He was a huge help behind the scenes in not only changing the locker room culture but also helping develop our young defensive line talent. He was a good mentor for McNeil, buggs, cominsky and hutch.

1 Like

Best thing about drafting Levi is it fooled the Eagles into thinking we wouldn’t draft Alim and they traded behind us



To put this in proper context, we had nothing in our receiver room. Throwing a 5/7 and getting a 6 back for taking a chance on potential is more like a desperate C grade in my book.


Its a good evaluation. My biggest gripe is Iffy. Remember that was a comp third rounder, really 4th round territory. He’s a specail teams demon and everything you want in a back up DB - safety, nickel, CB.


Word. Completely agree

Yup. Bad one, buuuuut…intensity/overall impact gets factored in too, so it really didn’t hurt the organization much. Still…f is fair

This guy was not here for his production. It was a culture building move that dramatically helped the team grow in ways that a coach can’t by himself.

The goal has always been a Super Bowl, and by not winning more with best athlete available , as well as drafting injured guys—> BRILLIANT way to free up cap long term as well as build future with higher draft picks in knowing a few extra wins hurts you long term.

Completely agree.

I connect this to, and value branch a ton, so I’m going B+ (would be A, if directly equated to branch)

I give this one an A+.
I LOVE Gibby. They knew they were getting a better culture fit, healthier, and a talent upgrade that is even more versatile.
Happy to let go of the disgruntled, often-injured guy

Ha! I mostly agree and do hope he gets better. I still don’t trust him. Because our situation was SO dire with Cheech kicking, I’ll give it a B

Agree. Wish he was heal the ire so we could have a more accurate reading

Yup! 100% agree


Solid A. They believed in his potential and their ability to get him up to it from the get go

Yup. Really solid

Yup. Bad cap move too

2nd to best move he made. Awesome call.
Only way it could get better is trade him to the Vikings for a huge stash.


I’ll buy it

I like him more than you do. I’m going A-
Nice dual position depth guy

1 Like

Right, I just honestly don’t think you can give such a low grade to a move that cost us so little capital. It’s like, if I paid a dollar for an order of fries that turned out limp and soggy, I’m not gonna go online and give the restaurant a bad review. It was a dollar.

Or maybe you could say:

How it turned out: F
Cost of getting there: B

Overall grade: C-

Part of that grade is because Holmes said after the trade that he hadn’t even heard of Trinity Benson until like a week before. It seemed like a rushed move and everybody at the time thought it was an odd move, and then it didnt work out at all.

1 Like

Nice breakdown.

It should be noted that the hits - high graded trades/signings are much more significant than the misses - lower grades trades/signings which explains why you have a team that went from 4-19 to 16-4 at the flip of a switch.

When your worst moves are trading a late rounder for Benson and signing Williams and Perriman to 1 year deals, you know you’ve done well. Hard to blame him for Okwara having a career altering injury. Moseley was low risk, high reward.
I guess the Jamo trade could be considered his worst significant move although that story has yet to be written…


Yeah it was late in the 3rd. But 2 things made me give it a bit lower grade. Brad said Iffy had a much higher grade than where they drafted him, so he thought he was getting a 2nd rounder. They also had him higher than ARSB. If ARSB went in between Iffy and when we took him that would have been a disaster. He should have taken ARSB at that pick.

Agreed. I considered trying to do a weighted average of these grades and give him an overall score, but then realized I already spent too much time on this exercise.

I did factor that in, which is why I gave it a D instead of an F.

1 Like

Great analysis and tons of effort put in. I might grade the benson, brockers and swift moves a little differently but its good stuff l.

Trinity to me is an example of what everyone was wanting brad to do this deadline. Improve a position of need. There was dramaric need at wr but limited resources available. For making the effort id give it a D.

Brockers- its hard to argue the intangibles when you see where we are now compared to then. I dont think the two are not connected. Brockers might have been washed as a player but his work ethic and leadership were still very much there. I think he had s big part in establishing the culture early on. I would say waiving jamie collins was an A+. For culture and accountability.

Swift- just a matter of he did not want to be here anymore and he was not producing as we wanted him to do. Mayhew would make the mistake often of counting on players who couldnt be counted on and it would bite him. Brad couldn’t count on swift and went and found competition for the position and rather then swift looking at jt as a challenge, he took his ball and went home, literally. Brad traded him home…not to siberia or what not…


I personally really liked the move. I’d been hearing about Benson tearing it up for two off-seasons. It was a swing at what I thought was potentially a really good player for very little cost. I’m always all for moves like that. It didn’t work out, c’est la vie.

1 Like

I would have been more ticked if he didn’t try to make a move to shore up that WR room, which was about as bad as it gets. It was a weird way to treat Goff given their professed hope that he would prove himself the franchise guy. At least they’ve acknowledged that they didn’t do him any favors.

Benson didn’t work out but, as others have said, it cost them very little and I imagine the pickings were VERY slim.

1 Like

Getting rid of Jamie Collins was the best thing this organization ever did. For me this is what set the tone for a culture change. Another one was letting Oruwariye walk.

1 Like

This was a fun read. Thank you for taking the time to compose and share it with us.


I didn’t see anything in the press, but I’ve got to believe that while he was here Trinity Benson must have committed some serious crimes against a number of Den posters. Nothing else I can think of explains the animosity that some here feel for this trade.