While everyone was calling to burn down Mike Browns house and were making fun of his low end tennis shoes during the first few days of free agency, the team has methodically filled holes one step at a time. They have been getting good players at value prices. What some thought was playing chicken with Reggie Nelson turned out to be the best approach. They didn't sign him uber cheap.
To date they've added a starter level guard, a very capable corner, their own starting safety, and now a proven RB that scores touchdowns, gets 3rd and ones, and did anyone mention yet he doesn't fumble
Look at whats been going on in the hometowns of our rivals. Cleveland has made some improvement, but like that was going to be difficult. Their free agency signings have pretty much been middle of the road non starters that may be able to start in Cleveland.
Pittsburgh is standing on the sidelines, hoping no one offers contracts to Mike Wallac or a couple of other RFAs, who don't have draft picks attached. Of course these player aren't quality starters anyway, so...The Steelers are still struggling with cap space, currently almost 2 mil under cap with draft picks coming up they have to sign.
And then there are the Baltimore Ravens. Despite the genius of Ozzie Smith, they've been taking a beating. Loosing Grubbs, Redding, Johnson, and Webb is out there as a RFA that may be worth a late first round pick for a proven CB (only 2 of the last 8 first round CB picks have experienced much success, Hayden and Peterson)
Maybe these guys know what they are doing. Personnel moves ( FA / Draft ) have been much improved the last couple years. With extra draft picks this year and next, excess cap space, and some fine young talent already on the roster, we may well be seeing a changing of the guard in the near future in the AFC North