Whether it's because of the massive contracts being handed out or the increased willingness for teams to complete trades, NFL offseasons are more dramatic now than ever. That drama has been on display since the start of 2018 league year, with several teams making a pushes to contend while others find themselves rebuilding.
As they relate to the upcoming edition of the "Madden NFL" video game series, the moves being made in 2018, both in free agency and via trades, have differing levels of impact.
Here are the teams that have improved the most, plus those that will enter the 2018 season on the decline.
"Madden" ratings: NFL offseason winners
Los Angeles Rams
As a young team already coming off a division title, the Rams appear to be the big winner for "Madden NFL 19," which will be released in August. While they have brought in personalities that have the potential for disruption and conflict, those concerns don't transition to a game that doesn't factor in off-field turmoil, suspensions or locker-room conflict. Considering the talent they've acquired, the Rams will be a force in the video game.
The signing of Ndamukong Suh gives Los Angeles the highest-rated pair of defensive teammates in the league. Suh and his rating of 93 Overall joins Aaron Donald, 99 Overall, on the line. In Suh, the Rams are getting the player deemed by "Madden" the strongest in the league. Suh also ranks as the second-highest player in Hit Power.
Los Angeles has also added Aqib Talib (93 Overall) and Marcus Peters (87 Overall) to its secondary, which more than offsets the loss of Trumaine Johnson (82 Overall). The departures of Sammy Watkins (82 Overall) and Alec Ogletree (74 Overall) are not very significant.
San Francisco 49ers
The other NFC West team that appears to be on the rise also made a big splash in free agency, as the 49ers' signing of Richard Sherman (91 Overall) is one of the flashiest moves of the offseason. Sherman likely will start the season rated lower considering he's coming off a major injury, but he still might be the team's highest-rated player.
In addition, running back Jerick McKinnon (83 Overall) gives San Francisco a dynamic option out of the offensive backfield with 96 Agility and 93 Speed.
Free-agency signings and draft picks don't seem to work out often for the Browns, but they once again will enter a new season with an improved "Madden" roster.
Tyrod Taylor (82 Overall) will act as a serviceable bridge QB until the rookie the Browns draft is ready. Taylor's 88 Speed, 87 Throw on the Run and 91 Throw Power will help Cleveland generate some big plays on offense. The acquisition of Jarvis Landry (88 Overall) gives the Browns a legit receiving threat from the slot, and while Carlos Hyde (83 Overall) is a solid performer at running back, he could end up sharing time with Saquon Barkley.
Kansas City Chiefs
Trading away Marcus Peters hurts, but the Chiefs managed to fill his position with an above-average replacement, and they upgraded at several other spots.
Moving from Alex Smith (86 Overall) to Patrick Mahomes (76 Overall) at quarterback is risky because of the unknown, but Mahomes has a much stronger arm and is a better athlete. Wide receiver Sammy Watkins (82 Overall) could see a resurgence if he can take advantage of downfield opportunities. Kendall Fuller (84 Overall) steps in at corner, as does Anthony Hitchens (83 Overall) at linebacker.
In "Madden," Kirk Cousins actually does not represent an upgrade over the departing Case Keenum. Both are rated 83 Overall, which ranks them behind 13 other QBs. The bigger move for Minnesota comes with the signing of Sheldon Richardson (84 Overall). Minnesota's defensive line will be incredibly disruptive, as Richardson actually will be the lowest-rated starter. He joins Everson Griffen (92), Linval Joseph (89) and Danielle Hunter (85).
"Madden" ratings: NFL offseason losers
Moving on from big names like Sherman (91 Overall), Jimmy Graham (86 Overall) and Michael Bennett (85 Overall) probably were the right decisions, but the Seahawks will pay the price when it comes to "Madden" in the short term. Declining performance and greater chance of injury aren't always reflected in the game's ratings. Seattle also could lose Kam Chancellor (94 Overall) and Cliff Avril (84 Overall) to career-ending injuries.
New York Giants
Following a rough 2017 season, the Giants' outlook can't be too optimistic given how their offseason has gone. The signing of Nate Solder (81 Overall) to a massive contract doesn't inspire much excitement — Solder is not even considered a top-10 left tackle in "Madden," but he's now the highest-paid offensive lineman in the league. New York already traded away Jason Pierre-Paul (82 Overall), and it still faces a decision on what to do with Odell Beckham Jr.
At the beginning of the 2016 season, "Madden" considered Tyrann Mathieu the best defensive back in the league. He since has fallen off more than any other player in the league, and he was cut by the Cardinals earlier this month. Arizona also traded away its highest-rated offensive lineman (Jared Veldheer) and has made no significant acquisitions.
Bryan Wiedey posts sports gaming news and analysis daily at Pastapadre.com, is co-founder of the sports gaming site HitThePass.com, hosts the "Press Row Podcast" and can be reached on Twitter @Pastapadre.