Well, the Los Angeles Rams offseason started out rather uneventful. Then, they decided to make some splashes, including a somewhat surprising decision to release running back Todd Gurley before he ever played a down of football under his contract extension. Clay Matthews was also cut. Cory Littleton and Dante Fowler Jr. are the two big names that walked in free agency. With Littleton, Fowler, and Matthews all gone, that opens a big gap in the linebacker core, both inside and outside. They did, however, address the defensive line a little, by bringing back Michael Brockers and signing A’Shawn Robinson. The latest move was trading Brandin Cooks and a future fourth-round pick to the Houston Texans for a second-round pick this year.
After suffering another early playoff exit at the hands of the Minnesota Vikings, the New Orleans Saints decided to still put their faith into Drew Brees this offseason. Brees will stick around for at least two more years at a cost of $50 million dollars, making him the 12th highest paid quarterback. In deciding to take a discount, Brees will be doing the Saints an enormous favor as far as cap space is concerned, with running back Alvin Kamara looking for a new deal after the 2020 season.
The Browns entered free agency in dire need of offensive line help. They were able to fill that when they signed Jack Conklin to a three-year deal worth $42 million. And although as the 2020 NFL Draft approaches, Joe Burrow, the likely no. 1 pick, has opened as the heavy favorite according to Sports Betting Dime to win 2020 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year, the Browns will look to improve their team even further in hopes of a playoff berth.
The Houston Texans’ season came to an abrupt end after giving up a massive lead to the eventual Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs. The Texans were exposed for not having enough depth on defense nor top-end talent to match up with the Chiefs blazing-fast offense.
The Carolina Panthers have entered a new era of football. They cleaned out the coaching staff and brought in former Baylor Bears Head Coach Matt Rhule to lead the Panthers into the next decade of football. With a new offensive-minded coach, the offseason consisted of getting pieces around running back Christian McCaffrey, whom the Panthers just gave a four-year, $64 million dollar contract. They started by giving quarterback Teddy Bridgewater a three-year, $63 million contract and also brought in former XFL star quarterback P.J. Walker. The Panthers also added receivers Robby Anderson and Seth Roberts.
The Seahawks had some holes to fill this offseason. They didn’t make any splashy moves but were able to get some quality players. They lost offensive tackles George Fant and Germain Ifedi. To fill those holes the signed Cedric Ogbuehi and Brandon Shell. They also signed offensive lineman Chance Warmack and B.J. Finney. They will still need some more offensive lineman and I’ll address that in this mock draft.
A less than ideal season starting with the drama with Antonio Brown to finishing without Ben Roethlisberger and out of the playoffs makes this offseason and draft particularly important. Even though they’ve been cap-strapped, signings like Stefen Wisniewski and Eric Ebron have helped address needs with veteran players. They only have six picks in this draft, which means they have to make every one count if they want to retool in hopes of keeping up with the Baltimore Ravens next year.
The Miami Dolphins finished the season off strong, which was a result of the team’s head coach Brian Flores. Going forward, this team made significant signings to speed up the rebuilding window. Notably, the team made considerable signings with Ereck Flowers, Shaq Lawson, Emmanuel Ogbah, Jordan Howard, Kyle Van Noy, and Byron Jones. This team has completely shifted its defense, by adding short term players to high impact positions such as edge, corner, and linebacker.
Colts general manager Chris Ballard has made a series of moves and signing he normally doesn’t make this offseason. He addressed one of the biggest needs on the roster after trading their first-round pick for Pro Bowl defensive lineman DeForest Buckner. He also decided it was time to take the keys of the offense away from Jacoby Brissett and give them to Philip Rivers after they signed the veteran quarterback to a one-year deal. The team also decided to release Pierre Desir and replace him with long time Vikings’ cornerback Xavier Rhodes. All in all, the Colts have addressed a lot of their needs during the free agency period. Now, they shift their focus to the NFL Draft where they have seven total picks, after trading their first-round selection.
The Buffalo Bills made a wise decision, giving up their first-round pick to bring in Stefon Diggs from the Minnesota Vikings. Diggs is better than any receiver that the Bills could have selected with the 22nd pick. Even though they don’t have a first-round pick, they can still add players that will make an impact right away. This draft is loaded with talent, and Bill fans know Brandon Beane will come through. Even with trading three picks to the Vikings for Diggs, the Bills still have seven picks this year.
The Tennessee Titans were very active in free agency this offseason. They first came to a long term deal with Ryan Tannehill which allowed them to place the franchise tag on Derrick Henry. Jack Conklin signed with the Cleveland Browns but the Titans quickly re-signed top back up offensive tackle Dennis Kelly, who will take over as the starting right tackle, replacing Conklin.
The Philadelphia Eagles focused on improving their defense, especially their secondary, in free agency. The Eagles did just that and had one of the most productive free agency periods in the league. They brought in defensive backs Nickell Robey-Coleman ($1.35 million) and Will Parks ($1.5 million) on one-year deals and traded for Darius Slay with third and fifth-round picks. With just one year left on Slay’s contract, they gave him a three-year extension worth $50 million. They also brought back Rodney McLeod on a two-year deal and Jalen Mills for one more year. With the Eagles letting starting safety Malcolm Jenkins walk, the re-signing of McLeod and Mills was very important. They have eight picks which they will use to fill various needs they still have on both sides of the ball.
The New York Jets made substantial additionals in free agency. They have completely redesigned their offensive line, adding the four new starters in Alex Lewis, Greg Van Roten, Connor McGovern, and George Fant while adding depth with interior offensive lineman Josh Andrews. Other notable additions include Breshad Perriman, Patrick Onwuasor, Brian Poole, and Pierre Desir. The free agency period has primarily filled the outstanding needs the team had, mostly being the offensive line. With the departure of Robby Anderson, signing Perriman fills the deep threat role. However, there is still a need for a reliable and dangerous wide receiver. As well, there has been a perennial need at the edge position, but there isn’t the depth in the edge class to fill the need.
The New York Giants are in a sort of a transition period with their roster. Still in a building phase, but they’re trying to get younger and better. They finally moved on from Eli Manning and are giving the reins to second-year quarterback Daniel Jones. Jones showed signs that he could be the answer at quarterback. They’ve got Saquon Barkley in the backfield. They’ve got some really good pieces, but are lacking in talent at all positions. With 11 picks, this is a crucial draft where they have to hit on their picks if they want to take a step forward this year.
The Kansas City Chiefs are Super Bowl champions. While most NFL teams have run rampant this offseason, the Chiefs have decided to “run it back.” They franchise tagged star defensive tackle Chris Jones, and re-signed receiver Demarcus Robinson, defensive tackle Mike Pennel, and fullback Anthony Sherman. The team also was able to restructure Sammy Watkins’ contract to free up another $5 million dollars in cap space.
The 2019 season ended in disappointment for the San Francisco 49ers, losing in the Super Bowl to the Kansas City Chiefs. In the lead up to free agency, many wondered if the 49ers would stick with Jimmy Garoppolo or try to make a move for Tom Brady. In the end, the 49ers decided to back Garoppolo for at least one more season and believe they have the pieces in place to make another Super Bowl run.
The NFL draft is right around the corner and for many, the NFL player movement and transactions, has been the only thing in the sports world to get excited about and keep us sane during this tough time. Now that most of the free agency market has been siphoned through, teams will look to the draft to fill the rest of their positional needs. The Chicago Bears made some unexpected moves – one being cutting ties with Leonard Floyd to sign Robert Quinn. Another was, giving tight end Jimmy Graham a sizable contract, while also trading a compensatory fourth-round pick to the Jacksonville Jaguars for quarterback Nick Foles, among other moves.
After suffering such a rise and fall last season, how will Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens respond? With Ben Roethlisberger now back from last seasons injury, and Baker Mayfield looking to rebound with his Cleveland Browns, It’s certainly going to be interesting to see where this AFC North division takes us.
The offseason for the Raiders was very different from every other franchise, thanks to the move from Oakland to Las Vegas. The 2020 NFL draft was supposed to be held in Las Vegas but COVID-19 had other plans. Thankfully, the draft will still happen on time and the Raiders still have seven picks, including two in the first round and five within the first 100 selections.
The Cincinnati Bengals caught some people sleeping in the 2020 offseason, bucking the no-spend narrative that has permeated the national media when owner Mike Brown opened the coffers for Zac Taylor, Katie Blackburn, and Duke Tobin to go after big free-agents which you can read about here. That spending has filled many gaps in a defense that was tossed around like a rag doll last season and enables the Bengals to draft for the best player available scenario in the upcoming draft.
The Detroit Lions finished in last place in the NFC North Division, but that doesn’t reflect the reality of their situation. The team was competitive for the first six games going 2-3-1, and during this stretch, all of their losses were by four points or less. The Lions were not as bad as their record shows. However going forward, this is a significant offseason for head coach Matt Patricia and general manager Bob Quinn, as both are rumored to be on the hot seat. In short, Patricia and Quinn need to win and be in “meaningful games” during December. To play in the meaningful games in December, the Lions have hit on a few of their nine picks in the 2020 draft.
For the first time in twenty years, Tom Brady will be playing for a team other than the New England Patriots. In what was the biggest move in franchise history, if not NFL history, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have seemingly decided to go “all-in” when they signed the 42-year-old quarterback on a two-year $50 million dollar deal back in March.
Entering the offseason, the Minnesota Vikings faced several critical decisions. With basically no cap space, the Vikings had to let go of several veterans. Xavier Rhodes and Linval Joseph were released while Everson Griffen and Trae Waynes were just a few of the free agents the team couldn’t afford to re-sign. However, the Vikings were able to sign Kirk Cousins to an extension that opened up the cap space needed to put the franchise tag on Anthony Harris.
One of the most critical offseasons in recent memory is off to a promising start after an impressive and underrated opening to the free agency period. With the signings of guard/center Graham Glasgow and running back Melvin Gordon. Also acquiring defensive lineman Jurrell Casey and cornerback A.J. Bouye. While they have done an excellent job of solidifying some of the team’s key needs, there is still work to be done in creating a team that can contend for a playoff spot this year. Luckily for them, 10 picks will be a huge help in doing so, as long as they hit on their picks.
Needless to say, this is an offseason New England Patriot fans will never forget. After 20 years and six Super Bowl victories, Tom Brady signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. With Brady now in Tampa Bay, Jarrett Stidham and recently sign Brian Hoyer will reportedly battle for the starting quarterback job this summer. While Brady was the biggest loss this offseason for the Patriots, they lost several key defensive playmakers like Kyle Van Noy, Jamie Collins, and Danny Shelton.
The speculation on whether Green Bay would payout for Blake Martinez and/or Bryan Bulaga was answered, as both players would sign on with new clubs at the beginning of free agency. In order to try and best make up for those two big losses, the Packers would make some of their own additions. But after last season’s $182 million dollar spending spree, GM Brian Gutekunst was very strategic in how he used the team’s limited funds.
The Jaguars have a significant number of holes in their roster. The team has to make several decisions that include: What is the identity of the team going forward? Is the team all in on Gardner Minshew II? Does general manager, Dave Caldwell, have to turn the team around this year and get a winning record?
Entering free agency everything for the Dallas Cowboys centered around Dak Prescott. To no one’s surprised, the Cowboys placed the franchise tag on Dak as they try to work out a long term deal. However, with the new Collective Bargaining Agreement put in place, the Cowboys were no longer able to also transition tag Amari Cooper. Luckily for the Cowboys, despite a strong push from the Washington Redskins, Cooper never wanted to leave Dallas and re-signed on a five-year deal.
After years of being overly aggressive in free agency, the Washington Redskins have learned to “shop smart”. Instead of signing big name guys to awful contracts, they have learned to focus on smaller and smarter deals. They started the offseason by placing the franchise tag on star right guard Brandon Scherff. Starting left guard Ereck Flowers signed a massive deal with the Miami Dolphins. The Redskins were wise not to match and instead sign former Atlanta Falcons’ guard Wes Schweitzer to a deal for half the cost. They made a run at Amari Cooper but he ultimately decided to re-sign with the Dallas Cowboys.
Tampa Bay had a season that most probably expected. It wasn’t great, but it also didn’t send fans running back for refunds every week. They finished 7-9 on the year, mostly thanks to strong run defense and offensive weapons that made their quarterback look alright. However, offensive line play was pretty bad, and the run offense was pedestrian. The Bucs come into the draft having only seven picks this year, and these positions should be big target areas for Tampa Bay to address. Continue reading →
The Seattle Seahawks had a much better season than most expected. Russell Wilson made miracles happen behind a lackluster offensive line, Tyler Lockett, and rookie receiver D.K. Metcalf. Even as the running game lost their top two running backs in Rashaad Penny and Chris Carson by season’s end, this team still put up a fight in the playoffs getting eliminated in the divisional round against the Green Bay Packers. Seattle put up a respectable 11-5 record in a solid season. Continue reading →
Once again the Atlanta Falcons’ season was derailed by injuries and inconsistent play. The Falcons started the season 1-7, with their only win in week two against the Philadelphia Eagles. During their week nine bye, the Falcons made changes to the coaching staff, amid speculation that head coach Dan Quinn would be fired at the end of the season. However, during the second half of the season, the Falcons rallied behind Quinn and finished 6-2 over their last eight games, including impressive wins over the Saints in New Orleans and the 49ers in San Francisco. They finished the season 7-9, landing them the 16th pick in the first round.
I am a firm believer in Brian Flores and the Miami Dolphins rebuild. They have enough capital in this draft to rebuild this team (although not completely) in one offseason if they play their cards properly in free agency.
Needless to say, the highlight of the Cincinnati Bengals’ 2019 season was landing the top pick in the 2020 NFL draft. The team finished the season 2-14, with wins over the New York Jets and the Cleveland Browns. The Bengals didn’t win a game till week 13, which was the first week of December. Obviously, this isn’t how head coach Zac Taylor wanted his first season in Cincinnati to go but the team can now properly start to rebuild around their top overall pick.
The Los Angeles Chargers lost eleven games in 2019, leading them to earn the sixth overall spot in the 2020 NFL Draft. Nine of those eleven games were by one score. That one score narrative (which had unfortunately plagued Philip Rivers his whole career) came to a head last year and resulted in the franchise deciding to move on and not offer him a new deal. Disgruntled back Melvin Gordon held out for the first three weeks of the season before reporting to the team. He is also headed for a new team. The Chargers’ record was a direct result of neither one of these things. The team also lost tight end, Hunter Henry, for four weeks and the offensive line was completely decimated for much of the year.
Don’t expect the Vikings to be much of a player in free agency, as they are currently $700 thousand dollars over the cap, this according to Spotrac. With certain players they are going to want to re-sign and not a ton of cap space to spend, it’s going to take a lot of number crunching in order to get this all figured out.
The Jacksonville Jaguars have too many holes to fill in just draft but drafting the correct players could help. The Jaguars need cornerback help the most after trading away Jalen Ramsey during the season and A.J. Bouye earlier this week. After that, it’s a mirage of other needs. With so many needs, the Jaguars can attack the draft in multiple ways.
The Indianapolis Colts have been a team that has drafted great the last few years with Malik Hooker, Quenton Nelson, Darius Leonard, and Rock Ya-Sin carving out roles as starters. Chris Ballard has built this team from the bottom up and it showed before the sudden retirement of Andrew Luck before the beginning of the regular season. Jacoby Brissett had some solid moments but the team will look to add another quarterback via free agency or the draft if not both.
This offseason is one of the most critical offseasons in John Elway’s tenure as general manager. With a boatload of money to use in free agency that can grow a ton with cuts of a couple players, they’re fit to make big moves in free agency. They have to have another productive year in the draft as well. With the last two draft classes providing several starters, including Courtland Sutton (2018 draft), Dalton Risner (2019), and Drew Lock (2019), it seems Elway has turned around his draft woes and needs to show it again this year. They’ve got nine picks with the likelihood of 12 after compensatory picks.
After starting the season 2-2, Lamar Jackson would lead the Ravens on an incredible tear, winning their next 12 games. They would finish the regular season with their best record in club history, along with a first-round bye. Coming into the playoffs Baltimore was already being dubbed as a Super Bowl favorite, which is to be expected. However, they would not be prepared for the Cinderella story, that was the Tennessee Titans. Tennessee, in fact, would have a 28-6 lead after three quarters, before finally putting the Ravens away by the tune of 28-12.
Entering the 2019 season, the Dallas Cowboys had Super Bowl expectations. After starting the season 3-0, averaging 32.3 points per game, Dak Prescott was looking like the second coming of Patrick Mahomes and well deserving of being the highest-paid quarterback in the league. However, the Cowboys struggled to be consistent on both sides of the ball the rest of the season and went 5-8 over their last 13 games, finishing 8-8 on the year. Unable to clinch the NFC East title in week 16, the Cowboys ended up missing the playoffs.
Again, the New Orleans Saints‘ season ended before the Super Bowl. And for the second time in three seasons, it was at the hands of the Minnesota Vikings on the last play of the game. They finished 13-3 but missed out on a bye week due to a tough early-season loss to the Los Angeles Rams (the game Drew Brees got hurt in), a horrible loss to the division rival Atlanta Falcons in early November, and with their fate in their hands, lost a shootout to the eventual NFC Champion San Francisco 49ers.
It is the best time of the year, NFL Draft season. Where fans and analysts alike debate about what players will best improve their team in the pursuit of a championship. Some teams have more needs than others. While some are just looking to add depth wherever they can. The Los Angeles Rams are no different.
The Philadelphia Eagles had an up and down season but still wound up sneaking into the playoffs in the lowly NFC East. Or in the words of Patrick Star, NFC “Weast”. The Eagles were subject to many injuries throughout the year. In their 17-9 wild-card playoff loss to the Seattle Seahawks, they were down their starting right tackle, right guard, their entire original starting receiver core, and lost Carson Wentz in the first half. All season, their glaring weaknesses at receiver and secondary were exploited. The two together made burnt toast with butter.
The Oakland Raiders are history and now it’s time on to the new era of the Las Vegas Raiders. On Wednesday, March 18, the silver and black will officially be open for business as they take their first step towards a make or break season. When the toe meets ball in September, a lot will be expected of Jon Gruden’s latest team to work its way to the playoffs. They came closer than many predicted in 2019, so securing the proper free agents and acing the draft again can put this organization on the fast lane to Super Bowl contenders in 2020.