Here is our preview of the 2024 NFL Offseason, including information related to free agents, drafts, and predictions.
The 2024 offseason has started. With the Super Bowl behind us, all 32 franchises face a lengthy five months until training camps begin at the end of July. However, it should be an active five months as teams make adjustments to their coaching staffs, personnel, front offices, and plans. We’re here to talk down what each team should do this offseason.
Let’s dive into how each squad can improve before the 2024 season begins.
2024 NFL Offseason: Playoff Teams
Let’s start this 2024 NFL Offseason review with the teams that made it to the playoffs this season that just ended:
2024 NFL Offseason: Kansas City Chiefs
Number 1 in our 2024 NFL Offseason review are the Chiefs.
- 2023 record: 11-6
- Final FPI ranking: No. 6
- Estimated 2024 cap space: $34.8 million
- First-round draft slot: No. 32
Kansas City clearly needs to upgrade at wide receiver. The Chiefs must be better than they were in 2023, whether it means improving their receivers or completely rebuilding beyond Rashee Rice. They topped the NFL in drops with 38. Travis Kelce, the 35-year-old tight end, must make a difficult decision about whether he can still be a part of the solution. The Chiefs made mistakes in development and production with Kadarius Toney, Skyy Moore, and Marquez Valdes-Scantling, and now must decide whether any of them are worth keeping.
What will they do with cornerback L’Jarius Sneed? He has been an important part of the defense and, in many ways, is the perfect cornerback for Steve Spagnuolo’s system. To retain him, the Chiefs would have to make significant investments. After drafting five corners in the last two years, including Trent McDuffie, is such an investment worthwhile?
The Chiefs have long been interested in keeping Sneed, a favorite of Spagnuolo and a marginal top-10 corner according to league evaluators. However, he will most certainly want a high price in free agency, and the Chiefs, who have McDuffie on their roster, do not often spend heavily on defensive players. Recent top free agent corners have pushed or above $15 million per year in new contracts.
Rice has been a blessing in his rookie season, but speed is a must-have for this club to return the offense to pre-2023 heights. Xavier Worthy, a Texas speedster, would provide Kansas City with the downfield vertical threat it has lacked since Tyreek Hill left for South Beach.
The Chiefs will add an experienced possession receiver to their ailing receiving corps by signing free agency Tyler Boyd from the Cincinnati Bengals.
2024 NFL Offseason: San Francisco 49ers
Number 2 on this 2024 NFL Offseason review are the Niners.
- 2023 record: 12-5
- Final FPI ranking: No. 1
- Estimated 2024 cap space: $1.4 million
- First-round draft slot: No. 31
Re-signing wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk is critical. The 49ers turned off trade offers for Aiyuk last offseason, and he repaid them with his best season as a career, pairing with QB Brock Purdy to form one of the league’s most formidable downfield duos. Aiyuk, who had 1,342 receiving yards in 2023, is still under team control through the fifth-year option, but the Niners hope to keep him around for the long haul.
With the noteworthy exception of defensive lineman DeForest Buckner, the 49ers have a lengthy history of retaining their great players, and there are ways to structure a deal for Aiyuk so that his huge money doesn’t come in until other highly paid players go.
The Niners have achieved success despite inconsistent offensive line productivity, notably in pass protection. They need more competition and upgrades on the right side of the line, as well as to start planning for the future on the left side, where tackle Trent Williams will be 36 this offseason and guard Aaron Banks is eligible for a contract extension for the first time. This is a short- and long-term requirement in San Francisco.
They acquired Young from the Commanders at the deadline in a win-now situation, understanding he could be a short-term rental. The 49ers are close to the salary cap for next season and have some big-money extensions to contemplate for players like Aiyuk and safety Talanoa Hufanga, to name a few.
Young has been quite happy there, playing with old college teammate Nick Bosa on one of the league’s top teams. However, if he demands a deal similar to that of his former Commanders teammate Montez Sweat in Chicago, San Francisco may not have enough to retain him.
Right tackle. Colton McKivitz allowed 11 sacks this season. With a good crop of right tackles on the way in a deep class, an upgrade is required to protect Purdy. Kingsley Suamataia (BYU) and Jordan Morgan (Arizona) are two players to keep an eye on as possible initial starts.
A major prediction for the offseason: Given the problems on the offensive line and Williams’ age, the 49ers will select an offensive tackle with their first-round choice, possibly Patrick Paul of Houston. However, with Young, Randy Gregory, and Clelin Ferrell all entering free agency, the 49ers want to invest a couple of choices on developmental edge rushers.
2024 NFL Offseason: Detroit Lions
Number 3 on this 2024 NFL Offseason review, are the Lions.
- 2023 record: 12-5
- Final FPI ranking: No. 8
- Estimated 2024 cap space: $59.3 million
- First-round draft slot: No. 29
Detroit’s offense was among the best in the league, but the defense struggled from game to game in 2023, particularly in the pass rush and secondary. The team should consider adding a defensive lineman, particularly on the edge, as well as additional depth at cornerback. Aidan Hutchinson, a second-year edge rusher, struggled to translate his rush production into sacks at times this season, but he’s a rising star for the Lions, and they must continue to build around him.
The Lions received good news when offensive coordinator Ben Johnson decided to stay with the organization rather than seek head coaching options. Johnson’s playcalling has been crucial to the Lions’ success. What happens next? Taking care of “unfinished business,” as wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown stated. Detroit can retain its offensive core together, thus expectations for 2024 should be high.
Okwara, once a major free agent acquisition for Detroit, has only five sacks in the last three seasons. His contract expires following the Super Bowl, and the Lions will try to improve their pass rush this offseason after tied for 23rd in sacks (41).
Washington’s Bralen Trice is the type of relentless pass-rusher that the team may be searching for at the end of Round 1 to fix its pass rush woes.
2024 NFL Offseason: Baltimore Ravens
Number 4 on this 2024 NFL Offseason review, is Baltimore.
- 2023 record: 13-4
- Final FPI ranking: No. 2
- Estimated 2024 cap space: $17.9 million
- First-round draft slot: No. 30
Baltimore must find a way to keep defensive tackle Justin Madubuike. The 2020 third-round pick busted out in his contract year, producing a career-high 13 sacks (leading all interior linemen). Madubuike was a big contributor to Baltimore’s NFL-best pass rush (60 sacks).
The Ravens can’t let him walk in free agency because they haven’t had this kind of push up the middle since Trevor Pryce was there 17 years before. Madubuike is expected to command a salary worth $20 million every season. If the Ravens are unable to strike a long-term agreement with him by March 5, they will have to use the franchise tag to keep him in 2024 and buy additional time to sign him to a multiyear contract.
Lamar Jackson’s supporting cast requires notice. The Ravens are losing a significant portion of their offense in free agency, including their two most proven running backs (J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards), two most seasoned wide receivers (Odell Beckham Jr. and Nelson Agholor), and two starting offensive lineman.
Madubuike, the Ravens’ top free agent, will be difficult to retain as a top-tier defensive tackle. But immediately behind him is Queen, who performed admirably in a contract year that necessitated a response after Baltimore declined his five-year option. The issue is that Baltimore already possesses Roquan Smith, and it is uncommon for a team to pay two linebackers double-digit million dollars per year. Baltimore values linebackers and may be unconcerned about that precedence.
Zay Flowers, a rookie wide receiver, was fantastic in 2023, but Beckham, 31, will be eligible for free agency in March. In a wide receiver-rich draft class, this could be Jackson’s year to get another top-tier target. Flowers is a fast, undersized vertical threat. If the Ravens can land a big-bodied wideout like LSU’s Brian Thomas Jr. or Texas’ Adonai Mitchell, they must seize the opportunity.
The Ravens will release running back Justice Hill, saving $2.5 million on the cap and $500,000 in dead money. Then, with a third-round pick, they will select a young running back to lead a backfield that will also include Dobbins, who is recovering from an Achilles tear, and Keaton Mitchell, who is returning from an ACL injury.
2024 NFL Offseason: Buffalo Bills
Number 5 on this 2024 NFL Offseason review, is Buffalo.
- 2023 record: 11-6
- Final FPI ranking: No. 4
- Estimated 2024 cap space: minus-$43.1 million
- First-round draft slot: No. 28
Sign defensive linemen. The Bills have a number of defensive starters and contributors poised to enter free agency, particularly on the defensive line. Upcoming free agents include safety Micah Hyde, defensive end Leonard Floyd, defensive tackle DaQuan Jones, and defensive end AJ Epenesa, and that’s only the beginning. Ed Oliver is the sole defensive tackle under contract for next season. Re-signing guys and expanding the DL through the draft and free agency will be critical.
Select (or sign) a No. 2 wide receiver. Wide receiver Gabe Davis is an upcoming free agency, and with Stefon Diggs and Josh Allen’s spotty connection this season, the Bills must address the wide receiver area beyond Diggs in order to aid Allen. Drafting tight end Dalton Kincaid in the first round last year was a nice start, but hunting for wide receivers early could be the next step.
The Bills want to keep their homegrown talent, and this is no exception, depending on the price range. Epenesa, 25, shined out this season with 6.5 sacks, two interceptions, and eight pass deflections. Buffalo received trade offers on two young pass-rushers this summer, Epenesa and Boogie Basham, and elected to keep Epenesa while trading Basham. Epenesa delivered, and it wouldn’t surprise if the Bills discussed an extension at some time.
The Bills had the fourth-most sacks in the NFL this season (54), but Floyd, who led the team with 10.5 sacks, is a free agency, and Buffalo has been unable to locate a reliable young starter through the draft despite numerous attempts. This could be the year, with a strong edge rusher group. The Bills could attempt to recruit a Round 1 player like Bralen Trice (Washington).
The Bills want to spend their first-round pick on a wide receiver. Some potential candidates include LSU’s Brian Thomas Jr., Washington’s Ja’Lynn Polk, and South Carolina’s Xavier Legette.
2024 NFL Offseason: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Number 6 on this 2024 NFL Offseason review, is Tampa Bay.
- 2023 record: 9-8
- Final FPI ranking: No. 17
- Estimated 2024 cap space: $47.0 million
- First-round draft slot: No. 26
Tampa Bay will aim to re-sign wide receiver Mike Evans. Obviously, the Bucs must resolve the quarterback position, but they could re-sign Baker Mayfield and pick a QB. Evans equaled Tyreek Hill for the most touchdown receptions in the NFL this season (14). He remains the Bucs’ top target and has shown no signs of slowing down at age 30.
What will the Bucs do with linebackers? Lavonte David, the current roster’s longest-tenured player with 12 seasons, is a free agent, as is Devin White, who asked for a trade last summer but instead played under his fifth-year option. Will Tampa Bay decide to maintain both, neither, or just one?
Mayfield’s contract expires if he remains on the roster 23 days before the start of the league year, giving the Buccaneers the option to franchise him if they so desire. He has performed admirably for them and, if he enters the market, may expect to receive a contract similar to Daniel Jones’ ($40 million per year). However, the Buccaneers may opt to keep him around.
Vita Vea and rookie Calijah Kancey will form the Buccaneers’ inside defensive line. YaYa Diaby has contributed significantly to the team’s success, but the absence of another edge rusher is noticeable. Tampa Bay is in position to sign one of the top pass rushers in this year’s class, which includes Jared Verse (Florida State), Chop Robinson (Penn State), and Bralen Trice (Washington).
The Buccaneers will sign left tackle Tristan Wirfs to a contract extension, keeping him with the team through his peak years while cutting his budget hit in 2024 to $18.6 million. Wirfs was 23rd among tackles in pass block win rate (89.5%) in his first season after transitioning from right to left.
2024 NFL Offseason: Green Bay Packers
Number 7 on this 2024 NFL Offseason review, is Green Bay.
- 2023 record: 9-8
- Final FPI ranking: No. 12
- Estimated 2024 cap space: $5.9 million
- First-round draft slot: No. 25
Fix the kicking issue. Whether it’s continuing with Anders Carlson, who had a tough first year, bringing in some competition, or acquiring a proven veteran, they can’t afford to repeat what happened this season. Carlson’s 41-yard field goal miss in the fourth quarter of the playoff defeat to the 49ers wasn’t the only one. It was an ongoing problem.
This season, he missed 13 kicks (field goals and extra points, including playoffs), the most in the NFL and three more than any other kicker. Perhaps this is why some teams, such as the Packers, hesitate to draft kickers, as they did with Carlson in the sixth round. If they hadn’t invested a draft in Carlson, they might have brought in another kicker while allowing Carlson to work out his issues.
Determine what to do with aging high-priced veterans like as offensive tackle David Bakhtiari, running back Aaron Jones, and linebackers De’Vondre Campbell and Preston Smith. They’re all under contract for the upcoming season, but it’s difficult to imagine any of them returning at their current salary.
The Packers added vacant years to Savage’s contract to help them with this year’s limit, meaning he already has approximately $5.5 million in dead money on the books in 2024. They may decide to move on unless he wants to re-sign on the cheap as a depth man in the secondary.
The rise of quarterback Jordan Love and the Packers’ young receivers has made their next selection strategy more flexible. However, after moving Rasul Douglas and with questions about Jaire Alexander’s status for next season, Green Bay’s cornerback space is extremely thin. Alabama cornerbacks Kool-Aid McKinstry and Terrion Arnold would both make sense.
The Packers will let Savage walk in free agency and replace him with an experienced free agent safety like Jordan Whitehead or C.J. Gardner-Johnson.
2024 NFL Offseason: Houston Texans
Number 8 on this 2024 NFL Offseason review, are the Texans.
- 2023 record: 10-7
- Final FPI ranking: No. 18
- Estimated 2024 cap space: $71.4 million
- First-round draft slot: No. 23
Re-signing defensive end Jonathan Greenard will be critical. The Texans cannot let a top pass rusher depart. He is a major reason why their defense had 46 sacks (he had 12.5) and why the run defense improved from sixth worst all-time (allowing 2,894 total rushing yards) to sixth-fewest yards allowed per game (96.6) this season.
Houston needs one more playmaker for quarterback C.J. Stroud. He already has receivers Nico Collins (who led the team with 1,297 receiving yards) and Tank Dell, but adding to that group might help the offense grow. It may mean the difference between Stroud playing at the Pro Bowl level and MVP caliber.
Yes, the Texans might pursue Greenard as a long-term complement to Will Anderson Jr. Derek Barnett and Jerry Hughes, the reserve pass rushers, are also free agents.
After trading up to No. 3 overall last year, the Texans no longer have their initial first-round pick. However, they do hold Cleveland’s choice, and Houston should focus on acquiring defensive depth. A starting cornerback opposite Derek Stingley Jr. is a top priority. Missouri’s Ennis Rakestraw Jr. is a big, aggressive cover player with a late-round 1 ranking.
The Texans will be a favorite free agent destination, as players desire to play for DeMeco Ryans and benefit from a contract that does not include state income taxes. Expect the Texans to replace Hughes with an experienced depth edge rusher like Randy Gregory or Clelin Ferrell, who will play behind Anderson and Greenard.
2024 NFL Offseason: Philadelphia Eagles
Number 9 on this 2024 NFL Offseason review, is Philly.
- 2023 record: 11-6
- Final FPI ranking: No. 9
- Estimated 2024 cap space: $29.1 million
- First-round draft slot: No. 22
The Eagles need to strengthen their defense. The change from Sean Desai to Matt Patricia as defensive coordinator has not solved all of the problems with this unit, which has consistently ranked in the bottom in crucial areas such as third down, red zone, and passing touchdowns allowed this season. Now that Vic Fangio has taken over as coordinator, the Eagles need help at linebacker, particularly in the secondary, to return the defense to championship-caliber form.
The Eagles require an eventual successor to right tackle Lane Johnson who can provide depth in the meanwhile. An edge rusher should also be a target to help boost a pass rush that has slowed in 2023. Philadelphia dropped from 70 sacks in 2022 to 43 this season.
The latest on whether they’ll re-sign running back D’Andre Swift: The Eagles, like most clubs, appear to like bargain hunting at the running back position. They got Swift cheap and employed him to great effect. However, if he is to capitalize on his outstanding season (1,049 rushing yards), he may need to look elsewhere.
The Eagles’ strategy of investing in the trenches has been consistent. Adding additional talent to the offensive or defensive lines has proven to be a successful strategy for them. Johnson will reach 34 before the 2024 season at right tackle, thus Jordan Morgan (Arizona) and Tyler Guyton (Oklahoma) could be first-round picks. Both have experience as guards and tackles.
The Eagles will finally spend money at linebacker by providing a large contract to Panthers free agent Frankie Luvu. He can play both off the ball and off the edge, providing Philadelphia’s defensive coordinators more options next season.
2024 NFL Offseason: Pittsburgh Steelers
Number 10 on this 2024 NFL Offseason review, is Pittsburgh.
- 2023 record: 10-7
- Final FPI ranking: No. 19
- Estimated 2024 cap space: minus-$7.4 million
- First-round draft slot: No. 20
When the Steelers selected Kenny Pickett with the 20th overall choice in 2022, they believed they had found their next franchise quarterback. However, Pickett has failed to live up to his first-round status in 24 games as the Steelers’ starter, throwing 13 touchdown passes and 13 interceptions.
With Pickett effectively benched for longstanding backup Mason Rudolph, it’s reasonable to speculate about Pickett’s future, even if coach Mike Tomlin and Pickett haven’t done so yet. The Steelers have a history of patience, and the addition of a new offensive coordinator, Arthur Smith, may provide enough latitude to maintain Pickett as the starter for another season.
The Steelers have an All-Pro safety in Minkah Fitzpatrick and a developing talent in cornerback Joey Porter Jr., but the team must build around them in the secondary. Veteran Patrick Peterson has been solid in his transition to a dual-threat defensive back, but he is nearing the end of his career, and the Steelers need at least one or two more starter-caliber cornerbacks and safety depth.
The latest on whether they’ll re-sign CB Levi Wallace: The Steelers’ free agent class is not star-studded, but Wallace has been a strong starter in Pittsburgh for two years, with six interceptions and 12 pass breakups since 2022. I could see him staying there for another two years closer to free agency.
The Steelers tied for 11th in interceptions with 16, but the cornerback position requires additional skill, especially after picking Porter in Round 2 last year. Terrion Arnold and Kool-Aid McKinstry, both from Alabama, could be interesting. However, the front staff could surprise us by looking at quarterbacks, despite the fact that none of the Round 1 passers are projected to be available where Pittsburgh picks.
They’ll cut veteran wide receiver Allen Robinson II, who struggled in 2023 (34 catches for 280 yards). This move may save the Steelers $10 million on the cap in 2024, with only $1.9 million in dead money.
2024 NFL Offseason: Los Angeles Rams
Number 11 on this 2024 NFL Offseason review, are the Rams.
- 2023 record: 10-7
- Final FPI ranking: No. 7
- Estimated 2024 cap space: $44.0 million
- First-round draft slot: No. 19
The Rams need to add top defensive talent. For the first time since 2016, they have a first-round pick, which they might use to select the best defensive player available when the clock runs out. This season, the Rams’ defense performed at a high level, surpassing expectations from outside the building, and adding elite defensive talent makes sense to maintain that growth.
Choosing a reliable option at kicker will also be important. They signed Lucas Havrisik in midseason but then released him to bring back Brett Maher late in the season. Los Angeles missed an NFL-high 11 field goals this season, the most by any club since the Buccaneers in 2015. It’s an area where the Rams need to strengthen this offseason.
Robinson caught four touchdowns in December as the Rams advanced to the playoffs. Puka Nacua is a rookie sensation at wide receiver, and Cooper Kupp is guaranteed $20 million next year, so he’s unlikely to leave anytime soon. However, Kupp is 30 years old and has suffered injuries in recent years. Has Robinson earned a future role in this offense? Would the Rams pay to keep him if other clubs offered more?
The Rams still need offensive line help and might benefit from a good class of offensive tackles. Alaric Jackson is a restricted free agent, and Rob Havenstein will be 32 years old before next season. Tyler Guyton (Oklahoma) and Troy Fautanu (Washington) are two top talents to keep an eye on in Round 1.
The Rams will re-sign free agent safety Jordan Fuller but not the older John Johnson III, leaving the second starting safety position to either Russ Yeast or a 2024 rookie draft pick.
2024 NFL Offseason: Dallas Cowboys
Number 12 on this 2024 NFL Offseason review, we have the Cowboys.
- 2023 record: 12-5
- Final FPI ranking: No. 3
- Estimated 2024 cap space: minus-$16.1 million
- First-round draft slot: No. 24
Quarterback Dak Prescott is up for a contract extension. It will be pricey as Prescott enters the final year of his contract, and the Cowboys will be unable to put the franchise tag on him in 2025. With a $59.4 million cap number, an extension would considerably benefit the Cowboys’ ability to re-sign other players (CeeDee Lamb, Micah Parsons) or add free agents. If they can sign Prescott, the Cowboys will have several options.
Under-the-radar offseason priority: determining what to do with Tyron Smith, whose contract expires. The left tackle has missed time this season, and the Cowboys do not have a replacement available. Keeping Smith under a cost-effective contract and choosing another tackle early may be the best choice.
Tyron Smith’s contract expires at the end of this season. He’s 33 years old and has been dealing with ailments for some years, and the Cowboys drafted Tyler Smith in the first round in 2022 with the intention of eventually replacing him. It’s certainly likely that we’ve just witnessed the concluding weeks of a stellar 13-year Cowboys career.
There aren’t many gaps, but, as previously stated, the offensive line is a major problem. The team may be looking for a successor to its long-time left tackle, and Arizona’s Jordan Morgan or BYU’s Kingsley Suamataia are both viable candidates.
The Cowboys will let running back Tony Pollard go in free agency and then trade up to the top of the third round to get a new starter running back, either TreVeyon Henderson (Ohio State) or Blake Corum (Michigan). There aren’t many running backs anticipated to go in this year’s first two rounds, but the Cowboys will want to move up to ensure they get the player they like.
Number 13 on this 2024 NFL Offseason review are the Fins.
- 2023 record: 11-6
- Final FPI ranking: No. 5
- Estimated 2024 cap space: minus-$40.8 million
- First-round draft slot: No. 21
Sign their stars. This is especially true for defensive end Christian Wilkins and quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, both of whom excelled during their “prove it” seasons. Wilkins recorded a career best of 9 sacks this season and will be an unrestricted free agent this offseason.
Retaining him in 2024 is critical for both output and leadership. Tagovailoa, on the other side, built on his 2022 success and stayed healthy after prioritizing durability last winter. After watching a less-productive Daniel Jones earn $40 million in AAV from the Giants last summer, Tagovailoa should be able to easily clear that threshold on a contract.
Expand the receiver room. Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle are exceptional receivers who command the majority of Tagovailoa’s targets. However, when Miami is forced to play without one of them, there is no reliable receiving option. This is not a position that requires a high draft pick to fill, but rather one that the Dolphins can replace through free agency or on Day 2 of the draft.
The fourth-year guard has shown to be one of the best free agents available. The Dolphins will want to re-sign him, but he will command a high salary, which may prohibit him from signing with the team that selected him. The Dolphins paid tackle Austin Jackson $36 million over three years to retain one of their top two free agent linemen.
With Wilkins ready to become a free agency and money tight across the defense, Miami may be unable to keep him. A draft class that lacks top-tier defensive tackle talent may factor into GM Chris Grier’s decision on Wilkins’ future. Jer’Zhan Newton of Illinois is my #1 defensive tackle.
The Dolphins will release edge rusher Emmanuel Ogbah, who has played a limited role this season. He did not play more than 40% of defensive snaps in any game. Cutting Ogbah will save Miami $13.8 million on next year’s cap, leaving only $4 million in dead money.
Number 14 on this 2024 NFL Offseason review are the Browns.
- 2023 record: 11-6
- Final FPI ranking: No. 15
- Estimated 2024 cap space: minus-$12.7 million
- First-round draft slot: None
Cleveland should prioritize extending coach Kevin Stefanski and general manager Andrew Berry. Since their return to the league in 1999, the Browns have gone through a rapid succession of coaches and general managers. The franchise has finally discovered a successful combination. It has to secure this coaching staff and front office for the foreseeable future. Stefanski has gone 37-30 since taking over as coach in 2020.
A little-known offseason priority: Amari Cooper continues to catch everything, tight end David Njoku is a rising star, and running back Nick Chubb will return from a knee ailment. However, the Browns could attempt to add another big-time talent or two, particularly at receiver.
On paper, he’s hardly a high-profile free agent — a practice squad guy pressed into action late in the season. But he got the Browns to this point. Does Cleveland consider bringing him back, even with Deshaun Watson on the roster? It appears improbable given the commitment to Watson, but the questions are worth considering. Flacco has built a market for himself.
With no first-round picks following the Watson deal, the Browns will look to Round 2 to add playmakers at wide receiver and/or linebacker. They will draft in the late third round, but they may be able to locate a player like Washington’s Ja’Lynn Polk as a wide receiver.
Despite concerns about his return from a knee injury, the Browns will sign Chubb to a deal that will keep him through the 2024 season while also lowering his cap charge to help the Browns stay under the number.
A large running back contract from the analytically minded Browns may surprise some, but advanced analytics consistently show Chubb as one of the few running backs who genuinely makes an impact. (For example, he has consistently excelled in rushing yards above expectation measure, leading the league with 597 since 2021).
2024 NFL Offseason: Teams That Didn’t Make the Playoffs
Now in our 2024 NFL Offseason review, we have the teams that weren’t able to make it to the playoffs:
- 2023 record: 4-13
- Final FPI ranking: No. 26
- Estimated 2024 cap space: $52.3 million
- First-round draft slots: Nos. 4, 27
Arizona needs to find a playmaking No. 1 receiver. The Cardinals have numerous offseason priorities this year, including acquiring a No. 1 cornerback and a top-tier defensive tackle, but they need a truly top pass-catcher above all else. Kyler Murray appears to be their quarterback of choice for next season, but he’ll need support.
Only the Falcons and Jets have less receiving yards from their wideouts than the Cardinals (1,790), and Marquise Brown’s contract is expired. They may discover Murray’s replacement receiver in the draft or free agency, pursuing a young prolific pass-catcher and paying him what he’s worth.
The Cardinals aren’t in desperate need of a top-tier cornerback, but they’re as near as any team can go. It will be a focus this offseason, and acquiring a veteran in free agency is certainly the smartest choice, especially with such a young roster. Arizona’s opponents had a completion rate of 68.6%, which was second worst in the NFL.
He’s close to Murray, and if the Cardinals continue with their present quarterback situation next season — as it appears they will — Brown’s case for a return could improve. However, Brown has not generated high-end output in his two years in Arizona (574 yards this season), so he is unlikely to play in the same free agent sandbox as Tee Higgins and Michael Pittman Jr. Will he want to stay, and will the Cardinals want to keep him badly enough to reach an agreement? It’s possible, and it’s worth noting that Brown won’t turn 27 until June.
The Cardinals have several alternatives, but as Josh stated, adding additional pass catchers on the outside will be crucial. In a deep receiving class, Ohio State’s Marvin Harrison Jr. is within reach. He has exceptional body control and great hands, and I rank him as my top overall potential.
However, similar to last year, GM Monti Ossenfort could attempt to trade back, acquire additional selections for a squad that is sorely lacking quality, and then add a pass-catcher later in Round 1. Again, this is a substantial receiver class.
By picking Harrison, the Cardinals will maintain Murray as their starter quarterback while providing him with the greatest new receiver available. This season at Ohio State, the excellent receiving prospect caught 67 passes for 1,211 yards and 14 touchdowns.
- 2023 record: 7-10
- Final FPI ranking: No. 24
- Estimated 2024 cap space: $34.1 million
- First-round draft slot: No. 8
Atlanta needs to determine its starting quarterback situation. The Falcons have Taylor Heinicke and Desmond Ridder on their roster in 2024, but they will need to find at least one starter quarterback through the draft or free agency.
It is also feasible to completely renovate the quarterback room. Atlanta’s roster is young and talented, but 2023 demonstrated what happens without at least average quarterback play. The lack of a solution here would sink incoming coach Raheem Morris in his first year.
The Falcons must decide whether to pick up tight end Kyle Pitts’ fifth-year option. The conversation is nuanced. Is Pitts classified as a receiver or a tight end, with a nearly $9 million salary difference? And do the Falcons believe in his long-term potential based on his performance on the field?
The Falcons traded a fifth-round pick to Detroit for the 2020 No. 3 pick, and while he has performed admirably at times, he has been inconsistent (four pass breakups, no interceptions). The Falcons have the ability to bring him back if they want to, but I doubt they’ll engage in an open market bidding war rather than pursue other possibilities.
The Falcons’ primary need is at quarterback, and they have the offensive personnel in place for a young passer to step in and succeed quickly. They might be a team that aggressively trades up to draft a signal-caller, and LSU’s Jayden Daniels fits the present offense.
Big offseason prediction: The Falcons will utilize Pitts as part of a package to steal quarterback Justin Fields away from the Bears before Chicago spends the first overall pick on a new starting quarterback.
- 2023 record: 2-15
- Final FPI ranking: No. 32
- Estimated 2024 cap space: $37.3 million
- First-round draft slot: None
The Panthers must reconstruct their offensive line to allow quarterback Bryce Young time to play up to his status as the top choice in the 2023 draft. Young was sacked 62 times, ranking second in the NFL behind Washington’s Sam Howell.
He frequently ran for his life before receivers finished their routes. New head coach Dave Canales and his staff will have to figure out how to improve this line, which ranked 23rd in pass block win rate (54.5%). Ikem Ekwonu, the sixth overall choice in the 2022 draft, ranked 63rd in pass black win rate among NFL tackles (82.2%).
It’s difficult to call this “under the radar,” but Carolina needs to resign edge rusher Brian Burns and defensive tackle Derrick Brown to long-term contracts. They provide the core of the defense and can help the Panthers win games. Burns got eight sacks in 2023, while Brown recorded 103 tackles.
Burns did not extend his fifth-year option season, and he will almost certainly attempt to cash in on the open market. The Rashan Gary and Montez Sweat contracts are anticipated to set a floor (about $24 million per year) for Burns’ next contract. So far, the Panthers have been unable to match his expectations.
The Panthers do not have a first-round pick since they traded it to the Bears for the No. 1 overall pick last March. Outside of Adam Thielen, their receiving corps struggles to create separation, and the team ranks lowest in the league in yards after the catch (4.1 per grab).
So, in the draft, Carolina must focus on identifying a receiver who can not only get open but also accumulate yards. At the top of the second round, Xavier Worthy (Texas) and Xavier Legette (South Carolina) are two prospects who might immediately improve the perimeter talent.
The Panthers will be unable to strike a new contract agreement with Burns, requiring them to use the franchise tag to keep him through 2024. They will also decline cornerback Jaycee Horn’s 2025 fifth-year option due to his failure to remain healthy.
- 2023 record: 7-10
- Final FPI ranking: No. 20
- Estimated 2024 cap space: $61.5 million
- First-round draft slot: Nos. 1, 9
The Bears have 38 career starts from Justin Fields to determine whether he is the quarterback they will use in 2024. If not, they can utilize the first overall draft pick on a rookie quarterback. It’s the most divisive issue in Chicago sports, and the decision will alter the franchise’s destiny for the next decade while also influencing other decisions that must be made in the coming weeks. The Bears’ decision on Fields, who finished the season 22nd in QBR (46.3), will have an impact on coach Matt Eberflus’ future.
A disruptive three-technique defensive lineman is the missing element that will elevate the Bears’ defense from decent to outstanding. Chicago is pleased with Gervon Dexter’s improvement as a rookie, and while that may be a role he eventually earns more time in, the Bears’ free agency to-do list should include looking into Kansas City’s Chris Jones, Miami’s Christian Wilkins, and Baltimore’s Justin Madubuike.
The Bears cemented their edge rusher position with Montez Sweat this season, and they now need to find a disruptive inside pass-rusher to round out the defense.
Johnson has made it plain that he wants a long-term contract. He, too, deserves one because he has performed like a top cornerback. The Bears have some young corners coming up behind him, but he has performed well enough that they should strive to retain him. Using the franchise tag on Johnson is unlikely to make him pleased, but the two parties have yet to reach an agreement on figures.
The Bears have the No. 1 pick for the second consecutive year, putting them in charge of the draft. GM Ryan Poles faces a significant decision with Fields. If Chicago decides to keep Fields, it may seek a similar deal from the Panthers as it did a year ago, continuing to bolster this roster with additional picks. If the Bears opt to trade him, they might then consider USC’s Caleb Williams or North Carolina’s Drake Maye.
The Bears will use the first overall choice to draft a new quarterback and then invest in that quarterback by signing Mike Evans, one of the top free agent wide outs. Evans has 10 consecutive 1,000-yard seasons and would work well with DJ Moore in this offense.
- 2023 record: 9-8
- Final FPI ranking: No. 14
- Estimated 2024 cap space: $68.5 million
- First-round draft slot: No. 18
The Bengals should focus on improving their wide receiver situation. They must make contract decisions for two crucial players: Ja’Marr Chase is eligible for an extension, while Tee Higgins is nearing the end of his rookie deal.
Chase, who is one of the top receivers in the game and has at least 1,000 yards in each of his three seasons, could end up resetting the market depending on what happens to Minnesota’s Justin Jefferson. And Cincinnati might choose to give Higgins the franchise tag, while the Bengals can reinforce their trenches.
Jonah Williams, a right tackle, is nearing the conclusion of his rookie contract, while DJ Reader, a defensive tackle, is entering free agency after suffering a season-ending quadriceps injury. These are two crucial roles for Cincinnati’s future, and it needs to strengthen them.
The assumption throughout the league is that the Bengals have prioritized Joe Burrow (who has already been extended) and Chase (who will be extended in the future), leaving Higgins as the odd man out due to financial restrictions. However, the explosive receiver will be extremely tempting to keep, so I am not ruling out a franchise tag. Multiple organizations would be prepared to pay him a salary comparable to that of a top receiver.
The Bengals’ restructured offensive line has been problematic, and Williams will hit free agency with the opportunity to go on and return to his original position as left tackle. The Bengals might be in position to grab JC Latham (Alabama), Amarius Mims (Georgia), or possibly Tyler Guyton (Oklahoma), my top-ranked right tackle, in the 24th round
Instead of dealing Higgins to another team, the Bengals will place the franchise tag on him. They are now sixth in expected cap space for 2024, so they can easily fit the franchise tag into their budget while keeping their high-end offensive running. Exploring prospective trading options.
- 2023 record: 8-9
- Final FPI ranking: No. 27
- Estimated 2024 cap space: minus-$18.0 million
- First-round draft slot: No. 12
Get a response at quarterback. Stop us if you’ve heard this before, but when coach Sean Payton benched Russell Wilson in Week 17, the Broncos almost surely returned to the search for a quarterback.
If the Broncos release Wilson — as most expect, despite Payton’s claim that no decision has been made — they will face $85 million in dead money against their salary ceiling and uncertainty regarding a replacement. They have just six picks in the April draft, with only two coming in the first two days.
Denver’s under-the-radar offseason aim is to improve clock management. This season, the Broncos used timeouts at unexpected times, including dead ball scenarios. In the Week 16 loss to the Patriots, Payton called two timeouts during the Patriots’ winning drive when New England appeared to be fighting for a tie in regulation. It could be replacements, communication, or confusion at the line of scrimmage.
The latest on whether they’ll re-sign center Lloyd Cushenberry: Good centers are rare to come by, and the arrival of Cushenberry, 26, may have an impact on Denver’s long-term plans. The interior offensive line is critical to a Payton attack, thus Denver must decide whether to pay Cushenberry, guard Quinn Meinerz (a 2025 free agency), or both. The center market has not been very expensive in recent years, so Denver may be able to afford him.
Draft outlook: The Broncos have most certainly played themselves out of the Round 1 quarterback debate, at least among the elite passers. However, they might and should be interested in the best defensive prospects available. The Broncos are 27th in the league in terms of points allowed per game (24.3), so employing a “best player available” defensive strategy is effective.
We also have to mention that wide receiver Courtland Sutton’s contract has a potential expiration date, and Jerry Jeudy hasn’t developed into a consistent threat, so in a historically deep receiver class, the Broncos could look for pass-catchers in Round 1 or Round 3.
The Broncos, trapped with a mid-Round 1 pick that doesn’t offer them easy access to one of the best young quarterbacks, will sign Ryan Tannehill as their veteran caretaker quarterback for the next year or so.
- 2023 record: 9-8
- Final FPI ranking: No. 21
- Estimated 2024 cap space: $71.2 million
- First-round draft slot: No. 15
The Colts need to re-sign receiver Michael Pittman Jr. Locking up Pittman is key, given how important he has become to their offensive prowess. He is Indianapolis’ single most important offensive focal point, having been targeted on 28.2% of pass attempts this season (the 11th highest in the NFL), and catching 109 catches for 1,152 yards.
The absence of regular threats behind Pittman makes retaining him critical, but it will not be cheap. Expect him to sign the largest wide receiver contract in franchise history.
Improve the secondary. The Colts have been dealing with a lack of quality depth at defensive back, and the problems on the back end of the defense have been costly. At times, the secondary consisted of only two rookies and two second-year players. While Indianapolis intercepted 15 passes, it also allowed 7.3 yards per attempt, ranking 23rd in the league.
Pittman recently posted his first 100-catch season and has sparked Indianapolis’ offense in Shane Steichen’s first year as coach. The Colts have a history of compensating their own players, but it may be too late for Pittman, who is confident in his ability to succeed in free agency. The franchise tag is one possibility that Indianapolis could pursue.
If the Colts lose Pittman, wide receiver is the first priority on the team’s list of needs. The best-case scenario in a deep wide receiver draft is to pair a big-bodied pass-catcher, such as Texas’ Adonai Mitchell or LSU’s Brian Thomas Jr., with freshman Josh Downs. A lot of wideouts might go in Round 1, so the Colts would need to snag one early before other teams take advantage of the talent.
The Colts will have enough money to bring back veteran defensive tackle Grover Stewart and slot cornerback Kenny Moore II, but not Pittman.
- 2023 record: 9-8
- Final FPI ranking: No. 11
- Estimated 2024 cap space: $24.4 million
- First-round draft slot: No. 17
The Jaguars should prioritize signing edge rusher Josh Allen to a long-term agreement. The organization did not offer him an extension last winter, so he is playing this season on his fifth-year option.
That will be costly because Allen had a season worthy of Defensive Player of the Year consideration, with 17.5 sacks and 96 pressures. The Jaguars can utilize the franchise tag, but the organization should reward one of its rare first-round players since 2010 who has played well.
Improve the offensive line, which was one of the worst in the league (29th in pass block win rate and 27th in run block win rate), particularly on the interior. QB Trevor Lawrence was sacked 35 times (three more than in his debut season) and sustained four ailments, including a concussion. And since Week 12, the run game has averaged 79.9 yards per game, ranking 30th in the NFL. Better OL play should result in greater offensive consistency.
Many in the league feel the Jaguars will do anything they can to keep Allen, including using the franchise tag. The market for premier pass-rushers will most certainly exceed $20 million on a three- or four-year contract. Wide receiver Calvin Ridley’s re-signing will also be costly for Jacksonville.
The Jaguars’ troubles down the stretch indicate to issues on both lines, and the head office should take the “best player available” approach in Round 1 with offensive linemen and pass rushers. Patrick Paul of Houston is an athletic, easy-moving pass protector who, while still inexperienced, has the potential to be a starter left tackle. However, if Allen walks in free agency, the Jaguars may be interested in signing a highly ranked edge rusher.
The Jaguars will cut cornerback Darious Williams for a $10 million cap savings, leaving only $500,000 in dead money, despite his stellar season with 12 pass breakups and four interceptions.
- 2023 record: 8-9
- Final FPI ranking: No. 22
- Estimated 2024 cap space: $50.7 million
- First-round draft slot: No. 13
Determine who will be the full-time general manager and coach, and then decide on the new quarterback. They took the first moves in mid-January, retaining interim coach Antonio Pierce and hiring former Chargers general manager Tom Telesco for the same position in Las Vegas.
Pierce led the Raiders to a 5-4 record for the season. While they won spectacularly against the Giants, Chargers, and Chiefs, they also lost to the Vikings and Colts, which were equally heartbreaking. O’Connell has not shown to be the future quarterback, and Las Vegas did not address the issue with the signing of Jimmy Garoppolo last offseason.
Patrick Graham will remain as defensive coordinator. His defense shone after Josh McDaniels was fired, bearing the brunt of the Raiders’ sluggish offense. From Weeks 9 to 18, the defense allowed the fewest points in the league (16.0), and Graham could be considered for a promotion as a defensive coordinator elsewhere. For continuity’s sake — defensive end Maxx Crosby stated that the Raiders require “stability and consistency” — Graham’s retention is essential.
Jacobs had the lowest statistical season of his five-year career (805 yards and six rushing touchdowns), but he also missed substantial offseason and training camp work with the team due to a contract disagreement while on the franchise tag. He turns 26 in February, so he should have plenty of tread left.
One point in his favor for a possible re-signing: if Pierce gets the full-time job, he favors the running game. Jacobs’ output has improved since Pierce took over, and he still has a chance to sign a contract worth seven figures every year.
Pierce and Telesco will have a significant impact on what the Raiders do this summer, but quarterback is where the talk begins after Garoppolo failed to secure the starting job long-term. Drafting outside the top ten likely keeps Vegas out of contention for the top three quarterbacks, but Michigan’s J.J. McCarthy could be a viable choice in the middle of Round 1. He is a skilled passer with excellent movement.
The Raiders will not trade wide receiver Davante Adams to the Jets. This transfer has been rumored for months, but I believe Adams will realize he enjoys playing under Pierce. Adams exceeded 1,000 receiving yards for the fourth time in the last five seasons.
- 2023 record: 5-12
- Final FPI ranking: No. 25
- Estimated 2024 cap space: minus-$34.7 million
- First-round draft slot: No. 5
Following the departures of Brandon Staley and Tom Telesco, the Chargers must choose the appropriate coach and general manager. They found their coach in Jim Harbaugh, and Justin Herbert will now have his fourth offensive coordinator since joining the NFL.
This squad has only won five postseason games since 1995, despite having some of the league’s greatest quarterbacks. With Herbert, 25, in the prime of his career, the Chargers will be hoping Harbaugh and the new general manager can keep them on track.
Will the Chargers keep special teams coordinator Ryan Ficken? He is a highly respected coach in the Chargers’ locker room, and he has transformed their special teams unit into one of the finest in the league. However, Harbaugh may choose to fill this position with someone he knows.
Everett has averaged 54 receptions since joining the Chargers in 2022, and he finished third on the club in targets this season behind Keenan Allen and Austin Ekeler. His link to Herbert adds value, which Los Angeles must analyze.
Everett has earned roughly $6 million each year for the past three years, so perhaps Los Angeles can re-sign him at a comparable rate, with a little extra added for salary cap inflation. If Everett leaves, the Chargers still have Donald Parham Jr. under contract for one more season. He’s capable of playing a larger role.
The new regime will most likely target either the offensive line (57.4% pass block victory rate) or wide receivers (Allen and Mike Williams have had several ailments). The Chargers may sign a wide receiver like LSU’s Malik Nabers or strengthen their offensive line with Notre Dame’s Joe Alt or Penn State’s Olumuyiwa Fashanu.
The Chargers will cut Williams, who suffered an ACL injury in Week 3. Williams’ cap cost for next season is $32.5 million, and releasing him would save the Chargers $20 million.
That’s significant given that the team is now on track to exceed the cap by approximately $35 million. Allen, 31, is older than Williams, 29, and cutting him would save even more money ($23 million), but the Chargers are unlikely to let him go after 1,243 receiving yards in 13 games.
- 2023 record: 7-10
- Final FPI ranking: No. 23
- Estimated 2024 cap space: $37.3 million
- First-round draft slot: No. 11
Minnesota must assess Kirk Cousins’ future with the team. After the franchise tag deadline, his contract will expire, allowing him to enter the free agent market. Despite being 36 years old and recovering from a damaged right Achilles tendon, he could still be the greatest quarterback available.
The Vikings lack an obvious replacement on the roster, and their draft position places them on the cusp of the first quarterback tier. Cousins has stated that he wants to complete his career in Minnesota, and the Vikings are open to the idea. But would they pay him a market-rate contract at $40 million or more each year?
One offseason aim is to strengthen the 2022 draft class. The Vikings chose five defensive players in the top 165 picks, but only one, fourth-round cornerback Akyleb Evans, has played consistently. The alleged mistakes create a big personnel issue for 2024.
The latest update on Kirk Cousins’ re-signing status: The Vikings’ biggest question mark is their quarterback position. Cousins will be 36 years old when the next season begins, having recently recovered from a significant injury.
But they like him a lot, and he enjoys being there, so they’re holding $28.5 million in dead 2024 salary limit charges on him regardless. The question is, will Cousins make them a deal for the first time ever? Or will he seek to max out on the open market, as he did previously?
The Vikings may consider looking for a quarterback early in the draft, regardless of Cousins’ return status. The Vikings could consider J.J. McCarthy from Michigan, Bo Nix from Oregon, and Michael Penix Jr. from Washington in the first round.
The Vikings will let edge rusher Danielle Hunter walk in free agency, despite his career-high 16.5 sacks in 2023. Hunter’s contract will be too pricey entering his age-30 season (perhaps more than $20 million per year), and Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah will try to go younger on defense.
- 2023 record: 4-13
- Final FPI ranking: No. 29
- Estimated 2024 cap space: $72.4 million
- First-round draft slot: No. 3
The Patriots must certainly figure out what to do next with their roster under new coach Jerod Mayo. Bill Belichick’s constancy and laser-like focus have been integral to the franchise’s success over the last 24 years, serving as both head coach and principal personnel decision-maker. With its highest draft pick since picking Willie McGinest at No. 4 overall in 1994, would New England select a quarterback and rebuild under center with Mayo as coach
New England will strive to fix Matthew Judon’s contract situation. The 31-year-old edge rusher, who is coming off a season-ending torn biceps injury suffered in Week 4, is set to make $6.5 million in the last year of his modified four-year contract. That is well below market value, but he is also coming off a catastrophic injury. Judon had 15.5 sacks in 2022 and is off to a strong start this season, with four in four games.
Many teams consider Onwenu to be the best offensive lineman available in free agency due to his physicality, quickness, and ability to play guard or tackle. The Patriots are well aware that Onwenu will not return, and he will attract premium offers.
The Patriots threw 16 passing touchdowns this season, which underlines their issues. However, they will be in position to select one of the top quarterbacks in the draft class. LSU’s Jayden Daniels’ dual-threat talent could provide the spark this offense desperately needs. Daniels earned the Heisman Trophy after scoring 50 total touchdowns (40 passing and 10 rushing).
The Patriots will choose a young quarterback in the first round and pair him with a top target to help him adjust to the NFL. With plenty of cap room in 2024, the Patriots will be able to afford a large contract and bring in Michael Pittman Jr.
- 2023 record: 9-8
- Final FPI ranking: No. 10
- Estimated 2024 cap space: minus-$72.3 million
- First-round draft slot: No. 14
The Saints haven’t gotten anything out of 2022 first-round tackle Trevor Penning, right tackle Ryan Ramczyk has major knee issues, longstanding left guard Andrus Peat was forced to switch to left tackle, and James Hurst (signed as a tackle) was moved to guard.
As a result, the issue requires resolution. Peat’s contract expires in 2024, and the Saints would be responsible for $13.6 million in dead money if he does not return. This season, New Orleans ranked 28th in pass blocking win rate (51.2%).
Who is the back-up quarterback? The Saints are most likely tied into starter Derek Carr’s contract, with his base pay guaranteed in 2024, and a cap adjustment will likely required. However, their backup quarterback is in jeopardy. Jameis Winston returned at a reduced salary to back up Carr, but his deal expires in 2024.
If he does not return, the Saints will be responsible for $10 million in lost revenue. The Saints selected Jake Haener in the fourth round of the 2023 draft, but can he provide backup for Carr? If Winston does not re-sign, the team may attempt to bring in a veteran or perhaps contemplate drafting a quarterback again.
This is an unusual contract because he is theoretically under contract until 2024. However, the contract effectively treats him as a free agent. New guarantees become effective if he remains on the roster on the first day of the league year, thus the Saints will most likely designate him as a post-June 1 cut before that happens.
It’s probable they’ll bring him back; they like him, and he performed well while healthy this season (39 receptions for 448 yards). But he hasn’t been consistently healthy in a long time, and the Saints have younger wide receivers who may require more reps.
New Orleans could use long-term starters at both offensive tackle positions, and there are plenty of alternatives in this class. Amarius Mims (Georgia) and Taliese Fuaga (Oregon State) are likely Round 1 prospects, and while both have predominantly played right tackle during their careers, they can also play on the left side.
The Saints plan to reorganize their offensive line’s left side. Peat will leave in free agency, while Hurst will be released after June 1, saving $3.3 million.
- 2023 record: 6-11
- Final FPI ranking: No. 31
- Estimated 2024 cap space: $34.1 million
- First-round draft slot: No. 6
What will the Giants do with their quarterback? Yes, they are returning, after signing Daniel Jones to a four-year, $160 million contract last offseason. However, he has now suffered two neck injuries and a ruptured ACL, which will require rehabilitation until the summer.
General manager Joe Schoen has already stated that the Giants will need to add a quarterback through the draft or free agency, and they are drafting high. This could be a unique opportunity.
Include more pass-rushers. The Giants have several needs, including quarterback, No. 1 wide receiver, and offensive line. Don’t forget about the pass-rusher. Azeez Ojulari had a poor season, and there isn’t much behind Kayvon Thibodeaux. This season, the Giants finished tied for 28th with 34 sacks.
The Giants could use the franchise tag on him again, this time for $12.1 million. But he wasn’t happy about getting tagged in March, and he probably won’t be happy if it happens again. The Giants’ stance on a large, long-term contract for Barkley is unlikely to shift, but the Jonathan Taylor deal could serve as a starting point for a compromise.
The Jones extension has proven to be a catastrophe, and the organization should be in position to pick another quarterback. Jayden Daniels of LSU might be an intriguing possibility for the Giants if he remains available. If not a quarterback, the team might address the wide receiver issue, with Marvin Harrison Jr. (Ohio State), Malik Nabers (LSU), and Rome Odunze (Washington) all high on draft lists.
The Giants will make a splash with an unexpectedly large free agent contract for edge rusher Bryce Huff, who is now with the crosstown Jets. Huff has only started seven games in his career, but he is a bit of a hidden gem with a 23.5% career pass rush win percentage.
- 2023 record: 7-10
- Final FPI ranking: No. 28
- Estimated 2024 cap space: $16.0 million
- First-round draft slot: No. 10
Get help with Aaron Rodgers. The offense was a complete disaster without Rodgers and requires at least four new front-line guys. This comprises two, potentially three offensive linemen, as well as a No. 2 and No. 3 wide out to complement star quarterback Garrett Wilson.
The first issue, however, must be the line, which has worsened due to bad drafting and questionable free agent signings. With left tackle Mekhi Becton expected to leave for free agency, the only certainties are right guard Alijah Vera-Tucker and center Joe Tippmann.
Laken Tomlinson, the team’s senior guard, is on precarious ground due to a large cap charge ($18.9 million). The Jets may have to double down, selecting a tackle with their first-round pick then signing a starter in free agency. Rodgers’ health could be on the line.
Next, resupply the defensive line. Everyone thinks the Jets have an embarrassment of riches, but guess what? Five of their top ten linemen are eligible for free agency, including pass-rusher Bryce Huff. They have two good players in defensive tackle Quinnen Williams and defensive end Jermaine Johnson, but they need depth, particularly on the interior. If the line falters, the entire defense suffers.
He made money with a 10-sack season. The Jets would want to keep him, but they must evaluate several factors, including the fact that they have picked pass-rushers in back-to-back first-round picks. New York will seek to capitalize on rookie contracts. Veteran end John Franklin-Myers has a $16.4 million cap charge, so perhaps the Jets can cut it and utilize the remaining funds on Huff.
Becton has allowed 17 sacks this season, which will not work with a 40-year-old Rodgers at quarterback next season. The Jets should consider upgrading from a very strong offensive tackle class. Oklahoma right tackle Tyler Guyton, drafted in the middle of the first round, has the agility to thrive on the left side of the line.
Big offseason prediction: Rodgers gets what he wants. And he wants more playmakers. So, after Odell Beckham Jr.’s contract with the Ravens expires, the Jets will sign him as a free agent.
- 2023 record: 9-8
- Final FPI ranking: No. 13
- Estimated 2024 cap space: $1.3 million
- First-round draft slot: No. 16
Identifying and assisting quarterbacks is critical for Seahawks GM John Schneider and new head coach Mike Macdonald. The first part of this should not take long. Geno Smith’s $12.7 million basic contract for 2024 will become completely guaranteed if he stays on the roster after February 16, making it a plausible deadline to decide whether he will remain the starting quarterback.
Even if they keep Smith, they will need to re-sign Drew Lock and/or draft another backup. They’ll also have to figure out how to improve their quarterback’s third-down performance, which has plagued the Seattle offense for years.
Seattle will want to re-sign defensive tackle Leonard Williams, whom it acquired at the trade deadline for a 2024 second-round pick and a 2025 fifth-round pick. He was Seattle’s finest defensive lineman in the second half of the season, totaling four sacks and 19 pressures in ten games.
Re-signing him will not be inexpensive, nor will it be simple, given how much money the Seahawks have already committed to Dre’Mont Jones and Uchenna Nwosu up front. However, it should be a priority.
The nine-time Pro Bowler recently stated that he fully intends to play again next season. It’s unclear whether it will take place in Seattle. The Seahawks had already let him go to the Rams, but having him back in the locker room has been especially beneficial to the Seahawks’ young defense. But what is the fair market value of a 33-year-old inside linebacker?
The Seahawks are often difficult to forecast in the first round, but with Damien Lewis and Phil Haynes due to leave, the interior offensive line could be an area to fix. Troy Fautanu (Washington) and Graham Barton (Duke) have experience at tackle and on the interior, so they would add much-needed depth at many positions.
A big prediction for the summer is that the Seahawks will remove safety Jamal Adams, who has never lived up to the expectations set when they traded two first-round picks for him. A post-June 1 cut would save $16.5 million on the cap, plus $10.4 million in dead money.
The Seahawks will also wave goodbye to nose tackle Bryan Mone, who has not recovered from an ACL tear sustained late in the 2022 season. The Seahawks can cut Mone to save $5.9 million while only carrying $500,000 in dead money on their cap.
- 2023 record: 6-11
- Final FPI ranking: No. 16
- Estimated 2024 cap space: $76.3 million
- First-round draft slot: No. 7
Tennessee needs to improve its offensive line. Will Levis recorded 28 sacks in nine starts. He missed the Week 16 game due to injury and was out of Week 17. If Levis is to get an opportunity to show that he can be the Titans’ future quarterback, they will need to find a better way to protect him. Tennessee, with a high draft pick, should be seeking for a franchise left tackle.
What about adding a cornerback? Sean Murphy-Bunting and Kristian Fulton are both eligible for free agency, and even if they bring back one or both, the Titans might benefit from adding depth in the secondary. This season, the Titans had the fewest defensive interceptions in the NFL, with six.
At this point, Henry appears to be open to leaving the only NFL franchise he has ever known. He turns 30 in January and averaged 4.2 yards per carry this season, tying his career low, despite producing 1,167 yards and 12 touchdowns.
The Titans have considered dealing Henry in the past, and youngster Tyjae Spears appears to be in line for a larger role. Even so, perhaps the Titans and Henry could work out a two-year bridge deal worth roughly $10 million per year to allow him to retire as a Titan.
Levis has performed well enough to be regarded the starter moving into the offseason, but he requires backup. To protect Levis, the Titans should be aggressive in signing a wide receiver (LSU’s Malik Nabers is a run-after-catch marvel) or a left tackle.
Joe Alt (Notre Dame) or Olumuyiwa Fashanu (Penn State) might still be on Tennessee’s radar in Round 1, making them a no-brainer pick before adding a pass-catcher in Round 2. Without a third-round pick, the Titans must finish Round 2 with upgrades at both positions.
- 2023 record: 4-13
- Final FPI ranking: No. 30
- Estimated 2024 cap space: $78.8 million
- First-round draft slot: No. 2
The first priority is certainly to revamp the front office and coaching staff, and new owner Josh Harris is well on his way to doing so. Harris hired 49ers assistant GM Adam Peters as the team’s new general manager before naming Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn as the new head coach. Harris purchased the team in July and must first reenergize the organization before deciding on a quarterback. Sam Howell had 21 touchdown throws and 21 interceptions in 2023.
To assist the quarterback, the commanders must address the offensive line. Washington allowed 65 sacks as a result of system, protection, and a young quarterback. The Commanders may have at least one new tackle, center, or guard. However, right guard Sam Cosmi performed admirably.
With significant changes to the coaching staff and front office in Washington, Brissett, 31, who has performed admirably in a fill-in role the previous two seasons in Cleveland and Washington, may be searching for a shot to start somewhere else.
As John noted, the offensive line is going to need several new starters. However, the most pressing offseason question is about Howell. With a new regime taking over the franchise, picking a new signal-caller early in the draft remains an option. Caleb Williams (USC) is the most likely first choice, although the Commanders could also choose between Drake Maye (North Carolina) and Jayden Daniels (LSU).
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