What Does Every NFL Team Need To Address This Off-Season?

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NFL Team Needs
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As the Kansas City Chiefs just wrapped up another successful season by winning their first Super Bowl in 50 years, the 2019-2020 NFL season has officially concluded. We are now in the off-season, where we can guess what each NFL team needs to get better for next season. 

Some teams, like the 49ers and Chiefs, look like they have bright futures ahead of them. Meanwhile, others like the Cincinnati Bengals and Miami Dolphins, are looking to rebuild after disappointing 2019 campaigns.

Every NFL team has one common goal that remains the same no matter how good or bad they are. This is to get better and better on their quest to become the best team possible. With the NFL Draft and free agency in the off-season, every team will have an opportunity to do just that.

In this article, we will break down where each NFL team is at and explain which moves may be smart moving forward.

There’s a lot to be missed in these kinds of articles as the NFL is very complex. Plus, there are a lot of components that go into every move combined with what each move means. Therefore, it is always possible we’ll miss something. However, we usually don’t.

If you feel like you have any insight you’d like to add to the discussion or differing viewpoints, please comment below. We’d love to hear your questions and comments. and other feedback you may have.

 

Cincinnati Bengals

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After going 2-14 and finishing with the worst record in the NFL, the Bengals need a lot of help. Perhaps, the only perk to having the worst record is that they get the #1 overall draft pick.

Although it’s only late-February, the #1 draft pick was seemingly determined long ago. Quarterback Joe Burrow had one of the best seasons in college football history and capped it off with a national championship. Burrow will now be challenged with turning around this Bengals franchise and becoming the hopeful face of this NFL team for years to come.

However, “quarterback” is not the only need for this team. The Bengals could also use a little help everywhere. Their offensive line is sub-par, to say the least. They gave up 48 total sacks, which was 9th worst in the NFL. 

Their offense was only able to muster up 279 total points and 5,169 total yards on the season, which was 3rd and 7th worst in the NFL respectively. They weren’t much better on defense as they gave up 420 points and 6,299 yards on the season, which was 8th and 4th worst in the NFL respectively.

However, Burrow should provide exactly what this NFL team needs to become successful again in the future. 

 

Washington Redskins

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A year after losing Alex Smith, the Redskins are still trying to recuperate. With a decent young quarterback in Dwayne Haskins, they have something to build around. 

Much like many teams early on this list, this NFL team needs big men up front to protect their talent. Their offensive line allowed 50 sacks this season. 

Sticking with the offense, the Redskins lack a real threat on offense. Having a young quarterback like Haskins is great, but he needs a playmaker to throw the ball to. Right now, Haskins just doesn’t have anyone who can be considered dangerous. 

On the defensive side, the Redskins have zero returning Pro Bowlers. This NFL team needs a playmaker on defense. Someone who makes game-changing plays. Someone who the offense is afraid of and has to gameplan for all week.

With a new head coach in Ron Rivera and a young quarterback to build a franchise around, the Redskins have the basic pieces they need. The next step is to find players who fit in their system and play well together. 

 

Detroit Lions

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In his second year as the Lions head coach, former defensive coordinator Matt Patricia was only able to lead the Lions to three wins this season. This was accomplished behind one of the worst defenses in the NFL.

Starting off the season 2-0-1, the Lions looked promising to start the season. After their strong start, they went on to lose 12 of their last 13 games. They finished 3-12-1, causing them to miss the playoffs for the third consecutive year.

Since the conclusion of the 2019 regular season, the Lions have seen six coaching changes as they look to reboot in 2020. This included replacing offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter with Darrell Bevell. 

Defensively, the Lions need help everywhere. They ranked in the bottom seven in both yards allowed and points allowed and could not stop opposing offenses. 

On the offensive side, this NFL team needs to protect quarterback Matthew Stafford. He started the first half of the season hot, putting up MVP numbers. He threw for just under 2,500 yards and 19 touchdowns through the first eight games before missing the last eight games due to a back injury. 

Entering his third year as head coach, Patricia needs to do something with this team or else 2020 might be his final season calling the shots in Detroit. 

 

New York Giants

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Now that the Eli Manning era is officially over for the New York Giants, they can finally turn the page and find their own identity as a team. However, with all of their losses over the past couple of years, the Giants need to hit the reset button and rebuild around the core talent they do possess. This NFL team needs quite a lot.

Starting on offense, quarterback Daniel Jones had flashes of greatness and looked promising in 2019. Therefore, he should be their guy moving forward. However, running back Saquan Barkley was injured this season but he should be back to form in 2020. This should give the Giants a great rushing attack. 

The problem for them is what to look at beyond Barkley. They traded away wideout Odell Beckham, Jr. before the 2019 campaign began. They never seemed to find a replacement for him. This will need to be a focus heading into the 2020 NFL Draft, which now has one of the deepest wideout classes in recent memory.

Someone like Henry Ruggs II out of Alabama would be perfect for this team.

Also on offense, this NFL team needs a lot of help on the O-Line. Their offensive line allowed their quarterbacks to get hit 119 times throughout the year. This was third-worst in the NFL during the 2019-2020 season. Improving their line will allow Jones to thrive. 

Defensively, the Giants had the third-worst scoring defense. With no clear leader, this defense could use a playmaker. Look for them to go after an edge rusher and defensive back’s this offseason.

 

Miami Dolphins

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Early in the season, it looked as if the Miami Dolphins were in tank mode. They traded away talent for draft picks, which led to them getting three first-round picks in this year’s draft.

In fact, they only scored six points through their first three games while allowing 133. If this is not tanking, we’re not sure what is!

They turned it around a little by picking up a few wins in the back have of the season, including a week 17 upset over the Patriots. Although 5-11 isn’t good, it’s a lot better than a lot of people expected.

While other teams have a good offensive line, this NFL team needs one badly. Dolphins quarterbacks were hit 147 times this season and sacked 58 times, which both topped the league. They obviously need to draft a QB in the 2020 NFL Draft, but no matter who they pick here, the Dolphins need to protect the guy. 

If they do not improve this offensive line, then we’ll just see another David Carr situation in Miami.

The good news for the Dolphins is that they have a league-leading $93.8 million in cap space. On top of this, they have 14 picks in the upcoming draft, including five in the first two rounds. This is plenty of cap space and top draft spots to address major issues.

The Dolphins are in no position to be good anytime soon. However, if they can properly utilize their money and draft picks, they’ll be able to build a strong young core that should lead them to success in the future.

 

Los Angeles Chargers

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The big question for the Los Angeles Chargers this off-season was the status of Phillip Rivers. However, it looks like he’s out as QB for this team. In fact, he and his family are moving to Florida. This is due to wanting to be closer to Rivers’ family. Yet it looks like the Indianapolis Colts may be interested in his services.

Another player who may become a free agent is tight end, Hunter Henry. He has played a big part in the Chargers offense and has been a good replacement since the decline and retirement of longtime Charger tight Antonio Gates.

While QB & TE may become major things to fix, this NFL team needs to sure up the offensive line for whoever becomes this team’s new quarterback.

Offensively, they have the talent to be great. On the defensive side, led by Pro-Bowlers Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram, they are only one or two solid cornerbacks away from having a lockdown defense. They could actually compete for a Super Bowl within the next year or two if they fix these issues.

Carolina Panthers

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After firing previous head coach Ron Rivera and losing tight end Greg Olsen and all-pro linebacker Luke Kuechly to retirement, things will be looking different for the Carolina Panthers. However, this NFL team’s needs go beyond just those two.

Although quarterback Cam Newton will likely return as the starter next season, Carolina’s going to have to change the way they play. Newton has slowly become injury-prone and will no longer be able to rely on his legs to make plays if he wants to stay healthy. Other players are going to have to step up. This includes the entire freaking offensive line.

The group from last year allowed over 100 quarterback hits and 58 sacks. No quarterback, even one as athletic as Newton, can deal with something like that. This simply cannot happen again if they want to be successful and have a healthy roster by the end of the season.

Defensively, the Panthers need a little bit of everything. Some big men upfront that can disrupt plays in the backfield, a linebacker or two to replace Kuechly, and defensive backs that can lock down receivers.

As the Panthers try to find their identity, health must be the main priority. Protecting their stars will pay dividends towards the end of the season, especially come playoff time where championships are won.

 

Arizona Cardinals

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A year after trading away Josh Rosen and sticking with Kyler Murray as their starting quarterback, the Arizona Cardinals are still in a rebuilding mood.

Offensively, they seem to have found their man with Murray under center. Yet this NFL team needs a couple more supporting parts around them if they want to have any kind of success. 

First off, they need to re-sign or replace right tackle D.J. Humphries and center A.Q. Shipley; both of whom are pending free agents. 

They could also use another pass-catcher. 11-time Pro Bowl receiver Larry Fitzgerald has been consistently great for years. However, the wideout will be 37 at the start of next season and is clearly on his last leg. He could help to train a new #1 wideout for this team during the 2020 season, which could be one hell of an education for a young playmaker.

Defensively, the Cardinals had perhaps the worst defense in the NFL in 2019. They ranked fifth-worst in total points allowed and dead last in total points allowed. They desperately need another front seven playmakers to go along with Pro Bowler Chandler Jones. 

 

Jacksonville Jaguars

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Remember two years ago when the Jacksonville Jaguars made it to the AFC Championship game and nearly upset the New England Patriots to make it to the Super Bowl? Well, the Jaguars have struggled the last two years and a big reason why is because they lost what got them that far.

In 2017, the Jaguars had an unstoppable defense. Led by six Pro Bowlers, their defense ranked second in points allowed. This past season, they reached a lousy 21st in points allowed. Part of this is because of losing players like Jalen Ramsey who played a big part in their 2017 success. 

On top of this, their offense from that season a few years ago looks completely different. They have a new starting quarterback and lost their top two wideouts. The latter was never truly replaced but quarterback position may have seen an upgrade with the young Gardner Minshew under center.

The Jaguars are only a couple of players away from being great again, but there is a big problem.

They are already $1.4 million over the 2020 cap space.

This means that before they can sign anyone, the Jaguars must convince players to take pay cuts and/or they will have to release players.

How the Jaguars deal with their salary cap issue will be the thing to watch for with them this offseason. 

 

Cleveland Browns

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Simply put, the Cleveland Browns did not live up to the hype in 2019. It was a nightmarish season for the team, who were only able to muster up six wins on the season. This is compared to eight the year prior, without the improved talent across the board!

With a young core, all hope is not lost for this team moving forward. This team has the talent they need to be great, all they really need is leadership. Freddie Kitchens was not the right head coach for this team and the Browns realized that. This led them to fire Kitchens and replace him with Kevin Stefanski. He worked in numerous roles, all with the Vikings.

The former offensive coordinator and assistant coach for the Minnesota Vikings will help this team. This means we could see some improvement next year in this offensive sector at least. However, the Browns still need leadership in the locker room.

Moments like Myles Garrett hitting Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph in the head with a helmet are unacceptable. It simply highlighted the immaturity of last year’s team. This cannot happen in upcoming seasons if they want to achieve success.

The Browns need leaders who can instill discipline into this team so that when times get tough, no one panics. This starts at the top with the coaches. 

With good leadership to make this team more mature, this Browns team should be able to make their first playoff appearance since 2003. This team has the potential to maybe even win their first division championship since 1989.

 

New York Jets

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The Jets season started rough. Quarterback Sam Darnold missed three games due to mono and they only won one of their first eight games. Although, they finished off the season strong, winning six of their last eight games, finishing the season 7-9.

With only one Pro Bowler, safety Jamal Adams, the Jets need playmakers on defense. This is especially true for the secondary. Also, this NFL team needs an edge rusher to pressure opposing quarterbacks. 

Offensively, wide receiver Robbie Anderson is a pending free agent. Also, according to Pro Football Focus, the Jets have the sixth-worst offensive line. With the 11th overall pack in the 2020 NFL Draft, they should be able to nab one of the top linemen and cross off one of their needs.

If the Jets can protect Darnold with a good offensive line and give him time to be comfortable in the pocket, he should be able to utilize the talent he has around him. Also, having a talent like Le’Veon Bell in the backfield takes some of the pressure off of Darnold and makes this offense more versatile. 

 

Las Vegas Raiders

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In the second year of his 10-year contract, head coach Jon Gruden was able to improve upon 2019’s four-win total by increasing it to seven in 2019. This was not massive, but any improvement is a good thing for the Las Vegas (previously Oakland) Raiders.

While the Raiders should be looking for a receiver or two, most of their needs are on defense. They ranked in the bottom half of the league in both yards allowed and points allowed. Clearly, this team could use some help in the secondary as well as linebacker.

Another interesting note is their quarterback. While Derek Carr has been a steady starter for the Raiders since his arrival in 2014, the Raiders said they’d pursue quarterback Tom Brady if the Patriots don’t re-sign him. This is a slap in the face to someone like Carr and even makes people wonder what Gruden is thinking. 

He is supposed to be “the quarterback whisperer.” Yet somehow, he cannot assist a young and impressive quarterback who was better before Gruden even arrived? That seems like an issue and getting a guy like Tom Brady in for a season or two isn’t going to help matters.

The Raiders have $54 million in free cap space. On top of this, they five picks in the first three rounds of the upcoming NFL Draft, including two first-round picks. This Las Vegas-bound team has what they need to make big moves and bounce back from their slump since 2003. They have only made the playoffs once since then, so let’s hope they can get back into the post-season once again.

 

Indianapolis Colts

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Before the start of the season, the Indianapolis Colts were looked at as Super Bowl contenders. Then they had to deal with the shocking surprise of quarterback Andrew Luck’s retirement. This made Jacoby Brissett the new starting quarterback. 

Brissett isn’t a bad quarterback, but he’s no Andrew Luck. The Brissett-led Colts went 7-9 and missed the playoffs for the fourth time in the past five years. 

Entering the offseason, the Colts have over $86 million in cap space, second-most in the NFL. There are a couple of holes this NFL team needs to fill with this money if they expect to be a championship-caliber team moving forward. 

On the offensive side, they may want to look at replacing Brissett. With six starting quarterbacks from last year set to become free agents, the Colts may make a splash in the off-season. 

Perhaps a bigger need on offense is a pass wide receiver. Tight end Jack Doyle just came off of another Pro Bowl season and has been great, but the Colts need someone on the outside to make plays. T.Y. Hilton has been this man for years, but he isn’t getting any younger and will soon need someone to replace or at least pair up with him.

 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston had an interesting year. 

He threw for 5,109 yards, which ranked first in the NFL and is eighth-most in NFL history. He also ranked second in the NFL with 33 touchdown passing. On the downside, he became the first quarterback since 1988 to throw for 30+ interceptions in a single season. 

This is nearly Brett Favre-level weirdness.

Winston just finished his final season on his rookie deal, so the Buccaneers must decide if they want to re-sign him or not. However, he isn’t the only player they’ll have to decide on re-signing or not. 

On the offensive side, right tackle Demar Dotson is also set to become a free agent this off-season. According to Pro Football Focus, the Buccaneers had the seventh-best offensive line in 2019 and the second-best pass-blocking offensive line. That being said, the Buccaneers may want to re-sign Dotson to ensure whoever they have at quarterback can be comfortable.

On the defensive side, linemen Shaquil Barrett, Ndamukong Suh, and Jason Pierre-Paul will also be free agents.

With nearly $85 million in cap space, the Buccaneers have plenty of money to work with, but they also have a few big decisions to make this off-season as they try to make the playoffs for the first time since 2007.

 

Denver Broncos

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In his first season as the Denver Broncos head coach, Vic Fangio led the Broncos to a 7-9 record. Although not great, it was a slight improvement over their last two seasons where they won five and six games respectively. 

The Broncos have yet to make it back to the playoffs after winning the Super Bowl in 2015, but the tides might be changing. Much of their struggles in the last few years have been their offense and finding a stable quarterback. However, Drew Lock might be exactly the guy this NFL team needs moving forward. 

A ton of talent surrounds Lock. This includes running back Phillip Lindsay, who made the Pro Bowl in 2018. Another is wide receiver Courtland Sutton, who made the Pro Bowl in 2019. Overall, the Broncos just need to look at investing in their offensive line in the off-season.

This has been poor for years now, so if they are going to protect Lock or any QB, they’ll need better men there.

Defensively, players like eight-time Pro Bowler Von Miller have made this defense great for years. The only thing that can derail this defense is that they have four defensive starters from 2019 who will become free agents this off-season. Therefore, re-signing them should be a major focus for the Broncos.

 

Atlanta Falcons

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After starting 1-7, finishing 7-9 was a blessing for the Atlanta Falcons. Although operation ‘win for [Dan] Quinn’ was a success (as they won six of their last eight games and retained their GM and head coach) their season was not.

Just three years after nearly edging the Patriots to win their first Super Bowl, the Falcons have failed to win a playoff game since. This includes back-to-back 7-9 seasons.

One big issue for the Falcons is money and how they are going to use it. Heading into the off-season, the team only has $6 million in cap space. Perhaps an even bigger problem, they have three stars that are set to be free agents if they aren’t re-signed. 

The Falcons must choose whether or not they will re-sign De’Vondre Campbell (team leader in tackles), Vic Beasley (team leader in sacks), and/or Austin Hooper (team leader in receiving yards). 

For them to re-sign any one of these players, they will most likely have to clear out some cap space. How they decide to deal with this will have a big impact on what next year’s team will look and function like.

 

Dallas Cowboys

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After starting the season 3-0, the Dallas Cowboys were only able to finish 8-8 on the season. Their biggest problem was that they couldn’t beat good teams. They went 1-6 against teams that made the playoffs. This NFL team needs to learn how to beat good teams if they want to have success in the future.

Their offense was great, leading the league in yards per game and finishing sixth in points per game. Their defense was good as well, ranking in the top 11 in both yards allowed and points allowed.

However, for some reason, they were not able to win against playoff-worthy teams, causing them to miss the playoffs for the second time in the last three years. 

This off-season the Cowboys are going to be busy. Eight defensive starters from 2019 are set to become free agents. On the offensive side, quarterback Dak Prescott is a pending free agent as well as wideouts Amari Cooper and Randall Cobb. Then there is the case of veteran tight end Jason Witten. Many feel that Witten is likely not going to be re-signed to make room for the younger guys.

With $73 million in free cap space, America’s Team should be able to re-sign a few of their players before they hit the free-agent market, but they will certainly not be able to sign them all. 

 

Pittsburgh Steelers

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This season was a big transition year for the Pittsburgh Steelers. They did not have Le’Veon Bell or Antonio Brown. On top of this, they didn’t even have Ben Rothlisberger for a large chunk of the year. After a 1-4 start, the Steelers gimped their way to an 8-8 record. Coach Mike Tomlin had to adjust his game plan, knowing that he didn’t have the talent he once had.

It was also a big transition year for wide receiver Juju Smith-Schuster. After making the Pro Bowl as the number two receiver in 2018, Juju had to adjust to being the number one receiver. 

Juju’s numbers were not great in 2019. He did miss four games due to a concussion but even so, he only managed 42 receptions for 552 yards and three touchdowns. Compared to his 2018 campaign, where he notched 111 receptions for 1,426 yards and seven touchdowns, this was a down year for the Steelers’ new #1 wide-out. 

Their defense played solid throughout the year and if they can re-sign pending free agent linebacker Bud Dupree, they should be solid next year as well. Although, they may want to add an edge rusher to put pressure on opposing quarterbacks.

On another note, the Steelers may want to look at restructuring Rothlisberger’s contract. Their salary cap is set to take a $33.5 million hit because of the deal. Thus, if they can restructure it, they may be able to free up money to spend on other team needs. 

 

Chicago Bears

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After going 12-4 in 2018, the Bears did not have the season they were hoping for in 2019. Their defense, although not as dominant as last year, was still great. They ranked top 10 in both yards against and points against and had three pro bowlers.

Their offense, however, struggled a lot. They ranked in the bottom four in yards and points against. According to Pro Football Focus, they had the seventh-worst offensive line in the NFL. On top of this, quarterback Mitchell Trubisky has yet to find his stride. While he did well in a few games throughout the year, there was a huge lack of consistency.

Heading into the off-season, the Bears may want to look for a replacement for Tribusky and a line to protect whoever they have under center. Also, this NFL team needs another defensive back to couple with Pro-Bowler Kyle Fuller. If they can find someone either in free agency or the upcoming NFL Draft, it could make the Bears’ secondary even stronger.

With only $13 million in cap space, the Bears may have trouble filling their holes, but we’ll see what they do this off-season. 

 

Los Angeles Rams 

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Just a year after reaching the Super Bowl, Sean McVay’s Los Angeles Rams failed to even reach the post-season. Part of this is because of how much effort they put into their run last year.

Before their 2018 campaign began, they signed free agents like Ndamukong Suh, then traded away draft picks to make other acquisitions. This team went all out….for nothing in the end.

After failing to win the Super Bowl, this past year’s team felt the aftershock in 2019. They had zero first-round picks in last year’s draft and a lot of their money was invested in quarterback Jared Goff’s contract extension. 

After a mid-season trade for Jalen Ramey, the Rams will once again do not have a first-round choice, unless they trade for a pick. Although, the Ramsey trade should help their defense next season as they look to get back to where they were in 2018.

Another blow this season was Todd Gurley. After a phenomenal 2018 campaign, Gurley dealt with knee problems all year long and his workload from a year prior dropped significantly. It might be a good idea to find someone to properly pair with Gurley so that they do not run him into early retirement.

With $19 million in open cap space, the Rams don’t have much. However, they have just enough to patch up their holes and put together a successful 2020 campaign.

 

Philadelphia Eagles

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After watching their former longtime head coach, Andy Reid, win the Super Bowl and just two years after their first Super Bowl victory, the Philadelphia Eagles realized they need to improve. This ultimately comes down to speed.

Starting with the defense, the Eagles have three starting cornerbacks set to become free agents this off-season. 

On the offensive side, they lack a speedy receiver. Pro Bowl tight end Zach Ertz is great, but the Eagles lack a shifty receiver who can prove as a deep threat. If wideout Amari Cooper doesn’t re-sign with the Cowboys, he may be just what this NFL team needs to jump-start their offense in 2020.

If he does, then the Eagles can find a good wideout in a very deep wide receiver class within the 2020 NFL Draft

Defensively, they have a great pass rush led by Fletcher Cox. However, they need some speed on the edges as well as some defensive backs who can replace what they may be losing. 

With a great offensive line, the Eagles are just one playmaker away from having one of the most explosive offenses in the league. With $42 million in cap space, the Eagles should be able to re-sign and sign what they need to make a good run next year.

 

Buffalo Bills

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The Buffalo Bills went 10-6 this season and made playoffs the second time in the past three seasons and had their first 10+ win season since 1999. 

Their defense led the charge and shut down opposing offenses week after week. They ranked top three in yards allowed and points allowed and had two Pro Bowlers in Tre’Davious White and Tremaine Edmunds. 

While their offense didn’t have any pro bowler, young quarterback Josh Allen looks very promising. If they can land a pass-catcher to help him out as well as some protection on the O-Line, this offense could be great. 

The Bills also must find a way to replace pending free agents Quinton Spain, Shaq Lawson, and Jordan Phillips among others. 

Sean McDermott has done a well as head coach since taking over in 2017. Since he came on board, the BIlls have a combined 25-23 regular-season record. However, they are still searching for their first playoff win since 1995.

With $81 million still left to spend in 2020, they should have enough money to cover all of their needs. 

 

New England Patriots

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New England Patriots fans are holding their breath for the million-dollar question everyone is wondering: will Tom Brady be a Patriot in 2020? 

Brady has made it clear that he wants to get paid big money. Will the Patriots be willing to dish out that kind of money to him? If so, will they have enough money left over to afford their other needs? If not, who will be Brady’s replacement? 

There is also concern over offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels. Even if Brady decides to stay in New England, his longtime offensive coordinator may leave. Brady has had McDaniels as a coach for many of his last Super Bowl runs, so McDaniels’ decision may have a big impact on the Pats.  

There are big holes to fill elsewhere too. Their offense struggled a lot in 2019, and much of that was because Brady couldn’t find an open receiver. After losing wideouts Antonio Brown and Josh Gordon early on in the season, the Patriots seemed to have an identity crisis offensively

Numerous injuries led to an offense in constant flux. From departing talent to suspensions and injuries, Brady had one of his most difficult years ever.

Heading into the off-season, this NFL team needs to find offensive weapons.

A major bright spot for Patriots in 2019 was their outstanding defense. They led the league in yards allowed & points allowed per game. In fact, statistically speaking, they had the best defense in the NFL. 

To remain impressive defensively, they need to re-sign safety Devin McCourty and start looking for a replacement for Patrick Chung, who is reaching the end of his rope. 

New England may look very different come week one, but with a strong defense and Bill Bellichick calling the shots, never count out the Patriots. 

 

New Orleans Saints

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The New Orleans Saints have finished each of their past three seasons with 11+ wins and have won their division in each of those three seasons. However, they have had rotten luck in the playoffs. After suffering a heartbreaking last-second loss to the Minnesota Vikings in 2017, the Saints have had their last two seasons end via overtime losses. 

Longtime starting quarterback Drew Brees just turned 41 in January, so it may seem as if their championship window is closing soon, but perhaps not. In the five games Brees missed this past season, 27-year-old Teddy Bridgewater was able to lead the Saints to a 5-0 record.

In those games, Bridgwater and had a 99.3 passer rating. This gives huge hope to the Saints, as they have a team that can win right now even if Brees leaves or gets hurt next season. This all hinges on Bridgewater staying with the team, however.

Bridgewater’s contract is expired, but if they can re-sign him, they should be able to attain success without having to rebuild. 

Besides quarterback, this NFL team needs wide receivers, defensive backs, and offensive linemen. They currently have three cornerbacks set to become free agents this off-season, as well as offensive guard Andrus Peat.

With only $12 million left in cap space for 2020, it will be interesting to see how they spend their money this off-season. 

 

Minnesota Vikings

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The Minnesota Vikings are in trouble…

Heading into the off-season, they are already $12 million over the salary cap. To make matters worse, they have six defensive backs set to hit free agency. 

Their needs go well beyond just defensive backs. NFL games are won and lost in the trenches, and this NFL team needs big men. Both their offensive and defensive lines struggled down the stretch last year. 

The obvious thing to watch for this off-season for the Vikings is how they are going to deal with their money issue. Cuts will have to be made, and they will have to find cheap replacements for who they lose.

One potential cut victim is Xavier Rhodes. Although he made the Pro Bowl, Rhodes underperformed last season. He had zero interceptions throughout the season, and his PFF grade was the sixth-worst out of cornerbacks who played 300 or more snaps.

 

Houston Texans

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In his second full year, Houston Texans’ quarterback Deshaun Watson is continuing to prove that he is not only one of the best young talents in the NFL, but also one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. The 24-year-old just made his second straight Pro Bowl and is slowly becoming a superstar. 

Watson is just one piece of this offense. He is helped by superstar receiver DeAndre Hopkins and his blindside is protected by Laremy Tunsil. If this offense can pick up another lineman to protect Watson, they’ll be one of the best in the league. 

This NFL team needs playmakers on the defensive side of the ball. In 2019, the Texans defense gave up an average of 388 yards per game, which was fifth-worst in the NFL. They also ranked in the bottom ten in passing yards allowed per game and rushing yards allowed per game. 

With $56 million in cap space for the upcoming season, the Texans should look to find some weapons on defense as well as another offensive o-lineman. 

It is also important to point out that both Tunsil and Watson’s contracts are up after this year. This means Houston needs to extend their contracts to ensure they stay with the team beyond 2020.

 

Seattle Seahawks

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[Image via the Seattle Seahawks]
After making the playoffs for the seventh time in the last eight years, the Seattle Seahawks may be in trouble next season, depending on how they play their cards this off-season. 

With just under $60 million in cap space heading into the off-season, the Seahawks have plenty of money, but they also have plenty of needs to fill with that money. Eight of their starting linemen are entering free agency. This includes three-time Pro Bowler, Jadeveon Clowney. 

Another bright spot on this Seahawks team was linebacker Bobby Wagner. The lone defensive starter from their Super Bowl-winning team in 2014 made his sixth consecutive Pro Bowl appearance in 2019. He has proved to be a great leader on defense and will be a key to their success moving forward.

The Seahawks could also use some help in the secondary. If they could find someone to couple with Pro Bowler Shaquil Griffin, opposing teams would have a tough time getting anything done through the air. They may not find someone who can properly replace Richard Sherman, but they still need someone who can take on top wideouts.

In short, this NFL team needs to be busy this off-season if they want to compete at a high level in 2020.

With Russell Wilson still in his prime, if they can use their money wisely, the Seahawks should be able to continue their success.

 

Baltimore Ravens

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[Image via the Baltimore Ravens]
The Baltimore Ravens had perhaps the best rushing attack of all time. As a team, they finished the season with 3,296 yards, passing the New England Patriots for the most rushing yards in a season by a single team. 

After starting the season 2-2, the Ravens went on to win their last 12 games and finish with the best record in the NFL. They also had an NFL record 14 Pro Bowlers and six all pros, including NFL MVP Lamar Jackson.

However, the Ravens lost in the first round of the playoffs to the Tennessee Titans. This clearly breaks down to youth and the mistakes that surround it. This means they need to bring in useful veterans to help this team. Mark Ingram was a massive asset to the Ravens last year, so bringing in more like the former Heisman winner would be a good plan.

Heading into next season, the Ravens should be able to build off their success this past year. Their only roadblocks are potentially losing edge rusher Matt Judon to free agency and maybe even offensive guard Marshall Yanda to retirement.  

With $26 million in cap space, Baltimore may be able to re-sign or sign what they need to be great in the coming years.

 

Tennessee Titans

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[Image via the Tennessee Titans]
If the Tennessee Titans played as they did in the first two playoff games all year, they would’ve won the Super Bowl. 

After finishing the season at a mediocre 9-7, no one expected anything out of the Titans heading into the playoffs. However, when they hit the post-season, they played at another level. A level that even the league’s best team couldn’t keep up with. 

After shocking the Patriots in the wild card round, the Titans went on the stun the 14-2 Baltimore Ravens. Many felt the Ravens would win the Super Bowl, so taking them down was impressive. However, they ended up losing to the eventual Super Bowl-winning Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC championship game. 

Although the Titans look promising, how they handle this off-season will have a huge impact on how well they do moving forward. They’ll have to re-sign or replace free agents like Ryan Tannehill, Derrick Henry, right tackle Jack Conklin, cornerbacks Logan Ryan & Tramaine Brock, as well as linebacker Kamalei Correa. 

With $48 million in cap space, the Titans most likely won’t be able to sign all of them. Plus, with how they finished the year, other free agents may be attracted to the culture head coach Mike Vrabel has established. 

 

Green Bay Packers

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[Image via the Green Bay Packers]
Matt LeFleur’s first season as the Green Bay Packers was a success, to say the least. After finishing with losing records and missing the post-season two seasons before LeFleurs arrival, the Packers were able to finish the season 13-3. This helped them, once again. win the NFC North. 

Led by future Hall of Fame quarterback Aaron Rodgers, the Packers were able to win many close games throughout the season. Perhaps their biggest strength was in the trenches. Both their offensive and defensive lines dominated the opposition weak after week. 

Linebackers Preston and Za’Darius Smith (no relation) played amazing in the back half of the season to wreak havoc in the backfield. 

However, offensive lineman Bryan Bulaga will become a free agent this off-season and two more of their linemen will be free agents following next season. This means that they may have to replace their big men if they hope to continue their greatness. 

Another thing that would do wonders for the team is giving Aaron Rodgers some help. Other than Davante Adams, Rodgers doesn’t have a lot of places to go with the ball. If the Packers can sign or trade for another playmaker, it would take some pressure off of Rodgers, which would bring this offense to the next level. 

 

San Francisco 49ers

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[Image via the San Fransisco 49ers]
Although they weren’t able to hold up down the stretch in the Super Bowl, the San Francisco 49ers had a fantastic season. 

In a year they finished 13-3, including starting the season 8-0, the 49ers had the most complete team in the NFL. 

Offensively, quarterback Jimmy Garapolo led the way, often relying on Pro Bowl tight end George Kittle to make plays. Pro Bowl fullback Kyle Juszczyk cleared the way for the three-headed rushing attack consisting of Matt Brieda, Tevin Coleman, and Raheem Mostert. 

Defensively, the second overall draft pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, defensive end Nick Bosa, was a monster. He ended up winning the NFL Rookie of the Year and even made his first Pro-Bowl. He constantly disrupted plays and made any opposing player fearful of his presence. 

With cornerback Jimmy Ward’s pending free agency this off-season and a few other contracts set to end concluding the 2020 season, look for the 49ers to re-sign a lot of players over the next year.

While they should be okay in 2020 if they are unable to re-sign certain players, their championship window with this team might be slammed shut after next season. This means adding some proper draft picks could be crucial!

 

Kansas City Chiefs

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[Image via the Kansas City Chiefs]
After their first Super Bowl victory in 50 years, the Kansas City Chiefs should be able to retain most of what has made them great over the last couple of years. With Patrick Mahomes still in the last year of his rookie contract, this is the Chief’s last year of paying rookie money to an MVP caliber quarterback.

Pro Bowl defensive tackle Chris Jones is set to hit free agency this off-season as well as cornerbacks Baushaud Breeland and Kendall Fuller. With only about $19 million in free cap space, they may have trouble retaining all of them. However, they should be able to make up for their losses through the draft and free agency.

If the Chiefs can pick up another defensive back or two to play with all-pro Tyrann Mathieu and find a way to either keep or replace Chris Jones, they should have another strong 2020 campaign. 

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