2020 has been an NFL offseason like no other with the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic. Now just a few weeks from the start of training camp, here's a look at how each NFL team fared this offseason.
Arizona made arguably the best trade of the offseason, shipping David Johnson and picks to the Texans for star wideout DeAndre Hopkins. There's no debate that move made the team better after Arizona was able to retain running back Kenyan Drake, and the defense also got markedly better with the additions of De'Vondre Campbell, Devon Kennard, Jordan Phillips, and first-round pick Isaiah Simmons. It remains to be seen if the Cardinals have enough defense to compete in the tough NFC West, but they've got a shot.
Atlanta's defense needed change after another up-and-down season. The upgrade from Vic Beasley to Dante Fowler should be significant for the pass rush, and first-round pick corner A.J. Terrell can hopefully help the secondary. The team also got help up the gut with second-rounder Marlon Davidson and Tyeler Davison. At this point, running back Todd Gurley is more of a name than a huge asset, and the loss of tight end Austin Hooper will also leave a mark. Hopefully, former Ravens first-round pick Hayden Hurst can fulfill some of his potential.
The Ravens disappointed in last year's playoffs after a tremendous regular season, and they didn't rest in the offseason. Entering Lamar Jackson's third season, the team has clear Super Bowl aspirations with the additions of Calais Campbell and Derek Wolfe to the defensive line, and the team was also able to retain pass rusher Matt Judon. The Ravens have a lot of options to replace mainstay guard Marshal Yanda and finally found a replacement at linebacker for C.J. Mosley by taking Patrick Queen in the first round. Rookie J.K. Dobbins also provides a backup plan for the aging Mark Ingram.
Buffalo's headlining move was trading for Stefon Diggs, but it took a package of picks, including a first-rounder, to pull it off. Sean McDermott turned to some of his former players with free agent signings Mario Addison and Josh Norman, while second-round pick A.J. Epenesa could also be a steal as a pass rusher. Third-round running back Zack Moss gives Devin Singletary a nice complement after moving on from Frank Gore.
No team had more change this offseason than the Panthers. Now led by former Temple and Baylor head coach Matt Rhule, the team moved on from Cam Newton in favor of Teddy Bridgewater at quarterback. Robby Anderson adds to a nice set of skill players, but it remains to be seen how the defense will fare after big losses like Luke Kuechly, Mario Addison, Bruce Irvin and James Bradberry. The Panthers did spend literally their entire draft on defensive players, led by first-round defensive lineman Derrick Brown.
While Chicago deserves credit for challenging Mitchell Trubisky with the addition of Nick Foles, the price wasn't cheap. The Bears took on Foles' big contract and also sent Jacksonville a fourth-round pick. They tried to help him by signing tackle Germain Ifedi, tight end Jimmy Graham and veteran wideout Ted Ginn. The addition of Robert Quinn with $30 million guaranteed is also a gamble given his injury history, and the drafting of tight end Cole Kmet was head-scratching with the team's depth at the position.
Using the first overall pick on quarterback Joe Burrow got most of the headlines for Cincinnati, but it was the team's defensive moves that could make the biggest immediate impact. The Bengals were able to secure almost an entirely new secondary in free agency with Trae Waynes, Mackensie Alexander and Vonn Bell, they also splurged on run stuffer D.J. Reader and they addressed linebacker with three draft picks. Clemson wideout Tee Higgins creates a possible long-term replacement for A.J. Green, who was also retained. The Bengals might not be competitive in 2020, but it's hard to see how they could have done much better this offseason.
Cleveland desperately needed change at the top after last year's debacle, and Kevin Stefanski was one of the most intriguing coach hirings of the offseason. As we've seen recently, Cleveland wasn't shy about making big moves in free agency with Jack Conklin, Austin Hooper and several smaller defensive moves. The team's draft also looks strong, adding tackle Jedrick Wills, safety Grant Delpit and defensive tackle Jordan Elliott. Now the Browns just need Baker Mayfield to perform.
Here we are in early July, and Dak Prescott still doesn't have a long-term deal. Dallas might have to pay for waiting so long, but that's probably a problem for next offseason. The team did well to keep Amari Cooper around with $60 million guaranteed and got arguably the biggest steal in the draft when CeeDee Lamb fell into its lap with the 17th pick. The defense lost cornerback Byron Jones in free agency but was able to retain plenty of depth and even help the secondary by signing safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix. It remains to be seen if the additions of defensive tackles Gerald McCoy and Dontari Poe will actually help at this point in their careers, along with Aldon Smith after a long period away from the game. New head coach Mike McCarthy has hopefully become more creative with a year away from the game.
It's hard not to like what the Broncos did in the offseason, getting former defensive stars A.J. Bouye and Jurrell Casey for scraps. They also added running back Melvin Gordon to the fray and gave guard Graham Glasgow big money. Denver's draft was one of the most talked about with impact offensive additions Jerry Jeudy, K.J. Hamler, Lloyd Cushenberry and Albert Okwuegbunam to help young quarterback Drew Lock.
To the surprise of no one, the Lions added more former Patriots to their defense with Jamie Collins, Danny Shelton and Duron Harmon. They tried to make up for the loss of Darius Slay by signing Desmond Trufant and drafting Jeff Okudah and deserve credit for addressing running back again with D'Andre Swift. The most significant move in terms of money was the signing of offensive tackle Halapoulivaati Vaitai for $50 million. Ultimately, any chance the Lions have at making these moves work and keeping head coach Matt Patricia employed beyond 2020 rests on the health of Matthew Stafford though.
The Pack had a quiet offseason, followed by one of the most confusing drafts in recent memory. Their only significant free agent signings were lineman Rick Wagner, wideout Devin Funchess and linebacker Christian Kirksey, none of whom look like difference makers on paper. Despite struggling to find viable weapons for Aaron Rodgers last season, the team spent its first-round pick on his long-term replacement (Jordan Love) and then added depth that wasn't needed at right back with second-rounder A.J. Dillon.
Bill O'Brien certainly has his fingerprints on Houston's offseason, but it's hard to say if that was a good thing. He moved on from star wideout DeAndre Hopkins, overpaying for a running back in David Johnson who barely played during the second half of last year. Then he shipped a second-rounder to the Rams for Brandin Cooks, who is coming off his worst season, and also gave big money to enigmatic wide receiver Randall Cobb. The Texans lost run stuffer D.J. Reader and replaced him with second-round pick Ross Blacklock, but it's hard to see how the team got better on either side of the ball while the clock is ticking on paying quarterback Deshaun Watson.
It's apparent the Colts are going for it in 2020, signing veteran quarterback Philip Rivers and trading their first-round pick for defensive tackle DeForest Buckner. They also found potential free agent bargains by buying low on corner Xavier Rhodes and Trey Burton. The offensive upside increased substantially after the Colts drafted wideout Michael Pittman Jr. and running back Jonathan Taylor.
The rebuild is clear in Jacksonville, with the team already moving on from Nick Foles in favor of Gardner Minshew and also moving on from Calais Campbell. The Jaguars did give linebacker Joe Schobert big money and hope that can satisfy the disgruntled Yannick Ngakoue. Giving opt-injured tight end Tyler Eifert a significant two-year contract was a curious move, but second round wideout Laviska Shenault shows nice upside and defensive first-rounders C.J. Henderson and K'Lavon Chaisson help rebuild the core.
The cap-strapped Chiefs weren't active this offseason, but retaining most of their Super Bowl roster was a big win. Wideouts Sammy Watkins and Demarcus Robinson were worked into the cap, and first-round running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire makes a great offense even better. Of course, the highlight of the Chiefs offseason was their recent 10-year contract extension for star quarterback Patrick Mahomes. The only major concern going into 2020 is elite pass rusher Chris Jones' contract status, with a possible holdout on the horizon.
The Raiders made several significant free agent moves as they go south to Vegas, led by much-needed linebackers Cory Littleton and Nick Kwiatkoski. Carl Nassib and Maliek Collins also help the defense up front, and veteran defensive backs Prince Amukamara and Jeff Heath add experience on the back end. As was the case in last year's draft, the Raiders weren't victims of groupthink with the picks of Henry Ruggs and Lynn Bowden on offense.
The Chargers dropped a bomb, albeit not unexpected, by finally moving on from Philip Rivers this offseason. His long-term replacement looks to be first-rounder Justin Herbert, but Tyrod Taylor could get the nod in the short term. The team deserves credit for letting Melvin Gordon walk in favor of Austin Ekeler, a more unique running back talent. The Chargers also reached deep into their pockets by signing offensive tackle Bryan Bulaga, defensive tackle Linval Joseph and cornerback Chris Harris. Getting in position to draft Kenneth Murray, arguably the best inside linebacker in the class, was also a strong move. This team might not be better in 2020, but it has potential if the quarterback position works out.
In today's NFL, teams that give big contracts usually have to pay in other areas later. The check came due for the Rams this offseason as a result of big contracts for Jared Goff, Aaron Donald and soon Jalen Ramsey. As a result, the team will go on without Todd Gurley, Brandin Cooks, Cory Littleton and Dante Fowler, among others. L.A was able to sign Leonard Floyd and A'Shawn Robinson while also retaining Andrew Whitworth and Michael Brockers. Despite not having a first-round pick, the Rams also replaced some losses in the draft with running back Cam Akers and wideout Van Jefferson. It could be difficult for the Rams to return to the playoffs in the tough NFC West with a roster that looks worse on paper, but this is a team that should certainly remain competitive.
Miami looked as though it was tanking in 2019 but used some of those savings this offseason with contracts for Byron Jones, Shaq Lawson, Emmanuel Ogbah, Kyle Van Noy, Jordan Howard and Ereck Flowers. Those moves were still overshadowed by fifth overall draft choice Tua Tagovailoa, the clear future of the team at quarterback. The Dolphins' rich draft continued with first-rounders Austin Jackson and Noah Igbinoghene and second-rounder Robert Hunt, addressing huge areas of need in the offensive line and secondary. These moves are unlikely to vault the Dolphins to competitiveness anytime soon, but it's clear the team made progress.
Minnesota faced tough cap decisions again this offseason and shipped the disgruntled Stefon Diggs to Buffalo for a significant package that included a first-round pick. The Vikings hope Justin Jefferson can be a viable replacement soon, and fellow first-round pick Jeff Gladney filled a need at cornerback after the team cleaned house in that area. Big Michael Pierce is set to replace Linval Joseph at defensive tackle, and the team was able to keep a few other significant names, including safety Anthony Harris and fullback C.J. Ham. It's difficult to see how this roster is better than the 2019 version, but the Vikings did the best they could in a difficult situation.
The headlining move of the 2020 offseason was New England's decision to move on from Tom Brady. Surprisingly, the Pats didn't settle on a replacement until they signed former MVP Cam Newton for pennies on the dollar a little over two months before Week 1. New England also lost several significant defensive players, including Kyle Van Noy and Jamie Collins, without doing much of anything to clearly improve the roster. It would all be disconcerting for Patriots fans if not for the fact that Bill Belichick has followed a similar pattern numerous times, only to come out a winner.
Drew Brees has decided to give it one more championship run, and the Saints supported him in the cause by bringing back safety Malcolm Jenkins, signing Emmanuel Sanders and drafting interior lineman Cesar Ruiz. The team also signed Jameis Winston to replace Teddy Bridgewater in what could be a significant move given Brees' age and recent thumb injury.
New York spent big on defense with the signings of cornerback James Bradberry and linebacker Blake Martinez and also slapped the franchise tag on 2019 acquisition Leonard Williams. Those moves are significant, but the lack of pass rush still looks like a glaring weakness that the team didn't touch on in the draft. The Giants did help the offensive line with fourth overall pick Andrew Thomas, but this is potentially a missed opportunity while Daniel Jones is on a cheap rookie deal.
The Jets finished last year on a high note and were active in improving their offensive line in the offseason, giving big money to Connor McGovern and George Fant, before selecting Mekhi Becton with the 11th overall pick. The improved line should help, but losing Robby Anderson is a void that newcomers Breshad Perriman and Denzel Mims might not be able to fill immediately at wideout. The team has also seen some major changes at cornerback and it's unclear how making star safety Jamal Adams mad helps.
The Eagles won a Super Bowl three years ago with some bold moves, and they weren't quiet this offseason either. Trading for cornerback Darius Slay goes a long way in fixing a huge blemish, and the team also got help up front by signing Javon Hargrave. Safety might be a work in progress with Jalen Mills' transition to replace Malcolm Jenkins. First-round wideout Jalen Reagor also fills a need. The only head-scratching move of the offseason was using a second-round pick on quarterback Jalen Hurts, with Carson Wentz the clear future at the position.
The Steelers did a lot of their work last season when they traded a first-round pick for safety Minkah Fitzpatrick, a move that's already started to pay off. This offseason they gave Ben Roethlisberger some additional weapons with tight end Eric Ebron and rookie wideout Chase Claypool, and the defense remains mostly intact. If Big Ben stays healthy, the Steelers have strong shot at returning to the playoffs.
It would be tough to beat San Francisco's performance from last offseason, but the 49ers did well in 2020. They were able to get a first-round pick for DeForest Buckner, which they used on replacement Javon Kinlaw, and they also replaced Emmanuel Sanders with Brandon Aiyuk in the first round. Bringing back Arik Armstead and Jimmie Ward were big for the defense, and the 49ers found a potential Pro Bowl replacement for Joe Staley in Trent Williams at a minimal trade cost.
Seattle took some risks in the offseason, undergoing major turnover on the offensive line and allowing Jadeveon Clowney to walk in free agency. Even after re-signing Jarran Reed and signing Bruce Irvin, the pass rush looks like a major weakness. Cornerback acquisition Quinton Dunbar also might backfire now that the veteran is in legal trouble . Carlos Hyde and Greg Olsen do add meaningful veteran depth to the offense, while first-round linebacker Jordyn Brooks is a clear move toward the future.
The Bucs are going for it in 2020, and good for them. The offense should protect the ball better, at the very least, by transitioning from Jameis Winston and Tom Brady at quarterback, and that move also helped the team convince Rob Gronkowski to come out of retirement. Those moves upstaged some impressive work retaining the team's top pass rushers from last season, bringing back Shaq Barrett, Jason Pierre-Paul and Ndamukong Suh. The Bucs also did well early in the draft, getting athletic offensive tackle Tristan Wirfs, safety Antoine Winfield Jr. and running back Ke'Shawn Vaughn. It's clear why Tampa Bay is expected by many to be the most improved team in 2020.
The Titans had several significant decisions to make with core players and moved on from right tackle Jack Conklin, defensive lineman Jurrell Casey and cornerback Logan Ryan. Instead, they gave quarterback Ryan Tannehill a huge contract extension, franchised Derrick Henry, re-signed tackle Dennis Kelly and signed pass rusher Vic Beasley. They did a nice job filling other holes by drafting offensive tackle Isaiah Wilson, cornerback Kristian Fulton and running back Darrynton Evans.
Washington is undergoing a face-lift in every possible way, including a pending name change. Somehow, maligned owner Daniel Snyder convinced another well-regarded head coach to run the team in former Panthers head Ron Rivera, and he's put his imprint on the team with defensive additions like Thomas Davis, Kendall Fuller and Ronald Darby. The defensive move Washington is most excited about is second overall pick Chase Young, who has the potential to be a generational pass rusher. Like last season, the biggest concern is on offense, and it's difficult to see Washington making much progress there based on its offseason moves.
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