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NFL Free Agent & Draft Needs for Every Team (2024 Fantasy Football)

NFL Free Agent & Draft Needs for Every Team (2024 Fantasy Football)

One way or another, NFL teams are going to – or try to – plug the holes on their roster this offseason. Whether it be through free agency or the 2024 NFL Draft will depend on each organization’s discretion as many teams approach team-building from different perspectives.

Either way, rosters will start to look much different from last year, and it’s important to stay ahead of these transactions by identifying the needs after the first big wave of free agency in March. That way, you can acquire an edge in early best ball drafts or in dynasty trades with your moves considering real-life team needs that have yet to transpire. It also helps to call out the draft capital and salary cap space teams possess, as that will factor into their off-season strategy.

Note that this article will be a living breathing document, and will be updated after free agency to update teams’ needs entering the peak of draft szn.

Below you’ll find a breakdown of the needs of all 32 teams for both free agency and the 2024 NFL Draft that can serve as your compass to the start of the 2024 offseason.

*Graphics provided by FantasyPros mad data scientist Sam Hoppen.*

2024 NFL Free Agent & Draft Needs for Every Team


Arizona Cardinals

Arizona Cardinals offseason resource dashboard

There’s a reason why the Arizona Cardinals are so closely tied to drafting a wide receiver in this year’s draft. They need to bolster that position with Marquise Brown departing to the Chiefs in free agency. With a surplus of draft picks (six inside the top 90, by far the most) and salary cap space, Kyler Murray will find himself in a much better position to score points in fantasy football than in 2023 after returning from a torn ACL. He’s a buy for me across the board, in fantasy football dynasty, best ball, etc.

Murray was the QB11 in points per game and 10th in expected points per game after returning from his torn ACL injury in 2023. Much of his production came from rushing, which you wouldn’t think given his injury status.

Combine his rushing with a second-year Michael Wilson, tight end Trey McBride, and another top rookie WR, and we can easily see Murray get back into the top-tier fantasy QB conversation. Greg Dortch is also back as an RFA.

The other needs on offense are on the offensive line, particularly at left guard. They have guards hitting free agency this season and more OL pieces entering the last year of their deals.

They got a stud last year with Paris Johnson Jr. and also drafted IOL Jon Gaines in the 4th round. Gaines missed the year on IR, but he is an extra body that can compete for the LG job in a full year back to help. Trystan Colon was also re-signed to compete for a guard spot.

RT Jonah Williams signed with Arizona to replace D.J. Humphries (released).

Running back they might invest later on in the draft, given James Conner is entering the final year of his contract. They signed DeeJay Dallas as depth. Dallas got a pretty decent chunk of change – three years, $8.25 million – which likely suggests the team won’t draft another RB of consequence. Conner RB1 szn is a full go.

Simply put, Arizona’s offensive needs are headlined by WR/OL, but it’s not as glaring as what they need on the other side of the ball.

Defensively, they need help everywhere. Jonathan Gannon’s squad ranked 32nd in expected points added in 2023, 32nd in PFF defense and in DVOA. You find a defensive team metric across any platform, and the 2023 Cardinals are probably ranked dead last.

For starters, they must add a pass-rusher which was part of the nucleus behind the Eagles’ defensive success under Gannon in past years. They drafted B.J. Ojulari last season. But they still rank last in spending on the DL. During FA, they added Bilal Nichols to a three-year deal. Started all 17 games for the Raiders last season. DT Justin Jones signed a three-year 30 million contract.

Perimeter cornerback highlights their other primary need. Second-year man, Garrett Williams is locked into the starting slot role, but the boundary CBs are total unknowns with Antonio Hamilton hitting free agency. On the roster currently are Kei’Trel Clark, Divaad Wilson and Starling Thomas. Woof.

At least they have Sean Bunting now, but he is more of a slot CB.

With a flurry of picks inside the top rounds, Arizona will surely take a cornerback who can play on the perimeter.

Note that in Monti Ossenfort’s first draft calling the shots for Arizona, he was aggressive with trades. He also was not afraid to take shots at guys who fell due to injury concerns.

We don’t usually see season-long betting odds move too drastically after NFL Free Agency and the NFL Draft for teams, but I’d bet the Cardinals’ odds shorten. Their team is going to look a hell of a lot better by the time May kicks off.
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Atlanta Falcons

Atlanta Falcons offseason resource dashboard

It’s been three straight seasons that the Falcons have drafted a skill position player within the top 10 picks of the NFL Draft. With defensive head coach Raheem Morris taking over, he and GM Terry Fontenot flip the script and will likely look HARD at the highest-ranked interior defensive player on the board.

Morris did so as much in 2 of the last three seasons with the Buccaneers as their previous head coach, with selections of game disruptors Gerald McCoy and Adrian Clayborn. And as the Rams defensive coordinator this past season, LA’s defense ranked first in interior pass-rush win rate.

Cornerbacks A.J. Terrell and Mike Hughes will hit FA in 2025. With Jeff Okudah and Tre Flowers also free agents, cornerback is another area that Atlanta may need to improve. Especially because the coverage unit ranked in the bottom-10 last season, compared to the run-stuffing defense that ranked second in PFF’s run-defense grading.

Of course, addressing the defense early in the draft comes with the caveat that Atlanta has done something (!) to add to its QB room during the free agency period. Hell, they shouldn’t stop adding QBs till they find one who can get the ball to the team’s top playmakers effectively. Wouldn’t surprise me to see them add a QB in free agency/trade and draft one as well. If they can “hit” on the right QB, this roster can win now. They have one of the easiest SOS in 2024, just like last season.

Hello Kirk Cousins….

For a full breakdown on the Cousins to Falcons landing spot, read this: Kirk Cousins Agrees to Deal With Falcons: Fantasy Football Impact & Takeaways (2024).

Moreso on offense, they do need another WR behind Drake London. They have a severe lack of WR depth. Like they need bodies at this point, which could come either as veterans or later drafted rookies. Particularly a WR with speed and one that thrives as a run-blocker. I would also expect them to retain or re-sign some of their in-house WR-free agents. Van Jefferson – from the Rams – likely already knows the offense.

The Falcons are spending the fewest amount of salary cap dedicated to the WR position. They have already released tight end, Jonnu Smith. In free agency, the signed Darnell Mooney to a three-year deal worth $39 million. The immediate thought with Mooney to Atlanta is that it’s not a great landing spot with him competing for targets with so many other options in the passing game. However, something very critical to keep in mind. Atlanta will have less injury luck than the team did in 2023. Because they were the healthiest offense last season. If injuries hit guys like London or Pitts, Mooney would likely see an increased role and deliver, based on his track record as a productive WR in prior prominent roles.

They signed blocking tight end, Charlie Woerner, in free agency to a 3-year deal worth $12 million.

OL is in good shape, but DL needs pass-rush juice. Death, taxes and the Falcons needing a player who can generate pressure. Calais Campbell (free agent), at 38 years old, led the team in sacks and pressures last season.
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Baltimore Ravens

Baltimore Ravens offseason resource dashboard

Offensive tackle, interior offensive line, DL, and/or edge are the top needs for the Ravens to get back to the AFC Championship Game in 2024. It’s going to be an uphill battle regardless with so many losses (including their defensive coordinator) on the defensive side of the football.

A wide receiver also makes sense, given the lack of depth behind Zay Flowers with Odell Beckham Jr. hitting free agency. How Baltimore adds to the WR room will be a litmus test about how they feel about Rashod Bateman entering the final year of his rookie contract (5th-year option withstanding).

At running back, they upgraded in a big way with Derrick Henry.

They’ve got impending FAs across the OL this season (John Simpson (Jets), Kevin Zeitler) and next season – Patrick Mekari, Ben Cleveland, and Morgan Moses. Moses was traded to the Jets.

Left tackle Ronnie Stanley is under contract for two more seasons but has gone through ups and downs since his injuries started piling up. If the Ravens see an opportunity to upgrade from Stanley, don’t think they won’t pull the trigger to do so. The front office is not happy they are paying him like a top-5 LT. If they see a future franchise tackle on the draft board, they will pull the trigger.

Hence, the Ravens are listed with +140 odds to draft an OL first per DraftKings Sportsbook, followed by DL/EDGE (+200), and then CB (+400).

Remember that the Ravens will enjoy the fruits of drafting OG Andrew Vorhees after an essential redshirt rookie season after the former USC product tore his ACL at the 2023 NFL Combine.

Patrick Queen is one of the few better NFL linebackers, but he could easily price himself out of the Ravens’ re-signing range. He signed with the AFC North rival, Pittsburgh Steelers, for 3 years and $41 million.

That would make linebacker another area to address. However, they have 2023 3rd-rounder Trenton Simpson waiting in the wings for an expanded role in 2024 and beyond should Queen walk.

The same goes for EDGE. With all the pass-rush leaders from Clowney and Madubike (franchise tagged) headlining the Ravens’ 2024 free-agent crop, third-year edge LB David Ojabo NEEDs to step up after being limited to just six games the last two seasons. He’s another uber-talented player who has been plagued by injuries.

And even if the Ravens don’t like investing in running backs, they will have to add to their room. Gus Edwards and J.K. Dobbins are free agents. Keaton Mitchell is coming off a torn ACL. Justice Hill is the one healthy back currently on the roster.

Another cornerback across from Marlon Humphrey would also make some sense. Brandon Stephens is entering a contract year, while the Ravens have several other CBs on expired deals.
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Buffalo Bills

The top need for Buffalo is easy to identify. WR. Joe Brady took over as offensive coordinator in the second half of the 2023 season, and his approach with more WRs will be at the forefront, with Gabe Davis signing with the Jaguars in free agency. They already released Deonte Harty as well. Veteran Mack Hollins should slide in and take up the majority of cardio routes.

Per DraftKings Sportsbook, the Bills’ shortest odds are to select a WR with their first selection at +150, followed by DL/EDGE (+200) and OL (+275).

That, and a more established ground attack with James Cook as the bell cow. They will add another RB at some point – either in free agency or the NFL Draft – given that Cook is the only healthy RB currently under contract. They recently released Nyheim Hines to clear cap space.

The entire starting OL is back under contract for 2024, but both tackles – Dion Dawkins and Spencer Brown – are entering the final year of their deals. They re-signed guard David Edwards to a two-year extension but cut center Mitch Morse.

Dawkins signed a new 3-year deal with $60.5 million.

Look for Buffalo to invest some draft capital in an offensive tackle prospect.

The Bills are mostly set on offense but need to revamp the defensive side of the ball if they want to get back into the AFC Powerhouse conversation.

They need to improve everywhere. Their run defense was fourth worst per PFF last season.

And they have a surplus of interior and edge defenders hitting free agency – without salary cap space to retain them. Von Miller has been a shell of his former self since coming to Buffalo, creating a massive need for a pass rush. After the team lost DL DaQuan Jones in the middle of the season, their run defense fell off a cliff. He will be back on a 2-year $16 million deal.

And lastly, cornerback. Taron Johnson and Rasul Douglas will be playing in contract years. Dane Jackson is a free agent. Tre’Davious White is coming off a torn Achilles and is going to be released, and Kaiir Elam has been unable to get on the field as a former 2022 first-round selection.

Safety might also need to be addressed, given that Micah Hyde and Taylor Rapp are free agents. Jordan Poyer was slated to be FA in 2025, but Buffalo already cut ties with him. Poyer signed with Miami.

Losing linebacker Tyrel Dodson to Seattle could also be detrimental, given that he was the Bills’ highest-graded defender per PFF in 2022.
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Carolina Panthers

The Panthers sold the farm to acquire Bryce Young in last year’s draft. And they are now facing a massive uphill battle to compete. Young must have a massive turnaround in Year 2, or Carolina will be back to picking at the top of the draft in 2025.

Offensively, they need to give him ACTUAL weapons at WR and TE. Not the hodgepodge group they trotted out last season. D.J. Chark Jr. is a free agent.

They traded for Diontae Johnson to be their new No. 1 WR.

Hayden Hurst signed a lucrative deal with the Panthers last offseason but landed on IR after suffering from Post-Traumatic Amnesia. He was released after one season with the team. The team can also cut ties with Ian Thomas to save close to $3 million in salary cap space.

The Panthers could be a very sneaky fantasy football landing spot for a tight end – given that Canales “awarded” Buccaneers tight end Cade Otton an elite role. Played nearly every single snap and ran a route on 80% of the dropbacks (3rd among TEs).

The offensive line was horrible in 2023 in both pass and run blocking. The “starters” are all returning, but nobody’s job security should be safe, given how poorly they played up front.

The two starting guards will be FAs in 2025, so guard depth might be required. Last year’s draft selection, Chandler Zavala, struggled as a rookie. IOL seems like a more problematic position than at tackle. We saw the addition by subtraction regarding the Colts’ OL after they fired Frank Reich in 2022 to 2023. We could see something very similar with the Panthers under much better coaching.

Adding Robert Hunt from Miami on a 5-year deal worth $100 million was a strong start to bolstering the OL. He was PFF’s 6th-highest graded OL piece in 2023. They double-down on the IOL with Damein Lewis at guard. 4 years and $53 million. He wasn’t great last year, but has ties to Canales from their time spent in Seattle.

The team also released last year’s starting center, Bradley Bozeman.

I love the staff that Canales brought in, with many joining him from the Buccaneers – a team that drastically played above expectations. Joe Gilbert was the Buccaneers’ OL coach last year and got the most out of the unit the team did not invest much money into. Will Harriger was hired as the QB coach after stints in Dallas (2023) and USC (2022), where we saw some impressive QB performances from Dak Prescott and Caleb Williams.

It’s early, but I want to be “higher” on Carolina than the market heading into next season.

On defense, EDGE is the most logical position given the FA statuses of Brian Burns and Yetur Gross-Matos (re-signed). They drafted Oregon edge rusher D.J. Johnson last season to underwhelming results.

And they will retain the rights to Burns under the franchise tag. But instead, they did the tag-and-trade, sending him to the Giants for a 2nd and 5th-round pick.

D.J. Wonnum played over 800 snaps on the Vikings’ DL last season and signed with the Panthers.

The Panthers also had the league’s worst run defense in terms of DVOA, making any interior defenders alongside Derrick Brown a must-add. They added A’Shawn Robinson from the Giants, who provided the second most AV on New York’s DL in 2023, behind Dexter Lawrence.

At cornerback, they’ll need a slot DB/Nickelback with Troy Hill and safety Jeremy Chinn hitting FA. They were able to bring back Hill on a cheap one-year deal. The Donte Jackson trade creates a need at perimeter CB.

Off-ball linebacker becomes an issue if they don’t bring back Frankie Luvu (Commanders) and/or Deion Jones. Vonn Bell is also a free agent. He signed with the Bengals.

All in all, the Panthers fixing their offense will make everything better across the board. It will help prevent the defense from getting RUN all over. And if that happens, we could see a bounce-back effort from Carolina, given that their pass defense was underrated last season. Sixth-lowest yards per pass attempt faced.

Holding the 33rd overall pick, I wouldn’t be shocked to see the Panthers invest another Round 2 selection in a WR in a jam-packed class filled with talent. Jonathan Mingo did nothing as a rookie to earn any benefit of the doubt he can improve or be a dominant player in Year 2.

Looking back at what former Scott Fitterer did as the Panthers GM (new GM Dan Morgan served under Fitterer since 2021), I’d bet he continues to chase the trend of drafting athletic-gifted players with high-end draft capital. Before selecting Ikem Ekwonu in 2022, he drafted Jaycee Horn and Terrace Marshall Jr. Both were two uber athletes from the SEC.

Like last season – where I projected they would select Mingo – I’d anticipate they draft athletes from the SEC that fit the team needs at EDGE and WR first.

I also think the Panthers will run back the same backfield as last season, given the fully guaranteed money for Miles Sanders. Last season, two of Chuba Hubbard‘s best games were against the Buccaneers’ elite run defense. As the Bucs’ OC, Canales saw in person what Hubbard could do against a strong defensive front. Think that bodes well for Hubbard to be the team’s RB1 to start in 2024.
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Chicago Bears

The Bears finished with the second-fewest sacks and PFF’s 32nd-ranked pass rush grade. A pass rush is what they need defensively after they address their franchise QB (most likely Caleb Williams). They traded for Montez Sweat before the trade deadline last season, but they still need more guys to get after the QB.

Moreso on defense it’s focusing on their secondary because the Bears’ run defense was elite down the stretch under Matt Eberflus.

Safety Eddie Jackson is gone, and top CB Jaylon Johnson got the franchise tag. The cornerback depth is decent behind Johnson, so I’d say the Bears continue to just add to their defensive line where possible and look at safety over cornerback, especially with Johnson back on the tag.

Kevin Byard signed a 2-year deal worth $15 million to fill the safety void after he was cut by the Eagles. The Bears also signed safety Jonathan Owens to a two-year deal.

The Bears should be the “betting favorites” to win the NFL offseason, given the salary cap space AND draft picks they have at their disposal. Ergo, bet on Bears’ futures NOW, as the odds will likely shift as the roster improves.

Other than QB on offense, they need to add WR behind D.J. Moore. Darnell Mooney is a free agent. They drafted Tyler Scott in the 4th round last season, knowing they would likely let Mooney walk in 2024.

Across the OL, it’s tricky. The Bears were a bottom-10 blocking unit across most metrics, with Lucas Patrick at center being the worst of the bunch. He’s a free agent and the Bears would be wise to move and upgrade at center.

The rest of the offense line is returning, with only LG Teven Jenkins entering a contract year.

Chicago should be okay at offensive tackle between Braxton Jones (the Bears’ best pass-blocker) and Darnell Wright entering Year 2. If they upgrade OL, my best estimate is it will be across the interior for starters and then address tackle for additional depth.

Note that the OL for the Bears was always put in precarious situations because Justin Fields held the longest time to throw in the NFL last season. Caleb Williams held the ball a ton (highest in the draft class) in his final year at USC.

I hardly would say this is a “need,” but the Bears, under new OC Shane Waldron, will almost certainly add more tight ends. Not great for the fantasy value of Cole Kmet.

They added Gerald Everett for two years and $12 million, who formerly played under Waldron with Seattle and the Rams.

The backfield got shaken up in NFL Free Agency with the addition of RB D’Andre Swift, who signed a 3-year $24.5 million contract with Chicago.

Last season, the tight end usage never got to a point with the Chargers where Gerald Everett could fully be unleashed, aside from occasional spiked weeks of production when other guys missed time. Everett was by far Easton Stick‘s No. 1 target after Justin Herbert went down with an injury. But he never had one game with 50 or more receiving yards. Logged a 55% snap rate on the year (33rd). Everett will be 30 in 2024 after posting career lows in yards and yards per route run as the TE24 overall and TE21 in points per game (5.7). He was the TE15 overall and TE14 in points per game in 2022 (7.4).

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Cincinnati Bengals

The Bengals lost RT Jonah Williams in free agency (signed with Arizona) setting the stage for Cincy to draft his replacement in the 2024 NFL Draft. They could insert another Alabama tackle prospect in JC Latham, who can slide seamlessly into the starting RT spot with Orlando Brown Jr. operating at LT. Latham took a slight step back in 2023, as he was PFF’s second-highest graded pass-blocker in 2022. But that Crimson Tide pedigree suggests he comes with a high floor.

The Bengals are listed with +120 odds to draft an OL first per DraftKings Sportsbook, followed by DL/EDGE (+225), and then CB (+500). They have already re-signed guard Cody Ford to a one-year extension.

Tee Higgins has been hit with franchise tag, but Tyler Boyd is likely on his way out. The Bengals drafted two WRs last season, so they were prepared for the WR room to look different. Still, if they don’t believe either Andrei Iosivas or Charlie Jones can step into a full-time role, they will likely add another WR – probably by ways of the NFL Draft, given the cost versus WRs in free agency.

Tight end is another glaring need, with last year’s main contributors all hitting free agency.

Keep tabs on Tanner Hudson, who the Bengals leaned on more down the stretch. From Week 9 onward, Hudson posted an elite 26% target rate per route run. If they keep Hudson in-house on a cheap deal instead of “paying up” for another tight end, Hudson could be a sneaky tight-end sleeper for fantasy football in 2024. Hudson was PFF’s 13th-highest-graded tight end in 2023, ranking 9th in yards per route run.

The Bengals and Patriots opened the free-agent period as the only two teams with no tight ends currently on the roster. Cincy eventually re-signed blocking tight end, Drew Sample, to a three-year extension.

Running back was also addressed as Joe Mixon was released.

Mixon’s not a free agent for 2024, but he has an “out” in his contract and looks primed to be released as a salary-cut candidate. Dead cap hit is $2.75 million compared to his salary cap hit at nearly $9M. Mixon was RB12 in points per game and RB5 overall through 18 weeks. He played all 17 games and finished 8th in RB snap rate (69%). Also ended the year fourth in red zone carries.

He was essentially a three-down bell cow from Weeks 1-12 until the Bengals started to feature rookie Chase Brown more in the backfield. Mixon’s target share (11%) stayed the same, but his route participation (42% vs 48%) dipped with Brown in the lineup.

Brown could be pegged as the team’s starter heading into 2024, depending on how the backfield shakes out. At worst, he likely proved he can carve out a small role alongside Mixon (should he return to Cincy), especially as a receiver.

RBs to keep in mind that could be on the Bengals’ radar include Ezekiel Elliott, who knows Bengals OL/run game coordinator Frank Pollack from their time spent in Dallas.

Team opted to sign Zack Moss as a two-down grinder replacement for Mixon. Even after Jonathan Taylor returned from injury, Moss was still used in some capacity, given how well he performed in relief as the starter. I’d be concerned about him winning out a backfield competition – something he has never done – so don’t be overly bullish should he rise up RB rankings on “projected workload” alone.

On defense, they need more depth on the interior defensive line. After D.J. Reader went down last season, the Bengals’ defense crumbled. B.J. Hill is their next-best interior defender, and he will be an FA in 2025. They signed DT Sheldon Rankins to a 2-year, $26 million contract as Reader left in free agency to the Lions.

Trey Hendrickson will also be an FA in 2025 after generating 20 sacks. The Bengals will likely lean more toward DT – given Reader is a free agent – considering they drafted edge rusher Myles Murphy in the 1st round last season.

As for the Bengals secondary, everybody is back from last season. Mike Hilton will reprise his role as the highest-graded CB from the slot, but he will be in FA in 2025.

Chidobe Awuzie left in FA for the Titans, putting Cam Taylor-Britt and D.J. Turner into projected starting roles. Taylor-Britt improved in his second season, generating a 67.6 passer rating when targeted. Turner struggled at times as a rookie, but that’s par for the course with a rookie CB. Don’t expect the Bengals to do anything too crazy with secondary pieces outside trying to retain Awuzie.

I feel very strongly about the Bengals rebounding in a big way in 2024. They should benefit from better injury luck, and their favorable salary cap situation suggests they can push their chips in on the 2024 season before they are slammed with cap hits from Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase.

I wrote more about it in my way-too-early 2024 NFL Futures article for BettingPros. Buy the Bengals with all their caps space at their disposal for this season.
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Cleveland Browns

The Browns don’t have a 1st-round pick or a favorable salary cap situation, thanks to Deshaun Watson. Their 2024 season will ultimately come down to Watson delivering on his lofty expectations, which has still not happened two years in. They brought in Jameis Winston as the backup on a 1 year, $4 million deal.

His supporting cast is still solid on offense, although some areas could use some fine-tuning with a plethora of guys hitting the final years of their contracts.

OL was decimated by injuries in 2024, so there’s a need for additional depth. Jedrick Wills is in the final year of his rookie deal, while his LT backup – Geron Christian – is a 2024 free agent.

But the fact that they hit on Dawand Jones in last year’s draft – highest highest-graded rookie pass-blocker – makes tackle less of a priority. The team also drafted Luke Wypler as a guard in the 6th round of last year’s draft.

And although it doesn’t appear like an initial need on the surface, WR will be addressed by the Browns. That’s because Amari Cooper and Elijah Moore are both 2025 free agents. Was smart for them to take a low-cost flier by trading for Jerry Jeudy.

RB Nick Chubb – coming off a season-ending knee injury – will also be an FA in 2025. Very possible this is his final year as a Brown. There have been rumors he could also be released before this season to save money against the salary cap.

Given the salary cap restrictions on Cleveland, they will have to be savvy in signing low-cost veterans while adding depth in the NFL Draft. However, RB specifically, I’d bet the Browns are fine going right back to Pierre Strong Jr. and Jerome Ford while Chubb comes back from injury.

Free agent Kareem Hunt was signed off the coach by the Browns after the team lost Chubb. Hunt was productive in terms of TDs, but not as a rusher or receiver in any capacity. He was dead last in yards after contact per attempt, with nine forced missed tackles on 143 carries (6%). The soon-to-be 29-year-old doesn’t have the juice he once had.

I’d expect the team to move on from Hunt – and his ELEVEN TDs – with Chubb returning and younger guys like Ford/Strong Jr. on the roster. Hunt and Ford COMBINED for 20 TDs scored for the Browns in 2023.

On defense, DL and LB highlight the major needs. The Browns could easily regress on defense after a record-breaking year, given the sheer volume of key defensive contributions they will lose in FA like Anthony Walker Jr. (Dolphins) and Sione Takitaki (Patriots).

Shelby Harris re-signed for two years. Za’Darius Smith and Maurice Hurst are also back.

Very likely that the defensive line and off-ball linebacker rooms look worse on paper entering the 2024 season.

The Browns tried to get ahead of the roster reckoning by drafting DT Siaki Ika and Isaiah McGuire, but neither did much as a rookie to suggest they could be as productive as the guys playing ahead of them did in 2024.

Like the Ravens, this team looks like it could take a step backward on defense, given the lack of picks and salary cap space. Just two picks in the first four rounds and currently being ~$20m over the cap.
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Dallas Cowboys

Offensive tackle is a glaring issue for Big D. Tyron Smith is hitting free agency and turning 33 years old. Terence Steele is penciled in as the other starting tackle, but he finished as a bottom-15 pass blocker in 2023. He allowed more QB hits than any other tackle.

In terms of the NFL Draft, what Houston does at pick No. 23 will likely influence the Cowboys’ selection at No. 24. They have overlapping needs across OL, CB and DL – but those could change depending on how the team addresses revamping the roster in free agency. Dallas could also go the “sexy” route and give Dak Prescott another WR weapon. But for now, I think they might make a “boring” selection with OT Jordan Morgan, a three-year starter at Arizona State with 2,400 snaps under his belt as a left tackle.

They could also lean on second-year tackle Asim Richards, last year’s 5th-rounder. He did not play as a rookie. But don’t be surprised if he’s in the offensive line rotation in 2024 and beyond.

The Cowboys are listed with +125 odds to draft an OL first per DraftKings Sportsbook, followed by DL/EDGE (+350), and then CB (+350).

WR is still a major area of need, given that there’s virtually no reliable depth behind CeeDee Lamb.

Brandin Cooks is entering the last year of his deal. Michael Gallup has not been the same since his knee injury and could be a salary cap casualty. Jalen Tolbert has shown nothing two years into his NFL career.

The starting center, Tyler Biadasz, also needs a new contract. He is now in Washington with the Commanders.

OG Zack Martin is an FA at the end of the season, entering at age 34. Hence, the need for IOL.

But it’s not nearly as dire as the CB position. Trevon Diggs is returning from a torn ACL injury. Stephon Gilmore is an impending free agent.

Jourdan Lewis was re-signed to a one-year contract. Lewis was the primary nickel back and is coming off a horrible season covering from the slot.

Plugging up the interior defensive line also needs to be at the forefront of Dallas’ offseason plans. They were exposed at times versus the run in 2023. And two of their major interior disruptors are free agents between Johnathan Hankins and Neville Gallimore. DeMarcus Lawrence was one of their top run defenders in addition to his pass-rushing, but he’s in the final year of his contract.

Former first-round pick Mazi Smith figures to take on a bigger role in Year 2. But he struggled as a rookie – the 7th-worst graded run defender per PFF in 2023.

Dallas also drafted LB DeMarvion Overshown highly last year, and he will be relied on heavily, given their thinness at linebacker. Leighton Vander Esch is entering the last year of his deal at the end of 2024.

RB is also a major hole should the team not elect to bring back Tony Pollard. Rico Dowdle is also a free agent, making Deuce Vaughn the only healthy RB on the roster (Malik Davis and Snoop Conner are on IR).

On defense, they need to replace safety Jayron Kearse. Horrible coverage safety this past season and will likely not be brought back as a free agent.

The big picture with the Dallas Cowboys is that they cannot afford to spend big this offseason, given that Dak Prescott, Micah Parsons, and Lamb are ready for new contracts. Again, another team that could regress in 2024 based on the sheer volume of turnover.
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Denver Broncos

Russell Wilson is as good as gone in Denver (officially will be released on March 13th) slating the team to select its next signal-caller of the future with the 12th overall pick or in free agency (or both). This team is tied to Sean Payton, and he will undoubtedly have the final say when it comes to selecting his future QB over GM George Paton. And he will likely do whatever it takes to get his guy.

But when it comes to the complete overhaul of the roster, the Broncos don’t have many assets to work with from both a financial salary cap and draft picks standpoint. No 2nd-round picks this year. If they go all out to draft a QB by trading up or splurging on an FA QB, it’s going to come at a big expense to the remainder of the roster.

Aside from a different QB, this roster might not be too different, aside from the losses of their own FAs. There are hardly any household names on the Denver FA list.

Tim Patrick will return but Jerry Jeudy was traded to Cleveland for 2024 5th round pick (#135) and 2024 6th round pick (#202). A Full breakdown of the trade can be found here.

The Broncos may have to get a new center with Lloyd Cushenberry leaving in free agency for the Titans.

Tackle Garrett Bolles is in the final year of his deal with backup LT Cam Erving already a FA.

The linebacker room might need some fine-tuning, given how bad rookie Drew Sanders was in Year 1. Last year’s third-rounder was the second-lowest graded rookie defender per PFF in 2023.

They are losing two starting CBs to free agency, and Damarri Mathis is horrible – 2nd-worst coverage grade per PFF in 2023.

Ja’Quan McMillian is an okay slot starter, but the Broncos hardly have any answers outside of Pat Surtain II. Riley Moss was their third-rounder whom they traded up to select last season, and he had a delayed rookie campaign due to a core muscle injury. It’s very possible that Denver skips CB and hopes Moss can develop in Year 2 with a healthy offseason. That would keep McMillan slotted inside, with Moss/Surtain operating on the perimeter.

Worth noting that safety Justin Simmons is also in the final year of his deal. He has been since released as the Broncos look to mitigate their salary cap situation.

Tight end Adam Trautman‘s potential departure should put Greg Dulcich back into the TE1 conversation after he missed the entire 2023 season.

Josey Jewell is a do-it-all linebacker, so his loss to the Panthers will be felt tremendously. However, given how well Baron Browning played for them last season – the highest-graded defender per PFF on Denver – that could be curtains on Jewell’s tenure in Mile High.

On the defensive line, Denver needs more pass rush after finishing with the 4th-worst pressure rate in 2023. Their defense was also atrocious against the run – see 70-burger in Miami – and IDL Mike Purcell is a free agent. Fellow IDL D.J. Jones will be a free agent in 2025.

The new QB will headline Denver’s 2024 offseason, but it will be undoubtedly accompanied by an overall worse roster. Hoppen said it best, with Denver having just six picks, things will most likely get worse before they get better.
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Detroit Lions

The Lions’ Achilles heel on defense showed up at the worst time in 2023, with their secondary getting shredded by opposing offenses. Kindle Vildor and Will Harris are free agents. The team did re-sign Emmanuel Moseley to a one-year deal.

They also traded for Carlton Davis from Tampa Bay and signed Amik Robertson as another CB starter in free agency.

Cornerback is a MUST in this spot as they look to align their strong run defense in the backend. Hence, the Lions are listed with +175 odds to draft a CB first per DraftKings Sportsbook, followed by OL (+200), and then DL (+225).

And there’s no better way to accompany a struggling secondary than with a strong pass rusher opposite the up-and-coming superstar, Aidan Hutchinson.

Two-pass rushers from last season that both FAs: Jalen Reeves-Maybin and Romeo Okwara.

They bolstered the run defense though, with D.J. Reader.

On offense, the Lions look like sure-fire bets to add a WR. Josh Reynolds and Donovan Peoples-Jones are hitting free agency.

The Lions can’t risk going ALL-IN on Jameson Williams in Year 3. Williams has had a tumultuous two years in the NFL. His rookie year was lost because of a torn ACL, and 2023 started slow because of a suspension. When he’s been on the field, he’s teased big-play upside with a lot of inconsistencies and injuries. Entering Year 3, the former first-rounder will likely be viewed as a logical breakout candidate. After all, the WR2 job should be all his with Reynolds gone in free agency. But Jamo’s hardly without his warts, with just a 10% target share earned, 15% target rate per route run, and 6.4 fantasy points per game scored in 2023 (WR66, same as Reynolds).

Williams might be overrated heading into 2024 because of his draft capital. But everything he showed in his second season suggests he still has a long way to go, especially as the “at best” third or fourth receiving option on the Lions.

A WR name that I think could make a lot of sense for the Lions in free agency is Curtis Samuel. A trip to Motown would reunite him with Jim Hostler, a former Panthers WR coach and senior offensive assistant for the Commanders. Hostler is now a senior offensive assistant for the Lions as of 2024.

Detroit also may need to overhaul the interior OL, as they could lose two starters. Halapoulivaati Vaitai is a FA alongside the bigger name, Jonah Jackson (now with the Rams). Dan Skipper is another IOL depth piece they could lose in FA.

Both of their starting tackles are also due for new contracts at the end of 2024, as is Amon-Ra St. Brown. Also, some of their DTs are in the final year of their contracts in 2024.

Given their positive salary cap status, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Lions keep all of their core guys intact while potentially making one or two splash FA signing in hopes of getting back to the NFC Championship Game. Detroit has gone from being a team that had to overpay for free agents to a franchise that FAs will WANT to play for. With Ben Johnson back as the OC, the Lions have a strong shot as any team to get back to the NFC Championship Game with a few key additions this offseason. In Brad Holmes and Dan Campbell, we trust.
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Green Bay Packers

I’d envision the Packers either going IOL or CB with decent draft capital. Green Bay has also drafted a center/interior offensive lineman in four of the last five drafts – two of which have been selected inside the top 65. After foregoing IOL in 2023, look for the Pack to add more big bodies to bolster the inside of the line. Especially given their surplus of selections on Day 2 of the draft.

Jon Runyan is the only OL projected to start who is a current FA. He is now in New York (Giants).

But they have Sean Rhyan in-house as a potential plug-in option. Although he struggled in action as RG last season. Center Josh Myers is in the final year of his contract.

The elephant in the room also comes down to the availability of All-Pro tackle David Bakhtiari. He’s 33, entering the last year of his deal…coming off a season-ending knee injury. And the Packers cut him, clearing nearly $21M worth of cap space.

If given the chance, the Packers should look hard at finding a new franchise left tackle. They have the draft capital to do so.

The Packers are listed with +175 odds to draft an OL first per DraftKings Sportsbook, followed by DL/EDGE (+250), and then CB (+250).

Cornerback is the other big issue, given that all the ones that played last year besides Jaire Alexander weren’t very good or were injured. Eric Stokes is going on the final year of his rookie deal after missing most of the 2023 season with injuries.

Keisean Nixon was last year’s starting slot CB but will be an FA. He re-signed a three-year deal with the Packers. CB Corey Ballentine will also return on a one-year deal.

The two DBs they drafted late last season in Round 7 – Carrington Valentine and Anthony Johnson Jr. – shockingly didn’t pan out.

Also, both of the team’s starting safeties from last season are also FAs.

On the offensive skill side of the ball, it’s difficult to view Green Bay needing anything super substantial. The young nucleus of super young players sets them up so well for the future.

RB is probably the only position they need to add to realistically, given Aaron Jones‘ age/injury history entering a contract year. A.J. Dillon is returning as well.

However, the Packers addressed the backfield differently, opting to sign Josh Jacobs in free agency and cut Jones. More on the Jacobs to Green Bay signing here.
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Houston Texans

Houston has a ton of impending free agents ranging from OT, DT, DE, and CB, so take this early breakdown with a grain of salt. Their “needs” will change after the free agency wave hits in early March. And I’d bet they can re-sign the majority of their in-house FAs based on their surplus of salary cap space. Thank you, rookie QB contract.

For starters, they brought back CB Desmond King and Kris Boyd on a one-year deals.

CBs Lonnie Johnson Jr., Jeff Okudah and Michael Ford were all signed during the FA period. Johnson wasn’t great in his final year in New Orleans (12 games, 1 AV).

Denico Autry and Danielle Hunter (2 years, $49 million) were both signed across the DL as was linebacker, Azeez Al-Shaair (three years, $54 million). He’s going to get a ton of tackle work in the box. Top-10 in tackles last season.

Safety Eric Murray is also returning.

GM Nick Caserio loves drafting guys from Alabama, so that’s always something to keep in mind. That, and guys that test well in the three-cone drill.

In addition to the tackle position, WR/RB/TE are all areas that Houston would be wise to improve on, with starters like Devin Singletary and Dalton Schultz from last season on expired deals. So far, the team has already re-signed Schultz to a three-year deal. Singletary signed elsewhere with the Giants.

I could also see them going with more OL depth after they got decimated by injuries. The OL unit underwhelmed as a whole – Tytus Howard‘s career low passing grade, Kenyon Green missed the entire season – so I wouldn’t rule out any additional assets invested to protect franchise QB C.J. Stroud.

I don’t think they will draft another center, as Juice Scruggs was drafted to be the center of the future in the 3rd round of last year’s draft. Injuries forced him to play left guard.

On the defensive side of the ball, the area of weakness for Houston is their pass defense after they finished second-best in run defense DVOA. Acquiring another top-tier CB across from Derek Stingley would be ideal.
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Indianapolis Colts

The Colts’ best cornerback, Kenny Moore was re-signed for a 3-year 30 million contract.

They need to shore up the back end after selecting two CBs later in the draft last season. Indianapolis has a track record – no pun intended – of selecting athletic players with ideal size and speed.

After CB on defense, it’s pass rush efficiency that needs a major boost alongside rush defense on the DL. Grover Stewart will return after signing a three-year deal worth $39 million, and the Colts’ run defense took a major hit when he missed time last season. Raekwon Davis was another DL body added to shore up the Colts’ run defense.

DeForest Buckner and former first-rounder Kwity Paye are also entering the final years of their contracts.

Indianapolis cannot rest on its sack numbers (5th-most) as a reason to stay stagnant at pass rush. They boasted the 11th-lowest pressure rate in 2023. Tyquan Lewis is slated for free agency and was the team’s second-highest-graded pass rusher. If they don’t add any more pass rushers, they will need to get more from second-year player Adetomiwa Adebawore.

Safety also needs to be addressed if they cannot keep Julian Blackmon.

Offensively, I expect them to re-sign Michael Pittman Jr., so WR is not as important in my estimation as tight end is for the Colts offense. I was correct, as Pittman got the tag right before the deadline. The two parties agreed on a long-term 3-year deal, cementing Pittman in Indy for the long haul.

I initially loved Hunter Henry as a possibility for the Colts. Get this man reunited with Shane Steichen in Indianapolis from their days spent in San Diego. Third-year tight end Jelani Woods can’t be relied on after missing all of 2023, and the Colts don’t have another difference maker at tight end on the roster. That was so apparent last year when they would split tight-end snaps between three and even four tight ends at times. Mo Alie-Cox can be cut for a zero dead cap hit with a potential “out” in the final year of his 2024 contract. Henry provides Anthony Richardson with a big red-zone target, which is by far Henry’s biggest asset to an offense.

But with Henry signing back to NE, we might see the Colts draft a tight end. Georgia tight end Brock Bowers could be an option at No.15 overall.

Across the OL, all the starters are expected back, with Ryan Kelly the lone starter on the last year of his deal. Rookie RT Blake Freeland struggled in action as a rookie, but he’s a nice depth piece with experience under his belt. No need to overly address the OL aside from depth with the strong core intact from 2023. Top-10 PFF pass and run blocking unit in 2023.
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Jacksonville Jaguars

The Jaguars are in an interesting position in the NFL Draft with the 17th overall pick because the odds are in their favor that they can get a solid CB or tackle option to solve their team’s most obvious needs after a disastrous second half of the 2023 season. Four top 100 draft picks (as well as a projected 3rd-round compensatory draft pick coming their way).

Both their starting LGs from last season are free agents. Left tackles Cam Robinson and Walker Little will be FAs in 2025. Ezra Cleveland was signed to a three-year deal to be the stalworth LG. This signing ensures that have a starting OL intact before the 2024 NFL Draft. They further bolstered the OL with center Mitch Morse, inking him to a two-year deal worth $10.5 million. Gives them more interior depth alongside Luke Fortner.

Two of the starting CBs – Tyson Campbell and Darious Williams will be FAs at the end of the season. The only CB they are losing this season is Tre Herndon, but he can be easily replaced in-house by Antonio Johnson (2nd-highest graded CB on the Jaguars last season). Williams didn’t make it to the end of his deal, getting released already. He signed with the Rams (where he started his career).

He will be replaced by Ronald Darby among the veteran CBs.

They also signed safety Darnell Savage to a three-year contract, formerly of the Packers.

WR becomes a top priority if they can’t keep Calvin Ridley. Zay Jones will be an FA at the end of the year. If the Jaguars re-sign the 29-year-old WR, the 2024 3rd-rounder they sent to Atlanta will escalate to a second-round pick in this year’s draft. His QB and GM have been vocal about ‘wanting’ to keep Ridley in the building. Given the gambling suspension and inconsistent play in 2023, hard to imagine Ridley getting any better deals – especially long-term – from an outside party. Think he knows he still has a lot to prove.

The Jaguars didn’t wait to figure out Ridley’s plans, opting to sign Gabe Davis to a three-year $39 million deal. Real-life JAG becomes a Jacksonville JAG. They also added Devin Duvernay.

Josh Allen is expected to get the franchise tag after a career year, keeping the pass rush at a high level in DUVAL alongside Travon Walker. Allen alone helps make up for the potential losses of other FA edge rushers who played in Jacksonville last season. Still, they will need depth across the DL. They drafted Yasir Abdullah last season, who can probably fill the void vacated by someone like Dawuane Smoot.

DL Arik Armstead signed with the Jaguars (former Trent Baalke draft pick connection)
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Kansas City Chiefs

I have to imagine that the KC Chiefs invest heavily in surrounding Patrick Mahomes with more weapons. With Rashee Rice entrenched as the possession receiver, they need to add a speedy ROOKIE WR like Oregon’s Troy Franklin or Texas’ Xavier Worthy as another (and reliable) big-play threat to Mahomes’ arsenal.

Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Justin Watson and Kadarius Toney are all free agents at the end of the season. Mecole Hardman and Richie James are free agents this offseason. The team already cut MVS.

They signed Marquise Brown to a one-year deal worth $7 million.

The Chiefs are listed with +125 odds to draft a WR first per DraftKings Sportsbook, followed by OL (+200), DL/EDGE (+330), and then Safety/CB (+1300). Brett Veach drafted a defensive lineman in five of the last seven drafts in the top three rounds. Last year, the trend continued with the selection of defensive end Felix Anudike-Uzomah.

Elsewhere offensively, the offensive tackle might need some love. Donovan Smith is a free agent. They drafted Wayna Morris in the third round last year, but he hardly showed out as a rookie. Still, he could theoretically slide in as the starting LT in 2024 and beyond. Lucas Niang is another option in-house at tackle, but he is in the final year of his deal as well. Same for starting center Creed Humphrey.

Running back needs some depth behind Isiah Pacheco. Jerick McKinnon and Clyde Edwards-Helaire are both FAs. The same goes for tight end, with Travis Kelce not getting any younger.

Chris Jones and L’Jarius Sneed are the Chiefs’ two most high-profile defensive FA agents, and will need to be replaced if KC cannot retain them. Chances are, they will not be able to keep both of them, making DL/CB areas to address. Given that KC has superior depth at CB, I’d bet they let Sneed walk first before they let Jones hit the open market. However, that turned out not to be the case, given that Sneed got the franchise tag. He is still a tag and trade candidate.

Jones signed a massive 5-year deal with the Chiefs before the free agency period.

Across the DL, KC drafted Felix Anudike-Uzomah in the first round last season. He will have to take on a larger role with Jones – among other multiple DL and edge players – hitting – hitting FA. DT Derrick Nnadi needs to be upgraded from badly – as one of PFF’s lowest-graded defenders the last two seasons. But like last season, he’s back on another super cheap deal.

Charles Omenihu was fourth in pressures generated and will be a FA in 2025. Pass rusher Mike Danna is a FA already.

Lastly, safety needs to be fine-tuned. Mike Edwards is FA and Justin Reid will be one in 2025. However, the in-house options are strong between last year’s fourth-rounder Chamarri Conner and Bryan Cook. Conner was yet another hit that the Chiefs organization has made on a Day 3 secondary player.

They signed Deon Bush as a veteran safety piece.

Leo Chenal stepped up at linebacker as a 2022 third-round pick, making it less important for KC to be concerned about losing Drue Tranquill and/or Willie Gay. The Chiefs addressed the linebacker room early on during the FA period, by re-signing Tranquill to a three-year deal. Gay signed with the Saints.
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Las Vegas Raiders

Aidan O’Connell flashed at times as a rookie, but he hardly has a vice grip on the QB1 job in Las Vegas. The team has discussed bringing in QB competition for him, and they will have to add at least another body, with Jimmy Garoppolo released. The salary cap space makes this possible. They signed Gardner Minshew to a two-year deal.

Josh Jacobs left for the Packers in free agency. Looks like Zamir White is in the driver’s seat to be the RB1 for the Black Hole. Makes sense, given how well a much cheaper White played the last part of the season. The team also re-signed Ameer Abdullah.

I also expect the team to cut ties with Hunter Renfrow. He was released to clear nearly $8M in cap space.

The OL could look very different – which should not be overlooked. The entire ride side of the OL is hitting FA, along with center Andre James. The team re-signed James to a three-year deal before FA started ($24 million).

Thayer Munford can probably kick over to one of the starting roles, but that won’t fill all the holes blocking upfront. LV is 30th in OL spending.

CB Jakorian Bennett struggled as a rookie, and they will lose Amik Robertson as another CB starter in FA (signed with the Lions).

The Raiders also have some holes on their interior defensive line. They invested in defensive linemen highly in last year’s draft, but neither Tyree Wilson nor Byron Young showed much as rookies. So they splurged on the high-profile free agent: Christian Wilkins. 4 years and $110 million.

LV has the cap space to retain most of their own FAs (specifically in the trenches), but there’s likely to be one or two that slip through depending on how they approach the QB spot.
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Los Angeles Chargers

It’s a new era in L.A. with Jim Harbaugh entrenched as the new head coach. They don’t have much cap space at the time of this writing, but that’s because they have a TON of bloated contract hits for 2024. That will not be the case, as they will certainly release/trade players like Mike Williams to free up cap room under new management.


The “needs” for the Chargers will get larger before they get smaller.

This roster has a chance to look extremely different from years prior, and I am here for it. LA needs a fresh coat of paint. And maybe a roster filled with fewer “superstar” names is the exact approach they need.

Austin Ekeler (as is Joshua Kelley) is likely gone, making this backfield a prime spot for a rookie or high-end free-agent rusher.

Tight end is also a need, with Gerald Everett on an expired deal. The team signed Will Dissly to a three-year deal worth $14M and they also signed Hayden Hurst.

But Harbaugh LOVES tight ends, so that may not stop them from adding another in the draft.

As I mentioned before, Williams will likely be released, making WR a top need. But it’s even more of a need given that Keenan Allen was traded to the Bears for a 4th-rounder.

Josh Palmer is in the last year of his contract. Also, Quentin Johnston? Yes, he’s already a bust.

Across the OL, the Chargers are returning all their starters. They were a horrible run-blocking unit in 2023 – last in PFF grading – which won’t fly under Harbaugh. Don’t be shocked to see this unit get shaken up with newer, improved talent.

Corey Linsley has been mulling retirement, making the center a positional need. Brenden Jaimes is a potential in-house option.

Trey Pipkins III is the starting RT but finished in the bottom 10 in pressures allowed. There’s hardly any reason for the Chargers to forego drafting a top tackle in this year’s draft.

Defensively, edge rusher needs an injection of youth – given that Khalil Mack is in the final year of his deal, as is Morgan Fox.

The Chargers did get a decent bit out of last year’s second-rounder, though, so don’t be overly aggressive in projecting them for a pass-rusher. Tuli Tuipulotu had 8 sacks as a rookie.

Interior DL is a larger need, given the long list of their FAs. LAC is 31st in spending on the DL (first in WR and LB spending).

Lastly in their secondary, they need help desperately after last year’s abysmal showing.

Asante Samuel Jr. is a lynchpin piece, but everybody else needs to go. Michael Davis and Essang Bassey are FAs. Ja’Sir Taylor is a bad slot CB. This team cannot trot out Deane Leonard as a starter in 2024 as a former 2022 seventh-round pick.

They also need another safety to line up opposite Derwin James, with Alohi Gilman as a free agent. He was one of the few bright spots on their defense in 2023. They also recently released LB Eric Kendricks (signed with the 49ers).

Step 1 for the Chargers this offseason is to cut the guys blowing up their salary cap, ie. Khalil Mack and Joey Bosa are both due over $36M this season.
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Los Angeles Rams

The Rams skated through last season with almost zero investment in their defense. No team has less money invested in their secondary than the Rams. Finishing 21st in pass defense DVOA with a no-name secondary unit is impressive, but there’s obvious room for growth – 32nd in PFF coverage grade.

I’d imagine they invest heavily in defensive backs in the NFL Draft.

They have drafted more defensive backs in the first three rounds than any other position. In 2022, they drafted two cornerbacks and a safety with three of their first five selections. After completely foregoing any defensive back in last year’s draft, their draft strategy should normalize with secondary options. They brought back Darious Williams after his disappointing two-year stint in Jacksonville.

Ahkello Witherspoon is a free agent, as are last year’s two starting safeties: John Johnson and Jordan Fuller. Safety Kamren Curl (who led the Commanders in tackles in 2023) signed with the Rams (2 years).

After that, on defense, it’s the defensive line. Aaron Donald is in the final year of his contract along with Bobby Brown. Kobie Turner was a hit last season, and edge Byron Young contributed in a meaningful way. But free agent Michael Hoecht finished fourth on the team in snaps played.

On the OL, tackle Joseph Noteboom is in the final year of his contract along with guard Coleman Shelton (signed with the Bears).

Center Brian Allen was already released. Kevin Dotson was a free agent, but the Rams wisely re-signed him before he could hit the open market. He signed a 3-year $48 million contract extension.

Needless to say, offensive linemen will be a top priority for the Rams after their unit performed well above expectations in 2023. They were a much better run-blocking team than the pass-blocking team. The Rams are listed with +275 odds to draft an OL first per DraftKings Sportsbook, followed by CB (+275), and then QB/DL/EDGE (+330).

If they do not take the requisite steps to maintain their OL, we could see this running game take a step back in 2024.

So far though, they are taking the right steps by also signing Jonah Jackson at guard. 5 years and $51 million. A big loss for the Lions is a massive gain for LA.

Only the Eagles are spending less financially at RB than the Rams.

I would expect another running back to join Kyren Williams in the Rams’ backfield. Should be noted that the team did re-sign RFA, Ronnie Rivers.

Same for WR and TE, given the recent injuries to Cooper Kupp and Tyler Higbee. Demarcus Robinson re-signed a one-year deal with the Rams, presumably as they did not want to run it back with Tutu Atwell as WR3.

Some coaching notes on the Rams that also deserve to be highlighted.  Former Bears/Falcons coach Dave Ragone was hired as the Rams QB coach. He’s worked closely with pass-catching specialist RBs like Cordarrelle Patterson and Tarik Cohen to solid success.

For additional tight-end depth, the Rams signed Colby Parkinson to a three-year, $22.5 million deal including $15.5 million guaranteed.

The Rams tight end role is very advantageous, given that Higbee finished the 2023 season with the 8th-highest routes run rate at 73%.

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Miami Dolphins

Miami could go in plenty of different directions with the 21st overall pick, with needs ranging from WR, OL, TE, or EDGE. But ultimately, I side with their OL as the No. 1 need. They have a boatload of interior guys hitting free agency, and the tackles have been inconsistent. Isaiah Wynn – shocker – is not the long-term answer. Terron Armstead can’t stay healthy for a full season.

Liam Eichenberg was horrible again – PFF’s third-lowest graded center in 2023. Connor Williams is their top guy, but he’s an FA coming off an injury.

The Dolphins added to their IOL with center Aaron Brewer.

Per DraftKings Sportsbook, the Dolphins’ shortest odds are to select an OL with their first selection at +110, followed by DL/EDGE (+240) and CB (+450).

It’s a big concern, given they don’t have any salary cap space to work with. They only have two draft picks inside the top 60. They are strong “trade-down” candidates.

The Tua Tagovailoa contract situation is also looming.

WR depth behind Jaylen Waddle and Tyreek Hill should also be looked at. Waddle is playing in the last year of his rookie deal.

Tight end – should Miami want one in their offense – also makes sense to upgrade after getting little production from the position a season ago. After he was released from the Falcons, Jonnu Smith inked a two-year deal with the Dolphins. 2 years worth $10 million. Not the worst landing spot for an overly athletic tight end who will be 29 in August. Given head coach Mike McDaniel’s ties to the 49ers with George Kittle, don’t completely knock at the Smith addition in South Beach.

On defense, Jaelan Phillips will also be up for a new contract at the end of the year. It comes at a really bad time with Miami’s DL missing guys like Andrew Van Dinkel (Vikings), Raekwon Davis (Colts) and Christian Wilkins (Raiders) also free agents in 2024. To add legitimate insult to injury, Bradley Chubb‘s Week 17 torn ACL adds another wrinkle to the Dolphins’ pass rush woes into next season. The team also cut DE Emmanuel Ogbah to save close to $14M in cap space.

Their defensive back situation is also precarious. Safeties DeShon Elliott (Steelers) and Brandon Jones (Broncos), and Jevon Holland is in the last year of his deal. CB Keion Crossen was released.

Even with older CBs, I don’t think Miami will overly pursue the position. Cam Smith was a top draft pick last season and only played 5 games. They might “try” to get ahead of the potential downfall of Xavien Howard – but the dead cap hit is massive in 2024. He has since been released.

CB Kendall Fuller signed with the Dolphins

They added Jordyn Brooks at linebacker. Jordan Poyer was slated to be FA in 2025, but Buffalo already cut ties with him. Poyer signed with Miami.

All in all, the Dolphins aren’t in great shape heading into this offseason with a plethora of free agents, the 2nd-worst cap situation, and just two draft picks in the top 150.
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Minnesota Vikings

Minnesota acquired a 2024 1st-round pick (#23) and a 2024 7th-round pick (#232) in a trade with the Texans. Houston acquired a 2024 2nd round pick (#42), 2024 6th round pick (#188) and a 2025 2nd round pick.

The Vikings generated PFF’s second-worst pass-rush grade in 2023 despite blitzing at the highest rate in the NFL (51.5%). Simply put, Brian Flores’ scheme is trying to make up for the lack of sheer talent across the barren defensive line. They need to address the glaring issue by investing in a premier pass rusher.

Harrison Phillips and Dean Lowy are 2025 free agents, to make matters worse, given the four other 2024 free agents they have on the DL.

D.J. Wonnum played over 800 snaps on the Vikings’ DL last season and signed with the Panthers.

Therefore, Minnesota made a splashy FA signing with DL Jonathan Greenard, who signed a 4 year $76 million contract with Minnesota. They also signed
Andrew Van Ginkel.

As I have learned studying the tendencies from Kwesi Adofo-Mensah’s drafts as GM include his willingness to have no fear of targeting players that come with injury red flags at a suppressed price. He also apparently loves PFF, so it is something to keep in the back of your mind as we link certain players to the Vikings in both free agency and the NFL Draft. He also knows the value of quantity over quality when it comes to the NFL Draft, which I envision him taking advantage of with only two picks inside the top 100 selections.

At CB, Byron Murphy is entering the last year of his contract. They drafted two CBs last season, with Mekhi Blackmon playing well enough to be a feasible piece in 2024. Still, Andrew Booth Jr. has barely played over the last 2 seasons. Akayleb Evans should not be viewed as a legitimate stater after finishing as the team’s worst CB in 2023.

The Vikings really could use an improved slot CB/S considering both Murphy and Josh Metellus were bad defending the inside in 2023.

LB Jordan Hicks is a free agent (signed with the Browns), so they might need a new primary off-ball LB. I would imagine they roll the dice on Ivan Pace Jr., who exceeded expectations as an undrafted free agent last season. But Pace might not be enough with Anthony Barr and Troy Dye also FA linebackers. They signed LB Blake Cashman to a three-year deal.

On offense, the two most pressing needs come down to the post-life without Kirk Cousins and Justin Jefferson extension. Not to mention, LT Christian Darrisaw needs to get signed long-term as well. All of the backup tackles and guards in Minnesota are FAs.

The Vikings’ inability to retain Cousins suggests that they will add another body in FA (Sam Darnold-type) while drafting a rookie QB in this year’s upcoming draft. As a result, the offense will likely not be as productive, hurting the likes of WRs Justin Jefferson and Jordan Addison, etc.

They did exactly that, adding Darnold on a one-year deal worth $10 million.

Give credit Darnold for providing a spark to a lifeless Carolina Panthers offense over the team’s last five games during the 2022 season. The former first-round selection tied a bow that season, averaging 18.1 fantasy points per game as the QB13 from Weeks 12-17. Overall, his 8.2 yards per attempt marked a career-high. Darnold is far from elite, but among the former first-round castoff QBs available on the market, he’s probably the best option in the short-term/long-term. He will only be 27 by the time the season starts, so perhaps the story with him as NFL quarterback isn’t finished. If he’s in a favorable system, he can be an average QB for fantasy purposes.

Last year’s starting RG Dalton Risner is an FA.

WR3 also might need to be upgraded with slot WRs K.J. Osborn and Brandon Powell on expired deals. This might be a bigger need than most would anticipate, given that the offense will likely miss T.J. Hockenson for some time to start the season after he tore his ACL late in 2023. A tight end could use a bump or at least some more insurance.

The team re-signed Johnny Mundt to a contract extension. Mundt could inherit the TE1 receiving role while Hockenson rehabs from a torn ACL injury. Mundt was productive in that starting tight end role in the last two weeks of the 2023 season, playing in 76% of the snaps while posting stat lines of 4-39-1 and 5-58-0 on 6.5 targets per game.

Alexander Mattison was entering the last year of the deal he signed last offseason. He has already been released. Ty Chandler RB1 szn (for now). But that didn’t last long with the Vikings adding Aaron Jones on a one-year deal less than 24 hours after his release from the Packers.

As written in FantasyPros’ Aaron Jones Agrees to Deal With Vikings: Fantasy Football Impact & Takeaways (2024) full article by Pat Fitzmaurice, Jones missed time with injuries in 2023, playing just 11 games.

He was terrific for Green Bay down the stretch, closing out the regular season with three consecutive 100-yard rushing games, then rushing for more than 100 yards in each of the Packers’ two playoff games, including a 118-yard, three-TD performance in a win over the Cowboys. Should be noted that Dillon missed time during this period, and that Jones may have greatly benefitted from “fresh legs.”

The headline with Jones landing in Minnesota is completely tied to his health, which is a real concern for the 29-year-old RB who will be 30 in December. There’s also no long-term commitment from his new team, so Minnesota can “churn and burn” as they please. Jones has never been a touch monster, so he has to win with efficiency. I for one am skeptical that an RB like Jones – the lowest rushing yards over expectation in his last four seasons in 2023 – will beat me in fantasy. Especially in an offense led by Sam Darnold or a rookie QB. I was “off” Jones last season, to success. He’s never been a true “featured” RB, specifically in the red zone. This rookie RB class has massive RBs.

No need to change the script now. Fade Jones. 19% bust rate in 2022. 20% bust rate in 2023.

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New England Patriots

Where to begin? Third-most cap space in a new regime.

The 3rd-overall pick is where the NFL Draft could get wild. With Eliot Wolf and Jerod Mayo coming in as the new Patriots GM/HC duo, this completely deprived roster could go in any which direction. QB is the chalk pick (among the top names in the draft remaining), BPA on offense between WR/OL or trades down – all cannot be ruled out.

I rest in the camp that unless the Patriots LOVE the top QB with the third overall pick, they will go in a different direction between a receiver or tackle. If Belichick were still calling the shots – trading down would be the most logical outcome. But under the new regime, I think that’s less likely to happen in this year’s draft.

Mac Jones is rumored to be a trade candidate, but new OC Alex Van Pelt said in his opening presser that “everything is on the table.” Under a new coaching staff, perhaps the Jones era has not come to an end…stay tuned.

Well, that didn’t last long. Jones was traded to the Jaguars for a sixth-round pick. End of an era. Any guesses on what the Patriots will do with the third overall pick?

Even if the Patriots are big spenders in FA – namely, adding Jacoby Brissett as a bridge QB for one year and $8 million – I don’t think it will impact their draft plans. They need talent point blank, position scarcity withstanding. But because they have so much cap space, they can dramatically rehaul the roster to appear much better for a rookie signal caller. If they go overly aggressive with FA moves, it could be a sign of things to come when the third overall pick comes around.

Wolf’s tenure with the Cleveland Browns suggests that he is analytical-driven and that strongly points in the direction of the QB position. If that position hits, it’s the biggest win for the roster overall. If not a QB, then I’d presume it’s a trade-down scenario where they look to draft another QB either later in Round 1 or the start of Round 2.

They desperately need OL help – 31st in OL spending currently. No tackles. Trent Brown was the best pass-blocker and will be gone in FA.

The rest of their tackles were a disaster, with the strengths of the OL, primarily the interior, regarding run-blocking. It kills them that Mike Onwenu is also an FA. Luckily they were able to retain him on a 3-year $57 million deal.

They don’t have any starting tackles on the roster. At least ones they should be confident in. Conor McDermott might be able to fill one spot, but he’s under contract for just one more year.

After heavy investing in the IOL in last year’s draft to some success – New England needs to get up to speed badly at OT. Only IOL I could see them drafting an early successor to center David Andrews, who is in the last year of his deal. Note that they do have center Jake Andrews on the roster, who they drafted in 2023.

The Patriots and Bengals are the only two teams with no tight ends on the roster.

On offense, it’s better to just say the only position they don’t need is RB. Feed Rhamondre Stevenson for a contract year till he throws up. And dear lord, get Jalen Reagor OFF THE FIELD.

The Patriots did re-sign Hunter Henry to a 3-year deal worth $27 million ($30 million max). Step 1 to building around a rookie QB. Check.

And as I projected in the FA tight end primer, Austin Hooper also signed with the Patriots. He played under new OC Alex Van Pelt with the Browns, who loves to utilize two tight ends sets in his offense. Still, don’t expect any to make much noise in fantasy unless he gets a boatload of volume. Hooper’s 81% catch rate ranked top-5 last season. Hooper’s top-6 fantasy finishes in Atlanta from 2018-2019 seem like a distant memory.

They also re-signed Kendrick Bourne to a 3-year, $19.5 million contract. He will be 29 years old in 2024, coming off a Week 8 torn ACL injury. Before his injury, Bourne was the fantasy WR28 averaging 10.2 points per game in half-PPR (38th). Led the Patriots with a 19.4% target share with a 28% air yards share.

It’s crazy that a team that owned the third-worst record in the NFL boasted a top-10 defense in DVOA without its two best players for most of the season (Matt Judon, Christian Gonzalez). Judon is entering the last year of his contract.

Gonzalez was just one of the Patriots’ draft picks that “hit” last season, as they got notable contributions from Keion White and Demario Douglas. There’s bound to be some regression as the team (especially early on) without head coach Belichick, specifically if they lose safety Kyle Dugger. Dugger did get hit with the transition tag, which likely projects him to remain a Patriot.

Other than Dugger, the defense will look pretty similar to the 2023 version. Myles Bryant at slot CB might be the only other area of need on defense. Note that they will get a fully healthy Marcus Jones back after he played two games last season. Don’t be shocked to see Bryant reunite with Flores in Minnesota as a free agent.

But looking ahead to 2025, they could lose guys like Jonathan Jones, Jabrill Peppers, Davon Godchaux and Christian Barmore.

Anfernee Jennings was a great run defender in 2023 and will be an FA. The Patiots re-signed him to a three-year $12 million deal. They also brought back OLB Josh Uche to a one-year contract.

Look for them to draft a grizzly DT to get ahead of some losses while continuing to add more depth at CB, as they tend to often do. So far this offseason they have already released DT Lawrence Guy, S Adrian Phillips and CB J.C. Jackson as they look to LOAD UP during free agency.
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New Orleans Saints

The Saints have had a bottom-10 PFF pass-blocking grade in back-to-back seasons. Trevor Penning has been a colossal bust as a former 2021 first-round pick. Andrus Peat (also declining), Cameron Erving and James Hurst are all slated to hit free agency. New Orleans should get back to the basics with an offensive tackle at the top of the draft.

Michael Thomas is unreliable and will be an FA in 2025. He has been designated as a Post June 1st cut.

Juwan Johnson is also in the last year of his deal. WR/TE might not be obvious offensive needs, but the Saints could invest in these positions.

Overall, the Saints don’t have a ton of free agents – hence their lack of salary cap space – so the roster doesn’t project to look much better heading into 2024.

Derek Carr did enough in the second half of last season to keep the starting job in 2024. But after the 2024 season, his dead cap falls to $17 million versus his $45 million salary cap hit. If he underwhelms in 2024, he could be on the way out of New Orleans. Ergo, I would not rule out the Saints adding a QB in this year’s draft class under new OC Klint Kubiak. They won’t add any QBs in free agency with Carr entrenched as the starter, so I think these odds will only improve that the Saints take a rookie passer, given that the Vikings, Raiders, Patriots, Broncos and Falcons are in more dire straits at the QB position currently. Those teams will likely alter their QB rooms in free agency, pushing their odds of selecting a rookie signal caller down the board.

The fact that the Saints don’t have many “needs” per se makes them a strong candidate, in my estimates, to go QB if they cannot draft a premier OT or edge rusher as their two main needs.

New Orleans’ defense also posted a bottom-five pressure rate in 2023. They need edge rush presence after hitting defensive tackle selections in back-to-back in last year’s draft. Bryan Bresee was a non-factor in Year 1, whereas Isaiah Foskey made a larger impact from the get-go.

At linebacker, the only FA is Zack Baun. But both Pete Warner and Demario Davis will see their contract ends in 2025. Davis signed a new two-year deal.

Add linebacker to the needs list. Same with safety, with expiring deals for both Marcus Maye and Tyrann Mathieu. Although the Saints just re-did Mathieu’s deal with a two-year contract extension. They cut Maye.

The cornerback position is in decent shape, but the injuries for Marshon Lattimore have to be concerning. Isaac Yiadom is a FA after his best season to date with the Saints. Paulson Adebo is a strong young starter, but will also see his contract expire at the end of the season.

If anything, the Saints need a new Nickelback to replace Alontae Taylor, as no CB allowed more catches or yards per game from the slot than the former 2022 2nd-round pick.

Given all the money NO is spending, the roster is hardly represented by financial investment, with crucial holes on the offensive and defensive lines. And a team can only go so far with Carr who has already restricted his contract to create cap room (approximately $23 million). The Saints are already hard at work restructuring contracts to free up salary cap space ie. Carr, Nathan Shepard, Cameron Jordan and Erik McCoy.

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New York Giants

Evan Neal was horrible in 2023, grading out as PFF’s 3rd-worst tackle in 7 games played. Two years in, and the former 7th overall selection in the 2022 Draft has been a colossal bust. The Giants offensive line was horrible overall in 2023, with the league’s second-worst pass-blocking grade. So yet again, OL is at the top of the board for the Giants. Both of their starting guards from last season are also FAs. Mark Glowinski has already been released with him previously scheduled to hit FA in 2025.

They signed Jermaine Elumunor as a potential RT replacement. 2 years and $14 million.

New York was connected to several of last year’s top WRs throughout the draft process but ultimately went the defensive route in Round 1 with Deonte Banks. They drafted Jalin Hyatt in Round 3, but that will not dissuade them from doubling down on an obvious area of weakness in one of the strongest WR classes in recent years. The Giants finished 32nd in total PFF receiving grade in 2023. Darius Slayton will be an FA at the end of the season.

The only WR FA move they made was signing Isaiah McKenzie.

RB will need to be addressed if they cannot get a deal done with Saquon Barkley. After playing the 2023 season on the franchise tag, Barkley is seeking a long-term deal from the Giants. Reports have stated that Big Blue will let him test the waters of free agency, and the 27-year-old will allow New York to match or exceed the best offer. They drafted Eric Gray last season.

On defense, it starts with edge rushers. They are going to lose guys Azzez Ojulari and Carlos Basham Jr. to FA potentially in 2025.

They made a splashy trade by acquiring DE Brian Burns from the Panthers for a 2nd and 5th-round picks.

Next, it’s CBs. And this might be an even more of an immediate need than an edge rusher. Adoree Jackson is a free agent, and Banks didn’t deliver as a first-round pick last year. They got some production out of RFA Nick McCloud, but it remains to be seen if they can rely on him in a full-time role in 2024 and beyond.

Xavier McKinney was one of the few bright spots on defense last year at safety, and he is an FA that the Giants might not be able to keep around. Like Barkley, he also signed with the Eagles.

The team has Daniel Jones under contract with an out in his contract in 2025. Should they be feeling “buyer’s remorse” they might draft a new QB with three picks inside the top 50. The Jones’ contract has them in a bind for 2024.
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New York Jets

Two words. Offensive line. Whoever the top tackle remaining on the NFL Draft Board will inevitably be the Jets selection at No. 10 after they missed out on the top tier in last year’s class thanks to Bill Belichick. Unless they add during the free agency period, which is also a strong possibility if they are looking for a more immediate band-aid fix, as Aaron Rodgers isn’t getting any younger.

Rumor has it that GM Joe Douglas already has an affinity for the Oregon State tackle. This lines up with Douglas’ recent tendencies to draft players from Power Five schools. Taliese Fuaga was PFF’s second-highest graded tackle in 2023 lining up as the team’s starting right tackle the past two seasons.

Just how bad was the Jets’ O-Line last season? Alijah Vera-Tucker posted the highest PFF blocking grade in five games played. AVT is also entering the last year of his rookie deal (5th-year option withstanding).

Tackle Mekhi Becton (who is a free agent) was their highest-graded pass-blocker (60.7). Ranked outside the top 60 tackles. Essentially the worst starting-caliber tackle in the NFL last season.

OG Laken Tomlinson is an FA at the end of the season. Center Connor McGovern is also a free agent, but the Jets should be glad to move on. He was PFF’s 34th-graded center…out of 37 qualifiers. Expect 2023 second-rounder Joe Tippmann to be the starting center in 2024. They also signed IOL John Simpson from the Giants.

Per DraftKings Sportsbook, the Jets’ betting odds are to an OL with their first selection are listed at -145, followed by WR and DL/EDGE.

Interestingly enough, the Jets also traded for OT Morgan Moses. Moses was traded from the Ravens after finishing last season as PFF’s 10th-highest-graded tackle. He figures to slide in at the starting RT position. He played with the Jets back in 2021.

Speaking of Rodgers, his age (40) and status coming off the torn Achilles injury make backup QB a position the Jets can’t afford to overlook in 2024. Tyrod Taylor is a great backup fit.

More WR depth also seems necessary, given the lack of depth behind Garrett Wilson. We should expect to see more from Allen Lazard with Rodgers under center, but the former Packers’ disappointing Year 1 with Gang Green will surely have the organization looking for alternative options at pass-catcher.

Jason Brownlee, Xavier Gipson and Charles Irvin are not No. 2 WRs or No. 3 WRs.

Tight ends C.J. Uzomah and Tyler Conklin are both entering the last years of their respective contracts with the Jets. They have Jeremy Ruckert entering his third season on a rookie deal. They team actually out-right released, Uzomah.

Defense is the last thing that the Jets “need” to worry about, but there are a few areas that shouldn’t be overlooked after they add to the offense.

Both of the team’s starting safeties are free agents. LB C.J. Moseley, CB D.J. Reed and CB Michael Carter are FAs at the end of the season. Another cornerback investment in the draft makes sense as they get ahead of losses heading into 2025.

This season, the only big player on defense the Jets might lose is edge rusher Bryce Huff (Eagles) and his team-high 10 sacks. However, they have last year’s 1st-rounder, Will McDonald IV, waiting in the wings for an expanded role.

Javon Kinlaw will also reunite with Robert Saleh in the New York DL trenches.
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Philadelphia Eagles

The Eagles’ defense regressed in a major way in 2023, especially at cornerback, with their veteran starters playing way past their prime. They desperately need to rehaul their secondary entirely between cornerback and safety.

Bradley Roby (32) is a free agent. They traded for safety Kevin Byard last season (who they just released), despite one more year in his deal. Slot cornerback Avonte Maddox will also be a free agent in 2025. He is expected to be released. They signed Xavier McKinney to fill the void at safety.

They drafted safety Syndey Brown last season in the 3rd round. They also drafted CB Kelee Ringo, who turned it out down the stretch when the Eagles got hit with CB injuries.

But this team loves to invest high-end draft picks into their OL more than any other position. And when in doubt, the Eagles usually just draft a player from Georgia.

Amarius Mims was Georgia’s starting RT the last two seasons, although he missed time with injuries in 2023. But in the seven games he did play – he allowed just one pressure. The guy is an absolute mammoth, measuring 6-foot-7 at 340 pounds.

Jason Kelce is expected to retire, but the Eagles were ahead of this when they drafted Cam Jurgens and Tyler Steen in back-to-back drafts.

Landon Dickerson was entering the last year of his contract. but the Eagles are too keen on letting their OL pieces hit free agency. He signed a 4-year, $84 million extension.

The Eagles added additional depth across the OL with the signing of Matt Hennessy. The former Falcons IOL missed all of last season with a knee injury. He was PFF’s third-highest graded run-blocker in 2021.

Sua Opeta and Jack Driscoll are already free agents for 2024, testing the depth of the Eagles’ IOL. Lane Johnson isn’t getting any younger at age 34.

The Eagles’ top two WRs are studs, but they have a severe lack of depth behind them. Julio Jones is not the WR3 answer nor is Quez Watkins/Olamide Zaccheaus. Not to mention, DeVonta Smith will be entering the 5th year of his career in 2025. They signed DeVante Parker to a one-year deal.

In a WR-rich class, it would behoove the Eagles to invest in a rookie pass-catcher. They have four picks inside the top 100.

No team is spending less at RB than the Eagles. Kenneth Gainwell and Tyrion Davis-Price are the only RBs currently under contract on the roster.

And how the times have changed. Philly spent BIG on Saquon Barkley to be their future RB1. 3 years and $38 million.

Philly also “needs” linebacker depth, but GM Howie Roseman (like with RBs) never invests much of anything in off-ball linebackers. So it doesn’t matter. They signed Devin White to a one-year deal worth $7.5 million anyway.

The Eagles’ DL is stacked, but they might lose Haason Reddick. He’s in the final year of his deal and has expressed the desire to be traded. Brandon Graham (signed for another year) and Fletcher Cox (retired) FAs after solid years, won’t contribute as much as they did last season.

Josh Sweat is also in a contract year. But what do they say about hungry pass-rushers? They eat. And the Eagles DL should continue to feast with Bryce Huff added to the fold on a 3-year $51 million contract. More on Sweat and his longshot odds at DPOY can be viewed in my BettingPros article: Erickson’s Top 2024 NFL Futures: Odds, Picks & Predictions.

But with Nolan Smith and Jalen Carter their top two picks from last season, I don’t envision any big DL spending. Secondary needs more help.

The market seems down on the Eagles overall after last year’s utter collapse, but Philly has made a lot of great moves to shore up their coordinator roles after losing Gannon/Steichen after the 2022 season. Kellen Moore and Vic Fango didn’t work in their last gigs, but they have highly decorated pedigrees to get both the offense/defense operating at a high level. And as long as Philly continues to dominate the trenches, they will be a tough out in the NFC. Jalen Hurts dealt with many injuries in 2024 – bone bruise in knee, finger injury – that shouldn’t be forgotten about.

They are in a solid cap space situation and have a boatload of projected compensatory picks coming their way. When a linebacker headlines a team’s “needs,” the team is in solid shape.
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Pittsburgh Steelers

This Steelers’ top non-QB priorities in free agency/draft will likely come down between OL and CB; the same situation as last season. Incumbent left tackle starter Dan Moore Jr. is a 2025 free agent and is coming off a season as PFF’s 6th-lowest graded tackle. They can and should upgrade at LT. They already released OT Chukwuma Okorafor (who signed with the Patriots).

Rookie RT Broderick Jones was also horrible, but it’s just one year. He cannot be written off that quickly.

Even though all their OL starters should return from last season, they can upgrade everywhere. Most notably at tackle, as previously mentioned, and center. Mason Cole was horrible in 2023 – PFF’s lowest-graded Steelers OL player – and his contract expires in 2025. He was already released.

James Daniels and Nate Herbig are also FAs in 2025. IOL and OT are both major needs after the Steelers posted the second-worst passing block grade in 2023 per PFF. Keep in mind they “upgraded” the OL last offseason.

However the need for CB is lessened given the trade with the Panthers for Donte Jackson. The WR needs increases with Diontae Johnson now a Panther.

Elsewhere on offense, solving the QB problem is priority numero uno. Even though the narrative is around the Steelers being “in” on marquee QB names on the move like Justin Fields or Russell Wilson, I’d bet they just sign Mason Rudolph/Ryan Tannehill and make Kenny Pickett “earn” the starting job entering Year 3 under new OC, Arthur Smith. The Steelers have weapons on offense, but it’s just a matter of configuring the right scheme, along with the right pairing with QB/OL.

This is the Steelers we are talking about, after all, where all they care about is competition for all 53 spots on the roster. No QB is going to be “given” the job. Hence my hesitance to see them trading a ton of capital to acquire one.

My priors were confirmed, with them singing a dirt-cheap Russell Wilson to a contract worth just $1.2 million. The Broncos are paying him to play for the Steelers.

Despite Wilson’s flaws last season, he’s an upgrade from what the Steelers QB’s play was last season. Pickett, Rudolph and Mitchell Trubisky combined for an AV (Approximate Value per PFR) of 10. 6 from Pickett and 2 from the other QBs. Wilson’s AV was 12 in 2023. That would have been second-best on the Steelers entire roster last season (T.J. Watt).

WR/TE depth is also a potential area of growth. Diontae Johnson was traded. Pat Freiermuth is in the last year of his contract. And there’s not much behind him aside from George Pickens. They already released Allen Robinson.

Unless we expect tight end Darnell Washington to take a massive leap in Year 2. The former Georgia Bulldog caught 7 passes as a rookie.

Defensively, CB, S and LB depth highlight the major needs. However, the Steelers wisely invested in these spots in last year’s draft. They have CB Cory Trice, who missed all of last season on IR. Two of last year’s top CBs are free agents. Patrick Peterson is beyond cooked entering the last year of his contract. He has already been released.

Nick Herbig was a big hit in the 3rd round at linebacker, but he’s more of a rotational pass-rusher as opposed to an off-ball LB.

Interior defensive linemen also need love. Cameron Heyward isn’t getting any younger entering the last year of his deal. IDL players Armon Watts and Montravius Adams are free agents. They re-signed Adams to a 2-year deal.

Keeanu Benton was a hit last season, but it’s not enough.
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San Francisco 49ers

The 49ers have gone defensive with their first selection in five of the last seven drafts.

This year, I’d presume it’s a BPA approach. So we could get yet another first-rounder DL to the 49ers come draft day. There may be a void across the defensive line if the 49ers are unable to retain Randy Gregory, Clein Ferrell (Commanders), Sebastian Joseph-Day, Javon Kinlaw or Chase Young in free agency. Similar to how things were last offseason for this team. Leonard Floyd signed a two-year deal.

Arik Armstead is also in the final year of his deal and has already been released. He signed with the Jaguars (former Trent Baalke draft pick connection)

The 49ers’ betting odds of going with the DL/edge position per DraftKings Sportsbook are +235, with OL the only odds that are shorter at +150. Then it’s CB (+300) followed by much longer shots at WR/S (+700, +1200).

OL makes a ton of sense as the 49ers’ other top need, given that two of their starters last season – Jake Brendel and Spencer Burford – were well below league average at center and right guard. Jon Feliciano is also a free agent. Aaron Banks will be a free agent at the end of 2024. Colton McKivitz re-signed a 1-year deal with the 49ers.

The secondary is another glaring need, given it’s been the biggest weakness for the 49ers defense the last two seasons. They had to sign Logan Ryan off the street last year to play nickelback.

Charvarius Ward, Isiah Oliver(signed by the Jets), Deommodore Lenoir and Ambry Thomas are also free agents at the end of the year. The team already cut Oliver.

Safety Tashaun Gipson is a free agent with Talanoa Hufanga in the final year of his contract. They got a solid return from Penn State safety Ji’Ayir Brown as a rookie, but they will need at least one more safety by the time 2025 kicks off. WR is last, especially with all the buzz around Brandon Aiyuk on the trade block.

Linebacker Dre Greenlaw will be coming off a torn Achilles that he suffered in the Super Bowl, entering the last year of his contract. Puts the 49ers in a position to need another inside linebacker alongside Fred Warner.
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Seattle Seahawks

Mike Macdonald is IN as the new head coach for the Seattle Seahawks, and there’s certainly credence to his defensive background influencing the first pick in the 2024 NFL Draft.

Last year’s defense struggled – specifically with rookie edge rusher and last year’s second-rounder, Derick Hall. They need to improve the pass rush across the defensive line in 2024. Their run defense was also a major liability.

Leonard Williams is BACK on a three-year deal but Mario Edwards is a free agent. DT Jarran Reed will be an FA in 2025.

The Seahawks do have former Michigan Wolverine pass rusher Mike Morris from last year’s draft class, who previously played under Macdonald in college. Morris missed almost all of his rookie year with an injury.

On the offensive line, Seattle got wrecked by injuries a season ago. And the entire starting interior OL – Damien Lewis, Phil Haynes and Evan Brown – is hitting free agency. Rookie Anthony Bradford was forced to start last year but was horrible in 12 games played. Olusegun Oluwatimi was drafted as a potential center replacement last season and was solid in his four games played as a rookie.

Charles Cross can man the LT spot, but the Seahawks need Abraham Lucas to get healthy at RT. Without Lucas, the Seahawks had no answers at RT all year.

More on defense: safety and linebacker are the top needs. Those positions were integral to Macdonald’s defense in Baltimore. Quandre Diggs and Julian Love can fill the gaps in 2024, but they will both be FAs at the end of the year. Jamal Adams is expected to be released.

Adams was subsequently released, but that was alongside Diggs in somewhat of a surprising move. Love will be very busy manning the Seattle secondary.

Linebackers Bobby Wagner (2nd in the NFL in tackles, now with Washington) and Jordyn Brooks (Dolphins). LB Tyrel Dodson signed with Seattle.

Don’t be shocked if we see any FA Ravens find their way up to the Northwest to reunite with Macdonald in Seattle.

And given the lack of draft picks for Seattle – zero 2nd-rounders due to the Leonard Williams trade – I don’t envision them truly being contenders in the QB draft market.

They also need a tight end desperately, given that both Noah Fant and Will Dissly are free agents. The team looked like they could move on from veteran Tyler Lockett, but he signed a 2-year $30 million restructured contract extension.

Dissly is gone, but Fant will return. More on that signing can be read here: Noah Fant Re-Signs With Seahawks: Fantasy Football Impact & Takeaways (2024). However, he was not the only tight end the Seahawks signed during free agency. They signed ex-Patriots tight end, Pharaoh Brown to a 1-year deal.

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Buccaneers look like they are going to bring back Baker Mayfield in free agency, putting them outside the Round 1 QB market. On the eve of the legal tampering period, the Buccaneers signed the former No. 1 overall pick to a 3-year deal worth $100M with $50M guaranteed

Instead, anticipate Tampa to bolster their secondary that was gashed for the fourth-most passing yards per game in 2023.

Even if with last year’s starting CBs back, both safeties are up for new deals. Carlton Davis is playing in the last year of his contract and was traded to the Lions for draft picks. They signed Bryce Hall

Shaquil Barrett was in the last year of his deal, which means we could see the Buccaneers add another edge rusher in the draft. Barrett was out right released by Tampa Bay. He signed with the Dolphins.

They have enough interior disruptors after drafting Calijah Kancey in Round 1 last year. Although rookie edge YaYa Diaby may have shown enough with 9 sacks (2nd-most among rookies) to direct Tampa Bay in another direction than edge rusher early in the NFL Draft or free agency.

Linebacker Lavonte David is a free agent making linebacker another area to address – 7th overall in tackles last season. He re-signed a one-year deal with the Buccaneers.

On offense, the Buccaneers could not run block for a lick in 2023. They need to get better play from the interior of their offensive line. Last year’s second-rounder Cody Mauch needs to play much better in Year 2. Guard Aaron Stinne is a free agent and his backup Matt Feiler is as well.

The Buccaneers won’t lose Mike Evans in free agency after he re-signed for another two years, but they will likely have to add more WRs anyway, given that both Chris Godwin and Russell Gage (who spent all last season on IR) are in the last year of their deals.

Had it not been for injuries, we could have seen Chase Edmonds have a much larger role in the Buccaneers’ offense, given how badly Rachaad White started the season. Edmonds signed a one-year deal with the Buccaneers.
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Tennessee Titans

The Titans have expressed faith that Will Levis can be their future franchise QB. They brought in an offensive-minded head coach Brian Callahan, to aid in the development of their second-year QB in the post-Mike Vrabel era. OL is still an obvious need even after they selected an OL in the top 10 last season and finished close to average in adjusted line yards.

Tennessee was still a bottom-10 graded pass-blocking unit. However, their 31st-ranked adjusted sack rate can be attributed to their QBs’ propensity to take sacks – 22% sack-to-pressure rate ranked 12th last season. With Brian’s father Bill Callahan joining as the OL coach, there’s credence to believing that he can “coach up” the existing OL pieces, while also adding a more favorable offensive scheme to get the ball out of Levis’s hands quicker.

It’s a classic scenario that Callahan saw firsthand when the Bengals selected Ja’Marr Chase over Peni Sewell back in 2021.

The new head coach also had some interesting comments about OL vs WR in an offseason interview.

“I tend to lean to the position that can score touchdowns because if you play the quarterback position well and if you are playing it right, you can negate some of the issues you have in pass protection.”

Center Aaron Brewer (Dolphins) and RT Chris Hubbard are free agents. Hubbard was the Titans’ “best” pass-blocker last season. Brewer was the highest-graded overall lineman. Big losses potentially to an already bad OL.

Note that the Titans will get back starting tackle Nicholas Petit-Frere after missing almost all of the 2023 season due to injury/suspension. They need him, given that OG/OT Daniel Brunskill and Dillon Radunz are free agents in 2025. Andre Dillard is also horrible.

Lloyd Cushenberry signed with the Titans in free agency, likely as their new center. They also signed Saahdiq Charles at guard from the Commanders.

The ownership in Tennessee is kicking itself for trading A.J. Brown a few years back, and I’d bet they get a legitimate No. 1 WR to fill the void alongside DeAndre Hopkins as he enters the twilight of his NFL career (and the final year of his contract).

They elected to not wait until the NFL Draft to add to their WR room, signing Calvin Ridley from the Jaguars to a 4-year $92 million contract. More on the big signing here: Calvin Ridley Signs With Tennessee Titans: Fantasy Football Impact & Takeaways (2024). The Titans also brought back Nick Westbrook, solidifying the top WRs on the depth chart. RIP, Treylon Burks.

Tight end is also a big area, given the lack of production from Chigoziem Okonkwo in his second season. Possible that Tennessee might not value the TE position, given the Bengals’ lack of TE production under Callahan the last several years.

In the backfield, it will no longer be the Derrick Henry show. Instead, it will be a two-headed monster between Tony Pollard and Tyjae Spears. Pollard signed a 3 year $24 million contract with Tennessee.

The Titans drafted zero defensive players in the 2023 NFL Draft. And that’s going to hurt them big in 2024, as they have a boatload of starters that need new deals across EDGE, DL, and CB.

Last year’s starting CBs are both free agents. Chidobe Awuzie signed in FA for a three-year deal.

Safety K’Von Wallace is a free agent. Linebacker Azeez Al-Shaair is also a free agent after leading the team in tackles (10th). He signed with the Texans. Tennesse replaced him with Kenneth Murray.

The Titan’s roster in its current state is a bit of a s* show, but they do have sufficient salary cap space to improve the squad. Likely FA more so, as the Titans do not have any 3rd-round picks due to their trade with Arizona when they traded up to select Levis last season.
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Washington Commanders

The hiring of Kliff Kingsbury as the team’s new offensive coordinator has rumors flying that the Commanders will trade up to No.1 to select Caleb Williams out of USC. After all, Kingsbury recently worked with USC in 2023 as the team’s senior offensive analyst. I think QB is going to be the selection at the top for the Commanders, but it’s no guarantee that Washington can seize the No. 1 pick from Chicago to select Williams. As a result, they will likely take their next highest-ranked QB.

It will be interesting to see if they move on from Sam Howell, considering they also signed Marcus Mariota as a veteran FA. They traded Howell to the Seahawks.

Once they figure out QB, it’s back to the pass rush basics with the Commanders. After trading away both Chase Young and Montez Sweat, this team desperately needs to inject more youthful pass-rush juice back into the defensive front. Lucky for them, they have all the cap space in the world to do so, plus a surplus of draft picks.

The entire defense needs a fresh coat of paint.

CB Emmanuel Forbes struggled as a rookie, but his first-round pedigree will keep him entrenched as a starter for one more season.

Kendall Fuller signed with the Dolphins. Safety Kamren Curl (who led the team in tackles) signed with the Rams. Fuller was the Commanders’ highest-graded defender per PFF in 2023. He will be replaced by Jeremy Chinn.

Fellow starting CB Benjamin St. Juste is in the final year of his contract. S Jartavius Martin was a bright spot as a rookie, making it likely the team feels okay at safety. Third-year pro Percy Butler also fits the box safety mold.

Across the OL, their LG and C are on expired deals. Center Tyler Larsen was horrible, so he will need to be replaced. Nick Gates looked like he could slide into the center role in 2024 but he was also cut. The new starting center will be Tyler Biadasz. He is now in Washington with the Commanders after being in Dallas.

Charles was equally bad at guard, but there’s no in-house alternative for him unless last year’s third-rounder – Ricky Stromberg – steps up and gets healthy. The Commanders also signed guard Nick Allegretti from the Chiefs.

Charles Leno was entrenched as a starting tackle, but he has already been released. Braeden Daniels was drafted in the 4th round last season and could logically leap over Andrew Wiley as the team’s RT in 2024. Daniels missed the 2023 season on IR. Cornelius Lucas is also a free agent as one of the few LTs hitting the open market.

Both of the Commanders’ top two tight ends will be FAs at the end of the season, between Logan Thomas and John Bates. Thomas looked like a serious candidate to be cut for salary cap reasons, and that is what happened. The team replaced one veteran tight with another, by inking Zach Ertz to a one-year deal worth $5M. Kliff Kingsbury gets his tight end from their days spent in Arizona. Considering Kingsbury played Ertz consistently over Trey McBride, there’s some credence to him having a decent-sized role even at 33 years old.

Linebacker Cody Barton will be an FA, as well as Khaleke Hudson and David Mayo. Linebacker could be a depth need, but the Commanders are hoping that Jabril Cox can contribute more in 2024. They also signed Frankie Luvu. Bobby Wagner (2nd in the NFL in tackles in 2023) is also now with Washington, reuiting with Dann Quinn.

Given all the cap space the Commanders have, along with five picks within the first three rounds, it’s hard to see them not “winning” the offseason. After all, it’s easy to improve the most coming from rock bottom after you trade away many of your best players. But the fact that Kingsbury will have full control of the offense…we will surely see him go after “his guys” as this team builds up from rock bottom.

With Anthony Lynn brought in as the run game coordinator/running backs, I definitely could see some former Chargers (Williams, Ekeler) finding their way to the nation’s capital. Ekeler would be a logical replacement for Antonio Gibson, who signed a three-year deal with the Patriots. Ekeler ultimately did sign with the Commanders, for two years.

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