Every NFL Team's Biggest Need to Fill in 2023 Offseason

Kristopher Knox @ @kris_knox Correspondent I February 14, 2023

Every NFL Team's Biggest Need to Fill in 2023 Offseason

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    ARLINGTON, TX - APRIL 27:  The New England Patriot Logo on the video board during the second round of the 2018 NFL Draft on April 27, 2018, at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX.   (Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
    Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

    Congratulations are in order for the Kansas City Chiefs, who outlasted the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LVII. The Chiefs will undoubtedly savor the victory for a few days, but before long, Kansas City, Philadelphia and the NFL's other 30 teams will be focused on next season.

    Each franchise hopes to feel in a year how the Chiefs feel today.

    The start of NFL free agency (March 15) is just over a month away and the 2023 draft (April 27-29) is on the not-too-distant horizon. Over the coming weeks and months, all 32 NFL teams will—or at least should —formulate a plan for improving in the offseason.

    The first step to improvement, of course, is identifying where weaknesses lie. With this in mind, let's examine all 32 clubs and their single biggest flaws heading into the start of free agency.

    Based on factors like 2022 production, roster makeup and this year's crop of impending free agents, we'll identify each franchise's biggest weakness and how it could address it this spring.

    Teams are listed in alphabetical order.

Arizona Cardinals: Offensive Line

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    Cardinals C Rodney Hudson
    Cardinals C Rodney Hudson Steph Chambers/Getty Images

    The Arizona Cardinals may be in the market for a bridge quarterback as Kyler Murray continues to recover from a torn ACL. However, they do have Colt McCoy under contract for 2023 and will need to place a much bigger emphasis on their offensive line.

    A large contingent of linemen are set to reach free agency, including center Rodney Hudson, right tackle Kelvin Beachum and guards Will Hernandez and Justin Pugh—plus backups Max Garcia, Billy Price, Cody Ford, Rashaad Coward and Sean Harlow.

    With $13.5 million in projected cap space, the Cardinals could re-sign or replace a few linemen in free agency. However, they may not have the capital to chase some of the top free agents, like Orlando Brown Jr., Nate Davis, Ben Powers or Jason Kelce.

    Signing one of them would be a win.

    Expect the line to be a significant focus in the 2023 draft. While the Cardinals might not target a lineman at No. 3 overall, trading down and grabbing a prospect like Northwestern interior lineman Peter Skoronski or Ohio State tackle Paris Johnson Jr. could make plenty of sense.

    Minnesota center John Michael Schmitz should be considered a top target for Arizona on Day 2.

Atlanta Falcons: Cornerback

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    Falcons CB Isaiah Oliver
    Falcons CB Isaiah Oliver John Byrum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

    Some might consider quarterback as a top need for the Atlanta Falcons. However, they may have found something in 2022 third-round pick Desmond Ridder, who went 2-2 as a starter while posting a respectable 86.4 quarterback rating.

    Giving Ridder another year of development while keeping an eye on the 2024 quarterback class would be reasonable.

    The Falcons, though, need to address their cornerback position immediately. They ranked 29th in yards per pass attempt allowed ( 6.8 ) last season and could lose Isaiah Oliver, one of their few reliable corners, in free agency.

    Oliver appeared in 12 games with five starts this past season and allowed an opposing passer rating of only 76.2 in coverage.

    With $56.4 million in projected cap space, Atlanta could afford to chase top free-agent corners such as James Bradberry, Jamel Dean, Rock Ya-Sin and Patrick Peterson. It would be a mild surprise if the team doesn't add at least one proven veteran at the position next month.

    In the draft, the Falcons may target cornerbacks like Penn State's Joey Porter Jr. and Utah's Clark Phillips III . They hold the eighth pick, and it would be unsurprising to see them take the top cornerback on the board on Day 1.

Baltimore Ravens: Wide Receiver

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    Ohio State WR  Jaxon Smith-Njigba
    Ohio State WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

    The top need could change if the Baltimore Ravens are unable to retain starting quarterback Lamar Jackson. According to ESPN's Jeremy Fowler , Baltimore and Jackson "could possibly be $100 million apart" in contract discussions.

    The Ravens are projected to have $27.8 million in cap space, but $100 million is a significant gap.

    However, the Ravens do have a Pro Bowl backup in Tyler Huntley and are better positioned than most teams to potentially lose a young starting signal-caller.

    If Baltimore hopes to support Jackson and/or Huntley in 2023, it desperately needs to find a reliable No. 1 wideout, though. The Ravens operate with tight end Mark Andrews as their de facto No. 1 receiver, which is fine, but they haven't gotten consistent play from perimeter pass-catchers.

    Demarcus Robinson led all Ravens wideouts with just 458 yards and two touchdowns last season. Even in a run-oriented offense like Baltimore's, that should be unacceptable.

    Unfortunately for receiver-needy teams, the free-agent market is mostly highlighted by complementary targets. JuJu Smith-Schuster and Odell Beckham Jr., who didn't play in 2022 while recovering from a torn ACL, are probably the closest available players to a No. 1 receiver.

    A trade could be a possibility. The Cardinals, for example, will explore moving DeAndre Hopkins, according to The Score's Jordan Schultz . But this may be a position Baltimore will attack in the draft.

    Expect top receiver prospects like Ohio State's Jaxon Smith-Njigba and SMU's Rashee Rice to be on the team's radar with the 23rd pick.

Buffalo Bills: Interior Offensive Line

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    Florida OL  O'Cyrus Torrence
    Florida OL O'Cyrus Torrence Michael Wade/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

    An argument could be made for safety, as Jordan Poyer, Dean Marlow and Jaquan Johnson are set to become free agents. Re-signing Poyer, a 2022 Pro Bowler, could be particularly difficult, as the Buffalo Bills have a projected $20.5 million cap deficit.

    However, this team is built around quarterback Josh Allen. And if Allen is going to be successful, Buffalo must ensure that he has adequate protection. This wasn't the case in the postseason, as he was sacked eight times in two games and was under tremendous pressure.

    The Bills could also lose guard Rodger Saffold, plus backups Bobby Hart, Greg Van Roten and Ike Boettger in free agency.

    If Buffalo can create the necessary cap space, a free-agent guard like Nate Davis or Ben Powers would be a logical offseason target. However, the Bills may have to reload their interior line in the 2023 draft.

    A prospect like Florida's O'Cyrus Torrence would make plenty of sense at the bottom of Round 1, and the Bills should be doing their homework on potential Day 2 picks like TCU's Steve Avila and North Dakota State's Cody Mauch.

Carolina Panthers: Quarterback

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    Panthers QB Sam Darnold
    Panthers QB Sam Darnold Chris Graythen/Getty Images

    The Carolina Panthers have their new head coach in Frank Reich. Their next step in the offseason must be finding a quarterback.

    The team jettisoned offseason trade acquisition Baker Mayfield in December, and while Sam Darnold did have some flashes down the stretch (92.6 rating), he hasn't shown enough to be considered a long-term answer at the game's most important position.

    The Panthers do have 2022 third-round pick Matt Corral, but he missed his entire rookie campaign with a Lisfranc injury and is an unknown.

    "You've got to have stability at quarterback," Reich told reporters .

    The Panthers lack that stability, and while they could find it in a veteran like Derek Carr or Jimmy Garoppolo, they should be eyeing the draft for a more permanent solution.

    Holding the ninth pick, Carolina is well-positioned to target a signal-caller on opening night. While that could require a trade up, that would be acceptable if the move yields long-term reliability at the position.

    Ohio State's C.J. Stroud , Alabama's Bryce Young and Florida's Anthony Richardson are all ranked inside the top 32 prospects on the Bleacher Report Scouting Department's latest big board and could be prime targets for Carolina. Given the importance of the position, Kentucky's Will Levis (No. 37 ranking) could also slide into the first round.

Chicago Bears: Impact Defender

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    Georgia DL Jalen Carter
    Georgia DL Jalen Carter Steve Limentani/ISI Photos/Getty Images

    The Chicago Bears appear to have an ascending quarterback in Justin Fields, who posted an 85.2 passer rating while rushing for 1,143 yards in 2022. However, they will likely manufacture the image they are considering a new signal-caller in order to increase the trade value of their No. 1 overall pick.

    In the coming weeks, we'll see how well general manager Ryan Poles can play the smokescreen game.

    "Some league sources here for the Senior Bowl suggest that the Bears could conceivably trade back twice if Poles can manufacture a smokescreen that Chicago is interested in a quarterback," Heavy's Matt Lombardo wrote.

    Regardless of where Chicago ultimately picks, it needs to land an impact defender—ideally either Alabama's Will Anderson Jr. or Georgia's Jalen Carter , the top two prospects on the B/R big board.

    The Bears desperately need defensive difference-makers regardless of their position. Chicago traded Robert Quinn and Roquan Smith before the Nov. 1 deadline and finished the year ranked 26th in yards per rush allowed (4.9), 32nd in yards per pass allowed (7.4), 29th in total yards allowed and 32nd in points allowed.

    With a league-high $98.7 million in projected cap space, the Bears could also chase top free agents like Bradberry, linebacker Lavonte David, edge-rusher Arden Key and defensive tackle Daron Payne in free agency.

    However, coming away with a top defensive prospect like Anderson, Carter, Clemson edge-rusher Myles Murphy or Penn State corner Joey Porter Jr. in the draft is practically a must.

Cincinnati Bengals: Offensive Tackle

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    Bengals OT La'el Collins
    Bengals OT La'el Collins Nick Cammett/Diamond Images via Getty Images

    The Cincinnati Bengals took steps to improve their offensive line last offseason, adding Ted Karras, Alex Cappa and La'el Collins before drafting Cordell Volson in the fourth round.

    Yet, their line still underwhelmed. Injuries played a role, as Cincinnati was without Collins (torn ACL and MCL), Cappa (ankle) and left tackle Jonah Williams (knee) when it fell to the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC title game. However, the line wasn't great before that, finishing the regular season with 44 sacks surrendered.

    Collins, who suffered his injury in Week 16, may not be ready for 2023. Williams, meanwhile, remains a liability. He was responsible for four penalties and 12 sacks surrendered, according to Pro Football Focus .

    If the Bengals hope to remain perennial title contenders, they need to find one or more reliable tackles this offseason. With $35.7 million in projected cap space, they could chase free agents like Orlando Brown Jr. and Mike McGlinchey on the open market. This could be the preferable route, as Cincinnati hasn't had the best of luck drafting and developing linemen.

    Williams is a low-tier starter at best, while 2021 second-round pick Jackson Carman is trending toward bust territory (eight total starts, including playoffs). Volson was OK in 2022, though he was responsible for five penalties and five sacks, according to PFF . Former first-round picks Cedric Ogbuehi (2015) and Billy Price (2018) did not pan out.

    If Cincinnati does roll the dice in the draft again, prospects like Georgia's Broderick Jones and Syracuse's Matthew Bergeron could be on their radar early.

Cleveland Browns: Defensive Line

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    USC DL Tuli Tuipulotu
    USC DL Tuli Tuipulotu Matthew Visinsky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

    The Cleveland Browns have no bigger need than defensive tackle. They lacked both talent and depth on the interior throughout 2022, which created two huge problems.

    For one, Cleveland (34 sacks, a bottom-five mark) struggled to consistently generate pressure despite having Myles Garrett and Jadeveon Clowney on the edges. Secondly, the Browns' run defense was an embarrassment. The unit ranked 25th in both rushing yards per game (135.0) and yards per attempt (4.7) allowed.

    The need for defensive linemen was compounded by last month's hiring of defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz, who has traditionally prioritized the position.

    "Schwartz's resume is loaded with experience coaching star defensive linemen, and the primary objective of his scheme calls for upgrades in the trenches," Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal wrote.

    Facing a $14.4 million cap deficit, the Browns may not get in on top free-agent defensive linemen like Daron Payne or Dre'Mont Jones. However, they'll likely scour the market for budget options.

    In the draft, it will be a major surprise if Cleveland doesn't use its second-round pick—its only selection in the first three rounds—on a D-line prospect like USC's Tuli Tuipulotu, Michigan's Mazi Smith or Ohio State's Zach Harrison.

Dallas Cowboys: Linebacker

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    Cowboys LB Leighton Vander Esch
    Cowboys LB Leighton Vander Esch Sam Hodde/Getty Images

    The Dallas Cowboys' top need could change, depending on which players they are able to retain. Key contributors like running back Tony Pollard, tight end Dalton Schultz, pass-rusher Dante Fowler Jr. and cornerback Anthony Brown are all slated to hit the market.

    However, linebacker is a position Dallas needs to address regardless. Leighton Vander Esch is set to reach free agency, and stopping the run at the second level was a problem even with him on the roster in 2022.

    Dallas ranked 15th in yards per carry allowed (4.4), 22nd in rushing yards allowed and surrendered more than 100 rushing yards in five of its final eight games, including the playoffs.

    A quality run-stopping linebacker like David Long or Drue Tranquill would make sense in free agency. However, the Cowboys are facing a $7.6 million cap deficit and could struggle just to re-sign some of their own players.

    Expect them to focus on reloading through the draft, where linebackers like Clemson's Trenton Simpson and Arkansas' Drew Sanders could become targets at No. 27. Dallas could also consider prospects like Iowa's Jack Campbell and Oregon's Noah Sewell on Day 2.

Denver Broncos: Offensive Line

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    Broncos OT Billy Turner
    Broncos OT Billy Turner Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

    If things go according to plan for the Denver Broncos, new head coach Sean Payton will help quarterback Russell Wilson get back to the Pro Bowl form he consistently exhibited before arriving in the Mile High City.

    For that to happen, though, the Broncos will need to ensure they have a quality offensive line. Wilson was sacked a league-high 55 times in 2022 (tied with Justin Fields) despite playing in only 15 games.

    Additionally, Denver could lose left guard Dalton Risner, right tackle Billy Turner and backups Cameron Fleming, Tom Compton and Calvin Anderson in free agency.

    Payton plans to support Wilson with a good defense and strong running game, but the quarterback cannot perform as expected if he's constantly under pressure.

    With just $12 million in projected cap space, Denver would do well to convince Risner and/or Turner to return at a team-friendly rate. Other free agents, like Orlando Brown, Ben Powers and Mike McGlinchey, could also be on Denver's radar if it can free up a little cap space.

    Finding reliable linemen in the draft will be more difficult. Because of the trades for Wilson and Payton, the Broncos will have just a single third-round pick over the first two days.

    In the third round, prospects such as Maryland tackle Jaelyn Duncan, Oklahoma tackle Anton Harrison and Notre Dame interior lineman Jarrett Patterson could become logical options.

Detroit Lions: Cornerback

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    Utah CB Clark Phillips III
    Utah CB Clark Phillips III Ric Tapia/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

    The Detroit Lions emerged as a playoff-caliber team over the second half of 2022. They won eight of their final 10 games by leaning on an offense that ranked fourth overall and fifth in scoring.

    The Lions missed the playoffs, though, largely due to a defense that ranked 32nd overall and 28th in points allowed. They must dramatically improve that unit if they are going to be a high-end playoff contender in 2023.

    Detroit's biggest defensive need? A quality starting cornerback.

    2020 third-overall pick Jeff Okudah took significant strides in 2022, starting 15 games after starting just 10 over his first two seasons because of injuries, including a torn Achilles in 2021. He also finished with an opposing passer rating below 100 for the first time in his career, though his OPR of 87.6 was good, not great.

    Detroit finished the year ranked 31st in yards per pass attempt allowed ( 7.0 ) and could lose cornerbacks Mike Hughes, Amani Oruwariye and Will Harris in free agency.

    The organization has $15.9 million in projected cap space and could target a top free agent like James Bradberry or Jamel Dean. Fans should also expect to see the Lions examine multiple cornerback prospects leading into the 2023 draft.

    Corners like Joey Porter Jr., Clark Phillips III and South Carolina's Cam Smith should be firmly on Detroit's radar in Round 1, where the Lions hold the sixth and 18th selections. Prospects like Illinois' Devon Witherspoon and Alabama's Eli Ricks should also be of interest on Day 2.

Green Bay Packers: Tight End

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    Notre Dame TE Michael Mayer
    Notre Dame TE Michael Mayer Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

    The Green Bay Packers may not have Aaron Rodgers at quarterback in 2023. He hasn't committed to playing another year, and there's a chance the team will trade him during the offseason.

    "League sources believe the franchise prefers to move on from Rodgers, just as it once did with Brett Favre," ESPN's Adam Schefter wrote last month.

    Whether it's Rodgers or Jordan Love under center next season, though, the Packers need to improve their receiving corps. Green Bay ranked just 17th in passing yards per game (213.6) and 15th in yards per attempt (6.1) last season.

    Adding another receiver could make sense, but both Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs showed promise throughout their rookie campaigns. Adding a premier receiving tight end is a must, though.

    Robert Tonyan Jr. led the position group with 470 yards and two touchdowns, but he, Marcedes Lewis and Tyler Davis (restricted) are all expected to be free agents.

    Green Bay has a projected $17.5 million cap deficit, so chasing free agents like Dalton Schultz and Mike Gesicki will be unlikely unless the team clears significant space. The Packers would be well-served by targeting a tight end early in the draft.

    Notre Dame's Michael Mayer and Utah's Dalton Kincaid are both trending as first-rounders, according to the B/R Scouting Department. If the Packers are against using the 15th overall pick on a tight end, prospects like Georgia's Darnell Washington and Iowa's Sam LaPorta could quickly enter the Day 2 conversation.

Houston Texans: Quarterback

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    Ohio State QB C.J. Stroud
    Ohio State QB C.J. Stroud Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

    No surprises here. The Houston Texans gave 2021 third-round pick Davis Mills the better part of two seasons to prove himself. The former Stanford signal-caller showed some flashes, posting an 83.3 passer rating in his 28 appearances. However, he went just 5-19-1 as a starter and failed to show enough growth in Year 2 to be considered the quarterback of the future.

    Mills should still have a place on the roster as a developmental quarterback, but new head coach DeMeco Ryans will be looking for a higher-upside signal-caller this offseason.

    With $37.1 million in projected cap space, the Texans may take a flier on a veteran like Jimmy Garoppolo or Jacoby Brissett. However, they're almost certain to target a quarterback with the second overall pick in April.

    Stroud is the top-ranked QB on the B/R big board and has the tools needed to quickly become Houston's starter.

    "In the right environment, Stroud will raise the floor of an offense right away," Derrik Klassen of the B/R Scouting Department wrote. "He's got the pre-snap vision, arm talent and accuracy to be functional sooner rather than later, and the progress he showed as the year went on suggests he has a capacity to improve rapidly."

    However, the Texans should do their due diligence and settle on the best QB prospect for them, be it Stroud, Bryce Young, Anthony Richardson or Will Levis.

Indianapolis Colts: Quarterback

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    Alabama QB Bryce Young
    Alabama QB Bryce Young Sean Gardner/Getty Images

    The Indianapolis Colts have targeted Eagles offensive coordinator Shane Steichen for their head coaching job, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter . They'll next need to settle on a starting quarterback for the 2023 season.

    Indy's latest trial run with a Pro Bowl veteran didn't pan out. Matt Ryan won just four games while tossing 14 touchdowns against 13 interceptions and posting an 83.9 quarterback rating. If the Colts release him before March 17, they'll save $17.2 million in cap space.

    If that happens—and it should—the Colts will have roughly $29.1 million in cap space. They could go after a veteran like Derek Carr, Jimmy Garoppolo or Jacoby Brissett, a former Colt, and target a quarterback with the fourth overall selection.

    Adding a veteran like Carr would make some sense, as Indy has a lot of good pieces in place, including running back Jonathan Taylor, wideout Michael Pittman Jr. and a defense that ranked 15th overall in 2022. If Indy believes it is close to contending in the AFC South, it could pour money into a quarterback who can help it win right away.

    Looking at the big picture, though, the Colts have to consider a rookie quarterback too. After trotting out Philip Rivers, Carson Wentz and Ryan, it's time for them to draft and develop a player for the long term.

Jacksonville Jaguars: Cornerback

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    South Carolina CB Cam Smith
    South Carolina CB Cam Smith Charles Brock/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

    The Jacksonville Jaguars have found their quarterback in Trevor Lawrence. The 2021 first overall pick exploded under head coach Doug Pederson last season, posting a 95.2 passer rating, leading Jacksonville to the playoffs and making the Pro Bowl as an alternate.

    Jacksonville also got solid returns out of 2022 first-round picks Travon Walker and Devin Lloyd. With Walker and Lloyd set to headline the front seven for the foreseeable future, it's time for the Jags to upgrade their secondary.

    Tyson Campbell and nickelback Darious Williams were solid starters last season. However, Jacksonville ranked 28th in passing yards allowed, and Shaquill Griffin is a likely cap casualty. He missed the bulk of 2022 with a back injury and didn't perform particularly well before that.

    Griffin allowed an OPR above 109.0 in each of his two seasons in Jacksonville. The Jaguars could save $13.1 million by releasing him.

    Cutting or trading Griffin would help the Jaguars, who face a $32.5 million cap deficit. However, it's still unlikely that they'll find the room to chase a top free-agent corner like Jamel Dean or James Bradberry.

    Targeting a cornerback prospect like Cam Smith or Devon Witherspoon with the 25th pick would help Jacksonville continue building a great young core, with players like Lawrence, Walker and Lloyd at its center.

Kansas City Chiefs: Wide Receiver

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    Chiefs WR JuJu Smith-Schuster
    Chiefs WR JuJu Smith-Schuster Chris Unger/Getty Images

    The Chiefs got back to the Super Bowl despite trading top wideout Tyreek Hill last offseason. They patched together a quality receiving corps by signing JuJu Smith-Schuster and Marquez Valdes-Scantling and partnering them with the likes of Mecole Hardman, Justin Watson and rookie second-round pick Skyy Moore.

    Of course, having Travis Kelce at tight end helped tremendously.

    This offseason, though, the Chiefs could lose Smith-Schuster, Hardman and Watson in free agency. They may look to retain one of them, but with just $11 million in projected cap space, they probably won't look to overspend on a wideout on the open market.

    Retaining Brown at left tackle will be a much bigger priority. He has a projected market value of $22.4 million annually, and his contract will take precedence over any pass-catchers in free agency.

    However, Kansas City will have options in the draft. It could target a wideout like Rashee Rice, LSU's Kayshon Boutte or Boston College's Zay Flowers at the end of Round 1.

    Potential Day 2 prospects like North Carolina's Josh Downs and Wake Forest's A.T. Perry should also get serious consideration.

Las Vegas Raiders: Quarterback

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    Raiders QB Derek Carr
    Raiders QB Derek Carr Mark Alberti/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

    Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr will be out by Wednesday. That's when his $32.9 million 2023 base salary and $7.5 million of his 2024 salary will become guaranteed. It became clear the Raiders decided to move on when they made Jarrett Stidham the starter for Weeks 17 and 18.

    Expect Las Vegas to explore all avenues when it comes to replacing Carr. Bringing back Stidham could be part of the plan. Using the $17.5 million in projected cap space to sign a quarterback could also be part of it.

    Jimmy Garoppolo and Jacoby Brissett—two quarterbacks who played under Raiders head coach Josh McDaniels with the New England Patriots—are logical free-agent targets.

    Las Vegas might consider trading for Packers QB Aaron Rodgers as well. If Green Bay deals Rodgers after June 1, it can save $15.8 million against the 2023 cap. If the Raiders got him, they would take on reasonable cap hits of $15.8 million next season and $32.5 million in 2024.

    Then, there's the draft, where the Raiders hold the seventh overall pick. A prospect like C.J. Stroud or Bryce Young could become their next quarterback of the future.

    Carr, a four-time Pro Bowler, brought stability to the game's most important position for nearly a decade. Finding a way to replace him is Las Vegas' biggest task this offseason.

Los Angeles Chargers: Defensive Tackle

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    Baylor DL  Siaki Ika
    Baylor DL Siaki Ika John E. Moore III/Getty Images

    The defensive line was a huge problem for the Los Angeles Chargers in 2022. The unit wasn't particularly strong to begin with, and it was hit by injuries. L.A. finished the year dead last in yards per carry allowed (5.4),

    During the season, the Chargers lost Austin Johnson (knee), Otito Ogbonnia (quad) and Christian Covington (pectoral) to injury. They also parted with 2019 first-round pick Jerry Tillery after failing to trade him at the deadline.

    Covington, Tyeler Davison and Breiden Fehoko (exclusive rights) are scheduled to be free agents.

    With a projected $19.8 million cap deficit, the Chargers probably can't chase big-money free agents like Daron Payne, Dre'Mont Jones or Poona Ford on the open market. Perhaps they can get a better bargain in a player like Larry Ogunjobi or Akiem Hicks.

    However, the draft is where L.A. will likely look to address the position. With the 22nd overall pick, prospects like Texas Tech defensive lineman Tyree Wilson and Baylor defensive lineman Siaki Ika could be top targets.

    On Day 2, players like Tuli Tuipulotu, Florida's Gervon Dexter Sr. and Bowling Green's Karl Brooks should also get strong consideration from the Chargers.

Los Angeles Rams: Offensive Line

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    Syracuse OT Matthew Bergeron
    Syracuse OT Matthew Bergeron Michael Wade/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

    Left tackle Andrew Whitworth retired after the Los Angeles Rams won Super Bowl LVI, and the Rams offensive line struggled throughout the ensuing season. Los Angeles surrendered 59 sacks and averaged just 4.0 yards per carry (27th in the league) while stumbling to a 5-12 record.

    David Edwards, Ty Nsekhe, Oday Aboushi and Matt Skura are among L.A.'s impending free agents, and the Rams could afford a complete overhaul along the line.

    The problem is that with a $15 million cap deficit, Los Angeles won't be able to make many significant moves in free agency. Perhaps the Rams can clear enough space to sign a player such as Nate Davis, Isaiah Wynn or Rodger Saffold. However, it's more likely that the line will be a focus in the draft.

    While L.A. does not have a first-round pick—it's still paying on the Matthew Stafford trade—it does have second- and third-round selections with which to work.

    Prospects such as Broderick Jones, Matthew Bergeron, John Michael Schmitz, Jaelyn Duncan, North Dakota State interior lineman Cody Mauch and Ohio State tackle Dawand Jones would be logical targets.

Miami Dolphins: Running Back

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    Alabama RB Jahmyr Gibbs
    Alabama RB Jahmyr Gibbs Justin Ford/Getty Images

    The Miami Dolphins threw several running backs at the proverbial wall in the hopes that one would stick in 2022. Raheem Mostert, Jeff Wilson Jr., Chase Edmonds, Salvon Ahmed and Myles Gaskin all got playing time, but Miami ranked a mere 25th in rushing yards.

    Edmonds is already gone, having been traded to Denver as part of the Bradley Chubb deal. Mostert, Wilson, Ahmed (restricted) and Gaskin are scheduled to become free agents in March.

    If the Dolphins hope to bring any semblance of balance to their offense, they must address the position.

    While quality backs such as Miles Sanders, Saquon Barkley, Josh Jacobs and Kareem Hunt are slated to hit the market, the Dolphins face a $12.8 million cap deficit. If Miami plays the free-agency game, it will likely focus on bringing back Mostert and Wilson rather than the external market.

    Given that cap situation, though, targeting a back in the draft would be more sensible. While the Dolphins don't have a first-round pick—they forfeited one following the league's tampering investigation and included another in the Chubb package—they could attack the position in Round 2.

    Prospects such as Alabama's Jahmyr Gibbs , Texas A&M's Devon Achane and UCLA's Zach Charbonnet should be on Miami's radar.

Minnesota Vikings: Cornerback

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    Illinois CB  Devon Witherspoon
    Illinois CB Devon Witherspoon Joe Robbins/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

    The Minnesota Vikings, who ranked 31st in total defense and 28th in points allowed last season, need a defensive overhaul. The process began when Minnesota hired Brian Flores to replace coordinator Ed Donatell.

    It must continue with an influx of talent, and there isn't a bigger need than that of a quality shutdown cornerback.

    Minnesota drafted Andrew Booth Jr. in the second round last year, but he played only 105 snaps and underwent knee surgery in November. The Vikings ranked 30th in net yards per pass attempt allowed (6.9) and could lose Patrick Peterson, Chandon Sullivan and Kris Boyd via free agency.

    Ideally, the Vikings would find a way to add a proven starter such as James Bradberry or Jamel Dean, but with a $21.1 million cap deficit, that will be a lot easier in theory than it will be in practice. Instead, expect Minnesota to go back to the draft well.

    With the 24th selection, the Vikings could target Clark Phillips III, Cam Smith or Devon Witherspoon. While Minnesota doesn't have a second-round pick because of the T.J. Hockenson trade, it could eye Georgia's Kelee Ringo, Oregon's Christian Gonzalez and LSU's Jarrick Bernard-Converse in Round 3.

New England Patriots: Wide Receiver

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    Patriots WR Jakobi Meyers
    Patriots WR Jakobi Meyers Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images

    The New England Patriots offense was a mess in 2022. The coaching tandem of Matt Patricia and Joe Judge headed a bland and predictable unit that failed to leave opponents guessing. Quarterback Mac Jones, a 2021 Pro Bowler as a rookie, regressed, and New England missed the playoffs.

    The hiring of Bill O'Brien may help solve some issues. However, if the Patriots are going to field a more dynamic and explosive offense, they need to get some receivers.

    Jakobi Meyers led New England's wideouts with a mere 804 receiving yards last season. He, Nelson Agholor and special teams standout Matthew Slater are slated to reach free agency.

    Bringing back Meyers would be logical, as he does have chemistry with Jones. That won't be enough, though, and the Patriots should use a chunk of their $38 million in projected cap space to sign a proven receiver or two.

    JuJu Smith-Schuster, Odell Beckham Jr. and Richie James should top New England's free-agent wish list. The Patriots should also look for talented pass-catchers in the draft.

    With the 14th pick, New England could have a crack at Jordan Addison, Jaxon Smith-Njigba and Rashee Rice. Kayshon Boutte, Zay Flowers, Josh Downs, A.T. Perry and Virginia's Dontayvion Wicks should headline the Patriot's big board for Day 2.

New Orleans Saints: Quarterback

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    Saints QB Jameis Winston
    Saints QB Jameis Winston Nick Cammett/Diamond Images via Getty Images

    The New Orleans Saints have been searching for a quarterback since Drew Brees' retirement following the 2020 season. They have tried Jameis Winston, Andy Dalton, Taysom Hill and others over the past two years, and they'll likely be starting from scratch in 2023.

    Winston and Hill are under contract for 2023, but Winston is a likely cap casualty. If the Saints release him with a post-June 1 designation, they can save $12.8 million off the 2023 salary cap.

    Derek Carr appears to be New Orleans' Plan A at quarterback. The Saints have visited with him and "already have the framework" of a trade in place with Las Vegas, according to NFL Media's Tom Pelissero .

    There are two potential problems. For one, Carr has a no-trade clause in his contract and has told Las Vegas he won't agree to a trade, according to NFL Media's Ian Rapoport .

    The other issue is that New Orleans faces a league-high $57.4 million cap deficit. If the Saints land Carr, we'll have to see what sort of financial wizardry GM Mickey Loomis performed to make it happen.

    New Orleans also has the 30th pick in the draft from the Sean Payton trade. A prospect such as Anthony Richardson or Will Levis could become a target if they are available.

    Developmental quarterbacks such as Stanford's Tanner McKee, BYU's Jaren Hall and Tennessee's Hendon Hooker could also get the Saints' attention later in the draft.

New York Giants: Wide Receiver

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    Ohio State WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba
    Ohio State WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

    The New York Giants had a spectacular 2022 campaign, highlighted by a playoff berth and the emergence of Daniel Jones as a viable starting quarterback. Now, they have to work on re-signing Jones and running back Saquon Barkley—both impending free agents—but the future of the offense is bright.

    Head coach Brian Daboll did a lot for Jones' development, and what's impressive is that he did it without the aid of a top-flight receiving corps. Players such as Richie James, Darius Slayton and Isaiah Hodgins became Jones' go-to targets, but there was no true No. 1 receiver on the roster.

    That must change if Jones is to take more positive strides. New York could need more complementary receivers too, as James, Slayton and Sterling Shepard are all barreling toward free agency.

    While the Giants have $44.4 million in projected cap space, that figure will dwindle if Jones and Barkley are retained. Still, going after a wideout such as JuJu Smith-Schuster or Odell Beckham Jr. would be logical if it makes financial sense.

    Expect the Giants to target receivers in the draft as well. Trading up from No. 26 to secure a talent such as Jaxon Smith-Njigba or Jordan Addison, grabbing Rashee Rice or Kayshon Boutte and targeting Day 2 prospects A.T. Perry and Cedric Tillman should all be viable options.

New York Jets: Quarterback

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    Jets QB Zach Wilson
    Jets QB Zach Wilson Michael Owens/Getty Images

    Technically, the New York Jets have a quarterback. No. 2 pick Zach Wilson has at least two years left on his rookie deal and could still be part of New York's future. However, the BYU product has flopped in his first two seasons (70.9 passer rating), and the Jets should and will continue to examine other options.

    Bringing back Mike White, who twice replaced Wilson as the starter in 2022, could be part of the plan. The Jets are also reportedly eyeing Aaron Rodgers, if he's looking to play in 2023 and enters the trade market.

    "The buzz around the Jets and Rodgers was strong at the Senior Bowl and hasn't subsided this week," ESPN's Jeremy Fowler wrote Saturday. "The Jets believe they are close to contention. He's target A until proved otherwise."

    Quarterbacks such as Derek Carr and Jimmy Garoppolo could enter the picture as well, though it's worth noting the Jets will have to clear cap space to sign any signal-caller. New York is projected to be $3.1 million over the limit.

    Targeting a quarterback in the draft feels much less likely since New York is seeking one who can help it win now. The Jets have the 13th selection and could choose a prospect early if they believe there's a clear upgrade over Wilson.

    However, fans should expect the Jets to be all-in on more proven quarterbacks this offseason.

Philadelphia Eagles: Defensive Back

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    Penn State CB Joey Porter Jr.
    Penn State CB Joey Porter Jr. Randy Litzinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

    The Philadelphia Eagles exited the Super Bowl with several potential needs—and everything will hinge on which players they retain.

    Philadelphia's list of impending free agents includes James Bradberry, Jason Kelce, Miles Sanders, Fletcher Cox, Brandon Graham, Marcus Epps, C.J. Gardner-Johnson and Gardner Minshew.

    The Eagles planned for the eventual departures of Kelce and Cox by using early 2022 draft picks on defensive tackle Jordan Davis and center Cam Jurgens. But with Bradberry, Epps and Gardner-Johnson headed to free agency, the secondary could become a problem.

    The fact that the Eagles are projected to be $1.3 million over the cap won't help the retention process.

    Perhaps Philadelphia will bring back one of its defensive backs, but it is unlikely to be a big free-agent player. Instead, it will likely look for replacements in the draft with its two first-round picks and other selections.

    The Eagles have the 10th choice, which they obtained in a 2022 draft trade with the Saints. If they can land Joey Porter Jr., the top corner on the B/R board, that would go a long way toward reloading the secondary.

    Corners such as Clark Phillips III and Cam Smith should get consideration at the bottom of Round 1, while safeties such as Alabama's Brian Branch and Georgia's Christopher Smith will get looks as well.

    Expect Philadelphia to target defensive backs over draft weekend as it prepares for another Super Bowl run in 2023.

Pittsburgh Steelers: Linebacker

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    Clemson LB  Trenton Simpson
    Clemson LB Trenton Simpson John Byrum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

    While the Pittsburgh Steelers offensive line has been in flux for the past couple of seasons, it settled in nicely toward the end of 2022 and isn't as much of a need as some might think. Quarterback Kenny Pickett was sacked, on average, only twice per game.

    With zero starters headed to free agency, the Pittsburgh line should remain intact. Things are much different for the linebacker corps, though, as Devin Bush, Robert Spillane, Malik Reed, Marcus Allen and Jamir Jones (exclusive rights) are all slated to reach the market.

    Bush was a starter in 2022, while Spillane and Reed were regular contributors.

    Pittsburgh will need to reload the position, ideally with linebackers who can cover—the Steelers ranked 25th in net yards per pass allowed (6.5) last season. If Pittsburgh can clear some cap space—it's projected to have less than $1 million available—a free agent such as Tremaine Edmunds or David Long Jr. would be ideal.

    Expect the Steelers to also target linebackers in the draft. Trenton Simpson, Drew Sanders, Jack Campbell and Auburn's Colby Wooden should be near the top of Pittsburgh's draft board.

San Francisco 49ers: Pass-Rusher

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    49ers DE Samson Ebukam
    49ers DE Samson Ebukam Bob Kupbens/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

    An argument could be made for quarterback. However, the San Francisco 49ers' competition between Trey Lance (ankle) and Brock Purdy (elbow) should yield a viable starter.

    San Francisco will, however, need to find pass-rushing help between now and then.

    This may seem counterintuitive, as the 49ers ranked 10th with 44 sacks in 2022 and had the Defensive Player of the Year in Nick Bosa. However, Bosa (18.5 sacks) accounted for 42 percent of the Niners' quarterback takedowns, and complementary pass-rushers are headed to the market.

    The 49ers could lose Samson Ebukam (five sacks), Charles Omenihu (4.5), Jordan Willis (two) and Kerry Hyder Jr. (one) in free agency next month. That's 12.5 sacks—roughly half of the 25.5 Bosa didn't produce.

    San Francisco is projected to have $3.6 million in cap space and could retain a pass-rusher or add someone such as Arden Key or Yannick Ngakoue if it can clear a little room. However, the 49ers will also likely draft a player to develop alongside Bosa and 2022 second-round pick Drake Jackson.

    They don't have first- or second-round selections after the Lance and Christian McCaffrey trades, but Iowa's Lukas Van Ness and Tennessee's Byron Young would be logical third-round targets.

Seattle Seahawks: Defensive Lineman

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    Texas Tech DL Tyree Wilson
    Texas Tech DL Tyree Wilson John E. Moore III/Getty Images

    The Seattle Seahawks could be in the market for a quarterback if they're unable to work out a deal with Geno Smith. However, Seattle was apparently close to getting the newly minted Comeback Player of the Year under contract.

    "We've had talks and we're in the process of getting all that settled right now," Smith told SiriusXM NFL Radio on Feb. 3, via ESPN's Brady Henderson .

    The next step for Seattle will be improving a run defense that ranked 30th in yards allowed and 26th in yards per carry allowed (4.9) last season. With defensive linemen Poona Ford and L.J. Collier headed to free agency, the Seahawks should start building up front.

    Re-signing Ford would make a ton of sense, and top free-agent targets Daron Payne and Dre'Mont Jones could be on Seattle's radar—though its $31.3 million in projected cap space will shrink if Smith gets a new deal.

    The draft is where Seattle could find great defensive line value. The Seahawks have the fifth (from the Russell Wilson trade) and 20th selections. There's a slight chance they could land an elite prospect such as Will Anderson Jr. or Jalen Carter at No. 5, and fans can expect Clemson's Bryan Bresee to be in the mix as well.

    Late in Round 1, Tyree Wilson and Siaki Ika will get consideration. Expect the Seahawks to also eye Day 2 players Gervon Dexter Sr., Tuli Tuipulotu and Karl Brooks.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Quarterback

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    Former Buccaneers QB Tom Brady
    Former Buccaneers QB Tom Brady Kevin Sabitus/Getty Images

    Tom Brady has finally retired—again, and for real this time, we think—which leaves the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with a gaping hole at quarterback. With Blaine Gabbert set to hit the free-agent market, 2021 second-round pick Kyle Trask is the only signal-caller under contract for 2023.

    While Trask will likely be given every opportunity to win the starting job, the Bucs would be wise to bring in a little competition, and they'll need a backup or two as insurance at the very least.

    The problem is that Tampa Bay is facing an awful cap situation. With a projected $55.7 million deficit, it is second only to New Orleans in terms of cap space that must be cleared.

    Signing a developmental veteran with upside, such as Sam Darnold or Baker Mayfield, would make sense. So would bringing back Gabbert since he is familiar with the personnel.

    Tampa Bay could also try its luck with finding a quarterback in the draft, especially if a prospect such as Anthony Richardson or Will Levis is available with the 19th selection. This would give the Bucs two highly drafted quarterbacks to develop.

    Whether they can uncover the long-term heir to Brady in the coming months, though, is a different unknown.

Tennessee Titans: Offensive Lineman

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    Titans OT Taylor Lewan
    Titans OT Taylor Lewan Cooper Neill/Getty Images

    The Tennessee Titans' top need will change if they decide not to roll with Ryan Tannehill again in 2023. The quarterback is under contract for another season, but Tennessee could save $27 million by releasing him with a post-June 1 designation.

    Tannehill or not, the Titans need to address their offensive line. The unit surrendered 49 sacks and could lose Nate Davis in free agency. Longtime starting left tackle Taylor Lewan—who missed the bulk of 2022 with a knee injury—is likely on the way out too.

    "In the next couple of weeks, I will be cut by the Tennessee Titans—that will happen," Lewan said last week, per Jim Wyatt of the team website.

    Releasing Lewan would save $14.8 million in cap space. Tennessee needs all the savings it can get, as the team is projected to be $23.7 million over the cap.

    Given that situation, re-signing Davis or chasing notable free agents will be difficult. However, the Titans could target a prospect such as Peter Skoronski or Broderick Jones with the 11th pick—if they don't use the selection to draft Tannehill's successor.

    Expect Jaelyn Duncan, Anton Harrison and Dawand Jones to also get Day 2 consideration from the Titans.

Washington Commanders: Offensive Tackle

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    Oklahoma OT Anton Harrison
    Oklahoma OT Anton Harrison Brian Bahr/Getty Images

    The Washington Commanders do not have a proven quarterback. However, they are high on 2022 fifth-round pick Sam Howell, who started the regular-season finale.

    "Going in, [Howell will] start as the No. 1, but it's something he has to continue to earn and show us he deserves to be that guy," head coach Ron Rivera said last week, per ESPN's John Keim .

    The Commanders will "probably part ways" with Wentz, according to ESPN's Jeremy Fowler , but they could retain Taylor Heinicke to help aid in Howell's development.

    If Howell can indeed be "that guy," the Commanders' biggest goal should be to upgrade his pass protection. The line allowed 48 sacks in 2022 and could lose guard Trai Turner, center-guard Wes Schweitzer and backup center Tyler Larsen via free agency.

    Additionally, the Commanders should look to upgrade the tackle position, as left tackle Charles Leno Jr. allowed eight sacks, according to Pro Football Focus . Right tackle Sam Cosmi allowed five sacks, per PFF , despite playing only 585 snaps.

    With just $6.9 million in projected cap space, Washington will find it difficult to chase big-name free agents. However, it will have numerous options with the 16th pick in the draft.

    Expect Peter Skoronski and Paris Johnson Jr. to be on Washington's radar with Jaelyn Duncan, Anton Harrison and Dawand Jones getting Day 2 attention as well.

    Salary-cap and contract information via Spotrac . Advanced statistics from Pro Football Reference unless otherwise noted.