Over the next week, I’m going to deliver my NFL offseason rankings here at ESPN+. These are designed to consider what a team did during the offseason to increase its chances of winning a Super Bowl, in the short and long term, given the roster and resources it had to work with at the end of the 2022 season.

That last bit is very important in considering these rankings, because there are major differences among what each team had to work with. The Bears added much more talent in free agency than the Vikings, but they also had far more cap space to use. In this case, we’re not judging whether the Bears added talent as much as we’re wondering whether they spent that money wisely.

Likewise, while the Texans came into April’s draft with two first-round picks, does history suggest they used those resources wisely? I’m not confident in our ability to evaluate players before they suit up in the NFL, so my thoughts about each team’s draft are more about team needs, historical positional value and how they handled trading up and down as opposed to my personal opinion on individual players.

I also need to acknowledge that these rankings aren’t perfect. In 2021, I ranked the Packers as having the second-worst offseason, only for free agent additions De’Vondre Campbell and Rasul Douglas to play at a Pro Bowl level. That one was wrong, although the 32nd-ranked Raiders won’t look back on what they did that season with much fondness.

Last year, I had the Seahawks pegged for the worst offseason of any team. A year later, that looks foolish for reasons that should seem obvious. Geno Smith emerged from Seattle’s quarterback battle and delivered a stunning Pro Bowl season, while a draft class with Charles Cross, Tariq Woolen and Abraham Lucas made an instant impact. The Broncos, who added a franchise quarterback in Russell Wilson, ranked No. 1. If anything, it would have been more accurate to flip those rankings.

Mea culpa! Again, though, I’ll stand on what happened toward the top and bottom. I had the Eagles at No. 2 and the Chargers at No. 3, and they both took strides forward in 2022. Likewise, I had the Raiders, Cardinals and Saints in my bottom five, and they each took a step (or several steps) backward. I can’t win them all, but on the whole, I hope these are a useful evaluation of how teams in different situations handled the offseason.

Which team toward the bottom of these rankings will make my criticism look foolish in 2023? Let’s start with the bottom 16 teams — counting down, with the worst at the the top — before hitting the top 16 on Tuesday, May 30. It begins with an organization that fell out of the playoffs in 2022 but seems to be only halfheartedly committed to a rebuild:

Jump to a team:

What went right: New general manager Ran Carthon cleared out veterans who weren’t living up to expectations. While the Titans are only a year removed from finishing as the 1-seed in the AFC, their second-half collapse in 2022 spurred the firing of GM Jon Robinson and an aggressive retooling. Carthon & Co. released Taylor Lewan, Bud Dupree, Robert Woods and Zach Cunningham, moves that all made sense financially but might have been avoided by a team hoping to compete in 2023.

Carthon mostly stuck to importing former 49ers players, as he signed Daniel Brunskill, Azeez-Al Shaair and Arden Key (who was in San Francisco before spending last season with the Jaguars). Key is an underrated edge rusher, and none of those contracts was unreasonable. Hoping to rebuild the offensive line, the Titans used their first-round pick on Peter Skoronski, who should start at guard before possibly moving to left tackle. Carthon also moved up in the second round to grab Will Levis, who could start at quarterback for Tennessee in 2024.

What went wrong: I’m not sure whether the Titans are rebuilding. The two moves hanging over the organization’s head all offseason still haven’t been resolved, as Ryan Tannehill and Derrick Henry are still on the roster. Both are entering the final year of their respective deals and have declined over the past two seasons. Tannehill is 34 and Henry is 29; are they really going to be pushing this team forward next season, let alone in 2024 and beyond? Kevin Byard was asked to take a pay cut, but after he called Tennessee’s bluff, the team kept its starting safety on the roster.

Holding on to those three players compromised the moves Carthon could have made as he rebuilt the roster. The Titans needed a new left tackle after cutting Lewan, but the addition of Andre Dillard saw Carthon pay $10 million for a 2019 first-round pick who didn’t develop into a starter under standout offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland in Philadelphia. Is Dillard really likely to be better in Tennessee? A secondary that has missed on draft picks and free agent signings added only Sean Murphy-Bunting on a one-year deal.

At the league’s most critical positions — quarterback, offensive tackle, wide receiver, edge rusher and cornerback — the Titans are deficient. In past years, they were able to make up for that with what they had elsewhere, including with Henry, Byard, Jeffery Simmons and Denico Autry and an excellent interior offensive line. Simmons is a superstar, but Tennessee desperately needs Dillard, Harold Landry III and Treylon Burks to join him at that level in 2023.

What’s left to do: Add a receiver. Burks flashed at times during his rookie season, but he’s going to be asked to be the focal point of the passing attack in 2023, which is a big lift for a player who had 444 receiving yards. Chigoziem Okonkwo was a pleasant surprise as a rookie third-rounder, but he’s the only tight end of note on the roster. Would a reunion with Anthony Firkser make sense?

What went right: The Rams pulled the rip cord on an aggressive rebuild. They are virtually unrecognizable from the team we saw last season, let alone the one that won the Super Bowl on home turf 15 months ago. It can’t be easy for an organization that had been successful for nearly the entirety of the Sean McVay era to admit it wasn’t going to be able to get back with its core, but L.A. moved on from Jalen Ramsey, Leonard Floyd and Bobby Wagner this offseason. The Rams ate money to deal away Allen Robinson, too.

Now they have $32.6 million in cap space for the 2024 season, giving general manager Les Snead meaningful flexibility in a city that is always going to attract free agents. They also traded down twice in the third round of April’s draft, landing sorely needed draft capital in the process.

What went wrong: The Rams are stuck between stations. Moving on from their veterans made sense, but they still held on to some of their core in the hopes those players could be difference-makers in 2024 and 2025. Aaron Donald is 32. Matthew Stafford is 35. Cooper Kupp is 29. Tyler Higbee is 30. Donald is a once-in-a-generation player and could still be productive in 2024, but he also could have netted the team serious draft picks. (To be fair, Donald does have a no-trade clause, but there were no suggestions the Rams were considering trading him.)

If you’re keeping those guys, there’s a way to build around them without compromising 2024 flexibility. The Rams could sign players to short-term deals or go after players who were cut by other teams to avoid missing out on compensatory selections. Targeting free agents in their mid-20s would have been one way to add contributing help, considering they will be trying to start back up after what projects to be a difficult 2023.

Instead, the Rams … didn’t sign anyone? The only free agent they imported from another team is backup quarterback Brett Rypien, who projects to be the third quarterback behind Stafford and rookie Stetson Bennett. Snead finally used an early pick on an offensive lineman when he drafted guard Steve Avila, but he didn’t make any other significant investments to supplement a line that didn’t look good on paper even before being destroyed by injuries a year ago.

All of that would be fine if the Rams had done much on defense, but even after moving on from key players at each level this offseason, they have not added a single veteran on that side of the ball. They will be running out Donald and a defense full of players on rookie deals. It’s one thing to do that when they have first-round picks there, but they project to start five Day 3 picks in the secondary and a rotation of Day 3 picks and practice squad additions on the edge this upcoming season. Defensive coordinator Raheem Morris should be applying for hazard pay.

If the Rams are tanking for local quarterback Caleb Williams (USC), nobody would fault their choice. But by keeping Donald, Stafford and Kupp in the same division with the Cardinals, they project to be just good enough to avoid landing a top-five pick in next year’s draft. And although we know the Rams have no qualms about dealing multiple first-rounders to land the star they want, there might not be any trade package that lands them Williams if a quarterback-needy team holds the No. 1 pick.

What’s left to do: Add literally any defensive player. Throw Morris a bone. I’ve advocated for John Johnson III, the 27-year-old safety who excelled in Los Angeles before a frustrating run in Cleveland. Eli Apple was a starting corner on a good defense in Cincinnati last season. Edge rusher Yannick Ngakoue is 28 and could net something at the trade deadline if he gets hot playing next to Donald. It’s difficult to think of a more inexperienced defense than what the Rams are set to roll out next to their future Hall of Famer.

What went right: The Raiders actually addressed their defense in the first round. Using a first-round pick on edge rusher Tyree Wilson landed them a long-term replacement for free agent disappointment Chandler Jones, who is likely to be released after the 2023 season. Coach Josh McDaniels and general manager Dave Ziegler didn’t inherit much on the defensive side of the ball a year ago beyond Maxx Crosby, but going after a potential difference-maker at a critical position made sense for the roster in the long term, even if it wasn’t their most obvious need for the coming season.

What went wrong: The Raiders continued to make many of the same mistakes. For a team that whiffed on a generation of draft picks during the Jon Gruden era and traded away its top two picks in a foolishly aggressive move for Davante Adams last offseason, Las Vegas continued to give away draft capital to trade up this year. (Adams is reportedly already displeased with the organization, just 12 months into a five-year, $140 million deal.)

This team moved up in the second round (for Michael Mayer) and fourth round (twice, for Jakorian Bennett and for Aidan O’Connell). These weren’t dramatic moves from the coach who once moved up for Alphonso Smith and traded away the pick the Seahawks would use on Earl Thomas, but it’s the attitude toward picks that feels so off-putting. The Raiders aren’t a player away. They need cheap, homegrown talent more than any other team. If anything, they should have been trying to move down.

Jakobi Meyers is an underrated player, but I’m not sure the Raiders’ foray into free agency should have been for a wide receiver when they already had Adams and Hunter Renfrow. Meyers and Renfrow are best in the slot, but now one of them will have to shift outside, which might limit their effectiveness. Josh Jacobs, whom the organization was ready to move on from a year ago, was retained on the franchise tag. One year after loading up on playmakers and having the season fall apart because they didn’t have enough elsewhere, it feels as if the Raiders are just trying to push the square peg more forcefully into the round hole.

I’m including the downgrade from Derek Carr to Jimmy Garoppolo here, given that Carr was still on the roster at the Super Bowl. Carr’s no-trade clause, which the Raiders handed him in their “contract extension” a year ago, prevented them from finding a trade partner for their deposed starter and cost them a useful quarterback for nothing. Garoppolo might be about as good as Carr when he’s on the field, but his dire track record of staying healthy looms for a team that hasn’t exactly committed to rebuilding.

For a guy who reportedly once said he could “turn a high school quarterback into an All-Pro” before using a first-round pick on Tim Tebow, McDaniels is resorting to becoming Patriots West, with the Raiders importing Garoppolo, Meyers and Brian Hoyer this offseason. Maybe they can get new partial team owner Tom Brady to fill in if Garoppolo gets injured.

What’s left to do: Resolve the Jacobs situation. Although he was legitimately impactful last season, it was an outlier. Paying for that level of play on a multiyear deal would be aggressive for a team with too many needs elsewhere; Doug Martin‘s contract after a breakout fourth season with the Bucs is an example of how that can go south. Bill Belichick is confident in his ability to find valuable backs on the cheap; McDaniels should follow his old boss’s tactic.

What went right: The Giants brought in a variety of receivers for Daniel Jones, but I’m not sure they landed that No. 1 guy who might have been on general manager Joe Schoen’s list. Still, after running out Isaiah Hodgins, Darius Slayton, Richie James and Daniel Bellinger as primary receivers in a playoff victory last season, Schoen has added a whole fleet of playmakers to the passing game this offseason.

Hodgins, Slayton and Bellinger return, but New York also brought back Sterling Shepard, who is recovering from a torn ACL. Parris Campbell, who finally stayed healthy with the Colts last season, was added in free agency. Schoen then used a third-round pick on speedster Jalin Hyatt, who was projected as a potential first-round pick by some and adds the sort of quickness that only Slayton really had on this roster previously. With gadget receiver Wan’Dale Robinson eventually returning from his own torn ACL, the Giants should be able to sort through this mix and find three starting wideouts as the season goes along.

The biggest addition was former Raiders tight end Darren Waller. I can’t fault Schoen for using a third-round pick to acquire Waller, given his production over 2020 and 2021, but Waller turns 31 in September and has played more than 50% of the offensive snaps just 16 times over the past two seasons because of various injuries. New York isn’t locked into Waller for long if it doesn’t work out, but it has to treat him as more of a luxury than a true top option.

What went wrong: The organization appears to have bought into its own hype. An unexpected trip to the postseason and a road victory once they got there was a pleasant surprise for the Giants, who had been treating 2023 as a year to get their salary cap right and begin a rebuild. Their underlying performance wasn’t quite as impressive; they were outscored on the season and finished 21st in DVOA. They went 8-4-1 in games decided by eight or fewer points and were lucky to draw an even worse playoff opponent in the Vikings, whose DVOA ranked them as the sixth-worst team in the league.

In response, the Giants appear to be running it back. They franchise-tagged Saquon Barkley and committed to Jones, signing the same player who wasn’t worth a fifth-year option 12 months earlier to a four-year, $160 million deal with $81 million guaranteed over the first two seasons. They brought back Slayton and Shepard, who seemed to be on the way out, and while those weren’t major deals, the move for Jones certainly was just that.

Jones ranked sixth in Total QBR last season, so I won’t be arguing that he played poorly. In terms of Jones’ development, though, coach Brian Daboll squeezed just about everything out of him. The 2019 first-rounder threw the shortest average pass of any quarterback (6.0 air yards per attempt), which helped drop his interception rate to an unsustainably-low mark of 1.1%. Jones was incredible as a scrambler, but his 708 rushing yards nearly doubled his career rushing total from Years 1 through 3. He averaged just 6.8 yards per attempt and still managed to take sacks on nearly 9% of his dropbacks. Plus, he attempted just 29.5 passes per game.

On a rookie deal, that sort of production is incredibly valuable. At $40 million per year, it wouldn’t be a good use of resources. Jones has to improve as a passer to justify that sort of contract, and the steps he has to take as a downfield thrower and a post-snap processor likely open him up to the turnovers he avoided in 2022.

The cap space the Giants were supposed to be clearing last year went to Jones and Barkley, which limited what they could do to upgrade a defense that ranked 29th in DVOA last season. I liked the addition of A’Shawn Robinson to one of the league’s worst rush defenses, but a four-year, $40 million deal for off-ball linebacker Bobby Okereke was too aggressive at a position where the majority of useful players settled for much smaller commitments. Schoen used the team’s first-round pick on much-needed cornerback Deonte Banks, but this secondary is going to struggle against an NFC East full of imposing receivers.

What’s left to do: Resolve the Barkley situation. The Giants haven’t sounded close to a deal with their star back, who had his best season since 2018 while playing out his fifth-year option. It’s reasonable to wonder whether committing a long-term deal to him would be a good idea given his injury history, but he helps the Giants overcome their lack of impactful playmakers at wide receiver. Barkley playing out the 2023 season on the tag feels like the most likely outcome.

What went right: The Lions rebuilt their secondary. The pass defense — which ranked 32nd in QBR — likely cost them a playoff spot last season. Aaron Glenn’s unit was 11th in pressure rate, but the secondary cycled through players and didn’t have a corner it trusted as a consistently reliable option.

General manager Brad Holmes noticed. Out went 2020 No. 3 pick Jeff Okudah, Mike Hughes and Amani Oruwariye, three of the team’s top four corners. In their place? Holmes signed Cameron Sutton, who was a top-10 corner in coverage last season, per NFL Next Gen Stats data. C.J. Gardner-Johnson, who tied for the league lead in interceptions last season, was added to play safety and some slot corner. Emmanuel Moseley, a solid corner for the 49ers when healthy over the past few seasons, was brought in, and Brian Branch, who fell to the second round of the draft, gives Glenn another playmaker in the secondary. So yeah, Holmes addressed this team’s biggest weakness.

What went wrong: Detroit otherwise repeatedly prioritized the league’s least valuable positions. Secondary aside, it didn’t do much in free agency. It let franchise spark plug Jamaal Williams leave and replaced him with David Montgomery on what is likely to be a two-year deal in the $12 million range; Montgomery has failed to average 4.0 yards per carry as a pro. Alex Anzalone, who has posted solid numbers in coverage over the past two seasons, was brought back on a similarly sized pact.

That would all be fine, but what happened next seemed to beggar belief. The Lions used their two first-round picks on players at those same positions; they traded down and used the 12th pick on running back Jahmyr Gibbs before taking off-ball linebacker Jack Campbell at No. 18. I covered how running backs have been low-ceiling, low-reward picks in my pre-draft piece on Bijan Robinson, while Campbell was the only off-ball linebacker drafted before the third round. It’s difficult to imagine the Lions couldn’t have addressed the position with Drew Sanders or Trenton Simpson later while using their first-rounder on a premium position, such as edge rusher.

Their second-round picks were at positions of need, but Holmes again went for some of the lowest-value positions in football in safety (Branch) and tight end (Sam LaPorta). The Lions didn’t come out of this draft with an edge rusher to play across from Aidan Hutchinson or any other front seven help beyond Campbell. They did use a third-round pick on Hendon Hooker, who could replace Jared Goff in the long term if the team sours on its starting quarterback, but he is already 25 and is recovering from a torn ACL.

Even the additions in the secondary aren’t quite as compelling as they might seem at first glance. Gardner-Johnson signed a one-year deal and didn’t appear to have a significant multiyear market around the league after his breakout season in Philadelphia. Moseley, also on a one-year deal, has missed 22 games over the past three seasons with injuries. The Lions are unquestionably better in the secondary, but it wouldn’t be a surprise if they were back in the cornerback market in 2024.

Remember: I’m basing this on what each team had to work with heading into the offseason. There were few teams in a more desirable spot than the Lions, who had cap flexibility and came into the draft with two first- and two second-round picks. They even added another second-rounder when they moved down in a deal with the Cardinals. Somehow, though, they came out of the offseason without adding a single player at a premium position.

Are the Lions likely to be better in 2023? Absolutely. They should be the favorites in the NFC North. In the long term, though, this was their best chance to add difference-makers over the next four to six years at positions that are hard to find in the later rounds of the draft or on the cheap in free agency. You might argue that Holmes didn’t need to add a wide receiver or an offensive tackle — and maybe Detroit is thrilled with Goff — but we know that needs pop up at those positions quicker than you think. (Holmes’ former employers in Los Angeles can attest to that.) Detroit does need long-term help on the edge and at cornerback, positions that went unaddressed here. I think the Lions hurt their chances of winning a title at the expense of building a better 22-man starting lineup for 2023.

What’s left to do: Add an edge rusher. Rookie James Houston had eight sacks in just seven games last season, but the sixth-round pick doesn’t have underlying numbers supporting that sort of production and I wouldn’t want to count on him being that player in 2023. Romeo Okwara has played just nine games over two seasons while battling a torn Achilles. With Yannick Ngakoue and Frank Clark still available, I’d love to see the Lions bring in another pass-rusher.

What went right: The defense returns mostly intact. The Bucs entered the offseason in terrible cap shape and only got squeezed harder by Tom Brady’s second retirement. The team is absorbing $35 million in dead money for Brady on its 2023 cap, which is more than 25 other teams have in dead money for their entire roster. It has a league-high $74.3 million in dead money on its cap this year.

Despite those limitations, general manager Jason Licht managed to find a way to bring back Lavonte David and Jamel Dean, with the latter coming off his best pro season. Of the 11 defenders who led the team in snaps a year ago, eight will return in 2023. That doesn’t include Shaquil Barrett, who missed most of last season with a torn Achilles, but it does include Devin White, whose trade request has not led to any movement.

What went wrong: The Bucs have a roster otherwise built to compete mismatched with the league’s worst quarterback situation. The NFL’s second-oldest team a year ago with Brady at quarterback, Tampa Bay was inevitably going to be stuck in this situation when he retired. It understandably used its cap space to try to build a winner around Brady and landed a Super Bowl title. Like the Rams, you can’t fault the philosophy when the results delivered a championship.

All of that’s true, but it doesn’t make right now any easier for the Bucs. They are priced into keeping around their core contributors on both sides of the ball for cap reasons, which leads them to do even more cap gymnastics to squeeze out deals for their free agents-to-be. Licht had to move on from Shaq Mason, Leonard Fournette, Donovan Smith and Akiem Hicks, but the Bucs still have a roster capable of competing in the NFC South.

Well, except for one big problem: This is a dreadful group of quarterbacks. Kyle Trask, a 2021 second-rounder, had inspired underwhelming reports in Tampa before making his NFL debut in Week 18 last season, when he went 3-for-9 in garbage time of a loss to the Falcons. He wasn’t going to play ahead of Brady, of course, but nothing about his first two seasons tells us he’s ready to be a starter.

The Bucs understandably brought in competition for Trask, but their choice was to import Baker Mayfield, the NFL’s worst passer in 2022. While Mayfield’s nationally televised win over the Raiders just days after joining the Rams was one of the most entertaining upsets of the season, he was dreadful across his two teams. His league-worst QBR came in at 24.6. If we expand the measure to include backups, Mayfield trailed Joe Flacco, Sam Ehlinger and Skylar Thompson. He wasn’t much better while battling a shoulder injury in 2021.

Mayfield needs just about everything around him to be right to succeed. Receivers aside, this isn’t that sort of team on offense. The line is rebuilding, and after the Bucs fired Byron Leftwich, they replaced their offensive coordinator with Dave Canales, who will be calling plays for the first time after spending over a decade in Seattle. It’s tough to imagine Tampa Bay wouldn’t have been better off with Jacoby Brissett or Teddy Bridgewater, the latter of whom remains unsigned.

What’s left to do: Extend Tristan Wirfs. Tampa Bay’s first-round pick in 2020, he has excelled at right tackle since entering the NFL. With the Bucs releasing oft-penalized Smith for cap reasons, the expectation is now that Wirfs will move to left tackle and Luke Goedeke will shift from guard to right tackle. If Wirfs excels in his new role, he’ll only get more expensive. Better to try to get a deal done now, even if Wirfs ends up landing more than $21 million per season.

What went right: The Falcons used their newfound cap space to address the defense. They have fielded an above-average defense by DVOA just once over the past decade, and even that was only a 14th-place finish in 2020. They’ve ranked 30th in the league in each of Arthur Smith’s first two seasons as coach, in part because of cap constraints from the decisions made by the prior regime.

Blessed with breathing room financially for the first time in his tenure, general manager Terry Fontenot went to work. The big signing was star safety Jessie Bates, who helped rebuild the culture in Cincinnati after the Bengals bottomed out early in his career. The Falcons could have as many as seven new veteran starters on the defensive side of the ball with Bates, Calais Campbell, David Onyemata, Bud Dupree, Kaden Elliss, Mike Hughes and Jeff Okudah.

What went wrong: Is this a long-term solution? The Falcons are better on defense, but you could take issue with some of the choices they made. Bates is a great player in the prime of his career, but can you say that about anybody else in that list above? Campbell is a legend, but he’s 36. Onyemata and Dupree are 30, and the latter missed some or all of 15 games over his two disappointing seasons in Tennessee. Elliss had played 196 defensive snaps before a seven-sack season a year ago. Hughes and Okudah are joining from Detroit, which just fielded the worst pass defense in football and decided to overhaul its secondary.

Will Atlanta be better on defense in 2022? Yes. There’s also a chance that the only players from this group on the 2024 team will be Onyemata and Bates, though, and that the Falcons will be back in the same position a year from now. If they were the Chiefs, going out and getting Campbell and Dupree to play situational roles would make sense. As a team with Desmond Ridder at quarterback, I was hoping they would make more consequential moves to add players who will be around for years to come.



Field Yates states the case for Bijan Robinson being the No. 1 pick in fantasy

Field Yates and Mike Clay project what Bijan Robinson’s fantasy output could be in his rookie season.

Speaking of Ridder, the Falcons didn’t bring in significant competition for their young quarterback, with Taylor Heinicke joining from Washington to serve as the backup. Has Ridder, a third-round pick in 2022, earned that sort of free path toward the starting role? He started four games last season, one of which came against the Saints, where he threw the ball 26 times … for 97 yards.

Ridder averaged 6.2 yards per attempt across those four starts, and although he didn’t throw an interception, he did lose two fumbles. The Falcons went 2-2 with him at the helm, but the only starting quarterback he faced for an entire game during that stretch was Andy Dalton. The Ravens fielded Tyler Huntley; the Cardinals started (and nearly won with) David Blough; and the Bucs removed Tom Brady in the second quarter of a meaningless game to run out Blaine Gabbert and Kyle Trask.

Ridder deserves more time, but this feels like a Davis Mills situation, where a team talks itself into a third-round pick looking passable down the stretch and doesn’t do more to be competitive at quarterback if that player fails to work out.

You probably know how I feel about Atlanta drafting Bijan Robinson with the No. 8 pick, even if he does turn into a superstar.

What’s left to do: Work on a new deal for A.J. Terrell. One of the team’s few building blocks on the defensive side of the ball, Terrell was dominant in 2021 before taking a step backward a year ago. He’s still one of the league’s best young cornerbacks, however, and the 2020 first-rounder is now eligible for a new deal. His new contract should average more than $20 million per season.

What went right: The Saints landed a quarterback! They would have made the playoffs in 2021 and might have advanced to the postseason a year ago with a more reliable quarterback. Jameis Winston impressed in the first half of 2021 and Andy Dalton was better than the team could have hoped while filling in and eventually taking over for an injured Winston last season, but the Saints ranked 19th in QBR over that stretch. Quarterback wasn’t necessarily this team’s biggest problem, but it didn’t have a short- or long-term solution on the roster.

Enter Derek Carr, who signed what amounts to a two-year, $70 million year deal. The Saints played their cards well, refusing to hand the Raiders a draft pick to trade for their longtime starter before winning the bidding for Carr in free agency. Carr is … Carr. He took a step backward under Josh McDaniels in 2022, even with the arrival of Davante Adams into the mix, but he’s a safe pair of hands and typically one of the league’s best fourth-quarter signal-callers.

If his interception rate from a year ago (2.8%) regresses back toward his career average (1.9%), he should be just fine in New Orleans. With the Buccaneers rebuilding, the NFC South is up for grabs: Carr and a defense that ranked eighth in DVOA a year ago should be enough on paper for the Saints to be favored in the race for a division title.

What went wrong: They continue to be all-in. Isn’t it time for the Saints to face facts? They’ve won one playoff game over the past four seasons, a home victory over Mitch Trubisky and the Bears. Drew Brees and Sean Payton are gone. This was the league’s oldest team a year ago, and it nearly dealt away a top-five pick when it picked up an extra first-rounder from the Eagles in last year’s draft.

The Saints could have begun the difficult process of rebuilding by moving on from some of their veterans and starting to clear out cap space. Instead, they signed Carr and continued to kick their cap problems into the future. Just about every player who was under contract for 2023 is still on the roster with a restructured deal.

In the case of Ryan Ramczyk and Marshon Lattimore, restructuring is no big deal. They’re still in the prime of their respective careers. Too many of the moves, though, lock the Saints further into players whose deals are already underwater. Michael Thomas has 609 receiving yards over the past three seasons; they initiated the process to cut him and then brought him back for $10 million, in part to avoid dealing with the dead money on his deal this season. Alvin Kamara has averaged 3.9 yards per carry (and -0.3 rush yards over expectation) over the past two seasons. Cameron Jordan ranked last among edge rushers in pass rush win rate a year ago. Andrus Peat took a reduced salary, but he hasn’t been good or healthy over the past two years. How many of these guys are going to be better this season?

The Saints have added Carr to their core … and cut back elsewhere. They lost virtually all of their defensive tackle rotation and pass-rushers Marcus Davenport and Kaden Elliss this offseason. General manager Mickey Loomis used his top two picks on defensive linemen Bryan Bresee and Isaiah Foskey, but using draft capital to stem the tide is no guarantee of success; Davenport never lived up to expectations after the team traded two first-round picks to acquire him in 2018, and 2021 first-rounder Payton Turner has been anonymous over his first two campaigns.

On top of all that, it’s the little things that don’t add up. Jamaal Williams was a fun player for the Lions last season, but was there a better use of resources for the Saints than giving Williams a three-year, $12 million pact to be part of the running back rotation? Given how much draft capital they’ve dealt away in years past, was it really smart to move up twice in the fourth round for Nick Saldiveri and Jake Haener?

With all of that being said, the Saints are still probably in position to win the NFC South. If that’s the organization’s primary goal for 2023, it is in better shape to achieve its dreams, and that’s fine. If the goal is to win a Super Bowl, though? This team isn’t close even after adding Carr, and that’s not where a team should want to be with a terrible cap situation and the oldest roster in the league.

What’s left to do: Wait to see what happens with Kamara. The five-time Pro Bowler is facing a possible suspension after being charged with battery after an altercation in Las Vegas. A suspension would have voided his $9.4 million base salary for 2023, but the Saints have already converted that to a bonus to create cap space. They would be responsible for $24.7 million in dead money if they cut him after any possible suspension, but $16.7 million of that would fall onto next year’s cap.

What went right: The Colts finally got their quarterback of the future. Maybe. After months of wondering whether they would be locked out of the quarterback wars with the No. 4 pick in April’s draft, they were able to stay put and land Anthony Richardson. Richardson is still a project — he started just 13 games in college — but he’s the most significant investment in a young quarterback Indianapolis has made since Andrew Luck‘s departure.

Gardner Minshew is also one of the league’s best backup quarterbacks, leaving the Colts some hope if Richardson struggles to adapt as a rookie. He joins the team from Philadelphia alongside new coach Shane Steichen, who should be an upgrade on last year’s cavalcade of coaches.

What went wrong: I’m not sure Indy did enough to address the other premium positions on its roster. Does Richardson have enough help? Its offensive infrastructure looks more promising if you treat last season like a bad dream, but if you had to watch the tape, you remember what things looked like. Michael Pittman Jr. went from playing like a breakout star to averaging 9.3 yards per reception. A once-feared offensive line looked past its best and made too many mental mistakes. Jonathan Taylor, the reigning top running back in football, looked a step slower amid ankle injuries after a heavy workload in 2021.

The biggest issue is not addressing the offensive line, which comes back virtually untouched from a year ago. The Colts love 2022 third-rounder Bernhard Raimann‘s potential as a tackle, but the converted tight end looked overmatched as a rookie and turns 26 in September. I’m not saying they should have given up on Raimann after one year, but the only competition they brought in for him is rookie fourth-rounder Blake Freeland.

Edge rusher remains a conundrum, where general manager Chris Ballard has used picks in the first (Kwity Paye) and second (Dayo Odeyingbo, Ben Banogu, Kemoko Turay and utility lineman Tyquan Lewis) rounds with limited success. This is a critical year for Paye, who ranked 41st out of 49 qualifying edge rushers in pass rush win rate last season; Indy sorely needs someone to level up outside stalwart tackle DeForest Buckner.

Cornerback is an even bigger question mark after the Colts traded Stephon Gilmore to the Cowboys. You can understand why a rebuilding team didn’t have a need for a 32-year-old corner — and Kenny Moore is Mr. Reliable in the slot — but second-round pick Julius Brents will be competing with late-round picks and replacement-level journeymen for every-down work at corner. The Colts don’t have the sort of pass rush needed to keep those corners afloat, and Gus Bradley’s track record of building defenses without superstar safeties Earl Thomas and Derwin James isn’t promising.

What’s left to do: Work on an extension for Taylor. It would be a surprise if the Colts were willing to let him walk after the 2023 season, when he is set to become a free agent. His camp might have looked toward resetting the running back market after his breakout 2021 campaign, but the disappointing season of 2022 might dampen his chances. If Taylor is healthy, Indianapolis should lean on its best offensive playmaker as it works Richardson into the lineup this season.

What went right: They upgraded from Zach Wilson to Aaron Rodgers. I wrote all about this trade when it happened in April, but I don’t think this side of the equation is particularly complicated. The Jets were building around a quarterback who has looked hopeless for most of his career. Now, they have a future Hall of Famer who won back-to-back MVP awards in 2020 and 2021.

Upgrading at the most important position in sports is essential. It’s even more important for the Jets, who haven’t had a player rack up a single MVP vote in 50 years or won a playoff game in more than a decade. Outside of the Bears, no franchise is more starved for a great quarterback. Rodgers won’t be around for long, but with New York returning an excellent defense and a compelling group of young playmakers, you can’t fault general manager Joe Douglas & Co. for taking a big swing.

What went wrong: They’re paying a lot for that upgrade. If Rodgers gets the Jets to a Super Bowl, nobody will care what they paid. We know they needed to upgrade at quarterback, but they also just acquired a 39-year-old quarterback who just posted the league’s 26th-best QBR, wedging Rodgers firmly between Matt Ryan and Russell Wilson. For that privilege, they had to do the following:

  • Trade away their second-round pick in 2023 and what will likely be a first-round pick in 2024. If Rodgers doesn’t turn the conditional pick in 2024 into a first-rounder, it’ll mean he failed to play 65% of the snaps in 2023, which would be an even bigger disaster.

  • Moved down two spots in the first round. It seems exceedingly likely that this deal cost the Jets left tackle Broderick Jones, who was poached by the Steelers in a move up to the 14th pick. The Jets landed exciting pass-rusher Will McDonald IV, but they sorely needed an offensive tackle, given the uncertain futures of Duane Brown and Mekhi Becton.

  • Pay Rodgers more than any other quarterback in NFL history. Rodgers is expected to take home $60 million for the 2023 season. He would earn an additional $49.3 million if he comes back in 2024. In addition to him making nearly $110 million over the next two years, the Jets are incurring the cost of trading away first- and second-round picks, which are themselves worth millions of dollars. The cost of acquiring and playing him likely comes in somewhere around $130 million over the next two seasons, which is a staggering amount of money.

  • Hope Rodgers doesn’t retire after 2023. The Jets are trading those picks for a player who considered retirement this offseason and might very well move on from the game after 2023. Giving up a first-rounder and a second-rounder and $60 million for one season of Rodgers would require them to win a Super Bowl to avoid making this one of the worst trades in recent memory. It’s even tough to make the deal work for anything short of a trip to the Super Bowl if Rodgers plays two years.

  • Add Rodgers’ friends to come along for the ride. It’s possible the Jets wanted to hire Nathaniel Hackett as offensive coordinator. Maybe they thought it made sense to target Allen Lazard in free agency for $11 million per season. Perhaps they really loved the veteran presence of Billy Turner and Tim Boyle. OK, I won’t even pretend that they were going to sign Randall Cobb without Rodgers in the fold.

Rodgers doesn’t like the idea that he handed the Jets a “wish list,” but it’s clear the team made a series of moves to do whatever it took to make its dream quarterback feel more comfortable. Most of those moves are marginal: Cobb has only $250,000 guaranteed and might not make the roster; Boyle is going to be the third-string quarterback; and Turner is going to be the swing tackle.

Well, Lazard is making $11 million per season over the next couple of years when the Jets might have used that money for Jakobi Meyers or JuJu Smith-Schuster, both of whom have been more productive. Hackett’s résumé away from Rodgers as an offensive coordinator or head coach has been middling to dismal, and he wasn’t the one overseeing the offense or calling plays when Rodgers thrived in Green Bay.

Yes, the Jets needed to upgrade at quarterback. Let’s say that they could have had Teddy Bridgewater, who has been perfectly acceptable for teams with great defenses in the past, with his tenures in Minnesota and New Orleans as recent examples. Bridgewater is nine years younger than Rodgers, has been beloved everywhere he has gone as a pro and is still available as an unrestricted free agent.



Stephen A. is having none of Orlovsky’s Jets debate

Stephen A. Smith and Dan Orlovsky emphatically debate what would be a successful season for the Jets.

Would you rather have Rodgers than Bridgewater? Of course, but that’s not the question. The Jets chose between Rodgers and (somebody like) Bridgewater, first- and second-round picks, the right not to have Hackett as their offensive coordinator and about $50 million in money to spend elsewhere on their roster per season over the next two years. If you don’t like Bridgewater, plug in Derek Carr and replace that $50 million with $15 million or so to work with per season, or Jacoby Brissett and an extra $40 million in money to throw around each year. You get the idea. Nothing short of peak Rodgers will make this work for New York.

What’s left to do: Figure out the Corey Davis situation. Once a prized free agent pickup from Tennessee, Davis has fallen down the depth chart in New York. The wideout is owed an $11 million base salary in the final year of his deal, but none of that money is guaranteed. The Jets can cut him to clear out cap space, but they’re likely hoping a team will deal with an injury and send them a draft pick to acquire the 2017 No. 5 pick.

What went right: The Texans finally landed their quarterback and head coach. This column takes the agnostic approach in evaluating how draft picks will turn out, but at least Houston is done waiting for its future to begin. In hiring DeMeco Ryans to a six-year deal and using the No. 2 pick on C.J. Stroud, the Texans are out of the lull they were stuck in after firing Bill O’Brien and trading Deshaun Watson. What has felt like an irrelevant team over the past two seasons will be worth paying attention to in 2023 and beyond, and that’s valuable in its own right.

I liked some of the moves general manager Nick Caserio made to surround his new quarterback with talent, too. The Texans landed Dalton Schultz on a one-year deal when his market didn’t develop. Third-round pick Nathaniel “Tank” Dell should be a useful gadget player. Devin Singletary and Mike Boone have been effective backs when given the opportunity. Houston used a second-round pick on center Juice Scruggs and traded for Bucs guard Shaq Mason, further solidifying the interior of its offensive line.

It wasn’t all peaches and cream. Mason had been a cut candidate before being traded each of the previous two seasons, so I’m not sure how the Texans landed on giving him a three-year, $36 million extension. Caserio landed only fifth- and sixth-round picks in the trade for Brandin Cooks and then replaced him with Robert Woods, who wasn’t effective for the Titans a year ago. And then, there was that trade …

What went wrong: Houston valued edge rusher Will Anderson Jr. as a future Hall of Famer with a stunning draft-day trade. Anderson is a great prospect, but the Texans traded a staggering amount to move up to No. 3 and take the edge rusher. ESPN’s Seth Walder noted that they sent the equivalent of an extra top-10 pick to the Cardinals to move up. Even if we don’t consider what they included next year, swapping pick Nos. 12 and 33 for Nos. 3 and 105, as the Texans did in this deal, is almost a fair swap in its own right.

Instead, the Texans needed to include their first-round pick in 2024. Stroud and Anderson will make this team better, but there’s a reasonable chance this pick will land in the top five, and it could even be No. 1. If Caleb Williams lives up to expectations and is a Trevor Lawrence– or Andrew Luck-caliber prospect, the selection could have landed the Texans either an even better quarterback or a massive haul of draft picks in return. The best-case scenario is they traded for a superstar and landed one. Most other outcomes would turn this into a disappointing or even disastrous deal.

Beyond Anderson and the addition of Sheldon Rankins, I’m not sure the Texans did enough to address their defense. Caserio’s philosophy of adding umpteen veterans on one- and two-year deals hasn’t paid off the past couple of seasons, but he continued to go down that path again this offseason. He signed 18 veterans to one-year contracts this offseason, more than any other team in football.

There were promising signs from Derek Stingley Jr. and Dameon Pierce in the Texans’ 2022 draft class, but they were the league’s 18th-oldest team a year ago. They aren’t old, but teams that win 10 games over a three-year span should be giving young talent chances to grow on the job. Instead, they have aimed to be mediocre and have come up short. I’m not enthused to see that philosophy stretch into another season when it comes to free agency.

What’s left to do: Get John Metchie III ready for camp. A second-round pick last year, Metchie missed his entire rookie season after a leukemia diagnosis. He was able to return for Phase 1 of the team’s offseason program, only to strain a hamstring in the process. The Texans gave up three picks to move up for Metchie a year ago, so they clearly valued him as a future starter; the 22-year-old could be Stroud’s top target by the end of the season if things break right.

What went right: The Ravens finally came to terms on a deal with Lamar Jackson. After seemingly negotiating with the team’s star quarterback for years, general manager Eric DeCosta finally managed to get a deal done. Jackson will be with the Ravens for years to come, and you need only look at the Commanders and their post-Kirk Cousins flailing to see what can happen if a team lets its quarterback leave for nothing after two franchise tags.

You certainly can’t argue the Ravens left Jackson wanting for help, either. DeCosta signed Nelson Agholor and Odell Beckham Jr. and then used a first-round pick on wideout Zay Flowers. With Mark Andrews and Isaiah Likely at tight end, Jackson suddenly has one of the league’s deepest receiving corps. The move to hire Georgia offensive coordinator Todd Monken to take over that role in Baltimore should give Jackson his best chance at thriving in a more modern, diverse passing attack than the one he ran under Greg Roman. Of course, Baltimore is now paying a premium hoping that’s what happens next.

What went wrong: I’m not sure everything else went well. I spoke to more than one NFL executive who was shocked by the terms of Beckham’s new contract. Beckham had been disappointing in Cleveland, ran hot and cold in Los Angeles, tore his ACL in the Super Bowl, and then wasn’t able to play a year ago. The Ravens are paying him $15 million for the 2023 season, including $13.8 million up front in a signing bonus. Even if he does live up to those expectations, the Ravens would have to franchise him or give him a significant new deal to stick around after this campaign. There wasn’t much on the wide receiver market, but I’d be surprised if Beckham was a $15 million caliber of player in 2023.

Even given those improvements, I’m concerned Baltimore doesn’t have enough on defense. Calais Campbell left and was replaced by Bears rotation D-lineman Angelo Blackson. With Marcus Peters unsigned, the Ravens imported corner Rock Ya-Sin, who was disappointing in Indianapolis before playing better while missing six games in Las Vegas a year ago. He’s on a one-year deal. Cornerback looks like a problem outside of Marlon Humphrey.

Do the Ravens have a great pass-rusher? Justin Houston is no longer on the roster, and he was the only Baltimore player to rack up more than six sacks a year ago. It’s fair to say they deserve some benefit of the doubt given their history of drafting and developing talent, but they’re dependent on Odafe Oweh or David Ojabo making a leap and becoming this team’s best pass-rusher in 2023. It’s possible they might have been more aggressive if the Jackson deal had been completed before the draft.

What’s left to do: Add a veteran edge rusher. Houston is still a free agent, as is former Baltimore defender Yannick Ngakoue. The Ravens don’t need a star, but a specialized pass-rusher might be helpful.

What went right: General manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah took steps to fix the Minnesota defense. After firing Ed Donatell, the Vikings landed a well-regarded replacement in former Dolphins coach Brian Flores. The league’s 27th-ranked defense by DVOA a year ago, Donatell’s Vikings were often criticized for being too conservative and comfortable allowing teams to march up and down the field. Flores will be more aggressive.

Tough choices abounded. The Vikings released a pair of stalwarts in linebacker Eric Kendricks and wide receiver Adam Thielen. Patrick Peterson, the team’s one reliable corner for parts of 2022, was allowed to leave in free agency. Thielen will be replaced by first-round pick Jordan Addison, while Peterson gave way to Byron Murphy, whose versatility and youth made him one of the more exciting options in this year’s free-agent class.

Adofo-Mensah held onto Za’Darius Smith before eventually dealing him to the Browns; in the process, Minnesota ate a little over $1 million in cap space to buy some draft capital, which is a logical move. Adofo-Mensah seems to be pursuing the same tactic with Dalvin Cook, who is owed $11 million in unguaranteed money this year. It would be a surprise if Cook returned at that figure.

What went wrong: The Vikings didn’t make a bigger commitment to contending or rebuilding. Given a difficult cap situation, it’s tough to feel as if they have a great handle on what sort of team they’re going to be in 2023 and 2024, given that they just won 13 games while being outscored by their opposition. They moved on from Kendricks and Thielen but held on to Harrison Smith. They were willing to keep Smith and Cook on the roster into May when that cap space and cash could have been budgeted elsewhere in March.

One significant commitment they did make was to Marcus Davenport, who signed a one-year, $13 million deal with voidable years attached. Davenport has flashed as an impact player during his five seasons with the Saints, but he’s coming off a season with a half-sack and eight knockdowns on 490 snaps and hasn’t played a single full campaign. You can understand Adofo-Mensah targeting young players with upside in free agency, but even if Davenport breaks out, he’s still a free agent after the season. Again: Not a bad move in a vacuum, but it’s neither a great short-term call nor any sort of a long-term upgrade.

The Vikings didn’t make any move at quarterback with Kirk Cousins, instead using a restructure to create space with a player who will be a free agent after the 2023 season. Their depth chart behind Cousins consists of Nick Mullens and fifth-round pick Jaren Hall. It’s possible that the cap situation kept them from making a more significant move and that they didn’t love passers Will Levis or Hendon Hooker in the draft, but their future at the most important position in the game remains in question.

What’s left to do: Pay Justin Jefferson a lot of money. The wide receiver’s new deal should have $60 million guaranteed at signing and $80 million due over its first three seasons.

What went right: The defense turned over a new leaf. After a frustrating 2022 season from Joe Woods’ unit, the Browns had to make adjustments. Out went Woods and disappointing veterans Jadeveon Clowney and John Johnson III, neither of whom lived up to expectations after signing big free agent deals.

Lacking draft capital after the Deshaun Watson trade, the Browns had to look toward free agency. Juan Thornhill joins from the Chiefs to take Johnson’s spot in the lineup. They also imported two Vikings in Dalvin Tomlinson and Za’Darius Smith. Tomlinson will be an essential cog as Cleveland attempts to fix a run defense that ranked 28th in DVOA a year ago. Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, who will be the team’s third pass-rusher, is coming off a season in which he ranked 13th in pass rush win rate.

The biggest addition might be former Lions coach Jim Schwartz, who was last seen as a coordinator with the Eagles during the ups and downs of the Doug Pederson era. In addition to integrating the new veterans, Schwartz needs to develop the young talent on this defense; Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, Grant Delpit and Greg Newsome have to turn into consistently effective starters for the Browns to succeed, given how much they’re spending on the offense.

What went wrong: I’m not sure they got the right players. Smith looked like a steal when he racked up 9.5 sacks over the Vikings’ first nine games last season, but he managed only a half-sack over the rest of the campaign. Injuries caused the 30-year-old to fail a physical with the Ravens before he signed in Minnesota. This is a high-risk, high-reward trade for the Browns, even if they didn’t give up much draft capital in the process.

Thornhill’s three-year, $21 million deal netted Cleveland a young safety with a pair of championship rings on his résumé, but he was in and out of the lineup for the Chiefs in 2020 and 2021 before regaining his full-time job last season. Are Thornhill and Delpit both every-down safeties at this level? Can Schwartz coax more out of Delpit, who played a conspicuous role in several defensive lapses early in the season, than Woods did over the past couple of years?

I wasn’t in love with the Browns’ move to trade away some of the draft capital they had left in a trade for Elijah Moore, who fell out of favor with the Jets. Cleveland moved down 32 picks in the process. While Moore looked promising as a rookie, he has already played two years of his rookie deal. With Moore, Donovan Peoples-Jones and a trio of third-round picks (David Bell, Anthony Schwartz and Cedric Tillman), the organization has chosen the quantity approach in attempting to find a No. 2 wideout behind Amari Cooper. I’m not sure it has one.

What’s left to do: Bring in a backup running back for Nick Chubb. Kareem Hunt moved on after the season, leaving the Browns with Jerome Ford as the No. 2 behind their lead runner. Chubb was ever-present on 302 carries a year ago, but they need to be prepared for him to miss time, as he did in 2020 and 2021. Leonard Fournette is still a free agent, but this feels like a position they can address during training camp cuts.

What went right: Geno Smith is back on a reasonable deal. After his stunning 2022 season, he always seemed likely to return to Seattle. Unlike the Giants, who committed more than $80 million to lock up Daniel Jones over the next two years, the Seahawks were able to get a much more sensible deal done with their breakout quarterback. Smith will make $27.5 million in 2023 and has no further guaranteed money remaining on his deal afterward. It’s a nice payday for him and a flexible deal for the Seahawks, who even brought back Drew Lock on a one-year deal to be the backup.

What went wrong: Did enough get done on defense? After a frustrating 2021 season saw the Seahawks finish 21st in defensive DVOA, Pete Carroll took action. He fired defensive coordinator Ken Norton, cut franchise stalwart Bobby Wagner, promised to move toward a more attacking, aggressive scheme, and imported one of the game’s brightest young minds in Sean Desai to work alongside new coordinator Clint Hurtt. Seattle then landed a potential franchise cornerback in fifth-round pick Tariq Woolen, who did his best Richard Sherman impression in a spectacular rookie season.

In 2022, the Seahawks finished … 21st in defensive DVOA. Not ideal. Now, Wagner is back, Desai has left for Philadelphia and Woolen is out until training camp after undergoing knee surgery. Jamal Adams, who missed most of the 2022 season with a torn quadriceps, might not be ready for the start of training camp. Jordyn Brooks just had his fifth-year option declined and is coming off a torn ACL. Wagner and Devin Bush were added to help at linebacker, and No. 5 pick Devon Witherspoon should be an immediate starter at corner, but this defense is already banged up before it has even put on pads.



SC Featured: Derick Hall’s triumphant journey to the draft

Born premature with a one percent chance of living, here’s Derick Hall’s triumphant journey to becoming the 37th pick to the Seattle Seahawks.

Does Seattle have enough pass-rushers? Uchenna Nwosu returns after a breakout season on the edge, but the Seahawks ranked 19th in pressure rate even with Nwosu’s best campaign on the books. Darrell Taylor‘s 9.5 sacks weren’t supported by his underlying pressure production; can second-round pick Derick Hall make an immediate impact in the same way so many players in last year’s class were able to for Seattle? Can Dre’Mont Jones justify a deal worth $17 million per season frequently enough to push the pocket from the interior? The expectations are higher than they were a year ago.

Another old concern is back: Is there enough along the offensive line? The Seahawks used two Day 3 picks on linemen, but starters Austin Blythe and Gabe Jackson departed without significant replacements. Evan Brown and Phil Haynes might be best as the sixth utility lineman on a great offense, but they’re likely starters in Seattle. Running back Kenneth Walker‘s spectacular big plays were masked by one of the league’s worst success rates; the line needs to do more to open up reliable holes for him and rookie second-round pick Zach Charbonnet in 2023.

What’s left to do: Add interior line depth. Haynes got a one-year, $4 million deal to take over as the starting guard, but despite the Day 3 picks, the Seahawks should still add a veteran in case he isn’t up to the task.

What went right: General manager Trent Baalke amassed some bonus draft capital. He moved down twice in the first round and then again in the second round, landing a fourth-round pick and two fifth-round selections in the process. The Jaguars also picked up a future fourth-rounder from the Saints for trading away one of the final selections in April’s fourth round, a deal that will almost surely deliver a better pick in 2024. It was a quiet offseason for Jacksonville in a good way.

What went wrong: Last year’s spending spree limited Jacksonville’s ability to make a big splash around Trevor Lawrence. The Jags were unquestionably better after adding Christian Kirk and Evan Engram a year ago, but paying premium prices for players who hadn’t delivered at that level before capped their ability to operate this offseason. I loved the trade for Calvin Ridley when it happened and respect Ridley’s upside as a possible No. 1 receiver, but he has been that guy for one season across his first four campaigns.

This is likely Lawrence’s final season on a rookie deal before getting a significant raise, and while the Jags can carry over unused cap space into the next year, I would have liked to see another significant move. Could they have gone after one of the tackles available on the open market, especially after losing Jawaan Taylor to the Chiefs? Should they have called the Cardinals about DeAndre Hopkins or the Giants about Darren Waller? Could they have added an interior pass-rusher to help Josh Allen and Travon Walker, the No. 1 pick last year? It’s a mild criticism, but again: There wasn’t much going on in Jacksonville over the past few months.

What’s left to do: Resolve Cam Robinson‘s future. The left tackle was sidelined at the end of the season by a meniscus injury. Even worse, he’s now facing a multigame suspension for a violation of the league’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs. A suspension would likely void Robinson’s $16 million guaranteed salary in 2023.

Walker Little is projected to move to the left side, and the Jags used their first-round pick on Anton Harrison, who will play right tackle. If that’s how things play out, it would be a surprise if they then benched Little upon Robinson’s return, moved Little back to the right side, or kept a $16 million tackle on the bench to play as a swing tackle. There’s not a ton left on the free agent market, but the Jags might be better off moving on from Robinson as a result of the suspension and targeting what’s left to supplement the rest of their roster.

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