March 13th looms as potential disaster for some teams who will officially see some star players hit the open market. For the optimists in the crowd, it's a day when they can turn around misfortune and pick from the fruits of free agency.
The NFL draft and free agency are the two best ways to keep the coffers full or to simply bolster a roster grossly in need of an overhaul.
What we have here are the teams that are in dire need of veteran help found in the open market. There will be the obvious Donovan McNabb blunders to be found in the future. But the Super Bowl does not come to the timid.
Here are the teams that need to make a splash if they want to be considered contenders going into next season.
We all knew the Bears were a solid team when Matt Forte was on the field. What we never considered is that the entirety of their offense demanded he suit up.
When Forte and quarterback Jay Cutler went down with injury at the end of 2011, the Bears went from stagnant to full stop.
They need far more offensive weapons, and it starts with help at receiver. The Bears may be thinking draft for the position, but there is no guarantee that a youth movement would stick. A solid veteran like Vincent Jackson would do well, and that is only after the biggest player for the Bears is re-signed.
That would be Matt Forte, who is indispensable to this franchise.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Speaking of youth movements, The Buccaneers found that the promise of one season does not automatically translate to success in another.
Tampa Bay was hit hard by a meager showing from their cast in 2011. Now it's time to bring in some veteran help all over the field.
The ball is already rolling along in the right direction. CBS Sports reports Mario Manningham may be headed south and The Tampa Tribune issues a great deal of attention will finally be paid to the cornerback position.
The Redskins need help on both sides of the ball, and there is no doubt they will make a huge splash to ensure 2012 will be far better than the last campaign.
The one area that simply cannot go unaddressed is at quarterback. No team needs a star QB more, and there is plenty of opportunity to solidify their plight under center.
I would be happy to guarantee that Robert Griffin III is headed to Washington, but the Rams are shopping to the highest bidder. That means free agency may be the better way to solve the hole if the second-best QB in the draft goes elsewhere.