2012 Free Agency: NY Jets and 5 Other Teams That Didn't Address Key Needs
Free agency is far from over, but pretty much all of the top talent has signed somewhere. Some teams, like the Eagles, did a fantastic job filling in for big needs in free agency, while some others floundered.
So which teams did the worst job of taking care of business in free agency?
Here are my top five:
1. New York Jets
Remaining needs: WR, RLB, RT, FS
Well, we all knew they'd be here. I'll give the Jets some credit; they improved their quarterback situation.
Is Tebow a great quarterback? No, but he's probably better than Mark Sanchez. With Tebow in tow, Sanchez will have to start finally playing at a higher level or be swept aside, since everyone will want Tebow in as soon as Sanchez inevitably flounders.
They also need to upgrade their right-tackle spot since Wayne Hunter surrendered 11 sacks last year.
On the other side of the ball, they need to land a pass-rusher and could really, really use a free safety. With this year's weak safety class, that one will probably remain unfixed after the draft.
2. Indianapolis Colts
Remaining needs: CB, TE, OL, NT
The Colts have the first overall pick in the draft, so they would get a free pass, but they've dropped so many players it's criminal.
Of course, their biggest hole is at quarterback, but that'll be fixed with Andrew Luck. His biggest problem in his rookie year will be a lack of protection. Assuming Ben Ijalana is the right tackle of the future, the Colts need to find a center and two guards to get a decent line.
With the departure of Dallas Clark, they'll also need a new tight end.
On defense, since they're switching schemes, they'll need all kinds of stuff, but the biggest problem is securing a nose tackle. Nose tackles are hard to come by, so I wouldn't be surprised to see the Colts take Alameda Ta'amu with the the second pick of the second round.
Realistically, the Colts could use upgrades nearly everywhere. Minus Andrew Luck and whoever they snag in the second round, I expect the Colts to be just plain terrible next year.
3. Chicago Bears
Remaining needs: CB, OL
The Bears did a pretty good job at most positions this offseason. They traded for Brandon Marshall, plugging the hole at wide receiver, signed Jason Campbell, giving them a great backup quarterback, and franchised Matt Forte.
However, their biggest need was not addressed—the offensive line. Jay Cutler has had a season-ending injury two years in a row now and gets hit more than any other quarterback in the league. To make matters worse, Matt Forte also suffered a season-ending injury last season.
The combo of Cutler and Forte was good enough in 2010 to get the Bears all the way to the NFC championship, where they lost to the Packers, and they looked like they may have been on their way again before the injuries this last year.
The Bears have only two offensive linemen which should be starters in the league right now. Unless they just hate winning, they have to fix this in the draft now. Period.
4. Cleveland Browns
Remaining needs: RT, QB, WR, RB
The Browns have two first-round picks, so they can address two of these needs in the draft. The problem is that if they do draft Ryan Tannehill No. 4 overall, it'll be a huge reach. They could have avoided this by simply trading up two spots for a true franchise quarterback in Robert Griffin III.
That was their biggest miss, but they had quite a few others. They still need a good running back, now that Peyton Hillis is officially gone, a legitimate No. 1 wide receiver and a passable right tackle.
I really do feel sorry for Browns fans. Every year, their team disappoints them enough for them to do things like this, and it never seems to get any better. With a tough schedule, the Browns may very well have the No. 1 overall pick next year.
5. Carolina Panthers
Remaining needs: DT, CB, OLB, RT, S
You'd think a team with so few draft picks this year would be more active in free agency, but that didn't happen. The biggest signing the Panthers had this season was running back Mike Tolbert. This is strange, considering that they already have two first-round running backs on their roster but whatever.
The Panthers still need a quality defensive tackle, since Terrell McClain was awful and Sione Fua was just OK. They also desperately need a cornerback to help them defend against the pass, a right tackle to keep pressure off Newton and help in their linebacking corps.
None of these things were touched in free agency. However, they could simply be taking the wait-until-we're-ready approach, since they're still a couple of years away from serious playoff contention.
Unless Cam Newton reveals an allergy to kryptonite next season, I don't think they'll do better than 8-8.
6. Miami Dolphins
Remaining needs: QB, WR, RT, DE, OLB
The Dolphins flopped harder in free agency than any other team.
They failed to land Peyton Manning. He didn't even consider them.
Despite having his former offensive coordinator and nice weather, they failed to land Matt Flynn.
They even failed to land Alex Smith, who the 49ers were this close to letting walk.
On top of all of that, they're inexplicably switching to a 4-3, despite having the personnel for a 3-4. I don't know if it's something in the water, but apparently, players just don't want to go to Miami.
With their failure to land anyone of note who wasn't already there, Miami has their work cut out for them in the draft. It's gonna be a long season for south Floridians.