Every NFL Team's Biggest Goal This Offseason
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We have watched an active 2013 offseason filled with the ebb and flow of free agents coming and going and the suspense and mystery surrounding the 2013 NFL draft.
The offseason still isn't over, as teams around the league need to reassess where they are in their overall plan and readjust based on who they landed in the draft and who they failed to secure.
The goals for some teams in the offseason can be very matter of fact, while for others, the goals are less clear and more complicated.
Many teams are dealing with new head coaches, new coordinators and lots of new personnel. All of these changes require time to put together the pieces, so there is still a long feeling out process as each team gets ready for its Organized Team Activities.
For some, there will be specific position battles that need to be conducted in order to see who will emerge with the starting nod. For other teams, it will be resolving key free-agent holdouts—whether restricted or franchise-tag variety—so that they can have their entire roster on board from the onset.
Can Patrick Peterson keep Tyrann Mathieu in line?
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Arizona's Biggest Offseason Goal
The Cardinals have quite a few issues going on with the team, so determining what their biggest goal is this offseason seems difficult to narrow down.
We start with the offensive line, which needs to do a much better job in pass protection, as it will now be tasked with protecting Carson Palmer, who is anything but agile or mobile. The Cardinals weren't fortunate enough to draft any of the elite tackles, but they did land an elite guard in Jonathan Cooper. Arizona also added guard Earl Watford in the draft.
The guards will be paired with tackles Bobby Massie and Levi Brown and hope that this combination will be sufficient enough to give Palmer the time he needs to find Larry Fitzgerald and company.
Next, we look at the steps Arizona took to improve the secondary. The Cardinals took a calculated gamble on LSU CB Tyrann Mathieu, when they took him with the No. 69 overall pick.
Arizona hopes that the relationship Mathieu has established with Patrick Peterson will be strong enough to keep him on the straight and narrow. If it isn't, the Cardinals only have themselves to blame, as there was plenty of evidence that this was a risky investment to say the least.
The Cardinals traded with Kansas City to acquire CB Javier Arenas, who will add to the depth of the secondary.
Finally, there is the issue of LB Daryl Washington's alleged domestic dispute case, as reported by ArizonaSports.com.
As it is, Washington is already suspended for the first four games in 2013 due to violating the league's substance-abuse policy, so it is possible that the suspension could even get longer. Losing one of the team's best defenders would place a strain on the rest of the players to step up for him.
Then Washington got arrested again Friday night, as reported by Fox 10 Arizona's Mia Garcia, via this Twitter update. Washington was booked for two counts of aggravated assault. It looks like he is going out of his way to not play football in 2013.
That is quite a lot for head coach Bruce Arians to bring together this offseason, but if he can pull it all together, the Cardinals might have hope to repeat their hot start from 2012.
Desmond Trufant will need a solid 2013 season for Atlanta.
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Atlanta's Biggest Offseason Goal
The Falcons seem to be inching their way closer to the NFC Championship game, so what will they have to do in the offseason to take that next step?
One area that looks like it could be troublesome is at cornerback, where the Falcons will be without Brent Grimes and Dunta Robinson this season.
The loss of the two veteran corners has been lessened thanks to drafting Desmond Trufant at No. 22 overall and Robert Alford at No. 60 overall. The two rookie corners will no doubt be tested early and often throughout the 2013 season to see what they are made of.
But by the time that the regular season has concluded, both rookies should be battle-tested enough that they are ready for the playoff run. It will help that the kids get a chance to go up against Roddy White and Julio Jones every day in practice.
This is clearly a key goal for the Falcons, because the more confidence that the team has in the rookie corners, the better the overall defense will be.
If they have to shade to help them out or overcompensate, that will lead to other issues. Mike Smith has to coach them up as quickly as he can.
Baltimore is expecting big things from LB Arthur Brown.
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Baltimore's Biggest Offseason Goal
Defending the Super Bowl is the Ravens' first goal, followed closely by the goal of keeping their streak of winning at least one playoff game alive for as long as possible.
The defending Super Bowl champions knew there was a likely chance that they would have to replace a large number of players from the 2012 roster. The end result was that the Ravens will have to integrate new faces on both sides of the ball—hoping to remain as competitive as possible in the process.
Ozzie Newsome did a masterful job (as always) of identifying talent through free agency and the draft in order to plug people into the myriad of vacancies that the team suddenly had to address. Newsome was also able to convince veteran tackle Bryant McKinnie to return to the team.
The biggest question mark is to find a wide receiver who can pick up the slack for losing veteran Anquan Boldin. The answer to that question isn't so obvious just yet.
For coach John Harbaugh, getting all the new players up to speed on the schemes, plays and getting both units to mesh will be paramount during the preseason. The Ravens will be relying on some new veterans like Chris Canty, Elvis Dumervil and Michael Huff to step in and be productive right away.
Then there is the rookie class of 2013 who will have to produce as well, including safety Matt Elam, linebacker Arthur Brown and defensive tackle Brandon Williams.
While to the outside spectator, it might seem far-fetched to consider the Ravens as a legitimate contender this year, don't dare say that to any of the Ravens' players or coaches. They will approach the season with supreme confidence, and Harbaugh will have the team ready to win from the opening gun.
Will EJ Manuel be the Bills' first franchise QB since Jim Kelly?
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Buffalo's Biggest Offseason Goal
The Bills need to find out exactly what they have on their hands with EJ Manuel. They will throw him into the open competition for the starting quarterback job with Kevin Kolb and Tarvaris Jackson, but there isn't any mandate that Manuel has to be the Week 1 starter.
Yes, you would like your first-round draft pick to be starting for you as a rookie, but we can look at other recent first-round draft pick quarterbacks who began their NFL careers by watching from the sidelines.
Examples would be Christian Ponder, Jake Locker and a second-round quarterback named Colin Kaepernick. It isn't the end of the world if Manuel observes for the first half of the season.
There are plenty of other offseason goals for head coach Doug Marrone and his coaching staff—like turning the mentality for this team around and getting it focused on going to the playoffs.
That would be a huge goal. Then, the Bills are going to be learning new schemes for offense under coordinator Nathaniel Hackett as well as a new defensive scheme under coordinator Mike Pettine.
Buffalo has done a reasonable job of bringing in key veterans via free agency who offer some flexibility to what role they can play, like LB Manny Lawson and DL Alan Branch. Bringing the team up to speed on these new schemes will be another goal, as Buffalo looks to end its 13-year playoff drought.
One goal that Marrone was hoping for was to have enough talent to create position battles up-and-down the roster. No place is that more evident than with the wide receiver position, where rookies Robert Woods, Marquise Goodwin and Da'Rick Rogers will be putting up a significant challenge to returning players Brad Smith, T.J. Graham and Marcus Easley.
Steve Smith is still waiting for another competent WR in Carolina.
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Carolina's Biggest Offseason Goal
The Carolina Panthers know that they have to add another weapon or two to remove some of the pressure off Steve Smith. Somehow the Panthers never quite got around to drafting a receiver, despite that position being an area of strength for the 2013 draft class.
They did add Domenik Hixon and Ted Ginn via free agency, but those additions won't do much to send shivers down the spine of NFC South secondaries.
Another offseason goal that requires work is shoring up the safety position in Carolina. The Panthers don't really have a clear-cut starter for their safety slots, as the job could go to either D.J. Campbell or Mike Mitchell. In addition, the team added Alabama safety Robert Lester after the draft.
While Cam Newton hopes to continue to grow in his third season in the league, it is curious as to why the Panthers didn't make more of an effort to upgrade the talent surrounding him.
Oh, but the Panthers did add Kenjon Barner with their final draft pick—as if they needed another running back to add to the mix.
Martellus Bennett should help the Bears' offense in 2013.
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Chicago's Biggest Offseason Goal
The Bears worked hard this offseason to improve their offensive line as well as the overall offense. How well have they done?
Chicago drafted Kyle Long with the No. 20 overall pick and came back to draft tackle Jordan Mills with the pick at No. 163.
In addition to the rookies, Chicago also signed guards Matt Slauson and Eben Britton in free agency. Hopefully the collection of new linemen will be able to keep Jay Cutler upright and better protected in 2013.
If Cutler is afforded more time to throw, he will be able to do a better job of distributing the football this year instead of focusing solely on Brandon Marshall. New tight end Martellus Bennett will give Cutler another viable target.
Another major goal was to figure out if Chicago would retain free agent LB Brian Urlacher, and if they couldn't reach an agreement, then who were the Bears going to replace him with?
Well, the Bears weren't able to reach an accord with the legendary linebacker, and he is still out of work. The Bears did add free agent D.J. Williams and also drafted rookie Jon Bostic.
New head coach Marc Trestman will now try to plug all these new pieces in and try to come up with a better overall attack on offense in 2013.
James Harrison will make a good Cincinnati defense even better.
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Cincinnati's Biggest Offseason Goal
The Bengals have reached the postseason two years in a row, but they haven't won a single playoff game in either appearance. Their goal in 2013 is to taste some playoff success.
What are the Bengals doing this offseason to improve the overall team? For starters, Cincinnati did a strong job at retaining the vast majority of its own free agents, which (per Pro Football Focus) turned out to be quite a long list.
The Bengals invested their first two draft picks to add a different dimension to their offense with tight end Tyler Eifert and running back Giovani Bernard.
Adding James Harrison on defense will be a boost to the swagger and confidence of the defensive unit, which already features a bona fide star in defensive tackle Geno Atkins.
Cincinnati is a young team who has the look of becoming even more dangerous in 2013. Perhaps this is the year that the Bengals will advance at least one more week in the postseason.
Brandon Weeden still doesn't have a ringing endorsement.
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Cleveland's Biggest Offseason Goal
Cleveland Browns fans were curious to see what steps the team was prepared to take at the 2013 draft, since it had failed to endorse 2012 rookie QB Brandon Weeden. The answer was that the Browns failed to take any significant action on the position, opting to pass on the entire draft class.
For the 2013 season, the only serious challengers for the starting quarterback are Weeden and Jason Campbell. The latest news comes from Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. She wrote that Campbell will be splitting first-team reps with Weeden, and that he will be given a chance to win the starting job.
From a big-picture perspective, the Browns have already started to tip their hand that they are looking forward to the 2014 draft by acquiring two draft picks next year. Nothing says more about how you like your current chances than to defer for future draft picks like the Browns did.
If Weeden is able to step up this year, then the Browns can use their extra picks to surround him with more weapons. If he staggers, then they will cut bait and use their picks to move up and secure their franchise quarterback next year.
Dallas made Travis Frederick its starting center in the draft.
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Dallas' Biggest Offseason Goal
Jerry Jones seems to come up each year with some new pet goal that Cowboys fans can debate the merits of. Last year, the window was closing, and that headline went on ad nauseam.
This article from DallasNews.com tells Jones to learn when to stop talking, but that is something that is hard for Jones to do. He insists on controlling the draft process, and it makes no difference when his players are projected to go by other teams or draft analysts.
It is reasonable to suspect that every year from here on out, things might continue to get a little stranger to understand in regards to all of Jones' actions and sound bites.
Per this Twitter update from Ed Werder at ESPN, Romo is undoubtedly earning more with his new deal, but he will also have more on his plate as a result.
Source says Tony Romo will be have influence in game plans, personnel and play-calling. He will game plan with coaches Mondays and Tuesdays— Ed Werder (@Edwerderespn) April 28, 2013
Wes Welker will be a key part of Denver's offense in 2013.
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Denver's Biggest Offseason Goal
To take the next step in getting to the Super Bowl behind Peyton Manning, Denver must improve its overall offense and find an adequate replacement(s) for Elvis Dumervil.
The Broncos came so close to going to the AFC Championship game, so the team made enough additions that it will be viewed as a strong contender again in 2013.
The Broncos have made their offense even more dynamic with the addition of Wes Welker and Louis Vasquez in free agency. Denver followed that up in the draft by selecting running back Montee Ball and wide receiver Tavarres King.
As for replacing Dumervil, the Broncos haven't completely answered that issue yet. They did sign free agent Shaun Phillips, who will be added to the mix with Robert Ayers and Derek Wolfe as defensive ends. Denver also drafted defensive tackle Sylvester Williams, who will help with the pass rush up the middle. But replacing Dumervil won't be easy.
Denver strengthened its secondary with the addition of CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and the draft pick of CB Kayvon Webster. The Broncos figure to be heavily in the mix for the AFC crown in 2013.
Reggie Bush will give the Lions' offense better balance in 2013.
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Detroit's Biggest Offseason Goal
The Lions' running game was weak enough that it made their offense far too predictable in prior years. So, the Lions were determined to diversify, and they succeeded in that plan when they signed free agent Reggie Bush.
For every defense that goes out of its way to slow down Calvin Johnson, Detroit will turn to Bush to take advantage. It is up to Jim Schwartz and Scott Linehan to find ways to punish defenses for double-teaming Johnson.
We should be able to tell by the end of September if the Lions were able to come up with enough plays for Bush to turn this offense into a multidimensional attack.
The other major goal was to replace the departed defensive ends, as Kyle Vanden Bosch and Cliff Avril are no longer with Detroit.
In 2013, the Lions will go with a combination of veterans in Ronnell Lewis, Willie Young and Jason Jones. They will also throw in rookie draft picks Ziggy Ansah and Devin Taylor—who will hopefully add similar production that the team enjoyed from Avril and Vanden Bosch.
If not, it will be a tougher year on the secondary. This will be a big factor in how successful Detroit is this year.
Green Bay Packers
Eddie Lacy should get plenty of touches in 2013.
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Green Bay's Biggest Offseason Goal
The Packers wanted to emerge in 2013 with an offense who is capable of controlling the tempo of the game. Green Bay will be able to do that by having a stronger running game. The Packers set out to accomplish that at the 2013 draft, and it looks like mission accomplished. The Packers have not one but two promising backs in Eddie Lacy and Johnathan Franklin.
It will be an interesting battle in training camp to see which back emerges as the starter or main workhorse. It might wind up being a time-sharing kind of deal, where Franklin runs the ball in between the 20s, and Lacy takes over in the red zone.
Either way, Green Bay figures to be running the ball with greater efficiency this year. In the big picture, that probably means Aaron Rodgers will be taking fewer hits, and that would be a positive development for Green Bay.
DeAndre Hopkins will be a key contributor in 2013.
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Houston's Biggest Offseason Goal
It seems like the Texans have been featuring Andre Johnson and Arian Foster forever. They needed to add some other weapons to the offense to make the unit more dynamic.
The Texans believe they found the missing ingredient when they drafted wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins with the pick at No. 27 overall.
Hopkins will look to make an impact this year, and the more production that he can generate as a rookie, the easier it will be for both Johnson and Foster.
Houston had four draft picks in Round 6, when they added another receiver, Alan Bonner, and tight end Ryan Griffin.
Besides the changes on offense, Houston added safety Ed Reed, which will make the Texans even stronger on defense. They get a healthy Brian Cushing back as well, which will make a difference.
Another interesting addition was long-time Oakland Raiders punter Shane Lechler, who will make a difference in field position.
You know that Houston was serious about adding some more playmakers to its offense this year.
Look at the rookie undrafted rookie free agents the Texans added after the draft: Kansas St. QB Collin Klein, Notre Dame RB Cierre Wood, Ohio St. FB Zach Boren, Syracuse WR Alex Lemon, Arkansas RB Dennis Johnson, Pittsburgh RB Ray Graham and Cincinnati RB George Winn.
Looks like Houston is looking for another diamond in the rough—like it found in Arian Foster.
Greg Toler was one of the few additions Colts made to secondary.
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Indianapolis' Biggest Offseason Goal
The Colts came into the 2013 offseason knowing that they needed to upgrade their secondary, specifically at corner. But despite having strong depth in the secondary in this draft class, Indianapolis failed to draft a single corner.
They did add safety John Boyett and also signed undrafted rookie free agent corner Dax Swanson. In free agency, the Colts landed corner Greg Toler from Arizona and safety LaRon Landry from the New York Jets.
Granted, it was important for the Colts to improve their offensive line so that Andrew Luck doesn't absorb as much of a pounding as he did in 2012. But if the team falls short of the playoffs due to less-than-stellar play in the secondary, Ryan Grigson will have to answer why he didn't take more steps to correct the problem.
Is 2013 the make-or-break year for Blaine Gabbert's career?
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Jacksonville's Biggest Offseason Goal
The Jaguars would like to resolve their starting quarterback issue. Unfortunately, that is just one position out of many which need to be answered.
Blaine Gabbert will be entering his third year in the league, and he will need to show a big step up in production and maturity this year. If he can't, then it is safe to say the Jaguars will be looking for a franchise quarterback in the 2014 draft.
The Jaguars have to be tremendously disappointed in the conduct of wide receiver Justin Blackmon. It is one thing to have him pick up a DUI before the draft in 2012, but then he came up with a four-game suspension for substance abuse.
This article via Jacksonville.com states that new head coach Gus Bradley trusts Blackmon, but trust is earned. Blackmon is in jeopardy of throwing his career away before it ever got off of its feet.
Jacksonville opted to invest heavily in its secondary during the draft, as five of the first eight draft picks were either corners or safeties. That should pay dividends over the next few years, but if they are all getting snaps this year, expect for some hard lessons to be learned.
Kansas City Chiefs
Where will Branden Albert be playing in 2013?
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Kansas City's Biggest Offseason Goal
The Chiefs were hoping that by the end of the draft, the saga of Branden Albert would have been finalized. Unfortunately, it is far from resolved.
The latest news is that nothing is going on right now with any new trade talks for Albert, and the Chiefs may have to resort to signing him to a long-term deal. Not that this would be a terrible thing, but it is rather redundant, since the Chiefs just invested the No. 1 overall draft pick on Eric Fisher.
New head coach Andy Reid is trying to put in the new offense and defense schemes for the team, and the last thing he needs is the Albert distraction. It holds up the offensive line from coming together and starting to work things out.
A Twitter update from Ian Rapoport of NFL Network shared how things are going with Albert:
From Total Access: I'm told parties view Branden Albert deal as "dead." Chiefs will now turn their attention to a long-term deal for Albert.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) May 1, 2013
Jake Long's departure triggered much frustration at left tackle.
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Miami's Biggest Offseason Goal
The Dolphins have been amassing as much talent as they possibly can for the 2013 season, but the one position that has continued to elude them is left tackle.
Despite all of the draft picks and millions of dollars available in the free-agency budget, GM Jeff Ireland hasn't been able to find a quality left tackle to save his life.
If the 2013 season turns out to be the swan song for Ireland, at least he went out swinging for the fences. But he will be haunted by the left tackle mistakes, as will Ryan Tannehill.
From not being able to sign Jake Long to the on-again, off-again trade talks with Kansas City over Branden Albert, to visiting free-agent right tackles like Tyson Clabo, Eric Winston and Winston Justice, it has been a string of frustrating exercises for Ireland.
Miami entertained the idea of signing Bryant McKinnie, but he spurned the Dolphins to return back to Baltimore.
If they were to sign Clabo, for example, the thought would be to bump Jonathan Martin over to left tackle, but there is no guarantee of how well he will handle left tackle.
Of course, Ireland could have made the issue go away if he had just drafted Lane Johnson after Miami traded up to the No. 3 overall draft pick.
But Ireland opted to take DE/OLB Dion Jordan instead. The Dolphins better hope that Jordan pans out, because Johnson looks like he will turn out to be the real deal.
How soon can Cordarrelle Patterson replace Percy Harvin?
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Minnesota's Biggest Offseason Goal
The Vikings' biggest goal this offseason was to figure out how they were going to replace Percy Harvin in the offense.
With respect to replacing Harvin, Minnesota thinks it has the answer in Cordarrelle Patterson. The question then becomes when will he actually start to produce like Percy Harvin? While there is little doubt that Patterson will be effective in generating some big returns with special teams, the Vikings still have a big hole to fill with the offense.
Clearly, it helps that the team was able to land Green Bay free agent Greg Jennings. It is a given that defenses will be stacking the box in 2013 to try to contain Adrian Peterson. Besides Jennings, the only other real threat in the passing game is tight end Kyle Rudolph. Jerome Simpson and John Carlson didn't show enough in 2012 to be counted on for much help.
That is why it is important for the Vikings take Patterson by the hand and start working with him early to polish his skills as a wide receiver. From learning how to get better separation, route running and reading defenses, there is much that he has to learn.
Kudos, by the way, to GM Rick Spielman for another interesting and aggressive draft class. He has clearly made his mark over the last two years in Minnesota.
New England Patriots
Can Aaron Dobson crack the Patriots' starting lineup in 2013?
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New England's Biggest Offseason Goal
The Patriots will be integrating a fairly large number of new faces on both sides of the ball in 2013, so getting everybody on the same page and running will be a big goal.
New England will be learning first hand in 2013 what life is like without Wes Welker. Nobody will miss Welker more than Tom Brady, so it will be interesting to see which players Brady begins to look for when he needs a big third down conversion.
On offense, Brady will be trying to develop some chemistry with the following new wide receivers: Danny Amendola, Donald Jones, Michael Jenkins and two rookie receivers, Aaron Dobson and Josh Boyce.
Brady also has to get used to new tight end Jake Ballard, who missed the entire 2012 season due to injury. Then there are the new running backs to get accustomed to like LeGarrette Blount and Leon Washington.
On defense, the Patriots added safety Adrian Wilson and defensive tackle Tommy Kelly.
By the looks of things, there are so many new faces on offense that they will have to impress early, or they will be gone. There are just too many bodies for anybody to start off slowly and still expect to stick around.
New Orleans Saints
Kenny Vaccaro will be an improvement for Saints in the secondary.
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New Orleans' Biggest Offseason Goal
The Saints welcome back Sean Payton to the team in 2013 along with new defensive coordinator Rob Ryan. Turning around the worst defense in NFL history is clearly the biggest goal this offseason for New Orleans.
In the 2013 draft, the Saints added the highest-rated safety in Kenny Vaccaro and added a couple defensive linemen by drafting defensive tackle John Jenkins and defensive end Rufus Johnson.
In free agency, the Saints signed LB Victor Butler, safety Jim Leonhard and CB Keenan Lewis. Granted, this isn't a huge makeover, as the Saints only had limited room under the cap to make many changes.
But you have to start somewhere. The defense could still easily finish in the bottom third in 2013, but at least it shouldn't be last again this year.
New York Giants
Pro Bowl receiver Victor Cruz is still without a signed contract.
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New York's Biggest Offseason Goal
The Giants have one major distraction that is starting to become a concern to head coach Tom Coughlin: the inability of the team and Victor Cruz to work out a new contract.
Cruz is part of the life blood of the Giants' offense, so if Coughlin is bothered by his absence, then you can imagine that other parties are getting overly concerned as well.
Watching Eli Manning throwing the ball deep to Cruz and Hakeem Nicks is a fundamental part of the Giants' offense. The sooner that both parties can reach a compromise, the sooner that everybody can buckle down and get to work for the 2013 season.
So how far apart are they? For now, according to this update from ESPN's Ohm Youngmisuk, Cruz is just exploring his options. It is part of doing business in the NFL.
But if this issue continues and Cruz hasn't signed by the start of the regular season, then he could sit out a number of weeks, which would be one of the worst possible scenarios for the Giants.
New York Jets
Dee Milliner will have some big shoes to fill.
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New York's Biggest Offseason Goal
The Jets were forced to make a number of wholesale changes across the board due to a terrible salary cap scenario. The 2013 version will be relying on a number of young, inexperienced starters who will be asked to play at a reasonably high level to keep the Jets as competitive as possible.
On the surface, you look at the ages of some of these key defensive personnel like Quinton Coples (22), Muhammad Wilkerson (23), DeMario Davis (24) and Kenrick Ellis (25), then you add to the mix rookies like Sheldon Richardson and Dee Milliner:
That means an awful lot of youthful aggression and anxiety that will have to be turned into smart, physical play while trying to remember assignments and cut down on mistakes.
Then you realize that Darrelle Revis is no longer part of the equation on defense. Losing that security blanket will make every blown coverage even more pronounced.
The early part of the season could be rough, but the unit should make progress throughout the year.
Then we turn our attention to the offensive side of the ball. You have the pending starting quarterback battle between Mark Sanchez, David Garrard and Geno Smith. You have to applaud the move to acquire running back Chris Ivory, who has never really had a great opportunity to show what he could do with extended touches.
The Jets still needed to add more playmakers to the offense, but for some reason, the team instead went on its own run of guards, selecting three of them in consecutive picks from No. 72 to No. 178 overall—I'm still trying to figure that one out.
Brandon Myers is just one of the many missing Raiders from 2012.
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Oakland's Biggest Offseason Goal
We go directly from one team who was hit hard by salary cap issues to another team plagued by the same issue. General manager Reggie McKenzie has $46 million in dead money on his 2013 payroll, which severely cut into his ability to field a competitive team.
As a result, the Raiders are doing whatever they can to find some decent level of competition for every position at training camp, but the end result is that there will no doubt be a few positions that will have a difficult time matching up.
Take the tight end position, for an example. Steve Corkran of the Contra Costa Times.com writes that the starting job will be decided between Mychal Rivera, David Ausberry and Nick Casa. That is a far cry from the 2012 starter, Brandon Myers, who was the team's leading receiver with 79 receptions for 806 yards.
And so it goes.
This year will probably be a hard for diehard fans to digest, but just know that better days are ahead. It just may take longer to get there than you were hoping. Well, at least we will finally have a better idea of what Matt Flynn is all about.
The NFL braces to find out what Chip Kelly has up his sleeve.
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Philadelphia's Biggest Offseason Goal
New head coach Chip Kelly is completely overhauling the Eagles' offense for 2013, so trying to find as many players who are physically fit enough to keep up the pace is only half the battle.
Drafting athletic big bodies like Oklahoma tackle Lane Johnson and Stanford tight end Zach Ertz is a good indication of the types of players who Kelly wants to bring to Philadelphia.
The 2013 season will be a type of trial and error, as Kelly can potentially trot out different quarterbacks to see who has the best skill set to run the offense and make the team a winner.
If Michael Vick can stay healthy, he should have the best skills to run the offense the way that Kelly envisions it should go. If Vick gets hurt, however, then it is up in the air if he would go with either Nick Foles or Matt Barkley. That will have to be sorted out in training camp.
Since this is the first year of watching Kelly's offense in the NFL, remember that you have to start somewhere. There will be some roster turnover and tinkering with plays and formations as he learns what works and what doesn't.
But there's one thing we can count on: It won't be boring.
Can Markus Wheaton replace Mike Wallace's speed?
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Pittsburgh's Biggest Offseason Goal
Another year, and another block of key names from the past leave Pittsburgh for new teams. From James Harrison, Mike Wallace, Keenan Lewis, Will Allen, Ryan Mundy, Rashard Mendenhall and Willie Colon, the Steelers have to find players to step up and take their places.
The transition is never exactly smooth when you lose so many key players. The biggest adjustment will be how Ben Roethlisberger is able to make the Steelers offense click—even though he lost his top-speed receiver in Wallace.
Secondaries won't have to feat the deep pass as much, which brings a different set of complications.
Steelers fans will be looking forward to watching rookies Jarvis Jones and Shamarko Thomas come up and make big hits on defense. They are also hoping that RB Le'veon Bell will make them forget about Mendenhall, and that Markus Wheaton will have the same impact that Wallace had with his speed.
The Steelers failed to make the playoffs in 2012, and there is no guarantee they will return in 2013. Other players will have to step up this year and take on key roles in contributing big plays to return the Steelers to the postseason.
San Diego Chargers
Manti Te'o landed in a great spot in San Diego.
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San Diego's Biggest Offseason Goal
The Chargers came into the offseason knowing that they had to reconstruct their offensive line. Things didn't start off very well, when they lost guard Louis Vasquez to Denver in free agency.
Then the Chargers turned their attention to secure one of the premier left tackles in the 2013 draft class. They flew off the board far too quickly, so San Diego opted for D.J. Fluker and will trust that he turns out to be a solid addition to build around.
Unfortunately, Fluker was the only draft pick who the team invested in the offensive line. In free agency, the Chargers added tackle King Dunlap and guard Chad Rinehart. Both should at least be serviceable, but the Chargers still have more work to do to fix this line.
Another goal for 2013 is for the Chargers to welcome LB Manti Te'o and make him feel at home. Sure, there will probably be the regular rookie razzing and maybe a little extra for Te'o, but the team wants to get him comfortable and focused on football.
The sooner everybody can get past all the prior headlines, the sooner he can learn what he needs to succeed at the next level.
San Francisco 49ers
The 49ers have only scratched the surface with Colin Kaepernick.
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San Francisco's Biggest Offseason Goal
The 49ers goal is to win one more postseason game than they did in 2012.
They had very few holes when the 2013 offseason began. Through some trades and key offseason moves, the 49ers had even less moves, picking up WR Anquan Boldin, K Phil Dawson and CB Nnamdi Asomugha.
At the draft, everybody expected GM Trent Baalke to package enough draft picks to wind up with maybe seven or eight players. Instead he drafted a rather full complement of 11 players.
The first six selections were high-quality players in S Eric Reid, DE Tank Carradine, TE Vance McDonald, DE Corey Lemonier, WR Quinton Patton and RB Marcus Lattimore. The Lattimore pick—especially—was a great move, as the 49ers can easily afford to redshirt him in 2013. The rich just keep getting richer.
So what is the 49ers' biggest goal this offseason? They have brought in additional talent to have strong competition on both sides of the ball at training camp. The team has been on the brink of winning a Super Bowl, and perhaps 2013 will be its year.
Cliff Avril and Percy Harvin are two key additions for Seattle in 2013.
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Seattle's Biggest Offseason Goal
The Seahawks are gearing up for the chance to unseat the San Francisco 49ers as the top team in the NFC West division. The Seahawks look to be as complete a team on both sides of the ball.
When these teams meet in 2013, that should result in two very close, hard-fought games. These games could be among the best highlights of the regular season.
The fact that both teams are led by mobile, dangerous quarterbacks who can beat you with their throwing arms or with their legs only adds to the intrigue of this rivalry.
For the 2013 offseason, the Seahawks continued to stuff their roster with more talent by signing Cliff Avril, Antoine Winfield, Michael Bennett and trading their first-round draft pick with Minnesota to acquire Percy Harvin. Then at the draft, the Seahawks added RB Christine Michael, WR Chris Harper and DT Jesse Williams.
So once again the Seahawks look to be stacked on both sides of the ball. Their pass rush appears to be better than it was in 2012, and their offense clearly has more weapons.
With his rookie year behind him, Russell Wilson should be more comfortable in the offense, and the coaches will need to come up with new strategies to take advantage of his athleticism, quickness and mobility.
St. Louis Rams
Tavon Austin will bring new dynamic impact to Rams' offense.
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St. Louis' Biggest Offseason Goal
The Rams set out to improve their overall offense in the 2013 offseason, as Sam Bradford simply didn't have enough weapons surrounding him.
Now that the draft has been completed, look at the overall additions to the offensive unit: tackle Jake Long, tight end Jared Cook and two stud West Virginia wide receivers, Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey.
The Rams also added lineman Barrett Jones, who played all five positions at Alabama.
By trading up to acquire Austin, the Rams landed the most dynamic offensive force in the 2013 draft class. His addition should do wonders for opening up the Rams offense as well as turning their special teams into more of a threat.
Jeff Fisher added to the defense as well, with Alec Ogletree and T.J. McDonald.
The Rams are a young team who continues to add talent every year to the overall roster under Fisher. They went 4-1-1 against the NFC West last year, which tells you that this is a team on the rise. As the talent level continues to rise, the wins will follow. Look for Bradford to have his best year to date in 2013.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Can Josh Freeman find a way to please Coach Schiano in 2013?
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Tampa Bay's Biggest Offseason Goal
Head coach Greg Schiano has been trying to get the attention of quarterback Josh Freeman: He needs to take a step forward in 2013 or else.
To drive the point home even further, the Bucs invested a third-round draft pick in quarterback Mike Glennon to make sure Freeman understood these weren't idle threats.
According to this update from ESPN's Pat Yasinskas, Schiano wants Freeman to be more like the head coach—fiery, passionate and intense. The more laid back Freeman approaches the game, the more it drives Schiano crazy.
Whether or not these two will ultimately get along remains to be seen. One thing that will help their cause is to come up with a winning record. If Freeman can't deliver with the intangibles that Schiano wants and has another losing season, then it is safe to assume a change would be made next year.
Chance Warmack is thrilled to play for Mike Munchak.
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Tennessee's Biggest Offseason Goal
Titans head coach Mike Munchak realizes that he has to take his team to the postseason this year, or else he will be relieved of his duties. Munchak has a healthy Chris Johnson in 2013 to put to work, so the Titans have fortified their offensive line and added other weapons to raise the bar on offense.
Let's review what steps they took: On the offensive line, Tennessee signed Andy Levitre, Robert Turner and Chris Spencer in free agency. Then it drafted Alabama guard Chance Warmack and California center Brian Schwenke.
The Titans weren't done there. They added wide receiver Kevin Walter in free agency to go along with tight end Delanie Walker, running back Shonn Greene and quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. Then Tennessee drafted local star wide receiver Justin Hunter, and the overhaul was complete.
Can Jake Locker take advantage of the extra support on the offensive line and the new weapons to turn this team into a winner?
If he can't, expect Munchak to operate with a short leash on the quarterback. There is a sense of urgency to win this year, so Locker will be benched for Fitzpatrick if he doesn't win early and often.
The Redskins need to be smart with how they handle RG3 in offseason.
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Washington's Biggest Offseason Goal
The Redskins biggest goal this offseason is to make certain that they take a careful, calculated approach to bringing Robert Griffin III back to 100 percent before they ask him to play in any 2013 games.
Griffin's overall health—both short-term and long-term—means too much to this franchise for it do anything rash or stupid.
Rushing back to play in the season opener as opposed to taking your time and making sure that the team doctors have fully signed off on his rehab is not the preferred way to go.
The Redskins are also taking care of the sod issue and the sand base below the field surface to try to give Griffin a better surface to run on. When you have invested as much as you have in obtaining Griffin, you want to make sure that you do all of the little things right to make sure that he plays for a long time.
Washington also hopes to get Fred Davis back to full health this year. Davis is rehabbing from an Achilles injury, so the Redskins drafted tight end Jordan Reed as an insurance policy. If Davis can make it all the way back, that would give Griffin two tight ends who are viable targets for the upcoming season.
Now if the Redskins can just make sure that they let RG3 take it one step at a time, he should be good to go for the vast majority if not the entire 2013 season.