As training camp rosters are finalized, an unmatched optimism protrudes into the air for all 32 teams. Every draft pick was a steal, every free-agent signing was a bargain and every player already on the roster is due for a huge 2013 season.
As we all know, the NFL season never quite turns out like we expect.
The truth is, no one knows how rookies will perform, how free agents will adjust to a new team or what players will start to decline with age. As confident as coaches and executives sounds in their post-draft press conferences, underneath their brash words lies an uneasiness as the inevitability of the NFL season draws near.
The following slides will breakdown all 32 teams, taking into account their additions and losses in free agency, their draft class and how much the players already on the roster will develop or decline with age.
Key Losses: John Abraham, Vance Walker, Tyson Clabo, Brent Grimes, Chris Owens, Will Svitek
Key Additions: Steven Jackson, Osi Umenyiora
The Falcons lost a slew of veterans that were key to their prior success, but almost player they lost was either declining in production due to age or coming off a major injury.
Osi Umenyiora will ease the loss of John Abraham as a pass-rushing specialist. Although, like Abraham, Umenyiora has had a history of nagging injuries throughout his career.
Steven Jackson is not quite the feared runner he was two or three years ago, but he is undoubtedly a huge upgrade over the plodding Michael Turner. Most importantly, he brings more as a receiver out of the backfield, which is a role that is becoming increasingly important for the Falcons as they continue their transition to a pass-happy team.
On paper, the Falcons look like a more dynamic team that is more suited to the type of offense they want to run. However, they will be a bit dependent on unknown commodities, such as Lamar Holmes at right tackle, to fill some of the holes left in the wake of expiring veterans.
Key Losses: Jermon Bushrod, Chase Daniel, Jonathan Casillas
Key Additions: Victor Butler, Seneca Wallace, Jason Smith, Jim Leonhard, Kenyon Coleman, Ben Watson.
The biggest addition for the Saints was not a free agent or a draft pick. Finally getting their head coach back from suspension will make the biggest improvement over last season's disappointing campaign.
Sean Payton is arguably the most brilliant offensive play-caller in football, and he has a symbiotic relationship with Drew Brees. Having Payton back will help erase the Saints' inconsistencies on offense and get them back to being the feared unit they have been over the past six years.
Most of the changes will take place on other side of the ball, with Rob Ryan bringing in his multiple-front defense to shore up what was the worst defense in football last season. Adding the up-and-coming Victor Butler at outside linebacker could turn out to be a huge addition for the team's mediocre pass rush.
Meanwhile, veterans Jim Leonard and Kenyon Coleman were not he most dynamic players on the market, but they have an extensive background in Ryan (Rob or Rex) defenses.
After all, the only direction this defense can go is up at this point.
Key Losses: Chris Gamble, James Anderson, Louis Murphy, Mike Pollack
Key Additions: Domenik Hixon, Chase Blackburn, Ted Ginn, Mike Mitchell, Drayton Florence
Perhaps no team was more quiet this offseason than the Carolina Panthers, as a rather tight cap situation prevented the Panthers from making any splashes in free agency. At the same time, they did not lose any significant pieces on either side of the ball, as their biggest losses were cornerback Chris Gamble and oft-injured linebacker James Anderson.
However, they were able to add some supplementary pieces in free agency with players like Domenik Hixon and Drayton Florence to give them much-needed depth.
The Panthers also finally attacked their massive need at defensive tackle with their first two picks in the draft, Star Lotulelei and Kawaan Short.
In the end, these quiet improvements will all be for naught if Cam Newton does not continue to develop as a quarterback. While Newton had a slow start to 2012, he was much more consistent after the coaching staff started to ditch the heavy option offense and reverted to more of a pro-style system.
Carolina may not be a championship contender just yet, but the arrow is still pointing up with its young quarterback.
Key Losses: Ronde Barber, Danny Ware, Michael Bennett, Jeremy Trueblood
Key Additions: Darrelle Revis, Steve Smith, Tom Crabtree, Dashon Goldson, Brian Leonard, Derek Landri
The acquisition of Darrelle Revis could be a career-defining move for general manager Mark Dominik. If Revis is healthy and the player he was for the Jets from 2009 to the start of 2012, the Bucs have themselves an all-timer in his prime for the small price of two draft picks.
Conversely, if Revis is unable to fully recover from his ACL injury, the move could set the franchise back several years after sacrificing two high draft picks and significant cap room.
Assuming Revis is the player he was with the Jets, the Bucs can potentially field one of the best defenses in football in 2013, even with the loss of Michael Bennett at defensive end. Adding Dashon Goldson to solidify the once-woeful secondary gives the Bucs a lot of toys to play with on the back end of their defense.
However, it has become clear that Greg Schiano, who was still coaching Rutgers when Josh Freeman was drafted, is not sold on the fifth-year quarterback. The team drafted NC State prospect Mike Glennon in the third round to push Freeman; it remains to be seen whether or not he responds to added pressure.
Key Losses: Connor Barwin, Alan Ball, Glover Quin, Kevin Walter, James Casey
Key Additions: Ryan Harris, Ed Reed, Greg Jones, Shane Lechler
The Texans have gambled at two key positions on defense: outside linebacker and free safety. The versatile Glover Quin has been replaced with Ed Reed, who is clearly no longer the same dominant player that crafted his Hall of Fame resume.
Meanwhile, the Texans are counting on last year's first-round pick Whitney Mercilus to step into a starting role with Connor Barwin now in Philadelphia.
At first glance, these moves seem curious at best, but there are plenty of reasons behind the Texans' offseason approach.
Barwin was coming off a pedestrian three-sack season, and first-round selections like Mercilus are expected to start at some point. Ed Reed may not be as athletic as Quin, but he brings with him the experience of playing for a championship team—an invaluable asset for an expansion franchise that is comprised almost solely of homegrown players.
This is also somewhat of a make-or-break season for Matt Schaub, who will have a new weapon to work with in first-round pick DeAndre Hopkins. If Schaub fails to win in the playoffs in 2013, the Texans will certainly be in the market for a new quarterback.
Key Losses: Tom Zbikowski, Donnie Avery, Austin Collie, Jerraud Powers, Drew Stanton
Key Additions: Darrius Heyward-Bey, LaRon Landry, Erik Walden, Donald Thomas, Gosder Cherilus, Ricky Jean-Francois, Aubrayo Franklin, Matt Hasselbeck
With the sheer number of upgrades they made at needy positions on defense and along the offensive line, there is no doubt that the Colts are a better team than they were five months prior.
However, the question for the Colts is whether or not they will get any value for the players they brought in and how much their bloated contracts will hurt them in the long term. There is no doubt that LaRon Landry, Donald Thomas and Ricky Jean-Francois will help the Colts in 2013, but they were all given relatively lucrative deals that could hamstring the team's ability to make improvements in the future.
The good news is that the Colts have plenty of room for error with Andrew Luck, who will continue to develop into the star everyone expects him to become. Adding Darrius Heyward-Bey gives the Colts a big, downfield threat that can fully take advantage of Luck's arm.
The Colts did take a risk with the selection of Bjoern Werner 24th overall as a natural defensive end who will make the difficult transition to outside linebacker.
While the long-term prognosis of the Colts has yet to bee determined, there is no doubt that the already-young Colts roster has made a significant jump in talent from a year ago.
Key Losses: Rashad Jennings, C.J. Mosley, Greg Jones, Terrance Knighton, Aaron Ross, Dawan Landry
Key Additions: Mohamed Massaquoi, Alan Ball, Justin Forsett
Based on how new general manager David Caldwell has approached the draft and free agency in his first offseason, it is abundantly clear that the this is more of a "tryout" year for the Jaguars.
After spending the second overall pick on offensive tackle Luke Joeckel, the Jaguars used the rest of their draft to attack their atrocious defense, particularly in the secondary.
Meanwhile, they seemingly neglected the quarterback position, giving Blaine Gabbert and Chad Henne one more opportunity to seize the starting job before a decision is made on their future.
Essentially, the Jaguars exchanged their veteran defenders for younger building blocks while keeping most of the offensive personnel intact for at least one more season. Expect Caldwell and the Jaguars to make a lot more noise next spring when the quarterback situation becomes more clear.
Key Losses: Matt Hasselbeck, Jared Cook, Steve Hutchinson
Key Additions: Andy Levitre, Kevin Walter, Shonn Greene, Delanie Walker, George Wilson, Sammie Lee-Hill
With Jake Locker going into his all-important third season, the Titans brass has done everything it can to surround him with a good supporting cast and help him succeed.
The interior offensive line, arguably the weakest part of the 2012 roster, has become a strength with the additions of Andy Levitre and Chance Warmack. Second-round pick Justin Hunter gives the team insurance for the unreliable Kenny Britt, while Shonn Greene gives the Titans depth and competition for Chris Johnson.
However, the defensive side of the ball remains a mediocre bunch, comprised of a handful of solid-yet-unspectacular players. Players like Colin McCarthy and Jason McCourty are starting-caliber players, but this unit has a desperate need for star-power that has not been replaced since Albert Haynesworth's departure.
The Titans roster may look better on paper, but the their inability to make enough significant improvements to the 27th-ranked defense will cost the team wins.
Key Losses: Alan Branch, Matt Flynn, Jason Jones
Key Additions: Percy Harvin, Cliff Avril, Michael Bennett, Brady Quinn
The Seahawks were a last-minute Matt Ryan drive away from reaching the NFC Championship Game last season. Now, as their already-young roster continues to develop with a handful of blockbuster additions, they have a chance to field the NFL's best roster in 2013.
Despite the steep price of a first-round pick, adding Percy Harvin gives the Seahawks offense a much-needed dimension of speed that, when combined with other weapons in Marshawn Lynch and Sidney Rice, makes them nearly impossible to match up with.
Defensively, they minimized the at-least-temporary loss of Chris Clemons with two of the top 4-3 ends in free agency, Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril. Combined with last year's first-round pick Bruce Irvin, the Seahawks now have themselves a full rotation of pass-rushers.
How were the Seahawks able to make so many additions this spring? Because of the new rookie wage scale, Seattle has its young quarterback, Russel Wilson, locked up for the immediate future on the cheap, which gave them flexibility to use their cap space elsewhere.
Key Losses: Ricky Jean-Francois, Dashon Goldson, Isaac Sopoaga, Delanie Walker, Alex Smith
Key Additions: Nnamdi Asomugha, Phil Dawson, Craig Dahl, Glenn Dorsey, Anquan Boldin
Despite losing a some veteran defenders, namely along the defensive line, the 49ers have reloaded and are primed to be a contender for the long term.
With so many draft picks and so few open roster spots, the 49ers had a ton of flexibility on draft day. They were able to trade up into the first round to acquire LSU's Eric Reid, who will fill the hole left by Dashon Goldson's departure.
Players like Tank Carradine and Marcus Lattimore are coming off devastating injuries, but the 49ers do not have the need (or the room) for them to contribute in the short term. They can take their time to rehab behind a deep roster, setting the 49ers up nicely in the long run.
Key Losses: Danny Amendola, Quintin Mikell, Brandon Gibson, Wayne Hunter, Steven Jackson
Key Additions: Jake Long, Jared Cook
The Rams didn't make a large number of moves in free agency, but the moves they did make were significant. They finally solidified the tackle position with Jake Long and finally gave Sam Bradford a legitimate threat at tight end in Jared Cook.
They also made an aggressive move in trading up for Tavon Austin to replace Amendola in the slot. Adding a player as explosive as Austin could pay dividends for a team that was starved for home run hitters.
Just as they did a year ago when they took Janoris Jenkins in the second round, the Rams gambled on another troubled-yet-talented prospect, Alec Ogletree, with their second first-round selection.
The Rams have a chance to make tremendous strides in their second season under Jeff Fisher, but all of their moves involve a significant amount of risk, including their free-agent signings. Jake Long has a deep injury history, and Jared Cook has yet to fully reach his athletic potential.
Key Losses: John Skelton, Kerry Rhodes, Adrian Wilson, Early Doucet, Beanie Wells, Quentin Groves
Key Additions: Carson Palmer, Matt Shaughnessy, Antoine Cason, Yeremiah Bell, Rashard Mendenhall
Entering the 2013 offseason, the Cardinals had two glaring needs that had to be addressed: quarterback and offensive line, particularly on the interior.
Those needs were attacked head-on, as the team traded for Carson Palmer and selected guard Jonathan Cooper with the seventh overall pick. Taking a guard in the top 10 may seem like a reach, but if there was ever a team that had an excuse to do so, it would be this Arizona squad.
Despite their upgrades on the offensive side, the Cardinals have made a few head-scratching moves on the defensive side, cutting both of their veteran safeties after a very strong season from Kerry Rhodes. Rhodes will now be replaced by undersized rookie Tyraan Mathieu, who will struggle to cover tight ends at 5'9".
Still, there is no denying that the Cardinals are an exponentially better team with a real, professional-grade quarterback on their roster for the first time since Kurt Warner's retirement.
Key Losses: Steve Breaston, Matt Cassel, Brady Quinn
Key Additions: Alex Smith, Frank Zombo, Donnie Avery, Sean Smith, Dunta Robinson, Mike DeVito
The Chiefs' draft position this year was not an accurate reflection to the true state of their roster. With five Pro Bowlers, it is difficult to imagine how the Chiefs manufactured just two wins last season with the amount of young talent on their roster.
Clearly, Alex Smith is a huge upgrade over Matt Cassel at quarterback, but the Chiefs have used much of their resources this offseason to field essentially the same team they were in 2012.
In addition to the change at quarterback, the team did get younger at tackle, drafting Eric Fisher first overall. It also added a slew of veteran cornerbacks. Otherwise, though, the Chiefs roster has undergone very little change for a last-place team that hired a new coach and general manager.
Which, after all, may not be a bad thing.
If Alex Smith can be even a minor upgrade over Cassel, the Chiefs have enough talent under an accomplished new coach in Andy Reid to be the team everyone thought they would be in 2012.
Key Losses: Elvis Dumervil, Jim Leonhard, Tracy Porter, D.J. Williams
Key Additions: Wes Welker, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Terrance Knighton, Louis Vasquez
Had it not been for the infamous fax machine-gate that led to Elvis Dumervil's release, you would have a tough time finding a glaring weakness on the Broncos roster.
The acquisition of Wes Welker was the highlight of their free-agency period, but the additions of Louis Vasquez and Rodgers-Cromartie also filled two big needs at cornerback and along on the interior offfensive line.
Losing Dumervil will have a clear effect on the pass rush, but if first-round pick Sylvester Williams can develop into the star player he is capable of becoming, the team's losses along the defensive front will be minimized.
However, while the Broncos did field the second-ranked run defense in 2012, losing D.J. Williams at middle linebacker creates a hole in their defense that needs to be filled.
Key Losses: Carson Palmer, Rolando McClain, Brandon Myers, Desmond Bryant, Mike Goodson, Darrius Heyward-Bey
Key Additions: Rashad Jennings, Mike Jenkins, Tracy Porter, Matt Flynn
Still recovering from years of bloated contracts and lopsided trades, the Oakland Raiders have the worst roster in the NFL by a rather significant margin.
Between Denarius Moore and Darren McFadden, the Raiders have little star power to work with, even when both players manage to stay healthy. Their once talented defensive line has been gutted, and they have essentially traded Carson Palmer for an unknown commodity in Matt Flynn to give them some upside at quarterback.
They do have a left tackle in place with Jared Veldheer, but the rest of the offensive line remains unsettled.
The Raiders found themselves a potential star in the draft with cornerback D.J. Hayden, but they will be heavily reliant on their rookies to make a big impact on a depleted roster.
Because of their cap limitations and a scarcity of draft picks over the past few years, it will be at least one more season until Oakland can finally turn the corner and start to improve.
Key Losses: Jared Gaither, Aubrayo Franklin, Antwan Barnes, Antoine Cason, Louis Vasquez, Randy McMichael, Antonio Garay, Shaun Phillips
Key Additions: Danny Woodhead, Deon Butler, Derek Cox, John Phillips
If there's a reason to get excited about the Chargers' chances next season, their first three draft picks are it. Adding D.J. Fluker, Manti Te'o and Keenan Allen in the first three rounds gives the team three automatic starters who will contribute on day one.
However, while Fluker addresses their needs on the offensive line, he is not nimble enough to play outside at tackle, where he would be needed most.
The Chargers cut bait with a slew of aging veterans and will be heavily reliant on young, unproven talent to fill holes at outside linebacker, cornerback, defensive tackle, offensive tackle and at receiver. Former high draft choices such as Melvin Ingram will need to flourish in an expanded role if the Chargers are to sustain any kind of winning during their youth movement.
Ultimately, it will take another MVP-like season from Phillip Rivers in order for the Chargers to truly be considered as contenders again.
Key Losses: Domenik Hixon, Chase Blackburn, Kenny Phillips, Martellus Bennett, Ahmad Bradshaw, Michael Boley
Key Additions: Mike Patterson, Louis Murphy, Dan Connor, Brandon Myers, Cullen Jenkins
Without much cap room to work with, the Giants have made a clear effort to get better on the interior on the defensive line, adding two former Eagles in Mike Patterson and Cullen Jenkins. The addition of Dan Connor gives them some much-needed linebacker depth after losing Chase Blackburn and Michael Boley.
First-round pick Justin Pugh will give the Giants another versatile player on the offensive line. And Syracuse teammate Ryan Nassib could turn out to be a valuable trade commodity in the future.
However, the Giants still have holes in the secondary and will be counting on sophomore running back David Wilson to be the lead back next season. Wilson is tremendously talented, but the Virginia Tech product has been known to fumble and be unreliable in protection. There is also the never-ending contract dispute with Victor Cruz, which has the potential to become a distraction.
The Giants will be competitive as long as they have Eli Manning under center, but they will be a bit reliant on rookies and unproven players to take big strides next season.
Key Losses: Cullen Jenkins, Dion Lewis, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Nnamdi Asomugha, King Dunlap
Key Additions: Emmanuel Acho, Connor Barwin, Kenny Phillips, James Casey, Dennis Dixon
The Eagles are one of the most difficult teams to predict for next season, simply because no one knows exactly what kind of system Chip Kelly will run on offense.
The most important acquisition they made was with their fourth overall selection. The team drafted Lane Johnson, the most athletic offensive tackle in the draft. Opposite Jason Peters, the Eagles suddenly have a very strong set of tackles that could fit any scheme Chip Kelly wants to run.
They will miss Cullen Jenkins' presence on the interior of their defensive line as they make the transition to a 3-4 defense. Despite coming off a three-sack season, Connor Barwin will ease the transition as a stand-up outside linebacker.
It is an exciting time in Philly with the first coaching change in over a decade, but the Eagles have not made many personnel moves to dramatically upgrade the roster.
Key Losses: Lorenzo Alexander
Key Additions: Daryl Tapp, Jeremy Trueblood, Pat White
With a tight cap situation and the lack of a first-round pick (from the RG3 trade), Bruce Allen's hands were tied in terms of how much he could upgrade his roster in the short term.
Even without a first-round pick, though, the Redskins got plenty of value in the draft. David Amerson may lack deep speed, but he is a perfect fit as a zone cornerback in Jim Haslett's scheme. Jordan Reed gives them a huge target at tight end next to the re-signed Fred Davis. And Bacarri Rambo offers second-round value as a sixth-round pick while filling a need at safety.
Still, the Redskins will be a bit too reliant on unproven talent, particularly in the secondary, where players are usually a bit slow to develop.
Ultimately, the future of the Redskins lives and dies on RG3's health as he recovers from his ACL injury. If Griffin can make a full recovery and continue to build on his spectacular rookie season, it will be the biggest victory the Redskins could have this season.
Key Losses: Kenyon Coleman, Victor Butler, John Phillips, Dan Connor, Gerald Sensabaugh
Key Additions: Justin Durant, Will Allen
Tony Romo gets a ton of flak for his season-ending interception in a Week 17 game against the Redskins, but the true problems with the Cowboys lies on the defensive side and on the interior of the offensive line.
It is no surprise that the team moved on from Rob Ryan after he coordinated the 19th-ranked defense, but it is a bit of a surprise that the Cowboys are bringing back Monte Kiffin's outdated Cover-2 scheme to solve their issues.
They made another head-scratching move when they franchised Anthony Spencer to play defensive end, despite him being a more natural fit at outside linebacker.
Their string of suspicious moves continued into the draft, where they selected Wisconsin center Travis Frederick at the bottom of the first round. As much as the Cowboys needed offensive line help, taking Frederick was a reach capable of pulling a muscle.
Cowboys fans may disagree, but the best part of the Cowboys' offseason was that they were able to lock up Tony Romo and shift their focus to building around him.
Key Losses: David Nelson, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Andy Levitre, Shawne Merriman, Nick Barnett, George Wilson, Chad Rinehart
Key Additions: Alan Branch, Kevin Kolb, Manny Lawson
With a brand new coaching staff from nearby Syracuse University and a quarterback dripping with potential, 'tis the season for optimism in Buffalo.
It was no surprise that the Bills elected to take a quarterback in the first round of the draft with just Kevin Kolb and Tavaris Jackson on the roster. But it was a surprise that it was someone other than Geno Smith or Ryan Nassib, who played under Doug Marrone at Syracuse.
EJ Manuel has plenty of tools to work with as a big specimen with a strong arm, but it will take a lot of time—perhaps an entire season—before he is ready for live NFL action.
Otherwise, the Bills are largely the same roster they were from a year ago, with their biggest losses coming at the guard position (Andy Levitre and Chad Rinehart).
They did, though, bring in a bright young mind to run their defense in Mike Pettine, a Rex Ryan disciple. Perhaps Pettine can finally get the most of this talented defensive roster.
Key Losses: Brandon Lloyd, Danny Woodhead, Wes Welker, Patrick Chung, Donald Thomas
Key Additions: Tommy Kelly, Michael Jenkins, Danny Amendola, Leon Washington, Adrian Wilson
Allowing fan favorites Wes Welker and Danny Woodhead to walk was certainly not a popular move among Patriots fans, but the two were adequately replaced by Danny Amendola and Leon Washington, respectively.
Yet still, the Patriots' search for a true No. 1 receiver continues after releasing Brandon Lloyd. Second-round pick Aaron Dobson provides a lot of upside, but the Marshall product will need some time to develop.
Defensively, the Pats appear to have their safety tandem set with Devin McCourty and Adrian Wilson, and Tommy Kelly fills their need at defensive tackle.
However, with a fourth forearm surgery scheduled, Rob Gronkowski's health continues to be a real concern.
The Patriots are still favorites to walk away with their division, but they will have a new cast of skill position players to work in to the lineup that could lead to another slow start.
Key Losses: Darrelle Revis, Sione Pouha, Mike DeVito, Bart Scott, LaRon Landry, Yeremiah Bell, Dustin Keller, Matt Slauson, Brandon Moore
Key Additions: Antwan Barnes, Willie Colon, Chris Ivory, Antonio Garay, David Garrard
While the Jets were able to get a first- and conditional third-round pick in return, no team trades an all-time great like Darrelle Revis and comes away unscarred, even if he did miss 14 games last year.
As big of a loss as Darrelle Revis is, the Jets were at least able to add some extra building blocks in the first round with Dee Milliner and Sheldon Richardson, who fills their need for a pass-rusher from the interior line.
Of course, the Jets did not neglect to make changes to their offense, trading for Chris Ivory, drafting three offensive lineman and, of course, bringing in Geno Smith to show that he can be the quarterback of the future for the Jets.
Smith will take part in a three-man race for the starting job, along with David Garrard and incumbent Mark Sanchez.
The Jets may have lost many of the pieces that were big parts of their success in 2009 and 2010, but they have added a new influx of young talent to build around for the future.
Key Losses: Karlos Dansby, Jake Long, Reggie Bush, Anthony Fasano
Key Additions: Mike Wallace, Brent Grimes, Brandon Gibson, Phillip Wheeler, Dustin Keller, Dannell Ellerbe, Tyson Clabo
While it is fair to question Jeff Ireland's job security after a massive haul in free agency, there is no denying the fact that the Dolphins are a more talented team now than they were five months prior.
With their additions of Mike Wallace, Brent Grimes, Dustin Keller and first-round pick Dion Jordan, the Dolphins have filled just about every need on their checklist—with the lone exception of that pesky left tackle spot.
After failing to trade for Brandon Albert or retain Jake Long, they were finally able to add Tyson Clabo after the draft, but a duo of Clabo and Jonathan Martin hardly has the making of a solidified pair of tackles to protect Ryan Tannehill. After all, how can the Dolphins use Wallace's speed if Tannehill doesn't have time to deliver the football?
The Dolphins will still be a much-improved team from a season ago, but their lack of a plan for the left tackle spot puts a cap on their success.
Key Losses: Gosder Cherilus, Kyle Vanden Bosch, Cliff Avril, Jeff Backus
Key Additions: Reggie Bush, Jason Jones, David Akers, C.J. Mosley, Glover Quin
After a disappointing 4-12 campaign, the Lions have undergone a bit of a youth movement in the trenches on both sides of the ball.
They replaced both of their defensive ends, Kyle Vanden Bosch and Cliff Avril, with rookie Ziggy Ansah and veteran Jason Jones. Meanwhile, their longtime offensive tackle duo of Gosder Cherilus and Jeff Backus has been replaced by Riley Reiff, last year's first-round pick, and Corey Hilliard, a journeyman with four years of experience as a backup.
The Lions also finally added some talent in the back end with the addition of Glover Quin and found an adequate replacement for Jahvid Best in Reggie Bush.
The Lions have a chance to be a better team next season if their younger players are able to produce immediately in starting roles, but utilizing such a strategy always carries a lot of risk.
Key Losses: Frank Zombo, Tom Crabtree, Greg Jennings, Erik Walden, Charles Woodson, Donald Driver
Key Additions: Matt Mulligan
General manager Ted Thompson has made a living building his team through the draft, but it is difficult to declare the Packers as a better team after losing Greg Jennings and Charles Woodson without replacing them with any known commodities.
Why were the Packers so frugal during the free-agency period? Because they knew they had to make Aaron Rodgers the richest man in the NFL sooner or later. Giving their star quarterback an enormous contract may not help the team in the short term, but it was good business to extend Rodgers before he got closer to free agency.
While the Packers still have issues at tackle and along the front seven of their defense, they were at least able to finally bring in some young talent at the running back position after drafting Eddie Lacy and Jonathan Franklin.
The Packers will be in Super Bowl contention as long as Aaron Rodgers is under center, but they enter this season with a lot of holes on their roster and will be dependent on young rookies to play big roles on both sides of the ball.
Key Losses: Brian Urlacher, Chris Spencer, Kellen Davis, Israel Idonije
Key Additions: Matt Slauson, D.J. Williams, Jermon Bushrod, Martellus Bennett, James Anderson
No matter what the cost, the Bears entered this offseason with one clear goal: to make steadfast improvements to their offensive line.
Jermon Bushrod and Matt Slauson combine for a pair of NFL-quality offensive linemen. First-round pick Kyle Long has tremendous upside as a versatile guard or emergency tackle. Martellus Bennett replaces the disappointing Kellen Davis as a quality blocker with receiving ability.
All of these moves should give the Bears at least an above-average offensive line, which leaves no more excuses for Jay Cutler.
The Bears defense will have a different look without Brian Urlacher in the middle, but D.J. Williams is a solid, if unspectacular stopgap solution who should not yield any drop-off from an aging Urlacher.
Key Losses: Percy Harvin, Geoff Schwartz, Antoine Winfield
Key Additions: Greg Jennings, Seth Olsen, Matt Cassel
After losing two of their top players in Percy Harvin and Antoine Winfield, the Vikings appeared to be headed in the wrong direction just a few months removed from their playoff appearance.
The Vikings quickly found solutions to their holes at receiver and quarterback after stealing Greg Jennings away from the rival Packers and drafting the tall and physical Xavier Rhodes in the first round.
While Jennings is not on Percy Harvin's level in terms of sheer explosiveness, Cordarrelle Patterson, though a bit raw as a receiver, offers similar upside with the ball in his hands.
Despite making the playoffs last season, the Vikings have entered a bit of a rebuilding mode that sets them up better for the long term than the immediate future.
Key Losses: Emmanuel Acho, Ben Watson, Phil Dawson, Frostee Rucker
Key Additions: Paul Kruger, Desmond Bryant, Kellen Davis, Jason Campbell, David Nelson, Davone Bess
With all of the improvements they made on both sides of the ball, suddenly, the Browns appear to be a star quarterback away from playoff contention.
Signing Paul Kruger and drafting Barkevious Mingo sixth overall, in addition to Jabaal Sheard, gives the Browns an excellent trio of pass-rushers. Adding Desmond Bryant solidifies their front line, which features Phil Taylor at nose tackle in their new 3-4 defense.
Offensively, outside of quarterback, most of the pieces appear to be in place with Josh Gordon and Trent Richardson, but they are all very young and will need time to continue their development.
This season will be Brandon Weeden's last chance to prove to the organization that he is capable to being a winning starter. He will have to be very impressive to keep his job next season, because a new regime will have no problem cutting a 30-year-old quarterback it had no stake in drafting.
Key Losses: Will Allen, Keenan Lewis, Rashard Mendenhall, Mike Wallace, James Harrison, Willie Colon
Key Additions: Matt Spaeth, William Gay
While much of it was expected, the Steelers' tight cap situation put a virtual handcuff on Kevin Colbert's ability to retain many of his top free agents.
All the Steelers brass could do was watch as Mike Wallace and promising young corner Keenan Lewis walked out the door. Meanwhile, the team was forced to release James Harrison and Willie Colon to free up cap space.
To make matters worse, the Steelers were forced to sign Emmanuel Sanders to an offer sheet they didn't negotiate after the Patriots pursued the restricted free agent.
Ben Roethlisberger gives the Steelers a chance to win every week, but this roster is far inferior to the team that made a Super Bowl appearance two years ago.
Key Losses: Brendon Ayanbadejo, Ed Reed, Ray Lewis, Bernard Pollard, Paul Kruger, Anquan Boldin
Key Additions: Elvis Dumervil, Rolando McClain, Marcus Spears, Michael Huff, Chris Canty
There is a false perception that the Ravens' championship team has been depleted because the team has too much money tied up in Joe Flacco's contract.
While the Ravens did lose a handful of veterans in Ed Reed, Ray Lewis and Anquan Boldin, they also brought in a slew of younger pieces in Elvis Dumervil, Michael Huff, Chris Canty and Rolando McClain. None of those players are headed to the Hall of Fame, but they are in the prime of their careers and will help the team's pass rush and coverage against tight ends.
Meanwhile, rookies Arthur Brown and Matt Elam are fast, explosive and physical players that can help fill the massive void left by veterans like Ray Lewis and Ed Reed.
The Ravens will have a different vibe in their building, but they are a younger, more dynamic team than the one that won a Super Bowl last year.
Key Losses: Jason Allen, Manny Lawson
Key Additions: Mike Pollak, John Skelton, James Harrison
The Bengals were very quiet during free agency, but for good reason; after all, they boast one of the most complete rosters in football, with few needs on both sides of the ball.
The lack of glaring needs on both sides of the ball allowed the Bengals to take a true "best player available approach" in the draft. They added Tyler Eifert to pair with Jermaine Gresham, giving them a dynamic duo of tight ends. And second-round runner Giovanni Bernard is an ideal fit as a by-committee runner next to BenJarvus Green-Ellis.
Outside of some lingering needs at safety and linebacker, all of the pieces are in place for Andy Dalton, now going into his third season as a starter, to take the Bengals deep into the playoffs.