Every NFL Team's Biggest Offseason Regret

Ryan RiddleCorrespondent IAugust 12, 2013

Every NFL Team's Biggest Offseason Regret

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    The higher up you go on the NFL food chain, the less likely you will hear any words of regret. That type of second-guessing is often only done by whispering in private offices. If spoken too loudly, jobs could be lost.

    No offseason in the NFL is flawless. Even the best in the business can make devastating mistakes throughout the team-building process. 

    Some regrets expose themselves sooner rather than later, while others can only be truly realized several years down the line. 

    Here's a look at every team's biggest offseason regretwhether they know it yet or not.

Buffalo Bills: Letting Tarvaris Jackson Go Before Camp Started

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    Anyone who watched Buffalo's preseason game against the Indianapolis Colts knows EJ Manuel looked like a star in the making, making a fantastic case for the starting job.

    This is a guy with unique skills and abilities that a creative offensive coordinator can really build around. So if this likely scenario plays out, would you rather have Kevin "I can't even stay healthy while walking to a football field" Kolb or Tarvaris Jackson backing up Manuel?

    If you didn't know, Jackson looked incredible in Seattle's first preseason outing, completing 8-of-9 throws for 128 yards and two touchdownsthat's good enough for a perfect 158.3 passer rating.

    He also displayed his usual athleticism and elusiveness in the process. 

    Having both Manuel and Jackson could have allowed for a near-seamless transition in a pinch. No alteration to the game plan or playbook would be necessary.

    Aside from the comparisons in ability, Jackson appears to have finally turned a corner in his development and could become the threat from the pocket that every defensive coordinator is afraid of. 

    With Kolb, well, you just hope he can stay on his feet long enough to disappoint you at this point. In his six-year career, he has never made it to 10 games in a single season. When he is playing, he's just as likely to throw a touchdown as he is an interception.

    With that ratio, you should at least be able to run for some first downs—enter Jackson.

Miami Dolphins: Failing to Sign Jake Long

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    To Miami's credit, it did make some effort to retain its former No. 1 overall draft pick in free agency. The only problem was the Dolphins put so much money towards other priorities that they couldn't pay the guy what the Rams could. 

    Now, Ryan Tannehill's health rests largely in the hands of Jonathan Martin, a second-year pro out of Stanford.

    Unfortunately, Martin has never shown much ability to fend off the league's better pass-rushers and will undoubtedly be a downgrade at one of the game's most valuable positions. This step backward could cost the Dolphins dearly on offense.  

    To make matters worse, rookie Dallas Thomas has played horribly in the preseason thus far, leading to serious concerns about depth and options at the tackle position this season.

    Hopefully, Tannehill can call upon his experience as a wide receiver to escape what's forecasted to be relentless pressure all season long.

     

New England Patriots: The Youth Movement at the Receiver Position

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    It's hard to be overly critical of one of the league's most successful franchises of all time, but the decision to let Wes Welker, Deion Branch, Brandon Lloyd and Donte Stallworth go is a risky proposition for any offense—even one led by Tom Brady. 

    Danny Amendola was brought in to replace Welker's production in the slot. This is no small feat to expect of any receiver.

    Amendola has had trouble staying healthy over the last two years in St. Louis, but has shown promise when available.

    The Patriots decided to satisfy their glaring need for receivers by drafting Aaron Dobson out of Marshall in the second round and Josh Boyce from TCU in the fourth.

    These guys, although talented, are suddenly expected to come in as rookies and learn a system that has notoriously overwhelmed veteran pass-catchers without even a second thought.

    This plan would be understandable if the Patriots were rebuilding, but anytime you have a Tom Brady on your team, the Super Bowl is always the goal.

    This issue at wide receiver is further compounded by the devastating offseason developments at the tight end position.

    What was once a position admired by the entire league is now a major question mark which all leads to one major concern. Who is Tom Brady going to throw to?

New York Jets: Not Bringing in Better Talent on Offense

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    Mark Sanchez takes a lot of heat in the Big Apple for years of uninspiring quarterback play. His decision-making and ability to function in high-pressure situations have been the laughing stock of the NFL. 

    Few offenses in the NFL have sputtered along at a snail-like pace for quite as long as the Jets offense has.

    Perhaps if you're going to make do with Sanchez at least for one more year, it would be a good idea to surround the guy with even a sprinkle of talent here and there. Last year, the Jets were arguably the least talented offense in the NFL, ranking 30th in yards per game.

    So what did they do this offseason? They drafted two defensive players in the first round and snagged QB Geno Smith in the second.

    I suppose the philosophy here is, "Why add talent on offense when you can motivate the quarterback by bringing in rookie competition and strengthening the defense?"

    Oh wait, they did add Kellen Winslow Jr. and Chris Ivory as an upgrade from Dustin Keller and Shonn Greene. Yeah, that sounds promising. Those two proven weapons, in combination with Sanchez's uncanny ability, are sure to catapult Gang Green straight to the promised land.

Baltimore Ravens: Trading Anquan Boldin for a 6th-Round Pick to the 49ers

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    Finishing a close second behind letting Boldin go would be the decision to vastly overpay Joe Flacco in his record-breaking contract extension.

    However, these two regrets are more intertwined than first glance would suggest.

    Now that the very wealthy Flacco has the contract of his dreams, he gets to watch his depleted receiving corps struggle to get open all season long. 

    Making matters worse is the injury to starting tight end Dennis Pitta. Pitta was expected to shoulder most of the receiving burden left by Boldin's departure. The only player Flacco feels confident in throwing to as this point is wide receiver Torrey Smith.

    Boldin's ability to use his big body and physicality to haul in balls was apparently under-appreciated by the Ravens organization. They sent him packing for a little more than a few peanuts, and he is currently the No. 1 49ers receiver.

    To add insult to injury, Boldin didn't appear to lose a single step as he shined in his preseason debut.

Cincinnati Bengals: Trying to Make James Harrison a Traditional 4-3 Linebacker

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    If you look at the starting linebackers on the Cincinnati Bengals defense, you may notice there's a glaring concern with the personnel listed.

    James Harrison, Vontaze Burfict and Rey Maualuga are all run-stuffing linebackers.

    Sure, all three of these guys are strong, physical backers who will hit you in the mouth, but in today's NFL, the name of the game is stopping those high-powered passing attacks that are shattering records annually and making 3,000-yard passing seasons look pathetic. 

    Each one of these linebackers is known to have major struggles in coverage. So why did the Bengals bring in 35-year-old Harrison to play Sam linebacker in a 4-3 scheme when his primary value is as a pass-rusher?

    Your guess is as good as mine.

    Perhaps he'll be coming off the edge on third downs by the regular season. Though possible, that prospect is debatable considering Harrison has done very little work throughout camp in a pass-rushing capacity.

    Harrison is renowned for his ability to rush the passer, but the Bengals' plan seems to be teaching an old dog some new tricks. 

Cleveland Browns: Passing on Tyler Eifert

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    Considering what the Browns have to work with at the TE position and how close they are to playoff contention, I'm of the belief that Eifert would be the difference between a playoff run and a subpar showing around the .500 mark.

    With the sixth overall pick, the Browns decided to go defense with the selection of promising pass-rusher Barkevious Mingo.

    Not to take anything away from Mingo and his abilities here, but he isn't even projected to be a starter for them on defense and likely will take a few years to develop. 

    Eifert, on the other hand, would have not only started on offense, but he would have been a major upgrade at TE and perfect complement to quarterback Brandon Weeden.

    Throw in a running game led by Trent Richardson and you'd have a team which could make a legitimate playoff run.

    This regret will be realized once the former Notre Dame standout is tearing up the Browns' division just a quick drive away. Passing on Eifert will sting, but the sting of watching him thrive in the same state will only make matters worse. 

Pittsburgh Steelers: Not Adding More Speed to Their Defense

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    Some might think the Steelers should have never let Mike Wallace go, but his attitude is simply not a proper fit with the "Steeler way" of doing business. So that loss, however unfortunate, was not something that could make the regret list when we're talking about the Steel Curtain.

    It seems as though some rust and weathering are beginning to form on that once-shiny Steelers defense.

    Troy Polamalu has maybe a year or two left of footballif he can ever stay healthy. Brett Keisel is on his last leg. Linebacker Larry Foote is over the hill. Cornerback Ike Taylor is too slow to keep up with the talented youngsters emerging at receiver.

    In addition, Pittsburgh had to part ways with Casey Hampton, James Harrison and Keenan Lewis, leaving behind a dangerously old, incredibly slow and largely unproven defense. 

Houston Texans: Not Doing Enough with Receiving Targets

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    There's no denying that rookie first-round pick DeAndre Hopkins has an enormous amount of potential. He may very well turn out to be the best receiver of this rookie class.

    Nevertheless, Hopkins is just one man and the Texans' receiving corps could use a complete makeover. 

    Andre Johnson will not be the same guy he has been for so many years. His hamstrings are nearly all scar tissue and his burst is fading fast. Second-year pro DeVier Posey is an underachiever who only caught six passes last year.

    After that, the depth chart at receiver is loaded with names that couldn't make 75 percent of the rosters in this league. 

    If Houston suffers a significant injury to either Hopkins or Johnson, the season is likely over. 


     

Indianapolis Colts: Losing Bruce Arians to the Cardinals

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    In the absence of Chuck Pagano, assistant coach Bruce Arians was left to salvage a season few had little hope for.

    What Arians was able to accomplish in Indy eventually led to a head coaching gig for the Arizona Cardinals. 

    Once the magic in Indianapolis fades and all that's left is Chuck Strong and a whole lot of Luck, the good ol' days back when Arians was inspiring his troops each and every week will seem like a luxury the Colts never fully appreciated.

    But, as in life, sometimes we don't know what we have until it's gone. 

Jacksonville Jaguars: Leaving the QB Battle Up to Gabbert and Henne

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    Finding a serviceable quarterback on the market can be a difficult challenge. If there was ever challenge worth embracing in Jacksonville, though, it should have been this one. 

    The Kansas City Chiefs proved that if your desire is strong enough, you just might be able to find your man. In the case of the Jaguars, finding bodies warmer than Blaine Gabbert and Chad Henne is far from an unimaginable challenge. 

    Maybe looking into a trade for Kirk Cousins in Washington or Michael Vick in Philadelphia would have been something to consider. Or perhaps the Jaguars could have brought in Vince Young, Tarvaris Jackson, JaMarcus Russell, Bruce Gradkowski, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Brady Quinn, Kevin Kolb, Pat White or Drew Stanton.

    Heck, at least make an attempt to improve the QB situation. 

    Now the Jaguars are forced to play out the season with what has to be the worst pair of quarterbacks in the entire league. 

Tennessee Titans: Letting Jared Cook Walk

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    Just before Jared Cook moved on to greener pastures in St. Louis, he and the Titans organization began to feud over whether he should be considered a wide receiver or a tight end. The difference in money between these positions is enormous with regard to being hit with a franchise tag. 

    Obviously, Cook wanted the most money and felt as though he was more of a receiver than a tight end.

    In any case, he ended up signing with Rams this offseason, leaving the Titans to sign Delanie Walker as a consolation prize. 

    Jake Locker and Co. are sure to miss the steady production and reliability Cook brought to that offense. He's a pure pass-catcher who can go up and compete for 50-50 balls all day long. 

    Surprisingly, he could turn out to be the best free-agent signing of the entire offseason.

Denver Broncos: Elvis Dumervil and the Fax of Life

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    Elvis Dumervil and the Denver Broncos were unfortunate victims of one of the oddest contract debacles in NFL history this past offseason. 

    There is no doubt Denver will regret losing one of the best pass-rushers in the NFL because they received his paperwork regarding a reduction in salary just a mere seven minutes too late. This forced the Broncos to release him in order to avoid being hit with $12 million against the cap. 

    The two sides were trying to agree upon a reduction when Dumervil was left struggling to find a FedEx Office where he could fax the paperwork back and meet the deadline.

    Dumervil eventually signed with the Baltimore Ravens for even more money than he was going to get with Denver. To makes matters worse for Denver, Von Miller is currently dealing with a pending suspension after testing positive for PEDs. 

    If the suspension goes through, the Broncos will be left without a viable pass-rusher months after having one of the deadliest tandems in the NFL. 

Kansas City Chiefs: Drafting Eric Fisher with the 1st Overall Pick

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    I understand the talent at the top of the draft was sketchy at best. I even understand the angle that nearly forced the Chiefs to take an offensive lineman.

    But if that was the route to go, they chose the wrong offensive tackle. 

    Although Eric Fisher was the superior athlete, Luke Joeckel was still by far the more complete player of the two. 

    Time will eventually show that Joeckel's overall assets will translate better in the NFL.

    Aside from that comparison, you can be sure some impressive superstars will emerge from this class of rookies at various positions. Several of those players may turn out to be rare difference-makers in this league.

    It was the responsibility of the Chiefs' entire personnel department to decipher who these prospects might be.

    These players, though difficult to spot in April, will likely make the Chiefs' decision to err on the side of caution look rather foolish. Besides, even if they were set on picking an offensive tackle, they still made the wrong decision. 

Oakland Raiders: Thinking Matt Flynn Makes the Raiders Better

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    It's no surprise that, when you compare a veteran quarterback to a couple of guys just trying to learn the offense and get acclimated to the speed of the NFL, the veteran is bound to look better in practice.

    Such is the case with the Raiders' quarterback competition involving Matt Flynn, Terrelle Pryor and Tyler Wilson.

    Flynn's practice heroics without contact have put him as the front-runner for the starting job despite Terrelle Pryor and Tyler Wilson having much more potential. Nevertheless, Flynn continues to solidify his starting position despite the flashes of big-play ability from Pryor. 

    For this reason, Flynn can actually be a setback to the Raiders' development as they try to fit a more traditional prospect into the quarterback position. 

    In reality, the Raiders would probably be much more dangerous with Pryor under center than with Flynn taking charge. Not only that, but his presence can stunt the growth and progress of the younger players looking to gain experience in game-day action.

    There's little chance Flynn has any future beyond being a stopgap player looking to hold on to a job as long as possible. 

    After all, if Flynn was really that good, Joe Philbin (his former offensive coordinator in Green Bay) would have brought him to Miami as a free agent back when the Dolphins' QB situation was up in the air. 

     

     

San Diego Chargers: Losing Shaun Phillips

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    Shaun Phillips has been a consistent force rushing the quarterback in San Diego for some time now. His loss would sting under most circumstances, but losing him just before second-year pro Melvin Ingram went down with a torn ACL literally adds insult to injury. 

    This setback forced the Chargers to bring in free agent Dwight Freeney. Though Freeney is a proven pass-rusher, he seemed to struggle at times playing outside linebacker last year in Indianapolis. 

    Phillips would have been a much more natural fit had San Diego not let him leave for Denver. 

Dallas Cowboys: Drafting Gavin Escobar

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    With so many talented options to choose from in the second round, taking TE Gavin Escobar just didn't seem to make much senseespecially when you factor in team needs.

    The Cowboys have a few glaring holes that needed filling on the offensive line and in the secondary. Tight end was a position they were pretty solid at for the time being, with Jason Witten starting and a promising second-year talent in James Hanna backing him up. 

    Escobar never was a standout on film while at San Diego State and he has struggled so far in the preseason.

    The biggest allure to his game is his size. At 6'6" and 254 pounds, Escobar possesses ideal measurables for an NFL tight end. 

    But if the Cowboys really wanted to add a quality rookie at that position, they would have been much better off drafting Travis Kelce, Vance McDonald or Dion Sims. Each of these guys looked significantly more promising coming out of college and have flashed that talent early in the preseason.

    The Cowboys' draft strategy in the first two rounds was puzzling to say the least. These are decisions they'll regret over time as the opportunity cost becomes undeniable. 

New York Giants: Drafting Justin Pugh in the 1st Round

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    Usually, when a team drafts an offensive lineman in the first round, the expectation is for him to start right away. Justin Pugh has struggled throughout this offseason and failed to solidify a starting job up to this point.

    The idea that Pugh was selected 19th overall is shocking. I can guarantee there will be a long list of players drafted after him who will prove to have a much greater impact on their team and in the league. 

    The Giants are typically a solid drafting team, but something definitely seemed off with this pick. If veteran David Diehlwho has played poorly over the last few yearsends up as the starter at right tackle, then consider it a bad sign for the future of this head-scratching first-round pick.

Philadelphia Eagles: Failure to Bring in 3-4 Personnel on Defense

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    Week 1 of preseason action is in the books and Chip Kelly's Eagles have a lot of work to doespecially on the defensive side of the ball. 

    The Patriots were able to run all over the Eagles' new 3-4 defense and dominate the game at the point of attack. Clearly, the two-gap concept of a traditional 3-4 defense requires a ton of teaching and mental conditioning before the fits and overall concepts become second nature. 

    With this being the case, it would have made much more sense for Philadelphia to bring in some personnel that was more familiar with this defense to help guys transition smoothly into the scheme. 

    The Eagles defense has a long way to go before it'll be able to consistently stop teams from running all over it.

    This could be a killer for Kelly's debut season.   

Washington Redskins: Letting Lorenzo Alexander Go to Arizona

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    Alexander came out of college as a defensive tackle before converting to the offensive line. After that, he was switched back to defense, but on the edge as a defensive end. Before long, defensive end became outside linebacker and eventually middle. 

    Throughout this journey, Alexander found a way to distinguish himself as one of the best special teams guys in the NFL. 

    His versatility and top-quality character made him one of the most valuable people in the Redskins' locker room. 

    His ability to serve as a backup at so many positions added value, while he consistently thrived on special teams. Losing a guy like this will hurt Washington in many ways. 

Chicago Bears: Firing Lovie Smith

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    In nine seasons as the head coach of the Chicago Bears, Lovie Smith won just over 56 percent of his games. He also made one Super Bowl appearance. Throughout that time, he helped the Bears become one of the best ball-hawking defenses in the league. 

    Last year, Lovie and the Bears finished the season with a respectable 10-6 record, yet he was fired for finishing the season poorly. 

    Smith just so happens to have a higher win percentage than each of the following current head coaches: Tom Coughlin, Jeff Fisher, John Fox, Rex Ryan, Gary Kubiak, Pete Carroll, Jim Schwartz and Marvin Lewis. 

    Although it's yet to be seen what type of success the Bears will have under the Marc Trestman regime, Smith still deserved to be given at least one more year to turn things around in Chicago.

    He's a fantastic coach who will be given several opportunities in 2014.

     

     

Detroit Lions: Drafting Ezekiel Ansah

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    The argument most people like to hit me with when I criticize Ezekiel Ansah is that the kid is just barely learning how to play football.

    In my opinion, his lack of experience is part of the problem that will prevent him from ever reaching the caliber of player that would justify Detroit picking him fifth overall.

    You may even want to point out his interception in last week’s preseason game. Truth is that fortunate interception occurred because Ansah was getting beat up by the offensive lineman as the ball was thrown. His ability to react to the ball and run it in for a touchdown was impressive, but those types of plays rarely happen. 

    As the season wears on, several rookies drafted after Ansah in the 2013 draft will eventually prove far superior to this over-hyped athlete who loafs around a football field like he's completely out of shape. 

    The learning curve for Ansah to become a decent football player is extremely steep. He definitely has his work cut out for him.

    In the meantime, Lions fans can enjoy fellow rookie defensive end Devin Taylor. Though drafted in the fourth round, Taylor is just as athletically gifted as Ansah, yet he has a much greater grasp on the technique and skills required of the position. 

Green Bay Packers: Failure to Invest More in Protecting Aaron Rodgers

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    This slide was almost going to focus on Charles Woodson's departure. It seems as though the veteran still has some juice in those legs and his presence as a leader on that defense has been paramount. 

    But nothing trumps the value and thus the need for preservation of the best quarterback in the NFL. 

    Sure, Rodgers has been tough and durable throughout his career, but if he keeps taking punishment like he has over the last few years, injuries are only a matter of time. 

    The Packers added a pair of fourth-round offensive linemen in David Bakhtiari and J.C. Tretter in an attempt to add depth and develop eventual starters on the front line.

    As it turns out, Bakhtiari is going to have to step up in a major way by becoming the starting left tackle after the losses of Bryan Bulaga to a torn ACL and Tretter to a broken ankle. 

    The only thing standing between Aaron Rodgers and an angry 275-pound beast happens to be a rookie drafted in the fourth round. That is a scary thought. 

    Rookies inevitably make mistakes throughout the season as part of the natural growing process. What is concerning here is that any mistake made on the offensive line could be the end of Rodgers' season. 

Minnesota Vikings: Letting Antoine Winfield Go

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    If anyone asked who the best cornerback against the run has been over the last few years, the obvious answer would be Antoine Winfield. He may be old and not quite what he used to be, but this guy can still play the game at an incredibly high level. 

    Winfield is now a member of the Seattle Seahawks, as the Vikings turn toward largely unproven youngsters. 

    Losing Winfield will prove to be their biggest offseason regret once they suddenly endure an influx of big runs and open receivers on defense while they wait for their younger guys to develop. Having Winfield around as a leader and positive force for the newer kids is an important part of team building. 

    The Vikings' oldest starter in the secondary becomes safety Jamarca Sanford. At 27 years old, he must now assume a leadership role and help these younger players along. 

    Hanging on to Winfield for one last solid year would have been the much smarter option. 

Atlanta Falcons: Ignoring Weaknesses on Both Sides of the Front Lines

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    Last year, the Falcons struggled up front on the offensive line. During the offseason, they said goodbye to tackles Tyson Clabo and Will Svitek as well as longtime center Todd McClure.

    Who did they replace these veterans with? Nobody.

    On defense, they decided to release their best pass-rusher, John Abraham, along with Lawrence Sibury and Vance Walker. At least there was an attempt to replace Abraham with the acquisition of former Giant Osi Umenyiora. The jury is still out on whether or not Umenyiora is even an upgrade. 

    The bottom line here is that the Falcons came incredibly close to a Super Bowl appearance last year, yet failed to improve their roster this offseason.

    Weaknesses are beginning to be exposed throughout the roster, most notably in the trenches on both sides of the ball and coming off the edge on defense.  

Carolina Panthers: Not Upgrading the Offensive Talent Around Cam Newton

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    We've all seen the incredible talent that is Cam Newton. He has demonstrated a remarkable ability to carry his team's offense, which has been severely lacking at the wide receiver position ever since his arrival.

    Beyond aging veteran Steve Smith, there are very few secondary options available.

    The Panthers were forced to prioritize their draft-day strategy on defense, considering that side of the ball was even worse than the offense.

    But if Carolina hopes to further the development of Newton's talents, it would be smart to first solidify the offensive line and then add a few dangerous targets for him down the field.  

    The entire right side of the offensive line is shaky at best, while the receiving corps is composed of castaways and special teams standouts. 

New Orleans Saints: Didn't Do Enough to Bolster Defense

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    There are only a few more elite years left in Drew Brees' career.

    The Saints need to be building for the present by being more proactive in the free-agent market on defense.

    Last year, the Saints finished the season with the worst defense in NFL history, statistically speaking. The only projected starters they've added to the defense this offseason have been CB Keenan Lewis from the Pittsburgh Steelers and 34-year-old defensive end Kenyon Coleman from the Cowboys, who unfortunately will miss the entire season due to a torn pectoral muscle. 

    Adding rookie safety Kenny Vaccaro with a first-round selection is a big move, but it isn't enough to get this defense where it needs to be. He should step in right away as a starter. 

    Even the addition of defensive coordinator Rob Ryan should raise a few eyebrows down in the bayou.

    From 2004-2012, Coach Ryan has been the defensive coordinator of the Oakland Raiders, Cleveland Browns and Dallas Cowboys. In that time, he has never won a single playoff game.

    Furthermore, throughout those years, Ryan's defenses have only cracked the top 18 in total yards allowed on two occasions.

    No matter how good Brees is, the Saints will never be a contender with this many holes on defense.  

Tampa Buccaneers: Letting Michael Bennett Go in Free Agency

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    Every year in the NFL, teams are forced to make some difficult decisions. Talented players need to get paid and teams only have so much money to do it. These are the realities of professional football. Sacrifices must be made. 

    The question becomes, "Which players are we willing to part with?"

    For Tampa Bay, the decision to let Michael Bennett go will eventually prove to be more harmful than good. 

    Taking a page out of the New York Giants' playbook, defensive line play is a critical part of a successful NFL team these days. It has become more important than ever to have depth at that position to keep players fresh and healthy. Bennett would have provided that for the Bucs.

    Ironically, he now provides depth for one of the most talented defensive lines in the league in Seattle.

     

Arizona Cardinals: Losing Ray Horton

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    The Arizona Cardinals had a lot to hang their heads about, but the defense was actually a team strength thanks in large part to defensive coordinator Ray Horton. 

    Horton was sent packing when Ken Whisenhunt was relieved of his head coaching job following a terrible team meltdown that saw the team squander a 4-0 start. 

    Throughout the search for a replacement coach, Horton was in the running but eventually lost out to Bruce Arians. 

    It's unclear whether or not Arians tried to retain Horton as an assistant coach, but the chances of that being true are slim. Coaches like to bring in their own guys when taking over and usually don't retain anyone from the previous coaching staff.

    However, this would have been the best thing for the Cardinals organization considering they were building something promising in the desert. 

    Horton is considered one of the best defensive coaches in the NFL and his loss will be felt in Arizona.

St. Louis Rams: Failing to Add a Veteran at the Strong Safety Position

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    Interestingly, Steven Jackson's departure is not their biggest regret this offseason. They're pretty loaded with a promising crop of ball-carriers and Jackson is on the decline.

    The real anguish will be felt throughout the season in the secondary, where the Rams are hoping a rookie drafted in the third round, T.J McDonald, will be able to step up and fill a major void at the safety position.

    McDonald, who the Rams hope can be as good as his father Tim at the same position, has to improve in coverage if he's to be an asset in the secondary.

    St. Louis did acquire journeyman Matt Giordano, an overachiever who has strung together a pretty decent NFL career for a one-year starter at Cal, but this isn't exactly the best way to close the gap on the Seahawks and 49ers in the NFC West.

     

San Francisco 49ers: Not Bringing in Charles Woodson

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    Watching Eric Reid play his ball at LSU didn't indicate the makings of a superstar. In 39 games, he tallied only four interceptions and two forced fumbles.

    In addition, his supporting cast on defense has always been so talented that Reid really never proved himself as a busy tackler. 

    So when the 49ers decided to move up in the first round to take him, it was a shocking revelation to say the least. 

    It's an understandable dilemma to have to let Dashon Goldson go for cap reasons. Retaining his Pro Bowl-caliber services simply became far too costly, but they should have tried harder to work something out with 16-year pro and future Hall of Famer Charles Woodson.

    The playmaking ability and veteran leadership Woodson could have brought to the 49ers defense would have been enormous. He has always been a willing tackler and has never lost his passion for the game.

    Even if the 49ers still elected to draft Reid in the first round, he would have benefited greatly from Woodson's experience. 

    Adding the former Heisman Trophy winner to the 49ers' secondary would have come with little-to-no downside and been a positive addition in the locker room. It would have also helped in the wake of Chris Culliver's knee injury

    Now San Francisco is forced to pin its hopes on a rookie who has never been more than a solid collegiate player with massive potential.

    Will he be ready for the intensity of the NFL? 

Seattle Seahawks: Overpaying for Percy Harvin

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    Unless you consider not implementing some form of team intervention for PEDs as their biggest regret, the next logical choice here is Percy Harvin's massive free-agent contract. 

    According to spotrac.com, Seattle signed Harvin to a six-year, $67 million contract in the hopes of surpassing the 49ers in an epic arms race for NFC West supremacy. Nearly $5 million of that contract is set to count against this year's cap.

    Unfortunately, Harvin will likely miss the entire season after requiring hip surgery.

    This means the Seahawks will be paying Harvin to sit at home and rehab while the team continues on towards the ultimate prize: a Super Bowl championship.

    If you think $5 million is a steep price to pay for a receiver who has only finished a 16-game season once in four years and never had a 1,000-yard season, well, you're going to hate to hear that he will count for over $13 million on next year's cap alone.

    Maybe the prevailing thought here suggests he is a big-time playmaker.

    Although I don't deny this to an extent, it should be noted that Harvin has never had more than nine all-purpose touchdowns in any given season as a pro. That includes receiving, rushing and kick returns.