NFL Free Agency 2012: 10 Teams That Need the Most Help This Offseason
Is your team in the NFL playoff hunt? If so, you are watching every single week on the edge of your seat.
If not, you may already be looking forward to next year and what free agents may be on the market to help your favorite team improve.
Or maybe your team is on the verge of greatness, but just needs a key acquisition to push them to the next level.
Either way, here are 10 NFL teams that need an immediate impact from free agency to make them better without waiting for the rookie learning curve.
10. Chicago Bears
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
The Bears were rolling this year. They had won five games in a row when starting quarterback Jay Cutler went down with a fractured thumb.
Now, the Bears' season is spiraling downward. They have lost two in a row and starting running back Matt Forte is now injured as well.
You would have to think the Bears will pursue at least an adequate backup for Cutler in free agency.
Do they look at Donovan McNabb? Or maybe Kyle Orton returns to the Windy City.
It's clear they need someone they can depend on should Cutler ever go down again.
9. Minnesota Vikings
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
The Minnesota Vikings have some explosive players on offense. Adrian Peterson, Percy Harvin, and Toby Gerhart give young quarterback Christian Ponder some very potent weapons.
Now, they need to protect those weapons with a better offensive line.
Tackle Demetrius Bell from Buffalo would be a huge addition.
The Vikings also need to shore up their defense. A solid middle linebacker would be another nice signing.
Do they look at Keith Brooking from Dallas? Or maybe Dan Connor from Carolina?
If the Vikings pick up some key additions, they definitely have the talent to be a contender in the NFC.
8. Buffalo Bills
Rick Stewart/Getty Images
The Buffalo Bills were the early surprise of the 2011 season. They began the year with a 5-2 record, including a win over the division-leading New England Patriots in Week 3. However, the lack of defense has worn the team down, and they have now dropped five games in a row.
The Bills currently rank 24th in rushing defense, and they definitely could help in free agency.
The Bills should take a look at some outside linebackers. Anthony Spencer, who is currently with Dallas, is a solid run-stopper, as is Mario Haggan in Denver.
The Bills could shore up their defense some solid free agents.
7. Oakland Raiders
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images
The Raiders don't have many choices in attaining new personnel. They have traded away their draft picks, so free agency is the only way to improve.
The Raiders are struggling on the defensive side of the ball as well. They could use another strong cornerback, and Tennessee cornerback Cortland Finnegan would be a perfect fit in Oakland.
I also wouldn't be surprised to see the Raiders make a run at disgruntled Philadelphia wide receiver DeSean Jackson or maybe San Diego's Vincent Jackson.
6. Washington Redskins
Rob Carr/Getty Images
How much time does Mike Shanahan have?
The Redskins won three of their first four games, but have since lost seven of their last eight.
Their offense is currently ranked 27th is points scored, averaging just 16.8 points per game.
You have to believe the Redskins will make a hard push at signing current Green Bay Packer backup Matt Flynn, who may be one of the top free agent quarterbacks on the market.
5. New York Giants
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images
The New York Giants are just four years removed from winning Super Bowl XLII, but the window on many of their players as beginning to close.
The once vaunted defense is now giving up more than 26 points per game this season.
The Giants need a middle linebacker to return them to their old ways.
London Fletcher could be a nice fit, even at his age. He could anchor the middle and give the Giants a much needed lift.
4. Carolina Panthers
Andy Lyons/Getty Images
The Carolina Panthers drafted quarterback Cam Newton with the first overall pick in the 2011 draft, and he has proved to be worth it.
The Panthers have jumped from scoring 12.3 points per game in 2010 to 24.2 in 2011.
There's just one problem: The Panthers defense allows 27 points per game.
The Panthers need to make a run at Tennessee defensive tackle Jason Jones, a top interior lineman.
Cornerback Tracy Porter from New Orleans could fill another need if healthy.
3. Cleveland Browns
Jason Miller/Getty Images
Colt McCoy appears to have the skills to be a solid quarterback in the NFL.
McCoy really needs some help around him to be successful.
Offensive linemen and wide receivers are two positions that jump out right away.
Demetrius Bell from Buffalo would be a steal for the Browns and would go a long ways toward protecting McCoy.
The Browns should also take a look at a solid wide receiver that could be McCoy's go to target.
Brandon Lloyd in St. Louis could be available.
Kansas City wide receiver Dwayne Bowe would be an enormous signing.
2. San Diego Chargers
Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images
It seems that, every year, we look at the San Diego Chargers as a team who could contend to win it all.
The Chargers are another team whose window may be closing. They don't have the time to groom rookies. They need to win now.
Two areas of immediate concern should be strong safety and offensive line.
The Chargers may take a look at the Raider's Tyvon Branch to improve their defensive backfield.
Arizona Cardinal Brandon Keith could make sense on the offensive line to help protect Philip Rivers.
The clock is ticking.
1. Indianapolis Colts
Jim Rogash/Getty Images
It really doesn't matter if Peyton Manning returns to form or not. The Colts need a lot of help, and they need it now.
They are currently ranked 29th in total offense and 28th in total defense. Peyton Manning will cure a lot of those woes. But he can't cure all of them
The Colts need offensive linemen, cornerbacks and probably a safety.
Offensive line may have to be priority No. 1, as keeping Manning healthy will be of utmost importance. The Colts need to look at Demetrius Bell, resigning center Jeff Saturday and maybe Dennis Roland currently with the Bengals.
Signing some offensive line help and a few defenders could put the Colts right back into contention immediately.