Stock Up, Stock Down for Every NFL Team This Offseason
The NFL offseason is a time for hope. Teams look to improve through free agency and the draft, and by the time May rolls around, they typically feel good about their remade rosters.
That's what front office folks will say publicly, anyway.
No team wants to admit it has gotten worse than it was the year before, especially when it's trying to push tickets for the upcoming season. The reality, though, is that not every team can get better every offseason.
Even on paper, some teams are destined to take a step back.
With the 2018 draft now complete, let's determine which teams' stocks are rising or falling based on factors like offseason player movement, front office changeover and cap space.
Notable Additions: QB Sam Bradford, QB Mike Glennon, QB Josh Rosen, OT Andre Smith, OG Justin Pugh, WR Christian Kirk
Notable Losses: DB Tyrann Mathieu, QB Carson Palmer (retirement), OT Jared Veldheer, WR John Brown, WR Jaron Brown
The Arizona Cardinals lost veteran quarterback Carson Palmer this offseason when he decided to call it a career. That left a hole under center, but it wasn't a devastating blow, as Palmer's play wasn't at the level it was when he took Arizona to the NFC title game in 2015.
Adding Sam Bradford and Mike Glennon gives the Cardinals veteran presences at quarterback, while drafting UCLA's Josh Rosen gives them their future. Regardless of whether Rosen sees the field as a rookie, Arizona will at least have a serviceable starter under center.
The Cardinals also retooled their offensive line by restructuring Mike Iupati's deal and adding Andre Smith and Justin Pugh. Arizona's line may not be elite in 2018, but it's moving in the right direction.
The team lost receivers John Brown and Jaron Brown in free agency, but it added former Texas A&M receiver Christian Kirk in the draft. This is still one of the NFL's most underwhelming receiving corps, but Kirk has the potential to be a tier above either Brown in a few years.
Overall, the Cardinals appear to be slightly better on paper, but they're clearly in the beginning stages of a rebuild. The future is bright if Rosen becomes the NFL quarterback some believe he can be. Ultimately, though, this season will largely depend on how the team responds to losing Bruce Arians and adding Steve Wilks as head coach.
Another 8-8 season could be in the cards.
Stock Report: Neutral
Notable Additions: G Brandon Fusco, CB Justin Bethel, TE Logan Paulsen, WR Calvin Ridley, CB Isaiah Oliver
Notable Losses: WR Taylor Gabriel, DT Dontari Poe, WR Andre Roberts, TE Levine Toilolo
For a team with minimal cap space—they currently have roughly $3.5 million available—the Atlanta Falcons have done a commendable job of navigating free agency and the draft.
Atlanta replaced tight end Levine Toilolo with journeyman Logan Paulsen and replaced Taylor Gabriel with first-round pick Calvin Ridley. The former Alabama wideout should be an upgrade over Gabriel, as he has the size and skill set of a future No. 1 receiver. Granted, he'll be a No. 2 at best so long as Julio Jones is a Falcon.
The addition of Brandon Fusco adds talent and depth to the offensive line, which is a win for quarterback Matt Ryan. Rookie cornerback Isaiah Oliver will bolster an already impressive secondary.
The biggest hole on the Falcons roster right now is at defensive tackle. Dontari Poe was a force up front for Atlanta, and the team will miss his presence at nose tackle. Because of the Falcons' cap situation, adding a quality veteran at the position is going to be a challenge, though it could be easier in the coming days.
ESPN's Chris Mortensen reported Thursday that the Falcons have agreed to a new five-year deal with Ryan. While details have yet to emerge, the contract will presumably be structured to provide some cap relief this year.
On paper, the Falcons are in a good position to be even better than they were in 2017. No one should be surprised if they make another Super Bowl run this season.
Stock Report: Up
The Baltimore Ravens added their quarterback of the future by grabbing Louisville's Lamar Jackson at the bottom of the first round. However, this season is likely to be all about Joe Flacco.
The Ravens have surrounded Flacco with fresh receiving talent. Out are Mike Wallace, Jeremy Maclin and Ben Watson. In are Michael Crabtree, John Brown, Willie Snead and rookie tight end Hayden Hurst. On paper, the receiving corps is vastly improved. If running back Alex Collins can build off his stellar 2017 campaign, the Ravens offense should be quite formidable.
Parting with Lardarius Webb does mean the Ravens are losing a longtime veteran in the secondary. However, the defense as a whole should be close to what it was in 2017. Last season, Baltimore allowed just 18.9 points per game, the sixth-fewest in the NFL.
With a dominant defense and an improved offense, the Ravens appear poised to rejoin the playoff picture. They should be a significant factor in the AFC North, and if Flacco can regain his championship form, they may be legitimate Super Bowl contenders.
With Jackson, Hurst and rookie offensive tackle Orlando Brown in position to grow together, the future is bright in Baltimore as well. General manager Ozzie Smith, who will step down after the season, has left the franchise in a great spot.
Stock Report: Up
Notable Additions: DE Trent Murphy, DT Star Lotulelei, QB AJ McCarron, QB Josh Allen, LB Tremaine Edwards, RB Chris Ivory, CB Vontae Davis, OL Russell Bodine
Notable Loses: QB Tyrod Taylor, OT Cordy Glenn, LB Preston Brown, CB E.J Gaines, WR Jordan Matthews
The Buffalo Bills made it to the playoffs this past season for the first time in 18 years. Yet they still decided to kick off a rebuild by trading away starting quarterback Tyrod Taylor and going after a replacement in the draft.
The Bills got their quarterback of the future by trading up to select Wyoming's Josh Allen with the seventh overall pick. While Allen's collegiate career was underwhelming, he does have the physical tools to be an elite signal-caller in a few years. His development will determine the course of this franchise for the next half-decade at least.
AJ McCarron was serviceable in a handful of opportunities with the Cincinnati Bengals, but he remains unproven as a long-term starter. In all likelihood, Buffalo's quarterback play will take a step back in 2018. The Bills also traded away starting left tackle Cordy Glenn to move up in the draft, which eventually enabled them to snag Allen.
Adding players like Trent Murphy, Star Lotulelei and rookie Tremaine Edwards will improve the Bills front seven. Vontae Davis should be a solid replacement for E.J. Gaines at cornerback as well. Chris Ivory adds depth behind LeSean McCoy in Buffalo's backfield.
If Allen pans out, the Bills' future appears bright, as they have the pieces for consistent contention in place. While the defense looks better on paper than it did a year ago, there's going to be a lot of wait-and-see on offense after the Bills parted with their starting quarterback and starting left tackle. Buffalo could be looking at a short-term step back before a long-term leap forward.
Stock Report: Down
Notable Addition: DT Dontari Poe, CB Ross Cocktrell, S Da'Norris Searcy, WR D.J. Moore, CB Donte Jackson, WR Torrey Smith
Notable Losses: DT Star Lotulelei, G Andrew Norwell, RB Jonathan Stewart, TE Ed Dickson
Despite having a Pro Bowl quarterback in Cam Newton, the Carolina Panthers struggled to field a consistent passing attack last season. Only four teams passed for fewer than the 192.3 yards per game Carolina averaged, which was largely due to an underwhelming receiving corps.
Adding deep threat Torrey Smith and first-round Maryland product D.J. Moore should give an immediate boost to Carolina's passing attack. Smith will help stretch the field, while Moore has the makeup of a future No. 1 wideout. With possession receiver Devin Funchess, tight end Greg Olsen and receiving back Christian McCaffrey also in the fold, the Panthers suddenly have a threatening receiving corps.
The Panthers brought in Dontari Poe to replace Star Lotulelei, who joined the Bills in free agency. Ross Cocktrell, Da'Norris Searcy and rookie Donte Jackson will add depth to Carolina's secondary.
The offensive line, which allowed 35 sacks last season, wasn't Carolina's strongest unit to begin with. It is likely to take a noticeable step back with All-Pro guard Andrew Norwell gone. But the Panthers, who have less than $3 million in cap space, effectively had their hands tied with Norwell.
It's hard not to like what the Panthers have done so far this offseason as a whole. The team now has the firepower to keep up with the Falcons and New Orleans Saints in the NFC South.
Stock Report: Up
Notable Addition: WR Allen Robinson, WR Taylor Gabriel, TE Trey Burton, K Cody Parkey, LB Roquan Smith
Notable Losses: WR Markus Wheaton, WR Kendall Wright, TE Zach Miller, LB Pernell McPhee
The Chicago Bears have had one of the best offseasons of any team, at least on paper. General manager Ryan Pace made sure to bring in plenty of pass-catching talent to help aid in the development of second-year quarterback Mitchell Trubisky.
Chicago added wide receivers Allen Robinson and Taylor Gabriel while also bringing in pass-catching tight end Trey Burton. This makes for a solid receiving corps, especially if 2015 first-round pick Kevin White can finally stay healthy.
With high-end running backs Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen in the backfield, the Bears could have an elite offense in 2018. Expect new head coach Matt Nagy to install a dynamic scheme that takes advantage of his offensive playmakers.
"There are just so many layers to this offense and what we can do—plays off plays and just the intricacies of each play," Trubisky said in mid-April, per Jeff Dickerson of ESPN.com. "It just comes down to execution, learning this new playbook and believing in the system, and everyone has so far, so it’s been exciting."
Chicago managed to re-sign cornerbacks Kyle Fuller and Prince Amukamara, which should help ensure the defense doesn't take a big step back. The selection of former Georgia linebacker Roquan Smith should have a positive impact on the front seven, as Smith is a legitimate sideline-to-sideline playmaker.
Don't be surprised if the Bears find themselves in the NFC North divisional race this season.
Stock Report: Up
Notable Additions: OT Cordy Glenn, DT Chris Baker, LB Preston Brown, QB Matt Barkley, C Billy Price, S Jessie Bates, DE Sam Hubbard
Notable Losses: QB AJ McCarron, CB Adam Jones, OT Andre Smith, RB Jeremy Hill, C Russell Bodine
The Cincinnati Bengals were in the postseason for five straight years after drafting quarterback Andy Dalton, but they never won a playoff game and have gone just 13-18-1 over the last two years. Their path back to the postseason and possibly getting a playoff win begins with the offensive line.
Cincinnati's O-line was a disaster in 2017. It allowed 40 sacks over the course of the season and helped the running game produce just 85.4 yards per game, the second-fewest in the NFL.
The Bengals made a brilliant move when they traded down in the first round to acquire Bills left tackle Cordy Glenn. They then used their first-round selection to grab former Ohio State center Billy Price.
Price underwent surgery to repair a torn pectoral muscle in March, but he should be ready for training camp, per Doug Lesmerises of Cleveland.com. If he is back to 100 percent, Cincinnati essentially added two new starting lineman with one draft pick. That's huge.
The Bengals also added Matt Barkley to replace backup quarterback AJ McCarron. He'll at least provide solid injury insurance for Dalton.
Losing tackle Andre Smith and running back Jeremy Hill won't have much of a negative impact on the Cincinnati offense. Smith was not a full-time starter, and Hill was largely ineffective when he was on the field last season, as he averaged only 3.1 yards per carry.
The Bengals didn't make the kind of moves that will put them in the Super Bowl conversation, but they should be relevant in the AFC North again.
Stock Report: Up
Notable Additions: QB Tyrod Taylor, WR Jarvis Landry, CB Damarious Randall, CB T.J. Carrie, RB Carlos Hyde, CB E.J. Gaines, OT Chris Hubbard, QB Baker Mayfield, CB Denzel Ward, RB Nick Chubb
Notable Losses: RB Isaiah Crowell, OT Joe Thomas (retirement), QB DeShone Kizer, DT Danny Shelton
The Cleveland Browns used the No. 1 overall pick in the draft on former Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield. While they clearly made that move with the future in mind, the Browns were active this offseason to improve their 2018 outlook as well.
After trading for Tyrod Taylor, Cleveland has no need to rush Mayfield onto the field. While Taylor may not be an elite quarterback, he's a former Pro Bowler and just took the Bills to the postseason. He's a clear upgrade over the likes of DeShone Kizer, Cody Kessler and Kevin Hogan, all of whom Cleveland dealt away this offseason. The Browns also brought in Drew Stanton for veteran insurance.
The Browns then traded for receiver Jarvis Landry and inked him to a five-year deal. He'll be a quality complement to Josh Gordon. They also brought in Chris Hubbard to provide depth on the offensive line, which lost Joe Thomas to retirement, and added running back Carlos Hyde to replace Isaiah Crowell. Rookie Nick Chubb will have a role in the backfield as well, and he may be Cleveland's workhorse back of the future.
On defense, the Browns acquired Damarious Randall to play free safety and added T.J. Carrie and E.J. Gaines at cornerback. They also scooped up a potential No. 1 corner by drafting Ohio State product Denzel Ward fourth overall. This could make for a complete overhaul of the secondary, as Randall's addition will allow Jabrill Peppers to move to his natural position of strong safety.
Will the Browns be playoff contenders in 2018? Probably not, but they've added several starting-caliber players and still have nearly $70 million in cap space to make future moves. The Browns should be returning to relevance in the near future.
Stock Report: Up
Notable Additions: WR Allen Hurns, DE Kony Ealy, LB Leighton Vander Esch, OL Connor Williams
Notable Losses: WR Dez Bryant, CB Orlando Scandrick, TE Jason Witten, LB Anthony Hitchens, G Jonathan Cooper, CB Bene Benwikere
Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones probably didn't want to part with wide receiver Dez Bryant. Financially, though, he had little choice but to offer him a smaller contract or part ways. Even with Bryant and Jason Witten off the payroll, the Cowboys are looking at roughly $8.3 million in cap space. The alternative would have been to not give the franchise tag to pass-rusher Demarcus Lawrence, which the defense couldn't have afforded.
Dallas did make some sensible moves in the offseason. It added Allen Hurns to help replace Bryant, brought in Kony Ealy to help improve the pass rush and drafted playmaking linebacker Leighton Vander Esch in the first round. Second-round pick Connor Williams will add depth to an already strong offensive line.
Losing cornerback Orlando Scandrick will hurt the secondary, as the veteran started 11 games in 2017. Anthony Hitchens will be missed as well. However, no loss is going to hurt as much as the loss of Jason Witten.
Witten was a mainstay on the Dallas offense for 15 years. He decided to call it a career this offseason, though, and he announced his official retirement Thursday. According to ESPN.com's Todd Archer, Witten will be entering the broadcasting booth for Monday Night Football.
Witten retires as the Cowboys' all-time receiving leader. The Cowboys offense isn't going to be quite as consistent without him or as dangerous without Bryant's attention-grabbing presence.
Stock Report: Down
Notable Additions: QB Case Keenum, P Marquette King, DE Bradley Chubb, WR Courtland Sutton, RB Royce Freeman
Notable Losses: QB Trevor Siemian, RB C.J. Anderson, CB Aqib Talib, RB Jamaal Charles
The Denver Broncos still possess a playoff-caliber defense, but they have struggled to take advantage of it since Peyton Manning's retirement. Poor quarterback play led to too many stalled drives and turnovers last season, ultimately dooming the team.
Denver averaged 208.3 passing yards per game (20th in the league), and its quarterbacks combined for 22 interceptions, 52 sacks and four lost fumbles. Trevor Siemian, Brock Osweiler and Paxton Lynch combined for just 6.5 passing yards per attempt.
This is why Denver's addition of Case Keenum is huge. He led the Minnesota Vikings to the NFC title game last season while averaging 7.4 yards per attempt and tossing 22 touchdowns with just eight turnovers. If Keenum can play at a similar level, Denver could be right back in the postseason hunt this season.
Denver bolstered Keenum's supporting cast by drafting receiver Courtland Sutton and running back Royce Freeman. The team can only hope Freeman will be able to replicate the 1,000-yard season departed running back C.J. Anderson had in 2017.
The Broncos also got the defense some help by adding the draft's best pass-rusher in NC State's Bradley Chubb. He and Von Miller should immediately form one of the most ferocious pass-rushing duos in the league. Denver's decision to trade cornerback Aqib Talib does weaken its secondary, but opposing quarterbacks may not have the time to find open receivers with Chubb and Miller bearing down on them.
If Keenum proves last season wasn't a fluke, Denver will be on the rise.
Stock Report: Up
Notable Additions: RB LeGarrette Blount, TE Luke Wilson, C Frank Ragnow, RB Kerryon Johnson
Notable Losses: TE Eric Ebron, DT Haloti Ngata, LB Tahir Whitehead, CB D.J. Hayden, DT Akeem Spence
The Detroit Lions didn't make a ton of noise in free agency, but they did add a few nice pieces in running back LeGarrette Blount and tight end Luke Wilson. Blount should help boost a run game that has been a perennial punchline, while Wilson will help replace the departed Eric Ebron.
Where Detroit really made strides was in the draft. First-round pick Frank Ragnow might not be a headline-grabber, but Arkansas product has the potential to be an All-Pro center. Second-rounder Kerryon Johnson could be the franchise back the Lions have needed for years. He and Blount may make 2015 second-round pick Ameer Abdullah expendable sooner than later.
The loss of linebacker Tahir Whitehead, who racked up a team-high 110 tackles last season, can't be overlooked. Overall, though, the Lions appear to be stronger on paper.
Lions fans have to be excited about the hiring of former New England Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia as head coach. Detroit has an elite quarterback in Matthew Stafford and some high-level receivers in Golden Tate, Marvin Jones and Kenny Golladay.
The Lions averaged 25.6 points per game last season and should continue being a force on offense, as Patricia retained Jim Bob Cooter as offensive coordinator. In fact, it should be even more dangerous with Ragnow, Blount and Johnson strengthening the running game.
If Patricia can get the defense to play at even an above-average level—it allowed 355.8 yards per game last season, the sixth-most in the league—the Lions should be back in the playoff picture.
Stock Report: Up
Green Bay Packers
Notable Additions: TE Jimmy Graham, DE Muhammad Wilkerson, CB Tramon Williams, CB Jaire Alexander, CB Josh Jackson
Notable Losses: WR Jordy Nelson, CB Damarious Randall, S Morgan Burnett, G Jahri Evans
The Green Bay Packers were overly reliant on quarterback Aaron Rodgers over the past few seasons. That become evident last season when Rodgers went down with a broken collarbone and Green Bay fell apart.
Even while trying to lean on the run, the Packers averaged just 107.8 yards per game rushing (17th in the NFL) last season. They allowed 24.0 points per game, the seventh-most in the league.
This offseason, the Packers made big moves to aid at least one part of the roster that was lacking. They acquired defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson and brought back veteran corner Tramon Williams in free agency. They then added two starting-caliber corners in Jaire Alexander and Josh Jackson in the draft.
Green Bay was willing to part with Randall, and while safety Morgan Burnett will be missed, the defense looks dramatically better on paper. New defensive coordinator Mike Pettine will be tasked with making all of the new pieces click.
In turn, Rodgers shouldn't have to win shootouts as often in 2018.
Offensively, the Packers shouldn't be much different than they were in 2017—aside from having a healthy Rodgers, that is. Jordy Nelson is out, but Rodgers gets a new red-zone weapon in Jimmy Graham. The biggest departure here is probably Jahri Evans, who made 14 starts a year ago.
Green Bay should be just as dangerous on offense and more efficient and aggressive on defense. As long as Rodgers remains healthy, the Packers are NFC North contenders.
Stock Report: Up
Notable Additions: CB Aaron Colvin, S Tyrann Mathieu, CB Johnson Bademosi, G Senio Kelemete, S Justin Reid
Notable Losses: LB Brian Cushing, S Marcus Gilchrist, OT Breno Giacomini, G Xavier Su'a-Filo
The Houston Texans weren't especially aggressive in free agency, and they didn't own a draft pick before Round 3 due to last year's trade up for Deshaun Watson. Yet, the still did a good job of adding depth to a secondary that ranked 24th in the league last season (237.4 yards per game allowed).
Houston brought in cornerback Aaron Colvin, an underrated member of the vaunted Jacksonville Jaguars defense last season. The Texans also added defensive back Tyrann Mathieu and defensive back and special-teamer Johnson Bademosi in free agency. In addition, they managed to nab a potential future starter in former Stanford safety Justin Reid in the third round.
While the secondary should be better, the Texans offensive line is a bit of a question mark after Houston parted with 2017 starters Xavier Su'a-Filo and Breno Giacomini. The line is likely to be a work in progress, which could be an issue as Watson works his way back from a torn ACL. The last thing Houston can afford is another injury to its budding franchise quarterback.
Health is going to determine how far the Texans can go in 2018. Watson, linebacker Whitney Mercilus and defensive end J.J. Watt are all coming back from season-ending injuries. Houston's offense wasn't the same after Watson went down with his knee injury, and Watt and Mercilus are two of the league's top defenders.
It's impossible to know how the Texans will fare this season because there's no telling how effective Watson, Watt and Mercilus will be upon their returns. This team could go in either direction.
Stock Report: Neutral
Notable Additions: TE Eric Ebron, WR Ryan Grant, G Quenton Nelson, LB Darius Leonard, RB Nyheim Hines, G Braden Smith
Notable Losses: WR Donte Moncrief, RB Frank Gore, CB Rashaan Melvin, DL Johnathan Hankins
Health is going to be critical for the Indianapolis Colts as well, specifically when it comes to quarterback Andrew Luck. The former No. 1 overall pick is an elite signal-caller when healthy, but he missed all of last season after undergoing shoulder surgery.
The Colts appear confident that Luck will be ready for 2018.
"Trust me, there were people that would've given an unprecedented amount of draft picks, all with a No. 1 [pick] behind them, for him, and we wouldn't even think of drifting in that direction," Colts owner Jim Irsay said, per Zac Keefer of the Indianapolis Star.
Indianapolis is going to ride with Luck for the foreseeable future, and the team made moves to support him this offseason.
Bringing in Frank Reich as head coach was a brilliant move, as he worked wonders with both Carson Wentz and Nick Foles in Philadelphia. He should be able to help Luck improve as a signal-caller and craft an offense that plays to his strengths.
The Colts brought in Eric Ebron and Ryan Grant to help replace Donte Moncrief in the receiving corps. The big moves, though, were made in the draft. Quenton Nelson is an instant starter on the offensive line, and Braden Smith adds quality depth. Running back Nyheim Hines is an explosive ball-carrier who will pair well with Marlon Mack in the backfield.
Luck will have a better offensive line and should have a more threatening ground game to support him. If he's back to 100 percent, Indianapolis will be in the AFC South hunt.
Stock Report: Up
Notable Additions: G Andrew Norwell, WR Donte Moncrief, TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE Niles Paul, CB D.J. Hayden, DT Taven Bryan, WR DJ Chark
Notable Losses: WR Allen Robinson, WR Allen Hurns, DB Aaron Colvin, TE Marcedes Lewis
The Colts—and really, the rest of the AFC—are going to be chasing the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2018.
Jacksonville had one of the NFL's most complete rosters and came within a few plays of reaching the Super Bowl last season. It got even better this offseason.
The Jaguars did lose standout receivers Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns, but they replaced them with Moncrief and rookie LSU product DJ Chark. With Austin Seferian-Jenkins replacing the efficient but aging Marcedes Lewis at tight end, their receiving corps might be a hair better this season.
Chark, who has future No. 1 receiver attributes, could prove to be an absolute steal.
The Jaguars offensive line will unquestionably be better with Norwell joining the crew. He was the best offensive lineman available in free agency and one of the best players overall. Having Leonard Fournette running behind the All-Pro is going to be dangerous.
Jacksonville's dominant defensive line rotation got better as well, as the Jaguars scooped up former Florida defensive tackle Taven Bryan in the first round.
Losing Colvin will hurt, as his presence at nickel helped give Jacksonville a complete secondary. However, the Jaguars did bring in a starting-caliber replacement in D.J. Hayden.
While OddsShark lists the Patriots as Super Bowl favorites for the coming season, Jacksonville has the superior roster and should be viewed as the team to beat.
Stock Report: Up
Kansas City Chiefs
Notable Additions: LB Anthony Hitchens, WR Sammy Watkins, CB Kendall Fuller, CB David Amerson, DT Breeland Speaks
Notable Losses: QB Alex Smith, CB Marcus Peters, LB Tamba Hali, S Ron Parker, LB Ramik Wilson, QB Tyler Bray, WR Albert Wilson, LB Derrick Johnson
The Kansas City Chiefs' 2018 season is going to hinge on the play of second-year quarterback Patrick Mahomes. Can he lead a more explosive offensive attack than Alex Smith did? It's possible, especially with downfield threat Sammy Watkins joining the receiving corps.
However, Mahomes has just one start under his belt and runs the risk hitting the fabled "rookie wall" once opposing defenses have more game film on him. Smith is a proven starter. Mahomes is not.
Defensively, it's difficult to get too excited about what the Chiefs have done this offseason. Cornerbacks Kendall Fuller and David Amerson are solid players, but Kansas City parted with a two-time Pro Bowler in Marcus Peters, linebackers Derrick Johnson and Tamba Hali and starting safety Ron Parker.
Kansas City did bring in Hitchens and draft defensive tackle Breeland Speaks. It should also be getting safety Eric Berry back from injury. Is the Chiefs defense really any better than it was in 2017, though? On paper, it's hard to say.
This is a problem, as Kansas City had one of the worst defenses in the NFL last year. It produced just 31 sacks and allowed an average of 365.1 yards per game, fifth-most in the NFL.
It isn't unfair to say the Chiefs overachieved in 2017. With unknowns at quarterback and on defense, there's no guarantee they'll be any better in 2018.
Stock Report: Neutral
Los Angeles Chargers
Notable Additions: C Mike Pouncey, K Caleb Sturgis, OT Michael Schofield, QB Geno Smith, S Derwin James, LB Uchenna Nwosu
Notable Losses: TE Antonio Gates, K Nick Novak, G Matt Slauson, DE Jeremiah Attaochu
The Los Angeles Chargers were close to being a playoff team in 2017 thanks to a well-balanced roster. L.A.'s offense averaged 376.6 yards per game, third-most in the NFL. Its defense allowed just 17.0 points per game, third-fewest in the league.
Expect the Chargers to take the next step and be a legitimate playoff team in 2018.
Aside from future Hall-of-Fame tight end Antonio Gates, Los Angeles' losses this offseason have been minimal. The additions, meanwhile, have been notable.
Center Mike Pouncey should be a reliable anchor in the middle of the Chargers offensive line. Kicker Caleb Sturgis should be an improvement at kicker if healthy. L.A.'s kickers combined to go just 20-of-30 on field goals last season. Geno Smith will provide veteran insurance at quarterback behind Philip Rivers.
In the draft, the Chargers added Florida State safety Derwin James and USC pass-rusher Uchenna Nwosu. James is a hard-hitting strong safety who will fit right in with defensive coordinator Gus Bradley's aggressive scheme. Nwosu will make a pass-rushing rotation that logged 43 sacks last season even deeper.
The one lingering question is the running game, which averaged just 99.7 yards per game last season (24th in the NFL). If the addition of Pouncey can help spark that, the Chargers are going to be as complete a team as there is in the AFC outside of Jacksonville.
Stock Report: Up
Los Angeles Rams
Notable Additions: WR Brandin Cooks, CB Aqib Talib, CB Marcus Peters, DT Ndamukong Suh, CB Sam Shields, OT Joseph Noteboom
Notable Losses: WR Sammy Watkins, CB Trumaine Johnson, LB Alec Ogletree, DE Robert Quinn
The Los Angeles Rams spent their offseason trading off pieces. They parted with quality players like cornerback Trumaine Johnson, defensive end Robert Quinn, linebacker Alec Ogletree and receiver Watkins.
These are good players, but general manager Les Snead brought in arguably even better talent.
Brandin Cooks has been a more consistent (and healthier) receive than Watkins through his career. Johnson is a tremendous corner, but the Rams get Talib and Peters in his place. Quinn was a force on the defensive line, but Ndamukong Suh is an even bigger difference-maker.
Of course, it's fair to wonder how well all these new big-name players will coexist. Defensive coordinator Wade Phillips doesn't believe it will be an issue.
"I don't manage players, I don't handle players. I just work with players," Phillips said, per Miles Simmons of the team's official website. "They asked me the same thing when I went into Denver. I want them to have personalities."
Los Angeles had the league's best scoring offense last season (29.9 points per game). Now the defense should be one of the league's better units as well. Expect the Rams to be legitimate challengers to the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC this season.
Stock Report: Up
Notable Additions: WR Danny Amendola, RB Frank Gore, G Josh Sitton, DT Akeem Spence, S Minkah Fitzpatrick, TE Mike Gesicki
Notable Losses: DT Ndamukong Suh, WR Jarvis Landry, LB Lawrence Timmons, TE Julius Thomas, C Mike Pouncey
Expectations weren't high for the Miami Dolphins last season after starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill suffered a torn ACL before the start of the regular season. The good news is that Tannehill should be ready to return this season.
"It's really strong and ready to go," Tannehill said, per Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald.
While Tannehill should be an improvement over Jay Cutler—who had a passer rating of just 80.8 last season—his return isn't reason enough to give Miami fans higher expectations than they had last year.
The reality is that Tannehill is a mid-level starter at best, and the Dolphins did consider drafting his replacement this offseason. He has a career passer rating of 86.5, and while he did have a career year in 2016 (passer rating of 93.5), there's no guarantee he'll pick up where he left off before the injury.
Instead of drafting a new quarterback, the Dolphins grabbed former Alabama safety Minkah Fitzpatrick. He'll be an immediate difference-maker in Miami's secondary. Free-agent addition Danny Amendola will be a contributor on offense, too.
Still, a couple of good additions aren't going to make up for the loss of core players like Suh and Landry. Losing starting center Pouncey isn't going to help the offense improve—it averaged just 17.6 points per game in 2017, fifth-fewest in the league. The Dolphins acquired Akeem Spence from the Lions on Thursday, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter, but Spence is not the same disruptive force Suh is.
Perhaps we shouldn't be surprised that Miami was willing to lose the free-agency attrition battle. The team has roughly $5.1 million in cap space even after parting with Landry and Suh.
Miami's expectations shouldn't be any higher this year than they were last.
Stock Report: Down
Notable Additions: QB Kirk Cousins, DT Sheldon Richardson, QB Trevor Siemian, CB Mike Hughes, OT Brian O'Neill
Notable Losses: QB Case Keenum, QB Sam Bradford, QB Teddy Bridgewwater, WR Jarius Wright, G Joe Berger (retirement)
The Minnesota Vikings came close to reaching the Super Bowl last season but stumbled hard against the Eagles in the NFC Championship Game. The Vikings defense faltered against Philadelphia, but it was a stout unit for most of the season.
No team allowed fewer than the 15.8 points or the 275.9 yards per game Minnesota gave up last season.
The unit got even better this offseason when it added disruptive defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson in free agency and drafted Central Florida cornerback Mike Hughes. Richardson will help make a defensive front that amassed 37 sacks last season even more dangerous. Hughes will join Xavier Rhodes and Trae Waynes to form one of the top cornerback groups in the league.
Of course, these aren't even the biggest moves Minnesota made this offseason. The Vikings signed Kirk Cousins to a three-year, $84 million fully guaranteed deal, which suggests they believe they have a legitimate franchise quarterback.
If the Vikings can't stop Wentz and the Eagles offense, perhaps they believe they can match it with Cousins at the helm.
Minnesota has one of the most talented rosters in the NFL, and on paper, it got stronger in the offseason.
Stock Report: Up
New England Patriots
Notable Additions: DE Adrian Clayborn, DT Danny Shelton, CB Jason McCourty, RB Jeremy Hill, OT Isaiah Wynn, RB Sony Michel, CB Duke Dawson
Notable Losses: CB Malcolm Butler, OT Nate Solder, RB Dion Lewis, WR Danny Amendola, WR Brandin Cooks, TE Martellus Bennett, OT Cameron Fleming
As long as Bill Belichick and Tom Brady are members of the Patriots, New England is going to be a playoff contender. However, this might be the year we finally see the franchise stumble a bit. There was a mass exodus of talent this offseason, and Belichick's plan for rebuilding the roster has been interesting, to say the least.
New England said goodbye to wide receiver Danny Amendola, running back Dion Lewis, offensive tackle Nate Solder, offensive tackle Cameron Fleming and cornerback Malcolm Butler in free agency. It then parted with wideout Brandin Cooks in a trade with the Rams.
This leaves New England without some major offensive contributors from last season and its starting cornerback. Though to be fair, Butler was benched in the Super Bowl, so perhaps the Patriots didn't view him as a starter anymore.
Regardless, things are going to be different offensively this year. We may see a bigger commitment to the running game after the Patriots brought in Jeremy Hill and used a first-round pick on Georgia running back Sony Michel.
New England also added Georgia offensive tackle Isaiah Wynn in the first round, though he may not be an actual replacement for Solder. Some, including NFL Media's Lance Zierlein, view Wynn as a guard at the pro level.
New England still has Brady, Belichick and Rob Gronkowski. It should be getting wideout Julian Edelman back from injury, too. However, on paper, the Patriots are poised to take a step back.
Stock Report: Down
New Orleans Saints
Notable Additions: S Kurt Coleman, LB Demario Davis, TE Ben Watson, WR Cameron Meredith, DE Alex Okafor, DE Marcus Davenport
Notable Departures: OT Zach Strief (retirement), OL Senio Kelemete, S Kenny Vaccaro, WR Willie Snead
The New Orleans Saints came close to beating the Vikings in the divisional round. If not for a miraculous last-second play, they would have. There's no reason to believe the Saints won't again make a run at the NFC Championship Game.
The offensive talent around Brees should be better this season, too. Cameron Meredith will likely be an upgrade over Snead, who disappeared last season. Ben Watson is nearing the end of his career, but he's still a receiving threat at tight end (522 yards last season).
Saying goodbye to Zach Strief is tough, but he was only healthy for two games last season.
The Saints made some moves defensively, too. Kurt Coleman was brought in to help replace Kenny Vaccaro at safety. Linebacker Demario Davis is a vastly underrated defender who adds talent to the front seven. The Saints also traded up to draft Texas-San Antonio defensive end Marcus Davenport in the first round.
Davenport should have an instant impact as a pass-rusher opposite Cameron Jordan.
New Orleans wasn't far from being a title contender in 2017. It may have added the pieces through free agency and the draft to get there.
Stock Report: Up
New York Jets
Notable Additions; QB Teddy Bridgewater, RB Isaiah Crowell, CB Trumaine Johnson, K Cairo Santos, QB Sam Darnold
Notable Losses: DE Kony Ealy, K Chandler Catanzaro, LB Demario Davis, DE Muhammad Wilkerson
The New York Jets made some solid moves to improve for both the short and long term this offseason. The headline-grabber was their trade up to No. 3 overall to select a potential franchise quarterback in USC's Sam Darnold.
"We're going to give him the opportunity to go out there to (earn) the position," Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan said on The Rich Eisen Show. "But, of course, our focus is not necessarily to throw him into the fire until he's earned it."
There's no guarantee that Darnold will start as a rookie. Even if he doesn't, though, the Jets should be a better team in 2018.
They brought back Josh McCown, who was a steady presence under center last season, and they added Teddy Bridgewater to their quarterback room. They also added running back Isaiah Crowell, who will form a high-end backfield tandem with Bilal Powell.
New York also netted one of the biggest names on the free-agent market in Johnson. He'll give the Jets a great No. 1 cornerback to build their secondary around.
The Jets might not be a playoff team in 2018, but it isn't an entirely ridiculous thought. If the Patriots take a significant step back, New York might have the pieces to make a run at an AFC East title.
Stock Report: Up
New York Giants
Notable Additions: OT Nate Solder, WR Cody Latimer, RB Jonathan Stewart, RB Saquon Barkley, G Will Hernandez
Notable Losses: DE Jason Pierre-Paul, G Justin Pugh, C Weston Richburg, CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, P Brad Wing, WR Brandon Marshall
The New York Giants obviously believe they can still make a title run with Eli Manning at quarterback, as they spent the offseason going after pieces to support him. While their 2018 season may not culminate with a Lombardi Trophy, the Giants should make a big leap in the win department.
For one, New York will be getting star wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. back from a season-ending ankle injury, which will change the entire dynamic of the offense. It added offensive tackle Nate Solder, one of the prizes of free agency, to its line.
Cody Latimer will provide depth at receiver after the departure of Brandon Marshall.
While free agency was good to the Giants, they made their biggest moves in the draft. Former Penn State running back Saquon Barkley appears to be a future All-Pro talent, and he should immediately give the Giants one of the top backfields in the league.
New York also drafted UTEP offensive lineman Will Hernandez, who should take over for Justin Pugh. Georgia pass-rusher Lorenzo Carter was a terrific get at the top of the third round, and he should help replace Jason Pierre-Paul.
The Giants will face some stiff competition in the NFC en route to the Super Bowl this season. However, they should be signicifantly better than they were in 2017.
Stock Report: Up
Notable Additions: WR Jordy Nelson, RB Doug Martin, OL Breno Giacomini, S Marcus Gilchrist, LB Tahir Whitehead, OT Kolton Miller, OL Brandon Parker
Notable Losses: WR Michael Crabtree, CB David Amerson, OT Marshall Newhouse, TE Clive Walford
The Oakland Raiders are banking on Jon Gruden being able to come out of retirement and pick up where he left off as a Super Bowl-winning coach. If Gruden stumbles in his first year back or struggles to adjust to the game after a decade away from it, Oakland could be in trouble.
On paper, the Raiders aren't better than they were last season. The team did bring in veteran talent, but some of it is questionable. Jordy Nelson may have a something left to contribute, but he was even less productive than Michael Crabtree last season. Running back Doug Martin averaged just 2.9 yards per carry in 2017.
Oakland's best move of free agency may have been the addition of Tahir Whitehead, who racked up 110 tackles with a sack and an interception last season with the Lions. He'll be an immediate contributor in Oakland's front seven.
The Raiders did add a pair of offensive linemen in the draft in Kolton Miller and Brandon Parker. However, both are viewed as developmental prospects and may have little impact on the coming season. Some wonder whether offensive line coach Tom Cable will be able to develop them at all.
"I don't trust Tom Cable to develop Kolton Miller," former NFL lineman Geoff Schwartz said via Twitter. "Not at all."
A lot is going to depend on how the team responds to Gruden and his coaching staff this season. On paper, though, Oakland doesn't appear to have taken any sort of leap.
Stock Report: Neutral
Notable Additions: DT Haloti Ngata, DE Michael Bennett, WR Mike Wallace, WR Markus Wheaton, TE Dallas Goedert, CB Avonte Maddox
Notable Losses: DT Beau Allen, RB LeGarrette Blount, TE Trey Burton, TE Brent Celek, DE Vinny Curry, CB Patrick Robinson, K Caleb Sturgis, WR Torrey Smith
The Eagles are likely to be right back in the Super Bowl hunt if Carson Wentz is able to return to his pre-injury form. However, Philadelphia has no reason to rush him back thanks to the presence of Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles.
It's hard to see Philadelphia being better than it was in 2017, even with Wentz back under center. However, there's nothing to suggest the Eagles will take a step back. For every major loss, the team has brought in a replacement.
Michael Bennett comes in to replace Vinny Curry. Mike Wallace will take over for Torrey Smith as a field-stretching receiver. The Eagles drafted South Dakota State tight end Dallas Goedert to help replace Trey Burton and Brent Celek. Haloti Ngata takes over for Beau Allen, while rookie Avote Maddox will help replace Patrick Robinson.
Again, though, everything is going to depend on Wentz's return.
"It’s hard to put a time frame and a timetable on these things," Wentz explained, per Martin Frank of the Delaware News Journal. "I wish I knew as well. Things are going well and I’m happy with where I’m at."
Eagles fans should be happy that their team has a legitimate shot at repeating.
Stock Report: Neutral
Notable Additions: LB Jon Bostic, S Morgan Burnett, S Terrell Edmunds, WR James Washington
Notable Losses: CB William Gay, S Mike Mitchell, OT Chris Hubbard, WR Martavis Bryant
The Pittsburgh Steelers weren't very active in free agency, but that isn't surprising. Right now, they have roughly $5.9 million in available cap space. Unfortunately, this means Pittsburgh didn't really improve in free agency, either.
The Steelers brought in Morgan Burnett to replace safety Mike Mitchell. While Jon Bostic is a quality linebacker, he is far from a replacement for Ryan Shazier, who suffered a spinal injury in December and has already been ruled out for the 2018 season. The loss of Shazier is what hurts Pittsburgh the most.
Shazier is a true sideline-to-sideline linebacker, and he held things together at the second level for the Steelers defense. It won't be the same without him.
Pittsburgh lost cornerback William Gay and traded away Martavis Bryant. Gay was strictly a depth corner last season, though, and the Steelers drafted James Washington to replace Bryant.
They also drafted Virginia Tech safety Terrell Edmunds, though it's fair to wonder if he was a reach in the first round at No. 28. Bleacher Report draft analyst Matt Miller ranked 10 safeties ahead of him.
Pittsburgh also has to deal with Le'Veon Bell's contract situation for the second year in a row. If things go the same as they did last year, Bell is going to skip offseason workouts and won't be ready for the start of the season.
The Steelers open with the Browns again but also face the Chiefs and Ravens within the first month. Any slip-up in that time could derail Pittsburgh's shot at home-field advantage in the postseason, just like last year. With Roethlisberger a year older and Shazier not in Pittsburgh's 2018 plans, that might be a lofty goal anyway.
Stock Report: Down
San Francisco 49ers
Notable Additions: CB Richard Sherman, C Weston Richburg, RB Jerick McKinnon, OT Mike McGlinchey, WR Dante Pettis
Notable Losses: RB Carlos Hyde, S Eric Reid, LB Elvis Dumervil, LB Aaron Lynch
It's hard not to like what the San Francisco 49ers have done this offseason. They completed a long-term deal with new franchise quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, got a new starting cornerback in Richard Sherman and added a starting center in Weston Richburg.
The 49ers also brought in Jerick McKinnon to replace Hyde at running back.
San Francisco had a solid draft, too. It got a new left tackle in Notre Dame product Mike McGlinchey and another weapon for Garoppolo in Washington receiver Dante Pettis.
Most of San Francisco's losses were marginal, aside from Hyde and safety Eric Reid. Elvis Dumervil did have pass-rushing value, though, even if he lost a step.
The 49ers are still in the early stages of a rebuild, but they have some cornerstone pieces in place. One San Francisco legend, however, recommends cautious optimism with Garoppolo.
"I think it's still a little early for [the hype] myself," Hall of Famer Joe Montana said on NFL Network. "He's obviously had a lot more success in the games he's played in so far than the other quarterbacks that have been there recently. So I think there's a lot of excitement in the Bay Area about it."
San Francisco fans have a right to be excited. The 49ers should take some positive steps in 2018.
Stock Report: Up
Notable Additions: TE Ed Dickson, WR Jaron Brown, LB Barkevious Mingo, RB Rashaad Penny
Notable Losses: CB Richard Sherman, DT Sheldon Richardson, DE Michael Bennett, TE Jimmy Graham, WR Paul Richardson
Things haven't been so exciting for the Seattle Seahawks.
At least general manager John Schneider finally got Russell Wilson some help in the form of San Diego State running back Rashaad Penny. That's about the only positive that can be said, unfortunately.
The offensive line in front of Wilson is still questionable at best. Brown and Ed Dickson are not upgrades over Graham and wideout Paul Richardson. Seattle is going to need to lean on Penny, especially with the defense about to take a big step back.
That unit is waving goodbye to some notable pieces, including Sherman, Richardson and Bennett. All three were let go for cap purposes, but the Seahawks still have just under $8 million in space.
In addition to players who have already left, Seattle has uncertainty surrounding the health and futures of Cliff Avril and Kam Chancellor. Safety Earl Thomas may be on his way out, too. According to Schneider, Seattle listened to offers for him during the draft.
"Yeah, we talked to a number of clubs about him," Schneider said, per Gregg Bell of the News Tribune.
It wouldn't be shocking to see Thomas on the move, as Seattle is clearly heading toward a rebuild.
Stock Report: Down
Read more here: http://www.thenewstribune.com/sports/nfl/seattle-seahawks/article210048059.html#storylink=cpy
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Notable Additions: DE Jason Pierre-Paul, DE Vinny Curry, DT Beau Allen, K Chandler Catanzaro, DT Vita Vea, RB Ronald Jones
Notable Losses: DT Chris Baker, DE Robert Ayers, RB Doug Martin, C Joe Hawley, S T.J. Ward
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers took steps to improve their defense this offseason, and it's a good thing they did. Last season, the Bucs were ranked dead last in yards allowed (378.1 per game) and passing yards (260.6 per game). They also ranked 23rd in run defense (117.5 yards per game allowed) and had a league-low 22 sacks.
Tampa improved its pass rush by bringing in both Pierre-Paul and Curry. It also added Allen and drafted Washington defensive tackle Vita Vea to help bolster the defensive line. While the secondary is still suspect, opposing quarterbacks won't have an endless clock to sit and identify open targets.
The Buccaneers also brought in kicker Chandler Catanzaro, a move that shouldn't be overlooked. Kicking has been an issue for the past couple seasons.
Gone is Martin, in is former USC running back Ronald Jones. He should immediately become the team's starter and should help bolster a rushing attack that averaged a mere 90.6 yards per game and 3.7 yards per carry. Only five teams averaged fewer yards per game on the ground.
The Buccaneers are still looking up at the Panthers, Saints and Falcons in the NFC South, but they should be able to make up some ground this season.
Stock Report: Up
Notable Additions: CB Malcolm Butler, RB Dion Lewis, LB Rashaan Evans, DE Harold Landry
The Tennessee Titans were a playoff team in 2017 but still decided to turn the page on the Mike Mularkey era. In comes former Texans defensive coordinator and Patriots linebacker Mike Vrabel. Expect Vrabel to bring an aggressive edge to the Titans and to build a team in the New England mold.
The Titans brought in a pair of former Patriots standouts in Butler and Lewis. Butler will pair with his former New England running mate Logan Ryan in the secondary. Lewis will pair with Derrick Henry to form a dangerous backfield duo.
The addition of Lewis should allow the Titans to forget about former starter DeMarco Murray.
The Tennessee defense lost a couple of solid pieces in Sylvester Williams and Avery Williamson. However, it may actually be on the rise after the drafting of Alabama linebacker Rashaan Evans and Boston College edge-rusher Harold Landry.
Evans can be a field general at the second level of Tennessee's defense, much like Vrabel was in his prime. Landry has the physical tools to be a double-digit sack guy.
The one big question is whether quarterback Marcus Mariota has enough receiving talent at his disposal after the Titans parted with Eric Decker. While Decker wasn't a top-tier receiver in 2017—he didn't even reach 600 yards receiving—his departure makes the Tennessee receiving corps even more underwhelming.
If 2017 No. 5 pick Corey Davis takes a big step forward in 2018, the Titans won't think twice about Decker, though. On paper, Tennessee looks ready to move ahead of what it accomplished last season.
Stock Report: Up
Notable Additions: QB Alex Smith, WR Paul Richardson, CB Orlando Scandrick, DT Da'Ron Payne, RB Derrius Guice
Notable Losses: QB Kirk Cousins, CB Kendall Fuller, LB Trent Murphy, TE Niles Paul, WR Terrelle Pryor, G Spencer Long
Washington's 2018 season is going to be judged by how much of an upgrade Smith is over Cousins at quarterback—assuming he even is. Smith is a consistent and reliable signal-caller who likely won't have the ups and downs of Cousins from series to series. If he proves to be an upgrade, Washington could be back in the playoff hunt in 2018. If not, another 7-9 or 8-8 season will be in store.
The price for Smith included standout cornerback Kendall Fuller. Washington added Orlando Scandrick, but he is not a legitimate replacement for Fuller. Losing pass-rusher Trent Murphy further hurts the pass defense, though drafting Da'Ron Payne should bolster the run defense.
No team allowed more than Washington's 134.1 yards rushing per game last season.
Getting running back Derrius Guice in the second round was a steal, and he should dramatically improve Washington's 28th-ranked rushing attack. He and receiving back Chris Thompson could form one of the most explosive running back duos in the league.
Pryor was a non-factor in his lone season in Washington.
Washington may take a step back in pass defense, but it should be better against the run. It should also be much more balanced on offense. On paper, it appears the team will be a little bit better than it was in 2017, though everything is going to hinge on the play of Smith.
Stock Report: Up
*All contract and salary cap information via Spotrac.com