Every NFL Team's Biggest Mistake So Far This Offseason

Zach Kruse@@zachkruse2Senior Analyst IJune 1, 2018

Every NFL Team's Biggest Mistake So Far This Offseason

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    Stephen B. Morton/Associated Press

    No NFL team is capable of producing a perfect offseason, although the Philadelphia Eagles flirted with one last year.

    Every team deals with bad signings, big departures, questionable draft decisions and unresolved talent issues. The realities of the salary cap, the constraints on the supply and demand of player acquisition and the human factor in decision-making processes always lead to mistakes. 

    Below, we'll look at each NFL team's biggest offseason mistake, using the potential impact on that team's 2018 season as the guiding factor. 


Arizona Cardinals: Cutting Tyrann Mathieu

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    Tim Warner/Getty Images

    The Cardinals can attempt to justify cutting Tyrann Mathieu by pointing to his history of injuries and an excessive cap number. But given all of the factors in play, that's a hard argument to buy.

    Mathieu is only 25 and is one of the NFL's most productive, disruptive and versatile defensive players when healthy. But even if injuries have taken away some of what makes him so special, the financials hardly work in Arizona's favor.

    The Cardinals saved $4.8 million on this year's salary cap by cutting him, but they are deducting over twice that amount in dead money ($9.8 million) this season. That's a lot of money to throw away for nothing. 

    Signing good, young players to second contracts is often good business. Ripping up those contracts after only two years is almost always bad business. 

    The Cardinals gave Mathieu a deal they didn't like less than 24 months later. As a result, they're down a good player in the secondary and almost $10 million on the cap in 2018. 

Atlanta Falcons: Talent Drain on the DL

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    Jeff Haynes/Associated Press

    The Falcons lost Adrian Clayborn (9.5 sacks) and Dontari Poe (2.5) in free agency, robbing their defense of 12 of its 39 sacks from the 2017 season.

    Atlanta spent a third-round pick on Deadrin Senat, who could help replace Poe in the middle, but the team didn't make any other significant moves along the defensive line this offseason. 

    The Falcons will expect more out of recent first-round picks Takk McKinley and Vic Beasley in 2018, which should help make up for Clayborn's absence. However, losing Clayborn and Poe will hurt the depth up front for Dan Quinn's defense. 

    The Falcons didn't make any other noticeable offseason mistakes. Taking an older receiver in the first round comes with risk, but Calvin Ridley should be a strong secondary option behind Julio Jones

Baltimore Ravens: Drafting Hayden Hurst at No. 25

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    Patrick Semansky/Associated Press

    Hayden Hurst is a good player. But the Ravens taking him at No. 25 overall was a huge gamble.

    Tight end is a slow developing position that rarely produces game-changing impact. Only four tight ends finished with more than 800 receiving yards last season. Only five caught eight or more touchdown passes. Great tight ends are rarer than great quarterbacks, which will make it difficult for Hurst to justify his first-round status.

    He'll also turn 25 in August. While age can be overplayed in draft discussions, it's important to consider in terms of return on investment. Most players are drafted at 22 or 23 and have two or three years of NFL experience by the time they turn 25. Hurst, meanwhile, needs to produce right away.

    Even if Hurst does defy the odds, the Ravens might be hesitant to give him a second contract. He'll be nearing 29 by the time Baltimore has to make a decision on his fifth-year option. 

    Hurst has some attractive skills and should fill a need for the Ravens, but we may look back on this pick in a few years as a huge mistake. A soon-to-be 25-year-old tight end drafted in the first round has a lot working against him on the value scale.  

Buffalo Bills: Not Adding More at WR

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    The Bills swapped out Jordan Matthews for Jeremy Kerley and then used a sixth-round pick on Ray-Ray McCloud and a seventh-round pick on Austin Proehl. They needed to do more to fortify a position that is headlined by Kelvin Benjamin, who caught 16 passes in six games after coming over from Carolina last season, and Zay Jones, who is coming off a rookie season in which he caught only 27 of 74 targets. 

    Kristopher Knox of Bleacher Report recently ranked the Bills' pass-catchers as the worst group in the NFL. 

    The Bills passed on opportunities to sign one of the top free agents or draft one of the many middle-round options. That could come back to bite Buffalo's offense, regardless of who is playing quarterback.

    Veteran AJ McCarron and rookie Josh Allen likely will struggle to consistently make plays in the passing game while attempting to get the ball to Buffalo's group of middling receivers. 

Carolina Panthers: Losing Andrew Norwell in Free Agency

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    Andrew Norwell's eventual cost was prohibitive, but the Panthers losing him still stings. Not only did Carolina develop him from an undrafted free agent to an All-Pro guard, but his departure could destabilize an offensive line that struggled at times in 2017. 

    The Panthers finished fourth in rushing yards last season, but top running backs Jonathan Stewart (3.4 yards per carry) and Christian McCaffrey (3.7) both averaged less than four yards per carry, while Cam Newton took 35 sacks. 

    Carolina must now deal with Norwell's departure. The team didn't draft an interior lineman, so it'll have to rely on Taylor Moton, Tyler Larsen and Greg Van Roten to replace the All-Pro. 

    This is a good example of compounding mistakes. The Panthers overpaid for left tackle Matt Kalil in 2017, which left inadequate room for Norwell on the payroll. If given the option to have either Kalil or Norwell, the choice would be easy. 

Chicago Bears: Losing WR Cam Meredith

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    Rey Del Rio/Getty Images

    The Bears don't appear to have made many mistakes this offseason, but letting restricted free agent Cam Meredith get away could come back to bite general manager Ryan Pace. 

    While Meredith missed the entire 2017 season after suffering a horrific knee injury during the preseason, he looked like a breakout star in 2016. The Illinois State product caught 66 passes for 888 yards and four scores that season, despite playing mostly with backups Brian Hoyer and Matt Barkley.

    Meredith signed a two-year, $9.5 million tender with the New Orleans Saints, and the Bears turned down the opportunity to match. If healthy, Meredith could pick up where he left off in 2016 and give Drew Brees a big-play weapon in the passing game. 

    The Bears signed Allen Robinson and Taylor Gabriel and later drafted Anthony Miller, so Chicago should be fine at the receiver position in 2018. But if Meredith becomes a star in New Orleans, the Bears will regret not ponying up to keep him in Chicago. 

Cincinnati Bengals: Contract Extension for Marvin Lewis

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    John Minchillo/Associated Press

    Thirteen wins in the last two seasons and zero playoff victories in 15 years weren't enough for the Bengals to move on from head coach Marvin Lewis, who is back in Cincinnati on a two-year contract extension. 

    Last season felt like a make-or-break year for Lewis, but he survived a 7-9 finish and will get one more chance to right the ship and advance in the playoffs in 2018. 

    The whole situation feels stale. Lewis is the safe call, but is he the right call for these Bengals?

    A fresh look might have re-energized the team. The Bengals had the opportunity to inject some new life into their franchise but passed, deciding instead to entrust Lewis with another turnaround attempt. 

    Giving Lewis a chance to get the Bengals back on the right track in 2017 was fine. But doing it again in 2018?

    Cincinnati seems to be delaying the inevitable and wasting time. 

Cleveland Browns: Not Drafting Bradley Chubb

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    Don Juan Moore/Getty Images

    Drafting Ohio State cornerback Denzel Ward doesn't feel like a mistake for the Browns, who needed help at cornerback. They took the best one available at No. 4 overall and should now have a complete secondary.

    But not drafting edge-rusher Bradley Chubb at that spot does feel like a mistake. 

    Every draft pick comes with opportunity cost, and that opportunity cost is amplified early in the draft. Any analysis of who the Browns took at No. 4 has to come with a breakdown of who the team passed on. In this case, it's a potential Pro Bowl edge-rusher. 

    Covering receivers and rushing the quarterback are intertwined in playing pass defense, but offenses around the league are too adept at creating mismatches and quarterbacks are too capable of finding the mismatches when kept clean in the pocket. Consistently disrupt the quarterback in the pocket, however, and covering receivers becomes a much easier task. 

    Imagine Chubb and Myles Garrett meeting at the quarterback from opposite edges. Ward might give Garrett an extra half-second to get to the quarterback, but the Browns had an opportunity to create one of the NFL's youngest and most talented edge-rushing combinations.

    It'll be tough for Ward to match that value if Chubb becomes a Pro Bowl edge-rusher in Denver. 

Dallas Cowboys: Not Doing Enough to Replace Dez, Witten

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    Ron Jenkins/Associated Press

    The Cowboys were backed into a corner in April after they cut receiver Dez Bryant and lost tight end Jason Witten to retirement. By then, most of the top free-agent receivers and tight ends were already long gone.

    In fact, the Cowboys were somewhat lucky to sign Allen Hurns in late March. Third-round pick Michael Gallup could eventually develop into Dak Prescott's go-to receiver, too. 

    Still, it's hard not to fault the Cowboys for waiting so long to cut Bryant and make a big move at receiver, and the depth chart at tight end is dangerously thin. Although Bryant and Witten were both aging stars, it's difficult to imagine the Cowboys' pass-catchers being better in 2018 than they were in 2017. 

    Prescott is entering an important third season in Dallas. He'll need to find a way to improve while building connections with an underwhelming group of receivers and tight ends.

    Will the Cowboys' lack of pass-catching talent stunt Prescott's development?

Denver Broncos: Where's the Developmental QB?

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    David Zalubowski/Associated Press

    The Broncos had a fantastic offseason. They signed a new starting quarterback (Case Keenum), made a trade for a starting offensive tackle (Jared Veldheer) and a versatile defensive back (Su'a Cravens), drafed an instant impact pass-rusher at No. 5 overall (Bradley Chubb) and made a few quality picks in the middle rounds (Royce Freeman, DaeSean Hamilton). 

    But even though Denver brought Keenum in for some stability at quarterback, the team's future at that position is far from certain. If Keenum is the bridge, it's hard to see what's next. 

    Paxton Lynch has shown no signs of starter-worthy upside in his first two seasons, and Chad Kelly remains a long shot to be anything more than a backup. The Broncos added undrafted free agent Nick Stevens, but he was the only quarterback they added behind Keenum this offseason.

    No one will fault the Broncos for taking Chubb or receiver Courtland Sutton over a rookie quarterback. But Denver looks shaky behind Keenum, both in the present and the future. 

Detroit Lions: Wrong Priorities

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    The Lions had the worst running game in the NFL last season, so it made sense for them to sign running back LeGarrette Blount in free agency and draft center Frank Ragnow and running back Kerryon Johnson with their first two picks. 

    But did the Lions prioritize the wrong parts of their roster this offseason? 

    The pass rush looks increasingly fragile, with Ezekiel Ansah on the franchise tag and Kerry Hyder and Anthony Zettel representing the best options for a No. 2 edge-rusher. The Lions tallied 35 sacks (including 12 from Ansah) and finished 23rd in the NFL in sack percentage

    Will an improved run game get the Lions over the hump? Or would have pass-rush reinforcements have better served Detroit's playoff chase?

    One injury to Ansah could sink the Lions' ability to get after the quarterback in 2018. 

Green Bay Packers: Lack of Pass-Rush Additions

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    The Packers lack a surefire option behind top receivers Davante Adams and Randall Cobb, and the offensive line doesn't have a certain Week 1 starter at right guard or right tackle.

    However, their edge pass-rushing group poses the biggest question marks this offseason.

    Veterans Clay Matthews and Nick Perry will return, but Matthews is 32 and has missed games in three of the last five seasons, while Perry has never played a full 16-game schedule. The depth behind them is mostly unproven, with Kyler Fackrell, Vince Biegel, Reggie Gilbert, Chris Odom and seventh-round pick Kendall Donnerson representing the top backup options behind the two veteran starters.

    Recently, Matthews went as far as to say the Packers' depth at outside linebacker was "not that great," according to ESPN.com's Rob Demovsky

    The Packers added former Pro Bowler Muhammad Wilkerson to their defensive line, which could help in terms of disrupting the quarterback. But on the edges, Green Bay is counting on two oft-injured veterans to carry the load for the most important position in Mike Pettine's defense.

    One big injury either to Matthews or Perry could be big trouble. 

Houston Texans: Not Adding More to the OL

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    Phelan M. Ebenhack/Associated Press

    The Texans have one of the NFL's most exciting young quarterbacks in Deshaun Watson, but they'll field one of the game's worst offensive lines in front of him in 2018. 

    No team has a less inspiring group than the Texans, who currently have Julie'n Davenport, Zach Fulton, Nick Martin, Senio Kelemete and Seantrel Henderson as the projected starters along the offensive line. 

    The Texans added Henderson, Fulton and Kelemete this offseason, but all three are replacement-level players and would likely be better served as backups. The only draft pick was Martinas Rankin, who will compete at left and right tackle. 

    Houston patched together a shaky offensive line in front of Watson, who is returning from an ACL injury. That's a big gamble.

    The Texans should have invested more resources on the offensive line this offseason.

Indianapolis Colts: Not Drafting a WR Early

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    AJ Mast/Associated Press

    Quarterback Andrew Luck should be back in 2018, and the Colts aided his return by rebuilding their offensive line this offseason.

    However the receiver position looks like a mess behind Pro Bowler T.Y. Hilton. 

    The Colts signed Ryan Grant in free agency and drafted Daurice Fountain (fifth round) and Deon Cain (sixth round) on Day 3, but they had five picks during the first two days of the draft and passed on many potential impact receivers, including Courtland Sutton, Anthony Miller, James Washington, Christian Kirk, DJ Chark and Michael Gallup. 

    It bears watching how Luck handles his transition back into the lineup, especially with so many young and unproven players on the receiver depth chart. Landing one of the top receivers in free agency or during the first two days of the draft could have provided the secondary weapon Luck will likely need behind Hilton. 

Jacksonville Jaguars: WR Signings

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    Keith Srakocic/Associated Press

    The Jaguars made three big decisions at receiver this offseason: re-signing Marqise Lee, signing Donte Moncrief and letting Allen Robinson sign in Chicago. 

    Jacksonville likely made a mistake in picking Lee and Moncrief over Robinson. 

    Lee signed for four years and $34 million, despite catching only eight touchdown passes over his first four seasons and never producing a year with more than 65 catches or 900 receiving yards. Moncrief had a good stretch with Andrew Luck in 2015 and 2016, but he has been plagued by injuries and inconsistency, which led him to sign a one-year, $9.6 million deal with Jacksonville. 

    Although Robinson missed the entire 2017 season with a torn ACL, he's proved to have star power when healthy. He caught 153 passes for 2,283 yards and 20 touchdowns in 2015 and 2016 combined, which represents more production than Lee and Moncrief have across their respective careers. 

    The Jaguars essentially opted to give two No. 2 or 3 receivers roughly the same amount of money it would have cost to keep Robinson, a legitimate No. 1. The Bears, who signed Robinson, are happy with that decision. 

Kansas City Chiefs: Giving LB Anthony Hitchens $45 Million

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    Luring Anthony Hitchens away from Dallas with a five-year, $45 million deal was the Chiefs' answer to wanting to find a younger replacement for veteran linebacker Derrick Johnson. 

    Teams pay for projected production in free agency, so the Chiefs clearly see Hitchens as an ascending player with the skill set to be a difference-making talent in the middle of their defense. 

    However, it's hard to see how Hitchens suddenly evolves into the do-it-all replacement for Johnson, who represented the heart and soul for the Chiefs defense for many years. Nothing about Hitchens' past suggests he's on the verge of becoming a borderline Pro Bowler every year. 

    Somehow, Hitchens must produce at elite inside linebacker levels to justify his contract. In all likelihood, this deal will look like a massive overpay—and an enormous mistake—a few years down the road.

Los Angeles Chargers: Not Adding an LB

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    Jae C. Hong/Associated Press

    The Chargers spent a first-round pick on safety Derwin James and a second-rounder on versatile linebacker Uchenna Nwoso, but they did little to bolster the inside linebacker position around Denzel Perryman, who has missed 15 games during his first three seasons. 

    Hayes Pullard, Kyle Emanuel and Jatavis Brown are back, but the Chargers could have used another linebacker to fortify the position and protect against any future injury to Perryman.  

    On offense, the Chargers might have benefited from finding a veteran insurance policy for starting offensive tackles Russell Okung and Joe Barksdale. An injury to either starter could be devastating to the offensive line. The team still has no clear successor to Philip Rivers on the roster, either. 

    Other than those three small critiques, the Chargers had a strong offseason. 

Los Angeles Rams: Trading Robert Quinn

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    Phelan M. Ebenhack/Associated Press

    The Rams needed the salary-cap space they gained by trading Robert Quinn to the Dolphins, but a team fully committed to winning in 2018 now has a fairly substantial hole at edge-rusher.

    While no team possesses more interior talent, the Rams are now shockingly young and thin at outside linebacker, where Quinn tallied 8.5 sacks over 15 games in Los Angeles last season. Veteran Connor Barwin, who started 13 games for the Rams last season, remains unsigned.

    Can defensive coordinator Wade Phillips get the most out of a group headlined by Samson Ebukam, Matt Longacre and rookie Obo Okoronkwo?

    Pass rush can be created in a number of different ways, whether it's from the interior, off of blitzes or stemming from coverage. The Rams might have sacrificed Quinn to help other areas, but the trade will look like a big mistake if the defense struggles to get to the quarterback in big games in 2018. 

Miami Dolphins: Releasing Ndamukong Suh

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    It's never hard to figure out why bad teams stay bad. Take the Dolphins' handling of Ndamukong Suh, for example. 

    Miami signed Suh to a six-year, $114 million deal in 2015. Three years later, the team decided it was better off taking a massive dead-money hit than to continue keeping Suh on the roster. 

    Not only are the Dolphins setting salary-cap money on fire, but they also got rid of their best defensive player. 

    These are crippling mistakes for franchises. They hurt the cap situation and the on-field talent, and they are born out of mismanagement from the top of the organization on down.

    The Dolphins didn't get better in any way by releasing Suh. Miami should have paid him his money and reaped the benefits of his disruptive playing ability until it made more financial sense to sever ties.  

Minnesota Vikings: No Help for Interior OL

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    Bob Leverone/Associated Press

    The Vikings don't have many glaring weaknesses. But if a hole does manifest in Minnesota, it'll likely be on the interior of the offensive line, where the Vikings did little to add reinforcements this offseason. 

    Guard Nick Easton is back after starting 12 games in 2017, but the Vikings might have to rely on veteran addition Tom Compton to handle starting duties opposite him. Both are replacement-level players who could be exposed next season. 

    Recent late-round draft picks Danny Isidora and Colby Gossett provide intriguing depth, and right tackle Mike Remmers can move inside to play guard, but the Vikings still have a lot of moving pieces in the middle of the offensive line.

    Can Minnesota find the right combination to protect Kirk Cousins and open holes for Dalvin Cook? Or will the guard position be a consistent problem?

    While getting Mike Hughes in the first round should solve a potential long-term need at cornerback, taking a guard such as Will Hernandez, Austin Corbett or Braden Smith could have immediately filled the Vikings' hole up front.

New England Patriots: The Plan at OT

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    John Raoux/Associated Press

    The Patriots replaced veteran left tackle Nate Solder by spending a first-round pick on Isaiah Wynn and trading for Trent Brown, but they're still taking big risks at offensive tackle. 

    Wynn was widely projected to be a guard in the NFL, and Brown has only one career start at left tackle. On the right side, the Patriots will call on Marcus Cannon, who is still recovering from ankle surgery, or LaAdrian Waddle, who started four games in 2017. Both are replacement-level starters. 

    Tom Brady gets the ball out of his hands as quickly as any quarterback in football, but he'll turn 41 in August, and he'll need all the protection he can get in 2018. The Patriots look strong in the middle with three returning starters, but there's nothing certain about the edges.

    Inconsistency at offensive tackle could define the early part of New England's season, especially as Wynn settles into his home at left tackle.

New Orleans Saints: No Developmental QB?

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    Sophia Germer/Associated Press

    The Saints signed Drew Brees to a new two-year, $50 million deal in mid-March, so head coach Sean Payton clearly thinks he'll have a top starting quarterback through at least the 2019 season. But when will the Saints add a developmental quarterback to groom behind Brees?

    When the Saints moved up to No. 14 overall, it appeared as though they might select such a project, but they instead took edge-rusher Marcus Davenport. New Orleans gave up a first-round pick next season to move up and get Davenport, which will make it more difficult for Payton to obtain a talented young backup behind Brees in the 2019 draft. 

    The Saints will bring Taysom Hill, Tom Savage and J.T. Barrett to camp this summer. All three could make terrific backups, but it's unlikely any of the three ever will become a true starter.

    Brees' successor likely isn't on the roster. Are the Saints playing with fire at quarterback? 

New York Giants: Missing on the Top QBs

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    Julio Cortez/Associated Press

    Saquon Barkley has undeniable talent as a runner and receiver, and his presence in New York might extend the useful shelf life of Eli Manning's career a year or two. However, it's still hard to believe the Giants took a running back rather than one of the top quarterbacks with the second overall pick. 

    When you have a 37-year-old quarterback coming off the worst season of his career and have your choice of Josh Rosen, Sam Darnold, Josh Allen and Lamar Jackson, the opportunity cost of taking a running back is enormous. 

    The Giants eventually drafted Kyle Lauletta in the fourth round, but the hit rate of middle-round quarterbacks isn't great. Neither is the hit rate on top picks at running backs, for that matter. The position is too devalued and too inconsequential to the winning formula in today's NFL. 

    Even if Barkley becomes a productive running back, the Giants may regret this pick for years to come. A chance to secure the future of the franchise doesn't come around often.

    The Giants missed theirs. 

New York Jets: Not Rebuilding the OL

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    Winslow Townson/Associated Press

    The Jets needed to do more to strengthen the offensive line this offseason. Since they didn't, one of the worst position groups in football last season likely will once again struggle in 2018. 

    New York allowed 47 sacks and a sack percentage of 8.4. Both ranked among the bottom third in the NFL. The run game wasn't much better, with the Jets ranking 20th in yards per carry and 19th in rushing yards per game. 

    They signed free agents Spencer Long and Travis Swanson to help at center, and tackle Antonio Garcia arrived off waivers from New England in mid-May. But that means the Jets will likely start three castoffs and two mid-round picks along the offensive line, with precious quality depth behind them. 

    The Jets had money to burn in free agency but only found two mid-level centers, and they didn't use any of their six draft picks on the offensive line. New York might have found its future quarterback in No. 3 overall pick Sam Darnold, but the offensive line needs to be rebuilt in the coming years.

    That process should have gotten off to a better start this offseason. 

Oakland Raiders: Turning Michael Crabtree into Jordy Nelson

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    Stacy Revere/Getty Images

    The Raiders released 30-year-old Michael Crabtree and signed 33-year-old Jordy Nelson, swapping out a receiver with an established connection with Derek Carr for a receiver who has played for only one quarterback in his NFL career. 

    Actually, check that. Nelson spent seven games with Brett Hundley last season, and he produced next to nothing. 

    Crabtree's numbers dipped over 14 games last season, but Nelson fell off the face of the earth without Aaron Rodgers. From Week 7 on, Nelson failed to produce a single game with at least 40 receiving yards, and he averaged fewer than four yards per catch in three games. He finished the season with 53 catches for 482 yards, both career lows over a full season. 

    Nelson has lost much of his deep speed and intermediate quickness, and he struggled to make contested catches and pick up yards after the catch. Father Time is catching up with him quickly.

    The Raiders would have been better off sticking with Crabtree for another year. 

Philadelphia Eagles: Sacrificing on Special Teams

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    Gregory Payan/Associated Press

    The Eagles moved on from veteran punter Donnie Jones and haven't re-signed Kenjon Barner, their leading punt and kick returner from a year ago. That leaves special teams looking iffy for the defending champions. 

    Cam Johnston, the only punter on the roster, has never kicked in a regular-season NFL game. It's also unclear who will be returning punts and kicks if they don't retain Barner. 

    The Eagles had one of the NFL's best special teams units last season, and coach Dave Fipp is one of the best in the business. The only real concern with Philadelphia's roster going into 2018 appears to center around some of the uncertainty on special teams.

    Training camp and the preseason should help bring Fipp's vision into focus. 

Pittsburgh Steelers: No Ryan Shazier Replacement

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    Keith Srakocic/Associated Press

    Ryan Shazier's tragic neck injury made inside linebacker one of the Steelers' biggest needs going into the offseason.

    Though there were plenty of tackle machines available in free agency and a strong, athletic group in the draft, the Steelers came out of the offseason with only Jon Bostic as a replacement for Shazier. 

    Perhaps the Steelers have future plans for veteran safety Morgan Burnett or first-round pick Terrell Edmunds to drop into the box and play linebacker in a few subpackages. That would help negate some of the speed and versatility lost in Shazier, who was among the NFL's fastest and most reliable coverage linebackers prior to his injury.

    Bostic revived his fading career with a 97-tackle season in Indianapolis last season, but the Steelers going from Shazier to Bostic would be a drastic drop-off in the middle of Pittsburgh's defense in 2018. Not doing more to add help at the position could come back to bite the Steelers. 

San Francisco 49ers: Not Acquiring a No. 1 WR

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    Jeff Chiu/Associated Press

    The 49ers are in decent shape at receiver. Pierre Garcon, Marquise Goodwin and Trent Taylor are all returning, and Goodwin and Taylor developed a connection with Jimmy Garoppolo late last season.

    While San Francisco used a second-round pick on Washington's Dante Pettis, it's hard not to wonder what Garoppolo and the 49ers could do in 2018 had the team found a legitimate No. 1 receiver in free agency.

    Allen Robinson appeared to be a perfect fit, but he signed in Chicago instead.

    Not finding an elite receiver is a small nitpick on what was an otherwise promising offseason in San Francisco. 

    The 49ers will hope Garoppolo, Kyle Shanahan's offense and a bunch of quality No. 2 receivers will be enough to keep the passing game flying high this season. 

Seattle Seahawks: Not Rebuilding at CB

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    Ted S. Warren/Associated Press

    Seattle's secondary was once the foundation of one of the NFL's best defenses, but the group now has far more question marks than stars.

    The Seahawks parted ways with Richard Sherman this offseason, and Kam Chancellor's future remains uncertain because of a neck injury.

    Seattle looks most vulnerable at cornerback, as its only significant move of the offseason was bringing back Byron Maxwell on a one-year deal. The Seahawks didn't draft a corner or sign one after the draft. 

    Maxwell, Shaquill Griffin and Justin Coleman will likely start at the three cornerback positions in 2018. That's hardly the intimidating set of cornerbacks that once roamed the secondary in Seattle. 

    The Seahawks had opportunities to add help on the perimeter, including in the first round of the draft, when they took a running back over cornerbacks such as Mike Hughes and Josh Jackson.

    Will the lack of depth at cornerback lead to another big regression from the Seahawks defense?

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Drafting Vita Vea

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    Tom Pennington/Getty Images

    Why draft a game-changing safety (Derwin James), a special hybrid linebacker (Tremaine Edmunds) or a feisty, athletic press-man cornerback (Jaire Alexander) when you can get a two-down run-stuffer?

    There's nothing wrong with Vita Vea as a player. Humans of his size aren't supposed to move as well as he does, and his combination of size, athleticism and power could give him Haloti Ngata-like potential. 

    However, Vea is unrefined at collapsing the pocket as a pass-rusher and came off the field all the time at Washington. He may be nothing more than a great run-stopper on first and second down in the NFL.

    There's value in that, but that reality will hurt even more if the three players listed above become impact players elsewhere.

    Nose tackles like Vea rarely live up to the impact needed out of the No. 12 overall pick. 

Tennessee Titans: Not Adding a Veteran WR

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    Mark Humphrey/Associated Press

    The Titans are banking on youth at receiver, with Corey Davis, Taywan Taylor and Tajae Sharpe expected to fill key roles in the passing game alongside veteran Rishard Matthews, who led all Tennessee receivers with 795 receiving yards last season. 

    Gone are veterans Eric Decker and Harry Douglas, who both remain unsigned. Should the Titans have restocked the receiver room with at least one more veteran? 

    Davis and Taylor combined for only 50 catches during their rookie season, and Sharpe missed all of last season with a foot injury. All three have talent, but they each enter 2018 with a sense of uncertainty. 

    A cheap veteran might have steadied the group and insured the passing game against any hiccups from the youngsters.

    The Titans did a lot right this offseason, especially during the draft, but not adding an experienced receiver could mean some ups and downs in the passing game. 

Washington Redskins: $40 Million for Paul Richardson

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    Manuel Balce Ceneta/Associated Press

    Richardson has big-time speed and some untapped potential, but the Redskins handed out a five-year, $40 million deal to a receiver with 95 catches and eight scores over his first four NFL seasons. 

    Perhaps Washington sees Richardson as capable of providing a DeSean Jackson-like impact as a field-stretching pass-catcher with big-play ability. He did average 16.0 yards per catch in 2017, his best season as a pro.

    However, Richardson has made only 19 starts to date. His football career is also littered with major injuries, including two torn ACLs, a torn MCL and a season-ending hamstring issue. 

    There's also no easy way out of his deal early on. His five-year contract will likely ensure he's in Washington for at least the first three seasons. 

    Richardson provides something the Redskins need, but he's also arriving with plenty of risk. 

    Salary-cap and contract information via Spotrac.


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