Grading Every NFL Team's Offseason Before the 2019 DraftApril 9, 2019
Grading Every NFL Team's Offseason Before the 2019 Draft
T-minus a fortnight—give or take.
In just about two weeks (that's a fortnight, for those of you who didn't know) the NFL's 32 teams will descend upon Nashville for the 2019 NFL draft. It's a vital opportunity for teams to finish the roster work that began when free agency opened early in March.
That work's been going on for some time now. While some teams attacked free agency with fervor, others took a more cautious, measured approach. But regardless of how some chose to approach free agency, every team in the NFL shares one thing in common: they all look different now than when the 2018 season ended.
As the focus shifts squarely to the draft over the coming weeks, let's take a look at each NFL team's offseason so far with a grade for each roster's gains and losses.
Before anyone breaks out the pitchforks and torches, a quick caveat: A grade of "C" essentially means a team is in the same shape they were a couple of months ago. Higher, and they gained more than they lost.
Lower, and the opposite holds true.
AFC East: Bills, Dolphins, Jets, Patriots
NFC East: Cowboys, Eagles, Giants, Redskins
AFC North: Bengals, Browns, Ravens, Steelers
NFC North: Bears, Lions, Packers, Vikings
AFC South: Colts, Jaguars, Texans, Titans
NFC South: Buccaneers, Falcons, Panthers, Saints
AFC West: Broncos, Chargers, Chiefs, Raiders
Most of the offseason press surrounding the Arizona Cardinals has centered on the team's pick, first overall, in the 2019 draft.
However, the team also added a number of pieces to help complement whoever their quarterback will be this season.
The Cardinals brought in a trio of linemen to boost a front that allowed the fifth-most sacks in the NFL last year in Marcus Gilbert, Max Garcia and J.R. Sweezy. None are worldbeaters, but it'll help.
If new acquisition Jordan Hicks can stay healthy, he'd be the best inside linebacker the Cards have had in a while. Terrell Suggs is nearing the end of the line, but he had seven sacks a year ago and piled up 11 as recently as 2017. Despite a sub-par 2018 season, veteran cornerback Robert Alford could be the best batterymate Patrick Peterson's had at cornerback since…well, ever.
Arizona also didn't suffer any major losses this offseason. It's a haul that lacks a huge splash, and the argument can be made that, at $8.5 million per season, they overpaid Hicks who has made it through a 16-game season just once in four years and has twice missed at least half the season.
But, in Arizona's case, quantity is almost as important as quality.
The team needs all the help it can get.
The 2018 season was an injury-marred nightmare for the Atlanta Falcons. It also marked a second consecutive year of decline—the Falcons went from the losers of Super Bowl LI to a 10-6 Wild Card team to missing the postseason altogether.
Atlanta's offseason hasn't exactly accelerated the team's chances of a rebound in 2019.
In fairness, if young cornerback Isaiah Oliver can step up this year, it will help offset the loss of Robert Alford, who was released in a cap-cutting move. And if Devonta Freeman can return to form, it will lessen the sting of tailback Tevin Coleman's departure.
But Freeman hasn't topped 1,000 yards on the ground since 2016 and is coming off a 2018 season in which he missed 14 games. And Alford wasn't the only loss in the secondary—slot corner Brian Poole is in New York now.
Add in a defensive line that was only able to tread water by franchise-tagging tackle Grady Jarrett, and the Falcons badly need a good draft to salvage this offseason.
The good news for the Baltimore Ravens this offseason is that the team made a pair of impact additions in All-Pro safety Earl Thomas and veteran tailback Mark Ingram.
The bad news is…everything else.
Two of Baltimore's top three wide receivers from 2018 (John Brown and Michael Crabtree) are gone. So are both of the team's top-two edge-rushers: Terrell Suggs to Arizona, Za'Darius Smith to Green Bay. Baltimore's leading tackler a season ago, inside linebacker C.J. Mosley, will be piling up stops for the New York Jets this season.
That's five starters—five key contributors—gone from a team that won the AFC North last year. And that's without mentioning that Thomas was brought in as a replacement for Eric Weddle, who is now with the Los Angeles Rams.
Baltimore's linebackers and pass-catching corps are major question marks—and, on paper at least, the offseason has seen the Cleveland Browns sail past them and into the driver's seat of the division.
The Buffalo Bills entered the 2019 offseason in the NFL's top five for salary cap space.
The Bills weren't shy about spending money—the question is whether or not that money was put to good use.
Buffalo badly needed to upgrade the passing-game weapons available to young quarterback Josh Allen. But it can be argued that the Bills overpaid for both John Brown ($9 million per season) and Cole Beasley ($7.25 million per season)—neither of whom can carry a passing game.
The same can be said of tight end Tyler Kroft. Yes, he should be an upgrade over Charles Clay. But over $6 million a season for a player who caught all of four passes through just five games in 2018 is a risky bet.
However, the Bills also landed a couple of nice bargains. Getting LaAdrian Waddle, a 27-year-old offensive tackle with 31 career starts for $2 million could wind up as one of free agency's bigger steals. Buffalo handed the same deal to the ageless Frank Gore, who will offer the team better insurance behind LeSean McCoy.
The 2019 offseason for the Carolina Panthers hasn't been eventful.
Yes, there have been losses. However, among those, outside linebacker Thomas Davis has passed his prime, wide receiver Devin Funchess never came close to deserving his draft slot and offensive tackle Matt Kalil was disastrous in his lone year with Carolina.
The Panthers' biggest loss of the offseason might be Kalil's brother Ryan, who called it quits after 12 mostly excellent seasons at center in Carolina.
There weren't as many additions, but the ones the Panthers did make have potential. Center Matt Paradis is no Ryan Kalil, but when healthy he's a more than capable starter. Bruce Irvin hasn't lived up to his status as the 15th overall pick back in 2012, but the 31-year-old has averaged over six sacks a season since.
Long story short, while you can't say that the Panthers had an especially good offseason, the team hasn't had an especially bad one, either.
The three biggest moves the Chicago Bears made this offseason were just in-and-out deals—without the Animal Style and cold fries.
(Where you live likely dictates whether or not that makes any sense to you.)
After safety Adrian Amos left Chicago, but stayed in the NFC North for a fat paycheck with the Green Bay Packers (ouch), the Bears replaced him with Ha Ha Clinton-Dix. Clinton-Dix is comparable to Amos talent-wise—but their two contracts are not.
Clinton-Dix's one year, $3 million deal might be the best value signing this entire offseason.
However, the exchange at slot corner didn't work out as well. Bears head coach Matt Nagy can spin it any way he wants, but just about every observer with eyes sees the switch from Bryce Callahan to Buster Skrine as a massive downgrade.
In addition, after flipping Jordan Howard to the Eagles for a plate of nachos, the Bears added tailback Mike Davis. Davis is better in the passing game and averaged 4.6 yards a carry in Seattle last year while shouldering the biggest workload of his career, and Howard wasn't a great fit in Nagy's offense, Managing just 3.7 yards a carry in 2018. But a (conditional) sixth-round pick was an awfully skimpy haul for a back with two 1,000-yard seasons in three years.
The Bears also have issues at kicker. Sure, fans may be glad that Cody "Doink!" Parkey is gone, but his replacements, Chris Blewitt and Redford Jones, have never attempted an NFL kick and hit on less than 75 percent of their attempts in college.
While their state-mates up Interstate 71 in Cleveland have been among the busiest teams in the NFL this offseason, the Cincinnati Bengals have been among the quietest.
In fact, it can be argued that Cincinnati's biggest moves of the offseason were the retention of inside linebacker Preston Brown and cornerback Darqueze Dennard—and neither of those veterans is exactly a difference-maker. The biggest name brought in from outside the roster so far is cornerback B.W. Webb.
I know, you're floored.
Of course, there also haven't been much in the way of big-time losses. Outside linebacker Vomtaze Burfict was a shell of himself last year. Offensive tackle Cedric Ogbuehi has rather always been a shell. Losing tight end Tyler Kroft stings a little, but it's hardly the end of the world given his 2018 disappearing act and the return of both Tyler Eifert and C.J. Uzomah.
For all intents and purposes, it's been an offseason in neutral for the Bengals. That would be fine if Cincinnati had gone 10-6 and driven into the 2018 playoffs.
But the team went 6-10 and finished last in the AFC North.
The Cleveland Browns have made more waves this season that just about any team in the NFL. But rather than making most of those waves via free agency, Browns general manger John Dorsey has been all about playing Let's Make a Deal.
Their only free agents of note were tailback Kareem Hunt and defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson. The other substantial arrivals this offseason have come via trade: defensive end Olivier Vernon (for guard Kevin Zeitler) and superstar wideout Odell Beckham Jr. (for safety Jabrill Peppers and two draft picks, including No. 17).
After all those big-name additions, the Browns have the makings of one of the most loaded D-lines in the NFL and as much skill-position talent on offense as any team in the league.
There are still needs at linebacker and safety, and the offensive front is a question mark. But Dorsey's masterful job with the team this offseason has generated something foreign to Cleveland for a very long time:
The additions of defensive linemen Christian Covington and Kerry Hyder will help provide depth to a position group in Dallas that needed it, but neither is an impact pass-rusher. Losing wideout Cole Beasley's consistency was a blow, but not a disaster.
But the biggest move the Cowboys made this offseason (and then some) was recent—and it involved keeping one of their own.
Per NFL.com, the contract impasse between Dallas and star edge-rusher Demarcus Lawrence is over. The 27-year-old, who has paced the team with 25 sacks over the past two years, has agreed to terms on a five-year, $105 million extension that includes $65 million in guarantees.
This was a deal the Cowboys had to get done. It was more than just avoiding a lengthy holdout hanging over the team into the summer—Lawrence needs shoulder surgery, but had delayed it until his new deal was in place.
That surgery will now happen soon, and the Cowboys are headed in the right direction as the draft nears.
After losing 10-plus games for the first time since the 1970s, the heat's been turned up on John Elway in Denver.
As a result, the Broncos roster has undergone quite the Mile High makeover.
After one dismal season in Denver, veteran quarterback Case Keenum is gone, replaced by another veteran in Super Bowl XLVII MVP Joe Flacco. That might not be a massive upgrade, but it's an upgrade.
The Broncos also got better on the back of the defense. Bradley Roby's gone, but Denver acquired a pair of veteran corners in Bryce Callahan and Kareem Jackson who both played well in 2018.
If there's an area where Denver may have backslid a little it's on the offensive line—where the Broncos weren't in a position to take a step in the wrong direction. In Ja'Wuan James, the Broncos added one of the top free agent right tackles in this class, but center Matt Paradis and guards Billy Turner and Max Garcia combined for 24 starts for the team last season.
Still, Elway did well this offseason—provided Flacco has anything left in the tank.
Detroit Lions head coach Matt Patricia enjoyed the greatest success of his NFL career while on the staff of the New England Patriots.
Now Patricia's trying to duplicate that success—by bringing in as many ex-Patriots as he can get his hands on.
This offseason the Lions brought on no fewer than three players who have spent at least part of their careers with the Pats—including one of this year's free agent crown jewels: edge-rusher Trey Flowers. Five years and $90 million is a lot to pay a player who has never had even eight sacks in a season, but Flowers is a great two-way end entering the prime of his career and will provide more stability than Ezekiel Ansah.
Wide receiver Danny Amendola (another ex-Patriot) and tight end Jesse James were brought in on offense, while Justin Coleman and Marcus Cooper were added as depth in the secondary.
There's still work to be done, but Detroit's better on paper than they were at the start of March.
Green Bay Packers
It's a brave new day in Titletown.
Gone are the days of Ted Thompson's frugality in free agency—replaced by the free-spending ways of Brian Gutekunst. For the second year in a row, Gutekunst spent big bucks on free agency.
The Packers invested well over $100 million in upgrading the pass rush with outside linebackers Preston Smith and Za'Darius Smith. Safety Adrian Amos got $37 million over four years to bolt Chicago for the Bears' most hated enemy.
They were bold moves, but not without risk—especially given the recent track record of ex-Ravens edge-rushers who parlay breakout years into big contracts.
Here's hoping that Za'Darius Smith has more success in his new home than Paul Kruger did in Cleveland or Pernell McPhee did in Chicago.
Green Bay also saw several players leave town, including franchise stalwarts wide receiver Randall Cobb and outside linebacker Clay Matthews. Both players' best days are behind them, but with Cobb gone the Pack is short on proven receivers outside of Davante Adams.
All in all, the stage appears set for some badly needed defensive improvement in Green Bay.
The Houston Texans won the AFC South last year despite an offensive line that allowed a staggering, league-high 62 sacks. If the Texans are going to improve that line in the offseason, it's going to need to be in the NFL draft—Houston was unable to add trench help in free agency.
Houston's secondary also took a shot over the past month or so. The team added a pair of veteran defensive backs in corner Bradley Roby and safety Tashaun Gipson. But those players were acquired in large part because the Texans lost Kareem Jackson and Tyrann Mathieu, two key contributors on the back end.
Both are downgrades compared to their predecessors.
Houston still possesses a talented roster capable of contending in the division. But the team failed to address its most glaring need and lost talent in an area that was one of its strengths.
That's not exactly what general manager Brian Gaine should have had in mind.
The Indianapolis Colts entered free agency with well over $100 million in cap space at their disposal—far and away the most in the NFL.
However, there was no big spending spree. The Colts used some cabbage to bring back their own free agents, safety Clayton Geathers and Pierre Desir, but the team was much more measured when it came to outside talent.
In doing so, Indy's had a sneaky-good offseason.
Wide receiver Devin Funchess was rather disappointing over his four seasons in Carolina. But he's a big-bodied receiver who should complement T.Y. Hilton well and, as recently as 2017, he posted a respectable line for the Panthers (63 receptions, 840 yards and 8 touchdowns).
Edge-rusher Justin Houston hasn't had a double-digit sack season since threatening the single-season record with 22 back in 2014. But Houston's been fairly productive the past two years (18.5 sacks) and should add punch to the Colts' pass rush.
Better yet, both deals are short-term, minimizing risk for the Colts.
Perhaps you haven't heard, but the Jacksonville Jaguars have acquired the quarterback to get them back into the playoffs—or so they hope.
The signing of Super Bowl LII MVP Nick Foles to a four-year, $88 million contract isn't a guarantee that the Jags will get back to the AFC Championship Game after missing the postseason altogether in 2018. But just about everyone views the 30-year-old Foles as an upgrade over Blake Bortles after Foles took over for an injured Carson Wentz and led the Philadelphia Eagles to the playoffs each of the last two seasons.
However, in order to free up the money to sign Foles, the Jaguars had to clear cap space by cutting safety Tashaun Gipson and defensive tackle Malik Jackson. With wideout Donte Moncrief gone, the bigger-bodied pass-catchers at Foles' disposal are a major question mark. Aside from recent acquisition Chris Conley, no Jacksonville pass-catcher over 6'1" has more than one career touchdown.
The Jaguars got their man under center and still have a ton of talent on defense, but the offensive line and passing game weapons remain areas that must be addressed in the draft.
Kansas City Chiefs
The Kansas City Chiefs struggled mightily on defense during their march to the AFC title game in 2018, but despite their deficiencies, the Chiefs led the NFL in sacks with 52.
The odds that the team repeats as kings of that category in 2019 aren't great. Not after 22 of those 52 sacks left town when Justin Houston signed with the Colts and Dee Ford was shipped to San Francisco.
That trade netted the Chiefs an extra second-round pick, but it opened up another hole on a defense filled with them. The secondary added Tyrann Mathieu and Bashaud Breeland, but lost its best corner from a year ago in Steven Nelson. The inside linebackers remain a question mark. And now the pass-rush has just one proven option: defensive end Chris Jones.
There may be even more pressure on Patrick Mahomes to light up the scoreboard this season than there was in 2018—if that's possible.
Los Angeles Chargers
On one hand, the Los Angeles Chargers have done a relatively good job of keeping talent in-house this offseason. They were able to retain a pair of key defensive contributors in inside linebacker Denzel Perryman and safety Adrian Phillips.
While cornerback Jason Verrett departed, it's not like the Bolts have been counting on him of late—he has played in one game over the past two seasons. The loss of wide receiver Tyrell Williams stings a little, but with Mike Williams coming into his own, it's a blow the Chargers can absorb.
Their biggest loss this spring was one of the quieter ones. Darius Philon, now with Arizona, has topped 30 tackles and had at least four sacks in each of the past two years.
As outside additions, there haven't been many. Veteran linebacker Thomas Davis isn't the player he once was at 36, and if Tyrod Taylor plays a regular-season snap under center, the Chargers are in trouble.
Los Angeles Rams
After a bevy of veteran acquisitions a year ago en route to Super Bowl LIII, it was believed the Los Angeles Rams would face some tough decisions this offseason.
Sure enough, they did—and one involved watching the team's longest-tenured player (guard Rodger Saffold) leave in free agency. Defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh has yet to find a new home, but his days in L.A. appear to be over as well.
Those are two major holes that opened up.
The Rams did a better job of addressing the safety spot, upgrading from Lamarcus Joyner to Eric Weddle. And veteran edge-rusher Clay Matthews will join Dante Fowler Jr. (whom L.A. brought back on a one-year deal).
In its totality, it hasn't been a terrible offseason. But the losses of Saffold and Suh and the uncertain health of star tailback Todd Gurley are causes for legitimate concern.
How the offseason has gone for the Miami Dolphins depends largely on how you view success.
Per ESPN.com's Cameron Wolfe, Dolphins general manager Chris Grier insisted that Miami is not tanking in 2019—but there's no doubt that his team is in the early stages of a rebuild.
As such, the offseason has been much more about subtraction than addition. Miami has traded, released and/or allowed any number of veterans to depart, from quarterback Ryan Tannehill to tailback Frank Gore to wide receiver Danny Amendola to defensive linemen Cameron Wake, Robert Quinn and Andre Branch.
The Dolphins did at least acquire Ryan Fitzpatrick as a stopgap under center, and we may look back on 2019 as the year they began to turn things around. But if you're peering through the same lens used to judge the other teams in this piece, it's hard to pass that judgment without wincing.
At the moment, Miami might be the most talent-deficient team.
After making all kinds of noise last year in free agency (including the signing of quarterback Kirk Cousins), the Vikings have been quiet in 2019.
Their biggest move this offseason was retaining outside linebacker Anthony Barr—and that was only after Barr had second thoughts about joining the New York Jets.
Other than that, Minnesota hasn't added a lot. Guard Josh Kline is about it. The team also hasn't had any major losses, although Sheldon Richardson's departure to Cleveland dinged the D-line and Latavius Murray's exit to the Big Easy leaves little depth behind Dalvin Cook in the backfield.
Had the Vikings met expectations last campaign, this offseason wouldn't be any big deal— just a really good team standing pat.
But they were arguably the NFL's most disappointing squad in 2018 at 8-7-1, and they aren't any better in March than they were at the end of a crushing Week 17 loss to the Chicago Bears.
New England Patriots
The New England Patriots have had a very New England Patriots offseason—for better or worse.
At first glance, it looks like it's been a rough go. The team lost its starting left tackle from last year (Trent Brown), another tackle who made three starts (LaAdrian Waddle) and its best edge-rusher (Trey Flowers).
They're significant losses, no doubt.
But no one expected the reigning Super Bowl champions to make Brown the highest-paid tackle like the Raiders did. Or hand Flowers $18 million a season like the Lions. The faces of the band members are ever-changing in Beantown, but the song remains the same.
The team also made a very Patriots move by trading for veteran defensive end Michael Bennett as Flowers' replacement. It's impossible to say that New England looks better on paper than it did when free agency started March 13.
But as long as Tom Brady is the quarterback and Bill Belichick is the head coach, it appears as though it won't matter even a little.
New Orleans Saints
If there's one word that describes the offseason for the New Orleans Saints, it's uneventful. The team isn't any better than it was at the end of last year's NFC Championship Game, but it isn't significantly worse.
There has been a noticeable downgrade at running back. Latavius Murray is a capable complementary back who has touched the ball at least 160 times in each of the past four seasons. But he's not Mark Ingram, and that means additional pressure on third-year player Alvin Kamara in 2019.
The center position also took a hit with the retirement of Max Unger, who started all 16 games for the Saints in 2018. The team brought in Nick Easton as Unger's replacement after Easton spent three years in Minnesota (he missed last season because of a neck injury). And he (much like Murray) is a capable vet. But Unger was a three-time Pro Bowler.
Still, those losses aren't portents of doom. The Saints will be back in the mix in the NFC in 2019—even if they don't have any major adds come draft day. After trading up for Marcus Davenport a year ago, New Orleans doesn't have a first-rounder.
New York Giants
Where to begin?
If you know what Dave Gettleman's master plan is as general manager of the Giants, hit me up on Twitter and let me know—because danged if I can see it.
To be fair, while trading the team's best edge-rusher (Olivier Vernon) was a blow, it's at least somewhat understandable. In return, an offensive line in desperate need of a boost got a good veteran guard in Kevin Zeitler.
But Gettleman can spin it until he's Giants blue in the face, and it isn't going to make the Odell Beckham Jr. trade look good. Gettleman dealt arguably the best wideout in the NFL (a receiver he re-upped to a fat contract less than a year ago) for a mid-round first, a third and 2017 first-round safety Jabrill Peppers, who hasn't lived up to his draft slot.
Then Gettleman handed almost $10 million a season to Golden Tate to replace OBJ. Tate's a good player, but he's no Beckham—and the Giants are now heavy on slot receivers and light on outside talent.
Never mind the team let its best defensive player (safety Landon Collins) walk out the door and join an NFC East rival.
New York Jets
You may want to sit down before reading the next sentence because it's going to shake the foundation of everything you thought you knew about the universe.
The New York Jets are the best team playing at MetLife Stadium.
I know. I'm scared too.
New York's offseason hasn't been flawless. The team overpaid C.J. Mosley ($17 million a year is just too much for an off-ball linebacker), and apparently, the thought of joining the Jets was enough to make Anthony Barr physically ill before he went back to the Vikings.
But the Jets have made significant improvements in multiple areas: Linebacker with Mosley. Tailback with Le'Veon Bell. Wide receiver with Jamison Crowder. Slot cornerback with The offensive line with Kelechi Osemele.
And Gang Green still have the third overall pick in this month's draft.
Were it not for the whole "making a potential free-agent signing nauseated" thing, the Jets offseason would rate an A.
Well, that and the fact that the new uniforms are hideous.
Like the aforementioned New York Jets, the Oakland Raiders were one of the more active teams in free agency following a dismal 2018 season.
And just like the Jets, the Raiders appear to be substantially better because of it.
They added a pair of wide receivers in Tyrell Williams and some guy named Antonio Brown. They bolstered quarterback Derek Carr's protection by signing massive offensive tackle Trent Brown (6'8", 380 lbs). They made a number of defensive additions, including safety Lamarcus Joyner and linebackers Vontaze Burfict and Brandon Marshall.
If the team has one glaring need remaining, it's a pass rush that managed a dismal 13 sacks in 2018—last in the NFL. But Oakland has three first-round picks in the 2019 draft, including No. 4 overall.
All those moves might not make this squad a playoff team, but they've at least injected some excitement into Raider Nation.
After two straight playoff trips and a Super Bowl win, the Philadelphia Eagles were in a bit of a bind to start this offseason—saddled with one of the worst cap situations and a number of veterans with expiring contracts.
Sure enough, many of those veterans are gone. Jordan Hicks is in Arizona. Golden Tate is with the Giants. Super Bowl LII MVP Nick Foles is in Jacksonville. And the Eagles shipped defensive end Michael Bennett to New England.
But they managed to add a few pieces. They acquired tailback Jordan Howard from the Bears for a bag of pork rinds. They brought in defensive tackle Malik Jackson. And DeSean Jackson returned to Philly in a trade as Tate's replacement.
The Eagles aren't markedly better, and losing Foles could be disastrous if Carson Wentz gets hurt again. But in spite of numerous losses, the Eagles also managed to avoid becoming markedly worse.
Given the Eagles' rather unenviable financial circumstances to open the offseason, executive vice president of football operations Howie Roseman did a good job of keeping his team in position to contend in the NFC East in 2019...provided quarterback Wentz can stay healthy.
Pittsburgh Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert needs a hug.
On some level, he has spent the 2019 offseason trying to make the best of a terrible situation. There was zero chance that tailback Le'Veon Bell was coming back in 2019. Wide receiver Antonio Brown made no secret of the fact that he wanted out of Pittsburgh.
The return the Steelers got from the Brown trade with the Oakland Raiders (a third-round pick and a fifth-round pick) was paltry given Brown's status as one of the NFL's best receivers. And while Pittsburgh still has running back James Conner and wideout JuJu Smith-Schuster, one can't argue that the Steelers offense didn't sustain a massive hit this offseason.
Outside of that, the team has essentially been treading water. The inside linebacker spots and secondary remain problem areas that Pittsburgh will need to look at in the draft, and as odd as it sounds, the Steelers appear to be the third-best team in the AFC North.
San Francisco 49ers
Say what you will about San Francisco 49ers general manager John Lynch—the man doesn't sit on his hands.
For the second time in as many years as San Francisco's GM, Lynch attacked the offseason, bringing in multiple veterans on robust contracts. The 49ers handed inside linebacker Kwon Alexander over $13 million a season and traded for edge-rusher Dee Ford, who then got a five-year, $85.5 million contract.
They brought in tailback Tevin Coleman to bolster an already deep backfield. Cornerback Jason Verrett could be a steal if he can just stay healthy for once. And the 49ers are in position to add at least one more difference-maker with the second overall pick in this month's draft.
If there's a flip side to this, it's that head coach Kyle Shanahan has pressure to turn things around in his third season on the job given all the personnel the team has added in the past two years.
That's not going to be easy in a tough NFC West.
The Seattle Seahawks surprised many by making it back to the playoffs last year after a one-year hiatus.
If the offseason is any indication, getting back to the postseason in 2019 isn't going to be easy.
The last big name from the Legion of Boom secondary is gone, with Earl Thomas joining the Baltimore Ravens in free agency. The team also had some lesser losses: guard J.R. Sweezy, cornerback Justin Coleman and tailback Mike Davis.
The Seahawks' only notable addition was veteran guard Mike Iupati, who was signed as Sweezy's replacement. And it's imperative for Seattle's offensive line to continue to perform at an above-average level at least.
The Seahawks aren't necessarily markedly worse than in 2018. But they also aren't markedly better. And with the Rams the unquestioned kings of the NFC West and the 49ers coming off another aggressive free-agent period, Seattle doesn't have much margin for error.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
After bringing up the rear in the NFC South in 2018, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are undergoing some major changes. They have a new head coach in Bruce Arians. A new defensive coordinator in Todd Bowles.
And unfortunately, a roster that's worse off than at the end of last season.
The Buccaneers were able to retain tackle Donovan Smith, and they brought in a number of players, including wide receiver Breshad Perriman and linebacker Deone Bucannon.
But they added Perriman in large part because Adam Humphries (free agency) and DeSean Jackson (trade) are gone. Bucannon's in Tampa largely because Kwon Alexander and Adarius Taylor are not.
Gaining one and losing two ain't good—because math.
This isn't to say there's no talent in Tampa. There's plenty, especially on the offensive side of the ball. And the Bucs still have one big card to play in the fifth overall pick this month.
But their offseason has done little to alter the perception that the Buccaneers are the weakest team in the division.
The Tennessee Titans have had an up-and-down offseason.
The high point was likely the addition of guard Rodger Saffold, who should help solidify an offensive line that looks to be a strength.
The addition of veteran edge-rusher Cameron Wake (three years, $23 million) could be a nice value add, but the losses of Brian Orakpo (retirement) and Derrick Morgan (unrestricted free agent) necessitated that signing.
The offensive skill-position talent got a boost with the arrival of slot receiver Adam Humphries, and Ryan Tannehill provides veteran depth behind oft-injured quarterback Marcus Mariota. But should Mariota struggle in 2019, fans are going to start clamoring for Tannehill—and no one likes a quarterback controversy.
The Titans look like a pretty good team—especially if they can add a pass-rusher early in this month's draft. But in an AFC South that saw two teams make the playoffs last year and another add the quarterback it hopes will get them back there, pretty good may not be good enough.
At this time a year ago, the Washington Redskins were celebrating the arrival of veteran quarterback Alex Smith.
One year later, the team brought in another veteran signal-caller to keep things from going completely off the rails.
With Smith's NFL future in doubt after a horrific leg injury, the Redskins acquired Case Keenum to lead them in 2019 (at least). Keenum's 2018 season in Denver was forgettable, but he's still (in theory) an upgrade over Colt McCoy.
The Redskins also dropped a ton of money in the secondary, luring Pro Bowl safety Landon Collins away from the Giants with a six-year, $84 million contract.
Washington had some significant losses, though. An already thin wide receiver corps lost Jamison Crowder. Edge-rusher Preston Smith signed a fat deal with the Packers. Safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix is now in Chicago. And team released its second-leading tackler (linebacker Zach Brown) from 2018.
That's quite a few holes Washington will need to patch in the draft if it is going to have any hope of challenging the Cowboys and Eagles in the NFC East.