Stock Up, Stock Down for Every NFL Team This Offseason
On paper, every NFL team would love to make a series of moves throughout the offseason process to help their stock soar heading into the new season.
The offseason's overly optimistic tone for each team suggests all 32 front offices set these wheels into motion. Some teams use trades, freeing up cap space, player retention, making changes to the coaching staff and the draft.
But other teams take a step in the wrong direction in one of those areas, if not most of them. Sometimes a team has to get worse before it can get better (see: Oakland Raiders), though not often with the stakes high and leashes on jobs short.
Below, let's take a look at a stock status report for each team coming out of the 2019 draft based on some of those all-important variables.
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
NFC West: 49ers, Cardinals, Rams, Seahawks
Of course, the Arizona Cardinals were the team likely passing through the minds of most while reading the above.
Those Cardinals held the draft's first pick and took quarterback Kyler Murray out of Oklahoma. One offseason ago, they had sacrificed assets in a move up to secure Josh Rosen at No. 10. Rosen is now in Miami for a lowly return, which suggests the front office dragged its feet in trying to get a trade done and might have accepted a trade down to miss on Murray in the first place. No point in being secretive otherwise.
Which is all...concerning. The problems were around Rosen, not Rosen himself. Picking up a near-retirement Terrell Suggs is about six years too late, and while wideouts Andy Isabella and Hakeem Butler are names, they don't guarantee anything for the offense given its unknown status.
Overall, the Cardinals are all-in on the college coach trend, and if that backfires, which the last head coach did after just one season, the mind begins to wonder how they might blow it all up again.
It is hard to hate the focus of the Atlanta Falcons offseason: protect the franchise passer.
At one point, Matt Ryan was a Super Bowl player behind a stellar line. A year ago, the unit up front regressed to the point of allowing him to get sacked 42 times, up from 24 the year prior. And no, even an elite wideout unit like the one in Atlanta couldn't pull off a quick-hitting attack to disguise the problem.
So in free agency, the Falcons added guards James Carpenter and Jamon Brown then hit the draft and grabbed Chris Lindstrom in the first round and Kaleb McGary in the second.
Sexy and sure to move jerseys? Probably not. But all the Falcons had to do was look over to an NFC South rival in Carolina to see what poor attention to the offensive line can do to a franchise quarterback and the entire franchise's future.
Few teams underwent bigger changes this offseason via sheer losses than the Baltimore Ravens.
Terrell Suggs, Za'Darius Smith, C.J. Mosley, Brent Urban, Eric Weddle and to a lesser extent Joe Flacco, are all gone. Under center, at least, made sense as the team transitions to Lamar Jackson's control.
But ripping out the defensive heart—also known as the team's identity—is a wince-worthy development. Weddle was good in the backfield, Mosley was one of the better inside linebackers, and Suggs still had seven sacks. Smith had 8.5.
Other than adding Earl Thomas, who is elite but an injury risk, the Ravens didn't do much to mitigate the losses. Mark Ingram will boost the running game, but Eric DeCosta again spent precious resources on resetting the wideout position with Marquise Brown and Miles Boykin in the top 100.
Maybe that works and maybe it doesn't. But there isn't a surefire strength to lean on in Baltimore anymore while the rest of the AFC North improves.
The Buffalo Bills followed a similar approach as Atlanta: get Josh Allen as much help as possible.
After all, Allen looked good last year but ended up needing to do it all, including as a rusher. To mitigate this, the Bills have encouraged a serious competition in the offensive trenches with free-agent adds like Mitch Morse and Ty Nsekhe, then turned around and drafted Cody Ford in the top 50.
The rest of Buffalo's moves to help Allen were quieter. Cole Beasley in free agency is as reliable as it gets, and third-round pick Devin Singletary is a home-run hitter who can spell LeSean McCoy to great effect behind a retooled line.
On paper, there shouldn't be any sophomore slump for Allen.
The Carolina Panthers are a good example of spinning wheels.
Things started well in free agency by improving at center with Matt Paradis, though even he is a risk after only appearing in nine games last year.
Otherwise, the Panthers hit the draft and grabbed Brian Burns, which should help gloss over the loss of Julius Peppers. But tackle Greg Little in the second round was interesting given questions around him entering the draft, and QB Will Grier in the third was a waste of a selection (though hindsight could always make saying so a risk).
While Cam Newton's status seems forever in limbo this offseason, using a top-100 pick on another passer seems unwise when the pick could have addressed more immediate problems. If and when Newton returns, he might be dealing with marginal improvements around him, if any.
Chicago Bears fans certainly can't complain.
This hasn't been a noteworthy offseason by any means, but fans will take the arrival of Khalil Mack and 12 wins under a first-year head coach as opposed to an offseason of flashy highlights 10 times out of 10.
The Bears didn't do much in free agency other than retain their own core guys, then they turned around and didn't make a selection in the draft until the third round, where they grabbed a Jordan Howard replacement with David Montgomery.
Maybe the biggest complaint is banking on Ha Ha Clinton-Dix's return to shore up a spot next to Eddie Jackson. But if that is the biggest drawback, it is clear the Bears are doing something right.
Quietly, the Cincinnati Bengals had one of the stronger offseasons in the NFL.
The front office finally waved goodbye to coach Marvin Lewis after 16 years, then hit free agency and retained core pieces like cornerback Darqueze Dennard and tight end Tyler Eifert while also grabbing likely contributors such as defensive lineman Kerry Wynn and offensive guard John Miller.
Fast forward to the draft: The Bengals got Jonah Williams to help fix a shaky offensive line, and Drew Sample provides some Eifert injury insurance. Germaine Pratt in the third round helps fix one of the league's worst linebacking corps.
As always, it all falls apart if an offense loaded at the skill positions can't squeak the most out of Andy Dalton. But it's hard not to like the team grabbing two new starters in the trenches on top of the arrival of an offensive-minded coaching staff led by Zac Taylor.
It is nearly impossible to poke a hole in the Cleveland Browns' strategy this offseason.
The front office landed Odell Beckham Jr. to boost the Baker Mayfield-led offense. It also quietly grabbed Olivier Vernon to bolster the pass rush. Sheldon Richardson boosts an already-nasty front seven.
In the draft, that same front office hit on a few stellar picks, too. Cornerback Greedy Williams in the second round provides borderline first-round talent at a premium spot. The linebacking duo of Sione Takitaki (third round) and Mack Wilson (fifth) screams of value and importance, too.
Really, the only thing stopping the Browns at this point is themselves. Teams with great rosters and hype have fumbled before due to injury, poor coaching or regression. If the Browns can avoid a mixture of those elements, everything else seems to be in place for a serious run.
A holding pattern still would have kept the Dallas Cowboys in a good position this offseason.
Jerry Jones and Co. would never, though.
The Cowboys didn't need to make massive additions like they did over the course of the past year after adding Leighton Vander Esch to the heart of the defense and Amari Cooper to Dak Prescott's arsenal.
Yet quietly, the team got Jason Witten back out of retirement and took care of business with star pass-rusher Demarcus Lawrence. Robert Quinn came over via trade to deepen the pressure-creating unit, too.
During the draft, Trysten Hill was the Cowboys' first pick in the second round and functions as the David Irving replacement. The remaining picks were depth at good value, so sort of like the Browns, the only thing that appears ready to contain the Cowboys is themselves.
The Denver Broncos keep twisting in the wind as the good vibes from Peyton Manning's Super Bowl win continue to fade.
John Elway has struggled tremendously at quarterback since, gambling on the likes of Paxton Lynch. This offseason, the front office traded Case Keenum to Washington after just one season, added Kevin Hogan, traded for Joe Flacco and drafted Drew Lock in the second round.
It hasn't all been bad. Noah Fant is an interesting first-round weapon, though he could be situational to start if he doesn't improve as a blocker. Dalton Risner fell to them in the second round and should boost the offensive line. Bryce Callahan in free agency was a sneaky-good addition to the defensive backfield.
But painting in broad strokes? The Broncos are starting over again at the most important position of all and managed to create a possible controversy there right away.
The quest to be the NFC's New England Patriots continues for the Detroit Lions.
Those Lions, led by Bill Belichick's former co-workers Matt Patricia and general manager Bob Quinn, went with a Patriots-style pick in the first round with tight end T.J. Hockenson. There is some fair criticism over letting Eric Ebron go and needing to do this in the first place, but if the Iowa product fits better and gets used properly, folks will forget in a hurry.
Folks should also forget about the oft-injured Ezekiel Ansah, especially now that the Lions have Trey Flowers, who has a better all-around skill set, especially against the running game. And looping back to the Patriots' influence, don't forget Danny Amendola, who should open up the passing game and cover up some issues up front.
With versatility and system fits the name of the game, the Lions took major strides this offseason.
Green Bay Packers
Elsewhere in the NFC North, the Green Bay Packers don't appear to have changed much.
Aaron Rodgers is still the centerpiece of the attack, and he's not getting much help directly based on the team's offseason moves. The front office has used its last eight first-round picks on the defensive side of the ball, and since Rodgers was drafted in 2005, only two have been on his side of the ball—both were linemen.
This has only continued. The team drafted Rashan Gary and Darnell Savage in the first round this year. Free agency saw the arrival of safety Adrian Amos and pass-rushers Preston Smith and Za'Darius Smith.
All Rodgers gets is No. 75 pick Jace Sternberger, a tight end who plays more like a wideout. The offense as a whole will have to deal with a coaching change.
And knowing Rodgers, it might just work.
From an outsider's perspective, protecting a potential top-10 passer early in his career who has already suffered a season-ending injury would take priority over anything else.
The Houston Texans seem to think otherwise. Deshaun Watson's line on the field last year coughed up 62 sacks. The front office's solution was to grab the shaky Matt Kalil in free agency, then take generally agreed-upon reaches with Tytus Howard at No. 23 and Max Scharping at No. 55.
That's about as underwhelming as it gets when it comes to offensive line positional battles. And it doesn't stop there. Tyrann Mathieu is gone. Jadeveon Clowney is back on a tag, and the plan is to keep him long term, but it isn't hard to see why speculation could suggest the Texans will end up pulling a Seattle-Frank Clark.
Given their status in the AFC South and proximity to Andrew Luck, the Texans should know how important it is to keep the offensive line stable. Failing to do that, at least seemingly for now, results in the stock only going one way.
The master class put on by the Indianapolis Colts front office continued this offseason.
After taking the Colts from four wins to 10 in one offseason, Chris Ballard and Co. retained budding corner Pierre Desir, got Andrew Luck a new target with Devin Funchess, and landed a big boost in the pass-rush department with Justin Houston.
When the draft rolled around, Ballard gained more future-minded assets on a trade down and still made three selections in the second round and four in the top 100. Rock Ya-Sin (No. 34) could be a potential starter soon, Ben Banogu (49) boosts the trenches, Parris Campbell (59) is a vertical burner, and Bobby Okereke (89) could go all Darius Leonard quickly.
There are no complaints about the continued massive upswing in Indianapolis.
Nick Foles arriving and starting for the Jacksonville Jaguars is a mixed bag. He's mediocre in the regular season but flips a switch in the playoffs. Not the best tradeoff for paying him a possible triple-digits contract, but not the worst, either.
The idea is simply to get Foles to the postseason. The team's free-agency performance was mediocre otherwise, but edge-rusher Josh Allen in the top 10 makes the Jaguars deadly again in this regard, as he'll pair with Yannick Ngakoue and Calais Campbell. The line in front of Foles also got a boost with second-round pick Jawaan Taylor, as did the situational passing game with Josh Oliver in the third round.
On paper, the blueprint that got the Jaguars to an AFC title game recently is being realized again.
Kansas City Chiefs
This one gets an asterisk next to it no matter how the actual stock grade at the end swings.
These Kansas City Chiefs are as wild as it gets. The offense has lost running back Kareem Hunt, and the front office had to draft Tyreek Hill insurance with Mecole Hardman in the second round. The defense doesn't have Justin Houston, Dee Ford or Eric Berry.
What the Chiefs do have is a supposed scheme change led by new arrivals like Mathieu and Clark. The latter was costly and meant the Chiefs didn't waltz to the podium at the draft until No. 56 with Hardman, then spent four of their remaining five picks on defense.
Hindsight is going to treat this one as it will. If the defense comes together and assists Patrick Mahomes, it looks genius. If not, the Chiefs sacrificed a ton of talent on that side of the ball, and the offense took repeated losses without proper replacements, making Mahomes' life harder at the same time NFL defenses adapt to what he's doing after a full season of work put on film.
Los Angeles Chargers
The Los Angeles Chargers were quiet in free agency, though like any major contender, the front office saved its flexing for the draft and quietly moved the needle in a positive direction anyway.
General manager Tom Telesco and the front office offset the free-agency loss of a budding interior pass-rusher like Darius Philon by staying put at No. 28 and grabbing Notre Dame's Jerry Tillery.
In the second round, the Chargers followed with Nasir Adderley, an instant starter at safety next to last year's All-Pro first-round pick, Derwin James. Trey Pipkins in the third round, at worst, patched up a potential long-term issue.
The Chargers didn't make any splashes this offseason. But with the offense so stacked already and the defense a pressure-generating nightmare for opponents, reinforcing the latter with smart moves is all the front office needed to do.
Los Angeles Rams
When one of a team's most notable free-agent adds is Blake Bortles, there might be a problem.
So it goes for the Los Angeles Rams, who had to watch Sean McVay's staff lose critical pieces like Zac Taylor. His roster lost plenty too, with Ndamukong Suh, John Sullivan, Rodger Saffold, Lamarcus Joyner and others gone.
The Rams seemed to go the cost-effective route with replacements, bringing back Dante Fowler Jr. and hoping veterans like Clay Matthews and Eric Weddle still have something left in the tank.
Safety Taylor Rapp was the team's first pick at No. 61 and at least creates some competition, but the team had to use one of three third-round picks on a running back (Darrell Henderson) as Todd Gurley remains a question mark. The front office didn't address the offensive line until the third round, either.
The Rams might end up just fine, but some of the notable losses didn't get properly addressed, which stresses other areas.
Head coach Brian Flores entered the biggest no-win situation in the NFL, not only having to pull off a massive rebuild, but having to do so in the shadow of Tom Brady's team in the AFC East.
Free agency was mostly a quiet dud, with Ryan Fitzpatrick being the most notable signing. Drafting Christian Wilkins at No. 13 wasn't any better, with players like Brian Burns and a host of talented offensive linemen still on the board.
The Dolphins did get a big win by stealing Josh Rosen from Arizona. But Miami's roster isn't in a much better spot than Arizona's right now, and Rosen has to link up with yet another offensive coordinator, which could set him back before he can really get going.
If the goal in Minnesota is to squeak more out of the costly Kirk Cousins experience via a stronger running game, the Vikings made big strides in this regard for new offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski.
First-round offensive lineman Garrett Bradbury is one of those guys Miami inexplicably passed on and will provide an instant boost to the unit. And second-round tight end Irv Smith Jr. is more athletic than Kyle Rudolph and should open up the offense further.
Defensively, the Vikings avoided disaster by losing Anthony Barr, which could have either changed the Round 1 plan or forced an inadequate replacement into the lineup.
A run-centric approach in a division with multiple elite passers is interesting, but the Vikings at least made meaningful headway toward this goal.
New England Patriots
Call it another typical offseason for the New England Patriots.
The Patriots lost defensive end Trey Flowers but will probably get more than expected out of Michael Bennett. Ditto for losing Rob Gronkowski but adding Austin Seferian-Jenkins. Even losing Trent Brown on the left edge in front of Tom Brady isn't the end of the world when last season was his only solid year.
These Patriots coaches simply get the benefit of the doubt more than anyone else because they earned it and keep retaining it. Adding a potential instant-impact receiver in the first round with N'Keal Harry only sweetens the pot. Solid value with someone like Chase Winovich in the third round and Hjalte Froholdt in the fourth offers reminiscent hints of Flowers and Brown, respectively.
New Orleans Saints
One might expect a bit more urgency from a team trying to win it all again before Drew Brees fades into retirement.
But the New Orleans Saints were ho-hum in their approach to the offseason. Adding Jared Cook on its own won't boost the passing game in a way the offense needs—especially not one year removed from crossing its fingers that a half-retired Dez Bryant could boost the unit. And the approach is further hit with the loss of Mark Ingram.
The Saints didn't move to fix some of these issues with urgency in the draft, either. Their first pick came at No. 48 with an offensive lineman in Erik McCoy, and offensive skill positions went outright ignored until the seventh round.
Granted, the Saints were close last year before officials made some mistakes. But it still feels like the Saints took more steps backward than forward given the circumstances.
New York Giants
The New York Giants took what they feel are necessary steps to rebuild.
Those steps, unfortunately, included trading Odell Beckham Jr. and not getting a fair return. And bringing on Golden Tate sends mixed signals as to what the plan actually is.
The Giants did get some clarification about quarterback with Daniel Jones at No. 6, but the public defense of the pick multiple times says quite a bit about value. Dexter Lawrence at No. 17 feels redundant with B.J. Hill and Dalvin Tomlinson already on the roster. And Deandre Baker near the end of the first was costly because they had to go back up and get him.
Could it all work out over the long term? Of course. But right now, the Giants are getting worse before they get better.
New York Jets
Elsewhere in the Big Apple, the New York Jets have a clear approach and haven't steered away from the plan.
Sam Darnold now has one of the most dangerous weapons in the NFL thanks to Le'Veon Bell. Jamison Crowder comes over from Washington and stretches the field to free up guys like Robby Anderson. And Darnold's defense has a new heart in the middle with ironman C.J. Mosley.
Quinnen Williams might end up being the best player from the draft and revitalizes the line in front of Mosley. It sure didn't feel like the Jets didn't pick until the third round again either given the value of Jachai Polite outside the top 50.
Maybe the Jets still don't compete seriously for the playoffs next year. But the time for baby steps is over, as this offseason represented a leap.
Jon Gruden and the Oakland Raiders are the most perplexing team in the NFL.
Amari Cooper and Khalil Mack are gone, their massive future cap hits avoided. Fine. But the Raiders ended up spending ill-advised money left and right, spending a huge chunk of change on Trent Brown after his lone breakout season, which by the way, was meant to cover up a generally agreed upon bad pick last year with Kolton Miller.
The big-money risk in Antonio Brown doesn't need explanation. Ditto for paying Lamarcus Joyner $42 million in a bad safety market where guys like Tre Boston are still available after the draft. And those three first-round picks went to questionable value at No. 4 with Clelin Ferrell, then a running back and a safety.
Further down the road, Gruden and Co. could end up looking like geniuses. But right now, they shifted out surefire performers for players with serious risk to backfire, which could leave them in a bad financial spot anyway.
Nick Foles is finally gone, yet the Philadelphia Eagles offseason as a whole feels like they offset it well enough.
The Eagles managed to keep other key players like defensive end Brandon Graham and also brought in an interesting outsider like running back Jordan Howard for a cheap cost. DeSean Jackson is back too, and he's still one of the NFL's most efficient producers deep down the field.
First-round pick Andre Dillard could end up being the best lineman from the class. In the following round, Miles Sanders adds even more depth and versatility to the backfield, which insulates Carson Wentz from the pressure of carrying the offense.
A combination of key player retention and offensive additions have the Eagles looking good heading into the summer.
The Pittsburgh Steelers remarkably said goodbye to the underachieving Antonio Brown and Le'Veon Bell era this offseason, with Bell headed to New York and Brown shipped out west.
Ben Roethlisberger extension in hand, the Steelers tried to ease the Brown loss by adding Donte Moncrief as the notable move in free agency.
The draft is where the Steelers really tried to correct course. Trading up for Devin Bush is meant to finally fill the hole in the team's heart left by Ryan Shazier's injury, and Diontae Johnson is another stab in the dark on hitting the lottery with a MAC wideout.
But like the Giants with Beckham, it is hard to say the Steelers made a meaningful upward movement here. Young guys like James Washington will have to take massive leaps forward to compensate.
San Francisco 49ers
The San Francisco 49ers are going to be a problem for opponents next season.
A defense that struggled to generate pressure, and therefore turnovers last season, now has Dee Ford and Nick Bosa bookending a revamped rush. Overpaying Kwon Alexander in the hopes of closing the Reuben Foster-sized hole in the defense stinks, but like the addition of Jason Verrett, it is a high-upside move.
And offensively, the 49ers quietly added Tevin Coleman to pair with the pass-catching threat of Jerick McKinnon out of the backfield. And out wide, rookies Deebo Samuel and Jalen Hurd add some dynamic big-play threats when defenses squeeze down on the underneath looks.
The Seattle Seahawks keep bleeding talent in unexpected ways, and sooner or later, even the impressive recovery from losing the Legion of Boom era players won't hold up.
Seattle shipped out Frank Clark. Doug Baldwin's career is up in the air. Cornerback depth is in the danger zone after losing Justin Coleman to free agency.
The Seahawks have responded by adding some names to the offensive line in free agency and at least keeping K.J. Wright. But first-round pick L.J. Collier isn't going to make up Clark's production, and D.K. Metcalf in the second round is both a risk and might struggle if he's asked to do too much too early.
Great things are always possible with a player like Russell Wilson, but things around him certainly haven't improved.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers continue to spin their wheels in a swamp of sorts.
In free agency, retaining Donovan Smith was a key part of the possible Jameis Winston revival under Bruce Arians, though he has to stay healthy. Otherwise, Shaquil Barrett is just another shot in the dark after the Vinny Curry experiment, and Breshad Perriman isn't exactly going to replicate DeSean Jackson's production.
Sitting fifth in the draft order, the Buccaneers also got risky with Devin White, at least from a value standpoint. White could be a star, but it was quite a high investment cost if he only pans out as an inside player.
For now, it feels like the Buccaneers remain in a holding pattern around the unpredictable quarterback spot.
The Tennessee Titans haven't been receiving a ton of national attention this offseason, yet quietly, most moves from the front office have oozed value.
Adam Humphries is the type of wideout who can free up the offense and help Marcus Mariota be more efficient. Rodger Saffold is a big get on the inside. Ryan Tannehill is an ideal backup for Mariota. The defense retained Kenny Vaccaro, and Cameron Wake boosts the pass rush.
And that was just free agency. First-round pick Jeffery Simmons might have to skip his rookie year after a recent ACL tear, but it's not the end of the world for an already strong rush. A.J. Brown could have come off the board in the first round in a different draft and boosts the passing weapons complementing a strong running game.
The Washington Redskins had a mediocre trip to free agency but washed it away with one of the best rookie classes possible.
The front office coughed up too much for Landon Collins and had a self-inflicted wound there in the first place by cutting D.J. Swearinger for comments made last season and then trading for, but not retaining, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix.
But it is hard to complain about the draft. The Redskins sat still at No. 15 and got Dwayne Haskins. They then traded back into the first for an elite edge-rushing prospect in Montez Sweat. Wideouts Terry McLaurin and Kelvin Harmon could help reshape a miserable spot on the depth chart too, while Bryce Love is a former Heisman Trophy contender who was hurt and fell to the fourth round.