Bold Free-Agent Predictions for Every NFL Team in 2020

Kristopher Knox@@kris_knoxFeatured ColumnistJanuary 30, 2020

Bold Free-Agent Predictions for Every NFL Team in 2020

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    Charlie Riedel/Associated Press

    Super Bowl LIV is only a few days away. Once the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers are done doing battle, the 2020 NFL offseason will officially begin. One of the most significant events of the offseason—and one that starts at the beginning of the new league year—is free agency.

    At 4 p.m. ET on March 18, teams will be able to sign free agents. In many cases, this will result in new pairings. However, re-signing key players is just as important as adding fresh talent, so expect teams to be busy on both fronts. There are going to be some tough decisions and likely a few surprises along the way.

    A lot can change between now and the start of free agency, but let's go ahead and make some early predictions.

            

Arizona Cardinals

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    Chargers TE Hunter Henry
    Chargers TE Hunter HenryReed Hoffmann/Associated Press

    Cardinals sign Hunter Henry

    The Arizona Cardinals may have found themselves a franchise quarterback in Kyler Murray. He showed plenty of promise as a rookie, and now it's time for head coach Kliff Kingsbury to turn that promise into results.

    Kingsbury could help maximize Murray's production by landing him a premier pass-catching tight end.

    Arizona got modest production out of Maxx Williams and Charles Clay—they combined for 439 receiving yards—but neither player is as big an offensive mismatch as Los Angeles Chargers tight end Hunter Henry. Despite being limited to 12 games in 2019, Henry still finished with 55 receptions, 652 yards and five touchdowns.

    Henry is one of the top tight ends headed to market, so he won't come cheap. However, the Cardinals are projected to have roughly $52 million in cap space.

Atlanta Falcons

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    Falcons LB De'Vondre Campbell
    Falcons LB De'Vondre CampbellJeff Haynes/Associated Press

    Falcons prioritize De'Vondre Campbell over other free agents

    The Atlanta Falcons have several notable players scheduled to enter free agency, including tight end Austin Hooper, edge-rusher Vic Beasley, backup quarterback Matt Schaub and linebacker De'Vondre Campbell. Retaining Campbell should be the priority.

    While Hooper is a fantastic tight end, Atlanta isn't exactly hurting for pass-catchers. It would be nice to bring Hooper back, but with Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley on the outside, the Falcons can make do with a downgrade at tight end.

    Beasley has largely been a disappointment after peaking in his sophomore season, and Schaub is 38 years old—the Falcons can find a younger, cheaper option. This leaves Campbell, who could play a major role as Atlanta looks to turn its defense around.

    According to ESPN's Vaughn McClure, the Falcons have already started preliminary talks with Campbell's agent, Drew Rosenhaus.

    With a mere $7.5 million in projected cap space, Atlanta may not have the resources to retain anyone but Campbell.

Baltimore Ravens

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    Buccaneers LB Shaquil Barrett
    Buccaneers LB Shaquil BarrettMark LoMoglio/Associated Press

    Ravens sign Shaquil Barrett

    According to Bleacher Report draft analyst Matt Miller, the Baltimore Ravens are looking to add a pass-rusher in the draft.

    "The Ravens are expected to go after pass-rushers who can attack the opposing offense once Lamar Jackson and Co. build a lead," Matt Miller wrote.

    While this may indeed be the plan, don't be shocked if the Ravens first go after a sack artist in free agency. The biggest prize in that group might be Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Shaquil Barrett.

    Though 2019 marked Barrett's first year of elite production, his 19.5 sacks didn't come by accident. Barrett is dangerous off the edge and could make life miserable for opponents when the Ravens have a sizable advantage on the scoreboard—which was most of the time in 2019.

    The Ravens could offer Barrett a realistic championship opportunity in addition to a return to his childhood home town of Baltimore.

Buffalo Bills

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    Cowboys WR Amari Cooper
    Cowboys WR Amari CooperChris O'Meara/Associated Press

    Bills sign receiver Amari Cooper

    The Buffalo Bills saw some growth from quarterback Josh Allen in his second season. Though he still struggled with accuracy and consistency, Allen appeared to have more confidence playing from the pocket and a better grasp of what defenses were showing him.

    As a result, Allen's passer rating jumped from 67.9 as a rookie to 85.3 in 2019.

    To further accelerate Allen's development, the Bills need to outfit him with a No. 1 receiver. It wouldn't be surprising if they went out and grabbed perhaps the best one on the market, Dallas Cowboys wideout Amari Cooper.

    Not only is Cooper a big, physical target who can win in critical situations, but he's also a former teammate of Buffalo receiver Cole Beasley. Bringing in Cooper would offer at least a little established chemistry to the receiving corps. It would also give Allen the legitimate No. 1 target he's lacked since arriving in the NFL.

Carolina Panthers

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    Panthers QB Cam Newton
    Panthers QB Cam NewtonMike McCarn/Associated Press

    Panthers ignore quarterbacks in free agency

    The Carolina Panthers may part ways with quarterback Cam Newton this offseason. However, they're likely to hold out for a "large deal," according to NFL Media's Ian Rapoport.

    With Newton's future uncertain, it would make sense for the Panthers to pursue a veteran quarterback in free agency—perhaps a possible long-term option in New Orleans Saints backup Teddy Bridgewater. But it probably isn't going to happen.

    Carolina drafted Will Grier in the third round last season and saw a lot of promise from quarterback Kyle Allen during Newton's absence. With new head coach Matt Rhule and offensive coordinator Joe Brady carrying lofty offensive reputations, expect the Panthers to give Allen and Grier the chance to take the starting job in 2020.

    Carolina is projected to have roughly $25 million in cap space. While that's a fair bit of cash, it could quickly disappear if the Panthers sign a quarterback on the open market—though moving Newton's $21 million salary would help.

    Expect the Panthers to give Rhule and Brady a chance to work some magic with the quarterbacks they already have before turning their attention elsewhere. If it doesn't work out, Carolina will be in the market for a quarterback next offseason.

Chicago Bears

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    49ers wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders
    49ers wide receiver Emmanuel SandersNick Wass/Associated Press

    Chicago Bears sign Emmanuel Sanders

    The Chicago Bears are looking to see some growth from quarterback Mitchell Trubisky next season. The former North Carolina standout regressed in his second season under head coach Matt Nagy—his passer rating dipped from 95.4 in 2018 to 83.0 this season.

    Upgrading the weapons around Trubisky could aid in his development. Specifically, getting him a reliable slot receiver to partner with Allen Robinson and Anthony Miller. Taylor Gabriel has flashed in spurts, but he also missed seven games because of injury this season.

    The Bears would save $4.5 million in cap space by releasing Gabriel. They could then turn around and put that money toward pursuing a veteran like San Francisco 49ers wideout Emmanuel Sanders.

    Sanders quickly acclimated to San Francisco's passing attack after being acquired midseason as he stretched the field and gave Jimmy Garoppolo a reliable safety valve. He could do the same for Trubisky, helping him adapt to new offensive coordinator Bill Lazor's West Coast scheme—one that would benefit greatly from having a high-end pass-catcher in the slot.

Cincinnati Bengals

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    Bengals QB Andy Dalton
    Bengals QB Andy DaltonGary Landers/Associated Press

    Bengals release Andy Dalton

    The Cincinnati Bengals are widely expected to take a quarterback with the first pick in April's draft—presumably, LSU's Joe Burrow. While this doesn't necessarily mean that Cincinnati will move on from Andy Dalton—his 2020 salary of $17.7 million is reasonable—the Bengals may do so as a bit of a favor.

    "I can tell you one thing, what Andy Dalton's done for the Cincinnati Bengals is not something that we're going to forget and we're not going to just willy-nilly, make something happen with him that a) he's uncomfortable with and b) that we're uncomfortable with," Bengals Director of Player Personnel Duke Tobin said on Ian Rapoport's RapSheet + Friends podcast.

    If Dalton isn't comfortable being a one-year holdover in Cincinnati, expect the Bengals to let him pursue a starting gig elsewhere. Doing so would reward Dalton for everything he's done for the franchise.

    It would also save the notoriously spendthrift Bengals nearly $18 million. That's a win for both parties.

Cleveland Browns

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    Titans OT Jack Conklin
    Titans OT Jack ConklinJeff Haynes/Associated Press

    Browns sign Jack Conklin

    While left tackle Greg Robinson is an impending free agent and right tackle Chris Hubbard is not, don't be surprised to see the Cleveland Browns pursue a new right tackle in free agency. Both Robinson and Hubbard struggled in 2019. The former was responsible for 11 penalties and four sacks, according to Pro Football Focus, while the latter committed eight penalties and allowed six sacks. 

    Hubbard can be released with just $2.4 million in dead money remaining on his contract.

    If the Browns do part with him, they'll likely go after a premier right tackle like Jack Conklin of the Tennessee Titans.

    New head coach Kevin Stefanski will likely employ the sort of run-first offense he had with the Minnesota Vikings—the Browns already added a fullback to the roster—and having an athletic, powerful right tackle like Conklin would help them field one.

    Cleveland will probably take a look at free-agent left tackles as well, though re-signing Robinson as insurance and snagging one on the first day of the draft may be the better long-term plan.

Dallas Cowboys

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    Former Chiefs S Eric Berry
    Former Chiefs S Eric BerryEd Zurga/Associated Press

    Cowboys Sign Eric Berry

    With standouts Dak Prescott, Amari Cooper and Byron Jones scheduled to become free agents, the Cowboys may have little cap space left with which to upgrade their roster. Gambling on a player like safety Eric Berry, who didn't play in 2019, could provide a bargain option.

    According to NFL Network's Mike Garafolo, Berry planned to sit out the 2019 season in order to be ready for 2020.

    Berry met with Dallas last offseason but ultimately didn't sign a contract. Now, we may know the reason why.

    Dallas could still use a player like Berry on the back end of its defense. Prescott is priority No. 1, and Cooper might be right behind him, so there's a strong possibility Jones won't return. With Berry in the fold, Dallas might be able to make its secondary work without him.

Denver Broncos

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    Broncos QB Joe Flacco
    Broncos QB Joe FlaccoMichael Conroy/Associated Press

    Broncos release Joe Flacco

    It appears that the Denver Broncos are set to go with second-year quarterback Drew Lock as their starter in 2019. The former Missouri star showed a lot of potential near the end of the 2019 season and has been getting some tutoring from Hall of Famer Peyton Manning

    "I try to be there like I would for any quarterback who has a question. If I can help him, I'm certainly happy to try," Manning told 104.3 The Fan's Schlereth and Evans.

    With Lock as Denver's next potential franchise quarterback, there is little need to keep aging veteran Joe Flacco on the roster. Yes, he could provide injury insurance, but Brandon Allen, who started three games last season, could do the same.

    Denver could save roughly $10 million in cap space next season by parting with Flacco. The Broncos would also avoid his $27.7 million cap hit in 2021 entirely. Expect Flacco to join what is shaping up to be an epic free-agent quarterback class.

Detroit Lions

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    Broncos CB Chris Harris Jr.
    Broncos CB Chris Harris Jr.David Zalubowski/Associated Press

    Lions Sign Chris Harris Jr.

    Pass defense was a serious problem for the Detroit Lions in 2019, and the team didn't help matters by trading safety Quandre Diggs. The Lions finished the regular season ranked dead last in passing yards allowed (284.4 per game).

    Expect Detroit to be active in its search for secondary help. Expect Broncos cornerback Chris Harris Jr. to be high on the wish list.

    While Harris isn't a former member of the New England Patriots—as a few of Matt Patricia's free-agent targets have been—he does possess a trait long valued by the New England franchise: versatility.

    Harris is capable of playing in the slot or on the outside. He's also able to thrive in both man and zone coverages. Adding him to the roster would give Patricia more flexibility with the back end of his defense, which can only help Detroit's pass defense improve.

Green Bay Packers

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    Bengals WR A.J. Green
    Bengals WR A.J. GreenJohn Minchillo/Associated Press

    Packers sign A.J. Green

    The Green Bay Packers saw some improvement under new head coach Matt LaFleur in 2019—they did reach the NFC Championship Game, after all—but the offense was mildly disappointing. LaFleur was supposed to help that side of the ball explode, but the Packers averaged the same 23.5 points they did in 2018.

    A big part of the problem has been the lack of a reliable No. 2 receiver. Davante Adams is an elite pass-catcher, but when defenses can take him away, Aaron Rodgers finds himself with few downfield options.

    This is why it would make perfect sense for the Packers to add longtime Bengals wideout A.J. Green.

    While Green may no longer be a No. 1 receiver at this stage of his career, the Packers don't need him to be. What they need is someone who can get open deep and exploit the defensive attention that Adams regularly commands.

    Green would be perfect in this role and could make it hard for opponents to shadow Adams with safety help over the top. In return, Green would get the chance to finally win a playoff game that he might not see in Cincinnati in the next few years.

Houston Texans

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    49ers DE Arik Armstead
    49ers DE Arik ArmsteadJohn Hefti/Associated Press

    Texans sign Arik Armstead

    The Houston Texans traded Jadeveon Clowney last offseason, which—along with a lengthy absence for J.J. Watt—took the teeth out of the Texans pass rush. As a team, Houston produced just 31 sacks in 2019. The pass defense ranked 29th in the NFL.

    Due to the two firsts and one second-round pick traded for Laremy Tunsil, the Texans could find it hard to land another premier edge-defender in the draft over the next couple of years. Instead, they'll likely look to the free-agent market.

    49ers defensive end Arik Armstead could be a perfect fit for Houston's defense, playing opposite Watt and rotating with him at the end spot.

    Improving the pass defense overall has to be a primary goal for the Texans, who too often placed Deshaun Watson in shootout situations in 2019. Watson is a fantastic young quarterback, but as the Texans proved in the divisional round against the Kansas City Chiefs, he cannot be expected to outscore every opponent.

Indianapolis Colts

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    Butch Dill/Associated Press

    Colts Pursue Teddy Bridgewater

    Though the Indianapolis Colts got a relatively good season out of quarterback Jacoby Brissett, they are not willing to commit to him over the long term. They gave him a new two-year deal in 2019. Don't expect them to go any further.

    "I think the jury's still out," Colts general manager Chris Ballard said, per NFL.com's Nick Shook. "That's why we did the short-term deal with Jacoby."

    Don't be surprised if the Colts double down on their lack of faith in Brissett by going after Teddy Bridgewater—arguably the top young quarterback on the market this offseason. Unlike guys like Tom Brady and Philip Rivers, the 27-year-old Bridgewater could be a long-term answer at quarterback in Indianapolis.

    Whether the Colts are able to land Bridgewater is different story, as he will have numerous suitors on the open market. However, expect the Colts to make a clear statement about their future with Brissett by at least making a run at him.

Jacksonville Jaguars

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    Jaguars DE Yannick Ngakoue
    Jaguars DE Yannick NgakoueMichael Conroy/Associated Press

    Jaguars release Marcell Dareus, pay big for Yannick Ngakoue

    Jacksonville Jaguars defensive end Yannick Ngakoue is expected to be one of the top defenders in free agency this spring. The Jaguars would love to retain him, as players of his caliber aren't readily available. Last season, he amassed 41 tackles, eight sacks, an interception and four forced fumbles.

    However, keeping Ngakoue won't be easy. He's going to command a hefty salary, and Jacksonville is projected to be over the salary cap. It will have to come up with the cash to meet his demands.

    "It's a deal that we feel like could take a little bit of time but should be done hopefully relatively easily," Jaguars general manager David Caldwell said, per John Oehser of the team's official website.

    One easy way to free up some cap space would be the release of defensive tackle Marcell Dareus. The nine-year veteran is set to carry a cap hit of $22.5 million in 2020, but only $2.5 million of that is fully guaranteed.

    Jacksonville could save $20 million by releasing Dareus, a large chunk of which could then go toward paying Ngakoue.

Kansas City Chiefs

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    Chiefs DT Chris Jones
    Chiefs DT Chris JonesCharlie Riedel/Associated Press

    Chiefs allow Chris Jones to leave in free agency

    Defensive lineman Chris Jones will be one of the most talented players at any position available in free agency this year. Capable of playing both defensive end and defensive tackle, Jones has been a force for the Kansas City Chiefs over the last two seasons.

    Jones played end in 2018 and tackle this season, racking up 24.5 sacks between the two campaigns.

    Here's the problem for Kansas City: Jones is going to be paid like one of the best available free agents. He could command a contract in excess of $17 million per season—that's what Grady Jarrett signed for with the Falcons last offseason—and that's likely out of Kansas City's price range.

    The Chiefs are projected to have just $19 million in cap space this offseason.

    Expect Kansas City to allow Jones to go to the highest bidder while looking elsewhere to replace his production.

Las Vegas Raiders

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    Raiders QB Derek Carr
    Raiders QB Derek CarrJack Dempsey/Associated Press

    Raiders don't add a free-agent quarterback

    Ever since Jon Gruden was hired as head coach of the Oakland Raiders, there has been speculation that quarterback Derek Carr was not long for the franchise. Now officially the Las Vegas Raiders, the team could use this offseason as an opportunity to replace him.

    Last offseason, for example, ESPN's Todd McShay reported (h/t Bleacher Report's Tyler Conway) that Gruden "loves" then-prospect Kyler Murray and "does not necessarily love" Carr. Of course, Gruden never got a crack at Murray, as he went No. 1 overall.

    More speculation could emerge this year as the head coach didn't exactly give his quarterback a glowing review at season's end.

    "He played good," Gruden said, per Matt Kawahara of the San Francisco Chronicle. "I'm not going to get into all the next-year scenarios. I'm just going to say that 7-9 is a step forward."

    The Raiders may indeed move on from Carr this offseason. They just might not do so during free agency.

    Waiting until the draft to get a new quarterback would be the sensible option. Players like Tom Brady and Drew Brees aren't going to provide long-term solutions, and Carr is a (relatively) cheap option as a bridge quarterback. He's scheduled to carry a cap hit of $21.5 million in 2020.

Los Angeles Chargers

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    Chargers QB Philip Rivers
    Chargers QB Philip RiversReed Hoffmann/Associated Press

    Chargers allow Philip Rivers to walk

    Longtime starter Philip Rivers appeared to decline in 2019. His deep passes weren't as accurate, and his throws weren't as crisp. His passer rating of 88.5 was the lowest it's been since the 2016 season, and the Los Angeles Chargers won a mere five games with him under center.

    It's long felt like this could be the end for Rivers and the Chargers. However, Los Angeles has not yet made a decision, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. Ultimately, the franchise is likely to let him go.

    It seems like that is the decision Rivers expects. He recently moved his family to Florida, a decision that makes little sense if he expects to continue playing in Los Angeles.

    The Chargers are armed with the sixth overall pick in the draft and could use it on a new franchise signal-caller. Asking Rivers to stick around as a bridge quarterback doesn't make sense and isn't the route L.A. is likely to go.

Los Angeles Rams

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    Redskins G Brandon Scherff
    Redskins G Brandon ScherffMark Tenally/Associated Press

    Rams sign Brandon Scherff

    Last offseason, the Los Angeles Rams decided to part with guard Rodger Saffold and center John Sullivan. That proved to be a mistake, as the interior of the offensive line was a mess without them, and the Rams offense as a whole suffered. 

    Los Angeles went from averaging 6.4 yards per play in 2018 to 5.7 yards per play in 2019.

    Expect the Rams to overcorrect and go after the best free-agent guard in Brandon Scherff. Since being drafted by the Washington Redskins in 2015, he has gone on to become one of the league's best interior lineman. A three-time Pro Bowler, he would be a phenomenal add.

    The Rams might have to free up a little cap space—they're projected to have $19.5 million—but adding Scherff would potentially be the highlight of their offseason.

Miami Dolphins

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    Ed Zurga/Associated Press

    Dolphins sign Chris Jones

    The Miami Dolphins stripped their roster of talent early in 2019 and are now looking for the building phase of their rebuilding effort.

    With Ryan Fitzpatrick and Josh Rosen on the roster—and with three first-round selections in April's draft—Miami probably won't add a new quarterback in free agency. Just about every other position, however, should be fair game.

    Miami is projected to have more than $93 million in cap space.

    As previously mentioned, the Chiefs are likely to be outbid for the services of Pro Bowler Chris Jones. The team in the best position to do the outbidding? Miami.

    Adding Jones to a defensive front that features Davon Godchaux and 2019 first-round pick Christian Wilkins would potentially give the Dolphins the best front in the AFC East. Doing so would likely require Jones moving back to the end position he played in 2018, but he would give head coach Brian Flores a fantastic foundation upon which he could build his defense.

Minnesota Vikings

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    Vikings safety Anthony Harris
    Vikings safety Anthony HarrisTed S. Warren/Associated Press

    Vikings allow multiple secondary members to leave

    The Minnesota Vikings are in danger of losing a big chunk of their secondary this offseason. Defensive backs Anthony Harris, Trae Waynes, Mackensie Alexander, Jayron Kearse and Andrew Sendejo are all scheduled to become free agents, and most of them will probably be allowed to leave.

    This would mean a significant transition period for Minnesota's defense, but the Vikings may not have a choice. Retaining even one of the aforementioned players could be difficult as they're projected to be over the salary cap this offseason.

    Harris is likely the player the Vikings would try hardest to retain, but he's going to see a lot of attention on the open market. Barring a serious hometown discount, the Vikings might not have a shot at bringing him back. Last offseason, safety Earl Thomas—more than a year older than Harris is now and coming off a broken leg—signed a free-agent deal worth nearly $14 million per season.

    Cornerbacks Waynes and Alexander are valuable pieces, but with 2018 first-rounder Mike Hughes waiting for a starting role, they may be viewed as expendable. Don't be surprised if the Vikings completely revamp their secondary this offseason.

New England Patriots

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    Falcons TE Austin Hooper
    Falcons TE Austin HooperJohn Bazemore/Associated Press

    Patriots sign Austin Hooper

    The future of quarterback Tom Brady is the biggest mystery surrounding the Patriots this offseason. Regardless of whether he returns, though, they need a pass-catching tight end.

    New England recognized tight end as a weakness in 2019—as pretty much everyone did—and tried to remedy the situation by attempting to trade for Buccaneers tight end O.J. Howard. However, the Buccaneers refused to send Howard to New England, which leaves the position as an enduring area of need entering the offseason.

    Expect the Patriots to go hard after one of the top tight ends in the free-agency pool, ultimately landing Atlanta's Austin Hooper.

    Hooper is one of the best young tight ends in the game, and he comes with the added benefit of prior playing experience with wideout Mohamed Sanu. He would add a legitimate receiving threat at the position while also bringing a smidgen of chemistry to a receiving corps that lacked it this past season.

New Orleans Saints

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    Saints QB Teddy Bridgewater
    Saints QB Teddy BridgewaterCharles Rex Arbogast/Associated Press

    Saints allow Teddy Bridgewater to leave

    The Saints could potentially lose starting quarterback Drew Brees to retirement this offseason. Even if they re-sign him, the 41-year-old isn't likely to be around for the long haul. It would seem New Orleans has a prime heir in Teddy Bridgewater, who went 5-0 as a starter in place of Brees this past season.

    However, the Saints appear poised to part ways with Bridgewater this offseason.

    According to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, the Saints plan is to transition to Taysom Hill at quarterback—ideally after one more season with Brees. This probably won't entice Bridgewater to stay, as the former Louisville star would presumably like a shot at a starting gig.

    Expect New Orleans to put together some sort of succession plan involving Hill while allowing Bridgewater to seek that opportunity elsewhere.

New York Giants

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    Colts OT Anthony Castonzo
    Colts OT Anthony CastonzoMichael Conroy/Associated Press

    Giants dump Nate Solder, sign Anthony Castonzo 

    Two offseasons ago, the New York Giants signed offensive tackle Nate Solder to a four-year, $62 million deal. He has failed to live up to that contract—he allowed a whopping 11 sacks in 2019, according to Pro Football Focus—and that should prompt New York to move on this offseason.

    While the Giants would save just $6.5 million in cap space by cutting Solder, his poor play can only hurt the development of quarterback Daniel Jones. Expect the Giants to dump him and pursue a different free-agent option this March.

    A prime candidate would be Indianapolis' Anthony Castonzo.

    Castonzo is on the older side at 31 but has been through the experience of blocking for a young, unproven quarterback—first with Andrew Luck and then with Jacoby Brissett. His experience would be valuable to New York's rebuilding offensive line, and his play would be an upgrade over Solder's.

New York Jets

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    Jets WR Robby Anderson
    Jets WR Robby AndersonNick Wass/Associated Press

    Jets Let Robby Anderson Walk

    New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold and the Jets offense as a whole showed some growth down the stretch in 2019, winning six of their final eight games. It would make sense to keep the proverbial band together while adding a few additional pieces, but at least one member appears expendable.

    According to Bleacher Report draft analyst Matt Miller, New York "is preparing" to lose wide receiver Robby Anderson, who amassed 779 yards and five touchdowns in 2019.

    The Jets are expected to have more than $56 million in cap space, so they could likely re-sign Anderson if they really wanted to do so. However, he is looking for a deal in the $10 million per year range, according to Ralph Vacchiano of SNY.tv. It's hard to argue that he is worth that much money or that new general manager Joe Douglas should be willing to spend it on him.

    Former general manager Mike Maccagnan spent big on Jamison Crowder and Le'Veon Bell last offseason. Douglas is more likely to take a conservative approach during his first full summer in charge, and spending to keep a complementary receiver like Anderson wouldn't fit that approach.

Philadelphia Eagles

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    Paul Sancya/Associated Press

    Eagles sign Byron Jones

    A rash of injuries made wide receiver a significant need for the Philadelphia Eagles late in 2019. However, inconsistent play in the secondary was an issue for most of the season. Philadelphia finished the year ranked 19th in passing yards allowed (241.6 per game).

    Don't be surprised to see the Eagles go after one of the top cornerbacks in the NFC East, Dallas' Byron Jones.

    The Cowboys are going to have a difficult time retaining Jones as they also have to deal with the pending free agencies of Dak Prescott, Amari Cooper, Robert Quinn and others. The Eagles, who are projected to have nearly $44 million in cap space, could offer Jones a deal Dallas cannot afford to match.

    Adding him would bolster Philadelphia's cornerback room while also weakening a bitter division rival.

Pittsburgh Steelers

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    Steelers LB Bud Dupree
    Steelers LB Bud DupreeRick Scuteri/Associated Press

    Steelers allow Bud Dupree to leave

    After four seasons of relatively modest production, Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Bud Dupree finally broke out as a sack artist in 2019. He reached the double-digit mark (11.5) for the first time in his career and played like a franchise bookend edge-rusher opposite T.J. Watt.

    Now, the Steelers will probably need to let him walk.

    Here's the problem for Pittsburgh. It's projected to be over the salary cap as things currently stand, and Dupree isn't the only important player scheduled for free agency. Defensive tackle Javon Hargrave, an underappreciated but vital piece of the Steelers defense, is as well.

    Given the market for edge-defenders in today's NFL, the Steelers would likely have to make some significant cuts just to have a shot at retaining Dupree. Expect them to instead make Hargrave a priority and allow Dupree to leave in free agency.

San Francisco 49ers

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    Broncos S Justin Simmons
    Broncos S Justin SimmonsAdrian Kraus/Associated Press

    49ers sign Justin Simmons

    The 49ers have several key players scheduled to hit free agency, including wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders, edge-rusher Arik Armstead and safety Jimmie Ward. They're also expected to have just $22.2 million in cap space, a respectable amount but not a lot to play around with.

    Yet the 49ers may find a way to make a splash in free agency by replacing Ward with ascending free safety Justin Simmons.

    Simmons, who amassed 15 passes defended and four interceptions in 2019, would give the 49ers a heck of a back-end presence. He will likely cost a bit more than Ward on the free-agent market, but the 26-year-old's upside is tremendous.

    San Francisco isn't going to have many chances to upgrade its defense in free agency, both because of its talent level and due to cap restraints. Moving on from the oft-injured Ward and adding Simmons would be one way to do so.

Seattle Seahawks

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    Steelers linebacker Bud Dupree
    Steelers linebacker Bud DupreeRick Scuteri/Associated Press

    Seahawks sign Bud Dupree

    The Seattle Seahawks traded for Jadeveon Clowney last offseason and got little in return due to the dreaded injury bug. He did take over the occasional game—Week 10 against San Francisco is a prime example—but he finished with just 13 appearances and three sacks.

    While the Seahawks could look to sign Clowney on a long-term deal, expect them to go a different—and likely cheaper—route in free agency. Don't be surprised if Seattle adds Steelers edge-rusher Bud Dupree instead.

    Dupree finally emerged as a pass-rushing force in 2019. He's more of a pure edge-rusher than Clowney—he has just half a sack less despite playing five fewer career games—and that's what the Seahawks desperately need.

    In terms of actual sack production, Seattle finished tied for 29th with 28 on the year.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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    Chargers QB Philip Rivers
    Chargers QB Philip RiversCharlie Riedel/Associated Press

    Buccaneers make a run at Philip Rivers

    The Buccaneers may move on from quarterback Jameis Winston this offseason. Head coach Bruce Arians has been vague about the possibility, but given Winston's struggles with consistency and ball security, it wouldn't be a surprise to see the coach pursue a different option in free agency.

    One option who would make some sense—given his experience and recent move to the state—is Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers.

    While Rivers doesn't possess the physical upside he did early in his career, he's a smart, seasoned veteran who won't make the same poor decisions Winston often does. That would at least give Arians some reliability at the position.

    Rivers would likely be a bridge option for a season or two while Tampa develops another young quarterback. Depending on whether he has any interest in such a role—or in playing for a franchise other than the Chargers—the Buccaneers may not ultimately land him. Expect them to take a shot, though, while allowing Winston to try his luck elsewhere.

Tennessee Titans

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    Titans RB Derrick Henry
    Titans RB Derrick HenryGregory Payan/Associated Press

    Titans allow Derrick Henry to test the market

    Running back Derrick Henry largely was the Tennessee Titans' offensive identity in 2019. He helped carry them to the AFC title game and was the one player opposing defenses really had to game-plan against.

    Would the Titans allow Henry to depart in free agency? Perhaps they should.

    Tennessee is projected to have more than $51 million in cap space this offseason. It could afford to pay Henry fair market value, but it wouldn't necessarily make sense to do so. He's a physical back who has already logged 804 regular-season carries as a pro. Expecting him to hold up over the length of a multiyear contract would be risky at best and foolish at worst.

    Bringing back Henry only makes sense if the Titans can do so at a bargain price. Expect them to let him test the market to gauge his potential price.

    Instead of being quick to re-sign Henry and quarterback Ryan Tannehill, the Titans may instead look to completely revamp their offensive identity in 2020.

Washington Redskins

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    Panthers CB James Bradberry
    Panthers CB James BradberryMike McCarn/Associated Press

    Washington dumps Josh Norman, signs James Bradberry

    With the Redskins benching former star cornerback Josh Norman in 2019, it shouldn't come as a surprise when the two part ways this offseason. While Norman is under contract for 2020, the Redskins can save over $12 million by releasing him.

    It would also make sense for Washington to use that money to add a new No. 1 cornerback, specifically Panthers corner James Bradberry.

    Bradberry is one of the league's up-and-coming cornerbacks, and he's looking to be paid like it.

    "I feel like I'm a top corner in this league, and I want to be compensated as such," he said, via the Panthers' official website.

    If Washington dumps Norman, it will have the funds to pay Bradberry, and doing so would make sense. Bradberry spent the first chapter of his NFL career playing for new Redskins head coach Ron Rivera. He could help Rivera install his schemes while providing Washington with the sort of No. 1 corner Norman once was.

       

    All contract and cap information via Spotrac.