Every NFL Team's To-Do List for Rest of the 2020 Offseason
The flurry of free agency and the excitement of the NFL draft have faded. Now teams face the challenge of installing schemes, identifying strengths and weaknesses, and turning promising rosters into competitive squads.
This is a difficult process under normal circumstances, but the NFL is not experiencing a normal offseason. With rookie minicamps and OTAs out the window, teams won't be able to accomplish everything they want before the start of the regular season. Some goals, however, have to be reached if franchises hope to be competitive this season and beyond.
Here, we'll examine the most critical items on each team's remaining to-do list.
- Continue Kyler Murray's development
- Integrate DeAndre Hopkins into the offense
- Tighten up last year's 31st-ranked passing defense
Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray may be the reigning Offensive Rookie of the Year, but he isn't yet an upper-echelon NFL quarterback. Using virtual meetings, playbook study and drills, the Cardinals need to remain focused on getting him there.
Murray's biggest problem as a rookie was tentativeness in the pocket, which contributed to an alarming 48 sacks. The young gunslinger needs to better trust what he's seeing and feeling after the snap.
Getting new wideout DeAndre Hopkins up to speed in Kliff Kingsbury's offense should help Murray's development. Hopkins is one of the most reliable pass-catchers in the league and can be a big-time security blanket for the second-year signal-caller.
Bolstering a pass defense that allowed the second-most yardage in the league will also help, as it could keep Murray out of shootout situations in 2020.
- Get Todd Gurley up to speed
- Integrate Dante Fowler Jr. and improve pass defense
- Determine how to best utilize Hayden Hurst
The Atlanta Falcons have one of the most dangerous offenses in the NFL. However, it is undergoing some changes in 2020.
For starters, the Falcons lost Pro Bowl tight end Austin Hooper in free agency. They replaced him by trading for Hayden Hurst. Atlanta also added star running back Todd Gurley in free agency after cutting Devonta Freeman.
Getting Hurst and Gurley ready for significant roles has to be an offensive priority.
Defensively, the Falcons must get new pass-rusher Dante Fowler Jr. up to speed. They also need to integrate players like rookie cornerback A.J. Terrell who can help improve last year's 22nd-ranked pass defense.
- Determine the best defensive front seven configuration
- Figure out how to get Dobbins, Duvernay involved on offense
- Continue polishing Lamar Jackson the passer
The Baltimore Ravens featured the league's No. 1 scoring offense in 2019. Getting an elite defense to match would make Baltimore virtually unstoppable. The potential is there for the Ravens to have a championship-caliber defense, especially with new additions like Calais Campbell and rookie linebacker Patrick Queen.
The Ravens now need to determine how to best utilize their new-look front seven.
Offensively, Baltimore must incorporate rookie running back J.K. Dobbins and rookie wideout Devin Duvernay. The Ravens offense was already the most prolific in the NFL. At the same time, though, the Ravens need to continue developing quarterback Lamar Jackson as a passer.
While it may seem silly to suggest the reigning league MVP needs to raise his level of play, Jackson is looking to be more of a passer than a runner.
"I doubt if I'm going to be carrying the ball a lot going on in the future," he told reporters.
With a bit more polish to his passing game, Jackson could have a Patrick Mahomes-type presence from the pocket.
- Integrate Stefon Diggs into the offense
- Continue to improve Josh Allen's mechanics, decision-making
- Settle on a running back rotation
The Buffalo Bills finally have a legitimate No. 1 receiver after trading for Stefon Diggs. That should go a long way toward helping quarterback Josh Allen take the proverbial next step, but Buffalo will first need to integrate Diggs into the passing attack.
Continuing to improve Allen's throwing mechanics and decision-making should be another offensive priority. Though he has shown signs of greatness, he still struggles with accuracy and decision-making.
Convincing Allen to stop taking on defenders in the open field would be a good first step.
The Bills also need to determine how to best utilize their new running back tandem of Devin Singletary and rookie Zack Moss.
- Prepare Teddy Bridgewater to be the new franchise QB
- Install Joe Brady's offense
- Get the new-look defense up to speed
- Preserve Christian McCaffrey
The Carolina Panthers parted with longtime starter Cam Newton this offseason, replacing him with Teddy Bridgewater. While Bridgewater shined in five starts with the New Orleans Saints last season, going 5-0, the Panthers need to prepare him to be their full-time starter.
Bridgewater was last a full-time starter in 2015.
Part of that preparation will involve installing the offense of new coordinator Joe Brady. The former LSU assistant is expected to infuse energy and creativity into Carolina's offense, but the process will take time.
Keeping offensive centerpiece Christian McCaffrey healthy will also be critical.
Defensively, the Panthers have a lot of new pieces to fit together. All seven of the team's draft picks were spent on that side of the ball.
- Determine the starting quarterback
- Settle the interior offensive line
- Integrate Cole Kmet, Jimmy Graham into the offense
Goal No. 1 for the Chicago Bears before the regular season is finding a starting quarterback. 2017 first-round pick Mitchell Trubisky returns for his fourth pro season, but the Bears traded for Nick Foles during the offseason. If Foles looks to be the better option in camp, Chicago will need to make the switch.
The Bears will need to aid their quarterback with some competency at the tight end position. The Trey Burton signing was a failure, and Chicago has a new tandem of Jimmy Graham and rookie second-round pick Cole Kmet.
Solidifying the interior of the line will further help Chicago offensively. Kyle Long retired this offseason, but issues existed before then.
The Bears brought in Germain Ifedi, but he is not a long-term answer. There's a reason the Seattle Seahawks let the 2016 first-round pick leave in free agency. Last season, he was responsible for 13 penalties and six sacks, according to Pro Football Focus.
- Prepare Joe Burrow to start
- Ensure A.J. Green is healthy
- Sort out the linebacker corps
- Prepare Tee Higgins for a significant role
Barring an unexpected turn of events, the Joe Burrow era will begin in Week 1. The Cincinnati Bengals cut longtime starter Andy Dalton roughly a week after making the former LSU star the top pick in the draft. Preparing Burrow to take the keys to the offense is priority No. 1.
At the same time, the Bengals need to support Burrow with a functional receiving corps. This means ensuring A.J. Green—who missed all of 2019 with an ankle injury—is healthy and getting rookie Tee Higgins ready for a significant role.
Defensively, Cincinnati must revamp its linebacker corps—one that was largely responsible for the league's worst run defense. The Bengals drafted three linebackers last month, including third-rounder Logan Wilson. Getting them ready for Week 1 will be critical.
- Install Kevin Stefanski's offense
- Work on Baker Mayfield's ball security, pocket presence
- Prepare Jedrick Wills for starting duties at LT
The Cleveland Brown aren't turning to a new quarterback this year. However, they are hoping to see third-year signal-caller Baker Mayfield emerge as a franchise QB. Part of the process is installing new head coach Kevin Stefanski's system. Part of it will involve solidifying the offensive line.
The Browns signed Jack Conklin in free agency and drafted Alabama tackle Jedrick Wills 10th overall. While Conklin is established as a high-level NFL right tackle, Wills will likely move from right to left this season—he was the blindside blocker for left-handed Tua Tagovailoa in college.
The Brown have lacked a reliable left tackle sine Joe Thomas retired. The rookie needs to be prepared to start there by Week 1.
As for Mayfield himself, Cleveland needs to figure out how to improve his decision-making and decrease his turnovers—he's had 35 interceptions and five lost fumbles in his first two pro seasons. Many of his mistakes stem from a tendency to break pocket containment too early, a tendency that must change.
- Install Mike McCarthy's system
- Get Dak Prescott into camp
- Prepare a Plan B involving Andy Dalton
Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones seems to believe that a coaching change can turn his team into a title contender. Dallas fired Jason Garrett this offseason and replaced him with former Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy.
Installing McCarthy's system is a priority second only to getting quarterback Dak Prescott into camp.
The Cowboys gave Prescott the franchise tag this offseason. He has yet to sign the franchise tender and could potentially hold out for the long-term deal he wants. According to NBC Sports' Chris Simms, Prescott prefers a four-year deal.
"He wants a four-year deal. If they do agree to a five-year deal, they would like a really big number at the end of that fifth year," Simms told 105.3 The Fan's K&C Masterpiece.
If the Cowboys cannot get Prescott into camp, they'll need to prepare recent acquisition Andy Dalton for the starting role. Dallas inked Dalton to a one-year, $3 million deal shortly after Cincinnati released him.
- Continue developing Drew Lock
- Prepare Jerry Jeudy and KJ Hamler for significant roles
- Determine if Garett Bolles should still be the starting LT
Is Drew Lock the remedy to the Denver Broncos' quarterback woes? That remains to be seen, though Lock did show a lot of promise during his five starts in 2019. Continuing to develop him as a pro signal-caller is Denver's biggest priority this offseason.
The Broncos can support Lock by getting his two newest weapons involved in the offense. Denver used its first two draft picks on former Alabama wideout Jerry Jeudy and former Penn State receiver KJ Hamler. The Broncos need to prepare the two youngsters to start alongside budding star Courtland Sutton.
Denver also has to determine if Garett Bolles should continue to start at left tackle. The 2017 first-round pick was a liability last season, responsible for 17 penalties and four sacks, according to Pro Football Focus.
- Sort out the backfield rotation
- Prepare T.J. Hockenson for a second-year jump
- Prepare the new-look defense for a make-or-break year
Unlike the Broncos, the Detroit Lions have an established quarterback in Matthew Stafford. What they don't have is a set backfield rotation. Kerryon Johnson has shown flashes but has also missed 14 games over the past two seasons. This likely led the Lions to draft Georgia running back D'Andre Swift in the second round.
Figuring out the right balance between Johnson and Swift will go a long way toward bringing balance to the offense in general.
Detroit also needs to prepare T.J. Hockenson to be a more reliable tight end than he was as a rookie. The Iowa product racked up 131 yards in his first NFL start but finished his rookie year with just 367 yards total in 12 games.
Defensively, the Lions need to shore things up in a hurry. Head coach Matt Patricia was hired in large part to bring consistency to that side of the ball but has thus far failed—Detroit had the league's worst pass defense in 2019. New defenders like Jamie Collins, Duron Harmon and rookie cornerback Jeff Okudah must be ready to make an impact out of the gate.
Green Bay Packers
- Determine this year's offensive priorities
- Identify a No. 2 receiver
- Sort out the backfield rotation
What sort of offense do the Green Bay Packers want to have in 2020? This is the first and most important question to answer before the season—and one that should put the selection of quarterback Jordan Love firmly in the rearview mirror.
Green Bay still has Aaron Rodgers at quarterback, but the drafting of Boston College running back A.J. Dillon and Cincinnati H-back Josiah Deguara suggests the team may move toward the sort of run-oriented offense Matt LaFleur ran with the Tennessee Titans.
LaFleur and Rodgers have to get on the same page as quickly as possible, even if that means doing so virtually.
Regardless of what sort of offense the Packers choose to run, they have to identify a reliable No. 2 receiver opposite Davante Adams. Green Bay signed Devin Funchess in the offseason and has the likes of Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Jake Kumerow on the roster. One of them needs to emerge.
Green Bay also must determine how Dillon fits into a rotation that already includes two very good backs in Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams.
- Sort out the new receiving corps
- Improve last year's 29th-ranked pass defense
- Integrate David Johnson into the offense
Plenty of folks are going to criticize Houston Texans head coach Bill O'Brien for trading away DeAndre Hopkins, and the criticism is warranted. Hopkins is one of the best receivers in the game, and he had plenty of chemistry established with Deshaun Watson.
Criticism isn't going to help Watson win games, though. His new-look receiving corps—featuring offseason additions Brandin Cooks and Randall Cobb—might. The Texans need to get their new weapons in lockstep with Watson and the rest of the offense. That includes running back David Johnson, acquired in the Hopkins trade.
Defensively, the Texans must improve a pass defense that ranked 29th in the NFL last season. Houston didn't add any notable free agents to the secondary and didn't draft a cornerback until it picked Penn State's John Reid in the fourth round. Therefore, improvements will have to be gleaned from schematic and rotational changes.
- Cater the offense to Philip Rivers
- Identify a No. 2 receiver
- Sort out the backfield rotation
- Determine how to best utilize DeForest Buckner
If the Indianapolis Colts hope to return to the playoffs in 2020, then they need to tailor the offense to new quarterback Philip Rivers.
Head coach Frank Reich has installed an effective system in Indianapolis. However, he's been around long enough to know that forcing a 38-year-old quarterback into an offense is tougher than adapting a scheme to fit the quarterback's skill set.
While making offensive changes, the Colts will have to determine whether second-year man Parris Campbell or rookie wideout Michael Pittman Jr. can be the No. 2 receiver opposite T.Y. Hilton. Integrating rookie Jonathan Taylor into a backfield that includes Marlon Mack and Nyheim Hines is another offensive priority.
Defensively, Indianapolis must establish how to best utilize trade acquisition DeForest Buckner. The Colts spent a first-round pick to obtain the former San Francisco 49ers defensive tackle. They need to ensure he was worth the price.
- Prepare Gardner Minshew II for his biggest audition yet
- Get defensive rookies up to speed
- Determine the future of Yannick Ngakoue
Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Gardner Minshew II was one of the more pleasant surprises of 2019. He showed enough as a rookie that Jacksonville was comfortable trading away last year's prized free agent, Nick Foles.
Minshew has a clear path at becoming Jacksonville's franchise quarterback, a proposition that carries its fair share of pressure. This should be a yearlong audition for Minshew. If he stumbles, the Jaguars will probably be looking at signal-callers in the 2021 draft.
Jacksonville needs to be sure it's getting an accurate idea of what Minshew can be as a pro quarterback.
Defensively, the Jaguars must get rookie defenders CJ Henderson and K'Lavon Chaisson ready for significant roles. They'll be largely responsible for improving a pass defense that ranked 16th last season but has lost corners Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye since the 2019 trade deadline.
Off the field, the Jaguars have to figure out what to do with franchise-tagged and disgruntled defensive end Yannick Ngakoue.
Kansas City Chiefs
- Integrate Clyde Edwards-Helaire into the offense
- Bolster last year's 26th-ranked run defense
- Get a long-term deal done with Chris Jones
The Kansas City Chiefs are reigning Super Bowl champions and feature one of the league's most prolific offenses. Provided the team is in football shape, it doesn't need to make many moves before the start of the regular season.
However, the Chiefs do have to prepare rookie first-round pick Clyde Edwards-Helaire for a prominent role in the backfield alongside Damien Williams. They also need to bolster a run defense that ranked 26th in 2019—rookie second-round linebacker Willie Gay Jr. could play a role there.
Off the field, Kansas City needs to work out a long-term deal with defensive tackle Chris Jones. The team was smart to retain him with the franchise tag. Now, it needs to get him under contract for the long haul.
Las Vegas Raiders
- Integrate Henry Ruggs III into the offense
- Get new defensive additions up to speed
- Sort out the backfield rotation
- Add pass-rushing help
Like the Chiefs, the Las Vegas Raiders need to sort out their running back rotation—the team added rookie third-round WR/RB Lynn Bowden Jr. to a backfield that includes Josh Jacobs, Jalen Richard and free-agent signing Devontae Booker. More importantly, Las Vegas must get rookie wideout Henry Ruggs III ready to start in Week 1.
Ruggs was the first receiver off the board in April's draft, and he is set to be the centerpiece of the Raiders receiving corps. Las Vegas needs to ensure the former Alabama speedster is prepared for the role.
Defensively, the Raiders have to get additions like Prince Amukamara, Maliek Collins, Damarious Randall and rookie corner Damon Arnette up to speed. It would also behoove the Raiders to add another pass-rusher to a unit that produced just 32 sacks in 2019.
The Raiders have nearly $13 million in cap space remaining and could afford to bring in a free agent like Ziggy Ansah or Everson Griffen before camp.
Los Angeles Chargers
- Determine starting offensive tackles
- Prepare Tyrod Taylor to start, Justin Herbert to learn
- Integrate Kenneth Murray into the defense
Regardless of who is under center for the Los Angeles Chargers in 2020, the team must solidify its offensive line. The Chargers traded starting left tackle Russell Okung earlier this offseason, which leaves a massive hole on that side. While offseason acquisition Bryan Bulaga may move to the left side to fill it—he played left tackle in college—that would leave uncertainty on the right side.
Sam Tevi, who played the majority of snaps in 2019, was responsible for four penalties and allowed eight sacks, according to Pro Football Focus.
Of course, the Chargers should already know who is starting at quarterback, as Oregon's Justin Herbert is not a pro-ready prospect. He may be the future for the Chargers, but journeyman Tyrod Taylor should be the present.
While Taylor may not give Los Angeles a championship-caliber offense, the Chargers can boast a championship-caliber defense. Getting rookie linebacker Kenneth Murray ready to play alongside the likes of Joey Bosa, Melvin Ingram and Derwin James will help push the unit in that direction.
Los Angeles Rams
- Sort out the backfield rotation
- Settle the interior offensive line
- Work on Jared Goff's ball security
The Los Angeles Rams parted with star running back Todd Gurley this offseason, which alters the identity of the entire offense. The Rams have to sort out what a replacement rotation of Darrell Henderson, Malcolm Brown and rookie Cam Akers can look like.
That rotation will be helped if the Rams can also solidify the interior of their offensive line. Los Angeles never truly replaced center John Sullivan and guard Rodger Saffold last season. The team's averages dipped from 4.9 yards per rush and 6.4 yards per offensive play to just 3.7 yards per carry and 5.7 yards per offensive play.
The offense can further be aided by improvement from quarterback Jared Goff—most notably in the turnover department. The Cal product has been responsible for 28 interceptions and 10 lost fumbles over the past two seasons.
- Prepare Tua Tagovailoa for clipboard duties
- Identify the No. 2 receiver
- Get new defensive pieces up to speed
- Prepare Austin Jackson for a starting role
As with the Chargers, there should be no quarterback controversy for the Miami Dolphins. Rookie signal-caller Tua Tagovailoa is the future, but he shouldn't see the field early this season.
"I'm his biggest cheerleader right now, but I also want to be out there playing," quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick said on the podcast What's Next with Eric Wood (via Safid Deen of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel).
Miami has to prepare Tagovailoa to soak up all he can from Fitzpatrick this season. At the same time, the team needs to get its defensive additions—like Byron Jones, Kyle Van Noy, Shaq Lawson and rookie corner Noah Igbinoghene—prepared to play.
If Miami is going to be competitive in the AFC East this season, it'll be thanks to its new-look defense. Identifying a legitimate No. 2 receiver opposite DeVante Parker and preparing rookie tackle Austin Jackson to start should be offensive goals, however.
- Get Justin Jefferson up to speed
- Determine the future of Anthony Harris
- Preserve Dalvin Cook
The Minnesota Vikings traded away standout receiver Stefon Diggs, replacing him with first-round pick Justin Jefferson. If the Vikings hope to maintain offensive continuity, they need to get the LSU product up to speed in the offense.
The Vikings must also preserve the health of running back Dalvin Cook. While this is more of a passive goal, Minnesota has to be careful to keep the fourth-year back healthy for the coming season. Cook has a significant injury history and has missed 19 games over the past three seasons.
Cook is the centerpiece of Minnesota's rushing attack and largely the key to its playoff hopes.
Off the field, the Vikings need to determine what to do with franchise-tagged safety Anthony Harris. Trading him is an option, as is signing him to a long-term deal. Paying him $11.4 million for the coming season should not be one.
New England Patriots
- Prepare Jarrett Stidham to start
- Identify dependable offensive weapons
- Sort out a backfield rotation
- Determine the goals for 2020
Whether he is the New England Patriots' quarterback of the future or not, Jarrett Stidham should be their starter for 2020. If he can't be, New England will be forced to turn to journeyman Brian Hoyer, who has never been able to establish himself as a full-time starter.
While sorting out the quarterback depth chart, the Patriots will also need to determine which offensive skill players they can rely on this season.
Pass-catchers like wideout N'Keal Harry and rookie tight ends Devin Asiasi and Dalton Keene are unproven. The backfield is cluttered with the likes of Sony Michel, James White, Rex Burkhead, Brandon Bolden and Damien Harris.
Before sorting any of this out, however, head coach Bill Belichick must determine what he wants to accomplish in 2020. Presumably, the competitor in him wants to prove he can reach the playoffs without Tom Brady. However, playing for draft positioning and a shot at a prospect like Trevor Lawrence or Justin Fields in 2021 could be the better long-term play.
New Orleans Saints
- Prepare a plan B at quarterback
- Sort out depth at cornerback
- Prepare Cesar Ruiz to start
The New Orleans Saints survived a five-game stretch without Drew Brees last season thanks to Teddy Bridgewater. However, Bridgewater is now in Carolina, and the Saints will be starting either Taysom Hill or Jameis Winston if Brees goes down again.
The Saints appear to be grooming Hill for the starting role, but he hasn't started a game since 2016 at BYU. Winston has five years of NFL starting experience under his belt. New Orleans should determine which is the best option if it has to carry on without Brees.
Meanwhile, New Orleans must prepare rookie offensive lineman Cesar Ruiz to start. The Saints drafted Ruiz in the first round and then parted with Pro Bowl guard Larry Warford roughly two weeks later.
Defensively, the Saints need to sort out their cornerback depth. New Orleans ranked 20th in passing yardage allowed last season and has not re-signed Eli Apple. It also did not draft a cornerback to replace him.
New York Giants
- Install Jason Garrett's offense
- Prepare Andrew Thomas for a starting role
- Work on Daniel Jones' ball security
- Preserve Saquon Barkley
The most important goal for the New York Giants moving forward is turning Daniel Jones into a franchise signal-caller. This is why new offensive coordinator Jason Garrett is, in some ways, a more noteworthy addition than new head coach Joe Judge.
Garrett will need to get Jones prepared to run his offense while also working on his ball security—Jones had 18 fumbles as a rookie, 11 of them lost. Preparing rookie offensive tackle Andrew Thomas to protect Jones' blind side could go a long way toward improving how he takes care of the ball.
Last year's starting left tackle, Nate Solder, was responsible for surrendering 11 sacks, per Pro Football Focus.
New York also must ensure that star running back Saquon Barkley is healthy and ready for a heavy workload in 2020. The Penn State product has 621 touches in two pro seasons. His workload isn't likely to lighten under Garrett, who leaned heavily on Ezekiel Elliott in Dallas.
New York Jets
- Prepare Mekhi Becton to start
- Determine what Le'Veon Bell can be this season
- Work on Sam Darnold's pocket presence, ball security
- Find a role for Denzel Mims
For the Jets, protecting and developing quarterback Sam Darnold is the biggest goal of 2020. This means offensive tackle Mekhi Becton and wide receiver Denzel Mims had better be prepared for significant roles as rookies.
As for Darnold himself, the Jets need to work on the quarterback's pocket presence and ball security. Though perhaps not quite the interception machine Baker Mayfield has been, Darnold has turned the ball over 33 times in 26 games. He's also shown a tendency to panic when protection has broken down.
To further aid Darnold, head coach Adam Gase needs to determine what he has in running back Le'Veon Bell this season. Last year's prized free-agent addition averaged a mere 3.2 yards per carry.
If it doesn't appear Bell can return to Pro Bowl form, Gase will have to put more of the offense on Darnold and/or pick another back who can better carry the load.
- Get Jalen Reagor up to speed
- Sort out depth in the secondary
- Find roles for Jalen Hurts
The Philadelphia Eagles struggled to field healthy wide receivers near the end of 2019. The drafting of former TCU wideout Jalen Reagor should help prevent a similar situation in 2020, but the Eagles need to get him up to speed in the offense.
The Eagles also have to determine how rookie quarterback Jalen Hurts fits into the offense. The former Oklahoma gunslinger isn't going to supplant Carson Wentz as the starter, but he can play a role as a utility weapon.
"Taysom Hill [package] on steroids," one source said of Hurts' projected role, per Yahoo Sports' Charles Robinson.
Defensively, Philadelphia needs to sort out its secondary. The 19th-ranked pass defense lost safety Malcolm Jenkins in free agency, and the Eagles didn't add a defensive back in the draft until selecting Clemson safety K'Von Wallace in Round 4.
- Identify a plan B at quarterback
- Sort out the backfield rotation
- Sign Bud Dupree to a long-term deal
The pending return of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger should have the Pittsburgh Steelers faithful excited about the 2020 season. However, fans know another Big Ben injury could immediately end that excitement.
Even with a championship-caliber defense—ranked fifth in both points and yards allowed—the Steelers couldn't muster more than an 8-8 record without Roethlisberger for most of 2019. The quarterback duo of Mason Rudolph and Devlin Hodges wasn't good enough, and the Steelers need a better backup plan in place before Week 1—be it an improved Rudolph or Hodges or a veteran free agent like Cam Newton.
The Steelers also need to determine their backfield rotation following James Conners' third-year flop in 2019.
Off the field, Pittsburgh needs to get an extension done with pass-rusher Bud Dupree. The Steelers have just under $6 million in cap space. Extending Dupree, who was franchise-tagged this offseason, would potentially free up the cash needed to acquire a high-end backup quarterback.
San Francisco 49ers
- Ensure Trent Williams is ready to start
- Get rookie first-rounders ready for significant roles
- Enure Jimmy Garoppolo doesn't lack confidence
During draft weekend, the San Francisco 49ers traded for offensive tackle Trent Williams. He is expected to replace the retired Joe Staley at left tackle. However, Williams didn't play in 2019 because of a holdout, and the 49ers had better ensure he's in playing shape come Week 1.
San Francisco had also be sure rookie defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw and rookie wideout Brandon Aiyuk are prepared for significant roles out of the gate. The 49ers picked Kinlaw and Aiyuk to replace DeForest Buckner, who was traded, and free-agent departure Emmanuel Sanders, respectively.
It is very important to ensure quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo has the confidence needed to lead the 49ers offense in 2020. That could be a real issue considering Garoppolo struggled late in Super Bowl LIV and general manager John Lynch admitted the team considered adding Tom Brady this offseason.
- Make sure the offense has healthy backs
- Prepare defensive rookies for significant roles
- Sort out the tight end depth chart
- Add pass-rushing help
Offensively, the Seattle Seahawks have two primary goals heading into Week 1. They have to find a healthy stable of running backs to handle the load after both Rashaad Penny and Chris Carson finished 2019 on injured reserve. They also need to determine their tight end rotation.
Tight ends on Seattle's roster include Will Dissly, Jacob Hollister, Greg Olsen, Luke Willson and rookie Colby Parkinson.
Defensively, Seattle needs to prepare rookie linebacker Jordyn Brooks and rookie defensive end Darrell Taylor for substantial roles in the front seven. After Seattle finished 2019 with just 28 sacks, it wouldn't hurt to bring in pass-rushing help either.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Craft an offense around Tom Brady
- Sort out the tight end rotation
- Solidify the offensive line
- Sign Shaquil Barrett to a long-term deal
Tom Brady is now—or at least should be—in charge of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers offense. Head coach Bruce Arians has a terrific offensive mind, but his system should be tailored to Brady and not the other way around.
Brady will turn 43 this summer and has a very limited window. Wasting a year while he learns a brand-new system should be out of the question.
While molding the offense around Brady, the Buccaneers need to prepare rookie offensive tackle Tristan Wirfs to start and sort out the tight end rotation. Tampa brought in one of Brady's favorite targets, Rob Gronkowski, but it also has O.J. Howard and Cameron Brate at the position.
Off the field, the Buccaneers need to ink franchise-tagged pass-rusher Shaquil Barrett to a long-term deal. Tampa has just under $4 million in cap space and could use the extra cap room an extension would likely generate to put even more pieces around Brady—perhaps at the back end of the team's 30th-ranked pass defense.
- Prepare Isaiah Wilson to start
- Identify a plan B at quarterback
- Preserve Derrick Henry
The Titans made sure to retain their two most important offensive players, franchise-tagging running back Derrick Henry and giving quarterback Ryan Tannehill a new four-year deal. However, the Titans did lose standout right tackle Jack Conklin in free agency and need to get rookie first-rounder Isaiah Wilson ready to start.
Tennessee also has to concoct a backup plan at quarterback. Last year's starter-turned-backup, Marcus Mariota, is now in Las Vegas. If Tannehill gets injured or proves that his impressive 2019 campaign was a fluke, the Titans will be left with the likes of Logan Woodside and rookie seventh-round pick Cole McDonald of Hawaii.
This is also why the Titans must ensure they keep Henry healthy heading into the regular season. They did draft Appalachian State running back Darrynton Evans, but Henry is the centerpiece of Tennessee's offense. Should he go down this season, the Titans' title hopes will be nearly nonexistent.
- Install Ron Rivera's system
- Determine a starting quarterback
- Identify a No. 2 receiver
- Sign Brandon Scherff to a long-term deal
As is the case for teams like Dallas and Cleveland, the Washington Redskins have a new regime this offseason. Ron Rivera is now the head guy, and installing his offensive and defensive philosophies has to be priority No. 1.
A close second, though, is determining a starting quarterback. Dwayne Haskins showed flashes toward the end of his rookie season, but Washington also traded for former Panthers quarterback Kyle Allen. Allen's experience with Rivera could give him a leg up in the competition.
Washington also needs to identify a legitimate No. 2 receiver opposite Terry McLaurin. Last season, the team's second-leading wideout was Kelvin Harmon with 365 receiving yards.
It would also behoove Washington to get a long-term deal done with Pro Bowl guard Brandon Scherff. The Iowa product is set to play on the franchise tag and is scheduled to again hit free agency next offseason.
Contract and cap information via Spotrac.