The Best Player Every NFL Team Could Potentially Add in 2022

Brent Sobleski@@brentsobleskiNFL AnalystJanuary 6, 2022

The Best Player Every NFL Team Could Potentially Add in 2022

0 of 32

    Paul Sancya/Associated Press

    The NFL landscape could dramatically change next offseason. 

    With the salary cap increasing by $25.7 million across the board, a couple of disgruntled superstar quarterbacks possibly switching teams and the normal movement between squads thanks to free agency, the draft and trades will make the coming months as interesting as they've ever been. 

    Will Aaron Rodgers leave the Green Bay Packers? If Rodgers leaves, does Davante Adams follow or go elsewhere? Could Russell Wilson play for someone other than the Seattle Seahawks? Who will be the No. 1 overall draft pick in a class that doesn't have a premier quarterback prospect? 

    The answers to these questions, plus many more, will define the league and how it progresses into 2022 and beyond. 

    Every front office will have a plan. Each plan will have a starting point. Those starting points are likely optimal pathways for the building process. And therein lies the question every team will ask itself: Who should we prioritize and target? 

    The following options are the best additions based on each team's needs congruent with its financial realities. 

Arizona Cardinals: CB J.C. Jackson

1 of 32

    Stew Milne/Associated Press

    The search for a quality cornerback has been a constant within the Arizona Cardinals organization for about, oh, the past decade or so. Maybe that's a bit of an overstatement, but Arizona looked to acquire a competent Patrick Peterson counterpart for the majority of his time in the desert. He's now gone, and the Cardinals could still use a boost at a premium position. 

    Why not sign the top available cornerback in free agency? 

    J.C. Jackson entered the league as an undrafted free agent only to become the game's premier ball hawk with 25 interceptions (and counting) in his first four seasons. Jackson can immediately step in as the Cardinals' No. 1 corner. Byron Murphy can stay where he's most comfortable by covering the slot. And less pressure will be on Marco Wilson as the 22-year-old defensive back continues his development. 

Atlanta Falcons: Edge Harold Landry III

2 of 32

    John Amis/Associated Press

    The Dante Fowler Jr. signing hasn't worked out as planned for the Atlanta Falcons. The organization and the edge defender agreed to a three-year, $45 million deal prior to the start of the 2020 campaign, though the third year acts as a voidable year for accounting purposes. 

    Fowler has registered 7.5 sacks in his two seasons with the team. 

    Harold Landry III is ninth in the league this year with 12.0 sacks and has registered 26.5 sacks in the last three seasons. Landry is one of the most explosive and flexible pass-rushers the league has to offer, and he's a pending free agent. 

    The Falcons coaching staff already has a history with Landry since head coach Arthur Smith and defensive coordinator Dean Pees previously coached with the Tennessee Titans. They know what he brings and how he can help a unit that ranks dead last in sacks with just 17 this season.

Baltimore Ravens: DL Akiem Hicks

3 of 32

    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    The Baltimore Ravens have a history of acquiring aging veterans and maximizing their final years. 

    Calais Campbell is a perfect example. He was already in his mid-30s when he joined the Ravens, and he's provided the team with two very good years. But he's 35 now and about to hit free agency. 

    The Ravens can legitimately upgrade their defensive interior while following their previous pattern. When healthy, Hicks is a game-wrecker. He's so powerful at the point of attack that he overwhelms blockers and often reestablishes the line of scrimmage. 

    At 32, he's a few years younger than Campbell while also providing more insurance if/when Brandon Williams leaves in free agency. Baltimore's defensive interior could and should look significantly different in 2022.

Buffalo Bills: RB Kenneth Walker III

4 of 32

    Icon Sportswire/Getty Images

    The Buffalo Bills have featured one of the NFL's most talented rosters for the last few seasons during what should be three straight playoff appearances. 

    But Buffalo's run game has been centered on its quarterback more than anyone else. During the aforementioned span, no Bills running back has ranked higher than 25th overall in rushing yardage. 

    Devin Singletary is a competent back who fits well in Buffalo's offensive scheme. Yet, he's never topped 800 yards in a season, though he currently sits at 782 with one regular-season game left to play. 

    Michigan State's Kenneth Walker III enters the predraft process as RB1. The reigning Doak Walker Award winner developed into a workhorse and became one of only two collegiate backs with 250 or more carries to average over 6.0 yards per tote this season.  

Carolina Panthers: QB Deshaun Watson

5 of 32

    Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

    An entire season will have passed since Deshaun Watson started an NFL game as he continues to face 22 civil lawsuits accusing him of sexual assault or misconduct. The possibility of 10 criminal complaints looms as well. 

    Despite the extenuating circumstances and added possibility of a league suspension, interest in the quarterback still exists. In fact, Watson may have already been on another team, specifically the Miami Dolphins, if the 26-year-old had reached a settlement with all of his accusers, per Yahoo Sports' Charles Robinson

    The Carolina Panthers have consistently been one of the teams interested in Watson throughout the entire process. But the organization saw the writing on the wall with the Dolphins and didn't pursue the quarterback at the trade deadline.  

    However, Watson's options won't be plentiful depending on the outcome of his legal matters. Carolina's interest throughout, plus a baffling quarterback situation, makes it a plausible landing spot for the three-time Pro Bowler. 

Chicago Bears: OT Terron Armstead

6 of 32

    Steph Chambers/Getty Images

    The Chicago Bears are ready to implode with a regime reset. Whoever takes over for ill-fated head coach Matt Nagy and general manager Ryan Pace will do so knowing their primary job is to build around quarterback Justin Fields and make life much easier on this year's 11th overall draft pick. 

    Proper protection will be a good starting point. 

    When healthy, Terron Armstead is a top-three left tackle. His movement skills are second to none. The 30-year-old blindside protector has dealt with elbow and knee injuries this season. The latter requires offseason surgery, per New Orleans Football's Nick Underhill. But those aren't a reason for a franchise to pass on Amstead if it's truly committed to improving its front five. 

    The Bears can sign the Illinois native, move Teven Jenkins back to his more natural position on the right side and upgrade both tackle spots. Fields would be the happiest guy in the NFL if that were to happen. 

Cincinnati Bengals: OG Zion Johnson

7 of 32

    Michael Dwyer/Associated Press

    A raging argument ensued regarding which direction the Cincinnati Bengals should take in the 2021 draft to help franchise quarterback Joe Burrow. 

    One side of the argument concentrated on taking the top offensive lineman to protect Burrow after the quarterback suffered a devastating knee injury last season. The other side was in favor of adding the top wide receiver to open up the offense. 

    Ultimately, the Bengals went with Option B and selected Ja'Marr Chase with this year's fifth overall pick. Chase has been great, to the point that he's in the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year mix. At the same time, Burrow is still the league's most sacked quarterback. Basically, both sides of the argument were correct in their assessment. 

    Cincinnati doesn't necessarily need to splurge in free agency to address its offensive line, though it could do so. The addition of a top-flight guard prospect, like Boston College's Zion Johnson, in the latter half of the first round could be just as effective. Johnson is a plug-and-play starter who can immediately improve the interior. 

Cleveland Browns: WR Drake London

8 of 32

    Paul Sancya/Associated Press

    Really, any of the projected first-round wide receiver prospects would greatly help the Cleveland Browns' passing attack. But Bleacher Report has USC's Drake London graded as WR1, and he's an elite prospect. The 6'5" former basketball player has a rare skill set. 

    "Obviously, [London presents] excellent size but has more polish to his game than you'd expect," B/R scout Nate Tice tweeted. "[He] can comfortably get in and out of route breaks and is a natural ball-catcher.

    "He's not some big stiff and it's almost startling to watch. [London] can actually create yards after the catch with his balance and play strength. On top of it, he has a great feel for space and knows how to find soft spots versus zone. Shows he can tempo his routes, too."

    The Odell Beckham Jr. experiment failed. Jarvis Landry has reached the point where his contributions are no longer commensurate with his hefty compensation. The idea of getting the top available wide receiver just outside of the top 10 because of an in-season ankle fracture should excite the Browns.

Dallas Cowboys: LB Foyesade Oluokun

9 of 32

    Matt Patterson/Associated Press

    The Dallas Cowboys don't have the financial wiggle room, at least at the current projected numbers, to make a big free-agent splash. Jerry and Stephen Jones will probably prioritize re-signing tight end Dalton Schultz, guard Connor Williams, safety Jayron Kearse and wide receiver Michael Gallup or Cedrick Wilson. 

    So, the idea of a significant addition from outside the organization may come down to familiarity. 

    The Cowboys defense has been very successful under the supervision of coordinator Dan Quinn. The additions of Keanu Neal and Damontae Kazee, both of whom played for Quinn with the Atlanta Falcons, helped the transition. 

    Falcons linebacker Foyesade Oluokun earned a starting position under Quinn's supervision despite coming into the league as a sixth-round draft pick. He currently leads the league with 179 total tackles. Maybe he signs on a lesser free-agent deal to rejoin Quinn, which would also open up more opportunities for Micah Parsons to be used all over the field. 

Denver Broncos: QB Aaron Rodgers

10 of 32

    Stacy Revere/Getty Images

    If Aaron Rodgers earns another MVP and leads the Green Bay Packers to a Super Bowl, his current team will be forced to give the future Hall of Fame quarterback whatever he wants to stay. Otherwise, Rodgers and the organization could finally part ways as the culmination of the frustration that built over the last two years between the two parties. 

    If that were to happen, the Denver Broncos are one of the logical landing spots. A source told Pro Football Talk that the Broncos, Las Vegas Raiders and San Francisco 49ers were possible suitors prior to the 2021 NFL draft. 

    Of the three, the Broncos are the only ones who don't already have a significant investment in the quarterback position. Furthermore, the Broncos have the surrounding cast at the skill positions and a solid defense to entice Rodgers as much or more than any other. 

    John Elway already worked magic by acquiring Peyton Manning during his final playing days. The Broncos better hope he can do the same with Rodgers.

Detroit Lions: Edge Aidan Hutchinson

11 of 32

    Icon Sportswire/Getty Images

    A 2-13-1 record doesn't reflect the growth the Detroit Lions experienced this season under the supervision of head coach Dan Campbell and his staff. The team is competitive every week, and there's no quit despite obvious roster deficiencies. 

    Campbell and general manager Brad Holmes will go into their second offseason no longer tearing down what happened before, but actually building up a foundation. 

    In doing so, they currently own the second overall pick to acquire a difference-maker on the defensive side of the ball. Next year's class will be defined by three defensive ends who are expected to be chosen among the in the top five. 

    Aidan Hutchinson is an elite prospect with the added bonus of being a hometown hero. The Michigan native can set the tone as the primary pass-rusher in Detroit's defense, which currently ranks third-last in sacks, and serve as the face of the franchise. 

Green Bay Packers: TE Jalen Wydermyer

12 of 32

    Icon Sportswire/Getty Images

    The Green Bay Packers are sitting pretty as the best team in the NFL. Aaron Rodgers continues to play at an MVP level. The team is very much in the thick of the Super Bowl conversation. 

    Yet, the offseason looms with the possibility of wholesale changes forthcoming. The Packers are already significantly above the projected 2022 salary cap. Rodgers' future remains uncertain. Plus, general manager Brian Gutekunst must deal with the reality of expiring contracts for Davante Adams, Robert Tonyan Jr. and De'Vondre Campbell, among others. 

    Who the Packers can realistically bring back depending on who wants to return is a mystery. Obviously, tight end won't be as pressing as trying to re-sign Adams. Thus, the Packers could go into April's draft with the intention of finding Tonyan's replacement. 

    Bleacher Report's Scouting Department has Texas A&M's Jalen Wydermyer as the top-rated tight end prospect, though he's a graded a fringe first-round option. The Packers could land the tight end despite picking at the back end of the first round and provide a weapon for whoever takes snaps next season.

Houston Texans: Edge Kayvon Thibodeaux

13 of 32

    Stephen Brashear/Associated Press

    The Houston Texans just may have found their quarterback of the future in Davis Mills, who has been outplaying other rookie signal-callers as of late. 

    It's the best possible outcome for Houston since the 2022 class lacks an elite quarterback prospect. The top of the draft will likely be defined by defensive and offensive linemen. 

    A top-three selection should give the Texans a defensive centerpiece as the organization builds around Mills on the other side of the ball. 

    Oregon's Kayvon Thibodeaux is the top-rated prospect going into the 2022 predraft cycle. He's one of the best defensive prospects since the Texans chose Jadeveon Clowney with the No. 1 overall pick in 2014. Some Texans fans may blanch at the previous statement, but it's a compliment. Thibodeaux shows excellent burst, length and fluidity off the edge to address another premium position. 

Indianapolis Colts: OT Orlando Brown Jr.

14 of 32

    John Amis/Associated Press

    The Kansas City Chiefs made a concerted effort to acquire Orlando Brown Jr. this offseason, and he's been an integral part of the team's success. The thought of him actually reaching free agency without a new deal may be slim, but the Indianapolis Colts should be waiting if he does test the market. 

    Eric Fisher has been solid in his first season with the Colts. Is he the same player he was before he suffered a torn Achilles in last season's AFC Championship Game? Not quite. But he's certainly passable. 

    At the same time, Fisher just turned 31, and he's a pending free agent. Brown, on the other hand, will be 26 in May and is a better long-term investment, especially in a run-first offense, which is where he thrived to start his career with the Baltimore Ravens. 

    The Colts could be set up front for a long time with running back Jonathan Taylor leading the way, as long as left tackle is addressed. 

Jacksonville Jaguars: OT Evan Neal

15 of 32

    Todd Kirkland/Getty Images

    The entire Urban Meyer experience has been wiped clean and the Jacksonville Jaguars can start fresh with a new coach who understands how to build a roster and compete at the NFL level. Whoever takes over and leads the squad will look forward to this year's No. 1 overall pick. But last year's top selection, Trevor Lawrence, will be the driving force behind the organization's entire offseason plan. 

    Lawrence has struggled as a rookie. Typically, first-year quarterbacks need time to transition. In some ways, that's true of Lawrence. He's also dealt with an incompetent staff and inferior surrounding cast. 

    The logical first step to helping Lawrence is building up his front five. Cam Robinson is a free agent, and he's been a replacement-level performer throughout his career. Another Alabama offensive lineman, Evan Neal, presents rare size (6'7", 350 pounds) and athleticism. So much so, he could easily become the first offensive lineman to hear his name called with the No. 1 overall pick since the Kansas City Chiefs chose Eric Fisher atop the 2013 class.

Kansas City Chiefs: Edge Haason Reddick

16 of 32

    Icon Sportswire/Getty Images

    The Kansas City Chiefs defense finally started to play at a respectable level after the acquisition of Melvin Ingram III and Frank Clark's reemergence after a slow start to the season. 

    Obviously, an improved edge presence makes the entire unit better. As such, the organization should invest heavily in the position this offseason by targeting one of the game's best sack artists. 

    Haason Reddick isn't a perfect schematic fit, but he's an edge-rusher with exceptional quickness and flexibility. After nearly washing out with the Arizona Cardinals after they made him the 13th overall pick in the 2017 draft, Reddick finally broke out during his final season in the desert with 12.5 sacks. He's no one-hit wonder, either. After signing with the Panthers this offseason, Reddick has once again posted double-digit sacks.

    The Chiefs can upgrade and get younger on the edge by supplanting Ingram with Reddick. 

Las Vegas Raiders: C Ryan Jensen

17 of 32

    Zach Bolinger/Associated Press

    Can anyone think of another player in the league more perfectly suited to play for the Las Vegas Raiders than center Ryan Jensen? 

    Jensen is the nastiest lineman in the game. He looks to bury opponents every chance he gets. He's exactly the type of tone-setter Las Vegas currently lacks after letting the majority of its veteran starters go and reworking the offensive line this past offseason. 

    More importantly, Jensen is arguably the game's best center. 

    Now, the idea of signing the soon-to-be 31-year-old snapper may seem counterproductive after the organization just endured a youth movement up front. But the team could very well go in another direction at general manager, as well as a new coaching staff. 

    Jensen could stabilize the front and greatly help young guards Alex Leatherwood and John Simpson reach their potential.

Los Angeles Chargers: WR Davante Adams

18 of 32

    Matt Ludtke/Associated Press

    The Green Bay Packers and the league's top wide receiver, Davante Adams, appear to be on a collision course toward a franchise tag in 2022, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport

    However, two factors must be taken into consideration. First, quarterback Aaron Rodgers might not be part of the organization next season. If he isn't, should the Packers invest so much in a player who won't be fully utilized with another quarterback behind center? Second, the Packers are already well over the 2022 salary cap based on current projections. 

    Adams has a chance to shake free. If he does, the Los Angeles Chargers should bring him home to pair with budding star quarterback Justin Herbert. The California native can offset the possible loss of Mike Williams, who is also an impending free agent, while making the Chargers' wide receiver corps even better. 

    The fact that the Chargers own the second-most cap space for 2022 to pay Adams as the game's best certainly helps their chances.

Los Angeles Rams: LB De'Vondre Campbell

19 of 32

    Icon Sportswire/Getty Images

    The Los Angeles Rams haven't had a quality linebacker since Cory Littleton left in free agency to join the Las Vegas Raiders in 2020.

    Over the last two seasons, the defensive staff mixed and matched Troy Reeder, Kenny Young, Travin Howard, Ernest Jones and Micah Kiser to fill the position. None of them have come close to playing as well as Littleton did during the 2018 and 2019 campaigns, particularly in coverage. 

    It's a shame, really, since the team has superstars in Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsey along the defensive front and in the secondary. A connective piece between the two levels would make a standout unit even better. 

    De'Vondre Campbell hasn't found a long-term home in recent years. He's been wonderful for the Green Bay Packers this season, though. His 146 total tackles rank sixth overall and lead the team. Unfortunately, his retention may be put on the back burner since the Packers also have to consider the futures of quarterback Aaron Rodgers, wide receiver Davante Adams and tight end Robert Tonyan. 

    If Campbell shakes loose, the Rams could swoop in and acquire a field general to lead the middle of their defense. 

Miami Dolphins: OG Brandon Scherff

20 of 32

    Icon Sportswire/Getty Images

    The Miami Dolphins did the right thing by investing in their offensive line, spending multiple high-round draft picks to protect quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. A smart approach doesn't automatically equal proper execution, though. 

    Miami used first- or second-round selections to obtain Austin Jackson, Robert Hunt and Liam Eichenberg from the past two classes. The front office also sank draft picks into Solomon Kindley and Larnel Coleman. None of them have helped. The Dolphins rank last in pass-block win rate, per ESPN Analytics

    To rectify the situation, the Dolphins can use the most projected salary-cap space of any team and sign an elite interior blocker and five-time Pro Bowl selection in Brandon Scherff. Jackson has been a disaster after becoming a first-round pick in 2020. He failed at left tackle, and a move to guard hasn't helped. Scherff can help solidify this unit as one of the best available free agents. 

Minnesota Vikings: Edge David Ojabo

21 of 32

    Icon Sportswire/Getty Images

    The Minnesota Vikings might be the offseason's most unpredictable team because their path forward ranges from staying the course with what's in the building to blowing everything up. 

    Let's operate under the assumption the team will remain mostly intact. If that's the case, the Vikings should still look for edge help to complement Danielle Hunter when he returns from his torn pec. 

    Michigan's David Ojabo won't be in the same discussion as teammate Aidan Hutchinson, Oregon's Kayvon Thibodeaux or Purdue's George Karlaftis as elite edge-prospects expected to go at or near the top of the 2022 draft. Ojabo came to the sport late, having been born in Nigeria and moving to Scotland at a young age, and presents as much or more upside than anyone just mentioned. 

    Ojabo is still raw in certain technical aspects, but his burst, athleticism and fluidity are outstanding. An investment in him just outside the top 10 could pay major dividends. 

New England Patriots: S Marcus Williams

22 of 32

    Tyler Kaufman/Associated Press

    The New England Patriots showed they were willing to spend heavily in free agency when the possibility of multiple losing seasons became more realistic. The team bounced back this season and regained its playoff form. 

    Last season's splurge shouldn't stop there, though. The Patriots need to re-sign cornerback J.C. Jackson and consider long-term replacements for safety Devin McCourty. 

    McCourty's contributions to the Patriots can't be overstated during his 12 seasons with the franchise. But he will turn 35 in August, and the possibility of signing one of the league's better young free safeties should be strongly considered. 

    Marcus Williams has been exceptional as the back-line defender for the New Orleans Saints since becoming a second-round pick in the 2017 draft. But the Saints lack financial flexibility, and a quarterback will be the likely target if/when the organization creates some. 

    The 25-year-old has consistently been one of Pro Football Focus' highest-graded safeties and could be the perfect piece to replace McCourty. 

New Orleans Saints: QB Russell Wilson

23 of 32

    Ashley Landis/Associated Press

    In almost every case, a move needs to make some sort of financial sense. Russell Wilson to the New Orleans doesn't, though the Big Easy is one of the reported places the eight-time Pro Bowl quarterback would waive his no-trade clause for, per PullUp Pod's Jordan Schultz

    As per usual, the Saints are well above the projected salary cap. But the organization always finds a way. Saints vice president of football administration Khai Harley is a master at creating wiggle room. 

    The Saints could do the mundane thing by re-signing Jameis Winston and seeing how he responds after suffering a season-ending torn ACL. After all, he played well before the injury. 

    Or, the organization can go get another top-flight quarterback to pair with head coach Sean Payton. Even without consistent quarterback play this season, the Saints remain in the playoff hunt going into Week 18. 

New York Giants: OL Ikem Ekwonu

24 of 32

    Wilfredo Lee/Associated Press

    The New York Giants offensive line is a disaster. Aside from left tackle Andrew Thomas, the unit doesn't feature many salvageable parts. 

    The organization's offseason plan should be simple: Use both free agency and the draft to improve its front five. Of the two, the draft is more likely to bring a premium talent since the Giants are in line to land a pair of top-10 selections thanks to the Justin Fields trade. 

    A pair of tackles are viewed as elite draft picks. Alabama's Evan Neal could very well be the No. 1 overall pick because the 6'7", 350-pound blocker is an exceptional athlete at a premium position. North Carolina State's Ikem Ekwonu isn't a consolation prize, though. The unanimous All-American developed into college football's most dominant blocker. 

    Some organizations might project the 6'4", 320-pound Ekwonu as more of a guard than a tackle because of his squatter frame and the fact that he's already played the position at a high level. For the Giants, an elite talent to upgrade the unit is all that matters. 

New York Jets: CB Derek Stingley Jr.

25 of 32

    Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

    The New York Jets must keep doing what they've been doing the last two offseasons by building as much as they can through the draft. 

    Granted, an argument can be made whether general manager Joe Douglas has done so effectively, particularly with the team's top selections in the last two drafts. Even so, the Jets are in line to have two top-10 picks as the draft cycle revs up for another spin. 

    So, a handful of options exists among the elite prospects. The team could address the defensive front with one of the talented edge-rushers expected to come off the board quickly. But cornerback remains a major sticking point, and the drop-off from Derek Stingley Jr. to the rest of the class is significant. 

    Stingley missed most of this season with a foot injury, playing just three games. If he's cleared medically, the 20-year-old is the best pure cover corner in the draft. He and Bryce Hall could form a nice, young tandem to stabilize the Jets secondary. 

Philadelphia Eagles: C Tyler Linderbaum

26 of 32

    Icon Sportswire/Getty Images

    The Philadelphia Eagles already lay claim to one of the league's elite offensive fronts. They're powerful at the point of attack, and the coaching staff has relied heavily on the group to field the league's top-ranked rushing attack. 

    But center Jason Kelce is 34 years old and will be a free agent after this season. He became a Philadelphia icon during his time with the franchise. Even so, the Eagles should take advantage of selecting the ideal replacement in Iowa's Tyler Linderbaum. 

    The reigning Rimington Trophy winner as the nation's best center is a top-10 talent, though his positional value will likely push him down boards. Also, his 290-pound frame won't be for every team. The Eagles will likely value Linderbaum more than others because he presents similar movement skills to Kelce, with his ability to reach defenders, pull and consistently get to the second level. 

Pittsburgh Steelers: QB Desmond Ridder

27 of 32

    Icon Sportswire/Getty Images

    The Ben Roethlisberger era is all but done for the Pittsburgh Steelers. The 39-year-old quarterback basically admitted as much before Monday's contest with the Cleveland Browns and was treated as such during the game. So, Pittsburgh will be searching for a new starting quarterback for the first time since the 2004 offseason. 

    But the upcoming quarterback class isn't very good. Still, Cincinnati's Desmond Ridder is the best of the bunch and might be worth taking a shot on later in the first round. 

    Bleacher Report scout Nate Tice wrote about the quarterback prospect: 

    "Although he is a very good athlete, he shows the desire to do his damage from the pocket. Ridder plays with good eyes and his processing on a multitude of concepts is consistently good. Combined with very good pocket movement and footwork, he's able to keep his eyes downfield and progress as needed to work through his reads. He shows the ability to throw guys open with the arm strength to drive throws into tight spaces. He also flashes the ability to throw off-platform or outside structure." 

San Francisco 49ers: S Tyrann Mathieu

28 of 32

    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    Last offseason, Tyrann Mathieu told reporters, "Just being here the last couple years, I can't see me wearing any other uniform." 

    The defensive back's statement could turn out to be true. The Kansas City Chiefs have the financial flexibility to re-sign him after this season. 

    At the same time, other organizations in need of a playmaker for their secondary shouldn't just give up on the possibility of acquiring the difference-maker. 

    The San Francisco 49ers are once again facing the possibility of a rebuilt secondary. Mathieu could be the crown jewel of the new-look unit. The 49ers have two selling points: Defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans is a former player, and James Bettcher, who served as Mathieu's coordinator with the Arizona Cardinals, is on San Francisco's staff. 

    Maybe it's not enough to lure Mathieu from where he's comfortable. But the 49ers have to try.

Seattle Seahawks: OT Trent Brown

29 of 32

    Danny Karnik/Associated Press

    The Seattle Seahawks' offseason will hinge on whether the organization keeps Russell Wilson. The quarterback could force his way out of the Great Northwest, which would change the direction of the entire franchise. 

    The Seahawks should do what it takes to make him happy—i.e. investing in the blockers in front of him. 

    The market won't be flooded with many significant O-line upgrades. Those who have talent up front tend to keep it. Trent Brown is a massive exception. 

    Brown previously signed with the Raiders the last time he hit the open market. It didn't go well, and they traded him back to the Patriots. Brown may not be a Pro Bowl-caliber player, but he's still a quality performer, and a play for him to take over at right tackle, while re-signing Duane Brown this offseason, could go a long way toward assuaging Wilson's concerns about his protection. 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: TE David Njoku

30 of 32

    Diamond Images/Getty Images

    Rob Gronkowski's status is a year-by-year thing. Will he return for another season? One can never really tell with him. 

    He probably will, though he turns 33 later this year and is an impending free agent, as is O.J. Howard, who hasn't found his footing with the organization. The 27-year-old could test the market to find opportunities elsewhere. Even if both leave, Cameron Brate is under contract through 2023. But he turns 31 and has a salary-cap charge that escalates to $7.3 million next season. 

    Tight end may not be a priority, but it needs to be addressed. A young, talented threat at the position could help the team transition away from some of its older contributors. David Njoku, another impending free agent, has been one of the best weapons within the Cleveland Browns offense, though he's never been properly utilized. He isn't a featured target despite presenting mismatch capabilities. 

    Tom Brady loves to throw to his tight ends. The addition of the 25-year-old with immense upside is an exciting proposition. 

Tennessee Titans: CB Stephon Gilmore

31 of 32

    Mark Brown/Getty Images

    Stephon Gilmore may be 31, but he's still a quality cover corner. The Tennessee Titans wouldn't sign him with the thought he plays at a Defensive Player of the Year level anymore. His inclusion could be valuable to the growth of the team's secondary, though. 

    Tennessee can go into next season with Kristian Fulton, Janoris Jenkins, Elijah Molden and Caleb Farley under contract. However, Jenkins' salary-cap charge escalates to $10.2 million in 2022. Farley's injury history remains a major concern as well, especially since he's recovering from a torn ACL.

    Gilmore, who is two years younger than Jenkins, can serve as a reliable No. 1 corner while the young players around him develop, and he can serve as a mentor to each. Furthermore, the veteran's history with the New England Patriots should make a transition to Tennessee and head coach Mike Vrabel seamless. 

    The Titans could use the help in the secondary, too, since the unit ranks among the bottom 10 in pass defense. 

Washington Football Team: OT Charles Cross

32 of 32

    Mark Humphrey/Associated Press

    The Washington Football Team could get stuck in limbo yet again regarding quarterback. 

    Last draft, the team had the 19th pick, which was out of reach of a top QB prospect. This year could see the opposite happen. Currently, Washington owns a top-10 pick, but none of this year's quarterback prospects are viewed as high first-round talents. 

    Instead, the organization can concentrate on another premium position. 

    Charles Leno Jr. will be a free agent after this season, and he'll be 31 next year. Leno has been a good addition to serve as the anchor for Washington's offensive front. But the team could be even better if it were to draft Mississippi State's Charles Cross and land the class' most natural pass-blocker to protect the blind side of whoever starts at quarterback next season.

    Cross, 21, and Samuel Cosmi, 22, would give Washington an elite tandem of young tackles. 

            

    Salary-cap info via Spotrac unless otherwise noted.

🚨 SPORTS NEWS ➡️ YOUR INBOX

The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.


X