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The Five Best—and Worst—NFL Offseasons So Far

Bryan DietzlerSenior Analyst IMay 12, 2010

INDIANAPOLIS - JANUARY 24:  Quarterback Mark Sanchez #6 of the New York Jets reacts in the third quarter against the Indianapolis Colts during the AFC Championship Game at Lucas Oil Stadium on January 24, 2010 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images

With the 2010 NFL Draft out of the way, and free agency winding down, it’s time to take a look at which teams have done the best, and which teams have done the worst so far this offseason.

There have been a lot of changes, and a lot of player movement so far this offseason, which means that the 2010 season is going to be a good one.

Five-Best Offseasons

1. New York Jets The Jets are treating this offseason like a make-or-break one, as they have made many moves to help themselves. Their draft was also decent, and they got a lot of good value for the picks that they made. Signing former San Diego Chargers running back LaDanlian Tomlinson should work out well for the Jets, and their defense should be much better with the additions of Antonio Cromartie, and rookie Kyle Wilson in the secondary.

2. Baltimore Ravens Getting Anquan Boldin wasn’t going to be quite enough to put the Ravens on this list, but thanks to a strong draft and some moves by the team this offseason (such as putting second-year tackle Michael Oher permanently on the left side), this team has a lot to look forward to next season.

In the draft, they got some great talent, including outside linebacker Sergio Kindle and Terrence Cody to compliment some of the other moves that they've made. This could help the Jets get to the Super Bowl.

3. Seattle Seahawks The Seahawks have both gained some significant players, and lost some. As such, they hope that it all evens out in the end, and that they improve in 2010. The Seahawks have acquired some high impact players, including safety Earl Thomas, offensive tackle Russell Okung, and QB Charlie Whitehurst, while losing defensive end Patrick Kearny, and offensive tackle Walter Jones.

They've made strides to try to take care of some of their needs, but will it be enough to get them back into the playoffs next season?

4. Chicago Bears A lot of people are going to have a chuckle at my expense for this one, but when you look at all of the changes that this team has made during the offseason, how can anyone not say that they haven’t improved? The biggest test of all their offseason activity, of course, will come when they hit the field, and show fans that the choices they made were indeed the right ones.

They signed veteran defensive end Julius Peppers to a long-term deal, brought in perennial third down running back Chester Taylor to help give Matt Forte a rest, and to assist in pass blocking. The Bears also nabbed Brandon Manumaleuna at tight end. Add in some changes on the coaching staff, including the hiring of Mike Martz as offensive coordinator, and moving Rod Marinelli to defensive coordinator, the Bears have been busy, indeed.

All of these changes promise to give the Bears some much-needed progress toward making the playoffs in 2010 they must take advantage and make the most of them.

5. Kansas City Chiefs Kansas City, despite the fact they have been perpetual basement dwellers for the past few seasons, has made some significant strides toward improving their team this offseason. Despite the fact they signed aging running back Thomas Jones, he has proven that he has enough left in the tank to make a difference. He should be their feature back in 2010.

Their draft was also a decent one, as they picked up safety Eric Berry, running back Dexter McCluster, guard Jon Asamoah, and tight end Tony Moeaki. Although these players are young and inexperienced, they will help provide the Chiefs a good base from which to build upon, and eventually right the ship and get them into the playoffs.

The Five Worst

1. Pittsburgh Steelers You can’t fault this team for the problems that Ben Roethlisberger has gotten himself into, but they clearly weren’t as prepared for his suspension. Then again, what team could be prepared for something like this? However, they could have gone out and at least tried to get a better quarterback than Byron Leftwich. They need someone like Marc Bulger under center, even if it’s only for four or so games.

While they picked up a big need with center Maurkice Pouncey in the first round of the draft, the rest of their picks were somewhat average, and they failed to address a growing need at the wide receiver position. They could have also gotten a backup running back to help keep Rashard Mendenhall fresh (and start in case of an injury).  Are the Steelers a team in decline? Time will tell.

2. Dallas Cowboys —The Cowboys' offseason can be summed up in two words: Dez Bryant. Or how about four: they cut Flozell Adams. While the Cowboys feel that they have enough talent to overcome the loss of Adams, in reality they don’t, and they need to do something to fix this problem (at the time that this is being written, the Cowboys have traded much maligned linebacker Bobby Carpenter to the St. Louis Rams, for Alex Barron so perhaps they have taken care of this issue).

Adding Bryant basically left them with a much more crowded wide receiver position, as three stars (Bryant, Miles Austin, and Roy Williams) so someone will have to go (most likely). They also failed to address depth on the offensive line, as well as the defensive backfield, where problems may continue to grow. Sure, the Cowboys will probably be a playoff team again in 2010, but they are a few injures short of having a dismal season.

3. Philadelphia Eagles —I usually like what the Eagles do in the offseason, but this year, getting rid of quarterback Donavan McNabb was a bit of a stunner, and left me scratching my head. Why, in the midst of having one of the better runs in their franchise history, would you give up the guy that has gotten your team that far, and now put a guy in that hasn’t played that many games and lacks good game experience? What were they thinking?

It is this fact alone that the Eagles have had a pretty bad offseason. Their draft wasn’t that bad, and they have filled some holes, but they will most likely miss the playoffs and have to consider it a rebuilding year with a new quarterback at the helm on offense. 

4. Minnesota Vikings —The Vikings are putting all their eggs into one basket by assuming that quarterback Brett Favre is coming back. If he does, then they are off the hook, but if he doesn’t, then they passed up some great talent, including Notre Dame’s Jimmy Clausen (now with the Carolina Panthers) and Texas’ Colt McCoy (now with the Cleveland Browns). 

To count on Favre returning could cost the Vikings in the end, and they should have done something to better prepare themselves for the eventuality of Favre’s retirement. Because of this, they didn’t do what they needed to  this offseason, and will pay the price for it in the future.

5. Buffalo Bills —Like a few of the other teams in this list, the Bills failed to secure one of the most important positions on the team—the quarterback position. At the moment, they don’t have an experienced quarterback on the roster, and if they don’t get one by the time the season starts, then it could be another long season for them.

The best thing that Buffalo can do is either wait for some of the cuts around training camp time, and see what talent they can find. Perhaps they can make a trade with another team, and bring in a veteran who has some experience and a track record of winning some games.  If they can do anything to upgrade the position during the offseason they will help improve their chances of winning next season.

What are your thoughts? Who has had the best offseason?  Who has had the worst?

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