The offseason is a chance for NFL teams to fix issues on the field, in the locker room, and in the front office. All 32 teams have some sort of fixin up to do. This article is going to highlight one need for every team in the AFC. Now while most of these teams have more than one thing they needs to accomplish before the season begins, I will highlight the need I believe will have the most impact on the organization. Whether it’s a finding a new quarterback, dealing away star players, or acquiring capital, every team has an offseason shopping list.
New England Patriots: Surround Tom with new weapons
Tom Brady still has got some juice left in him, evident by the teams recent Super Bowl victory. While some fans want the Patriots to find his heir, I think the more important issue is to find Brady some skill players that will let him play until he is 45 like he stated. Chris Hogan and Cordarrelle Patterson are free agents, Rob Gronkowski might be retiring, and Josh Gordon’s football career is most likely over. There has been recent speculation that the Patriots are inquiring about Odell Beckham Jr., which proves they know they need to upgrade the offense. The Patriots always find some way to get the most out of their players, so signing some free agent wideouts and perhaps drafting the “New Gronk” with their first round pick can help patch up the offense. Addressing the future at QB can wait until the 2020 draft class, where get you a better prospect to take over for Brady.
New York Jets: Get Sam Darnold help
The Jets found their franchise quarterback, now it is time to protect him and get some explosive playmakers. Fixing the offensive line is the key here, as the Jets had one of the worst offensive lines in football last year. The Jets also need to find Darnold some playmakers. Chris Herndon has flashed, and Robby Anderson is a good deep threat, but the Jets lack a serious offensive weapon. Trading for Antonio Brown or signing Le’Veon Bell can help Darnold’s progress.
Miami Dolphins: Embrace the tank
Every Miami Dolphins fan knows what mediocracy feels like. The team has been stuck in 7-9 territory for far too long. The Dolphins are set up for a pretty good shot at the first pick in 2020. So in the mean-time, they should trade away assets that can net them picks, while also seeing what their young players can do. Miami has all of their picks this year and should draft and play their rookies. For a roster that looks pretty barren, tanking is the best case scenario
Buffalo Bills: Get Josh Allen help
This scenario is much like the Jets situation. The Bills have their quarterback, now they need to protect him and get some offensive talent to help. The Bills are set up good with cap space, around 80 million, and plenty of draft picks. Rebuilding the entire offensive line and drafting some wideouts should jump start the Bills rebuild. The Bills pick at number 9, which is a great spot to land one of the drafts top offensive tackles. They should target wide receivers and tight ends in the second round of the draft.
Pittsburgh Steelers: Get the most out of Antonio Brown
Antonio Brown is on his way out, and he is the best receiver in the NFL. The Steelers cannot be petty and not get the most out of AB. He is going to cost a big chunk of their cap space, all while playing for another team. The Steelers shouldn’t rule out any team and should just trade AB to the highest bidder. If they open the auction, I am sure they can net two high draft picks. Every NFL team would welcome AB with open arms, and I’m sure that most will pay a good price to do so.
Baltimore Ravens: Teach Lamar Jackson how to throw
The Ravens were surprisingly good when rookie QB Lamar Jackson took over. They employed a very run heavy script and played amazing defense. However, as shown in their playoff loss, you need a decent offense to win in the NFL. Lamar Jackson is at the center of it all, he needs to learn how to be accurate with the football. If he can get to Cam Newton level of accuracy, then the Ravens are going to be a dangerous team. Surrounding Lamar with big body wideouts can also help as the larger catch radius can limit Lamar’s inaccuracy.
Cleveland Browns: Let Dorsey work his magic
The Cleveland Browns look to be on the verge of a breakout. They are dark horse to win their division next year, which sounds very weird to say. The key here is to not try and rush the progress. Baker Mayfield is still just a sophomore in the NFL and their team is still young. Adding some veteran players can help the team learn a winning culture. What the ownership needs to do is stay out of the way and not push to overspend on free agents and reach on players in the draft. On the field, finding another pass rusher, corner, and linebacker will help a decent defense turn into a great one. Also another wide receiver for Baker would be the cherry on top.
Cincinnati Bengals: Go all in for Kyler Murray
Kyler Murray needs to be in an Bengals uniform. Before the draft, the Bengals should see what they can get for Andy Dalton, and use that ammunition to move up in the draft and take Kyler. Dalton has not brought the Bengals much success, and new head coach Zac Taylor can use Murray to bring some life and excitement to Cincinnati. Besides the quarterback position, the Bengals need to overhaul their defense. Starting with the linebacker position is a good way to do so. Quarterbacks take priority over everything, hence why finding the right quarterback is the main need.
Kansas City Chiefs: Defense, Defense, and more Defense
The Chiefs are among the elite when it comes to offensive production. Their defense on the other hand is something that needs to be improved on. When playoff time rolls around, you can’t just outscore everybody. Patching up the secondary is the main objective. The Chiefs own a pick in every round and should use all of them on defense. Also tagging or extending Dee Ford is another important aspect to making sure the defense takes a step forward in 2019.
Los Angeles Chargers: Turning Good into Great
The Chargers are one of the most complete teams in the NFL. They have a stellar defense and a high powered offense. Injuries sidetracked some of their potential, but the Chargers are in the thick of things when we talk about contenders for the AFC title. The key moves in the offseason will be upgrading around the ball. The offensive line can use an infusion of young talent that can protect Rivers better. The secondary can use a ball hawking corner or safety. If the defensive line gets another pass rusher than they would be virtually impossible to stop. The Chargers own all of their picks and can use them to help take the next leap and finally make it to the Super Bowl.
Denver Broncos: Clean up the offensive line
Trading for Joe Flacco made no sense, but the Broncos seem to be fine with Flacco holding the spot for at least one year. In the meantime, fixing the offensive line will not only protect the quarterback, but also open up more running lanes for Phillip Lindsay. Establishing a run first offense can help out whoever is at quarterback and allow the Broncos to turn back the clock to their play style in 2015, when they went to the Super Bowl. Finding some secondary help is also another offseason need. The Broncos hold plenty of draft picks and have a modest 37 million in cap space.
Oakland Raiders: Starting the rebuild right
The Oakland Raiders sold all of their big pieces in 2018, netting them three first rounders in the process. So the rebuild is a full go and the Raiders cannot afford to screw this up. Do not draft Kyler Murray, if you are not convinced Derek Carr is the guy then wait till 2020 for those quarterbacks. The Raiders should use all of their picks on upside prospects. They are in a great spot to trade back in the draft, earn even more capital, and can potentially draft eight players this year. The biggest needs are edge rushers, wide receiver, running back, and linebacker. The Raiders are also flush with cap space, so they have the tools, but they cannot try to rush the process.
Houston Texans: Protect Deshaun Watson
The offensive line in Houston allowed 62 sacks in 2018, showing that Watson was constantly under pressure. Some of the blame was on Watson, as he tends to pat the ball too long, but the offensive line has been a problem for some time now. The Texans own 4 picks in the first three rounds, and have plenty of cap space this offseason. Besides the offensive line, upgrading at linebacker and corner can help the Texans reach the AFC title conversation.
Tennessee Titans: Give Mariota some stability
The Titans are not far off from being a contender. They have a solid defense, and a decent offense. However in order to take the next step, finding an offensive coordinator that can use Marcus Mariota is the only way the Titans will become a contender. Mariota is a special quarterback. He is extremely athletic and can make all the throws. However, he has had to learn a new offense three times in the past four years. That kind of turnover is hard on any QB, especially a 25 year old. Finding some stability and schemes that will help Mariota is the key.
Jacksonville Jaguars: Replacing Bortles
One of the easiest things to see this offseason, is that the Jags need a new quarterback. Bortles has shown some flashes, but he is not a good quarterback and the Jaguars need an upgrade. The easiest way is through the draft. Unless they get leap frogged, the Jaguars can land Kyler Murray or Dwayne Haskins at pick number 7. Both would be an upgrade from Bortles. Another route is to sign a free agent QB like Teddy Bridgewater, and or trade for veterans like Nick Foles or Case Keenum. Either way, the Jaguars will have a new quarterback. With a solid running game and stellar defense, they should be right back in the playoff picture with some solid QB play.
Indianapolis Colts: Go on a splurge
Everyone who follows the NFL, knows how well the Colts did in 2018. They struck gold in the draft landing All-Pro Quinton Nelson and DROTY Darius Leonard, got their franchise QB back, and made the playoffs. Now they need to turn right draft picks and a league high cap space into impact players that will get them another deep playoff run. Most of the resources can be used on defense. Getting secondary help is the main priority, then finding an impact pass rusher can help that defense tremendously. On offense, finding Andrew Luck another receiver across T.Y. Hilton will turn the Colts offense into a powerhouse. With a league high in resources, the Colts are set up well for the 2019 season.