With 2020 NFL free agency winding down, we are looking back on what went down and looking forward to what's ahead.
Those weren't the only huge moves. Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott got the franchise tag and cornerback Byron Jones got paid by the Miami Dolphins. The Cleveland Browns again made big free-agent moves, bolstering their offense with tight end Austin Hooper and tackle Jack Conklin.
Offseason goals: The ultimate goal of this offseason was to improve a below-average offense. General manager Brandon Beane accomplished that on Day 1 of free agency by trading with the Vikings for Diggs. Every other move he's made, while not splashy, improved a defense that has finished in the top three in each of the past two seasons.
Biggest question to be answered: There are few holes on this roster and none that are glaring. Buffalo does still need a complement to running back Devin Singletary, and given coach Sean McDermott's "veteran in every room" philosophy, it'll be interesting to see whether the team addresses that need via free agency or the draft. -- Marcel Louis-Jacques
Dolphins' biggest need remains at QB
Cameron Wolfe details the "big splash" the Dolphins made in free agency, making Byron Jones the highest-paid CB in the NFL, then looks to the NFL draft, where Miami should target a quarterback.
Offseason goals: The Dolphins' main goals this offseason centered around fixing the trenches and finding their quarterback of the future. The latter is likely to be addressed in the draft, but signing Van Noy, Lawson, Emmanuel Ogbah, Flowers, Ted Karras and others were big steps in finding answers on both lines. Improving their 30th-ranked defense was a top Dolphins goal in free agency, and landing Jones should transform what coach Brian Flores can do with a man-to-man-heavy defense. Free agency was an early success, but the draft may be a more important step in solving these goals long-term.
Biggest question to be answered: Who is the Dolphins' quarterback of the future? The answer will likely come in April's draft, with Tua Tagovailoa, Justin Herbert and Jordan Love looking like the most probable options. This player will become the face of the Dolphins' promising rebuild and start the clock on the team's pursuit to become a long-term AFC contender. Tagovailoa appears to be the favorite, but his injury history makes the situation complex. Herbert and Love are healthier options, but each has weaknesses that could cause a team to pause. -- Cameron Wolfe
Offseason goals: The Patriots finished the 2019 season as the oldest team in the NFL, according to ESPN Stats & Information. They had more players 30 years or older (17) than any other club. So getting younger was an obvious goal. The other factor in play is economics. The Patriots are tight to the salary cap, with $26 million in dead charges for players no longer on the roster. So this is an offseason to pay some old bills, build depth, get younger and position themselves for sustained success as their cap commitments will reduce significantly in 2021.
Biggest question to be answered: Is Jarrett Stidham the answer at quarterback? With Tom Brady moving on to the Buccaneers, the Patriots figure to give the 2019 fourth-round draft pick from Auburn every chance to be his replacement. In 2019, Stidham had the best preseason of any rookie under Bill Belichick, but there is still an unknown as to what that means should he be starting when the games count. Brian Hoyer and Cody Kessler are the other quarterbacks on the depth chart. -- Mike Reiss
Offseason goals: The Jets' primary objective is to rebuild the offensive line, and they've added serviceable players in McGovern, Fant and Van Roten. They also retained incumbent left guard Alex Lewis. But let's be clear: None of these moves (with the exception of McGovern) can be considered long-term solutions. This means they could take an offensive tackle with the 11th pick in the draft. The makeover ain't over yet.
Biggest question to be answered: Perriman brings a vertical element to the passing game, but doesn't completely offset the loss of Robby Anderson (Panthers). They still need one or two other receivers. Desir brings starting experience, but there's still a glaring lack of talent at corner. Jenkins' return provides stability at outside linebacker, but where's the edge rusher? Once the new contracts are processed, they will be under $10 million in cap room. -- Rich Cimini
Offseason goals: Reshape the defensive front seven. Baltimore wanted to bolster itself up front after allowing Derrick Henry to rush for 195 yards in last season's playoff loss to the Tennessee Titans. There were also problems with the pass rush. The Ravens managed a league-low nine sacks from their four-man rush in 2019. So Baltimore traded for Campbell and later signed defensive lineman Derek Wolfe, a day after their failed deal with Michael Brockers. The next step is adding a middle linebacker, which could come in the first round of the draft if LSU's Patrick Queen or Oklahoma's Kenneth Murray are available when the Ravens are on the clock.
Biggest question to be answered: Who will be the new wide receiver weapons for Lamar Jackson? The Ravens used what little cap space they had on defense, passing on free-agent wide receivers Emmanuel Sanders and Robby Anderson. Baltimore sees more value in the draft, which is loaded with talent at this position. It wouldn't be a surprise if the Ravens selected two receivers in the first four rounds, where they have a total of seven picks. Baltimore needs to provide more talent on the outside for the reigning NFL MVP after his wide receivers totaled 115 catches last season, 22 fewer than any other team in the NFL. -- Jamison Hensley
Offseason goals: The league's worst team in 2019 used free agency to fill some voids on defense and accelerate a rebuilding process. That will continue in April with the top overall pick in the upcoming draft. Cincinnati shredded its conservative approach to free agency, doling out at least $145 million, including $53 million for Reader's four-year deal. Cincinnati also used the franchise tag on Green, who hasn't played since 2018 but is one of the league's most productive players when healthy.
Biggest question to be answered: The Bengals still have to figure out what to do with veteran quarterback Andy Dalton's contract. The nine-year starter is set to earn $17.7 million against the cap in 2020. The Bengals need that deal off the books in order to have money to get through the upcoming season, according to the front office's own estimates. So far, Cincinnati has been unable to trade Dalton. A resolution is needed in order to avoid a tricky financial situation. If the Bengals cut Dalton, he will have more freedom to find a team where he can fight for a starting job this fall. -- Ben Baby
Browns proving commitment to Mayfield with offseason moves
Jake Trotter says the Browns' signings of RT Jack Conklin and TE Austin Hooper clearly indicate the franchise's vision of building around Baker Mayfield.
Offseason goals: The Browns showed on the first day of the legal tampering period that they still believe in Baker Mayfield as their future and franchise quarterback, despite a new front office and coaching staff. Cleveland went out and landed the top right tackle (Conklin) and tight end (Hooper) on the market to give Mayfield better pass protection and a reliable pass-catching option over the middle, especially off play-action and in the red zone. The Browns also brought in veteran Case Keenum to be Mayfield's mentor in the quarterback room, as well as his backup. Every move on Day 1 was about better supporting Mayfield, on and off the field.
Biggest question to be answered: The Browns shored up the right side in signing Conklin, but they still have to address left tackle, where they have a massive hole. Fortunately, as a silver lining to last year's disappointing season, they have the No. 10 overall pick in what appears to be a strong draft for top-end tackles. Look for Cleveland to select its left tackle of the future, and Mayfield's immediate blindside protector. -- Jake Trotter
Offseason goals: Developing the backup quarterbacks and adding offensive playmakers. The Steelers have made steps in achieving both by hiring quarterbacks coach Matt Canada and adding Ebron in free agency. But the offense was clearly a weakness last year, and the biggest key to remedying that is developing depth behind quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster. Coming up with a solid No. 2 receiver will take the pressure off Smith-Schuster, and further developing backup Mason Rudolph and Devlin Hodges will give the Steelers a more consistent safety net should a worst-case scenario play out with Roethlisberger.
Biggest question to be answered: General manager Kevin Colbert touted the possibility of a better Roethlisberger after his elbow surgery, but physical evidence of that remains to be seen. Roethlisberger's recovery and development from surgery remains the biggest question the Steelers need to answer. It will be more difficult to track that progress with the indefinite postponement of organized team activities. Roethlisberger expressed confidence in his ability to return to form, but the Steelers will want to closely monitor how he develops chemistry with some of the newer receivers such as Diontae Johnson and Ebron and adjusts to game speed. -- Brooke Pryor
Offseason goals: Texans coach Bill O'Brien prioritizes signing the team's own free agents, and he doesn't want to let two of his core players get there. Houston's offseason goals are to extend left tackle Laremy Tunsil (who otherwise will play on his fifth-year options) and quarterback Deshaun Watson (who has two more years on his rookie deal but is eligible for an extension this offseason). The Texans also feel strongly about keeping linebacker Zach Cunningham (also in the 2017 draft class), but his extension might have to wait given the amount of money Houston has spent and is expected to spend this offseason.
Biggest question to be answered: How are they going to replace wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins' production, after trading him to Arizona? This question could plague the Texans if they don't find another receiver who can pick up at least a significant portion of the 104 catches for 1,165 yards and seven touchdowns Hopkins had last season. Whether that's drafting a stud receiver (and the Texans currently do not have a first-round pick) or Will Fuller V being able to stay healthy for a full season and have the year Houston believes he can, the Texans need to find the answer or there will be a huge hole in this offense. -- Sarah Barshop
Offseason goals: The Colts went into the offseason with questions surrounding their starting quarterback spot for 2020, when they said the "jury" was still out on Jacoby Brissett. They delivered their verdict on Brissett when they signed Rivers to a one-year, $25 million contract at the start of free agency. Rivers threw 20 interceptions, which were the third most in the NFL last season. But there's belief Rivers will excel with the Colts because he's been running Frank Reich's offense since 2013, when the Colts coach was on staff with the Chargers. Rivers will also be playing behind one of the top offensive lines in the league, which will give him time in the pocket. The Colts were the only team in the league to start the same group all 16 games last season.
Biggest question to be answered: Who will Rivers throw to next season? The Colts lack depth at receiver behind T.Y. Hilton and Zach Pascal. Parris Campbell, the team's second-round pick in 2019, played only seven games as a rookie because of injuries. The Colts have 10 wideouts on the roster. Five have never caught a pass in the NFL. The free-agent receiver market is drying up, and the Colts don't have a first-round pick in the draft to select a receiver because they traded the pick to San Francisco for defensive lineman DeForest Buckner two weeks ago. The Colts will have to hope the receiver draft class is as deep as many scouts have said. -- Mike Wells
Offseason goals: The Jaguars needed to address defensive tackle, linebacker, cornerback and tight end, but they needed to clear cap space, too. That meant they weren't going to spend big in free agency, and Schobert (five years, $53.75 million) and Eifert (two years, $15.5 million) are reasonable deals. The Schobert signing helps two positions because the Jaguars will move Myles Jack from middle to weakside linebacker. Eifert played all 16 games last season after missing 34 games with injuries from 2016 to '18. If he can stay healthy, the Jaguars grabbed two quality starters.
Biggest question to be answered: It's a tie between defensive tackle and cornerback. The Jaguars signed nose tackle Al Woods but still need to upgrade at the position and at three-technique defensive tackle, which is something they'll likely address in the draft. The Jaguars also need to find another starting corner opposite Tre Herndon. It's a good cornerback draft, but it wouldn't be a surprise to see them use their second first-round pick on a corner. -- Michael DiRocco
Offseason goals: The primary goal for the Titans was to maintain continuity on offense after experiencing a spike when Tannehill took over at quarterback. They finally had the opportunity to have a quarterback and offensive coordinator who experienced success together return. That's why signing Tannehill was a priority. Bringing back Henry was also imperative because the game plan on offense revolved around the bruising back. Titans GM Jon Robinson had to create more cap space to sign Tannehill and Henry while addressing other roster needs. The Titans released a number of veterans to accomplish the goal.
Biggest question to be answered: Did the Titans do enough to improve the defense? Signing Beasley gives them another pass-rusher, but the Titans have to add another player who can get after the quarterback. Trading defensive lineman Jurrell Casey seemed to be a prelude to a bigger, more impactful move, but that has yet to materialize. The Titans also have question marks in the secondary. Tennessee will need to find someone to man the nickel spot if defensive back Logan Ryan doesn't return. The defense lost a lot of leadership in Casey, Ryan and reserve linebacker Wesley Woodyard, along with defensive coordinator Dean Pees. -- Turron Davenport
Broncos spend big money on Gordon
Jeff Legwold says Denver is making moves in free agency but spent the bulk of its money acquiring Melvin Gordon.
Offseason goals: The Broncos took a defined approach with their two biggest acquisitions on defense -- cornerback A.J. Bouye and Casey -- coming by trade and then elected to use the bulk of their free-agency dollars on offense. Gordon, guard Graham Glasgow and backup quarterback Jeff Driskel all signed multiyear deals, with Glasgow's $44 million contract being the biggest investment. Glasgow figures to get the first look at right guard, but he could start at center as well if he turns out to be a better option. Overall, a team that scored 16 or fewer points in nine games last season wanted to surround quarterback Drew Lock with better personnel, but it still has work to do.
Biggest question to be answered: The Broncos still need some additional pop on offense, including more speed at wide receiver. The Broncos are fortunate in that regard to be looking at a deep group of wide receivers on the draft board. They can easily find value and players who can potentially contribute as rookies at the position in every round on the board. The offensive line could still use some attention in the draft, including at left tackle, where it would be a surprise if the Broncos engage the fifth-year option on left tackle Garett Bolles' contract. Inside linebacker could also get a look on the draft weekend. -- Jeff Legwold
Marquee signing(s): none
Offseason goals: The Chiefs signaled they were content to try to make another championship run with mostly the same roster that got them a victory in Super Bowl LIV. Cap space is extremely short after the Chiefs named defensive tackle Chris Jones their franchise player and retained wide receiver Sammy Watkins on his existing contract. Allowing Jones to get to free agency and releasing Watkins would have saved the Chiefs about $30 million against their cap and allowed them to replenish their roster in free agency. Unless the Chiefs change their minds about one player or both, any significant offseason player addition will have to come through the draft.
Biggest question to be answered: Do Jones and Watkins play for the Chiefs in 2020? The Chiefs are finding it difficult to meet Jones' long-term contract demands, so if he plays in Kansas City it will likely be on a one-year contract worth about $16 million. Trading Jones is another possibility. Last year, the Chiefs traded their franchise player, Dee Ford, to the 49ers. It's difficult seeing the Chiefs, given their tight salary cap situation, retaining Watkins at a cost of $21 million. His production simply hasn't merited that kind of price. But he played well for the Chiefs in the playoffs, and GM Brett Veach has said they signed Watkins for important games like those. -- Adam Teicher
Offseason goals: The Raiders did not need to be surgical on defense in free agency, general manager Mike Mayock said at the combine; they needed numbers, depth and, yeah, quality. Indeed, six of the first eight free agents the Raiders got were on the defensive side of the ball, with Littleton perhaps the jewel of the free-agency class. The Raiders, who had nine interceptions, nine forced fumbles and six recovered fumbles last season, needed to get more active and aggressive on defense. Adding a playmaking linebacker like Littleton while addressing the pass rush with Nassib and Collins and the secondary with Apple and Heath shows how serious Mayock was in his combine claim.
Biggest question to be answered: What are the Raiders going to do about the glaring hole at WR1? Mayock has downplayed the immediate impact a first-round receiver can make in his rookie season, but was he simply sandbagging to deflate the market? The Raiders have a gaggle of No. 2 and slot guys on the roster in Agholor and returners Tyrell Williams, Hunter Renfrow, Zay Jones and Rico Gafford, but the Antonio Brown experience has left them wanting ... and needing. The free-agent market on No. 1 wideouts has dissipated, and the Raiders, with the first of their two first-round picks coming at No. 12 overall, could have their pick of Jerry Jeudy, Henry Ruggs III or CeeDee Lamb. -- Paul Gutierrez
Offseason goals: The Chargers entered the offseason needing to reinforce their offensive line and were able to do so by signing Bulaga and trading for Carolina Panthers guard Trai Turner in exchange for left tackle Russell Okung. Prior to free agency, they also ensured the return of breakout running back Austin Ekeler and tight end Hunter Henry. On defense, the Chargers' addition of Harris gives them arguably the top secondary in the NFL -- an important addition in a division that includes Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes.
Biggest question to be answered: Who will succeed Philip Rivers as the Chargers' starting quarterback? The Chargers have the pieces on offense and defense to contend in their division, but must determine if Tyrod Taylor will take over as starter or if they will turn to the draft. They have the sixth overall pick and will have the opportunity to select their new franchise quarterback. It also remains a possibility Taylor starts in 2020, while a new rookie quarterback learns on the sideline from the veteran. -- Lindsey Thiry
Cowboys accomplished early free-agency goals, looking ahead to draft
Todd Archer says Dallas achieved its main two goals in free agency by keeping Amari Cooper and Dak Prescott, but the team is still looking to pick up a pass-rusher in the draft.
Offseason goals: The Cowboys kept quarterback Dak Prescott on the exclusive franchise tag and Cooper on a five-year, $100 million deal, which was their goal at the start of the offseason. They still want to have Prescott signed to a long-term deal and have been involved in recent talks with the quarterback's agent. Keeping Lee helps the leadership with the linebacker group. In adding McCoy, Poe and Clinton-Dix, the Cowboys have three defensive starters. McCoy had five sacks a year ago and can be a disruptive force in the middle. Poe brings size to the front that they have not had for years. Clinton-Dix can take the ball away, which is what the defense has lacked, but he can also give up a lot, too. But the cost was right (a one-year deal), and that should motivate him.
Biggest question to be answered: Where will the outside pass rush come from? The Cowboys lost Robert Quinn, who led the team with 11.5 sacks last season, to Chicago, and don't have a ready-made, speed pass-rusher on the roster. DeMarcus Lawrence will need some help and more than just the return from hip surgery of Tyrone Crawford. McCoy and Poe can help push the pocket, but the Cowboys need help in closing the edge. Perhaps Randy Gregory could help if he gets reinstated from a suspension, but the Cowboys' priorities entering the draft would appear to be defensive end and cornerback. LSU defensive end K'Lavon Chaisson and Florida cornerback CJ Henderson are players at each position to watch for when Dallas drafts at No. 17. -- Todd Archer
Offseason goals: The Giants desperately needed to upgrade with defensive playmakers. They didn't have many, if any, difference-makers. It's why they finished 25th in total defense, allowing 377.3 yards per game. The Giants also needed to solidify the offensive line and protect their investment in quarterback Daniel Jones. So they went shopping near the top of the market at cornerback and middle linebacker, and slapped the franchise tag on Williams. That at least gives the Giants three quality players on defense, even if they need more at some of the most important positions. It's a start. They were never going to be able to fill all their needs in one free-agent frenzy.
Biggest question to be answered: Did the Giants actually improve their pass rush? They still don't have a dominant edge rusher. In fact, they likely downgraded by not re-signing Markus Golden and adding Fackrell on a one-year deal instead. And it's not as if the Giants can rely on a great interior pass rush, either. Williams is perhaps their biggest threat, and he had half a sack last season. So there is major work to be done with this Giants defense. Perhaps they can look for some of those much-needed pass-rushers in the draft. -- Jordan Raanan
Offseason goals: The Eagles wanted to get younger, faster and healthier across the board, and their offseason approach to date has been mostly in tune with that objective. They let safety Malcolm Jenkins, 32, and left tackle Jason Peters, 38, hit free agency while infusing the defense (and the secondary in particular) with players who add speed and versatility. Slay, 29, doesn't exactly scream youth movement, but the move does address a major need. He also has a limited injury history, having played 103 of a possible 112 games over his career. The Eagles went after players who have proven durability after being hit hard by injuries the past few seasons.
Biggest question to be answered: What are they going to do at wide receiver? Philadelphia decided to let the first wave of free agency pass without adding some much-needed receiver help. The Eagles had talks with the Houston Texans about DeAndre Hopkins but decided the deal wasn't right for them. That puts pressure on general manager Howie Roseman & Co. to get it right in this April's draft. It's a very good receiver class, and the Eagles should have the opportunity to get a difference-maker at No. 21 overall. They can't afford to miss after failing to have a single receiver hit the 500-yard receiving mark in 2019. -- Tim McManus
Offseason goals: Add weapons for quarterback Dwayne Haskins and find quality depth. Washington wanted to add help at all the skill positions on offense, hoping to find a playmaker opposite Terry McLaurin at receiver. They tried to sign Amari Cooper away from the Cowboys but failed. They did add third-down back J.D. McKissic, as well as running back Peyton Barber, and a handful of signings to bolster the line depth. They did not want to overspend just to fill in every hole, and they didn't. They found leadership on defense with the Davis signing and did address another need via trade by landing quarterback Kyle Allen.
Biggest question to be answered: Where's the offensive help? They did add depth at spots such as receiver (Cody Latimer) and tight end (Logan Thomas), but that shouldn't end their quest. They also need to figure out who will play left tackle, and that, of course, depends on whether they trade Trent Williams. The Redskins are clearly building a team that wants to play good defense and develop a strong run game to help Haskins. But they also need more help in the passing game. McKissic will help out of the backfield, but they don't have a strong option at tight end and lack the playmaker they wanted to add at receiver. -- John Keim
Offseason goals: The Bears entered free agency determined to acquire a veteran quarterback to compete with Mitchell Trubisky. Chicago traded their fourth-round compensatory pick to Jacksonville for Foles, who played under Bears coach Matt Nagy in Philadelphia and Kansas City. The Bears were just as desperate to generate a better pass rush on defense opposite Khalil Mack, which prompted Chicago to sign Quinn to a five-year deal that included $30 million in guarantees -- the Bears later released 2016 first-round pick Leonard Floyd. Neither move is without risk, but Chicago was forced to look for outside veteran help at quarterback and outside linebacker because Trubisky and Floyd -- both former top-10 picks -- have failed to pan out.
Biggest question to be answered: What about the rest of the offense? The Bears gave Graham $9 million and a no-trade clause in an easily panned decision. Graham's play declined sharply with the Packers last season, and pricey tight end Trey Burton is coming off another surgery. Chicago's tight end room appears as concerning as ever. Plus, the Bears' offensive line struggled for much of last season. Chicago needs a new starting right guard and another wide receiver after the club released veteran Taylor Gabriel. Safe to say the Bears will focus heavily on offense during the upcoming NFL draft. -- Jeff Dickerson
Offseason goals: They haven't changed much. Detroit still has needs at cornerback and on the defensive line; one of those spots could potentially be solved in the first round of the NFL draft. On defense, Detroit needed to find more explosiveness and more playmakers. In Collins and potentially safety Duron Harmon, Detroit might have found two of them. The Lions also need to figure out their guard situation with Graham Glasgow now in Denver.
Biggest question to be answered: Same as it ever was: How are the Lions are going to be able to pressure the quarterback and create defensive turnovers? Collins helps somewhat and the first two days of the draft could potentially bring an influx of young, high-level talent to a defense still searching for it. But there are still big questions about Detroit's defense even after a free agency in which the Lions brought in potential new starters on every level (Shelton and Williams on the defensive line, Collins at linebacker along with Trufant and maybe Harmon in the secondary). -- Michael Rothstein
Offseason goals: Fill a couple of holes with less expensive options and add weapons for quarterback Aaron Rodgers. GM Brian Gutekunst accomplished the first part with the signing of Kirskey and Wagner. They were cheaper options than re-signing Blake Martinez and Bryan Bulaga, respectively, who got big money on the open market. The Packers needed to be conservative because of all the extensions they want to do with next year's crop of free agents -- including left tackle David Bakhtiari, defensive tackle Kenny Clark and, potentially, running back Aaron Jones. The Packers could not have afforded Martinez and Bulaga -- who each got deals averaging $10 million a year -- and still had enough room down the road to secure those players.
Biggest question to be answered: They did not, however, address the second part of their goal: to give Rodgers more help. Funchess was a value signing, but he's hardly a receiver that opponents would have to plan for. They made a run at tight end Austin Hooper, but it got too rich for them. Gutekunst has done yeoman's work on the defense in the past two years, but he hasn't yet been able to upgrade the offensive talent. Last year, his only two additions who touch the football were tight end Jace Sternberger (third-round draft pick) and running back Dexter Williams (sixth round). In a receiver-rich draft class, Gutekunst will have ample opportunity this time around. There's nothing wrong with running the offense through Jones and receiver Davante Adams, but they need help. -- Rob Demovsky
Offseason goals: A defensive reboot was inevitable with the amount of aging veterans with expensive contracts. The turnover the Vikings are faced with will force younger players to step into new roles as starters, which means things could get worse before they get better. Minnesota needs to rebuild its secondary while addressing new starters and depth on the defensive line. Coach Mike Zimmer has proved up for the challenge of adjusting his scheme on the fly, and this season could pose the greatest of his career.
Biggest question to be answered: Are the Vikings still in win-now mode or are they rebuilding? It's fair given the lack of significant moves made in free agency and the amount of losses Minnesota experienced. The Vikings giving Cousins a contract extension provided stability on offense and important salary cap relief, but the subsequent actions leave the team with holes at several key positions. That means the Vikings need to hit on the draft picks they expect to step into starting roles right away, which is a tall order given the uncertainty around the offseason. If the team truly believes it's in win-now mode, upgrading the offensive line and signing running back Dalvin Cook to a contract extension are necessary moves. -- Courtney Cronin
Offseason goals: The Falcons' No. 1 priority was getting an impact pass-rusher. They might have found that guy in Fowler, the 2015 third overall pick of the Jacksonville Jaguars. Fowler has great speed off the edge, tremendous bend and a relentless style. Gurley could be the guy to ignite the running game, if his left knee holds up. The Falcons also needed to find a capable pass-catching tight end to replace departed two-time Pro Bowler Austin Hooper and may have found a gem in Hurst.
Biggest question to be answered: Coach Dan Quinn knows he can never have enough pass-rushers with the lack of pressure his defense has generated in recent years. So do the Falcons target another pass-rusher in the first round of the draft (16th overall), even despite the addition of Fowler? Takk McKinley is erratic at the other defensive end spot. There's a chance the Falcons could bring back Adrian Clayborn, who wants to continue playing. Another need is at cornerback. The Falcons have faith in young corners Kendall Sheffield and Isaiah Oliver but need to add a starting-caliber corner after releasing veteran Desmond Trufant. -- Vaughn McClure
Will the Panthers draft a QB?
David Newton looks at the Panthers' offseason moves and doesn't rule out the possibility of them taking a quarterback in this year's draft.
Offseason goals: To rebuild the roster, dumping high-priced, older veterans from the salary cap and signing young, up-and-coming players to short and reasonably low deals. Carolina got rid of more than $40 million in cap space, including $21.1 million owed to quarterback Cam Newton. Everyone signed has been for one to three years. Getting Bridgewater signed to a three-year, $63 million deal was key in that it allowed the Panthers to move on from Newton, the franchise quarterback since 2011. Adding players such as Anderson gives the impression Carolina can at least be competitive offensively in coach Matt Rhule's first season.
Biggest question to be answered: The biggest holes are on the defensive front, particularly tackle, and offensive guard. Look for this to be addressed in the draft, with Auburn defensive tackle Derrick Brown and South Carolina defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw key targets for the No. 7 pick. Replacing starting cornerback James Bradberry, who signed with the New York Giants, also will be a priority. An extension also needs to be reached on Christian McCaffrey, who is entering the final year of his rookie deal. Carolina would like to avoid a holdout, but McCaffrey is going to demand a huge price that could be dicey in a rebuilding year. -- David Newton
Offseason goals: To keep one of the NFL's most loaded rosters intact after back-to-back 13-3 seasons while making a couple of key additions that might finally get them over the hump in the playoffs. For the most part, the Saints seem to have done that, despite heading into free agency with less than $10 million in salary-cap space. They got a hometown discount while re-signing Brees to a two-year, $50 million deal. The addition of Sanders fills their most glaring need. Swapping out rising young safety Vonn Bell for older veteran Jenkins could be second-guessed, but Jenkins' leadership and expertise should help the Saints' young secondary. And they kept Onyemata and Peat while letting Bell, quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, cornerback Eli Apple and linebacker A.J. Klein go.
Biggest question to be answered: Will the Saints ever run out of cap space? This seems like a "rookie" question, since they have seemingly been slammed up against the cap for years and never let it stop them from being aggressive in free agency. This year was no exception, as they restructured several contracts and backloaded the cap costs on new deals to create room. But they have stretched themselves about as far as they possibly can now, considering they need to save room for mega-extensions with running back Alvin Kamara, right tackle Ryan Ramczyk and cornerback Marshon Lattimore in the near future. They'll probably have to turn to the draft to add some needed depth at linebacker, cornerback, the offensive line or edge rusher, though they have only five picks with which to work. -- Mike Triplett
Offseason goals: Coach Bruce Arians' biggest offseason priorities were keeping as much of the defense -- particularly the front seven -- together as he could, and solidifying the quarterback position. Both of those goals were accomplished, even with the losses of Carl Nassib and Beau Allen to free agency. They would have liked to bring back Breshad Perriman, but the thought was his end-of-season performance, and his speed, raised his market value to the point they couldn't afford to re-sign him.
Biggest question to be answered: Protecting Brady will be paramount. And while Arians believes his offensive line may be better than people give it credit for, they still have to find a starting right tackle to replace Demar Dotson, as Joe Haeg is more of a depth signing. They can accomplish this early in the draft. They need a true third wide receiver with speed to replace Perriman. They also need a pass-catching running back to compete with Dare Ogunbowale on third down and complement starter Ronald Jones, as Brady targets running backs in the passing game heavily. -- Jenna Laine
Offseason goals: The Cardinals needed to upgrade at defensive line, receiver, pass rush and tackle either through free agency or the draft. They filled all their holes in the first week of free agency, which was complemented by a trade for All-Pro wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins. From here, Arizona can keep bolstering depth though signings and, in the draft, the Cardinals can go one of two ways: draft the best player available or trade back and stockpile picks. Either way, they'll be in good shape once on-field work begins.
Biggest question to be answered: Whether doing well in free agency will translate on the field come the regular season. On paper, the Cardinals have the roster capable of making a playoff run and competing for second in the NFC West. After winning two of its last three games last season, Arizona is poised to build on that success. But there's always the unknown of whether that will actually happen. The Cardinals could be one of the most explosive teams in the NFL. If not, they could toil through another losing season. -- Josh Weinfuss
In an offseason of change, what do Rams still need to do?
Lindsey Thiry recaps the Rams' flurry of activity this offseason and breaks down the team's draft outlook.
Offseason goals:The Rams entered the offseason with a need to reinforce the offensive and defensive lines and were able to do so by re-signing Whitworth, Blythe and Brockers and adding Robinson. Whitworth's return is key to a group that has produced no clear successor at the position, while Blythe provides flexibility at guard and center. The return of Brockers, who agreed to terms with the Ravens but will return after the deal fell through, also fills what would have been a gaping void on the defensive line. The Rams must still find reinforcements on defense, especially at linebacker following Cory Littleton's departure.
Biggest question to be answered: Who will replace Todd Gurley? The Rams released their star running back less than two years after they signed him to a then-record-breaking four-year, $60 million extension. Malcolm Brown and Darrell Henderson remain on the roster, but it remains uncertain who will take over Gurley's load and how his absence in the backfield will affect quarterback Jared Goff. The Rams could turn to the NFL draft to select a running back. They have six picks, including two in the third round. -- Lindsey Thiry
Offseason goals: The 49ers hoped to keep as much of the NFC championship team from last season together as possible. They did what they could within the constraints of the salary cap, retaining the likes of Armstead, Ward, offensive lineman Ben Garland and defensive lineman Ronald Blair III. But they traded defensive tackle DeForest Buckner, and receiver Emmanuel Sanders left in free agency. Those are big holes that will have to be filled via the draft, and the Niners still have some serious in-house business to handle, including a lucrative contract extension for tight end George Kittle that will reset the market for the position.
Biggest question to be answered: How will the 49ers replace Buckner and Sanders? The Niners are a worse team now than they were before the offseason started, and the draft seems to be the best way left to help make up ground. They do have two first-round picks, but they will need to hit on those (or after trading back) to help fill the void left behind, particularly at wide receiver, since, without Buckner, the offense is going to have to pick up more of the slack in 2020. -- Nick Wagoner
Marquee signing(s): Jarran Reed, DT; Bruce Irvin, DE; Quinton Dunbar, CB (trade); Greg Olsen, TE; Luke Willson, TE; Phillip Dorsett, WR; Brandon Shell, RT; B.J. Finney, G/C; Cedric Ogbuehi, OT; Chance Warmack, G
Offseason goals: The Seahawks had to fix what was one of the NFL's least effective pass-rushing units. They finished the regular season with only 28 sacks, tied for the second fewest in the league, along with the third-lowest rate of pressure on opponents' dropbacks at 22.9%, per ESPN charting. They also had to add to their tight end room and upgrade at right cornerback, which they did by signing Olsen in February and trading for Dunbar, respectively. Plenty of work remains with the pass rush, but improving the secondary with Dunbar could in theory help the guys up front.
Biggest question to be answered: Will they re-sign Jadeveon Clowney? For all the focus on their pass-rush, the Seahawks began free agency with four under-the-radar additions to their offensive line. They did so while waiting on Clowney to come down from what ESPN sources have said is a $21 million-per-year asking price. Re-signing Reed and bringing back Irvin could give the Seahawks some nice complementary pass-rushers -- something they didn't have last season -- but they still need a primary guy. While Clowney remains their best option, they may have to eventually move on lest they wait so long that all their alternatives dry up. -- Brady Henderson