Breakdowns

What’s Next for NFL’s First-Round Playoff Victims?

Super Wild Card Weekend wasn’t so super for the six teams that came out on the wrong end of the scoring. So it’s on to next year for the Colts, Steelers, Titans, Seahawks, Bears and Washington.

Here’s a look at how things shape up for the six first-round playoff victims:

Indianapolis Colts

Head Coach: Frank Reich

Offensive Coordinator: Nick Siranni

Defensive Coordinator: Matt Eberflus

General Manager: Chris Ballard

First-Round Draft Pick: No. 21

Total Draft Picks: 7

Cap Space: $60.04M

Key Free Agents: QB Philip Rivers, QB Jacoby Brissett, WR T.Y. Hilton, DE Justin Houston, DE Denico Autry, S Malik Hooker, CB Xavier Rhodes

The biggest decision regarding the Indianapolis Colts this offseason is who will be the team’s quarterback moving forward. Philip Rivers’ decision to play another year or retire will be a contributing factor no doubt, but with the $60M in cap space the Colts have, they could look to free agency just like they did last season. Another important aspect of this offseason is who to re-sign from one of the league’s most dominant defenses in 2020 — and who will be orchestrating that defense. Defensive coordinator, Matt Eberflus is one of the top potential head coaching options for teams around the league and will begin his interview circuit this week. With a strong core of players, a top head coach and cap space, expect the Colts to be aggressive this offseason and take another big step forward in 2021.

Pittsburgh Steelers

Head Coach: Mike Tomlin

Offensive Coordinator: Randy Fichtner

Defensive Coordinator: Keith Butler

General Manager: Kevin Colbert

First-Round Draft Pick: No. 24

Total Draft Picks: 6

Cap Space: (minus-$21.91M)

Key Free Agents: LB Bud Dupree, LB Avery Williamson, OT Alejandro Villanueva, CB Mike Hilton, WR Juju Smith-Shuster, RB James Conner

Losing in the playoffs to a division rival is always a tough pill to swallow but especially when it is in the Wild Card round after starting the season on an 11-game win streak. The conversations around the Steelers organization now have quickly shifted to what to do with future Hall of Fame quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who is due $41M next year. This decision now becomes even harder given the cap situation Pittsburgh is in, coupled with how he (and the entire team) faded during the back half of the season. Assuming Sunday night was Big Ben’s final game in the NFL, the Steelers join a number of teams looking to improve the QB position. Roethlisberger isn’t the only big name that most likely will not be in the black and gold next year. GM Kevin Colbert and Mike Tomlin will have their hands full with how to handle their roster and the direction of their franchise moving forward.

Tennessee Titans

Head Coach: Mike Vrabel

Offensive Coordinator: Arthur Smith

Defensive Coordinator: Mike Vrabel

General Manager: Jon Robinson

First-Round Draft Pick: No. 22

Total Draft Picks: 6

Cap Space: $6.77M

Key FreeAgents: DE Jadeveon Clowney, DT DaQuan Jones, WR Corey Davis, TE Mycole Pruitt

The 2020 season saw quarterback Ryan Tannehill take another big step forward. Tannehill has gone from a game manager to a game changer who gives the Titans a chance to win every single week. Tennessee currently has limited ability to make moves in free agency but will look to add some more playmakers on offense and shore up their defense through the draft. There’s no doubt that losing at home in the first round of the playoffs will leave a bad feeling among the organization this offseason but it could be a huge motivating factor heading into 2021. For the most part, expect the Titans to be the same team they were this past year.

Chicago Bears

Head Coach: Matt Nagy

Offensive Coordinator: Bill Lazor

Defensive Coordinator: Chuck Pagano

General Manager: Ryan Pace

First-Round Draft Pick: 20

Total Draft Picks: 6

Cap Space: (minus-$186,755)

Key Free Agents: WR Allen Robinson, QB Mitchell Trubisky, WR Cordarrelle Patterson, DT Roy Robertson-Harris

The 2021 NFL Draft will see the Chicago Bears picking in the first round for the first time in three years. Given the cap situation Chicago is currently in, it is essential they hit on that pick. Who they decide to select with the 20th pick could be dependent on what they decide to do at the quarterback position. With Mitchell Trubisky becoming a free agent and trading for Nick Foles last season, Chicago needs to figure out if their answer at QB is already within the organization. There will also be some tough decisions that need to be made about what to do with one of the league’s top pass catchers in Allen Robinson. It’s also possible that Matt Nagy’s job is not secure. Sunday’s loss to the Saints could have been the beginning of a very difficult offseason for those in Chicago.

Seattle Seahawks

Head Coach: Pete Carroll

Offensive Coordinator: Brian Schottenheimer

Defensive Coordinator: Ken Norton Jr.

General Manager: John Schneider

First-Round Draft Pick: Traded to NYJ

Total Draft Picks: 5

Cap Space: $15.09M

Key Free Agents: LB K.J. Wright, LB Bruce Irving, TE Greg Olsen, TE Jacob Holister, DE Benson Mayowa

The Seattle Seahawks were poised to make a run in the playoffs, especially after the hot start they got off to. With no first-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft (sent to the Jets in the Jamaal Adams trade) and only five total draft picks, it will be extremely important how they handle their $15M of cap space. There are some pieces on defense they will look to shore up, but the most apparent move that needs to be made is to bolster their offensive line. Russell Wilson was sacked over three times a game (52 total) which was fourth worst in the NFL. Seattle has enough pieces already in place to still be considered one of the most dangerous teams in 2021, but they need to make a couple moves to make sure they capitalize on Wilson being in the prime of his career.

Washington Football Team

Head Coach: Ron Rivera

Offensive Coordinator: Scott Turner

Defensive Coordinator: Jack Del Rio

General Manager: n/a

First-Round Draft Pick: No. 19

Total Draft Picks: 8

Cap Space: $40.5M

Key Free Agents: G Brandon Scherff, DE Ryan Kerrigan, LB Kevin Pierre-Louis, CB Ronald Darby, K Dustin Hopkins

For the first time in a long time, it looks like the Washington Football Team has the right guy to lead them in Ron Rivera. The team took many strides in 2020 but there are some big questions heading into the offseason. Washington once again finds themselves asking who will be their quarterback moving forward. Alex Smith showed flashes but with the amount of cap space they have, look for them to make a splash in free agency. As talented as their defense is, shoring up the QB position — to go with their solid run game, a true No. 1 WR in Terry McLaurin and the emergence of TE Logan Thomas — will give the Football Team a chance to defend its NFC East title in 2021.

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