The legal tampering period of NFL free agency began on March 13, with contracts becoming official at the start of the new league year on March 15.
After the first big wave of free agency, every team in the NFL still has holes to fill. The 33rd Team is breaking down each team’s biggest roster blemish heading into the start of free agency.
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Every Team’s Biggest Remaining Need(s)
Biggest Need: Edge
Analysis: The Arizona Cardinals ranked 23rd in the league in sacks for the 2022 season, but they have already lost J.J. Watt to retirement and recently lost Zach Allen to the Denver Broncos in free agency. The pass rush was an area of weakness on their team already, and it remains especially weak with these departures.
Biggest Need: Edge
Analysis: The Atlanta Falcons ranked 30th in expected points added (EPA) allowed per play and allowed a score on a league-worst 43.5 percent of their drives faced. They also had a bad pass rush — 32nd in pressure rate and sack rate, 29th in time to pressure. They still need to find a stud edge rusher either in free agency or in the draft.
Biggest Need: WR
Analysis: The Baltimore Ravens have needed a legitimate No. 1 receiver for a long time. Rashod Bateman showed some promise before going down with an injury, but Lamar Jackson needs more receiving weapons to go along with All-Pro tight end Mark Andrews. Devin Duvernay can provide some value as a deep threat and kick returner. Still, Demarcus Robinson is a free agent, and rolling into 2023 with Tylan Wallace or James Proche as a starting wide receiver seems ill-advised.
Biggest Need: LB
Analysis: Tremaine Edmunds, 25, signed a four-year, $72 million deal with the Bears. The Buffalo Bills only have All-Pro Matt Milano, Terrel Bernard (a 2022 third-round pick) and Baylon Spector (a 2022 seventh-round pick). Bernard fits closer to Milano’s mold, and Spector is too unproven to show he can start, let alone replace Edmunds’ production.
Whether it comes early in the draft or free agency, the Bills need to find a do-it-all linebacker to command the center of their defense.
Biggest Need: QB
Analysis: With the hiring of Frank Reich and the trade up to No. 1 in the draft, it’s clear the Carolina Panthers are resetting and want Reich to develop a young quarterback. They have not found a solution for the position in years, but now they can capitalize on having their pick of this year’s top prospects. The team did add Andy Dalton in free agency to serve as a backup.
Biggest Needs: DL, OL
Analysis: Last season, the Chicago Bears could not pressure opposing quarterbacks, and they could not keep quarterback Justin Fields clean. They allowed the highest pressure rate and generated the second-lowest pressure rate on offense and defense, respectively.
Biggest Need: Safety
Analysis: The Cincinnati Bengals aggressively addressed their issues at tackle by signing Orlando Brown Jr. to a front-loaded, four-year deal, making him the 17th highest-paid offensive tackle in the NFL. Jonah Williams will likely switch to right tackle, which he played as a freshman at Alabama, though he asked to be traded.
This leaves safety as the Bengals’ most pressing need. Cincinnati lost high-quality starters Jessie Bates and Vonn Bell. Bates’ and Bell’s nearly interchangeable skill sets were key for the Bengals’ backend. Second-year player Daxton Hill will be asked to take one of the starting roles but performed better as a nickel at Michigan. There are still some quality short-term or long-term options the Bengals could afford, like Adrian Amos, Taylor Rapp or Duron Harmon. However, the Bengals may prefer to address the position in the draft.
Biggest Need: WR
Analysis: The Cleveland Browns addressed their needs on the defensive line by signing edge Ogbonnia Okoronkwo and ace run-stuffer Dalvin Tomlinson at defensive tackle. Those signings leave wide receiver as the Browns’ top need. The Browns would benefit from upgrading their second and third spots, currently held by former mid-round picks Donovan Peoples-Jones and David Bell.
Biggest Needs: RB2, TE1
Analysis: The Dallas Cowboys need to figure out who will replace Ezekiel Elliott since he’s getting cut. Dalton Schultz likely will price himself out of Dallas, so they will need to find a new No. 1 tight end this offseason. A second receiver opposite CeeDee Lamb was at the top of their needs list but was addressed after they traded for Brandin Cooks.
Biggest Need: CB/SS
Analysis: The Denver Broncos did a great job of fixing their needs in the first couple of plays in free agency. The offensive line was addressed with guard Ben Powers and tackle Mike McGlinchey, and they found a replacement for Dre’Mont Jones in Allen. The next-biggest hole in the Broncos’ roster is a cornerback opposite Pat Surtain II or a strong safety to partner with Justin Simmons to beef up the back end.
Biggest Needs: DE, WR
Analysis: The Detroit Lions did a good job filling in holes at cornerback but could use better depth at defensive end. John Cominsky played a huge role last year and deserved to get his two-year, $8.5 million contract. However, Romeo Okwara might be a cap casualty after a ruptured Achilles injury. Detroit should also look to add a wide receiver if DJ Chark cannot be re-signed.
Green Bay Packers
Biggest Need: WR
Analysis: Wide receiver remains the priority even after the future of Aaron Rodgers became evident. The Green Bay Packers seem ready to roll with Jordan Love at quarterback but definitely should add another quarterback to compete with him.
Biggest Need: QB
Analysis: The Houston Texans had one of the weaker offenses in the league last season, garnering only 17 points per game (30th in the NFL) and gaining almost no impact plays. They averaged -0.17 EPA per play, which was last in the NFL. There was virtually no quarterback production all season, as Davis Mills couldn’t sustain drives nor take the top off of defenses.
The Texans need to find a quarterback with a big arm and elite playmaking ability to bring this offense back to life. Hopefully, the recent signing of Case Keenum will provide good veteran leadership and mentoring to whoever Houston takes at No. 2 overall.
Biggest Needs: QB, DB
Analysis: Matt Ryan was released, meaning the Indianapolis Colts moved on from their previous No. 1 quarterback and have their eyes set on one of the top prospects in this year’s draft. The Colts still have a lot of work to do on defense, as they traded cornerback Stephon Gilmore to the Cowboys and chose not to re-sign linebacker Bobby Okereke. They should add talent to their secondary and supplement their defensive line to continue having one of the better run-stopping defenses in the AFC South.
Biggest Need: DB
Analysis: The Jacksonville Jaguars struggled last season on defense, specifically in the secondary. Cornerback Shaquill Griffin was cut, which hurt the depth and talent on the back end. Tyson Campbell tied for fifth in pass breakups last season (15) and was one of the top lockdown corners in the AFC.
However, the Jaguars struggled at the nickel position, where Darious Williams got a majority of snaps until he was moved outside. The Jaguars re-signed safety Andrew Wingard and signed free agent cornerback Tevaughn Campbell, but that only added depth, not a difference-making talent, to their secondary.
Kansas City Chiefs
Biggest Need: OT
Analysis: The Kansas City Chiefs lost Brown Jr. and Andrew Wylie to free agency. They solved one bookend by signing Jawaan Taylor away from the Jaguars, though there is still speculation as to whether he will play left or right tackle. The reigning Super Bowl champs’ biggest need is the bookend opposite of Taylor for 2023.
>> READ: Orlando Brown Jr. Signs Record-Breaking Deal with Bengals
Las Vegas Raiders
Biggest Need: TE
Analysis: The Las Vegas Raiders‘ biggest need was quarterback, which they addressed with Jimmy Garoppolo. The second was the secondary, and bringing in Marcus Epps and Brandon Facyson will help. The biggest priority now is replacing Darren Waller after he was traded to the New York Giants, and Vegas has the perfect fit in-house with Foster Moreau. Re-signing him or bringing in a top tight end is next up for coach Josh McDaniels.
Los Angeles Chargers
Biggest Need: Figure Out Stars (Herbert and Ekeler)
Analysis: The Los Angeles Chargers were in the middle of making room for a long-term deal with franchise quarterback Justin Herbert, restructuring the contracts of several stars and creating $19 million in cap room. Then, news broke that running back Austin Ekeler was seeking a trade after contract extension negotiations went south.
Herbert and Ekeler teamed up for 730 receiving yards and five touchdowns this past season, and Ekeler had 15 touchdowns on the ground. The Chargers have to figure these situations out with long-term extensions. If Ekeler leaves, replacing him becomes a priority.
Los Angeles Rams
Biggest Need: OLB
Analysis: Edge Leonard Floyd was cut and seems unlikely to return, so the Los Angeles Rams have a major problem with their exterior pass rush. Adding to the urgency to improve is the leader of the linebacker unit, Bobby Wagner, also was released.
The defensive line is another area of concern for the Rams, despite having possibly the best interior defensive lineman in the league in Aaron Donald. A’Shawn Robinson is visiting other teams, and Greg Gaines agreed to a deal with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Both are major losses for the Rams up front, especially in the run game.
Biggest Need: TE
Analysis: The Miami Dolphins had a big need in the secondary, but the trade for cornerback Jalen Ramsey changed things. The Dolphins lost tight end Mike Gesicki in free agency to the Patriots, and they included former third-round pick Hunter Long in the deal for Ramsey. Miami has an excellent receiver duo in Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle, but adding a tight end who is a consistent receiving threat and a strong blocker could open up the offense more.
Biggest Need: WR
Analysis: Justin Jefferson is arguably the best receiver in the league, but with Adam Thielen released, the Minnesota Vikings will be looking for a new No. 2.
New England Patriots
Biggest Need: OL
Analysis: The New England Patriots need to address the offensive line this offseason. Their offense was one of the least productive running the football and scoring touchdowns in the red zone, despite having a great running back in Rhamondre Stevenson.
Right tackle Isaiah Wynn is a free agent, and left tackle Trent Brown struggled. Building up the offensive line, particularly at tackle, would improve both the passing and running game.
New Orleans Saints
Biggest Need: DE
Analysis: Now that they reached deals to retain receiver Michael Thomas and added defensive tackle Khalen Saunders, the New Orleans Saints‘ focus switches to determining how to replace Marcus Davenport, who signed with the Vikings. This position is a priority to replicate last season’s strong defense.
New York Giants
Biggest Needs: WR, CB, ILB
Analysis: The New York Giants‘ biggest need is a true WR1. They re-signed Darius Slayton and Sterling Shepard, but Richie James is a free agent, and this was one of the league’s worst receiving corps in 2022.
The Giants also need another corner alongside Adoree’ Jackson and depth behind them. Signing Bobby Okereke from the Colts helps, but they could use one more inside linebacker. Trading for Waller solved the need for a pass-catching tight end to pair with Daniel Bellinger and provide Daniel Jones with options in the middle of the field.
New York Jets
Biggest Need: QB*
Analysis: The New York Jets have one of the best rosters in the NFL, but they need a quarterback to put everything together. If the Jets finally acquire Rodgers, they must focus on filling holes at defensive tackle and center, as Sheldon Rankins signed with the Texans and Connor McGovern is a free agent.
Biggest Needs: ILB, S
Analysis: The Philadelphia Eagles are trying to retool their Super Bowl-losing team with numerous big names in free agency. Their secondary lost Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, who led the league with six interceptions, and Epps, who signed with the Cardinals. They did re-sign cornerback James Bradberry and gave Darius Slay an extension.
The Eagles need to retool at linebacker after losing Kyzir White to the Cardinals and T.J. Edwards to the Bears. They re-signed defensive linemen Brandon Graham and Fletcher Cox on one-year deals but lost Javon Hargrave to the 49ers.
Biggest Need: CB
Analysis: The Pittsburgh Steelers likely will lose three of their starting cornerbacks this offseason. Cam Sutton has had success outside and at nickel but was signed away by Detroit. Akhello Witherspoon and Levi Wallace signed prove-it deals but struggled and are easy cuts. William Jackson III was also cut.
Cornerback was already a weak spot in 2022, but the Steelers need more viable corners on the roster. Even after signing Patrick Peterson, this position needs to be upgraded.
San Francisco 49ers
Biggest Need: CB
Analysis: The San Francisco 49ers did an excellent job in pass coverage during the 2022 season. Yet, this unit needs to be improved heading because of some losses of key players. Emmanuel Moseley signed with the Lions, and Jimmie Ward is a free agent. Ward is an especially significant loss, considering he played nickel. The 49ers could look to add a veteran outside corner.
Biggest Need: Edge
Analysis: The Seattle Seahawks can have one of the best defenses in the league again if they can add impact players to their defensive line. This is a secondary that is already one of the best in the conference after standout rookie seasons from Tariq Woolen and Coby Bryant.
The Seahawks are in a position to add one of the top pass rushers in the draft, possibly Texas Tech edge Tyree Wilson (scouting report) or Georgia lineman Jalen Carter (scouting report). Signing Dre’Mont Jones helped, but the Seahawks should continue to bolster this unit.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Biggest Need: OL
Analysis: The Tampa Bay Buccaneers signed quarterback Baker Mayfield, and now they need to fix the offensive line to protect him. The main focus should be on the left tackle and guard spots, as they cut Donovan Smith, and Nick Leverett is a free agent.
Biggest Needs: OL, WR
Analysis: The Tennessee Titans need to find a suitable replacement for tackle Taylor Lewan, either in the draft or free agency. They signed Andre Dillard, who can play either guard or tackle, but they should continue making moves since guard Nate Davis signed with the Bears.
The Titans opted not to re-sign linebacker David Long Jr., then signed Luke Gifford and Azeez Al-Shaair to replace him at the same cost. The Titans also need to find a new WR1. The recent re-signing of Nick Westbrook-Ikhine only adds depth to the position.
Biggest Needs: QB, SAF, TE
Analysis: The Washington Commanders need a new quarterback after the Carson Wentz experiment failed and Taylor Heinicke signed with Atlanta. The team added Jacoby Brissett to supplement Sam Howell. Howell has been announced as the team’s current starter, but he will have to compete with Brissett.
The team may explore trading for or drafting another quarterback. They need another safety next to Kamren Curl, who performed well last season. Tight end Logan Thomas has struggled mightily with health and production since signing his big extension. He’s 31, and the Commanders need a new pass-catching tight end, which a deep d