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How Have Key Needs Changed For NFL Teams Since the Start of Free Agency?

NFL Free Agency Recap

With the first week of NFL free agency in the books, NFL teams have hinted at their offseason strategies if not divulged entirely. Let’s look at how each team has addressed free agency:

Arizona Cardinals

According to the 33rd Team’s Arizona Cardinals Free Agency Outlook, the Cardinals’ top needs before free agency began were:

  1. Edge (addressed somewhat)
  2. Wide Receiver
  3. Cornerback (addressed somewhat)
  4. Running Back (addressed)
  5. Tight End (addressed)
  6. Defensive Line Depth (addressed)

With the re-signing of TE Zach Ertz, TE Maxx Williams, LB Ezekiel Turner, and RB James Conner, the Cardinals have addressed two of their pressing needs and softened the blow of some departures. Moreover, the Cardinals re-signed DT Michael Dogbe and Edge rusher Dennis Gardeck to keep depth on their defensive line. At the same time, they will be feeling the departure of RB Chase Edmonds, WR Christian Kirk. The additions have been LS Aaron Brewer and P Andy Lee.

Furthermore, other than Deandre Hopkins and Rondale Moore, the Cardinals receiver room looks empty. Meanwhile, despite J.J. Watt’s presence, Markus Golden does not appear to have an opposing pass-rusher (Watt has not played in more than eight games since 2016).

Edge, wide receiver, and cornerback remain top priorities for the Cardinals as they lose WR AJ Green, Edge Chandler Jones, LB Jordan Hicks, and CB Robert Alford. Lastly, Byron Murphy Jr. is a serviceable cornerback, but who fills in across from him? At the moment, it appears to be Marco Wilson, the second-year player out of Florida.

Honorable Mentions: QB Colt McCoy re-signed.

Atlanta Falcons

According to the 33rd Team’s Atlanta Falcons Free Agency Outlook, the Falcons’ top needs before free agency began were:

  1. Edge (addressed)
  2. Wide Receiver
  3. Cornerback (addressed)
  4. Offensive Tackle (addressed)
  5. Interior Offensive Line

The Falcons picked up steam after a slow first few days that only saw them re-signing one of the NFL’s best kickers, Younghoe Koo, and starting right tackle Jake Matthews. The Falcons then traded Matt Ryan to the Colts for a third-round pick in 2022 and replaced their franchise leader in wins, career passing yards, career completions, and career passing touchdowns with former 2nd overall pick Marcus Mariota.

Mariota has served as the backup for the Raiders for two years since Ryan Tannehill supplanted him as starter in Tennessee. Besides the point, Matthews eases the need at tackle, but Russell Gage is officially gone, joining Tom Brady in Tampa Bay for the 2022 NFL season, with starting LB Foyesade Oluokun also departing for Jacksonville. Cordarrelle Patterson is returning but Dante Fowler Jr., Hayden Hurst, and Duron Harmon will not. Still, Edge is by far their most urgent need. Besides Fowler Jr., no Falcon recorded more than two sacks last season.

Wide receiver also remains a top priority after losing Julio Jones before last season, Russell Gage this week, and Calvin Ridley for next season. Initially, cornerback was a pressing need because, while A.J. Terrell looks like a budding star, he needed a more prominent cornerback across from him.

The Falcons responded by signing cornerbacks Casey Hayward and Isaiah Oliver. Furthermore, the Falcons added edge rusher Lorenzo Carter. Overall, the Falcons need to pursue edge rushers, wide receivers, and interior offensive lineman, or it might be another disappointing campaign for Atlanta.

Baltimore Ravens

According to the 33rd Team’s Baltimore Ravens Free Agency Outlook, the Ravens’ top needs before free agency began were:

  1. Offensive Tackle (addressed)
  2. Edge (addressed)
  3. Defensive Tackle (addressed)
  4. Center
  5. Safety (addressed)
  6. Wide Receiver

The Ravens are facing a precarious offseason but have been actively retooling their roster. The most notable moves have been signing S Marcus Williams (NO), edge rusher Za’Darius Smith (GB), DT Michael Pierce, and right tackle Morgan Moses (NYJ), addressing four critical needs.

Nonetheless, C Bradley Bozeman is gone, and DT Calais Campbell, S DeShon Elliott, LB Josh Bynes, Edge Justin Houston, and WR Sammy Watkins all remain loose. With the return of Ronnie Stanley and the signing of Morgan Moses, the Ravens hope they have solved their offensive tackle issue. Furthermore, center might be a hole in their roster if Bozeman leaves for greener pastures.

Wide receiver also appears to be a relatively thin position for Baltimore if Watkins signs elsewhere, leaving Marquise Brown and Rashod Bateman as the two primary options. The Ravens’ defensive front is largely up in the air on the other side of the ball. In addition to Campbell and Houston, defensive tackles Brandon William and Justin Ellis are on the open market, and edge rusher Pernell McPhee. Overall, the Ravens must find another receiving option and stop-gap at center.

Buffalo Bills

According to the 33rd Team’s Buffalo Bills Free Agency Outlook, the Bills’ top needs before free agency began were:

  1. Offensive Guard (addressed)
  2. Defensive Tackle (addressed)
  3. Running Back (addressed)

The Bills are entering the 2022 season after a heartbreaking overtime loss to the Chiefs in the AFC Divisional Round. On the other hand, they have a relatively fleshed-out roster with minimum weakness. The Bills have been quick to address the few needs on their roster, but not without a slew of releases.

The Bills have released LB A.J. Klein, G Jon Feliciano, G Daryl Williams, WR Cole Beasley, and DT Star Loutulelei. However, the Bills signed edge rusher Von Miller (LAR), TE O.J. Howard (TB), C Greg Mancz (MIA), G Rodger Saffold (TEN), RB Duke Johnson, (HOU) DT Tim Settle (WAS) and DT DaQuan Jones (CAR), addressing that need and more. Moreover, the Bills have re-signed C Mitch Morse.

However, acclaimed slot corner Levi Wallace, DT Harrison Phillips, and backup QB Mitchell Trubisky are moving on. (replaced with QB Case Keenum via trade w/ Browns for two 2022 seventh-round picks). WR Emmanuel Sanders and edge rusher Jerry Hughes remain on the market.

At large, the offensive line is an issue for the Bills because they allowed T-10th most pressures in 2021 and T-9th most QB hits. The Bills could be looking to add another piece to their offensive line while looking for rotational defensive components in their front seven. 

Carolina Panthers

 According to the 33rd Team’s Carolina Panthers Free Agency Outlook, the Panthers’ top needs before free agency began were:

  1. Quarterback
  2. Entire Offensive Line, except right tackle & right guard (addressed)
  3. Cornerback (addressed)
  4. WR Depth (addressed) 

The Panthers have been active in free agency, making 20 transactions so far. It began by signing S Xavier Woods (DAL), G Austin Corbett (MIA), and RB D’Onta Foreman (TEN). Corbett eases some concerns on the offensive line, but more attention is warranted, especially if Matt Paradis walks.

The Panthers have since released DT Morgan Fox, CB A.J. Bouye. Re-signees include: WR Brandon Zylstra, TE Ian Thomas, QB P.J. Walker, K Zane Gonzalez, LB Frankie Luvu, and CB Donte Jackson. Acquisitions other than those above include: edge rusher Marquis Haynes, WR Rashard Higgins (CLE), DT Matt Ioannidis (WAS), C Bradley Bozeman (BAL), P Johnny Hekker (LAR), LB Damien Wilson (JAX), and LB Cory Littleton (LVR).

Still, the Panthers’ situation at quarterback is still hazy. They may run it back with Sam Darnold, but their offense did not flow well in the absence of Christian McCaffrey. Nonetheless, the Panthers resigned or added multiple players to every need except QB.

Chicago Bears

 According to the 33rd Team’s Chicago Bears Free Agency Outlook, the Bears’ top needs before free agency began were:

  1. Offensive Line (somewhat addressed)
  2. Wide Receiver (somewhat addressed)
  3. Cornerback
  4. Edge (addressed)
  5. Safety (addressed)

The Chicago Bears have some key players leaving this offseason, including RB Tarik Cohen, DT Eddie Goldman, G James Daniels, DT Bilal Nichols, WR Allen Robinson and potentially, T Germain Ifedi, DT Akiem Hicks.

However, the Bears have already begun patching up the roster by signing DT Larry Ogunjobi (CIN) to a three-year deal (which fell through due to a failed physical) while also signing G Patrick Lucas (GB), LB Nicholas Morrow (LVR), WR Byron Pringle (KC), edge rusher Justin Jones (LAC), edge rusher Al-Quadin Muhammed (IND), and WR Equanimeous St. Brown (GB). They also signed S DeAndre Houston-Carson.

Nonetheless, the Bears still have multiple question marks along their offensive line, and their only receiving threat under contract appears to be Darnell Mooney. The departure of Tashaun Gipson leaves a starting spot open at safety. After all, Thomas Graham Jr. is the only viable option behind Jaylon Johnson at cornerback. The Bears’ priorities do not change much after this first week of free agency.

Cincinnati Bengals

 According to the 33rd Team’s Cincinnati Bengals Free Agency Outlook, the Bengals’ top needs before free agency began were:

  1. Offensive Guard (addressed)
  2. Cornerback
  3. Offensive Tackle (addressed)
  4. Tight End (addressed)
  5. Safety (addressed)
  6. Defensive Tackle (addressed)

This offseason is crucial for the Bengals following a relatively surprising Super Bowl appearance, and they have not wasted any time before making moves. The Bengals promptly applied the franchise tag on star S Jessie Bates III and re-signed DT BJ Hill, S Michael Thomas, CB Eli Apple, and backup QB Brandon Allen.

The Bengals have already three offensive lineman—two guards, and a tackle. The two guards are Alex Cappa (TB) and Ted Karras (NE). The tackle is former Cowboy La’el Collins who was released just before the weekend. However, CB Darius Phillips, CB Trae Waynes and TE CJ Uzomah are officially leaving and G Quinton Spain and T Riley Reiff are still pending free agents.

It seems that the Bengals effectively treated their guard problem, but cornerback is still a pressing issue; Chidobe Awuzie and Eli Apple are their top options. Overall, safety, defensive tackle, offensive guard, offensive tackle, and tight end have been rectified in whole or in part, but solutions at cornerback have yet to come.

Cleveland Browns

According to the 33rd Team’s Cleveland Browns Free Agency Outlook, the Browns’ top needs before free agency began were:

  1. Wide Receiver (addressed)
  2. Edge (addressed)
  3. Linebacker (lost Wilson, resigned Walker)

Making arguably the biggest move in free agency, acquiring controversial star QB Deshaun Watson in exchange for three first-round picks among others. The Browns also inked a five-year, fully guaranteed contract with Watson.

In other news, the Browns lost S M.J. Stewart this offseason, but S Ronnie Harrison, WR Rashard Higgins, edge rusher Jadeveon Clowney, and LB Anthony Walker are still free agents. The Browns and Cowboys exchanged picks and sent Amari Cooper to Cleveland to kick off free agency.

Regardless of that move, the options behind Amari Cooper in Cleveland are not fantastic, considering WR Jarvis Landry’s release. Donovan Peoples-Jones contributed last year but is not necessarily a proven player. The Browns signed Jakeem Grant, but his primary contribution is on special teams as a returner. On top of it, they lost TE Austin Hooper but retained TE David Njoku.

Losing Clowney would make their edge needs more uncomfortable, but they still have one of the best pass-rushers in Myles Garrett and added Chase Winovich in the trade that sent Mack Wilson to New England. The Browns also re-signed LB Anthony Walker. However, losing J.C. Tretter also creates a gap in the middle of their offensive line.

Honorable Mentions: acquired DT Taven Bryan (JAX), QB Jacoby Brissett (MIA)

Dallas Cowboys

According to the 33rd Team’s Dallas Cowboys Free Agency Outlook, the Cowboys’ top needs before free agency began were:

  1. Linebacker (addressed)
  2. Safety (addressed)
  3. Youth on the Offensive Line (lost Williams, Collins)
  4. Revamped Receiving Group (addressed)
  5. Edge (addressed)

As discussed above, the Cowboys sent Amari Cooper to Cleveland in exchange for a 5th round pick and swapped 6th round picks with Cleveland. This essentially enabled Dallas to retain WR Michael Gallup and TE Dalton Schultz, the latter on account of the franchise tag, but Dallas also lost WR Cedrick Wilson.

They Cowboys did re-sign S Malik Hooker, S Jayron Kearse, WR Noah Brown, LB Luke Gifford, LB Leighton Vander Esch, edge rusher Dorance Armstrong, and edge rusher Demarcus Lawrence. Still, they lose edge rusher Randy Gregory in an odd chain of events that ended with him choosing Denver. But Dallas did replace him with edge rusher Dante Fowler Jr. (ATL) and signed WR James Washington (PIT).

Overall, the Cowboys addressed their needs well but losing Connor Williams and La’el Collins definitely damages their pursuit for youth on the offensive line; Williams turns just 25 years old this year and Collins 28.

Denver Broncos

According to the 33rd Team’s Denver Broncos Free Agency Outlook, the Broncos’ top needs before free agency began were:

  1. Inside Linebacker (addressed)
  2. Right Tackle (addressed)
  3. Strong Safety (addressed)
  4. Cornerback Depth

The Broncos made a splash by acquiring Russell Wilson in exchange for Shelby Harris, Noah Fant, and Drew Lock, among picks. Thus, this changed things for Denver. Quarterback is now wholly covered but does losing Fant and Harris create holes at their respective positions?

The Broncos re-signed LB Josey Jewell for starters, relieving their top need this offseason. Furthermore, they signed former Dallas edge rusher Randy Gregory, T Ben Braden (GB), LB Alex Singleton (PHI), J.R. Reed (LAR) and DT D.J. Jones (SF).

However, Denver is still at risk of losing LB Alexander Johnson, T Bobbie Massie, CB Bryce Callahan, S Kareem Jackson, CB Kyle Fuller, and HB Melvin Gordon III. The only need that has not been addressed is CB.

Detroit Lions

According to the 33rd Team’s Detroit Lions Outlook, the Lions’ top needs before free agency began were:

  1. Center (addressed)
  2. Wide Receiver (addressed)
  3. Inside Linebacker (addressed)

Detroit enters 2022 with one of the relatively weaker rosters but is also young (2nd youngest roster in 2021 according to Over the Cap). They released former Patriot edge rusher Trey Flowers, but Detroit has not been shy in free agency, re-signing S Tracy Walker, LB Shaun Dion-Hamilton, LB Alex Anzalone, QB Tim Boyle, WR Josh Reynolds, WR Kalif Raymond, C Evan Brown, and edge rusher Charles Harris.

They did sign WR DJ Chark (JAX) to a one-year deal to further bolster their wide receiver corps, yet with all the releases, they still have question marks along their front seven.

Green Bay Packers

According to the 33rd Team’s Green Bay Packers Free Agency Outlook, the Packers’ top needs before free agency began were:

  1. Offensive Weapons for Aaron Rodgers
  2. Youth at Defensive End
  3. Offensive Tackle
  4. OL Depth
  5. Cornerback Depth (addressed) 

The Packers pulled it off and extended Rodgers’ stay in Green Bay, then dealt star receiver Davante Adams to Las Vegas in a blockbuster, in which they received the 22nd and 54th overall picks in this year’s draft. Moreover, they retained LB De’Vondre Campbell, CB Rasul Douglas, and edge rusher Preston Smith and also tendered WR Allen Lazard.

The Packers subsequently released, edge rusher Za’Darius Smith and T Billy Turner. Their lone acquisition is former Bears P Pat O’Donnell. Still, the Packers have pending free agents T Dennis Kelly, WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling, and TE Robert Tonyan.

 Houston Texans

According to the 33rd Team’s Houston Texans Free Agency Outlook, the Texans’ top needs before free agency began were:

  1. Edge (addressed)
  2. Cornerback (addressed)
  3. Linebacker (addressed) 

According to the 33rd Team’s Jared Hammond in the outlook, “Houston has holes everywhere on their roster and arguably have a need at every position.” Fortunately for the Texans, they received a haul in the aforementioned trade for Watson.

Nonetheless, The Texans have re-signed CB Desmond King II, DT Maliek Collins, C Justin Britt, S Terrence Brooks, TE Antony Auclair, S Eric Murray, LB Christian Kirksey, and TE Pharaoh Brown. They acquired edge rusher Ogbonnia Okoronkwo (LAR), G AJ Cann (JAX), RB Dare Ogunbowale, LB Jalen Reeves-Maybin, and S M.J. Stewart.

Safety Justin Reid departed along with QB Tyrod Taylor, leaving edge rusher Jacob Martin and TE Jordan Akins as pending free agents. Not much has changed here, but they did re-sign or sign many players at the listed needs.

Indianapolis Colts

According to the 33rd Team’s Indianapolis Colts Outlook, the Colts’ top needs before free agency began were:

  1. QB (addressed)
  2. LT
  3. WR
  4. EDGE (addressed)

After the Colts dished Carson Wentz to the Commanders for picks, they acquired Matt Ryan for a third-round pick. Furthermore, the Colts might lose LT Eric Fisher, WR T.Y. Hilton, and CB Xavier Rhodes after losing G Mark Glowinski. However, the Colts re-signed TE Mo Alie-Cox, LB Zaire Franklin, OG Matt Pryor.

The Colts still need to add another threat across from Michael Pittman Jr. They traded CB Rock Ya-Sin for the Raiders’ edge rusher Yannick Ngakoue. Still, the Colts’ quarterback/left tackle situation is uncertain and remains the top priority moving forward. 

Jacksonville Jaguars

According to the 33rd Team’s Jacksonville Jaguar Free Agency Outlook, the Jaguars’ top needs before free agency began were:

  1. Offensive Line (addressed)
  2. Wide Receiver (addressed)
  3. Pass Rush Help
  4. Tight End (addressed)
  5. Secondary Depth (addressed)

The Jaguars have been in a frenzy. The Jags started by franchise tagging their left tackle, Cam Robinson. Then, they began the legal tampering period with the Brandon Scherff signing, adding a solid starter at offensive guard. They kept up the pace by signing WR Christian Kirk and TE Evan Engram later that afternoon.

They have since added DT Folorunso Fatukasi, LB Foyesade Oluokun, WR Zay Jones, and CB Darious Williams. The Jaguars have been far from shy and seemed to attack each of their pre-offseason needs. The Jags also re-signed CB Tre Herndon and T Will Richardson.

They could still use secondary depth, pass rush help, and offensive line depth after these moves, considering they lost G A.J. Cann and team-leading tackler Myles Jack. Furthermore, they released RB Carlos Hyde which leaves the running back position in disarray as James Robinson and Travis Etienne both return from serious injuries.

Kansas City Chiefs

According to the 33rd Team’s Kansas City Chiefs Free Agency Outlook, the Chiefs’ top needs before free agency began were:

  1. Cornerback
  2. Wide Receiver Depth (addressed)
  3. Edge
  4. Running Back Depth

The Chiefs have been retooling, albeit it somewhat quietly; drowned out by the noise of other big moves. They signed S Justin Reid from the Texans, (foreshadowing a Tyrann Mathieu departure), WR JuJu Smith-Schuster (PIT), and T Geron Christian (HOU). They also deployed the franchise tag on LT Orlando Brown Jr.

Outside of that, not much has happened in terms of acquisitions. On the other hand, the Chiefs re-signed DT Derrick Nnadi, FB Michael Burton, and QB Chad Henne. However, they still have pending free agents C Austin Blythe, HB Darrel Williams, edge rusher Melvin Ingram III, CB Mike Hughes, T Mike Remmers, and S Tyrann Mathieu, having already lost CB Charvarius Ward. The Chief’s needs have not changed much since the beginning of free agency, if at all.

Las Vegas Raiders

According to the 33rd Team’s Las Vegas Raiders Free Agency Outlook, the Raiders’ top needs before free agency began were:

  1. Cornerback (addressed)
  2. Right Tackle (addressed)
  3. Wide Receiver (addressed) 

The Raiders waited until the 16th to make major waves in the market, signing edge rusher Chandler Jones and trading edge rusher Yannick Ngakoue to the colts for CB Rock Ya-Sin. Not to mention, the Raiders acquired WR Davante Adams shortly after.

Additionally, the Raiders scooped up DT Bilal Nichols (CHI), CB Anthony Averett (BAL), WR Mack Hollins (MIA), T Alex Bars (CHI), RB Ameer Abdullah (MIN), LB Micah Kiser, and CB Darius Phillips (CIN). WR Zay Jones chose to pursue a deal with Jacksonville while QB Marcus Mariota and CB Casey Hayward Jr. left. DT Quinton Jefferson and LB KJ Wright may be on the outs as well. Overall, the Raiders did well re-hauling their roster, addressing needs.

Los Angeles Chargers

According to the 33rd Team’s Los Angeles Chargers Free Agency Outlook, the Chargers’ top needs before free agency began were:

  1. Edge (addressed)
  2. Defensive Tackle (addressed)
  3. Cornerback (addressed)
  4. Right Tackle (released Bulaga)
  5. Wide Receiver (addressed)
  6. Tight End (addressed) 

The Chargers have been one of the most aggressive teams in the offseason, landing Khalil Mack in a trade from Chicago while signing one of the best cornerbacks in J.C. Jackson. Moreover, they placed the franchise tag on Mike Williams. Three out of their top five needs have been stoutly met.

Nonetheless, CB Chris Harris, TE Jared Cook, HB Justin Jackson, LB Kyzir White, DT Linval Joseph, G Michael Schofield III, and G Oday Aboushi might be on their way out like edge rusher Uchenna Nwosu. The Chargers may have found a replacement for Joseph in DT Sebastian Joseph-Day (LAR) and DT Austin Johnson (NYG), but OL remains a priority.

Los Angeles Rams

 According to the 33rd Team’s Los Angeles Rams Free Agency Outlook, the Rams’ top needs before free agency began were:

  1. Linebacker
  2. Interior Offensive Line (addressed)
  3. Corner Opposite Jalen Ramsey
  4. Specialists (Punter & Kicker)

Since free agency opened, the Rams have retained LT Joe Noteboom, C Brian Allen, and G Coleman Shelton. However, they are losing CB Darious Williams, DT Sebastian Joseph-Day, edge rusher Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, and P Johnny Hekker. They are also likely to lose edge rusher Von Miller, WR Odell Beckham Jr., and HB Sony Michel.

While they have effectively re-signed some OL, they could use some extra depth. The Rams acquired WR Allen Robinson (CHI) but dealt WR Robert Woods to Tennessee for a sixth-round pick. They also have not added any significant LB help or CB help. Overall, LB, CB, and specialists remain the priorities for the Rams.

Miami Dolphins

According to the 33rd Team’s Miami Dolphins Free Agency Outlook, the Dolphins’ top needs before free agency began were:

  1. Offensive Tackle
  2. Edge (addressed)
  3. Running Back (addressed)
  4. Wide Receiver (addressed)
  5. Linebacker (addressed)
  6. Safety 

The Dolphins have been among the most active teams in free agency. The Dolphins started by franchise-tagging Mike Gesicki. Since they have re-signed edge rushers Emmanuel Ogbah, LB Duke Riley, LB Sam Eguavoen, LB Elandon Roberts, and WR Preston Williams. They have also acquired WR Cedrick Wilson, RB Chase Edmonds, RB Raheem Mostert, CB Keion Crossen, FB Alec Ingold, S Sheldrick Redwine, WR Trent Sherfield, G Connor Williams, and QB Teddy Bridgewater.

It has been a busy offseason so far for Miami. While Ogbah’s re-signing certainly helped, the edge rusher position remains a priority along with offensive tackle. Hopefully, Mostert and Edmonds can bring a great deal of running/pass-catching versatility to the Miami backfield. Both seem well equipped to thrive in Mike McDaniel’s system, Mostert having already done so.

Moreover, they re-signed Preston Williams and acquired Cedrick Wilson to bolster the WR room and re-signed three linebackers. All in all, OT and safety remain a priority for Miami. But they have adequately addressed many other spots on their roster. 

Minnesota Vikings

 According to the 33rd Team’s Minnesota Vikings Free Agency Outlook, the Vikings’ top needs before free agency began were:

  1. Any position in the secondary
  2. Quarterback (addressed)
  3. Defensive End Depth
  4. Right Guard

So far, the Vikings have been one of the passive teams in free agency. re-signed QB Kirk Cousins for another year but could potentially lose LB Anthony Bar, C Mason Cole, CB Patrick Peterson, and DT Sheldon Richardson like TE Tyler Conklin. The Vikings added defensive line depth by signing DT Harrison Phillips (after releasing DT Harrison Phillips) from Buffalo, G Austin Schlottman, and LB Jordan Hicks from Arizona. Not much has changed here.

The Vikings need to add secondary help, pass-rush help, and another interior offensive lineman. Danielle Hunter has not been able to stay healthy, and the Vikings’ secondary has been among the worst in the league for the past couple of seasons, as they were in the bottom six for passing yards per game and yards per completion last year.

New England Patriots 

According to the 33rd Team’s New England Patriots Free Agency Outlook, the Patriots’ top needs before free agency began were:

  1. Linebacker (addressed)
  2. Cornerback (lost J.C. Jackson but acquired Terrance Mitchell)
  3. Interior Offensive Line (Lost Mason and Karras)
  4. Wide Receiver
  5. Edge Opposite of Matthew Judon (lost Winovich)
  6. Offensive Tackle Depth (addressed) 

The Patriots have been making plenty of moves, seeing as they sent Shaq Mason to the Bucs for a fifth-round pick and traded Chase Winovich to Cleveland for Mack Wilson. Nonetheless, the Patriots have addressed linebacker by acquiring Wilson despite losing LB Kyle Van Noy. But, losing J.C. Jackson hurts, as does losing Mason and G Ted Karras and potentially LB Donta’ Hightower.

However, the Patriots have re-signed RB James White, T Trent Brown, LB Ja’Whaun Bentley, K Nick Folk, ST Matthew Slater, QB Brian Hoyer, and S Devin McCourty. Not many changes here for the Pats. If anything, some of their initial needs have grown more important (Interior Offensive Line, Edge). Still, the Patriots have historically elected to build from the draft.

New Orleans Saints

According to the 33rd Team’s New Orleans Saints Free Agency Outlook, the Saints’ top needs before free agency began were:

  1. Cap Space (addressed)
  2. Quarterback
  3. Wide Receivers 

According to the 33rd Team’s Stephen Dranoff, “the #1 priority for the Saints at the current moment is getting under the salary cap.” They are still over the cap, albeit marginally, as of March 16. Nonetheless, the Saints have signed S Marcus Maye from the Jets to replace Marcus Williams, who signed with the Ravens.

The Saints re-signed QB Jameis Winston, WR Lil’Jordan Humphrey, CB Bradley Robey, TE Juwan Johnson, edge rusher Carl Granderson, and WR Deonte Harris. T Terron Armstead seems to be on the way out though.

Not much has changed here, as the Saints must find a long-term solution at QB although they signed Jameis Winston. New Orleans must hope that Michael Thomas comes back and reclaims WR1 status.

New York Giants

According to the 33rd Team’s New York Giants Free Agency Outlook, the Giants’ top needs before free agency began were:

  1. Right Tackle
  2. Right Guard (addressed)
  3. Interior Defensive Line
  4. Tight End (lost Engram) (addressed) 

The Giants are retooling as they transition between coaching regimes. For starters, they re-signed WR C.J. Board, T Matt Gono, CB Jarren Williams. They attacked OL needs by signing G Jon Feliciano from Buffalo and G Mark Glowinski from the Colts. Interestingly, the Giants signed QB Tyrod Taylor, too.

Outside of that, they signed TE Rickey Seals-Jones (WAS) and released S Logan Ryan. The Giants still have to find solutions at right tackle and along the defensive line. They have two picks in the top 10 this year where they hope to address those holes. 

New York Jets

According to the 33rd Team’s New York Jets Free Agency Outlook, the Jets’ top needs before free agency began were:

  1. Offensive Line (addressed)
  2. Wide Receiver (addressed)
  3. Safety (addressed)
  4. Outside Linebacker
  5. Tight End (addressed)
  6. Edge Depth

According to the 33rd Team’s Aadit Mehta, “the New York Jets managed to double their 2020 win total in 2021 but still remained a toothless opponent for most teams.” Mehta added,

“New York has plenty of holes on its roster, and both sides of the ball are in need of serious reinforcements. The offensive line is replete with question marks, especially after [Mekhi Becton’s injuries].”

The Jets have been active in free agency regardless. The Jets have re-signed WR and return specialist Braxton Berrios, G Conor McDermott, S Lamarcus Joyner, C Dan Feeney, QB Joe Flacco, and RB Tevin Coleman. However, DT Folorunso Fatukasi, T Morgan Moses, and S Marcus Maye have moved on. The Jets signed TE C.J. Uzomah, CB D.J. Reed, WR, Robert Foster, TE Tyler Conklin, S Jordan Whitehead, and G Laken Tomlinson to fill needed positions, though. WR Jamison Crowder and WR Keelan Cole remain free agents, too.

Nonetheless, nothing has happened so far for the Jets to reconfigure their needs. They still must bolster their offensive line and receiving forces while adding to their front seven; not a short to-do-list. 

Philadelphia Eagles

According to the 33rd Team’s Philadelphia Eagles Free Agency Outlook, the Eagles’ top needs before free agency began were:

  1. Safety
  2. Outside Cornerback opposite Darius Slay
  3. Defensive End (addressed)
  4. Linebacker
  5. Wide Receiver opposite DeVonta Smith (addressed somewhat)
  6. Offensive Line Depth 

The Eagles have been moderate so far in free agency. The Eagles re-signed S Anthony Harris, DT Fletcher Cox, CB Andre Chachere, RB Boston Scott, and WR Greg Ward. The Eagles added Haason Reddick from the Panthers to add pass-rush prowess and WR Zach Pascal from Indianapolis.

Otherwise, their needs remain the same, mostly. They could also potentially lose S Rodney McLeod, edge rusher Derek Barnett, and CB Steven Nelson. The Eagles have many spots to fill on defense and a few on offense.

Pittsburgh Steelers

According to the 33rd Team’s Pittsburgh Steelers Free Agency Outlook, the Steelers’ top needs before free agency began were:

  1. Quarterback to replace Roethlisberger (addressed)
  2. Replace or re-sign cornerbacks (addressed)
  3. Offensive Tackle (RT) (addressed)
  4. Box Safety
  5. Wide Receiver

The Steelers quickly found Mitchell Trubisky to replace Big Ben early in free agency. Other than that, Pittsburgh has acquired CB Levi Wallace (BUF), LB Myles Jack (JAX), and G James Daniels (CHI), C Mason Cole (MIN), and WR Gunner Olszewkis (NE) while re-signing RT Chukwuma Okorafor, CB Ahkello Witherspoon, CB Arthur Maulet, and DT Montravius Adams.

Wide receiver remains a point for improvement. Diontae Johnson and Chase Claypool are their primary options, but Johnson has missed some time in the past couple of seasons. Pittsburgh could lose CB Joe Haden, S Terrell Edmunds, and G Trai Turner. If they lose Edmunds, they will need a safety that complements Minkah Fitzpatrick’s ball-hawking skills.

Outside of that, the Steelers will give the reins over to Trubisky, Haskins, or Rudolph at QB; they have signed a starting CB in Wallace; and retained RT Okorafor. Overall, cornerback, receiver, and safety remain priorities.

San Francisco 49ers 

According to the 33rd Team’s San Francisco 49ers Free Agency Outlook, the 49ers’ top needs before free agency began were:

  1. Interior Offensive Line
  2. Cornerback (addressed)
  3. Safety
  4. Wide Receiver #3
  5. Backup QB

Entering free agency, the 49ers had edge rusher Arden Key, S Jaquiski Tartt, CB Jason Verrett, CB K’Waun Williams, DT Maurice Hurst, DT D.J. Jones, G Laken Tomlinson, RB Raheem Mostert, and T Tom Compton set to hit the open market. Since, Jones and Tomlinson have signed elsewhere while the 49ers kept Hurst.

The 49ers have also signed LB Oren Burks from the Packers, CB Charvarius Ward from KC, WR Ray-Ray McCloud from SF, S George Odum from Indianapolis, and Hassan Ridgeway from Philadelphia. Ward was a good signing that combats their need at CB. Still, overall, they need to strengthen their IOL, find another receiver behind Aiyuk and Deebo, replace Tartt, and look for a QB to hold down the spot behind Lance if Garrapolo leaves.

Tomlinson’s absence creates a hole in the offensive line’s interior, while other potential departures could further muddle the offensive line. 

Seattle Seahawks 

According to the 33rd Team’s Seattle Seahawks Free Agency Outlook, the Seahawks’ top needs before free agency began were:

  1. Offensive Tackle
  2. Cornerback (addressed)
  3. Edge Rusher (addressed)
  4. Defensive Tackle
  5. Running Back
  6. Quarterback (lost Wilson)

Safe to say, quite a bit has changed since. The Seahawks traded Russell Wilson to the Broncos in exchange for TE Noah Fant, QB Drew Lock, edge rusher Shelby Harris, and picks. This alone shuffles things quite a bit for the Seahawks.

Not to mention, they have released LB Bobby Wagner and edge rusher Carlos Dunlap, too. The Seahawks’ pending free agents include T Brandon Shell, CB D.J. Reed Jr., T Duane Brown, C Ethan Pocic, QB Geno Smith, HB Rashaad Penny, and edge rusher Rasheem Green.

The Seahawks have already re-signed TE Will Dissly, DT Al Woods, CB Sidney Jones, and S Quandre Diggs while also adding CB Artie Burns (CHI), C Austin Blythe (KC), DT Quinton Jefferson, and LB Uchenna Nwosu (LAC). The Seahawks are pressing the reset button, and the 2022 Seahawks will look very different. 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

According to the 33rd Team’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers Free Agency Outlook, the Buccaneers’ top needs before free agency began were:

  1. IOL (addressed)
  2. WR 2/3 (addressed)
  3. RB
  4. D-Line
  5. CB (addressed)
  6. S

The Bucs entered 2022 free agency thinking that they would have to find a replacement for Tom Brady, but lo and behold, the ageless wonder is back for a 23rd season. The Bucs have already invested in their IOL by trading for New England’s Shaq Mason and re-signing C Ryan Jensen while keeping Leonard Fournette and Chris Godwin.

The top two needs have already been squarely addressed, especially with the addition of WR Russell Gage from Atlanta. However, Bucs free agents still include edge rusher Jason Pierre-Paul, DT Ndamukong Suh, and TE Rob Gronkowski. The Bucs also have lost S Jordan Whitehead (replaced with S Logan Ryan, presumptively) and G Alex Cappa.

Nonetheless defensive line remains a top concern with so many potential departures. Re-signing Carlton Davis was huge for their secondary, though.

Tennessee Titans

According to the 33rd Team’s Tennessee Titans Free Agency Outlook, the Titans’ top needs before free agency began were:

  1. Offensive Line (addressed)
  2. Tight End (addressed)
  3. Wide Receiver #3 (released Julio Jones, but acquired Robert Woods)
  4. Backup QB 

The Titans struggled with protection upfront but have re-signed C Ben Jones, although they released G Rodger Saffold. Still, T David Quessenberry remains a free agent. Moreover, the Titans released a few players, including WR Julio Jones, RB Darryton Evans, and CB Janoris Jenkins.

However, the Titans enlisted the services of former Seahawk LT Jamarco Jones, TE Austin Hooper (CLE), and RB Trenton Cannon (SF). On the other hand, they re-signed CB Buster Skrine, RB Jordan Wilkins, RB Dontrell Hilliard, and K Randy Bullock Notably, though, the Titans retained edge rusher Harold Landry with the franchise tag but could lose LB Jayon Brown.

Overall, they still need some offensive line help, wide receiver depth, and a backup QB. They did land a solid TE in Hooper, though. 

Washington Commanders

According to the 33rd Team’s Washington Commanders Free Agency Outlook, the Commanders’ top needs before free agency began were:

  1. Quarterback (addressed)
  2. Inside Linebacker
  3. Wide Receiver
  4. Guard
  5. Cornerback (addressed)
  6. Defensive Line Depth

Washington recently traded for Carson Wentz, attempting to rectify a nagging quarterback deficiency, ultimately knocking that need down a couple of rungs. Still, the Commanders have lost DT Tim Settle, G Brandon Scherff, S Landon Collins, G Ereck Flowers, S Troy Apke, C Jon Toth, LB Milo Eifler, DT Daniel Wise and S Deshazor Everett.

The Commanders are keeping J.D. McKissic although it appeared he would be a Bill momentarily. Nontheless, T Cornelius Lucas is still a free agent. The Commanders signed CB Bobby McCain and G Andrew Norwell but otherwise have been silent in free agency. Outside of quarterback, not much has changed here for the Commanders. They need to find complements to receiver Terry McClaurin, as the Curtis Samuel move has not paid off yet, and Dyami Brown continues to develop.

ILB continues to be a need for them. 2021 1st round pick Jamin Davis did not take over the middle as planned. The Commanders likely need to find a replacement for Scherff, Collins, and Ioannidis while looking for some depth pieces in the secondary and defensive line.