Apr. 13, 2018
One Move Every NFL Team Should Consider
The NFL Draft is still over two weeks away, and pretty much all big-name free agents have found new homes. That doesn't mean front offices are starting to leave work days early. While the Jets and the Bills have already moved up the Draft Board, every team could make major moves when April 26th rolls around. Names like Rob Gronkowski and Odell Beckham Jr. have been subject to recent trade rumors, and there are still significant free agents like DeMarco Murray and Tamba Hali available. I'm a fan of offseason mayhem, so I decided to step into the shoes of every NFM GM and make the boldest move I can.
Arizona Cardinals: Trade for Cowboys WR Dez Bryant
Sam Bradford and Mike Glennon are the short-term QB solution, and signing Justin Pugh and Andre Smith will shore up the poor right side of the O-Line. They need a new cornerback opposite Patrick Peterson, but with John and Jaron Brown both gone, they desperately need receiving help. Enter Dez Bryant. His production has dropped off the last few years, and Dallas signed Allen Hurns, who plays an identical role to Bryant. A change of scenery and a chance to be the top target next to Larry Fitz could be beneficial to all parties involved.
Atlanta Falcons: Trade RB Tevin Coleman
Yes, this isn't a big move to acquire anyone, but instead cashing in on an embarrassment of riches at Running Back. Tevin Coleman has scored 20 Touchdowns over the past three seasons, but he only has one year left on his contract and Atlanta just extended a better back in Devonta Freeman. They could cash in for an early draft pick or interior D-Line help (They'll miss Dontari Poe).
Baltimore Ravens: Draft a Quarterback with Pick #16
Wide Receiver was the biggest hole to address this offseason, and they've signed Michael Crabtree and John Brown. What they do need is their next attempt at a franchise Quarterback. Joe Flacco isn't bad, but he's about as overpaid as any Quarterback in the league. They have a potential out in 2020, where Joe Flacco will be 35 and they can cut off the last $52.5 Million of his ridiculously large deal. Drafting Lamar Jackson or Mason Rudolph and having them learn behind a true pocket passer in Flacco could lead to years and years of QB security.
Buffalo Bills: Trade up and Draft a Quarterback
Yes, this isn't a surprise at all, but they need to actually do it. Drafting at #12 is still too far back. To me, the most realistic trade parter is Denver at #5. I believe A.J. McCarron can be a decent starter, but they need a potential franchise option, and I don't see that in Nate Peterman.
Carolina Panthers: Sign FS Tre Boston
The Panthers let Kurt Coleman and Jairus Byrd walk, leaving Colin Jones as the only Free Safety on the roster. That's not good. They could draft a Safety at #24, but this draft class has very talented start-ready Guards, and they desperately need a replacement for Andrew Norwell. Tre Boston is an affordable option with starting experience and talent.
Chicago Bears: Sign DE Tamba Hali
The Bears have done a great job at signing new Wide Receivers, and they have a good shot at the likes of G Quenton Nelson, CB Denzel Ward or DB Minkah Fitzpatrick with pick #8. They still need help on the edge, and signing Aaron Lynch isn't enough. There are a number of veteran edge rushers still available like Dwight Freeney and Charles Johnson, but Tamba Hali, even at 34, still probably has the most production left in him. Low-risk, high reward.
Cincinnati Bengals: Draft QB Mason Rudolph with pick #21
A.J. McCarron will get a starting shot in Buffalo, leaving Andy Dalton as the lone starting QB option. He's not bad, but he hasn't been good enough to be deemed a "franchise Quarterback." They'll rebuild the O-Line through multiple picks throughout the draft, and Mason Rudolph is an under-the-radar prospect who could pan out as much of a franchise quarterback as any of the other prospects in this draft class.
Cleveland Browns: Trade the #4 pick to Buffalo
It's almost guaranteed that Cleveland is taking whichever Quarterback they fancy with the #1 pick. At #4, they could nab another quality starter, but with how Quarterback-heavy the top of the draft will be, they could trade down and get quality prospects at #12, #22 and whatever other picks Buffalo is willing to cough up to get #4.
Dallas Cowboys: Trade WR Dez Bryant
This is a pretty common debate, but Dallas really should pull the trigger on this one. Without Dez, the Cowboys still have Allen Hurns, Terrance Williams, Cole Beasley, Deonte Thompson and Ryan Switzer. They'd also save $16.5 Million by shipping him elsewhere. At this point, he needs a fresh start.
Denver Broncos: Draft G Quenton Nelson with pick #5
This isn't a shocker at all, but it's definitely the smartest move. Some fans might really want them to take a shot at a Quarterback or defensive playmaker Bradley Chubb, but Case Keenum is a helluva gunslinger and they need help protecting him. Nelson would instantly be the best lineman on the team, and improve the passing and running games immensely.
Detroit Lions: Draft C James Daniels with pick #20
The Lions have been as good as any this offseason about replacing their losses. Their biggest hole is the inside of the O-Line, where they don't have a sure starter at Left Guard or Center. If Kenny Wiggins and Wesley Johnson fill those respective spots, this line isn't any better in 2018. With no other glaring needs, Detroit can get a solid starter at either position by picking James Daniels.
Green Bay Packers: Sign CB Bashaud Breeland
There's a number of things I could be critical of through this tumultuous Packers offseason, but signing a new Cornerback is a BIG need. Already the weakest position, it only got weaker after trading Damarious Randall. Yes, they signed Tramon Williams, but is that enough with Kevin King as the only corner deserving of seeing the field? Signing Bashaud Breeland once he becomes healthy would instantly boost a depleted position and get Green Bay back on track to having a Super Bowl-contending roster.
Houston Texans: Cut RT Derek Newton and bring back RT Eric Winston
The Texans don't pick until the third round, and they've filled the holes of RT Breno Giacomini, SS Marcus Gilchrist, G Xavier Su'a-Filo, and CB Marcus Williams by signing RT Seantrel Henderson, SS Tyrann Mathieu, G Senio Kelemete, and CB Aaron Colvin. They also re-signed CB Jonathan Joseph, who would've been their most significant loss. Even though Deshaun Watson has only played seven games for Houston, he looks like their best shot at a franchise QB. Therefore, they need to protect him ASAP. Seantrel Henderson and Derek Newton. Newton is injury prone, and by cutting him and signing their former third-round pick Eric Winston, they'd bring starting experience and leadership (He's the NFLPA president as well) while protecting Watson and letting Winston eventually retire where his career began.
Indianapolis Colts: Sign RB DeMarco Murray
While Indy will be hoping and praying for a fully-healthy Andrew Luck come training camp, they have a roster deficit behind him. Their current Running Back depth chart is Robert Turbin, Matt Jones, Marlon Mack and Christine Michael, none of which are starter material. They can hope that Saquon Barkley falls to #6, but that's highly unlikely and they're better off drafting edge rusher Bradley Chubb. DeMarco Murray is a former 1,800+ Yard rusher with proven starting experience and familiarity with the AFC South. Both sides win with this signing.
Jacksonville Jaguars: Draft QB Mason Rudolph with pick #29
The Jags have a need for depth and competition at both Wide Receiver and Tight End, but I'm not entirely sold Blake Bortles is your Franchise Quarterback. His short-term extension only fuels that fire. Mason Rudolph is a productive prospect that, given a year of adjusting to NFL game speed, could be a serious shot at a long-term gunslinger in North Florida.
Kansas City Chiefs: Sign CB Kayvon Webster
Woudln't this be funny: after trading their best Cornerback Marcus Peters to the Rams, they sign a former Ram as his replacement. Kendall Fuller and Steven Nelson are the Chiefs' top two options at Corner, not good enough in a division boasting Demaryius Thomas, Amari Cooper, Keenan Allen and Emmanuel Sanders. Kayvon Webster is a great press corner with experience in the AFC West with Denver. He's debatably the best corner available, and with no first round pick, Webster's their best bet at solidifying the Eric Berry-led secondary.
Los Angeles Chargers: Cut DT Corey Liuget with a post-June 1st designation and draft a replacement
I could've gone with the Bolts drafting Mason Rudolph at #17, but that would be the third time putting Mason Rudolph as a "bold move" already, and the Chargers have a bigger deficit on defense. LAC finished dead-last in run defense in 2017, and they haven't signed a single defender to fix the issue. I'll start with my biggest issue: Corey Liuget. He stands to make $29 Million over the next three years, and his inconsistent, mediocre play was a huge contributor in the lack of run defense. Cutting him with a post-June 1st designation saves $8 Million against the cap in 2018, money they can spend elsewhere. Vita Vea, Da'Ron Payne, Taven Bryan and Maurice Hurst are four Defensive Tackles that all deserve serious consideration at #17, and could immediately be improvements over Liuget in 2018.
Los Angeles Rams: Sign ILB Navorro Bowman
The Rams have already made a ton of bold moves this season, acdding Marcus Peters, Ndamukong Suh, Aqib Talib and Sam Shields to an already scary-good defense. What they didn't adress, however, is the losses at Linebacker, where Connor Barwin and Alec Ogeltree are both gone. The best free agent replacement for Ogeltree, Navorro Bowman, is still available. I'm sure signing a short-term deal for a Super Bowl hopeful would make both sides happy.
Miami Dolphins: Draft QB Baker Mayfield. Trade up if you have to.
In some people's eyes, Ryan Tannehill is a quality starter and will remain so in his comeback attempt from blowing out his knee last pre-season. I'm not one of those people. Tannehill is a mediocre starter at best, and Miami has worked out and interviewed Baker Mayfield as much as anyone. Cutting Ndamukong Suh was a sign of a culture change, and bringing in a fresh face behind center would only further this progression. Miami shouldn't sell the farm to get into the top three, but if the top picks start seeing Baker Mayfield slip out of the top five, the 'Fins should make their move.
Minnesota Vikings: Sign G Luke Joeckel
The Vikings found their new franchise Quarterback; now they have to protect Mr. Fully-guaranteed-contract. LT Riley Reiff, C Pat Elfein and RG/RT Mike Remmers are all locks, and LG Danny Isidora might develop into a quality starter this offseason. That still leaves both guard spots and Right Tackle a bit uncertain. There's a good chance Minnesota will use pick #30 on a new O-Lineman, but signing Luke Joeckel as competition for both Guard spots will round out a solid O-Line corps.
New England Patriots: Draft LT Kolton Miller and QB Mason Rudolph with their two first-round picks
Yes, this is two moves, but they go hand-in-hand in New England's long-term offensive success. The Giants made Nate Solder the highest-paid offensive lineman of all time, leaving a major hole at Left Tackle. Kolton Miller has the measurables (6'8" with a solid frame) to be a prototypical Left Tackle, and there's a good chance he bears more potential than fellow tackle prospect Connor Williams. Brady can't play forever, and Mason Rudolph is the best scheme fit with under-the-radar potential. Who better to study Quarterback under than Tom Brady?
New Orleans Saints: Draft QB Lamar Jackson with pick #27
Drew Brees earned his two-year extension, at the end of which he'll retire as the best Saints player of all-time. This gives New Orleans two years to develop the next QB hopeful under Brees. Lamar Jackson needs at least one year as a full-time backup before earning reps, and New Orleans has done well enough in free agency to address most, if not all, of their other positional holes. If Jackson is gone by #27, look for Mason Rudolph to get major attention at #27.
New York Giants: Draft RB Saquon Barkley with pick #2
Giants fans will push for GM Dave Gettleman to nab their next franchise quarterback, but they'd be passing up on the best prospect in the entire draft in doing so. Eli Manning hasn't dropped off yet, and at 37, he's in the same ballpark as Drew Brees, Ben Roethlisberger and Philip Rivers, all of which will have at least one more year of full-time starting reps. All personell responsible for benching Manning in favor of playing Geno Smith got a pink slip, showing the front office's level of commitment with Eli. Saquon Barkley is an immediate 1,000-yard rushing talent, and the Giants' best back right now is newly-signed Jonathan Stewart. What better way to prolong the health of an aging franchise quarterback then nabbing an elite rushing talent?
New York Jets: Draft QB Josh Allen with pick #3. If he's gone, take QB Josh Rosen
The Jets have pretty much laid all their cards on the table this offseason. They've signed many players for depth, a new Running Back in Isaiah Crowell, and cut Muhammad Wilkerson. New York also traded up for the third overall pick in an obvious effort to get a new Quarterback. Josh McCown and Teddy Bridgewater are decent short-term options, so they won't be limited to only drafting a start-ready QB. If Josh Allen is still on the board at #3 (That's only possible if Sam Darnold and Saquon Barkley go before him), he's definitely the man for the job. If Allen's gone, Josh Rosen is probably just as good of a long-term prospect.
Oakland Raiders: Draft LB Roquan Smith with pick #10
The Raiders have quietly addressed their offseason needs very well. They signed RB Doug Martin to give Marshawn Lynch decent competition, signed RT Breno Giacomini to replace Marshall Newhouse, and added Corners Rashaan Nelson, Leon Hall and Shareece Wright to a depleted corps. THey also re-signed FS Reggie Nelson and replaced WR Michael Crabtree with Jordy Nelson. Their only real hole remaining is Inside Linebacker, where they still have the option to re-sign Navorro Bowman. However, they have the tenth overall pick, and superstar sideline-to-sideline prospect Roquan Smith will likely still be on the board. He's an instant difference-maker on an already much-improved defense.
Philadelphia Eagles: Cut OLB Mychal Kendricks
The defending Super Bowl champs made it clear they're still going for it by adding DT Haloti Ngata and DE Michael Bennett while still keeping QB Nick Foles and LB Nigel Bradham this offseason. They've cut TE Brent Celek and DE Vinny Curry for cap purposes, but they still need to clear more. Mychal Kendricks was relegated to a reserve role for much of 2017, and cutting the seventh-highest-paid player on the team would save another $6 Million. Aging, oft-injured Left Tackle Jason Peters should still be considered if more cap casualties are needed.
Pittsburgh Steelers: Cut ILB Ryan Shazier and TE Vance McDonald
They should consider drafting Big Ben's replacement with pick #28, but keeping Le'Veon Bell for as long as possible is an even bigger priority. They're currently over the cap, meaning they're going to have to cut contracts just to sign whoever they draft. Ryan Shazier has been ruled out for the 2018 season, and there's no reason why Pittsburgh should pay a player $8.7 Million to NOT play. Vance McDonald is nothing more than a backup Tight End, and his $4.3 Million salary should be spent elsewhere.
San Francisco 49ers: Sign WR Jeremy Maclin
San Fran has replaced RB Carlos Hyde, OLB Elvis Dumervil, CB Leon Hall, G Brandon Fusco and C Daniel Kilgore with Jerick McKinnon, Jeremiah Attaochu, Richard Sherman, Jonathan Cooper and Weston Richburg, respectively. They also have a new playmaker coming their way in the draft with prospects like DB Minkah Fitzpatrick, CB Denzel Ward, SS Derwin James, LB Tremaine Edmunds, LB Roquan Smith and OLB Marcus Davenport all likely to be on the board at #9. What they don't have available at #9 is a guaranteed deep threat option for Jimmy Garoppolo. Amongst all their big signings, they still haven't added another deep threat option. Pierre Garcon and Marquise Goodwin are both solid options, but they don't have any other viable scoring threats behind them. Jeremy Maclin had a down year production-wise with Baltimore, but with a more ambitious Quarterback at the helm (sorry not sorry, Joe Flacco), Maclin could get closer to his 1,300-yard, double-digit touchdown form he had in 2014.
Seattle Seahawks: Sign CB Darrelle Revis
After cutting Richard Sherman and Jeremy Lane, their current top Corners are Neiko Thorpe, Justin Coleman and Shaquil Griffin. That's not good. Yes, they'll probably draft a new secondary member at #18, but that's far from enough if Seattle isn't thinking about a complete rebuild yet. Darelle Revis is aging, but he's still a talented corner with a chip on his shoulder, wanting starting reps. Seattle can give them to him for relatively cheap, and he has more experience being an "island corner" than all other available corners combined.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Sign RB Adrian Peterson
Doug Martin is finally out of Tampa Bay, and neither Jacquizz Rodgers nor Peyton Barber have earned major reps. All of the starting-ready Running Back prospects will either go before the Bucs pick at #7 (Saquon isn't slipping that far) and the likes of Derrius Guice and Sony Michel, the only two other every-down back prospects, will both likely be gone by #38. Adrian Peterson is looking for a new home that provides every-down reps, and Tampa Bay can
Tennessee Titans: Sign WR Michael Campanaro
The Titans made an already-talented team better by signing DT Bennie Logan, CB Malcolm Butler and RB Dion Lewis. Tennessee also re-signed Josh Kline and are letting Kevin Pamphile, Quinton Spain and newly-signed Xavier Su'a-Filo fight for the other starting Guard job. Edge rusher remains as the only real hole, and they're undoubtedly going to draft Harold Landry or Sam Hubbard with pick #25. I'm not comfortable with Will Compton beign a straight-up replacement for Avery Williamson, but it seems like most Titans fans are. To me, the weakest position that Tennessee isn't addressing is Wide Receiver, and they've already hosted Michael Campanaro. The former Ravens receiver has been forever under-utilized in Baltimore, and he would provide speed and consistency in the slot alongside Rishard Matthews, Corey Davis and Taywan Taylor. It isn't the sexiest move, but it's the most sensible.
Washington: Sign SS Kenny Vaccaro
The Washington secondary has three solid starters in Josh Norman, D.J. Swearinger and new addition Orlando Scandrick. What they don't have is a Strong Safety, now that they've traded Su'a Cravens to Denver. Kenny Vaccaro is a crazy-talented strong safety that's had his market value reduced by the lack of suitors a month into free agency. Let's be honest, it's more likely they sign Vaccaro than Eric Reid, a player involved in protesting the national anthem. If any team doesn't want more public scrutiny of their character, it would be Washington.