The NFL is less than a month away from kicking off the 2022 league year and free agency on March 16. Free agency typically sets the tone for the rest of the offseason. Which teams will be aggressive in signing, or re-signing, top players on the market? Which teams will wait to cash in on the 2022 draft instead?
But let’s not forget: We could get at least one big move even before next month. Aaron Rodgers could decide any day whether he wants to stay with the Green Bay Packers. This decision will affect the offseason plans for multiple teams interested in potentially acquiring the quarterback. Rodgers, though, isn’t the only quarterback who could change teams.
While we wait for that decision, let’s talk about what each team needs to focus on this offseason. Who are the free agents to know? Which players could get cut? What are the best- and worst-case scenarios for all 32 teams? How many early draft picks does each team own?
Click the links below to read offseason previews for every team from our 32 NFL Nation reporters. Teams are sorted alphabetically.
Arizona is heading into an offseason in which some of its major offensive players — running backs James Conner and Chase Edmonds as well as receivers A.J. Green and Christian Kirk — could be headed to free agency. This could give Cardinals general manager Steve Keim a chance to rebuild the offense around what coach Kliff Kingsbury and QB Kyler Murray want, and whom they believe could help Arizona win down the stretch. Read more from Josh Weinfuss.
The Falcons once again need to figure out a bunch of spots on their roster. Their receiver position is gutted because of free agency — 2021 sixth-round pick Frank Darby (one reception) is the only player who finished the year on the 53-man roster who is not a free agent. The front seven, which had trouble putting pressure on the opposition, could undergo a significant overhaul due to free agency. Read more from Michael Rothstein.
How do the Ravens get Lamar Jackson and their offense back on track? If you ask coach John Harbaugh and general manager Eric DeCosta, it starts up front for Baltimore. In their season-ending news conferences, Harbaugh and DeCosta both indicated the offensive line is a point of emphasis — and for good reason. Read more from Jamison Hensley.
While they’re set at starting quarterback with Josh Allen, they need to upgrade on both sides of the ball with the lines and depth at receiver and cornerback at the top of the list. General manager Brandon Beane will have the help of nine draft picks, but there will be some smart cap management required. Read more from Alaina Getzenberg.
Darnold is the only quarterback under contract, and he has an $18.9 million salary-cap hit, so he’s almost impossible to trade. He also isn’t the answer after going 4-7 with nine touchdowns to 13 interceptions as the starter. Protecting him was an issue (35 sacks), and upgrading the line is a priority, regardless of who is under center. Carolina’s options, however, aren’t great. Read more from David Newton.
How will the Bears’ new regime maximize the skill set of Justin Fields? New GM Ryan Poles will have the first crack at it as he needs to upgrade the offensive line. Those nine sacks in Cleveland weren’t all on schemes and the playbook. Left tackle is a priority, but so are the skill positions, particularly on the edges. The Bears have several No. 2s at wide receiver but need explosiveness downfield. Read more from Jesse Rogers.
Cincinnati will have to make immediate decisions at left guard (Quinton Spain) and right tackle (Riley Reiff) and must assess whether the rest of the unit is good enough as well. Since the 2019 season, coach Zac Taylor’s first with the team, the Bengals have ranked 31st in the NFL in team pass block win rate. Only the Miami Dolphins have been worse. Read more from Ben Baby.
The Browns have to decide how much Baker Mayfield‘s left shoulder injury hampered his performance, and in turn, whether they believe he can bounce back after undergoing offseason surgery. Just a season ago, Mayfield did quarterback the Browns to their first playoff victory in 26 years after finishing 10th in QBR. Read more from Jake Trotter.
It might be too early to say this is it for coach Mike McCarthy, but it is certainly shaping up that way. Sean Payton’s shadow will linger and owner/GM Jerry Jones went out of his way to keep defensive coordinator Dan Quinn with a contract extension and future raise. While there was obvious progress in his second season, McCarthy will have to do better than winning the NFC East in 2022. Read more from Todd Archer.
With five picks in the first three rounds — including No. 9 overall — using a premium pick on a quarterback remains a possibility until general manager George Paton says, or shows, that it’s not. The quarterback decision is the biggest — and the first — roster domino that has to fall before Paton gets to work on the rest of what’s to come. Read more from Jeff Legwold.
Should the Lions select a quarterback with a late-first-round pick in the draft? It depends on who’s available at that point. It’s pretty much a lock that Jared Goff will be running the show again next season, but what does that mean for the team moving forward? Read more from Eric Woodyard.
What will Rodgers do? And when will he do it? He said he won’t take long to decide. The start of free agency on March 16 seems like the absolute latest, but they probably need to know at least a week before that so they can begin restructuring contracts or cutting players because they have to be under the salary cap by the start of free agency. No one knows for sure what he will do and when he will do it, so the Packers almost certainly have one plan that involves Rodgers and one that doesn’t. But until he decides, they’re essentially at a standstill. Read more from Rob Demovsky.
Dan Graziano and Jeff Saturday break down Aaron Rodgers’ upcoming decision and how that affects where Davante Adams will sign his contract.
For the first time since 2019, the Texans have a first-round pick. While the team could certainly take an impact player at No. 3, general manager Nick Caserio hinted at his end-of-season news conference that Houston could trade down in the draft. While he won’t be able to get quite the same return for the No. 3 pick as he could in other seasons because it’s not a strong draft for quarterbacks, Caserio could still get the player he likes and add even more draft capital. Read more from Sarah Barshop.
The Colts’ offseason is centered around their quarterback position, but the pressure is also on general manager Chris Ballard and coach Frank Reich. Ballard is heading into his sixth season as GM, and all he has to show for it is one playoff victory — and that was back in 2018. Read more from Mike Wells.
The addition of new coach Doug Pederson, who won Super Bowl LII with the Philadelphia Eagles, to pair with quarterback Trevor Lawrence, has most fans hopeful that 2022 will be significantly better than last year’s 4-13 debacle. The Jaguars also have the second-most salary-cap space available and the No. 1 overall pick (again), as well as three other picks in the top 70. Read more from Michael DiRocco.
The Chiefs finished 29th in sacks last season, and making significant improvements there will be an offseason priority. The Chiefs have a lengthy list of free agents, and combined with a tight salary-cap situation, it’s almost guaranteed significant changes are coming. Read more from Adam Teicher.
What will the new regime of general manager Dave Ziegler and coach Josh McDaniels do with Derek Carr? Well, it depends on whether they see him fitting McDaniels’ scheme, as opposed to any kind of haul they might get in return in a trade. Carr holds virtually every passing record in franchise history but has a career record of only 57-70 and, in his eighth season, just played in his first career playoff game. Read more from Paul Gutierrez.
Midway through the 2021 season, the Chargers were at the bottom of the NFL in defending the run, letting opposing offenses rush for more than 140 yards per game. They improved slightly down the stretch, but they must draft wisely and count on DE Justin Jones to stay healthy up front (provided the Chargers can re-sign him), as the run defense suffered in the six games he missed. Read more from Shelley Smith.
Mina Kimes is curious to see if the results of this offseason will give the Los Angeles Chargers a better chance at a Super Bowl.
The Rams will have work to do in order to make their roster work against the salary cap. Stafford is entering the final season of a five-year, $135 million contract and is due an extension. While that will be costly for the Rams, given the 13-year pro has now proved he’s not only capable of winning in the playoffs but leading a team to a Super Bowl title, it could also provide some cap relief to spread Stafford’s numbers out over several seasons. Read more from Lindsey Thiry.
Miami has north of $60 million in salary-cap space to work with this offseason, most of which should be spent on retaining its free agents and adding premier players to its offense to support quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, who enters a make-or-break third season. Read more from Marcel Louis-Jacques.
The Vikings will again need to invest heavily in their defense (which ranked 31st last year) but must figure out what to do with a handful of expensive veteran contracts (potentially Danielle Hunter, Harrison Smith, Adam Thielen and even Dalvin Cook) to create the salary-cap room needed to be active players in free agency. Read more from Courtney Cronin.
Things can essentially be narrowed down to three layers: 1. What can the Patriots do personnel-wise (e.g. another receiving threat) to better support Mac Jones’ growth? 2. What happened to the defense at the end of the season, and what is being done to ensure it doesn’t happen again? 3. Why did their once-dominant special teams units drop off so badly? Coach Bill Belichick often talks about playing complementary football and weaving all three phases together, and doing a better job in that area in 2022 figures to be a big emphasis this offseason. Read more from Mike Reiss.
Who will play quarterback? Jameis Winston is probably the front-runner since he proved to be a good fit in 2021 with 14 touchdown passes and just three interceptions before he tore an ACL. However, there is no guarantee he’ll be back since he is an unsigned free agent and is still rehabbing. Read more from Mike Triplett.
Giants GM Joe Schoen has already gone on record saying he wanted to clear $40 million in cap space and build through the draft. He also stated the Giants won’t be big players this year in free agency as they get their financials in order. But they do have two top-10 picks and nine selections overall in the draft. Read more from Jordan Raanan.
GM Joe Douglas has four of the first 38 picks in the draft, having added capital with the Sam Darnold and Jamal Adams trades. There’s no excuse for the team not to take a big jump in 2022. The Cincinnati Bengals’ quick turnaround proves it doesn’t have to take forever. Read more from Rich Cimini.
The budget was tight last year, thanks in large part to quarterback Carson Wentz‘s $34 million dead-cap charge sitting on the books while he played for the Indianapolis Colts. This offseason, the Eagles will be able to delve deeper into the free-agent pool and are as well-stocked as any team for the 2022 NFL draft with three first-round picks. The question is whether Philly will use those assets to build methodically or make a gigantic splash. Read more from Tim McManus.
The Steelers’ path to finding their next signal-caller isn’t clear-cut. They have in-house options in Mason Rudolph and Dwayne Haskins, but they could also opt to draft a rookie, sign a midlevel veteran or make a splash with a big name in a trade or free agency. The Steelers have other glaring areas to address, like the offensive line and cornerback position, but the quarterback decision will dictate the rest of the offseason and 2022 campaign. Read more from Brooke Pryor.
Coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch said after the season that no decision has been made yet, but Jimmy Garoppolo was clear: He expects a trade and would like to have a say in where he lands. While he can’t officially be traded until March 16, the Niners can agree to a deal before then, and that is the expectation. Read more from Nick Wagoner.
Quandre Diggs is the Seahawks’ top free agent. He led the team with five interceptions, matching his total from 2020 as he was named to his second straight Pro Bowl. His work patrolling the back end of their defense was a big reason Seattle was one of the best teams at limiting explosive passing plays. He might have been the Seahawks’ MVP in 2021. But Diggs’ situation is complicated by a few factors. He’s coming off a broken fibula and dislocated ankle from Week 18. Read more from Brady Henderson.
With so many players set to become free agents, it’s less about who will be cut and more about who they simply won’t bring back. Jason Pierre-Paul played through a torn rotator cuff all season — might Joe Tryon-Shoyinka be ready to take over as the starter opposite Shaquil Barrett? Read more from Jenna Laine.
Tennessee will need more firepower to compete with the likes of the Bills, Chiefs and Bengals. That means the addition of a versatile tight end to make the offense less predictable and create matchup problems for opposing defenses. The draft and free agency could help fill that void. Adding a vertical threat who can stretch the field would also help an offense that was 31st in passing plays of 20 yards or more (35) and tied for the third-fewest passing plays of 40 yards or more (seven). The Titans should look at options to add an explosive receiver. Read more from Turron Davenport.
Coach Ron Rivera has made no secret of his desire to be aggressive in ending Washington’s decades-long quarterback search — they’re at 32 starters and counting since the franchise last won the Super Bowl after the 1991 season. But being able to find that guy will be difficult. There are rumors about big names such as Russell Wilson, but Seattle does not have to trade him and must be blown away by an offer. Read more from John Keim.