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The best move of the NFL offseason for all 32 teams

With nearly all of the top free agents signed and the NFL draft done, most of the big offseason moves have already been made. The question now is when we’ll see live football again.

We won’t know what the 2020 season will look like until closer to September as pro sports leagues manage the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic, but in the meantime, it’s clear where the team’s rosters stand.

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Here’s a look at the best offseason move — draft pick, trade or free-agent signing — for every NFL team in 2020:

AFC East

Buffalo Bills: Trading for Vikings wide receiver Stefon Diggs

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The Bills gave up four draft picks, including a 2020 first-rounder, to the Vikings to get Diggs, but it’s hard to argue he isn’t worth it. He had the third-highest average yards per route run in 2019, behind only Saints star Michael Thomas and Titans rookie A.J. Brown, giving Buffalo the deep threat it needed. If he can coax more downfield throws from quarterback Josh Allen, the Bills offense has a chance to make a significant jump.

Miami Dolphins: Drafting Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa

The Dolphins aren’t quite ready to compete for a playoff spot, but the roster is starting to come together. By adding cornerback Byron Jones and linebacker Kyle Van Noy in free agency and adding depth on the offensive line and in the secondary through the draft, Miami addressed some of its biggest needs after beginning a complete teardown last season. Now, after picking Tagovailoa at No. 5 overall, the Dolphins have a potential star at the game’s most valuable position. Tagovailoa has to prove he can stay healthy, but whenever he steps onto the field, Miami will have one of the most exciting young teams in the league.

New England Patriots: Signing quarterback Brian Hoyer

It’s hard to believe that Jarrett Stidham is the heir apparent to Tom Brady, but after the first few waves of free agency and the draft, the Patriots haven’t added significant help at quarterback. Cam Newton is still lurking, but Andy Dalton and Jameis Winston recently signed as backups in Dallas and New Orleans, respectively. If Stidham falters, Hoyer is likely to step in as the starter. The 11-year veteran might end up making the most starts in New England this season.

New York Jets: Drafting Louisville offensive tackle Mekhi Becton

The Jets addressed their offensive line in free agency, adding George Fant, Connor McGovern and Greg Van Roten, but the biggest move was drafting Becton at No. 11 overall. The 6-foot-7, 364-pound tackle was one of the stars of the scouting combine, where he ran the 40-yard dash in 5.1 seconds. He’s far from a perfect prospect, but he should be an upgrade protecting quarterback Sam Darnold’s blindside with the potential to become a Pro Bowl player.

Alabama wide receiver Jerry Jeudy has the route-running ability and speed to make an immediate impact for the Broncos.
Alabama wide receiver Jerry Jeudy has the route-running ability and speed to make an immediate impact for the Broncos.

AFC West

Denver Broncos: Drafting Alabama wide receiver Jerry Jeudy

Acquiring cornerback A.J. Bouye and defensive tackle Jurrell Casey in trades helped solidify the defense, and running back Melvin Gordon and guard Graham Glasgow are sure to help the offense immediately, but none of those players can be as transformative as the Broncos’ top draft pick. Jeudy has the route-running ability and speed to make an immediate impact, giving second-year quarterback Drew Lock another weapon to work with from the slot or on the outside.

Kansas City Chiefs: Franchise-tagging defensive tackle Chris Jones

Whether they end up trading Jones, keeping him for one more year or signing him to an extension, the Chiefs are sure to extract value from one of the heroes of last season’s Super Bowl victory. Drafting running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire in the first round is exciting for fans and fantasy football players alike, but Jones is a key piece of the defense who the Chiefs couldn’t afford to let walk away for nothing.

Las Vegas Raiders: Signing quarterback Marcus Mariota

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The Raiders gave the former Titans first-round pick a two-year, $17.6 million contract with $7.5 million guaranteed to be Derek Carr’s backup — for now. Ironically, Mariota is in position to make the same midseason switch to starter that Ryan Tannehill did, supplanting Mariota in Tennessee. With a solid draft, including speedy wide receiver Henry Ruggs III, and some big free-agent signings on defense (linebackers Cory Littleton and Nick Kwiatkoski, defensive linemen Carl Nassib and Maliek Collins, safeties Jeff Heath and Damarious Randall), the Raiders are in position to compete for a playoff spot in the AFC. If Carr falters, Vegas’ season won’t be sunk if it turns to its backup quarterback.

Los Angeles Chargers: Drafting Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert

Anytime a franchise picks a quarterback in the first round of the draft, it’s usually the biggest move of the offseason. While Herbert probably won’t start right away ahead of veteran Tyrod Taylor, the Chargers have hitched their wagon to the Oregon product with the hope that he can develop into a better player than he was in college. The Chargers roster is good enough to compete for a playoff spot this season, but the short-term plan at quarterback remains a mystery.

The addition of LSU linebacker Patrick Queen, an athletic and instinctive player, helps shore up the middle of the defense.
The addition of LSU linebacker Patrick Queen, an athletic and instinctive player, helps shore up the middle of the defense. (Danny Karnik/AP)

AFC North

Baltimore Ravens: Drafting LSU linebacker Patrick Queen

If there’s one spot to nitpick from the Ravens’ record-setting 14-2 season, it was their weakness at inside linebacker. Though the secondary became one of the league’s best after the midseason acquisition of cornerback Marcus Peters, the run defense ranked 20th in Football Outsiders’ DVOA. The addition of Queen, an athletic and instinctive player, and Pro Bowl defensive end Calais Campbell in a trade with the Jaguars helps shore up the middle of the defense as the Ravens look to capitalize on a Super Bowl window with MVP quarterback Lamar Jackson still playing on a rookie deal.

Cincinnati Bengals: Drafting LSU quarterback Joe Burrow

For months, there was no doubt who the Bengals were going to draft No. 1 overall. Now that Burrow is officially the pick, Cincinnati can start building a better roster around him in search of their first playoff berth in five years. With a strong draft and the willingness to spend in free agency for the first time in a while — adding D.J. Reader, Von Bell and Trae Waynes on defense — the Bengals might not be that far away from being competitive in the tough AFC North.

Cleveland Browns: Signing right tackle Jack Conklin and drafting left tackle Jedrick Wills Jr.

This qualifies as two moves, but they work in tandem so they must be considered together. After struggling to keep quarterback Baker Mayfield upright in a disappointing 2019 season that resulted in the firing of coach Freddie Kitchens and general manager John Dorsey, the Browns’ new regime of Kevin Stefanski and Andrew Berry invested heavily in rebuilding the offensive line. Cleveland added plenty of depth on defense and added another weapon to the passing game in tight end Austin Hooper, but the two new tackles will have the biggest impact in 2020.

Pittsburgh Steelers: Signing guard Stefen Wisniewski

Wisniewski has never been named to the Pro Bowl in his nine NFL seasons, but he was a reliable starter for the past two Super Bowl champions in Philadelphia and Kansas City. Keeping quarterback Ben Roethlisberger clean and paving the way for James Conner will be critical as the Steelers look to turn around what was one of the NFL’s worst offenses with Roethlisberger out for the season. Adding tight end Eric Ebron on a cheap two-year deal and drafting wide receiver Chase Claypool should also help get the offense going.

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If quarterback Philip Rivers can prove 2019 was an anomaly and not the start of a downward spiral, the Colts will be a tough team to beat.
If quarterback Philip Rivers can prove 2019 was an anomaly and not the start of a downward spiral, the Colts will be a tough team to beat. (Charlie Riedel/AP)

AFC South

Houston Texans: Drafting TCU defensive tackle Ross Blacklock

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It should be obvious that trading away star receiver DeAndre Hopkins for an expensive running back on the decline and a second-round pick was a bad move, and the Texans made things worse by giving the Rams a second-round pick for oft-injured receiver Brandin Cooks as Hopkins’ replacement. Even Houston’s free-agent deals weren’t optimal, overpaying for receiver Randall Cobb and cornerback Bradley Roby. With what little draft capital they had, they were able to pick Blacklock in the second round. He can be a force on the interior immediately, but it’s disappointing to see the Texans fail to surround quarterback Deshaun Watson with a better roster.

Indianapolis Colts: Signing quarterback Philip Rivers

Rivers is on the downside of his career and is coming off a season in which he ranked 22nd in Total QBR, but he hasn’t played behind an offensive line as good as the Colts’. He’s sure to be an improvement over Jacoby Brissett, and with receiver Michael Pittman Jr. and running back Jonathan Taylor joining the offense through the draft, he won’t be lacking weapons. If Rivers can prove 2019 was an anomaly and not the start of a downward spiral, the Colts will be a tough team to beat.

Jacksonville Jaguars: Their entire 2020 draft

There isn’t one pick that stands out above the rest, but taken as a whole, the Jaguars’ draft class has the potential to inject some life into a stagnant franchise. Florida cornerback C.J. Henderson and LSU edge rusher K’Lavon Chaisson, both taken in the first round, can grow into stars at positions of need, while Colorado receiver Laviska Shenault could be the steal of the draft if he stays healthy. Jacksonville also added some quality depth on the offensive and defensive lines and took a developmental quarterback with some intriguing traits in Oregon State’s Jake Luton. Next year’s draft could be even bigger if the Jags are in position to take star quarterbacks Trevor Lawrence or Justin Fields.

Tennessee Titans: Franchise-tagging running back Derrick Henry

The Titans are one of the few teams left with their offensive identity built around one bell-cow running back, and they clearly weren’t ready to part ways with him. Henry’s monster 2019 season came at the perfect time for the 2015 Heisman Trophy winner, but the Titans made a smart move by committing to him for just one season instead of handing out a big contract that other teams have come to regret giving their running backs. Henry will help keep the Titans in the AFC race in 2020 if he remains productive, and if he struggles, Tennessee can cut bait without worry.

Oklahoma receiver CeeDee Lamb gives Cowboys franchise-tagged quarterback Dak Prescott yet another weapon.
Oklahoma receiver CeeDee Lamb gives Cowboys franchise-tagged quarterback Dak Prescott yet another weapon.

NFC East

Dallas Cowboys: Drafting Oklahoma receiver CeeDee Lamb

There’s a lot to like about the Cowboys’ free-agent signings, including Gerald McCoy, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and Andy Dalton, as well as taking a flier on former All-Pro edge rusher Aldon Smith, who has been out of football since 2015. But taking Lamb after he slipped to 17th pick might end up being the best move of them all. The Oklahoma star gives franchise-tagged quarterback Dak Prescott yet another weapon to prove to management that he’s worth a big extension, with Dallas poised to have one of the best offenses in the league.

Philadelphia Eagles: Trading for Lions cornerback Darius Slay

As badly as the Eagles needed help at receiver, cornerback might have been a bigger priority. Philadelphia didn’t wait until the draft to fix its secondary, acquiring Slay from Detroit for third- and fifth-round picks and signing him to a three-year, $50 million extension with $30 million guaranteed. The three-time Pro Bowl selection can help transform the Eagles defense from good to great.

New York Giants: Drafting Georgia offensive tackle Andrew Thomas

After taking running back Saquon Barkley and a quarterback Daniel Jones in the top 10 in back-to-back drafts, the Giants needed to upgrade their offensive line. Thomas can play right tackle or even take over on the left side for Nate Solder, who has been a disappointment after signing a big free-agent deal. The Giants added much-needed talent to the defense with the signings of cornerback James Bradberry and linebackers Blake Martinez and Kyler Fackrell, but Thomas can help the team’s two most important young players right away.

Washington Redskins: Drafting Ohio State edge rusher Chase Young

After hiring coach Ron Rivera and rebuilding the front office, the Redskins stood pat at pick No. 2 to take Young, hoping he can live up to his All-Pro potential and give the team another young star to build around. Though there are holes in the secondary and on the offensive line after left tackle Trent Williams and cornerback Quinton Dunbar were traded, Washington’s defense has the chance to be special, especially up front. Young is the kind of game-wrecking player who can make his teammates better by attracting so much attention.

In Kliff Kingsbury’s scheme, wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins has the potential to put up career-best numbers, taking Arizona’s offense to a new level.
In Kliff Kingsbury’s scheme, wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins has the potential to put up career-best numbers, taking Arizona’s offense to a new level. (David J. Phillip/AP)

NFC West

Arizona Cardinals: Trading for Texans wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins

The Cardinals gave Offensive Rookie of the Year Kyler Murray one of the best receivers in the league, and all it cost was an expensive running back and a second-round pick. In Kliff Kingsbury’s scheme, Hopkins has the potential to put up career-best numbers, taking Arizona’s offense to a new level. With one of the league’s best draft classes, the Cardinals’ roster is becoming one of the league’s most exciting.

Los Angeles Rams: Trading wide receiver Brandin Cooks for a second-round pick

Without a first-round pick until 2022, the Rams regaining any meaningful draft capital over the next two offseasons will be helpful in restocking a roster filled with bloated salaries. There’s also the matter of Cook’s durability. While it’s hard to predict long-term health, his 2019 season was ruined by head injuries, and he’s suffered five known concussions in six years. With Cooper Kupp, Robert Woods and second-round pick Van Jefferson at receiver, the Rams offense should be able to replace Cooks’ production.

San Francisco 49ers: Trading for Redskins left tackle Trent Williams

With six-time Pro Bowl selection Joe Staley retiring, the 49ers struck a deal with Washington to land Williams for a 2020 fifth-round pick and 2021 third-rounder. Williams, a seven-time Pro Bowl tackle himself, should keep Kyle Shanahan’s offense moving along without a hitch. That’s the kind of on-the-fly team building that has made the 49ers the team to beat in the NFC. San Francisco also deserves credit for flipping defensive lineman DeForest Buckner to the Colts for the 13th pick, which they used to draft his replacement, South Carolina’s Javon Kinlaw, who’ll be playing for at least the next four years on a cheap rookie deal.

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Seattle Seahawks: Trading for Redskins cornerback Quinton Dunbar

Dunbar was scouting website Pro Football Focus’ second-ranked cornerback in 2019, behind only Richard Sherman, and Seattle got him for just a 2020 fifth-round pick. Dunbar fills one of the team’s biggest needs, turning the Seahawks’ secondary into a strength alongside safety Quandre Diggs and corner Shaquill Griffin.

Nick Foles’ durability concerns are worrisome, but when healthy, he can at least provide a baseline level of competence the Bears haven’t often had at quarterback.
Nick Foles’ durability concerns are worrisome, but when healthy, he can at least provide a baseline level of competence the Bears haven’t often had at quarterback. (Stephen B. Morton / AP)

NFC North

Chicago Bears: Trading for quarterback Nick Foles

Desperate times call for desperate measures, and with Mitch Trubisky not living up to his status as a No. 2 pick, the Bears sought a veteran quarterback to take over. Foles’ durability concerns are worrisome, but when healthy, he can at least provide a baseline level of competence the Bears haven’t often had at the position. After restructuring Foles’ deal to pay him $8 million per year over the next three seasons, it won’t be a disaster for Chicago if the trade doesn’t work out.

Detroit Lions: Drafting Ohio State cornerback Jeff Okudah

After trading Darius Slay to the Eagles, the Lions were in position to grab a ready-made replacement in Okudah, who is expected to be an effective player from Day One with All-Pro potential. Detroit quietly made some strong moves in free agency, signing veteran cornerback Desmond Trufant and linebacker Jamie Collins. The Lions defense finished 30th in weighted DVOA last season, and Okudah can help bring the unit back to respectability.

Green Bay Packers: Signing right tackle Rick Wagner

The fact that signing a 30-year-old veteran tackle qualifies as the Packers’ best move of the offseason should speak volumes. In free agency, Green Bay signed linebacker Christian Kirksey, wide receiver Devin Funchess and tight end Mercedes Lewis to low-cost, short-term deals, but none of those players should be expected to make a meaningful impact in 2020. A head-scratching draft, headlined by the selection of Utah State quarterback Jordan Love at pick No. 26, leaves more questions than answers about how the Packers expect to get the most out of the final years of Aaron Rodgers’ contract.

Minnesota Vikings: Drafting LSU wide receiver Justin Jefferson and TCU cornerback Jeff Gladney in the first round

The Vikings are going to be counting a lot on their rookie class in 2020, so it helps that Minnesota secured two top-notch prospects at their biggest positions of need. Jefferson can help fill the void left by the Stefon Diggs trade, while Gladney is expected to play immediately after the Vikings parted ways with their top three corners from a season ago. Keeping safety Anthony Harris on the franchise tag and adding former Ravens defensive tackle Michael Pierce through free agency should also help keep the defense among the league’s best.

Adding the greatest quarterback of all-time in Tom Brady is a no-brainer for the Buccaneers, even if that quarterback is 42 years old.
Adding the greatest quarterback of all-time in Tom Brady is a no-brainer for the Buccaneers, even if that quarterback is 42 years old. (Nick Wass/AP)

NFC South

Atlanta Falcons: Signing running back Todd Gurley

After being cut by the Rams, Gurley signed with Atlanta on a modest one-year, $6 million deal. It’s a low-risk, high-reward move for the Falcons, who aren’t committing beyond this season to a player who has battled injuries in recent seasons. At his peak, Gurley was the best running back in the league, and while that doesn’t mean much in today’s NFL, there’s still value in handing him the ball over Brian Hill, Ito Smith and Qadree Ollison.

Carolina Panthers: Signing quarterback Teddy Bridgewater

Bridgewater proved he deserves another chance to be a starter after what he showed in New Orleans. The question for the Panthers is how long he’ll be the No. 1 option during his three-year, $63 million contract that includes $33 million guaranteed. With a potentially star-studded quarterback class coming in the 2021 draft, the Panthers might have given starting quarterback money to a future backup. Still, he might be an upgrade over Cam Newton, and is certainly better than Will Grier or P.J. Walker.

New Orleans Saints: Signing wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders

Re-signing quarterback Drew Brees to a two-year, $50 million deal is the biggest move, but there was little doubt that Brees wouldn’t return to New Orleans. By adding Sanders, who dropped just one pass on 96 targets last season, per PFF, the Saints finally have a worthy No. 2 option next to star receiver Michael Thomas. He helped put the 49ers over the top, and can do the same for the Saints offense.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Signing quarterback Tom Brady

Well, duh. Adding the greatest quarterback of all-time is a no-brainer, even if that quarterback is 42 years old. It cost the Bucs $50 million guaranteed, but it’s only for two years, and their other options were re-signing Jameis Winston, adding a different free agent or cap casualty (Cam Newton, Andy Dalton, Philip Rivers) or taking a chance on a quarterback in the draft. Outside of his record-setting 2007 duo of Randy Moss and Wes Welker, this receiving group of Chris Godwin, Mike Evans and Rob Gronkowski might be the best Brady has ever played with. Father time hasn’t caught up to Brady yet, and now that he’s motivated to show the Patriots he’s still got plenty left in the tank, the Bucs could have a truly special season.

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