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In the NFL off-season, moving vans will spawn more gossip than a junior high school lunchroom. Who’s going where, who’s staying where, on and on the wheel spins. When it stops, you have hurt feelings, new teammates, and new addresses. Knowing who to keep becomes a bigger headache than filling in the holes you’re certain you have. The question is, are you (still) a contender by making a move or are you just browsing hoping to find a steal?
Seattle Seahawks: Window – Closing
The Seattle Seahawks have almost completely obliterated the team that led them to two Superbowl appearances and it’s only championship. The recent trade of Michael Bennett, the release of defensive back Richard Sherman, the already decimated offense and injuries have left this team on the verge of rebuilding.
Starting quarterback Russell Wilson needs help on offense, particularly the running game. The Seahawks ranked 23rd in rushing during the season with four rushing touchdowns. Russell Wilson had three of those scores, plus 34 passing which made him a part of every score except one on offense.
They need some players to re-tool the offensive line as well. Very few backs posses the ability to shake every defender in the defense and gain yards. Rebuilding the offensive line and getting a real workhorse back should be Seattle’s main focus. It’s time for the offense to be built around Wilson.
Denver Broncos: Window – Closing
The Broncos won Superbowl 50 with a ferocious pass rush, great coverage from the defensive secondary and a great rushing attack. In that game the Broncos overcame a terrible performance from quarterback Peyton Manning. Denver has followed the same path since then: great defense, good running and pretty mediocre play from their quarterbacks. The results have been less than desirable.
The Broncos need a real signal caller running the offense. During the season the triple non-threat of Trevor Siemian, Brock Osweiler and Paxton Lynch combined to throw for 3,668 yards, 19 touchdowns, and 22 interceptions. They ranked 20th in passing overall and 32nd in red zone scoring. None of those names would instill a great sense of confidence and the numbers prove they need to go in a different direction.
Denver desperately needs the upgrade at quarterback, they can’t afford to rely on defense forever. The addition of the right guy behind center could catapult the Broncos back into championship contention.
Atlanta Falcons: Window – Wide Open
The Falcons have had as good a two year run as you can have without winning a title. They lost Superbowl 51 in historic fashion but came right back in 2017 to have double digit wins and a playoff appearance. They went from a team with a top offense to a team with a top defense in the same span. A team right on the cusp of making big noise in the NFL and returning to the Superbowl hasn’t lost their window of opportunity yet.
The Falcons offensive line is a great as individuals but not so much collectively. They are set to restructure the contract of guard Andy Levitre who’s been a great player for them at guard. Ryan Schrader has been solid at right tackle but they could use an upgrade there as well.
They ranked 23rd in redzone scoring on offense during the season. Teams were able to send pressure straight up the gut in the short field. The offensive line did not hold up in key moments of the games when the play calls are a little more identifiable. Beefing up that unit will give Matt Ryan more time to throw and make plays when it counts.
Jacksonville Jaguars: Window – Open
The ferocious defense of the Jaguars left opponents dazed and defeated throughout the season. They finished the season number two in overall defense and forced turnovers. The Jags also had a bruise and cruise mentality on offense, leading the NFL in rushing. They made it to the AFC title game and had control of that game before giving up the lead late. They are a team with very little holes, poised to take the next step and represent the AFC in a future Superbowl.
The Jaguars desperately need help at wide receiver. Their leading receiver was Keelan Cole who had a late season surge averaging 106.5 receiving yards in the last four games of the season. Tight end Marcedes Lewis led the team in touchdown receptions with five, but had only 24 catches overall.
The Jags need a wide receiver that scares opposing defenses. When Blake Bortles steps back to pass, he needs a true number one guy, or at least a guy with number one potential.
These teams are all in need of a few players. The right or wrong move could help them climb the ranks or fall into a deep hole. In any event there will be a few new faces showing up in these cities. Hopefully they will make an impact.