Posted 3 days ago | By Sam Robinson
With minicamps approaching, the most interesting parts of the NFL’s offseason have taken place. From coaching hires, to free agency additions and subtractions, to trades, to draft picks, which teams fared the best during the latest NFL offseason?
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32. Houston Texans
Nick Caserio will be given more time than ex-Patriot right-hand men-turned-decision-makers Josh McDaniels or Scott Pioli, in all likelihood. He inherited a brutal situation before Deshaun Watson’s trade demand and off-field trouble became known. The Texans hired a 65-year-old coach (David Culley) who had not been a coordinator since the 1990 season (at UTEP) and used their only top-80 pick on a midlevel QB prospect (Davis Mills). One of the Texans’ bevy of one-year contracts went to the underrated Phillip Lindsay, but the post-Bill O’Brien Texans appear to be punting their rebuild to 2022 and beyond. 2021 prognosis: bleak.
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31. Green Bay Packers
Aaron Rodgers’ Kenny Mayne tribute added more fuel to the NFL’s defining offseason story. This potential era-ending impasse between the MVP and management dwarfs everything else Packers presently. Rodgers has seen peers’ franchises cater to them and build Super Bowl rosters through various means; Tom Brady’s Buccaneers — with Lambeau Field as a key backdrop — used the latest such plan to win a title. The less flexible Packers did well to re-sign Aaron Jones, but non-Green Bay residents would be wise to read up on this franchise’s 20-plus years between Bart Starr and Brett Favre. The Pack’s astray-at-QB 1970s and ’80s may be relevant again soon.
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30. Las Vegas Raiders
The Raiders could use some good inside-the-box thinking. Their zags have not pushed a wayward franchise onto the contender map. Jettisoning three proven O-linemen (expensive blockers, but still) could have Derek Carr set to play behind three first-year starters; the O-line overhaul could set back the less mobile starter’s recent progress. The Jon Gruden-Mike Mayock regime’s latest off-radar first-round pick (Alex Leatherwood) continued a strange path that could keep undercutting Gruden’s coaching. The Raiders need an experienced personnel man, as it has become difficult to believe in anything the current regime does.
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29. Pittsburgh Steelers
Every team that rostered a golden-generation QB has moved on or formed a succession plan; the Steelers are the last ones standing. The cap reduction hurt them more than most, due to their annual can-kicking financial strategy. Their roster worsened this year. Pittsburgh said goodbye to starters Maurkice Pouncey, Alejandro Villanueva, Mike Hilton, and Bud Dupree. They drafted a talented running back (Najee Harris), but their offensive line looks like one of the NFL’s worst. Not ideal for an immobile Ben Roethlisberger, who still has no true heir apparent. The Steelers are vulnerable at a few spots, looking a year out from a rare rebuild.
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28. Tennessee Titans
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The Titans are paying an awful lot of money to a supporting cast edge rusher who tore an ACL in November. Bud Dupree should be an upgrade on Jadeveon Clowney, but instead of a post-injury prove-it deal, the ex-Steeler capitalized on the Titans’ historically bad third-down defense. Tennessee also will count on 33-year-old Janoris Jenkins and first-round injury risk (Caleb Farley) in coverage. The defensive play-caller responsible for last year’s woes, Shane Bowen, is back with a title bump. The exit of the OC in charge of Ryan Tannehill’s revival, Arthur Smith, will leave a void. And unless the Titans land Julio Jones, their aerial attack lacks depth.
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27. Philadelphia Eagles
The Eagles hired Frank Reich’s right-hand man, Nick Sirianni, before trading the quarterback Reich has championed (to Reich’s current team). Their previous Carson Wentz-Doug Pederson-Howie Roseman plan blew up, revealing organizational strife. Wentz’s exit/Eagles dead-money bloodbath sets up a begrudging rebuild. Philly’s roster features several pieces from the 2017 Super Bowl team; those 30-somethings may be playing out a depressing string. The Eagles added a 2022 first-rounder (possibly two, if Wentz stays healthy), outflanked the Giants for diminutive DeVonta Smith, and signed a bargain safety in Anthony Harris. Other than that, this is a clear transition year.
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