1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The retirement and return of QB Tom Brady was at the forefront of their offseason.
2. New Orleans Saints
This will be an interesting year for this franchise as Sean Payton stepped down as head coach after last season.
3. Carolina Panthers
They went after another former top-3 pick in QB Baker Mayfield to resurrect this current roster construction.
4. Atlanta Falcons
It was a swing and a miss in trying to get QB Deshaun Watson and the result is Marcus Mariota is now the quarterback.
Head Coach: Todd Bowles (Defensive Coordinator)
Key Position: Running Back
It’s time to see someone emerge from this position and help alleviate some pressure from the 45-year old starting quarterback. Leonard Fournette is the workhorse. He will likely continue in that role as he has the trust of Tom Brady. Enter Ke’Shawn Vaughn and rookie Rachaad White. Vaughn averaged 5-yards per carry on his 36 rushing attempts. Those attempts should increase and expect to see White get some looks on passing downs as he showed impressive production in that department in college.
Key Acquisitions: WR Russell Gage (Atlanta Falcons), DL Akiem Hicks (Chicago Bears), WR Julio Jones (Tennessee Titans), G Shaq Mason (New England Patriots), S/LB Keanu Neal (Dallas Cowboys), TE Kyle Rudolph (NY Giants), DB Logan Ryan (NY Giants)
Key Rookies: DL Logan Hall, G Luke Goedeke, RB Rachaad White
Head Coach: Dennis Allen (Defensive Coordinator)
Key Position: Quarterback
This is a huge opportunity for Jameis Winston to prove that he was worth that selection as the number one overall pick in 2015. He has shown that he is a talented quarterback throughout his career, but being in this position with the roster at his disposal going into this year, there are expectations of playoff success. That is something that has alluded him thus far in his career. WR Michael Thomas is returning to full health and that should help RB Alvin Kamara get more favorable matchups. Adding WR Jarvis Landry and drafting WR Chris Olave only enhance the options for Winston. The sky is the limit or rather his history of throwing interceptions.
Key Acquisitions: QB Andy Dalton (Chicago Bears), WR Jarvis Landry (Cleveland Browns), S Tyrann Mathieu (Kansas City Chiefs), S Marcus Maye (NY Jets), S Daniel Sorenson (Kansas City Chiefs)
Key Rookies: WR Chris Olave, T Trevor Penning, CB Alontae Taylor
Head Coach: Matt Rhule
Key Position: Offense
It’s been said many times that this offense lives and dies with RB Christian McCaffrey. To the point that Carolina was contemplating trading him this offseason. It was clicking on all cylinders to start last year, but fell off fast once McCaffrey went down and out for the year. The Panthers acquired a new quarterback in Baker Mayfield who has had success as recently as 2020 winning a playoff game for Cleveland that year. The offensive line should be much improved with new left tackle Ikem Ekwonu being selected in the first round. DJ Moore and Robbie Anderson are solid receivers and Tommy Tremble could become a top receiving threat at tight end. The question remains about McCaffrey’s health and what will happen when or if he goes down.
Key Acquisitions: OL Bradley Bozeman (Baltimore Ravens), OL Austin Corbett (LA Rams), RB D’Onta Foreman (Tennessee Titans), DT Matt Ioannidis (Washington Commanders), LB Cory Littleton (Las Vegas Raiders), QB Baker Mayfield (Cleveland Browns), LB Damien Wilson (Jacksonville Jaguars), S Xavier Woods (Minnesota Vikings)
Key Rookies: T Ikem Ekwonu, LB Brandon Smith
Head Coach: Arthur Smith
Key Position: Everything
They seemed poised to acquire QB Deshaun Watson, but alas it wasn’t meant to be. However, it created a new problem in that their current QB Matt Ryan wasn’t happy and they dealt him away afterwards. Now enter QB Marcus Mariota looking to find that spark in his career that had him enter the league as the number two overall pick in 2015. He has an elite tight end in Kyle Pitts to throw to and WR Drake London was the Falcons first round pick in the draft. Atlanta re-signed Cordarrelle Patterson who led the team in rushing, but was a dual threat as a receiver as well. The defense leaves a lot to be desired, but the lone bright spots are Grady Jarrett on the defensive line and CB A.J. Terrell in the secondary. After those two the defense drops off dramatically.
Key Acquisitions: LB Lorenzo Carter (NY Giants), WR Bryan Edwards (Las Vegas Raiders), LB Rashaan Evans (Tennessee Titans), CB Casey Hayward (Las Vegas Raiders), WR KhaDarel Hodge (Detroit Lions), OL Germain Ifedi (Chicago Bears), QB Marcus Mariota (Las Vegas Raiders), RB Damien Williams (Chicago Bears), OL Elijah Wilkinson (Chicago Bears)
Key Rookies: WR Drake London, LB Arnold Ebiketie, LB Troy Anderson, QB Desmond Ridder, LB DeAngelo Malone