Caleb Williams Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Ranking the 6 Most Improved Offenses After Free Agency, 2024 NFL Draft

David Kenyon

All 32 NFL teams attempt to improve their offense in free agency and the draft, but only a small number make significant strides.

Now, in many cases, that's because the previous unit struggled. The bar needed for perceived improvement with the Carolina Panthers was much lower than, say, the Kansas City Chiefs.

Nevertheless! We're here to applaud some overhauls.

The ranking factors in any players lost before considering the offseason additions. For example, the Los Angeles Chargers substantially improved their offense, but only after trading Keenan Allen, releasing Mike Williams and not re-signing Austin Ekeler.

So, while the order is subjective, the basis for comparison is a team's offense in 2023 compared to its 2024 outlook.

6. New York Jets

Mike Williams Ryan Kang/Getty Images

Aaron Rodgers' immediate Achilles injury changed the outlook of the New York Jets' season in 2023. Also, the offense stunk without him.

Even beyond the mess at quarterback, New York dealt with a problematic offensive line. The unit seemed like a revolving door—especially at center and on the right side—and simply was not an effective group overall.

This offseason, the Jets have continually invested in the O-line.

New York signed veteran tackle Tyron Smith and guard John Simpson, traded for tackle Morgan Moses and drafted tackle Olu Fashanu in the first round. Three of them likely will start in 2024, and the fourth will be a top backup in case of injuries.

Also, the Jets picked up wideout Mike Williams. He's recovering from a torn left ACL but should be a strong No. 2 option after Garrett WIlson. Third-round pick Malachi Corley may earn a starting job, too.

Expectations will be high for Rodgers in this retooled offense.

5. Washington Commanders

Jayden Daniels Simon Bruty for The Washington Post via Getty Images

In several ways, the Washington Commanders have entered a fresh era.

The organization moved on from Ron Rivera, and new coach Dan Quinn brought in Kliff Kingsbury to run the offense. Washington also shipped out 2023 starter Sam Howell in a trade, clearing the path for No. 2 overall pick Jayden Daniels to take over at QB.

Up front, the Commanders added three possible starters in free agency with tackle Cornelius Lucas, guard Nick Allegretti and center Tyler Biadasz. They drafted tackle Brandon Coleman in the third round, too.

Washington parted with running back Antonio Gibson, wide receiver Curtis Samuel and tight end Logan Thomas. However, the team replaced Gibson with Austin Ekeler, Samuel with third-rounder Luke McCaffrey and Thomas with veteran Zach Ertz and rookie Ben Sinnott.

While the Commanders probably aren't a playoff threat, they certainly should improve on scoring 19.4 points per game.

4. Carolina Panthers

Jonathon Brooks Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images

Yes, realistically, it would've been tough to get worse.

Last year, the Carolina Panthers mustered only 13.9 points per game with a league-worst 4.1 yards per play. Bryce Young struggled mightily—and didn't have a great situation—in a nightmarish rookie year.

There is plenty of optimism about 2024, though. Carolina inked guards Robert Hunt and Damien Lewis to big-money contracts in hopes of improving the blocking. Yosh Nijman also provides some experienced depth to the unit as a swing tackle.

At receiver, the Panthers traded for Diontae Johnson and used their opening draft pick on Xavier Legette.

Carolina further padded the offense with second-round running back Jonathon Brooks and fourth-round tight end Ja'Tavion Sanders.

Similar to Washington, the additions won't necessarily lead to a dramatic ascent in 2024. But the Panthers should feel a whole lot more confident in the new-look offense this season.

3. Tennessee Titans

John Smolek/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Last season, the Tennessee Titans primarily relied on Nick Westbrook-Ikhine and Chris Moore behind DeAndre Hopkins. This year, it'll be Hopkins with Calvin Ridley and Tyler Boyd.

Yeah, pretty big difference there.

Tennessee landed them in free agency, where it also signed Tony Pollard to replace Derrick Henry in the backfield. Henry will be missed, but Pollard offers a more explosive option in a new offensive system.

After signing Lloyd Cushenberry III to start at center, the Titans used the seventh overall pick in the draft on tackle JC Latham. He figures to offer stability at left tackle, a spot the Titans desperately had to improve as second-year quarterback Will Levis becomes the full-time starter.

Again, expectations should be tempered. Unlike last season, however, this offense actually has meaningful upside in 2024.

2. Atlanta Falcons

Michael Penix Jr. and Kirk Cousins Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Yes, the elephant in the room is the Atlanta Falcons deciding to draft Michael Penix Jr. despite adding Kirk Cousins in free agency.

But that's a side bar to the main headline.

Cousins alone reshapes an offense that scored just 18.9 points per game in 2023. Desmond Ridder and Taylor Heinicke combined to throw 17 touchdowns during the 17-game season, whereas Cousins tossed 18 scores in eight appearances before his Achilles injury.

Atlanta overhauled the receiving corps, too. Free-agent signing Darnell Mooney is a major upgrade next to Drake London, and trade pickup Rondale Moore raises the floor of the unit.

Throw in the impact of new coordinator Zac Robinson, and the Falcons have significantly altered their offense for 2024.

1. Chicago Bears

Rome Odunze and Caleb Williams Michael Reaves/Getty Images

The obvious choice, however, is the Chicago Bears.

Gone is Justin Fields, whose exit via trade preceded the arrival of top overall selection Caleb Williams. Chicago is putting its offense in the hands of the highly regarded rookie from USC.

Additionally, the Bears—who averaged a modest 21.2 points last season—reshaped his supporting cast at the skill positions.

In free agency, Chicago inked D'Andre Swift to lead the backfield. Mooney left for Atlanta, but the Bears traded for veteran receiver Keenan Allen and used a first-round pick on Rome Odunze. At tight end, they signed Gerald Everett to shore up depth behind Cole Kmet.

The short version: Moore, Kmet and now-backup runner Khalil Herbert are the Bears' only main contributors returning.

Chicago has much to prove on offense, but there's no question the talent level has skyrocketed on paper.

   

Read 145 Comments

Download the app for comments Get the B/R app to join the conversation

Install the App
×
Bleacher Report
(120K+)