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The 1 Move Every NFL Team Still Needs to Make in 2024 Offseason

Matt Holder

Whether it's a movie, TV show or something else, everyone can probably relate to a situation where they've heard nothing but negative reviews about a particular item yet they still have to see for themselves how bad it really is. To a certain degree, that happens with NFL rosters this time of year.

Part of the media's job during the offseason is to point out a team's flaws. Sometimes, general managers and head coaches listen and address the need. However, there are other occasions where stubbornness plays a factor and the problem doesn't get addressed in the spring.

Then, OTAs roll around and the issue becomes glaringly obvious in practice that it finally dawns on the club's decision-makers that they need to make a move.

Long story short, every team's roster still has needs as the summer approaches. Here, we'll go division by division and point out one move each team still needs to make before training camp begins.

AFC East

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Buffalo Bills: Add a veteran linebacker

At his peak, Matt Milano is an All-Pro caliber player. However, he turns 30 at the end of July and is coming off a season-ending injury. Also, Buffalo let Tyrel Dodson, who filled in well for Milano last fall, walk in free agency.

While the roster does have some young talent at the position, it feels like the Bills' Super Bowl window is starting to close, so they'd be wise to bring in a veteran backer like Zach Cunningham or Shaquille Leonard as an insurance policy at the least.

Miami Dolphins: Add an edge rusher

While the Dolphins did use a first-round pick on Chop Robinson, the Penn State product is widely considered a project that needs some time to develop. Meanwhile, projected starters Bradley Chubb and Jaelan Phillips are working their way back from the significant leg injuries suffered toward the end of the 2023 campaign.

So, bringing in someone like Yannick Ngakoue or Carl Lawson wouldn't be a bad idea to give the defense a veteran edge-rusher with a proven track record of success in case Chubb or Philips aren't ready to go for Week 1.

New England Patriots: Sign Donovan Smith

This one is more specific seeing as there aren't many left tackle options available at this point in the offseason. While the Patriots did sign Chukwuma Okorafor in free agency and drafted Caeden Wallace already this spring, they should be extra cautious when it comes to protecting Drake Maye's blind side and give themselves another option just in case.

Smith is coming off a down year in Kansas City, but he's been effective in the past and could end up being New England's Week 1 starting left tackle. Even if he doesn't, the veteran shouldn't cost too much money and the front office would get some peace of mind knowing that didn't leave a stone unturned when it comes to protecting the future of the franchise.

New York Jets: Sign Connor Williams

The Jets had offensive line issues last season and while they made several moves during the offseason to address that need, but it couldn't hurt to bring in one more interior offensive lineman. If he's healthy enough, Williams could potentially start over Joe Tippmann at center to give the team a more seasoned veteran as it pursues a Lombardi Trophy.

Granted, the 27-year-old has a long injury history and might be available because he suffered another torn ACL last season. However, he had an 86.5 grade from Pro Football Focus before going down and that was in Mike McDaniel's offense, which has similar West-Coast concepts as Nathaniel Hackett's system.

NFC East

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Dallas Cowboys: Sign Zach Cunningham

It was well-documented that the Cowboys' defense struggled to stop the run once Leighton Vander Esch went down last season. That combined with Vander Esch's history of neck injuries, led to him retiring in the offseason.

Meanwhile, Cunningham is still available and has a history of being a quality run-stopper. Specifically in 2023, he recorded a 70.7 run-defense grade from Pro Football Focus and racked up 85 total tackles in 13 games. The 29-year-old would be a good option next to free-agent signing Eric Kendricks on the second level of the defense.

New York Giants: Add a tight end

In an interview with The Athletic's Vic Tafur, Darren Waller admitted that he's considering retiring instead of playing this season. More recently, Tafur's colleague Dan Duggan reported that Waller was absent from OTAs on Thursday and that Brian Daboll didn't specify when the tight end will join the team.

So, it would be smart to bring in another option at the position seeing as there are a lot of signs pointing toward the starter hanging 'em up soon. New York does have six other tight ends on the roster, but it couldn't hurt to add one more in case Waller doesn't show up for training camp.

Philadelphia Eagles: Sign Byron Pringle

To be honest, the Eagles have a pretty complete roster so they don't need to add much. However, DeVante Parker recently retired and Parker was likely going to be one of their contested catch targets out wide this season. While Philadelphia did sign John Ross in a corresponding move this week, Ross is a vertical threat instead of a jump ball receiver.

Pringle could potentially fill Parker's role as coming down with 50/50 balls has been his calling card in the NFL. The former Commander would still probably be a long shot to make the roster, but it wouldn't be a bad idea to see what he has in camp.

Washington Commanders: Sign Michael Thomas Jr.

Surrounding Jayden Daniels with as much support as possible should be the Commander's top priority. Right now, third-round pick Luke McCaffery is currently projected to be the offense's starting slot receiver and McCaffery was a reach according to B/R's scouting department, ranking 290th on the final big board.

While Thomas is well past his prime, it would be in Daniels' and Washington's best interest to add the veteran wideout and kick the tires on him to see what he has left in the tank.

AFC North

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Baltimore Ravens: Sign Yannick Ngakoue

The Ravens are pretty well set up to make another Super Bowl run, but they did lose Jadeveon Clowney in the offseason who was second on the team with 9.5 sacks last year. While the defense does have Odafe Oweh and Kyle Van Noy returning to fill the starting spots on the edge, it could use some more depth at the position.

Baltimore's current backups are David Ojabo and Adisa Isaac and both lack NFL experience. So, it'd be smart to reunite with Ngakoue, especially since he'd likely just be used as a pass-rusher to mitigate his issues defending the run.

Cincinnati Bengals: Add an interior offensive lineman

Ever since Joe Burrow was drafted and suffered an injury as a rookie, Cincinnati's offensive line has been a hot topic of discussion. Burrow is once again coming off a season-ending injury and it couldn't hurt to invest more capital in protecting him.

Right now, Cordell Volson is projected to start at left guard for the Bengals after he gave up five sacks and 38 pressures last season, according to Pro Football Focus.

Cleveland Browns: Sign Stephon Gilmore or Steven Nelson

The Browns have a strong defense with playmakers on all three levels, but they have an opportunity to potentially upgrade the second starting cornerback spot. It's not that Martin Emerson is a bad player by any means, but bringing in one of the two veterans above would provide some competition for Emerson or at least give the secondary more depth.

Pittsburgh Steelers: Sign Nick Gates

With three out of five projected starting offensive linemen still on rookie contracts, the Steelers are pretty young in the trenches so it couldn't hurt to add a veteran. Building on that, Zach Frazier is penciled in as the team's starting center and Frazier is coming off a late-season leg injury last fall.

Gates could serve as an insurance policy if the team wants to ease Frazier in, and the five-year veteran has experience playing all three interior offensive line positions in the NFL. He could at least be a decent backup option for the team.

NFC North

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Chicago Bears: Sign a pass-rusher

While Montez Sweat is a Pro Bowl-caliber edge-rusher, it would behoove the Bears to get him some help. Fifth-round pick Austin Booker is a project and DeMarcus Walker is more of a run defender, so bringing in a veteran like Carl Lawson, Romeo Okwara or Markus Golden would be a good idea to improve the team's third-down defense.

Detroit Lions: Sign Tashaun Gipson Sr.

Kerby Joseph posted a 52.3 coverage grade from Pro Football Focus during the regular season last year, making the free safety spot one of the few question marks on the Lions' roster right now. Meanwhile, Gipson posted a grade of 73.5 and is a 12-year veteran who could help mentor Detroit's young secondary.

Plus, it helps that the soon-to-be 34-year-old has some playoff experience after spending the last two seasons in San Francisco. He could at least serve as a "coach in pads", so to speak, and provide some competition to push Joseph to elevate his game.

Green Bay Packers: Add an interior offensive lineman

The Packers are expected to reshuffle their offensive line this season, most notably moving Zach Tom to center and sliding Josh Myers over to right guard. The reason why that's happening is because Myers has struggled at center to begin his career, so it couldn't hurt to bring in another veteran option, especially since Green Bay lacks some depth there too.

Minnesota Vikings: Re-sign Dalton Risner

According to The Star Tribune's Andrew Krammer, the Vikings currently plan on starting Blake Brandel at left guard. Despite heading into his fifth NFL season, Brandel lacks experience with only five career starts, and has never lined up at left guard during the regular season.

While Sam Darnold will likely begin the season as the team's starting quarterback, if the front office thinks there is a slight chance that J.J. McCarthy will start at some point this fall, they should do as much as possible to make sure McCarthy is protected.

Risner knows the offense, has experience playing left guard and didn't allow a sack in 2023, per PFF, so it's hard to see why Minnesota shouldn't bring him back.

AFC South

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Houston Texans: Add a linebacker

Henry To'oTo'o is projected to be a starter in Houston this fall after getting benched in the second half of 2023 while posting a 41.7 grade from Pro Football Focus and missing 16 tackles. Linebacker is one weak spot on the Texans' roster, meaning it wouldn't be a bad idea to bring someone else in and see if they can take over the first-string role.

Indianapolis Colts: Bring back Stephon Gilmore

Cornerback was expected to be one of the Colts' top priorities in the NFL draft, but the front office didn't select one until the fifth round. At this stage in the game, the team's best option is to reunite with Gilmore who had two interceptions and 11 passes defended in Gus Bradley's system a couple of years ago.

Jacksonville Jaguars: Sign a cornerback

The Jaguars lost their top corner from last year, Darious Williams, in free agency. They're currently projected to start journeyman Ronald Darby and Tyson Campbell, who has battled injuries during his young career. So, it'd be smart to add a veteran like Gilmore, Steven Nelson or Adoree' Jackson as an insurance policy at the least.

Tennessee Titans: Add an offensive tackle

While Tennessee used its first-round pick on JC Latham, Dillon Radunz is currently slated to start at right tackle and Radnuz has notably struggled to begin his career. Especially with a young quarterback in Will Levis, the Titans should look into adding another veteran tackle who can at least compete for a starting spot.

NFC South

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Atlanta Falcons: Add a cornerback

The Falcons are another team that could afford to add some help in the secondary. Clark Phillips III is currently slated to play on the other side of A.J. Terrell, but Phillips lacks size and profiles better as a nickel back. So, kicking the tires on someone like Steven Nelson or Stephon Gilmore could help Atlanta win the division this fall.

Carolina Panthers: Add a cornerback

Jaycee Horn has been a good player when on the field, but he hasn't been able to stay healthy during his three years in the NFL. The Panthers would be wise to have a backup plan for when Horn goes down, adding them to the long list of teams that could afford to address their defensive backfield.

New Orleans Saints: Sign Donovan Smith

While New Orleans used a first-round pick on Taliese Fuaga to avoid starting Trevor Penning at left tackle again, Fuaga also has concerns in pass protection. Meanwhile, Derek Carr notoriously struggles under pressure, so the Saints will want to make sure Carr is well-protected to have a chance at winning the NFC South.

Worst case, Fuaga and Penning will have another veteran mentor if the team brings in Smith, who should know the division well after spending the first eight years of his career in Tampa Bay.

Tampa Bay Buccanneers: Add a short-yardage back

Rachaad White had a good season last fall but isn't great at creating yards after contact. While the Buccaneers used a fourth-round pick on Bucky Irving, Irving's sub-200-pound frame suggests he'll struggle in short-yardage situations at the next level. So, adding a bruiser in the backfield would be a wise investment for Tampa Bay.

AFC West

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Denver Broncos: Add a linebacker

This offseason has been tough for the Broncos' linebackers. They lost Josey Jewell in free agency and Drew Sanders, who the team was likely hoping would step up and replace Jewell, tore an Achilles on the first day of OTAs.

While Denver signed Cody Barton earlier this spring, Barton struggled last year in Washington, so it would be smart for George Paton to see what's out there in the linebacker market.

Kansas City Chiefs: Sign Michael Thomas

After having issues at wide receiver last season, the Chiefs added some speed out wide by signing Marquise "Hollywood" Brown and using a first-round pick on Xavier Worthy. However, Rashee Rice, the team's top receiver in 2023, will likely face some discipline from the NFL this fall.

So, it would be a smart move to bring in Thomas, especially since Kansas City doesn't need a deep threat but might need someone to operate out of the slot to replace Rice.

Las Vegas Raiders: Sign Steven Nelson or Stephon Gilmore

The Athletic's Tashan Reed reported that Las Vegas began OTAs with Brandon Facyson and Jakorian Bennett getting the first-team reps at cornerback. Facyson missed the majority of last season with an injury, and Bennett began the year as a starter but played his way onto the bench.

Granted, those two were are expected to battle it out for the other starting spot opposite of Jack Jones, who sat out of practice this week with an injury, per Reed. But Jones also lacks starting experience, giving the Raiders a need for a proven No. 1 corner and Nelson or Gilmore would be the front office's best options at this stage in the game.

Los Angeles Chargers: Add a veteran receiver

The Chargers are extremely young out wide with Joshua Palmer being one of the team's most-experience receivers heading into his fourth season. Even after recently signing D.J. Chark Jr., Los Angeles could afford to add a veteran pass catcher to at least mentor the young position group.

NFC West

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Arizona Cardinals: Bring Markus Golden back

Golden has already had two stints with the Cardinals, so why not make it a third and allow him to potentially end his career with the team that drafted him?

While Zaven Collins moved to edge last year, he only had 30 pressures and a pass-rush grade of 61.9, according to Pro Football Focus. So, the former Cardinal could take over the third-down snaps and be a mentor for B.J. Ojulari.

Los Angeles Rams: Add a linebacker

While Ernest Jones had a strong performance in 2023, Christian Rozeboom struggled. Rozeboom currently occupies one of the Rams' two starting inside linebacker spots, making it in the team's best interests to see what's out there and potentially find an upgrade to help with another playoff run.

San Francisco 49ers: Sign Greg Van Roten

Aaron Banks has struggled during his three seasons in San Francisco and the same could be said about Spencer Burford over the last two years. That makes left guard one of the few weak spots on the 49ers roster. Meanwhile, Greg Van Roten is a veteran player who is coming off a strong campaign with the Raiders.

Seattle Seahawks: Add a linebacker

The Seahawks made some dramatic changes to their linebacker room this spring, letting starters Bobby Wagner and Jordyn Brooks walk in free agency as well as backup Devin Bush. The front office did bring in Jerome Baker and Tyrel Dodson, but Baker is coming off an injury and Dodson lacks starting experience.

Behind those two are 2023 undrafted free agent Drake Thomas and 2024 fourth-round pick Tyrice Knight, so Seattle could use another veteran option on the second level of its defense.

   

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