Biggest 2020 offseason needs for all 32 NFL teams

ByNFL Nation ESPN logo
Tuesday, January 14, 2020

As the 2019 NFL playoffs cruise along, 24 teams already have turned their heads to the 2020 offseason -- and the rest of the pack isn't far behind. From the two-win Bengals to whomever ends up being the Super Bowl champion, every team will need something in the offseason.

Many teams will address weaknesses in free agency, while others will focus on the 2020 draft. And at least a handful of teams have to fix front-office and coaching concerns before thinking about on-field personnel changes. It promises to be an intriguing offseason for all 32 teams.

With that in mind, we asked our NFL Nation reporters to identify the biggest area of need for each team as we enter the offseason.

Jump to:







Buffalo Bills

Add an offensive playmaker. The Bills struck gold this offseason with the additions of John Brown, Cole Beasley and Devin Singletary. The trio immediately improved a well-below-average offense from 2018. But Buffalo still lacks a home run hitter -- a player who is a threat to score from anywhere on the field. Such an addition would help quarterback Josh Allen and the Bills' offense, turning Buffalo into a true contender. -- Marcel Louis-Jacques

Miami Dolphins

Fix the trenches. The Dolphins are definitely in the market for a franchise quarterback, but the big guys on both lines were the biggest problems in 2019. Miami needs to use a good bit of its $100-plus million in cap space and projected 14 draft picks (including three first-rounders) on at least two starting-caliber edge rushers and as many offensive linemen as possible. The Dolphins finished last in the NFL in sacks and tied for last in sacks allowed, as well as last in rushing yards and 27th in rushing yards allowed. Miami won't be a contender until it has more success up front. -- Cameron Wolfe

New England Patriots

Acquire an impact tight end. In retrospect, the Patriots' plans to replace Rob Gronkowski were flawed, in part due to the timing of Gronkowski's decision to retire, which had a trickle-down effect on their ability to sign free agent Jared Cook. Without a real pass-catching threat at tight end this year, the Patriots were easier to prepare for thanks to limited options for coordinator Josh McDaniels. Obviously New England wasn't going to replace a Hall of Fame-caliber talent in Gronkowski with one player, but the drop-off shouldn't have been as steep as it was. -- Mike Reiss

New York Jets

Improve the offensive line. The Jets' once-formidable line deteriorated over the past decade due to neglect; the team hasn't used a first- or second-round pick on an offensive lineman since 2010. In 2019, the line especially struggled as a run-blocking unit. Le'Veon Bell averaged only 3.22 yards per rush, the lowest single-season mark in franchise history (minimum 200 carries). Though it's not likely, the Jets could conceivably have a new starter at all five positions up front. -- Rich Cimini


Baltimore Ravens

Land a pass-rusher. The Ravens, whose 37 sacks ranked in the bottom half of the NFL, struggled all season to get pressure on the quarterback without blitzing. Baltimore's four-man rush ranked among the league's worst in generating sacks, and the need for an edge rusher will increase even more if Matthew Judon, who led the team with 9.5 sacks, isn't retained -- either with a long-term free-agent contract or the franchise tag. Ryan Kerrigan would be a good fit for Ravens if he's cut by the Redskins. -- Jamison Hensley

Cincinnati Bengals

Figure out a long-term option at quarterback. That void could be potentially filled by taking LSU's Joe Burrow (or another highly touted QB prospect) with the top overall pick in this year's draft. The Bengals' current starter, Andy Dalton, is entering a contract year in 2020 and is expected to be on the trading block. -- Ben Baby

Cleveland Browns

Add offensive line help. The Browns especially need to address left tackle -- but right tackle and right guard as well. If the Browns aren't able to grab their left tackle of the future in the draft, look for them to be aggressive in making a trade to protect quarterback Baker Mayfield's blind side. -- Jake Trotter

Pittsburgh Steelers

Firm up the quarterback position. Ben Roethlisberger is the starter when he comes back from elbow surgery. But the timeline for the 37-year-old is unclear, and the Steelers already got an ugly glimpse in 2019 of what a Roethlisberger-less offense looks like. They were the only NFL team that failed to score at least 30 points in a single game this season (the first time since 1971 that they didn't do so). Roethlisberger's return solves a lot of those problems, but the team needs to develop or bring in an insurance policy. Mike Tomlin said Mason Rudolph is Pittsburgh's fallback option, but he also left the door open to bringing in a veteran signal-caller. -- Brooke Pryor


Houston Texans

Decide what to do at general manager. After firing Brian Gaine in June, Houston decided to go with a general manager-by-committee approach, giving head coach Bill O'Brien even more say in personnel decisions. The Texans initially pursued Patriots director of player personnel Nick Caserio before New England filed tampering charges against the organization. Houston could try to hire a general manager (perhaps Caserio again) or decide the approach it used this year worked. -- Sarah Barshop

Indianapolis Colts

Revamp its group of pass-catchers. T.Y. Hilton, the team's No. 1 option, will be 31 next season. Devin Funchess, who didn't even play a full game this season, is a free agent. Parris Campbell, a 2019 second-round pick, played only seven games because of injuries. Tight end Eric Ebron is a free agent, and the Colts have very little interest in re-signing him. You get the picture. Zach Pascal was leading receiver (607 yards) for the Colts, who finished 30th in the NFL with just 196 passing yards per game. There's a chance quarterback Jacoby Brissett remains the starter, despite his struggles late in the season, but Indianapolis needs to help him out. General manager Chris Ballard has admitted as much. -- Mike Wells

Jacksonville Jaguars

Fix the interior of the defensive line. The Jaguars finished 28th in rushing defense and gave up more than 200 yards on the ground four times. They're not bringing back defensive tackle Marcell Dareus ($20 million cap savings), and 2018 first-round pick Taven Bryan, who played well in the season finale, has been largely disappointing. Jacksonville has major needs at other positions (linebacker, left tackle, receiver and cornerback), but the defensive front is the key to the team's resurgence in 2020. -- Mike DiRocco

Tennessee Titans

Find a dynamic pass-rusher. Bringing back Ryan Tannehill and Derrick Henry is pretty much a given. That being said, the Titans need to get a pass-rusher in free agency or the draft who consistently can wreak havoc. Harold Landry III showed promise but had a lower-impact presence down the stretch. Tennessee has done a decent job getting pressure but doesn't have a finisher who demands attention from opposing pass-protectors. -- Turron Davenport


Denver Broncos

Figure out the full answer at quarterback. Broncos boss John Elway said the day after the season it would be "unrealistic'' to say Drew Lock isn't the starting quarterback in 2020. But Denver has nothing but questions about the developing Lock, who has just five starts under his belt. Joe Flacco doesn't yet know if he will need surgery to repair a herniated disc in his neck, and his contract includes cap figures of at least $23.65 million in each of the next two years. The Broncos may have to address quarterback depth both in free agency and the draft. -- Jeff Legwold

Kansas City Chiefs

Give Patrick Mahomes a new contract. Mahomes has one definite season left on his rookie deal, though the Chiefs could use the fifth-year option on Mahomes in 2021 if it still exists in the next CBA. But that's just kicking the can down the road. The Chiefs can get some much-needed clarity on their salary cap for years to come by re-signing Mahomes long-term now that he's eligible for a new contract. -- Adam Teicher

Los Angeles Chargers

Find a long-term solution at QB. The Chargers did not win a game in the AFC West in 2019 and have not finished atop in the division since 2009. Even if Philip Rivers returns, Los Angeles needs to secure a long-term answer at quarterback who can help it unseat Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs atop in the division. Finding a young franchise QB should be this team's top offseason priority. -- Eric D. Williams

Oakland Raiders

Find a WR1. Sure, Tyrell Williams caught a touchdown pass in each of his first five games. And Hunter Renfrow became a weapon late in the season with 13 catches for 209 yards and two touchdowns in two games after returning from a broken rib, while Darren Waller proved to be an elite tight end with 90 catches for 1,145 yards. But the void left by Antonio Brown's preseason meltdown was massive, and the Raiders' need for a top-flight receiver to secure the passing game is obvious. It will help their complementary pieces become even more dangerous. -- Paul Gutierrez


Dallas Cowboys

Fill out the staff. Now that Mike McCarthy will be the coach, the Cowboys' top need is to determine the direction of their coaching staff. Do they keep offensive coordinator Kellen Moore, line coach Marc Colombo, quarterbacks coach Jon Kitna and receivers coach Sanjay Lal, who are under contract through at least 2020? Do they make a shift defensively away from the Seattle-type scheme they have run since 2014 with Rod Marinelli and Kris Richard out of contract? McCarthy was the big piece to the Cowboys' puzzle but now filling in the rest of the pieces will determine the direction they go with their personnel.-- Todd Archer

New York Giants

Add impact defenders. With the Giants having found a coach in Joe Judge, they must now address the defense. They desperately need playmakers, and they could start with a dominant edge rusher, such as Jadeveon Clowney or Yannick Ngakoue in free agency. The Giants defense didn't have a single true difference-maker this season. It's hard to survive like that, and it must be seriously addressed this offseason.-- Jordan Raanan

Philadelphia Eagles

An infusion of young talent. The Eagles loaded up the 2019 roster with veterans to make a Super Bowl push, but their age showed itself in the form of injuries and low energy. The offense took off when younger players like Miles Sanders rose to the forefront, and they need more of that to set up Carson Wentz as he enters Year 5. -- Tim McManus

Washington Redskins

Finalize the coaching staff and front office. The Redskins hired Ron Rivera as head coach and Jack Del Rio as defensive coordinator but still have to name an offensive coordinator (Kevin O'Connell has been interviewed twice and remains a strong in-house option, while former Panthers quarterbacks coach Scott Turner also has been interviewed). And who will be Rivera's main man on the football operations side? Who will stay or go in the front office? Once all that is settled, Washington can move forward with roster reconstruction. -- John Keim


Chicago Bears

Find the right backup quarterback behind Mitchell Trubisky. The Bears can ill afford to stand idly by if Trubisky struggles again next season. Chicago needs its version of Ryan Tannehill, who replaced starter Marcus Mariota in-season and led Tennessee to the playoffs. The Bears desperately want Trubisky to succeed, but the organization has to protect itself. Too many jobs are on the line for Chicago not to have a proven backup ready to go in case of emergency. -- Jeff Dickerson

Detroit Lions

Upgrade the talent on defense. One of the biggest issues for Detroit all season was top-end talent on its defense. Darius Slay, Trey Flowers and Tracy Walker are players to build around. Otherwise, every player either has injury questions or has shown he isn't at an elite level. For Detroit to really be able to compete, it needs to add one or two elite players to its defense this offseason, either through the draft or free agency, for a major fix. -- Michael Rothstein

Green Bay Packers

Acquire weapons for Aaron Rodgers. Maybe the quarterback's skills aren't what they used to be, but how can you tell when the only consistent weapon at receiver is Davante Adams? GM Brian Gutekunst rightly focused on the defense last season and loaded up in free agency (Za'Darius Smith, Preston Smith and Adrian Amos) and at the top of the draft (Rashan Gary and Darnell Savage). This time around, receiver and tight end should be the priority. -- Rob Demovsky

Minnesota Vikings

Sign Kirk Cousins and Dalvin Cook to contract extensions. The Vikings' offense needs both players to be effective for the long haul. Cousins solidified the likelihood that he will be extended before his three-year deal runs out by leading Minnesota to its first playoff road win in 15 seasons, while Cook has routinely demonstrated his importance to this team. Minnesota's finances are tight next season, and extensions for both Cousins and Cook could alleviate pressure off the salary cap in 2020. -- Courtney Cronin


Atlanta Falcons

Upgrade at edge rusher. The Falcons need to find one or two players who can consistently get to the quarterback in unison with Pro Bowl defensive tackle Grady Jarrett. They finished tied for 29th in sacks. Vic Beasley Jr., the former No. 8 overall pick, is not the answer and has an expiring contract. We'll see if the Falcons uncover a pass-rusher in free agency or find help via the draft. -- Vaughn McClure

Carolina Panthers

Settle the quarterback position. Now that the Panthers have a coach in Matt Rhule, they will need to decide if Cam Newton is worth the big-time money he would demand in his next contract. When Rhule arrived at Baylor he signed quarterback Charlie Brewer, who had unique skills as an undersized (6-foot-1, 188 pounds) pro style quarterback who adapted well to the run-pass option. This sounds more like Kyle Allen or Will Grier than Newton, the top pick of the 2011 draft who is recovering from Lisfranc surgery. While owner David Tepper has indicated a healthy Newton is good enough to lead Carolina to a Super Bowl, Rhule's hiring sounds like the beginning of an overhaul that likely won't include Newton. -- David Newton

New Orleans Saints

Find a No. 2 wide receiver. Michael Thomas is sensational, but he had 119 more catches than any other WR on the team in 2019. The addition of tight end Jared Cook helped a lot this season, but he turns 33 in April. Luckily for the Saints, this year's draft class appears to be loaded with high-end receivers. -- Mike Triplett

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Determine if Jameis Winston is their guy. Winston threw for 33 touchdowns but turned the ball over 34 times (30 interceptions, four lost fumbles) in 2019. He coughed it up in seven of the Bucs' nine one-score games, in which Tampa Bay had a 2-5 record. So while his turnovers weren't the sole reason for losses, they didn't help -- and they can't continue. -- Jenna Laine


Arizona Cardinals

Solve the wide receiver issue. Whether or not Larry Fitzgerald returns, the Cardinals need to find a No. 1 receiver for Kyler Murray. They can do that in free agency, but the better -- and cheaper -- option is with their top-10 pick. The Cardinals do have the three wideouts they drafted last year, but none of them contributed on a regular basis. Christian Kirk, drafted in 2018, is the most talented on the depth chart other than Fitzgerald but hasn't stayed healthy. If Arizona can draft a true playmaking WR1, Kliff Kingsbury's offense can take off in Year 2. -- Josh Weinfuss

Los Angeles Rams

Offensive line. Offensive line. Offensive line. It was the biggest concern going into the 2019 season and unsurprisingly the most glaring issue during the campaign. It's not bound to get better, especially with left tackle Andrew Whitworth and guard/center Austin Blythe about to hit free agency. With no first-round pick and little room to maneuver under the salary cap, the Rams must find a way to construct a better, more experienced line. -- Lindsey Thiry

San Francisco 49ers

Take care of their own. The 49ers could use reinforcements at plenty of spots, notably at receiver and in the secondary. But before they can get into any of that, they have to try to keep some of their own key players. That includes multiple pending unrestricted free agents: defensive end Arik Armstead, receiver Emmanuel Sanders and free safety Jimmie Ward. But there also are some foundational players heading toward free agency they want to take care of too, such as tight end George Kittle, cornerback Richard Sherman and defensive tackle DeForest Buckner -- all of whom have just one year left on their deals. -- Nick Wagoner

Seattle Seahawks

Add playmakers on defense. The Seahawks allowed 6.02 yards per play during the regular season, fourth most in the NFL and their worst mark under Pete Carroll. Seattle's lack of a pass rush has been the most glaring issue on that side of the ball, but it's not easy to find impact edge players late in the first round, where the Seahawks will again be picking. They also need another difference-maker or two in the back seven in addition to their front four. -- Brady Henderson

Related Video