Eventually, even the Super Bowl Champions have to handle the offseason-just that half the league gets a head start. If you are like me, as much fun as the games are, the time of year when we deal with free agency, the draft and all that roster jockeying can be among the most exciting parts of football. The enjoyment fans get at guessing the moves and tinkering with their own teams is a huge reason why we have fantasy football, after all. But this isn’t fantasy football…well, not really. In this exercise, we will take a look at each and every NFL franchise and outline two moves they should make in the offseason.
The first move will be someone on their roster whom they trade away. The second move is a major signing for them in free agency. One caveat I will throw out there right now: just because I have a certain free agent signing with one team does not preclude him from showing up elsewhere on the list-it’s entirely possible multiple teams have their eyes on the same free agents, after all. In terms of the trades, we will only focus on the personnel departing each franchise-not on any potential returns. With all that said, let’s take this from A to Z and dive in!
Trade: Patrick Peterson
He is perhaps their most valuable asset, and he’s been rumored to be on the block for a bit now. He’s still one of the best corners in the league, so he should net the Cardinals some draft capital they can desperately use. This team has a lot of holes to fill, and draft picks, not veteran corners, will help them get back on track.
Signing: Tavon Austin
Here’s why: Larry Fitzgerald is nearing the end of his career. It’s possible he retires since his contract is up. It’s also possible he signs elsewhere, even though he’s said he wouldn’t play for anyone but Arizona. Regardless, the Cardinals need bodies to throw to, otherwise, that nice shiny new QB will struggle. Austin is young, quick and versatile. He’s no Fitzgerald (who is?), but he’s a reliable offensive weapon.
Trade: Julio Jones
Yes, this could be crazy talk. Jones is an elite receiver in the league, most teams would love to have him. That said, he’s getting expensive and the Falcons have a cheap and young wideout who is likely ready for more balls his way. Trading Jones for some high picks and perhaps a solid starter allows a bad Falcons team to reload and contend in 2019. As good as Jones is, he can’t keep the Cardinals from being bad.
Signing: Eric Reid
The Falcons had health issues in their defensive backfield, and they could use a nice veteran to help out. Yes, they have some really good safeties, provided they are healthy. Reid is durable and capable. He performed well in Carolina for the part of the year he played, so if you can look past some of is baggage, he’s a worthwhile addition to the defense.
Trade: Joe Flacco
His time came to an end rapidly, didn’t it? He’s been struggling the last few years, but most didn’t think Lamar Jackson would be ready to supplant him this season. Now that it’s Lamar’s team, Flacco will be QB somewhere else next year. Easily a few teams who need a QB and could do a lot worse than Flacco under center next year (Jacksonville, Miami).
Signing: Tyler Eifert
This weakens a rival while strengthening them. Any time I think of Baltimore, I think of good tight end play, and Eifert can be a difference maker. He’s a good pass catching option and would immediately be a safety valve for Lamar Jackson. If you want to ensure that your young quarterback continues to develop and succeed, you protect him and you give him weapons. Eifert makes sense here. Plus, coming off an injury, you can probably buy low.
Trade: LeSean McCoy
Where there’s smoke there’s fire, right? McCoy was rumored to be of interest to several teams at the trade deadline, and now he’s also had issues with his coaching staff in Buffalo. He’s aging for a running back, but still good enough to be useful. Buffalo won’t likely get a king’s ransom, but a couple draft picks to help them get younger will be good in the long term.
Signing: Le'Veon Bell
Bell could be the target of several teams on the list. He’s young and ridiculously talented. If you want to make life easy for Josh Allen, you get him a weapon like Le'Veon Bell. This might not happen, considering I have the Bills jettisoning a pricey McCoy, but Bell is younger and better, and makes the Bills instantly a lot better.
Trade: Dontari Poe
Overall, this team disappointed in 2018. Only a few guys would be deemed untouchable. Others might not get much interest. Dontari Poe should get a lot. He’s good, but this team won’t likely be good enough with him to matter-too many holes. The 2019 draft is deep on defensive line prospects, so I think the Panthers flip Poe for a draft pick or two and get younger.
Signing: Robby Anderson
This is a gamble because Anderson is a restricted free agent. That said, he’s a burner, a strong vertical threat. Honestly, I can’t imagine the Jets letting him go, but if I were in Carolina’s front office, I’d look long and hard at that option. Cam Newton can’t do it on his own, and the offense sorely lacks weapons. Anderson and Christian McCaffrey catching the ball from Newton sure looks good on paper, assuming Newton recovers from his shoulder issues.
Tade: Prince Amukamara
Honestly, with the Bears one of the best teams this year, it is hard to find a player they’d really wish to part with. That being said, Amukamara could be an attractive piece. Still young and a good enough corner in a league that doesn’t have enough of them. A trade of Amukamara could be used to help recover some of the draft picks used to secure Khalil Mack before the 2018 season began.
Signing: Cole Beasley
This is not a splashy pick, but Beasley has been very consistent for the Cowboys. He’s also versatile. In this free agent field, he reminds me of a Danny Amendola-type player. Those kinds of assets are fun for an offensive coordinator to plan around. They also have a tendency of making life a bit easier for a developing quarterback, such as Chicago has in Mitch Trubisky.
Trade: Giovani Bernard
Joe Mixon is the man here, and running back depth can almost always be found in the later rounds or even undrafted free agency. Bernard could be useful to someone in need of depth and a veteran presence. Honestly, the Bengals had a few pieces that could make sense to move, but trading someone like Andy Dalton or A.J. Green means they are really blowing it up in Cincy…and that might happen now that the Bengals have finally fired Marvin Lewis.
Signing: Devin Funchess
Funchess has emerged as a nice wide receiver, and one of the better options of the 2019 crop. Yes, the Bengals have a stud in Green, but they need more weapons. Giving Dalton a strong second receiving option will open things up for everyone. If you have Funchess and Green on opposite sides, with Mixon in the backfield, who do you key on? It would be a nice situation for Cincy to be in.
Trade: Emmanuel Ogbah
A young DE is hard to give up, but the reward could be big here. He’s approaching a bigger payday, so if Cleveland can’t lock him up for a reasonable sum, the thinking here is you flip him for a few picks in a draft that promises to be deep with defensive line prospects. For a young team on the rise, turning one good young asset into 2 or 3 is not always a bad idea. That said, this was a tough call, and to move him I expect the Browns need to be blown away.
Signing: Randall Cobb
The Browns have an impressive rookie QB in Baker Mayfield. They have a front office run by a former Green Bay guy. The QB needs more toys, and there just so happens to be a very reliable option as a free agent – and a former Packer too. Cobb is a good vet to mix in with the young pass-catching options in Cleveland. He would provide a nice steady presence in the huddle and locker room too.
Trade: Dak Prescott
This one I know will catch people by surprise, but hear me out. Prescott is coming up on needing a big QB contract-one that he simply isn’t worth. He’s not an elite QB, but he expects to be paid like one. He is not worth a $100 million contract. He’s good, but he’s not THAT good. Unless he comes in at a team friendly price, I’d deal him. Maybe swap with Miami, Ryan Tannehill for Prescott. Or send Dak packing and make a play for Joe Flacco.
Signing: Amari Cooper
Yes, he’s on the roster and all that, but since coming over from the Raiders – at a high cost – he’s been impressive. I have a feeling Jerry Jones will make getting Cooper signed to an extension a big priority, especially considering that the price for a top receiver keeps going up. Outside of Cooper, I expect Dallas to prioritize two of its other WR free agents, Cole Beasley and Tavon Austin.
Trade: No One
Because of a few things lining up, I don’t see the Broncos making any significant trades involving their own players. They sent Demariyus Thomas out at the trade deadline, and most of the other guys worth trading are free agents when the season is over. Looking at the roster, I don’t see anyone obvious that the Denver front office would want to move, that would have a market.
Signing: Dee Ford
I really wouldn’t think Kansas City would let Ford go…but if the man wants to get paid, he’s going to get paid. Denver needs help on defense and has a number of guys it expects to lose in free agency, so looking to add a premium pass rush threat like Ford helps balance things out.
Trade: Darius Slay
It was hard to do it, but a top corner like Slay should allow the Lions to fill at least a couple holes. And, for a team like Detroit, they have more than a couple of holes to be filled. It’s a bold move, but not a white flag either. I could have tried to spin off Stafford, but between Matt Patricia and Stafford himself, there’s been enough talk of him staying to not bother.
Signing: Anthony Barr
This is a big splash, of that there is no doubt. Barr is a very good linebacker. He also happens to play for a divisional rival. So, for Detroit to sign Barr away would be a two for one kind of swing. Not that this would be the reason to do it. Barr is a good player and Detroit needs help in lots of places. With Matt Patricia being a defensive minded coach, he’s going to want to load up on that side of the ball. Barr is a good start.
Trade: DeShone Kizer
I am thinking that Green Bay has seen enough to decide to flip Kizer, either for another young QB needing a new team or for a draft pick. Aaron Rodgers may not stay healthy all the time, but he’s still got a few years ahead of him. It may be a good time to find a better developmental option here.
Signing: Golden Tate
Clay Matthews was my first choice here, but I think the Packers keep him too. With Randall Cobb a free agent, getting some offensive help for Rodgers and Davante Adams is a pretty good idea. Tate is one of the better WRs in the game, especially when it pertains to yards after the catch. There’s some question as to whether the Eagles would not re-sign him, but the thinking here is Tate tests the market and the Packers go for it. Admittedly this is hard to guess, as Green Bay has historically not been super splashy in free agency.
Trade: Lamar Miller
This move would mean the Texans probably keep Alfred Blue, who himself is a free agent. Miller is still productive, but he’s 27 which, while it’s not old, is getting up there for a running back. The thinking here is that the Texans can flip Miller, either for picks or perhaps a different skill position player. They have some depth in the backfield, so they can leverage that to boost other areas of the team.
Signing: Rodger Saffold
Honestly, I could have gone with Jadeveon Clowney here, but that would probably have been too obvious. Saffold is a stud on the offensive line and would upgrade almost any team in the league. If you have a franchise QB (Houston does) and you want to keep him in one piece (they do), then you build up your offensive line.
Trade: Anthony Castonzo
Honestly, the Colts don’t have a lot of hot choices that are tradeable. They do have a bunch of players who will be free agents, however. I think this is a bit of a long shot-not because he doesn’t have value, but because he’s good and he keeps Andrew Luck upright. They do have some young linemen that may end up making this move make sense, but I’m not confident this one happens.
Signing: Tevin Coleman
I know everyone is already saying Le'Veon Bell goes to Indy, but I don’t think it would be a wise move. Yes, Bell is very good. He’s also going to be very expensive. If the Colts were a single offensive player away, I’d think differently on this. I was actually thinking more in terms of a wide receiver for Andrew Luck, but I think Coleman is an intriguing option. He's likely cheaper than Bell, and with less mileage, he’s still a very talented back. Put him in Frank Reich’s offense and they could score in bunches.
Trade: Blake Bortles
I think this year proved that Bortles just can’t get them to the next level. It’s hard to imagine they were 30 minutes away from a Super Bowl just a year ago. They have defensive talent. They have some on offense too. They still need a franchise QB, however. If you don’t deal Bortles, then look for them to trade Jalen Ramsey. Ramsey, unlike Bortles, would bring back a decent haul.
Signing: Nick Foles
Foles deserves to start somewhere. It won’t likely be in Philly. Why not in Florida? If the Jags move on from Bortles – and logic says they will – then why not Saint Nick? The only thing that might cause an issue here is Tom Coughlin – many expect the former Giants boss to make a play to bring in an aging Eli Manning in an attempt to win now. Here’s the thing, though. Foles is younger, and at this stage of the game, better. If you want to win now, Foles is the better choice.
Trade: Justin Hamilton
Yes, he’s young and affordable. This makes him someone easy to trade, though the Chiefs may not do it for those reasons. However, Andy Reid loves building the lines through the draft, and once again, 2019 is supposed to be deep for the defensive line. It would not be a total shock to see them turn a young player into two or three picks, especially when they have some key players up for big contracts.
Signing: Mark Glowinski
Remember what I said about Reid and his affinity for line play? He is a firm believer that games are won and lost in the trenches and has been since he became a head coach in the league. Glowinski is a nice offensive lineman in his prime. He should be a valuable addition in protecting Patrick Mahomes, which is exactly what the Chiefs need to do. Offensive weapons are nice, but a year after the splashy Sammy Watkins signing, they should go out and protect their MVP candidate.
Trade: Keenan Allen
The only reason I even suggest this is that the Chargers have some depth at wide receiver. Allen isn’t quite elite, but he’s a stud. Trading him would be a sign the Chargers are banking on Mike Williams, and it would allow LA to improve other areas of need-which they have a few. They have a lot of holes that could open on defense, with a number of guys pending free agents.
Signing: Ndamukong Suh
Talk about a big splash. Suh would pair nicely with Joey Bosa on the Chargers defensive line, to be sure. Also, Suh wouldn’t exactly have to move far-from one L.A. team to another, the only thing different (for now) is the stadium. Even if the Bolts don’t go for Suh in free agency, expect them to look at several defensive options. Lots of expiring contracts, so there could be a bit of change on that side of the football.
Trade: Nickell Robey-Coleman
They like him, and he’s been good in the secondary, but guys like him are good trade chips too. One thing is for certain, after watching the Rams wheel and deal last offseason-they won’t hesitate to make a big move or two again just to keep tinkering with the product. They want to win it all, and they are prepared to make moves to do it.
Signing: Mike Wallace
Because, when you have lots of offense…why not add more? The reality is, they will have a top wideout coming back from a major knee injury (Cooper Kupp). Depth is good, as are deep threats. And, oh yeah, as that roster gets expensive, Wallace should come in cheap-relatively speaking. He had a disappointing 2018, not registering a regular season catch. While he lost most of the season to a broken leg, he should bounce back just fine. If not a receiver, a new offensive lineman could be the answer.
Trade: Ryan Tannehill
Yes, they made him a first-round pick. He’s not bad…but he’s just not great either. People thought he’d take the next big step with offensive guru Adam Gase, but that hasn’t happened. Someone out there will think they can maximize Tannehill’s talents, however. DaVante Parker would be the other option, as he had interest at the trade deadline too.
Signing: Kelvin Benjamin
If they consider moving Parker, they will want more offense. Benjamin had some nice seasons in Carolina before he was dealt to Buffalo. He didn’t click in Buffalo, so now he found himself in KC. He could wind up in a different spot in free agency and giving your QB a bigger target like Benjamin can be helpful. Whether that QB is Tannehill or not remains to be seen.
Trade: Laquon Treadwell
This guy came into the league with a lot of sizzle. People thought he could be a star wide receiver, but things just have not panned out. This one could be a perfect case of trading one disappointing high draft pick, for someone else’s similarly disappointing high draft pick. Might as well shake things up, because as it stands now, he’s not going to supplant Stefon Diggs or Adam Thielen.
Signing: Tramaine Brock
One thing the Vikings have always seemed to pride themselves on is having a good defense. Actually, that seems to be the calling card of so many great NFC North teams. So with that in mind, and considering how the game has been going offense heavy lately, the Vikings add to defense with Brock. He’s a capable corner that can help drive rival QBs nuts. When you face Matt Stafford, Aaron Rodgers, and Mitch Trubisky six times a year, a good CB is a nice thing to have.
Trade: Rob Gronkowski
There was enough chatter about whether Gronk would be traded or retire last year, so why not go there again? Plenty of teams would be lined up to acquire his services. Why would the Patriots do it? They have a knack for trading guys perhaps a year too early, rather than a year too late. They can turn Gronk into picks, which allows them to build through the draft…something Bill Belichick loves to do.
Signing: Daryl Worley
He’s young, he’s got talent. He just has off-field issues, which seem to be in his rear view mirror. Honestly, this feels like a typical Pats move – buy low on a talented player and maximize your investment. If he flops, it doesn’t cost you a lot. If he balls out, you look like geniuses. Knowing that they have some free agents in their secondary, lining up some new corners makes a bit of sense here.
Trade: No One Obvious
Honestly, the Saints roster is one that lacks a lot of obvious trade options. They might lose one of their backup QBs to free agency (Bridgewater) and the other I doubt they trade. A lot of their depth guys are also pending free agents, so there's not a lot to move around here. Plus, since they are winning, everyone seems pretty happy, and there's no one disgruntled and in need of a change of scenery.
Signing: Bashaud Breeland
Defense wins championships, right? Assuming the Saints don’t win it all in February, I expect they will look to continue to improve their defense, which was very good for 2018. Breeland would give them another good corner in a pretty good secondary. Now, if they happen to win the Super Bowl, could Drew Brees ride off into the sunset? I don’t think so, but stranger things have happened…and if that did, this plan is out the window in a hurry.
Trade: Eli Manning
As much as the Giants may want to believe they are in win-now mode, they shouldn’t be. There are simply too many holes on that roster to make a deep run into the playoffs or even make the playoffs. A great QB plus star rookie Saquon Barkley might make a difference, but Eli Manning was never a star QB. He was good, not great, and he’s regressed. He’s good enough for a team that only really needs a QB to contend though. This is why he makes sense for Jacksonville.
Signing: Teddy Bridgewater
Look, if you are going to jettison a former top QB, you still need someone to distribute the ball right? The QBs on the roster aren’t exactly inspiring at the moment. Bridgewater was trending up until he wrecked his knee, but he looks to be back and healthy. While he may not be a ten-year solution, he can be a bridge for the next few years, until the Giants draft and develop a franchise heir.
Trade: Kelvin Beachum
I'm not entirely behind this move. I just don’t see many options for the Jets, and I don’t see them trading Leonard Williams. I suppose they could get creative with RFA Robby Anderson, but I am not expecting anything there. Beachum is young enough and cheap enough that someone might like him for their offensive line, in return for a late pick.
Signing: Le'Veon Bell
Bell is popular, that’s for sure. The Bills could snap him up too. It’s been rumored he favors the Colts-even though Indy has some good young backs. As with either of those teams, if Bell was to sign in New York, the Jets instantly become a lot better. Now, the challenge is, would it be worth it? As long as Brady is in New England, the East belongs to the Patriots. Would the signing of Bell, paired with young Sam Darnold, bring about a changing of the guard in the AFC East?
Trade: Derek Carr
Jon Gruden has said all the right things about Derek Carr…but why wouldn’t he? Your franchise QB is still your guy…until he’s not. With the Raiders having so many high draft picks, should they want to really blow things up and start fresh for Las Vegas, trading Carr makes a world of sense. He’s still young and still good enough, so someone will bite (looking at you, Jerry Jones). Moving on from Carr allows Gruden to select “his” guy to lead the franchise.
Signing: A Stadium Lease
Seriously, right now that has to be their biggest priority. The city of Oakland is suing them for moving to Vegas, so they don’t know where they will play the 2019 season. They’ve talked about other California sites, and until they announce a decision, many other cities will be in play. Do they play in San Antonio? A year in Saint Louis? Do they try and play in Mexico?
Trade: Nelson Agholor
Let’s be nice here. The Eagles will be in a cap crunch for the next year or two, until the wizard himself, Howie Roseman, works his magic. Carson Wentz is approaching his first mega-contract, which will only make things worse. Agholor is a nice piece, and the Eagles would hate to see him go…but they will want payroll flexibility this offseason. Moving Agholor may be a necessity (even though some are on the “Trade Wentz” train).
Signing: Ray-Ray Armstrong
A good young linebacker would help the Eagles D immensely. The d-line is great, but after that, things get dicey. Sure, there are talented players in the backing corp and the secondary. The issue is, they didn’t stay very healthy in 2018. The challenge for the Birds is this: they don’t look to have a lot of cap space in 2019 yet, so they are going to have to get creative, and hope someone like Armstrong doesn’t break the bank.
Trade: Antonio Brown
I will admit, this one is just a wild idea. But think about it: the Steelers lost Le'Veon Bell. Big Ben Roethlisberger will not be playing much longer, and he’s teased retirement the last couple seasons. You have a young guy in JuJu Smith-Schuster who could step in and become your number one option. Trading Brown might be crazy, but the return for him would be too. Could be a great way to reload rather than rebuild.
Signing: Jay Ajayi
They won’t need someone to replace Bell, but getting someone to back up James Conner can’t hurt. Ajayi is versatile. He’s a physical runner, perfect for the Steelers style of play. And, coming off an ACL injury, he will come in rather cheap. Not a bad move for Pittsburgh.
Trade: Garrett Celek
He’s a good enough tight end, but he’s not going to be the Niners' top option. Probably worth a day two pick to someone in need of a good tight end, he might be worth the trade. A lot of people expected big things from San Francisco this year, but once the QB went down, the season fell apart. It showed that, while they have talent, they need more in order to become a contender.
Signing: Eric Rowe
This could be a sneaky good signing for San Francisco. Rowe is rangy and good enough to go up against some of the bigger receivers in the game. He shouldn’t cost a mint but should provide good value. The 49ers don’t really need a big, splashy signing this offseason. They need several smart signings, ones that don’t kill the cap and provide great value on and off the field. Rowe fits that mold.
Trade: Tyler Lockett
If Earl Thomas was still under contract, he’d have been a much easier choice. Lockett is young, talented and reliable. He’s also coming up on a bigger payday, and Seattle may opt to spin one good asset into a couple draft picks and see what happens. They’ve done a lot of building through the draft, and it’s a good way for them to get back to a stronger position.
Signing: Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix
With Earl Thomas all but gone, the Seahawks will want help in the secondary. Clinton-Dix is a good safety and would make a good addition. While I am not saying he’s a replacement to Thomas in terms of equaling his talent and value, he is a very good safety. Transitioning from Thomas to Clinton-Dix would not be so bad.
Trade: Beau Allen
Honestly, this whole roster could be shredded, depending on what happens. By the start of the 2019 season, there’s likely to be a new coach, and new coaches want to bring in their guys. Allen is a good piece, a nice rotational DL. You can bet Philly missed him this season.
Signing: Nick Williams
Tampa needs help all over the field. Williams gives them an unheralded but worthwhile WR option. Under-the-radar signings can be good and a nice long term investment. If they plan on moving on from DeSean Jackson, then signing a new WR or two makes sense. Whether they keep on with Jameis Winston, try and create more FitzMagic with Ryan Fitzpatrick, or go somewhere else altogether, whoever is QB will need people to throw it to.
Trade: Corey Levin
He’s young, he’s big, and he’s able to play multiple OL positions. This would likely be the case of flipping one late round pick and getting a new one, but someone will want to give him a shot to start. And, if he can’t start, there’s not a team in the league who doesn’t want or need OL depth. A lineman who can play center or either guard spot is a nice thing to have.
Signing: Cordarelle Patterson
The Titans are a good team, not a great one. To make another leap, they need a couple more playmakers on each side of the ball. While Patterson didn’t ever achieve the level of success he had hoped for, he’s still quite useful. Forget just using him as a WR. Use him in the running game, for gadget plays and, of course, kick returns. Find ways to get the ball in his hands and exciting things can happen.
Trade: Josh Norman
The team became a tale of two seasons. Leading the NFC East at the halfway point, things came unglued in rapid fashion when they lost Alex Smith to a serious leg injury. On top of that, they lost Colt McCoy shortly after. So why am I picking on Norman? Because the Redskins leading the East was a fluke, and the team needs to retool, and fast. Norman is a good corner, but nowhere near as capable now as he thinks he is. There will be suitors interested in securing a quality corner, likely just for some draft picks.
Signing: DeSean Jackson
Why Jackson? Well, sure, he’s under contract with Tampa Bay until the end of next season. However, reports have surfaced that show him to want out of Tampa. His contract is such that the Buccaneers can cut him at the end of the season and owe him nothing. Sure, they could try and trade the speedy wide receiver, but considering his desires have been made known, they have no leverage. In Jackson, the Redskins secure another weapon for their offense, and that will help the QB in 2019-who that may be, we don’t yet know.