The 2016 season is officially in the books, with the New England Patriots winning Super Bowl LI on Sunday. Now, the real work begins. Teams already have begun examining their rosters and deciding which positions need to be addressed and which ones are strengths.
Every team has at least a handful of needs this offseason, but some are bigger than others. We ranked all 32 teams’ biggest needs, from minor concern to gaping hole that must be addressed as soon as possible.
New England Patriots: Defensive end
With Chris Long (95) and Jabaal Sheard hitting free agency, the Super Bowl champions need to add a playmaker or two at defensive end – especially after Chandler Jones was so clearly missed throughout the season.
Cincinnati Bengals: Offensive line
Andrew Whitworth is set to be a free agent, and he’s bound to make big money this offseason. Even if he returns, the Bengals need to address the other tackle spot where moving Cedric Ogbuehi to right tackle was a failed experiment.
USA TODAY SporTimothy T. Ludwig
Oakland Raiders: Linebacker
The Raiders’ defense wasn’t good outside of Khalil Mack, but it was particularly bad against the run. They need to find a stout inside linebacker to stop running backs in the hole.
Kim KlementUSA TODAY Sports
Atlanta Falcons: Defensive end
Vic Beasley led the league in sacks this season with 15.5 – we all know that. But who else rushed the passer for Atlanta? Well, for starters, Adrian Clayborn (99) was second on the team with 4.5 sacks. They need to find another defensive end to draw attention away from Beasley.
Chicago Bears: Quarterback
Jay Cutler could be back for another year, but the Bears can save $14 million by releasing him. If they do, as they should, they’ll be in the market for a quarterback at the top of the draft.
Detroit Lions: Defensive end
Ezekiel Ansah struggled mightily this season, causing the Lions’ pass rush to be highly ineffective all year. They need to address the defensive end position and improve the pass rush.
Tim FullerUSA TODAY Sports
Indianapolis Colts: Right tackle
The Colts’ offensive line isn’t good, but at least Anthony Castonzo is a good starter at left tackle. The right side is a different story. The Colts need to find a consistent player to play right tackle, otherwise Andrew Luck will continue to run for his life.
Jacksonville Jaguars: Guard
The Jaguars need a quarterback too, but they can win games with Blake Bortles – or at least they hope they can. Replacing Luke Joeckel, who’s a free agent, should be their top priority.
Houston Texans: Quarterback
Brock Osweiler was a disaster this past season and it’s time for the Texans to admit their mistake. Taking a quarterback in Round 1 isn’t out of the question, nor is bringing in a guy like Tony Romo. They’re a QB away from contending for a Super Bowl.
Kansas City Chiefs: Linebacker
Derrick Johnson is a great linebacker, but he’s 34 years old and coming off of an Achilles injury. The Chiefs have to find his successor to improve the interior of the defense going forward.
Denny MedleyUSA TODAY Sports
Miami Dolphins: Linebacker
Kiko Alonso (47) played well for the Dolphins, but he’s an injury-prone linebacker, which isn’t a good combo. They need to find a running mate for him in the middle of the defense – mainly one who can stop the run.
New Orleans Saints: Cornerback
The Saints play in a division with Matt Ryan, Cam Newton and Jameis Winston. What does that mean? That they need to shore up the secondary, particularly the cornerback position. They won’t win with any consistency if Delvin Breaux and Co. can’t cover receivers.
USA TODAY SportDerick E. Hingle
Arizona Cardinals: Cornerback
Patrick Peterson isn’t going anywhere and he’s a surefire Pro Bowler each year, but the Cardinals haven’t found a consistent playmaker to play opposite him on the other side. That allows teams to avoid him in coverage, picking on the No. 2 cornerback.
Pittsburgh Steelers: Outside linebacker
Bud Dupree is a good player, but James Harrison isn’t going to play forever, and Jarvis Jones is on his way out. The Steelers need to find bookend pass rushers.
Denny MedleyUSA TODAY Sports
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Safety
The Buccaneers had arguably the worst safety tandem in the NFL last season, and it’s time for the front office to bring in a playmaker or two on the back end.
Washington Redskins: Defensive tackle
Chris Baker and the Redskins struggled against the run this season, allowing the ninth-most rushing yards in the NFL. Finding a run-stuffing defensive tackle can help alleviate that problem, as would a linebacker.
Carolina Panthers: Offensive tackle
The Panthers have been trying to address the tackle position for years it seems, and it hasn’t worked with Michael Oher. They need to get Cam Newton better protection on the edge, which would allow him to escape the pocket easier.
Baltimore Ravens: Edge rusher
The Ravens’ great defenses were built around their linebacking corps, namely the edge rushers like Terrell Suggs. The Ravens are desperate for their next great pass rusher and without him, the defense lacks explosiveness.
USA TODAY SportsKen Blaze
Denver Broncos: Left tackle
The Broncos need to find a starter at left tackle after the Russell Okung experiment failed. The offense is bad enough when they get decent pass protection, but it’s terrible when the quarterback doesn’t have time to throw.
Green Bay Packers: Cornerback
Quinten Rollins and Damarious Randall struggled big time this season after they looked like they’d be starters for years. Sam Shields is still battling concussion concerns, so there’s no certainty he’ll be back. The Packers need to improve their secondary.
Associated PressDuane Burleson
Seattle Seahawks: Offensive tackle
Russell Wilson is lucky he didn’t miss at least 10 games last season with the way he was beat up. The Seahawks have to dole out some money and keep their franchise quarterback safe.
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Tennessee Titans: Cornerback
Jason McCourty and the Titans’ pass defense were terrible this past season and the entire secondary needs to be addressed. Cornerback is a starting point, but safety is another position of need.
Los Angeles Rams: Left tackle
The entire offensive line needs improving, but Greg Robinson needs to be replaced as soon as possible. The Rams won’t go anywhere with his play at left tackle.
New York Giants: Left tackle
Ereck Flowers is not an NFL left tackle and it’s time for the Giants to acknowledge that. Eli Manning can’t afford to get hit as much as he does. There are several questions on the offensive line, but left tackle is the biggest priority.
Buffalo Bills: Wide receiver
Sammy Watkins is a true No. 1 receiver, but he’s injury prone. More importantly, the Bills don’t have a great No. 2 option, which is a huge problem. Robert Woods just doesn’t fit that role well enough.
Dallas Cowboys: Defensive end
You could argue that the Cowboys’ biggest need has remained the same each year since DeMarcus Ware’s departure. They’re starved for help at defensive end, needing a dominant edge rusher who can get after the quarterback more than DeMarcus Lawrence.
Minnesota Vikings: Left tackle
Take your pick: left tackle, center, right tackle. They all need to be addressed, but especially left tackle. Matt Kalil is a free agent, so in all likelihood, the Vikings will replace him this offseason.
USA TODAY SportsJeff Hanisch
Philadelphia Eagles: Wide receiver
Carson Wentz needs help, and not just with his mechanics. The Eagles have to surround him and Jordan Matthews (81) with more talent on offense, and they can do so by drafting a wide receiver (or five).
USA TODAY SportsBill Streicher
Los Angeles Chargers: Offensive tackle
The Chargers need to address both tackle positions, which were arguably the worst in the NFL last season. King Dunlap can’t hold up in pass protection on the left side.
Getty ImagesChris Trotman
San Francisco 49ers: Quarterback
The 49ers have a lot of needs, but quarterback is undoubtedly the biggest. Kyle Shanahan needs his Matt Ryan, and it's not Colin Kaepernick.
New York Jets: Quarterback
Ryan Fitzpatrick (14) is all but gone, while Bryce Petty (9) and Christian Hackenberg don’t appear ready to start. As a result, the Jets are once again searching for a quarterback. That’s their top priority of the offseason.
Cleveland Browns: Quarterback
This needs no explanation. RG3 was not the answer, and the Browns need a quarterback more than any other team needs a player at any spot.