Six NFL Teams Positioned to Make Major Leaps in 2023 Offseason | News, Scores, Highlights, Stats, and Rumors
Six NFL teams positioned to make major leaps in 2023 offseason
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The 2023 NFL offseason is underway for all but two teams. And with a lull between conference championship games and Super Bowl week in Arizona, now seems like the appropriate time to take a broad look at the long winter and spring that awaits teams that haven’t been so lucky. than the Philadelphia Eagles or the Kansas City Chiefs. in 2022.
It also helps that the 2023 NFL draft order is pretty much set now, and it was revealed this week that the salary cap will increase significantly from $208.2 million in 22 to $224.8 million. dollars in 23.
With all that in mind, let’s look at a half-dozen teams poised to make substantial progress toward contender status by training camp.
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Simply by posting the NFL’s worst record of 2022, the Chicago Bears have the most room for improvement.
They also now own the first pick in the April draft and should, according to Spotrac, enter the 2023 offseason with nearly twice as much salary cap space as anyone else in the league.
And because 2021 first-round pick Justin Fields has shone considerably as a second-year starting quarterback this season, Chicago has reason to be optimistic about its situation at the sport’s most critical position. . That could see the Bears land a royal ransom for anyone looking to skip the Houston Texans to select former Alabama star flagger Bryce Young as the top draft pick.
Add to that that they also have additional picks in Rounds 4 and 5, and the draft and the real-world Capital situation are tantalizing for a team that has some intriguing young pieces in place with Fields and the players of offensive line Braxton Jones and Teven Jenkins.
Plus, with all that ceiling space and very little internal work to do in terms of talent retention, they can really splurge if they want to. The path to at least push the envelope is also there given the state of NFC North, where the Minnesota Vikings were imposters in 2022 and the Green Bay Packers are a huge question mark entering the offseason.
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Another team that could benefit from the state of NFC North is a Detroit Lions team that missed the playoffs but posted a winning record and placed in the top 10 in terms of DVOA (value adjusted to defense on average) at Football Outsiders in 2022.
So we’re talking about a borderline playoff caliber team that, thanks to the Matthew Stafford trade, has two of the top 18 picks in the draft and should also, according to Spotrac, have the 10th-best salary cap situation in the league. this offseason. .
With all that money, the one arguably critical player they need to re-sign is wide receiver DJ Chark. But with plenty of cap space and draft capital, they can easily make it or replace Chark (Allen Lazard?).
The Lions have less ground to make up for than the Bears, and momentum, finances and draft potential are all on their side in major ways this winter and spring.
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The Seattle Seahawks remain in one of the toughest divisions in the NFL, but it’s still not hard to see a path for them to improve so much this offseason that they could bring down the NFC West in 2023.
Like the Lions, the Seahawks were one of the top 10 DVOA teams in 2022 that didn’t win a playoff game. Like the Lions, they are projected by Spotrac to enter offseason 23 with one of the league’s top 10 salary cap situations. And like the Lions, they currently hold two top-20 draft selections (in this case, thanks to the trade of Russell Wilson).
They actually have twice as much headroom as Detroit and hold the No. 5 overall pick, one spot ahead of Detroit. Oh, and they have two second-round selections as well as an additional fifth-rounder.
Pete Carroll’s team also has little internal work to do, other than quarterback Geno Smith set to become an unrestricted free agent next month. But NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reports that Smith will be back, even if it means Seattle is resorting to the franchise tag to retain him.
Ultimately, they will have plenty of opportunities to bolster the defense and add weapons and protection in support of Smith. If they make the right calls in the right places, the Wilson-era “rebuild” could already be over.
Las Vegas Raiders
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The Las Vegas Raiders’ primary focus this offseason will obviously be quarterback, but Derek Carr’s impending exit at least gives them plenty of room to grow.
Even now, Spotrac predicts only eight teams will enter the 2023 offseason with more salary cap space than the Raiders, but that could change significantly if/when they create more than $29 million in cap space. immediate with Carr’s trade or release. Based on current numbers, that would give the Raiders more room than anyone else in the AFC.
Keep in mind, this team won 10 games just a year ago and has Davante Adams, Darren Waller, Kolton Miller, Maxx Crosby and Chandler Jones as centerpieces on either side of the ball.
Add to that that they hold the No. 7 overall pick in the draft, and general manager Dave Ziegler has plenty of wiggle room to get this team back in contention in 2023. Not only are we potentially talking about Lamar Jackson or Tom Brady under the center, but also difference makers like Payne, Dean or Jessie Bates III to reinforce a bad defense.
The Raiders will struggle to win the loaded AFC West in 23, but the path is there for them to fight back in the playoffs after a failed year.
New England Patriots
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The New England Patriots haven’t won a playoff game since winning the Vince Lombardi Trophy in 2018, and they have a lot of work to do to face the AFC East champions Buffalo Bills in 2023. But you can never rule out Bill Belichick’s team, especially with a lot of cards in Belichick’s hands.
Currently, the Bengals are the only AFC team with more slated cap space for 2023 than the Patriots, who also hold the 14th overall draft pick after a losing season in which they were still an above average team in terms of DVOA. .
They should easily be able to re-sign (if not upgrade) key impending free agents Jakobi Meyers, Isaiah Wynn and Jonathan Jones at wide receiver, offensive tackle and cornerback, respectively. And there’s still a good chance young quarterback Mac Jones will make a big jump ahead of third year.
Put it all together and the Patriots should be considered a candidate to get back into the Super Bowl picture in 2023.
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The last-place debate here has involved the Arizona Cardinals and Indianapolis Colts, who both own the top four draft picks and rank above the league median in roster space. projected ceiling.
But the Cardinals have at least one potential phenom in Kyler Murray at quarterback, they’ve ranked slightly higher than Indy in the DVOA despite having a worse record (4-13 vs. 4-12-1), and they have a choice. slightly higher (third vs. fourth) as well as a little more projected cap ($13.5m vs. $11.9m).
They’ll have to deal with imminent critical inside free agents Byron Murphy and Zach Allen, but they were one of the top 10 DVOA teams with Murray in 2021. That has to count for something as they prepare to flex their muscles in free agency and with the No. 3 pick overall in the April Draft.
With the right moves from a potentially refreshing new regime and with the right amount of progress from Murray as he recovers from a knee injury, the Cards could at least return to the generic picture in 2023.