Largest remaining group wants within the AFC from the Ravens to the Titans
With free company and the 2022 NFL Draft within the books, most AFC groups nonetheless have at the least one want remaining on their roster. Fortunately, there’s a stable assortment of veterans obtainable on the open market, and golf equipment may also pursue trades for gamers who could have fallen out of favor with their incumbent franchises. Let’s run via every AFC group, determine their most evident want, and supply a possible resolution.
Largest remaining group wants within the AFC
We’ll attempt to make these attainable additions real looking. Groups could have readily obvious want areas, but when they appear intent on permitting younger gamers to fill these spots, for instance, we received’t power a veteran signing.
At this level within the offseason, many golf equipment have crammed the vast majority of their roster holes. That not’s to say they don’t have weaknesses. But when a group has locked-in starters — or sufficient candidates for a contest — at most positions, we’ll flip our focus to depth.
Baltimore Ravens: Extensive receiver
Answer: Signal Julio Jones
The Ravens crammed most of their wants via free company and the draft, however large receiver stays a obtrusive subject. 2021 first-round decide Rashod Bateman will ascend to Baltimore’s No. 1 position after the membership traded Marquise Brown to the Cardinals. Behind Bateman, the Ravens have a cadre of younger, unproven move catchers in Devin Duvernay, James Proche, and Tylan Wallace.
A veteran receiver is sensible for the Ravens, and Jones would give them a contested-catch risk on the surface. Julio hasn’t been capable of keep wholesome lately, lacking 14 video games over the previous two seasons. Nonetheless, Baltimore can afford to tackle that threat, provided that the 33-year-old shouldn’t command a big wage.
Buffalo Payments: Security depth
Answer: Commerce for Johnathan Abram
The Payments are in all probability probably the most full group within the NFL, so that they don’t have many obvious wants. They’ve the league’s finest security tandem in Micah Hyde and Jordan Poyer, however they might use extra depth behind that duo. Damar Hamlin and Jaquan Johnson are Buffalo’s present security backups. Neither has seen a lot taking part in time, largely as a result of Hyde and Poyer have remained wholesome.
If Buffalo desires so as to add one other physique to their defensive backfield, they might ship a late-round decide to the Raiders in alternate for Abram. There’s no query Abram hasn’t been productive since Las Vegas took him within the first spherical of the 2019 draft, and so they’ve already declined his fifth-year possibility for 2023. Nonetheless, the Payments’ teaching workers can rehabilitate distressed property, and Abram will solely value $2.1 million this season.
Cincinnati Bengals: Cross-rushing depth
Answer: Signal Trey Flowers
After refurbishing their offensive line in free company and sprucing up their protection within the draft, the Bengals’ greatest want is on the line of defense. They’ve been looking for a 3rd edge rusher to play behind Trey Hendrickson and Sam Hubbard. 2021 third-rounder Joseph Ossai is penciled into that position, however he has no NFL expertise after tearing his meniscus in final yr’s preseason.
Cincinnati may additionally use assist at defensive deal with, the place they re-signed B.J. Hill however misplaced Larry Ogunjobi. If the Bengals signal Flowers, he’d spent most of his time as a rotational edge defender, however he may additionally slide inside on apparent passing downs. Ryan Kerrigan, who met with Cincinnati in March 2021 earlier than signing with the Eagles, is one other free agent possibility who could possibly be the Bengals’ EDGE3.
Cleveland Browns: Extensive receiver
Answer: Signal Will Fuller
In an offseason the place large receiver costs went via the roof, the Browns properly acquired Amari Cooper at a reduction earlier than the market went loopy. In addition they added Purdue’s David Bell — a candidate to start out within the slot on Day 1 — within the third spherical. Donovan Peoples-Jones, Anthony Schwartz, and Jakeem Grant (primarily a returner) fill out the remainder of the depth chart, so there’s room for one more veteran in Cleveland.
Fuller has by no means been capable of keep on the sphere, however he’s nonetheless solely 28 years previous. Though 2021 was a misplaced season, he posted 16.6 yards per reception and eight touchdowns as lately as 2020. Fuller’s relationship with Deshaun Watson in all probability doesn’t maintain a lot weight for the Browns, provided that Watson is looking at a prolonged suspension. But, Fuller ought to be capable to present a downfield weapon for whoever is below middle in Cleveland.
Denver Broncos: Linebacker
Answer: Re-sign Alexander Johnson
Denver may additionally use somewhat help alongside the offensive and defensive traces, however re-signing Johnson to start out at linebacker is the obvious transfer for the Broncos. Common supervisor George Paton introduced again Josey Jewell and signed Alex Singleton, however Johnson would add one other bodily physique to the group’s linebacker room.
Jewell is the higher protection defender, so he’d nonetheless be on the market in 1LB subpackages. Johnson’s run-defending talents shouldn’t be taken as a right, and he’d seemingly welcome a return to Denver after producing subsequent to no real interest in free company.
Houston Texans: Tight finish
Answer: Signal Jared Prepare dinner
The Texans have holes throughout their roster. They might conceivably use reinforcements at almost any place. However we’ll give attention to tight finish, the place 2021 fifth-round selection Brevin Jordan is projected to start out. Regardless of their noncompetitive standing, Houston hasn’t been afraid to signal veterans. Simply this offseason, they’ve added A.J. Cann, Jerry Hughes, and Mario Addison, all of whom are at the least 30 years previous.
If the Texans are searching for extra management, Prepare dinner would match the invoice. He’s seen all of it via 13 professional seasons, and Houston would develop into his seventh NFL group. And it’s not like Prepare dinner wasn’t productive final yr. Even in his age-34 season, he managed a 48-564-4 line within the Chargers’ high-powered offense.
Indianapolis Colts: Left deal with
Answer: Signal Duane Brown
The Colts have tried to paper over their left deal with subject by signing Dennis Kelly and Matt Pryor and drafting Bernhard Raimann. Indy may in all probability get by with some mixture of these choices, particularly given how proficient the remainder of their offensive line is.
Nonetheless, why not go after the most effective free brokers remaining on the open market? Brown might be 37 when the 2022 season begins, however there’s no query he’s nonetheless a top-50 deal with within the NFL. If his 2021 degree of play is any indication, Brown is nowhere close to falling off a cliff. His addition would push Kelly and Pryor into reserve roles and permit Raimann to redshirt in his rookie season.
Jacksonville Jaguars: Defensive deal with
Answer: Signal Brandon Williams
After spending $80 million greater than another group in free company, the Jaguars don’t have a ton of room for veteran additions. Certain, they might at all times use one other offensive lineman, and security assist may make sense. However we landed on defensive deal with, the place Williams may supply help for Folorunso Fatukasi, Da’Von Hamilton, and Roy Robertson-Harris.
Williams is 33, so Jacksonville could should persuade him to signal, provided that they’re in all probability not able to contend simply but. He may slide proper in because the Jaguars’ beginning nostril deal with.