2020 NFL offseason outlook: First order of business for each of the 32 NFL teams
Now that Super Bowl LIV is in the books, we shift our focus to the 2020 offseason
The NFL offseason is officially here. Already. Patrick Mahomes is barely back from Disney and Andy Reid has just finished digesting that final Super Bowl celebratory cheeseburger and already the business of the league is back in full swing. The waiver wire is back in business this week, teams are plodding cap cuts and releases, veterans like Greg Olsen are already making free-agent visits and by the time we get to the combine less than three weeks from now, it will be full-blown silly season in the NFL.
With this about to be an unprecedented year for superstar, star, and proven starting quarterback movement (which I've been telling you guys in coming in this space since November), and with Hall of Famers like Tom Brady and Drew Brees not even sure where they will be in 2020, this could be an offseason unlike any other. The dominoes will fall, surely, in some unpredictable fashion, and with QBs of this caliber ready and available steel yourself for the ever-present mystery teams that will be lurking behind every corner by the time the NFL world finds itself pressed up against each other for a week in Indianapolis.
So it's time to turn our attention to what's to come as well.
Which moments defined Super Bowl LIV? What storylines deserve more attention than they got? Will Brinson and the Pick Six Podcast Superfriends take a deeper dive into the Chiefs' win over the 49ers. Listen below and be sure to subscribe for daily NFL goodness.
No better time than the present to outline what I believe should be the first course of business and/or initial piece of advice for every team in the league as we officially head into the start of the transaction period for the 2020 season:
Self scout. Self Scout. Self Scout. Kliff Kingsbury's offense had its moments and got better as the season wore on, but it won't be catching anyone by surprise in 2020. Figure out your running back situation, and David Johnson's role, because that contract likely binds him back to you.
Get your succession plan in order. Yet another miserable start, and it's got to be lights out for Dan Quinn and Thomas Dimitroff, probably in-season. The interim head coach is there already in Raheem Morris, but owner Arthur Blank should be spending time now in the doldrums gathering as much intel as possible on potential coaches and GMs.
Lamar Jackson showed you what he could do with middling-at-best overall pass-catchers during his unanimous MVP season. Imagine what he might do with a bonafide size target opposite speed by slight Hollywood Brown on the other side? And what about if he had Emmanuel Sanders instead of Willie Stead as the top slot target?
Do not be afraid to keep drafting top draft capital in that defense. It may turn out you need a transcendent unit on that side of the ball if Josh Allen does not become who you hope he will be. Remain silently open to that possibility. Keep building that monster on defense.
Caucus and debate the merits of Cam Newton as your starting quarterback and get on the same page with a plan of attack as soon as possible. Certainly before the combine. Can everyone -- including a rookie head coach straight from college empowered by a seven-year contract -- rally behind that concept? Owner David Tepper had best figure it out now.
Understand that this Joe Burrow thing is gonna be a thing. If Mike Brown is stubborn enough to draft him even though he may want nothing to do with this franchise, there better be a salient plan to woo and court and massage and assuage the No. 1 pick. If the trade deadline is any indication, good luck with that.
A prayer circle couldn't hurt at this point, I figure. Miracles do happen. The Browns becoming a functional franchise would qualify at this point.
Lots and lots of hand exercises and stretches, Jerry Jones. I know you told my man Nate Burleson you never get a crimp in your hand from stroking checks, but you'll be seeing OOOs in your sleep soon enough. Dak, Amari, (and you badly need to find a way to keep Byron Jones, too). Plus your defenses needs oodles of additional help.
John Elway, keep Vic Fangio off the headsets when you have the ball. Keep him out of Pat Shurmur's way, and as far from the offensive staff as possible. If this Drew Lock thing is gonna work, that's imperative.
Accept the fact that there very likely won't be any family vacations and downtime next January. I know it's a lot of hard work having early mornings and late nights flying all over the country interviewing people, but that's how it goes sometimes. Maybe send Jim Caldwell a thank you card for his service to the organization, too, and send an email to every other NFL owner pushing him as a top head coaching candidate in 2021.
Take a step back and understand the way you won 13 games in 2019 is not replicable. The defense regressed, bigtime, as the season went on, and the scope of that passing attack, despite a generational talent at QB, was troubling at best. The Honeymoon is over. Best get your collective heads around that now inside that building.
Is it too late to strip Bill O'Brien of his GM title? Is there any fine print in the contract? I'd look into that. Everyone makes mistakes, especially novice owners.
Start converting dollars to pounds now? Put out an APB for Dr. Emmett Brown and see if you set that DeLorean for 2021 … probably a few years after that? Cause 2020 won't be pretty and change is inevitable in this league.
Kansas City Chiefs
Invest big in bubble wrap. Demand Patrick Mahomes dresses in it as frequently as possible in a special clause as part of the mega-deal you'll sign him to. Drop the pretext about waiting until 2021 to pay him. It's unbecoming a Super Bowl champion.
Las Vegas Raiders
It's never too soon to try to figure out how high you need to get to land Tua. Best start now.
Spend every waking hour on your recruitment plan for Tom Brady. Spare no expense and sweat every detail. It could happen if you come correct.
It's time for a critical re-think in the way you handle contracts and payroll. Been in question since the old St. Louis days. It's hit critical mass now. Frankly, it might already be too late with all the cap issues and a lack of top draft picks.
The future is now. Your next QB is in this draft. Find the one you like best and land him but don't obsess about Burrow because Mike Brown might opt to keep him at all costs. Either way, don't punt 'til 2021 hoping for Trevor Lawrence. Almost never works out.
Resist the urge to string out bad contracts and further your cap crisis into future years, or extend coaches and managers for the sake of PR. This roster isn't special enough to further mortgage the future for. This was always a three-year window with Kirk Cousins. Leave it alone and if 2020 isn't markedly better, it's time for a new regime.
Check out the item on the Chargers and treat your pursuit of Brady in the exact same manner. Pretend he's never spent a day with your franchise and you have your first chance to woo the greatest QB of all time. Because this is your last chance to do so.
Hold Drew Brees to that one-month deadline to make a decision on his future. Even if he retires you might not be able to -- or opt to -- keep both Teddy Bridgewater and Taysom Hill. You need to know by the combine if at all possible what Brees plans to do.
Stop relying on the echo-chamber of former execs and associates and consultants that continue to reinforce the types of ineffective decisions that have haunted this franchise for at least the past five years. Break free. Pronto.
You have to rush the passer to have any chance in the modern NFL. I'm certain young GM Joe Douglas knows this. Need to find ways to win on the edge immediately.
This draft is loaded with WRs. Select several.
Don't get lulled into a huge extension for Ju Ju. Play it out in Year 4. See what can do as the No. 1 with Big Ben back throwing him passes. Your cap situation won't be as tight a year from now.
San Francisco 49ers
Hire the best mental conditioning coaches on the planet. Make them a key part of your offseason program. Find a way to de-program the kind of Super Bowl hangover that, invariably, is going to be a factor in 2020. That's a tough one to ever get over, let alone the following year.
Make Pete Carroll and Brian Schottenheimer take a blood vow to let Russell Wilson cook in 2020. Make a solemn promise to get out of his way and to run the offense through his arm and legs. You'll thank me later.
By the end of this week, have a collective ranking of how you rate every single QB who could possibly be available in trade, free agent and the draft. Then stick to it.
Tag Ryan Tannehill and be as patient as possible with Derek Henry. If you are able to use the franchise and transition tags, put the transition on the running back.
Start sending every signal possible that you will trade the second-overall pick. And be ready to do it. Chase Young is special, but you have already gone all-in on drafting for your front seven and he's not the only stud pass rusher who will emerge from this draft, or in 2021 or 2022. You aren't close to winning anything now. Get on the opposite end of an RG III trade.
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