The 2023 NFL offseason is far from over. Lamar Jackson and Aaron Rodgers remain in limbo as they seek trades from their respective teams. Multiple quarterbacks are expected to go early in April's draft. And all 32 teams are still tweaking their rosters in the leadup to spring and summer. But most of the big-name veteran moves have occurred now that the new league year is well underway, and we've had enough activity to get an early read on which teams are trending in the right direction.
With that said, here's how we'd grade each of the four teams in the NFC North going into April:
- Key additions: QB P.J. Walker (Panthers), RB D'Onta Foreman (Panthers), WR D.J. Moore (Panthers), TE Robert Tonyan (Packers), OG Nate Davis (Titans), DE DeMarcus Walker (Titans), DT Andrew Billings (Raiders), LB Tremaine Edmunds (Bills), LB T.J. Edwards (Eagles)
- Key losses: RB David Montgomery (Lions), OT Riley Reiff (Patriots), DT Armon Watts, LB Nicholas Morrow (Eagles)
Contrary to last offseason, the Bears have made a substantial effort to improve QB Justin Fields' supporting cast. No acquisition was bigger than that of Moore, who was mostly QB proof in Carolina and should offer top 10 production out wide. As long as he can stay healthy, Davis should also help shore up the trenches. The rugged combo of Foreman and Tonyan, meanwhile, should strengthen the offense in the red zone, offsetting Montgomery's departure as a hard-nosed ball-carrier. As for the defense, there's no doubt the front seven is improved; Edmunds is a rangy, supersized chess piece, Edwards is a sturdy run stopper and Walker is quietly ascending. But you wonder whether they needed to commit so much to linebacker after selling Roquan Smith. Fields could also stand to have better help at tackle, which could be resolved through the draft.
- Key additions: RB David Montgomery (Bears), OG Graham Glasgow (Broncos), CB Cameron Sutton (Steelers), CB Emmanuel Moseley (49ers), S C.J. Gardner-Johnson (Eagles)
- Key re-signings: DE John Cominsky, LB Alex Anzalone
- Key losses: RB Jamaal Williams (Saints), WR D.J. Chark (Panthers), DT Michael Brockers, LB Jarrad Davis (Giants), CB Mike Hughes (Falcons)
While the rival Bears were bound to improve thanks to a sheer abundance of cap space, the Lions have modeled the economical approach to free agency, spending intentionally but selectively at areas of need. Montgomery is a fine lateral swap from Williams at running back, and Glasgow makes for solid insurance up front. But the real difference can be seen in the secondary, where Detroit upgraded three different starting positions for less than $50 million combined. Moseley is coming off an injury-shortened season, as is Gardner-Johnson, but all three defensive back additions are confident, physical playmakers who should boost an already-improving "D." The Lions are probably playoff-caliber as they stand, with serviceable QB Jared Goff well supported, but they've still got the ammo for a potential splash under center.
- Key additions: S Tarvarius Moore (49ers)
- Key re-signings: LB Eric Wilson, S Rudy Ford, KR Keisan Nixon
- Key losses: WR Allen Lazard (Jets), WR Randall Cobb, TE Robert Tonyan (Bears), DE Jarran Reed (Seahawks), DE Dean Lowry (Vikings)
Everything hinges on Aaron Rodgers. It's safe to assume the former MVP is done with the Packers after he declared his desire to play for the Jets in 2023, but what will Green Bay get in return? In the big picture, pivoting to Jordan Love is commendable; it's time to see what the former first-round pick has to offer, and his arm looked mighty fine in limited work last season. Even so, the Packers have basically paused roster-construction efforts until Rodgers is officially out of the picture. That means Love's future lineup still lacks needed upgrades and depth at wide receiver, tight end and across the front seven on defense. Losing Rodgers favorites like Lazard and Tonyan isn't back-breaking, but until they add anyone to fill in the gaps, they're an incomplete unit.
- Key additions: TE Josh Oliver (Ravens), DE Dean Lowry (Packers), OLB Marcus Davenport (Saints), CB Byron Murphy (Cardinals)
- Key re-signings: RB Alexander Mattison, C Garrett Bradbury
- Key losses: WR Adam Thielen (Panthers), TE Irv Smith Jr., DT Dalvin Tomlinson (Browns), LB Eric Kendricks (Chargers), CB Patrick Peterson (Steelers)
After a resilient 13-4 debut under Kevin O'Connell, the Vikings have bowed to their financial limitations, shedding fan favorites like Thielen and Kendricks in the name of longer-term improvement. Both Davenport and Murphy have the upside to shine under new defensive coordinator Brian Flores on prove-it deals, offering fresh legs off the edge and in the secondary. But it feels like there's another shoe yet to drop from GM Kwesi Adofo-Mensah, who's been public about QB Kirk Cousins' unclear future beyond 2023, and would probably trade expensive RB Dalvin Cook if he could. Minnesota doesn't appear demonstrably better or worse since the start of the offseason, though paying Oliver $7M per year after acquiring T.J. Hockenson in 2022 is a head-scratcher ... unless, of course, it was secretively Step A to reuniting the ex-Raven with Lamar Jackson.