Football is a team game. No one knows that better than Tom Brady, who enjoyed a career resurgence in 2020 after he endured a rocky slide at the end of his time in New England. Brady's first season in Tampa -- which ended with him winning his seventh Super Bowl and fifth Super Bowl MVP -- proved that a quarterback is only as good as his supporting cast.
NFL teams know the significance of surrounding their quarterback with talent. Some teams made concerted efforts to increase the odds of their quarterback having a big 2021. Other teams, however, simply did not do enough to help elevate their quarterback. With the 2021 season just around the corner, here's a look at the three teams that did -- and three that did not -- do enough to help their quarterback during the offseason.
Three teams that helped their QB the most
Playing behind a woeful offensive line, Joe Burrow was hit far too often during his rookie season. His rookie year prematurely ended when he tore his ACL in Week 11. Burrow showed that he was worthy of being the No. 1 pick prior to getting injured, as he was the NFL's passing leader through 10 starts. The Bengals addressed their offensive line by signing veteran free agent Riley Reiff. They also spent a second-round pick on Clemson tackle Jackson Carman and a fourth-round pick on East Carolina tackle D'Ante Smith. The Bengals strengthened an already solid receiving corps when they selected Burrow's former college teammate, LSU wideout Ja'Marr Chase, with the fifth overall pick. Given these transactions and what he showed in 2020, Burrow should be one of the league's most prolific passers in 2021.
New York made three sizable acquisitions at the skill positions this offseason. They were able to sign former Lions receiver Kenny Golladay, a Pro Bowler in 2019 after catching a league-high 11 touchdowns. They also signed tight end Kyle Rudolph, a two-time Pro Bowler during his decade in Minnesota. In the draft, the Giants spent a first-round pick on receiver Kadarius Toney, who caught 10 touchdowns during his final season at Florida. Each player should help in the continued growth of Daniel Jones, who will also have former Pro Bowl running back Saquon Barkley back in the fold after he missed most of 2020 with an injury. New York's offense is also welcoming back receivers Darius Slayton and Sterling Shepard (the Giants' top-two receivers in 2020) and Pro Bowl tight end Evan Engram.
Tennessee pulled off arguably the biggest trade of the 2021 offseason when they acquired seven-time Pro Bowl receiver Julio Jones from the Falcons. While he is coming off of an injury that sidelined him for seven games last season, the 32-year-old Jones looked like his old self during his first minicamp as a Titan. Jones is embracing the chance to work alongside A.J. Brown, a Pro Bowler last season after catching 11 touchdowns and averaging 15.4 yards per catch. Along with having one of the league's top receiving duos at his disposal, quarterback Ryan Tannehill still has running back Derrick Henry, the league's rushing champion each of the last two years. Both players will benefit from the team's second-round selection of former North Dakota State tackle Dillon Radunz. The Titans also were able to sign veteran receiver Josh Reynolds, who set career highs in receptions (52) and receiving yards (618) during his final season with the Rams.
Three teams that helped their QB the least
A year after trading up to select quarterback Jordan Love with the 23rd overall pick, the Packers declined to select a receiver in the first round for the 20th straight year during the 2021 draft. Green Bay did spend a third-round pick on former Clemson wideout Amari Rodgers, but that apparently wasn't enough to help convince Aaron Rodgers to attend last month's mandatory minicamp. The Packers also waited until the seventh round to take a running back (they took Mississippi State's Kylin Hill with the 256th pick) despite losing Jamaal Williams in free agency. Green Bay deserves credit for re-signing Pro Bowl running back Aaron Jones and using a second-round pick to select former Ohio State Buckeye Josh Myers, one of the top-rated centers in the draft. But it appears that the Packers needed to do more to end the current rift between themselves and the reigning league MVP.
Seattle was reportedly interested in signing Julio Jones, who would have been the perfect complement alongside D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett. Instead, the Seahawks are hoping that second-round pick and former Western Michigan standout D'Wayne Eskridge can make a quick impact. The acquisition of guard Gabe Jackson definitely helps, but Seattle still has questions on their offensive line as it relates to protecting Russell Wilson, who was sacked a whopping 146 times over the past three seasons. Seattle also decided not to invest in a new running back despite the injury history of Chris Carson and Rashaad Penny's.
New Orleans Saints
Drew Brees is now retired, which means either Taysom Hill or Jameis Winston will be the starter in New Orleans. Whoever starts will have All-Pros Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara at his disposal. But with Thomas coming off of an injury-plagued 2020 season, the Saints should have done more to replenish a receiving corps that lost Emmanuel Sanders and Jared Cook during the offseason. Outside of Thomas and Kamara, the next leading receiver from last year's team who is still on the roster is Tre'Quan Smith, who caught 34 of 50 targets for 448 yards and four touchdowns in 2020. New Orleans will likely have a more run-oriented attack for 2021 featuring Hill, Kamara and running backs Latavius Murray, Dwayne Washington and Ty Montgomery.