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Free agency is quickly approaching, and every team in the NFL will scour the market to see which players could potentially bolster their respective rosters.
Sure, bottom-tier teams like the Cleveland Browns and Indianapolis Colts are in need for more talent than the rest of the league. But that doesn't mean the Philadelphia Eagles and New England Patriots couldn't stand to make a few upgrades.
Kirk Cousins, Le'Veon Bell, Trumaine Johnson, Allen Robinson, Sammy Watkins, Jimmy Graham, and Lamarcus Joyner will headline this year's free agent class. But as you know, there are plenty of solid players who will fly under the radar.
Every team has one major need heading into free agency. Here’s what they are for all 32 teams — and which player they could pursue.
Arizona Cardinals: Quarterback
How they got here: Carson Palmer is officially retired, and the Cardinals are in desperate need of a quarterback to help usher in the Steve Wilks era.
Who they could target: Teddy Bridgewater could be a perfect fit Arizona, especially if they draft a quarterback this year. Bridgewater has playoff experience and is only 25 years old.
Atlanta Falcons: Defensive tackle
How they got here: Dan Quinn has done a decent job of building depth across the roster. But if there’s one glaring need heading into free agency, it’s the interior defensive line. Dontari Poe, last year’s free agency splash for the Falcons, was on a one-year deal. Ahtyba Rubin is also out the door after signing with Atlanta in October.
Who they could target: The Falcons need to decide whether to re-up Poe and Rubin or look to someone like Sheldon Richardson as a replacement, assuming the Seahawks don’t tag him.
Baltimore Ravens: Wide receiver
How they got here: Joe Flacco desperately needs help on the perimeter. Mike Wallace (now a free agent) and Jeremy Maclin were average at best in 2017. Baltimore needs that true go-to receiver who it can count on during big moments and on third down.
Who they could target: Paul Richardson’s value may shoot up if the Jaguars tag Allen Robinson and the Rams hold on to Sammy Watkins. But he established himself as a reliable deep threat for Russell Wilson last season. The Ravens only have about $10.3 million in projected cap space, so they may have to be creative to make this one work.
Buffalo Bills: Pass rusher
How they got here: Injuries limited Shaq Lawson, their first-round pick from 2016, to just five total sacks in 21 games over his first two seasons. He’s been a disappointment. Adding some pass rushing heft opposite Lawson might help revive a defense that was one of the league’s worst in bringing down quarterbacks last season.
Who they could target: They need to think about adding depth in the draft. However, bringing in someone like Adrian Clayborn from the Falcons would give the defensive line some help.
Carolina Panthers: Wide receiver
How they got here: Carolina thought Kelvin Benjamin would fully blossom into a No. 1 receiver, but that didn't happen. The Panthers then traded him to the Bills, and Devin Funchess put together a solid year. However, the Panthers need another receiver to help him.
Who they could target: Sammy Watkins could be just what Cam Newton and the Carolina offense need. He's a deep threat who can take the top off defenses, averaging 15.2 yards per pass in 2017.
Chicago Bears: Tight end
How they got here: Zach Miller dislocated his patella and tore four major ligaments in his knee last season, a career-threatening injury. Even though Miller underwent successful surgery, no one knows when he'll be available to play. The Bears need a pass-catching tight end who could serve as a security blanket for sophomore quarterback Mitchell Trubisky.
Who they could target: Jimmy Graham would be a perfect fit in Chicago. He finished with 10 receiving touchdowns in 2017, which was tied for second-most in the league.
Cincinnati Bengals: Linebacker
How they got here: Cincinnati has two solid linebackers in Jordan Evans and Vontaze Burfict, but both dealt with injuries in 2017. This team needs a another linebacker who can clog up holes in the running game.
Who they could target: Keep your eyes on Zach Brown, who played for Washington in 2017. He racked up 127 tackles last season and is a sure tackler.
Cleveland Browns: Quarterback
How they got here: Time is a flat circle, and the Browns still need a quarterback. They drafted DeShone Kizer last year in the second round, and even though it wasn’t all Kizer’s fault, he had a rough rookie season. It’s no secret that the Browns are looking to go back to the drawing board at the quarterback position, as is their annual offseason tradition.
Who they could target: Forget Kirk Cousins. The Browns need a quarterback to make them more competitive now while the team rebuilds the rest of the roster and develops a rookie who they’ll probably draft this year. A Hue Jackson-A.J. McCarron reunion feels inevitable.
Dallas Cowboys: Wide receiver
How they got here: Dez Bryant was the Cowboys’ leading receiver last year, and he’ll probably stick around in Dallas, albeit on a restructured deal. Bryant will turn 30 during the 2018 season, and he hasn’t had over 1,000 receiving yards since 2014. The Cowboys aren’t known for making huge splashes in free agency, and they have just over $20 million in available cap to work with.
Who they could target: Terrelle Pryor, who probably won’t command a huge salary. He had a down year in Washington that ended with him on injured reserve, but could be just what the Cowboys need to get the offense clicking again.
Denver Broncos: Quarterback
How they got here: For the love of all that is sacred and holy, please do not make us sit through yet another season of some combination of Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch, with a little Chad Kelly instead of Brock Osweiller potentially thrown in for good measure. All the Broncos are missing is a quarterback.
Who they could target: John Elway needs to move some things around and create the cap space to grab Kirk Cousins, and if he does, the Broncos should be right back in the postseason mix next year.
Detroit Lions: Running back
How they got here: Ameer Abdullah has been in the league for three seasons and he hasn’t even sniffed the 1,000-yard mark in any of them.
Who they could target: Get LeGarrette Blount. A committee of Blount, Abdullah, and Theo Riddick should take some pressure off of Matthew Stafford for next season.
Green Bay Packers: Defensive back
How they got here: Green Bay has attempted to fix their secondary problems in recent years by drafting players like Kevin King, Josh Jones, Damarious Randall, and Quinten Rollins with varying success.
Who they could target: Adding a veteran to pair with Ha Ha Clinton-Dix would bolster a suspect position group and give the Packers some experienced guidance for 2018. The Packers can either re-sign Morgan Burnett or get younger at the position with E.J. Gaines.
Houston Texans: Offensive line
How they got here: With no first-round pick as a result of the draft-day trade that brought Deshaun Watson to town and no second-round pick as a result of the 2017 trade that shipped Brock Osweiler out, Houston’s best opportunity to pick up an impact newcomer will come in free agency. The Texans shipped longtime left tackle Duane Brown to Seattle while allowing their quarterbacks to get sacked more frequently than all but one team in the league.
Who they could target: Protecting Watson, fresh off a torn ACL, will be priority No. 1 this spring. The Texans have over $63 million in cap to work with, and they should throw a chunk of it at Nate Solder to pick up where Brown left off.
Indianapolis Colts: Offensive line
How they got here: Jacoby Brissett was sacked more than any other quarterback in the league last season. That’s especially distressing when you consider Andrew Luck’s unfortunate injury history. Anthony Castonzo and Ryan Kelly remain talented, if inconsistent starters at left tackle and center. A still-developing Joe Haeg is a workable right tackle.
Who they could target: The Colts need upgrades in the middle of the line that played turnstile throughout a tragic 2017 season. They’ve got over $74 million in cap space, so they can pay guard Andrew Norwell whatever it would cost to bring him in.
Jacksonville Jaguars: Wide receiver
How they got here: Allen Robinson is coming off of a torn ACL and he’s set to become a free agent. The Jaguars’ cap situation was pretty tight before they cut Chris Ivory and extended Blake Bortles. Now they have the money to retain Robinson. But if they don’t, this becomes a pressing need.
Who they could target: Paul Richardson would give Blake Bortles a viable deep threat to replace what Robinson brought to the offense and complement Allen Hurns’ reliability.
Kansas City Chiefs: Cornerback
How they got here: Well, they traded Marcus Peters away for peanuts, for starters. They also released Darrelle Revis earlier this offseason. While they’ve already added Kendall Fuller and David Amerson, the Chiefs could still use some depth at cornerback.
Who they could target: The Chiefs aren’t swimming in cap space, so they can probably cross the top free agent corners — Trumaine Johnson, E.J. Gaines, Malcolm Butler — off the list. But this is a deep year for any team looking for secondary help. Kansas City could find a cheaper option on the open market, such as Prince Amukamara.
Los Angeles Chargers: Defensive tackle
How they got here: Where LA can improve immediately is by adding a run-stopping defensive tackle. Last season they gave up more yards on the ground than all but one team — and no one gave up more yards per carry (4.9) than the Chargers.
Who they could target: He won’t come cheap, but Sheldon Richardson would be an instant upgrade. And just think about a defensive featuring Richardson and Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram.
Los Angeles Rams: Interior offensive line
How they got here: The offensive line improvements the Rams made over the 2017 offseason were the primary reason the offense was so dang good last year. Center John Sullivan and guard Jamon Brown are both hitting free agency, so the team has to decide whether to retain them or look for quality replacement.
Who they could target: The Rams would be wise to keep Sullivan, and they could upgrade the guard spot with someone like Justin Pugh, who won’t be cheap but won’t even come close to breaking the bank.
Miami Dolphins: Offensive guard
How they got here: Interior offensive line help has been top priority for the Dolphins for years now and still needs work. The combination of Ted Larsen and Jermon Bushrod at guard just didn’t play up to the level Miami needed and the offense suffered mightily as a consequence. Bushrod is hitting free agency, and there’s opportunity to get better there.
Who they could target: The problem for the Dolphins is that they have essentially no cash to work with this offseason, so they can’t afford to toss around the money they’d need to sign someone like Norwell. Former Cowboys guard Jonathan Cooper isn’t great, but he won’t be expensive.
Minnesota Vikings: Quarterback
How they got here: Minnesota’s answer is likely one of the three players who took snaps for the NFC finalists in 2017, but none of the Sam Bradford-Teddy Bridgewater-Case Keenum triumvirate is under contract for 2018. The Vikings can either burn it all down and start from scratch with a veteran like Kirk Cousins or AJ McCarron or retain one of the three men who have combined to win 32 games over the past three seasons.
Who they could target: Cut a deal with Case Keenum. No, he’s not the second coming of Peyton Manning, but he’s good enough to lead a talented team to the Super Bowl. Did we learn nothing from the Nick Foles experience in Philadelphia?
New England Patriots: Offensive line
How they got here: The Patriots could see three offensive tackles with starting experience depart in free agency this fall, as Nate Solder (16 starts), Cameron Fleming (six), and LaAdrian Waddle (four) all saw their contracts expire after the Super Bowl. While former All-Pro Marcus Cannon will be back, New England needs capable bodies to keep its 41-year-old quarterback upright in 2018.
Who they could target: Chris Hubbard played well for the Steelers in place of Marcus Gilbert last season. He would be a relatively inexpensive addition for New England.
New Orleans Saints: Linebacker
How they got here: Manti Te’o was a strong free agent addition a year ago, but the team’s depth got tested when A.J. Klein and Alex Anzalone went down with injuries. The Saints could use speed at the position and will likely need to hunt for help at the position in both the draft and free agency.
Who they could target: Finding a veteran to slot in between Te’o and Klein as a starter in the middle would dramatically improve an up-and-coming defense. Jon Bostic and Kevin Minter are both 27 years old and either would give the Saints some experience in the middle.
New York Giants: Offensive line
How they got here: It was one of the first things new Giants GM Dave Gettleman said during his introductory press conference: “We’ve got to fix the O-line, let’s be honest. Let’s not kid each other.” Ereck Flowers hasn’t come close to living up to his top 10 draft status and the entire interior of the team’s line — Justin Pugh, Weston Richburg and D.J. Fluker — are all set to become free agents in March.
Who they could target: The Giants should hold on to Richburg, at least, for a veteran presence to anchor the line at center. Josh Kline from the Titans would be a good get to replace either Pugh or Fluker, and New York can look to a deep draft class to fill the other vacancy at guard.
New York Jets: Quarterback
How they got here: Josh McCown was better than expected in 2017, but he’s a 38-year-old free agent. The team’s current options are Christian Hackenberg, Bryce Petty, and Joel Stave — a combination even the Browns think is unfortunate. With nearly $85 million to spend this fall, New York will look to spend big to fix its biggest problem.
Who they could target: New York is pushing hard for Kirk Cousins, a big-armed passer who would solve several of the team’s problems on offense. But that seems like a luxury they can’t afford. Find a temporary solution like Sam Bradford, who’s made a nice career as a temporary solution.
Oakland Raiders: A pass-rushing linebacker or defensive end
How they got here: The Raiders have Khalil Mack. That’s good! Their next-best defender after him was either a 30-year-old Bruce Irvin, a 29-year-old NaVorro Bowman, or a 34-year-old Reggie Nelson. That’s ... not as good . The Raiders need to get younger and faster to give Mack the supporting cast he richly deserves — and to get Oakland back to the postseason.
Who they could target: Alex Okafor played well for the Saints until he tore his Achilles last season. He could be an interesting addition in Oakland.
Philadelphia Eagles: Running back
How they got here: First and foremost, the Eagles have to get their finances in order after entering the offseason in salary cap trouble. Fortunately, Doug Pederson loves the committee approach, so they don’t need to spend big to replace Blount and Sproles.
Who they could target: Isaiah Crowell would give Philadelphia an early down complement to Jay Ajayi’s big playmaking ability.
Pittsburgh Steelers: Linebacker
How they got here: Ryan Shazier is making progress, and that’s incredible news. Unfortunately for the Steelers, his return to the field is uncertain for 2018 and beyond, they’ll have to find a way to replace a player who had become the heart and soul of a ferocious defense. Once Pittsburgh decides what to do with Le’Veon Bell, its top priority will be bringing in a middle-of-the-field presence who can make tackles from sideline to sideline like Shazier does.
Who they could target: The Steelers have built their defense through the first half of the draft in recent years, but veterans like NaVorro Bowman, Zach Brown, and Demario Davis could all fill a need in the Iron City.
San Francisco 49ers: Interior offensive line
How they got here: Center looked like it may have been the top priority for the 49ers in free agency, but they re-signed Daniel Kilgore to a three-year contract. They also extended tackle Garry Gilliam. Still, his play would be well served if a big addition is made at guard.
Who they could target: The Niners just invested heavily to lock up their new franchise quarterback, Jimmy Garoppolo, with a record contract. Now they need to use some of their nearly $70 million in projected cap space to bring in someone like former Giants guard Weston Richburg.
Seattle Seahawks: Offensive line
How they got here: Seattle’s offense is in for a reckoning. Russell Wilson was responsible for 37 of his team’s 38 offensive touchdowns as the team’s running game continued to struggle. Two of Wilson’s top targets, Jimmy Graham and Paul Richardson, are both up for new deals. But the first priority will be to upgrade the offensive line that kept Wilson running for his life and allowed him to be sacked on more than seven percent of his dropbacks in 2017.
Who they could target: The Seahawks brought in Luke Joeckel last offseason, but on just a one-year deal, so he’ll hit the market. Former Bears guard Josh Sitton might be a perfect fit for a team that has more glaring needs than cap space to work with this offseason.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Defensive end
How they got here: Gerald McCoy is still Gerald McCoy, one of the best defensive tackles in the NFL. Other than that, the Buccaneers defensive line needs a lot of work. The Buccaneers finished dead last in the NFL with just 22 sacks and have the cap space to go after the top pass rushers in free agency.
Who they could target: Bring home Adrian Clayborn. The Bucs drafted Clayborn in the first round of the 2011 draft, but injuries kept him from living up to his potential. He landed in Atlanta, where he’s been a valuable part of the rotation along the defensive line and had a breakout season in 2017, including a six-sack performance against the Cowboys in Week 10.
Tennessee Titans: Offensive guard
How they got here: The Titans have the foundation of a dominant offensive line with Taylor Lewan and Jack Conklin at the tackle positions and Ben Jones at center. There’s still work to be done in the interior of the line, however, where Josh Kline and Quinton Spain are both free agents.
Who they could target: Re-signing Kline and Spain would provide some important continuity for an above-average group, but a big splash in free agency could provide a talent upgrade at either spot. The Titans have enough cap space to get in on the Andrew Norwell action.
Washington: Wide receiver
How they got here: The offense in Washington took a step backward when it lost DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon last offseason and the addition of Terrelle Pryor didn’t help much. Jamison Crowder is a capable deep threat and Josh Doctson emerged down the stretch, but the wide receiving corps is relatively thin even if Ryan Grant is re-signed.
Who they could target: Marqise Lee stepped up for Jacksonville last year with 702 yards and three touchdowns in Allen Robinson’s absence. He’d be a solid weapon for those occasional Alex Smith deep shots we’ll see in Washington.
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