Cardnals Texans Trade Football
WHERE TEAM IMPROVED IN FREE AGENCY: Cardinals pulled off stunner when they added WR DeAndre Hopkins in trade with Texans that sent RB David Johnson to Houston. Hopkins gives Arizona true No. 1 receiver to complement Larry Fitzgerald and Christian Kirk. Defense added three potential starters after signing LBs De’Vondre Campbell and Devon Kennard and DL Jordan Phillips.
WHERE TEAM NEEDS IMPROVEMENT: Certainly better on defense but Arizona wouldn’t mind more depth after giving up most yards in NFL. Also might like to add depth in middle of offensive line.
WHERE TEAM IMPROVED IN FREE AGENCY: Falcons made bold moves to address glaring weaknesses, signing OLB Dante Fowler and star RB Todd Gurley. Atlanta ranked near bottom of league in sacks and rushing last season. Fowler and Gurley replace Vic Beasley Jr. and Devonta Freeman, respectively.
WHERE TEAM NEEDS IMPROVEMENT: Cornerback after cutting Desmond Trufant. Linebacker is another thin spot after De'Vondre Campbell signed with Arizona. Depth must be replaced on offensive line after losses of guard Wes Schweitzer and tackle Ty Sambrailo.
WHERE TEAM IMPROVED IN FREE AGENCY: Panthers have filled some holes, but not many upgrades as they tear down roster and rebuild. QB Teddy Bridgewater will replace injury-riddled Cam Newton, which could be upgrade.
WHERE TEAM NEEDS IMPROVEMENT: Carolina lost nearly entire defensive line (Mario Addison, Gerald McCoy, Vernon Butler, Dontari Poe) except Kawann Short. Added DE Stephen Weatherly, but more must be done up front as they transition back to 4-3 alignment.
WHERE TEAM IMPROVED IN FREE AGENCY: Gave QB Mitchell Trubisky competition coming off disappointing season by acquiring Nick Foles from Jacksonville. Also added two former All-Pros in pass rusher Robert Quinn and TE Jimmy Graham.
WHERE TEAM NEEDS IMPROVEMENT: Bears could use more playmakers on offense to go with receiver Allen Robinson. Extension for Robinson, who has one season left on three-year deal, might be coming. Bears also could use help on offensive line that was banged up last season, and at cornerback after waiving Prince Amukamara.
WHERE TEAM IMPROVED IN FREE AGENCY: Nowhere. Cowboys kept status quo on offense, assuming Dak Prescott plays under franchise tag or on long-term deal. Receiver Amari Cooper now under contract for five years.
WHERE TEAM NEEDS IMPROVEMENT: Dallas hasn’t replaced DE Robert Quinn, who led team in sacks last season. Finally made move at safety by adding Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, first-round pick six years ago when new Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy was in Green Bay. Dallas drafts in middle of first round, and secondary is logical target.
WHERE TEAM IMPROVED IN FREE AGENCY: Detroit is making extensive changes to defense that ranked 31st last season. Agreed to deal with DT Danny Shelton, who started 14 games last season for New England. Lions also adding LB Jamie Collins, who had seven sacks for Patriots in 2019.
WHERE TEAM NEEDS IMPROVEMENT: Big move was trading Pro Bowl CB Darius Slay to Philadelphia. Tried to restock by trading for S Duron Harmon and reaching deals with CB Desmond Trufant and S Jayron Kearse. Will that be enough to make up for dealing Slay?
WHERE TEAM IMPROVED IN FREE AGENCY: No area where Green Bay clearly got stronger; main signings filled holes created by former Packers signing elsewhere. LB Christian Kirksey steps in with Blake Martinez leaving. RT Rick Wagner comes in while Bryan Bulaga heads to Chargers.
WHERE TEAM NEEDS IMPROVEMENT: Still need more playmakers for Aaron Rodgers, though they could find help in draft that’s loaded with talented receivers.
LOS ANGELES RAMS
WHERE TEAM IMPROVED IN FREE AGENCY: Nowhere. Rams lost three key defensive starters (DT Michael Brockers, edge rusher Dante Fowler, LB Cory Littleton). Their only signings were DT A’Shawn Robinson and LB Leonard Floyd, budget-friendly but apparently inferior replacements.
WHERE TEAM NEEDS IMPROVEMENT: Above-average defense looks awfully thin at every level after several cap-saving moves. Even if Rams decide to start untested Darrell Henderson as Todd Gurley’s replacement, they’ll need another running back.
WHERE TEAM IMPROVED IN FREE AGENCY: Hard to find anywhere so far. Vikings got four years younger and bit cheaper with addition of NT Michael Pierce, but predecessor Linval Joseph was two-time Pro Bowler still playing at effective level before he was released.
WHERE TEAM NEEDS IMPROVEMENT: Vikings moved on from their top three cornerbacks, making that highest priority. Trade of Stefon Diggs leaves talent gap at wide receiver, and guard spots are up for grabs.
WHERE TEAM IMPROVED IN FREE AGENCY: Leadership in secondary with return of 2009 first-round draft choice Malcolm Jenkins, who spent past six seasons with Philadelphia and has won two Super Bowls.
WHERE TEAM NEEDS IMPROVEMENT: Saints have to find replacement for starting CB Eli Apple, who left for Las Vegas. New Orleans also had trouble finding consistency from receivers other than Michael Thomas, could add some.
NEW YORK GIANTS
WHERE TEAM IMPROVED IN FREE AGENCY: Embattled GM Dave Gettleman went long way in fixing bad defense. He franchised DT Leonard Williams, signed CB James Bradberry and LBs Blake Martinez and Kyler Fackrell, who is more a pass rusher.
WHERE TEAM NEEDS IMPROVEMENT: New coach Joe Judge still needs offensive tackle and wide receiver, especially with Sterling Shepard coming off two concussions in 2019. Draft is strong at both positions.
WHERE TEAM IMPROVED IN FREE AGENCY: Bolstered already strong interior defensive line by signing nose tackle Javon Hargrave and improved secondary by acquiring CB Darius Slay from Detroit.
WHERE TEAM NEEDS IMPROVEMENT: Still lack No. 1 wide receiver and experienced linebackers. O-line might need addressing as well.
WHERE TEAM IMPROVED IN FREE AGENCY: San Francisco made no notable additions but locked up key defensive starters Arik Armstead and Jimmie Ward before they hit open market.
WHERE TEAM NEEDS IMPROVEMENT: With Emmanuel Sanders still a free agent, Niners need No. 1 receiver to team with Deebo Samuel. If unable to bring back Sanders, they have second first-round pick to target that need after trading star DT DeForest Buckner to Indianapolis for No. 13 overall pick.
WHERE TEAM IMPROVED IN FREE AGENCY: Seattle gave itself options, especially on offensive line. Additions of B.J. Finney, Brandon Shell and Cedric Ogbuehi provide depth for line that will have some changes from last year. Also kept DT Jarran Reed and brought back pass rusher Bruce Irvin.
WHERE TEAM NEEDS IMPROVEMENT: Irvin was good start in addressing pass rush. But Irvin must be paired with another contributor. So lingering unknown of Jadeveon Clowney's destination is so important for Seattle. If Seahawks persuade Clowney to return, pairing with Irvin is huge boost. If Clowney goes elsewhere, Seattle will need to find other options.
WHERE TEAM IMPROVED IN FREE AGENCY: Easy: six-time Super Bowl champion QB Tom Brady after using franchise tag on NFL sacks leader LB Shaquil Barrett. Re-signing LB Jason Pierre-Paul to keep improved pass rush intact.
WHERE TEAM NEEDS IMPROVEMENT: Could use right tackle to shore up offensive line to protect Brady. Running back is area to address, possibly in draft.
WHERE TEAM IMPROVED IN FREE AGENCY: Defense is getting major upgrades with CB Kendall Fuller, S Sean Davis and LBs Thomas Davis and Kevin Pierre-Louis. New coach Ron Rivera also filled holes on offense with TE Logan Thomas, third-down back J.D. McKissic and guard Wes Schweitzer.
WHERE TEAM NEEDS IMPROVEMENT: Still major need at tight end and for another playmaker on defense. Washington will probably address those in draft. Owner Dan Snyder is letting Rivera do his thing, which is unusual restraint, but another quarterback is probably coming — maybe even Cam Newton.
Compiled by AP NFL beat writers.
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