New England Patriots (Previously: #1)
What New England is doing is almost unfair. Randy Moss for a fourth-round pick? Obtaining San Francisco's No. 1 in 2008? How is this legal?
The last time the Patriots were this serious during an offseason, they went 14-2 and won their second Super Bowl. I'd be very scared if I were any team on
New England's schedule.
Denver Broncos (Previously: #2)
The Broncos could be one of the most improved teams in 2007. Not only did they sign numerous quality players -- Travis Henry, Daniel Graham and Dre Bly --
they'll have Jay Cutler back with half a year of experience under his belt. The moves they made in the draft to add talent to the offensive and defensive
lines moves them up to No. 2.
San Diego Chargers (Previously: #3)
San Diego was the best team in the NFL last year, and it's a shame Marty Schottenheimer took the blame for his inexplicable loss to New England. Now, the
Chargers have just three holes on their roster: Two at inside linebacker, where Randall Godfrey, Donnie Edwards and Steve Foley are now gone. The third is
on the sidelines; I'm not confident in Norv Turner's ability to lead San Diego deep into the postseason. I know the Chargers drafted two rookie linebackers,
but we have no idea how well they're going to play.
Indianapolis Colts (Previously: #4)
The Colts lost Cato June, Nick Harper, Mike Doss, Dominic Rhodes and Montae Reagor this spring. However, cornerback isn't an important part of Tony Dungy's
defense; Reagor and Doss will be replaced by Quinn Pitcock and Brannon Condren, respectively; and Anthony Gonzalez and Roy Hall can only improve a receiving
corps that was lacking depth. Will Indianapolis be a little lethargic in the wake of its Super Bowl victory?
New Orleans Saints (Previously: #5)
Joe Horn will prove to be a huge loss for the Saints, who drafted Robert Meachem to repalce him. That said, New Orleans made some key acquisitions like
Brian Simmons, Kevin Kaesviharn, Olindo Mare and Eric Johnson. It's hard for me not to pencil in the Saints as NFC Champs, especially considering the poor
draft Philadelphia had. I'm a bit surprised they didn't add talent to their defense.
New York Jets (Previously: #9)
No one did more with less than Eric Mangini last year. With Thomas Jones in the backfield, Darrelle Revis in the secondary and David Harris in the middle,
the Jets can only be better. It's too bad some guys named Bill Belichick and Tom Brady inhabit the same division.
Baltimore Ravens (Previously: #10)
Baltimore's offensive line and linebacking corps were decimated this offseason. Making matters worse, Steve McNair, who played horrendously against the
Colts, is a year older. The Ravens had a solid draft, but I think they're a far cry from winning the Super Bowl.
Pittsburgh Steelers (Previously: #13)
Ben Roethlisberger will be better than he was in 2006, but the Steelers' lack of cap space has restricted them from satisfying any of their offseason needs.
The only player they signed in free agency was interior lineman Sean Mahan.
Dallas Cowboys (Previously: #6)
Frankly, I'm disappointed with the Cowboys' offseason. They overpaid for Leonard Davis and signed only one quality player (Ken Hamlin). We'll have to see
how Anthony Spencer pans out. On the bright side, they didn't lose anyone, plus Tony Romo will be back with a year of experience.
Cincinnati Bengals (Previously: #11)
Besides drafting Leon Hall in the first round, what have the Bengals done to improve themselves? I can't think of a single thing.
Philadelphia Eagles (Previously: #16)
I'll admit I had the Eagles too low in my previous rankings. I still think they made a horrendous decision taking a quarterback with their top selection,
simply because the NFC's so wide open that an extra pass-rusher or defensive back could have made a huge difference.
I was planning on putting Philadelphia even higher until I heard about Shawn Andrews' possible injury. Andrews said his trip to a knee specialist was a
"tear-jerker." If he's out for the year, the Eagles will obviously have trouble running the ball and pass protecting.
Chicago Bears (Previously: #7)
The Tank Johnson situation aside, the Bears haven't had anything go against them this offseason. I like the addition of Adam Archuleta; he played well for
Lovie Smith in St. Louis. The draft was also solid. I still have reservations about Rex Grossman at quarterback, however.
Seattle Seahawks (Previously: #8)
No more Super Bowl Loser Curse or Madden Jinx for the Seahawks. They've done a good job bringing in quality players like Patrick Kerney and Deon Grant this
offseason, while retaining Chris Gray and Pork Chop Womack. They still have some needs, but Seattle has had an excellent offseason thus far.
Jacksonville Jaguars (Previously: #12)
Not a bad offseason and a great draft, but I'm disappointed that the Jaguars haven't signed more quality players. Plus, their quarterbacking situation remains
San Francisco 49ers (Previously: #14)
San Francisco has had one of the best offseasons and drafts in the NFL this spring. Without losing anyone, they acquired Nate Clements, and Michael Lewis,
both of whom will transform the 49ers' secondary into one of the league's best. Patrick Willis and Joseph Staley were great prospects taken in April. Role
players like Tully Banta-Cain and Aubrayo Franklin were also added. People forget San Francisco nearly won the NFC West in 2006.
Carolina Panthers (Previously: #15)
It looks like Carolina's window of opportunity has closed. With tons of needs, the only player the Panthers signed this offseason is David Carr.
A great draft may have saved them, but I still don't like their chances.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Previously: #19)
The Buccaneers have chosen to go for one last hurrah instead of rebuilding. They will be a lot better in 2007, though I would have opted to start over.
Jeff Garcia, Cato June and Gaines Adams are all solid additions.
St. Louis Rams (Previously: #20)
St. Louis hasn't done enough to surpass Seattle or keep itself from getting eclipsed by San Francisco. Most of the players they've signed this offseason --
Drew Bennett, James Hall, Chris Draft, Lenny Walls and Mike Rumph -- are has-beens. I didn't include Randy McMichael, who has legal issues. Adam Carriker
was a great addition via the draft, so I moved the Rams up a bit.
Buffalo Bills (Previously: #24)
I understand letting London Fletcher go because he's old. I understand trading Takeo Spikes because of his injury history. I understand not re-signing Nate
Clements because the 49ers overpaid for him. I understand getting rid of Willis McGahee because of his character issues. But the fact remains that all of
these moves have made the Bills worse. They had a decent draft, but that was simply to cover up all of the holes created this offseason.
Atlanta Falcons (Previously: #17)
Michael Vick is gone, but the defense and running game are still solid. Plus, Joey Harrington isn't horrendous, at least when expectations are low. Harrington
always does the same thing every year; he plays well and has a great game that everyone talks about. Then, when expectations reach their zenith, he collapses
back into mediocrity.
Kansas City Chiefs (Previously: #18)
The Chiefs aren't a bad team, but they are clearly light years behind Denver and San Diego. For some reason, they refuse to address their offensive line
even though two future Hall of Famers retired in consecutive years. Oh, and their coach is a raving maniac who has no idea what he's doing. Not good.
Green Bay Packers (Previously: #21)
I was ready to name the Packers as my sleeper next season in the wake of last year's hot finish. With $20 million in cap space, I thought they'd make some
improvements to their roster. The only player Green Bay signed was Frank Walker. A horrible draft doesn't help matters either.
Tennessee Titans (Previously: #22)
I was dead wrong about Vince Young. It's amazing that the Titans nearly qualified for the playoffs despite having a horrendous defense and coming off of
such a slow start. I can't wait to see how Young will play with some talent at the receiver position. Oh wait... the Titans didn't acquire anyone who can
help him. Sorry, I forgot.
Oakland Raiders (Previously: #28)
Everyone I know has the Raiders in the bottom five. Don't get me wrong - I don't think they're going to make the playoffs or anything - but they'll be
better this season. They have a great defense, and it looks as though Lane Kiffin has really worked with the offensive line this offseason. As mediocre as
Josh McCown and Daunte Culpepper are, they're much better than Andrew Walter. If the Raiders score just two or three more points per game this season, which
is realistic, they will win about five games.
Arizona Cardinals (Previously: #23)
I like Arizona's offseason. Terrelle Smith, Mike Gandy, Al Johnson and Rod Hood are all quality additions. Levi Brown and Alan Branch were also decent draft
picks. If the Cardinals weren't the Cardinals, I'd predict a winning record for them.
Detroit Lions (Previously: #26)
I can't believe I'm saying this, but it looks like Matt Millen has had a decent offseason. I love the acquisitions of George Foster and Dewayne White. And
how dangerous will Mike Martz's offense be with Calvin Johnson and Shaun McDonald joining Roy Williams and Mike Furrey? That said, the Lions will probably
win only five games this year because, well, they're the Lions.
New York Giants (Previously: #25)
Tiki Barber is gone. So is Luke Petitgout. So is LaVar Arrington. So is Michael Strahan, in all likelihood. So are the Giants' playoff hopes for 2007. So are Eli Manning's chances of surviving
without a quality left tackle.
Minnesota Vikings (Previously: #27)
Adrian Peterson makes the running game stronger, but the Vikings have no aerial attack. Tarvaris Jackson throwing to busts Troy Williamson and Billy
McMullen, and rookies Aundrae Allison and Sidney Rice? Doesn't sound too promising.
Washington Redskins (Previously: #30)
Way to address your horrendous defensive line this offseason, Dan Snyder. Washington's success this season hinges on how well Jason Campbell will play. He
showed some promise toward the latter stages of 2006, but I'm not completely sold on him just yet.
Cleveland Browns (Previously: #29)
A backfield comprised of Charlie Frye and Jamal Lewis didn't sound too promising, so it's a good thing the Browns drafted Brady Quinn and Joe Thomas. We'll
probably have to wait until 2008 for the Browns to improve, given that both of their "saviors" are rookies. It's too bad they don't have a first-round pick
Houston Texans (Previously: #32)
Houston had a solid draft in my opinion, but the fact remains that Charley Casserly's moves have set the Texans back a decade. It doesn't even matter what
they do until 2017. But seriously, Ahman Green? Jordan Black? Jeff Zgonina? Shawn Barber? Danny Clark? Jamar Fletcher? Trading a handful of picks for Matt
Schaub? I guess Casserly is still running this organization.
Miami Dolphins (Previously: #31)
The Dolphins, who don't exactly have the best cap situation in the world, gave $20 million guaranteed to Joey Porter, a 30-year-old linebacker. They also
lost Wes Welker, Randy McMichael, Damion McIntosh, Kevin Carter and Olindo Mare. Their quarterback, Trent Green, was booed in his first preseason game.
General manager Randy Mueller is in way over his head.