Championship weekend is upon us, and while four teams prepare for the biggest game of their respective seasons, the other 28 are already gearing up for next year. At the time this is being posted, there are already only two Head Coaching positions left, we aren't even in Super Bowl media week and most vacancies have been filled. With that being said, one hire doesn't solve every problem that teams have, in this article, we will go through the biggest team need for every squad that is already preparing for next fall.
New York Giants
Cap Space: 27.8M
Key Free Agents: RB Saquon Barkley, CB Adoree' Jackson, S Xavier McKinney, LB Isaiah Simmons, G Ben Bredeson, EDGE Jihad Ward, G Justin Pugh, QB Tyrod Taylor
Top Need: QB and Secondary security:
Now I know I said I'd only talk about the biggest need, but when a QB change is likely there almost has to be more than just that, especially in this case. Obviously, Brian Daboll needs a QB, and whether or not it is Daniel Jones, he won't be available to start the season. Daboll went back and forth with Tyrod Taylor and Tommy DeVito as his backup, there was no stability. Will they draft a QB or move up for one? Who knows, but I do know that Tommy DeVito isn't going to be the one taking the first snap in week 1 next year, and so the question then becomes, who is it going to be? The Giants need to figure that out before they move further with anything else.
In their secondary, last season they started Tre Hawkins, a 6th-round rookie in week 1 and by the end of the first month and a half, he was benched. Now possibly losing Adoree Jackson and Xavier McKinney, the secondary will have no leadership besides Jason Pinnock assuming he stays. McKinney has been a leader on the defense for years, just like Julian Love was in years past. If they lose McKinney as well, I'd hope for the Giants' sake that they have reinforcements and free agents coming in to fill those gaps
Cap Space: 18.7M
Key Free Agents: C Jason Kelce, DT Fletcher Cox, DE Brandon Graham, RB D'Andre Swift, LB Zach Cunningham, LB Nicholas Morrow, WR Quez Watkins
Top Need: Coordinators
As lame of an answer as it may seem to be, it is the truth. The losses of Jonathan Gannon and Shane Steichen last off-season were more detrimental to the team than any other move that happened, as it showed as the year moved along. Watching the tape of the Eagles is eye-opening because you are watching a top-tier NFL organization run the most simple concepts repeatedly without adaptation, it's almost painful to the eyes. The difference between last year's schemes and this year's was night and day, and the fact that the defensive reigns were handed to Matt Patricia mid-season is not only hilarious but truly unbelievable that it happened. I could have said that there are defensive gaps to fill and OL gaps, but there is a lot of depth on this roster, especially in the trenches. If Kelce leaves, Cam Jurgens steps in, if Cox leaves, Jordan Davis steps into a bigger role, but if the schemes are bad and outdated, there is only so much the players can do. It seems the Eagles are looking at Vic Fangio to be their next DC, no word on the OC yet, but make no mistake, roster or no roster, the biggest move this team will make this off-season in terms of impact is whoever they give offensive play-calling duties to.
Cap Space: -14.3M
Key Free Agents: LT Tyron Smith, RB Tony Pollard, CB Stephon Gilmore, DE Dorance Armstrong, SS Jayron Kearse, DT Jonathan Hankins, C Tyler Biadasz, CB Jourdan Lewis
Top Need: Secondary Depth
From week 12 until the end of the season (including the Wild Card game) the Cowboys ranked 27th in Dropback EPA allowed and they got torched in that playoff game. Once Trevon Diggs went down so did the entire secondary and their ability to perform compotently. Now the secondary may very well lose two corners and a safety with negative cap space to try and re-sign them or get other free agents to replace them. Yes, once Trevon Diggs is back they'll have him and Bland as their top two corners, but those are two guys that always try to make the big play and jump the route, if they miss, it becomes a big play and it is up to the safety to make a big tackle, a safety that they'll also have to replace. This is a passing league, you have to have some depth behind your top two corners, especially in the nickel, which is where Jourdan Lewis played for them. If he is part of the crew that abandons ship, I don't know where DAL turns to for a nickel corner, they'll have to clear cap space and maybe hope to hit on a day two or three draft pick.
Cap Space: 83.5M (most in the NFL)
Key Free Agents: WR Curtis Samuel, CB Kendall Fuller, QB Jacoby Brissett, S Jeremy Reaves, RB Antonio Gibson, G Saddiq Charles, S Kamren Curl, DE Casey Toohill
Top Need: Trenches
The easy way out here is to say that they need a QB or a Head Coach and just move on, but I am not going to go in that direction for two reasons. 1. I am tired of the trenches not getting the respect that they deserve, and 2. WAS has better HC and QB replacements on their team right now than they do for the OL and DL. This season they allowed their QBs to be pressured on over 30% of their dropbacks and sacked 65 times, second most in the NFL. You can't consistently win that way, no matter who is in the pocket with the football. There is a new regime in place, and the first thing that they should do is solidify the trenches. WAS has done a great job at opening up cap room, but that has come at the expense of the DL. They moved Chase Young and Montez Sweat, so while they do have Payne and Allen in the middle of the 4-3 defense, they now do not have the proper EDGE personnel to get a sufficient amount of pressure on the QB and force him out of his comfort zone. This also should positively effect their horrid pass defense, as more pressure leads to more forced pass attempts and turnovers. With the amount of money and draft capital that they have, I fully expect a new Washington Commanders at the start of next season, and if they are smart, they will start with the offensive and defensive lines, knowing that they can always fall back on Eric Bienemy to coach for a season and see how it works out and that they can re-sign their bridge QB Jacoby Brissett with plenty of money to spare if they feel they want to wait another year on that position.
Comment which division I should go through next and let me know if you think there is anything that I missed! Scouting reports coming this week as well.