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  • Writer's pictureBrett Favre

2024 NFL offseason power rankings countdown and season preview

Our Frank Schwab lists his NFL power rankings, debates the team report cards for the off-season, helps with fantasy football questions and talks about what could be in store for the 2024 schedule for every team.

Our No. 1 team will be announced on July 31, one day before the starting of Hall of Fame Game of the preseason between Chicago Bears and Houston Texans.

You can explore more by clicking on the name of Schwab or the teams and groups you are interested in.

Carolina Panthers

The Panthers made a new hire of Dave Canales as the new head coach, and he came from a very good season as an offensive coordinator for Tampa Bay. He did wonders for Baker Mayfield’s career which had to have caught the Panthers’ attention. Carolina invested $153 million on the guards Robert Hunt & Damien Lewis, traded for the receiver Diontae Johnson and drafted the receiver Xavier Legette, running back Jonathon Brooks and the tight end Sanders. Those were the initial processes of the development that has to be taken to assist QB Bryce Young to achieve the full potential.

As if to say the dark cloud is no longer there and the sun has come out. Now, the team owner is David Tepper who maintains the ability to interject himself into bar owners’ lives after taking a shot at him, waiting to command the Panthers to reverse all their direction should he get bored with losing one more time. Young still has a lot to prove and even if he ever ends up making the impact as that of Stroud, the Panthers I’m sure could never recover from what they traded for that man. While the roster does contain significant weak links in its structure, massive on both sides of the ball.

New England Patriots

The Patriots chose North Carolina quarterback Drake Maye; with head coach Jerod Mayo, the team is entering an entirely new age. That several teams including the Giants and Vikings were eager to trade to acquire the third overall should assure the Patriots that it was the right thing to do to stick with the pick and take Maye. The Patriots are thin on roster even before the injuries hit but you can’t say no to a franchise quarterback. It really does get a lot easier for New England rebuilding if Maye can be that impact player for them.

Buzz was not an issue that plagued Maye senior; instead the company had so much of it. Tice of Yahoo Sports ranked him as the QB1 for this draft class. This person has all that is needs to be successful so long as he does not compound his issues with turnovers by being aggressive. One of it was that even in this Patriots team, they did not do enough to protect or enhance the offense around him. They attempted to trade for free-agent receiver Calvin Ridley and Ridley rejected them in favor of the Tennessee Titans because his girlfriend wanted to be in the South according to team owner Robert Kraft This might have been sort of true, but maybe there was also the quarterback situation as well. Writing about the different aspects of the Patriots suggests that the team is not there yet. That will take time. The first step that has to be made is Maye turning into the type of quarterback other players will want to team up with.

Denver Broncos

Hiring is not so certain that rookie Bo Nix will not start the Week 1 game, but he will start at some point this season. The issue is there is not much content surrounding him. Patrick Surtain II is a top corner, the line isn’t bad, receiver Courtland Sutton caught 10 touchdowns in the previous year and . . . well, that's about it. It is not a team that can suddenly go out and acquire such a talent even if the QB6 in this draft class features as the starting QB right from the onset. That is what it looks like to trade heavily to acquire Russell Wilson and Sean Payton and make your team predicated on them. They could only manage 8-9 last season He is still a great head coach but it will be tough this season, next and probably 2026 as well.

None of this should have been a surprise. The football followers and experts did not expect that Payton would be able to turn around the team’s fortunes around after the disastrous decision of letting go of Wilson. The situation with the Broncos is not inspiring, but one of these days there will be something for the Broncos fans to be happy with aside from dusting off the memories of Manning and the 2015 team.

Washington Commanders

Catching a coach that people wanted for their team, a GM that people wanted for their franchises and a quarterback many ranked second in the desired QB pool of that draft is a good off-season. That is the type of nucleus that is able to change cycle a franchise in a very short time.

The issue with referring to the Texans as demonstrators of when a team can quickly transform is that they found an incomprehensible amount of green lights. They signed a good head coach in DeMeco Ryans who most likely would not have given them a glance if he was drafted by an opposite team a long time ago. They weren’t the number one team in the draft but got C. J. Stroud at number two and he arguably could be the best rookie quarterback of all time in the NFL. It is to note that many young players emerged at the same time. It is difficult to approximate all of that.

New York Giants

It’s difficult to let go of Quarterbacks but the Giants could have moved on from the Daniel Jones without the slightest grumble in the had the team not been getting it wrong two seasons ago. That playoff appearance and win must have cost them $92 million in guaranteed money to Jones.

It might have also made them delay what should have been a proper evaluation of the roster and how far they were from being a contender. If they had a clear mind, it would not took decision like trading a third round pick, 100th overall, for a 30-year-old tight end Darren Waller Las Vegas Raiders . He had 552 yards, one touchdown and then retired this offseason. Then regression is too quick which affected the Giants ultimately they had 6-11 season, each and every thing of 2023 became so non-sensical.

Tennessee Titans

While the old regime with Mike Vrabel did some positive things in the Tennessee club, the new period will not resemble the previous one.

The Titans then immediately went out and hired Cincinnati Bengals’ offensive coordinator Brian Callahan as Vrabel’s successor. Callahan never called plays for the Bengals but he is well regarded for being a smart offensive co-ordinator. Under the former NFL linebacker Vrabel the Titans relied on defense and a heavy dose of Henry and very simplistic play-action passing. Callahan’s Titans will be much more of a passing team, probably from the shotgun formation.

The quarterback post will not be completely new because fans of the Titans got an opportunity to watch Will Levis late in the previous season. There are bright spots: like a four touchdown thrash over the Atlanta Falcons and shocking victory over Miami Dolphins. They also had games which Levis appeared to be the reckless and raw talent, much was expected of this player before the NFL Draft but only landed in the second round. The swings up and down are not uncommon for a new team’s player but Levis himself enters the season as a player who has to show the new coaching staff needed value.

Las Vegas Raiders

The best the Raiders can do this season is just make sure that whoever will be the franchise quarterback, the team would be setting him good when he starts with the team. A tight end Brock Bowers should be a brand component. Besides, Davante Adams is not that old, and he is in Las Vegas now; however, Raiders can sell their top wideout at some point. The defensive line should be very good with $110 million free-agent addition Christian Wilkins from the Miami Dolphins. And head coach Antonio Pierce could be a great for years.

The Raiders are still kinda stuck in that weird middle zone. It is progressing to a new era with this momentum but a giant piece of the rebuilding puzzle is still left undefined. They invested in Wilkins as if they are a contender but that may not be for several months now. Despite this the Raiders fan can at least be grateful they no longer have to endure the Josh McDaniel ownership.

Arizona Cardinals

The Cardinals were that four-win team with some heroic victories. They defeated the Dallas Cowboys at the beginning of the schedule. They triumphed over the Steelers as well as the Eagles, two road wins against other playoff level teams. Arizona was 4 for the season, but more of their victories were better quality than some of the teams still in the playoffs. The Cardinals might have been better which would have been true if star quarterback of the team, Kyler Murray was not out for the majority of the first half of the season as he nursed his torn ACL. The year was clearly not good for the Cardinals but they must have stemmed some positives from what they wanted to see in Gannon’s first year.

The best news may be that none of these wins would come at the expense of passing on Marvin Harrison Jr The Cardinals dropped all the way down to the fourth pick of the draft, however, the first three teams obviously needed a quarterback. That enabled the Cardinals who had already signed Murray to big money to choose potentially the best player on the field in the draft with no regard to his position. What can be said about this guy is that Harrison was a force to be reckoned with at Ohio State University and quite simply, one of the best college receivers of many years. Only a few types of receivers can alter the franchise’s course for a whole decade, and he is one of those elite players.

New Orleans Saints

The only way for the Saints to be something other than mediocre surely must be through Derek Carr. He wasn’t awful last season. He contributed to the Saints as any other ‘true saint’ would; he ranked 19/38 qualified quarterbacks in PFF’s grades, right on the average. Average that is most often tolerated by other teams and fans will not be acceptable here for a $150 million quarterback in a new city. Maybe it is the switch of the Offensive Coordinator from Pete Carmichael who had been the Saints’ coordinator since 2009 to Klint Kubiak. That better happen, because the Saints have started the restructuring game with Carr’s contract. They cut $23 million on the cap in a restructure with Carr to fix a large salary cap issue. Which pumped money into the future and may very well make it more difficult to release Carr if he stinks it up this coming season.

Something needs to happen. For a time it has looked like the Saints need to dismantle but just can not quite get to that final step. The notion that at some point their collective playing career will turn the corner and it’s going to be their big step forward is not supported by the data because the Saints had the oldest roster in the NFL during 2018 season according to ESPN’s Bill Barnwell. What the Saints have been the past couple seasons is most likely what they will be again in the upcoming season. Most likely they will not be good enough to be a contender, and at the same time most likely they will not be bad enough that a major shake-up will be forced upon them. They're just stuck.

Los Angeles Chargers

It should also be noted that at every stop Jim Harbaugh has never lost during this season. He had 29-6 as a head coach of the University of San Diego Football team, took Stanford team with 1-11 records before his employment advanced the team to a 12-1 record with an Orange Bowl triumph in 2010, engineered the San Francisco 49ers to a seven-victory improvement his first year he was there and almost won the Super Bowl the following year; he also built Michigan into a 15-0 In his head coaching career which spans to four teams, he has achieved success with all the four teams.

The Chargers are expecting to get relevance and wins, in any order that it may come. Harbaugh should bring both.

More of them include quarterback Justin Herbert who has not led the Chargers to many victories despite his astounding skills. Due to going over the salary cap rules, the Chargers could not retain Mike Williams and Keenan Allen. Quarterback Philip Rivers left in free agency while running back Austin Ekeler entered free agency. Oh sure, they were able to bring back their chilled pass rushers Joey Bosa and Khalil Mack when they had to take a pay cut but the team probably is not as strong as last year when the Chargers were 5-12.

Minnesota Vikings

It has got to be frightening for the Minnesota Vikings to dump Kirk Cousins.

It was somehow comforting to have Cousins. Minnesota always understood that they will have a good stable QB situation. That was comforting even if the Vikings had to come to the conclusion that in Cousins a Super Bowl was never going to be within their grasp. There has been more cases of having a worse record in the six-year period with Cousins at helm; the team had more losing seasons in the desired time, three, than the playoff appearances which were two. That wasn’t all Cousins’ fault, and even if he wasn’t taking the Vikings to the intended destination, he operated rather prudently. That is why Minnesota continued to tinker with the compensation he was being paid for his work – the contract.

Though I am sure those weeks before the NFL Draft must have had the Vikings feeling the butterflies in their stomachs, things ended well. There is famous example of the Michigan quarterback J. J. McCarthy who appeared to fluctuate between high movement and low in the fake drafts, but he ended at No. 10 and the Vikings get a bargain to trade up one place for him. As for the weak argument that McCarthy may never be as good as Cousins you’d have to say the Viking is in a better shape now.

Seattle Seahawks

For more than a decade the Seahawks were defined by Pete Carroll. The group said that it will be rather uncomfortable for them to see one of their members leading them.

Carroll will not be easy to replace for Mike Macdonald but he was an interesting choice. He had two very good seasons running the Baltimore Ravens’ defense and players literally speak highly of his football IQ. Macdonald is 36 years old, which gives him a relatively young impetus, while Carroll is 72 years old (but energy was never a problem for him). Carroll was good but maybe it was just time for a change. Macdonald appears to be of the stuff of which Mencken was made.

Indeed, if Macdonald gets the Seahawks back to the playoffs in his first season, it will likely be because Geno Smith played more like the QB he was in 2022 than he was in 2021. Smith was a discovery in 2022, a 32-year-old unknown who had relatively limited success in the NFL before the season, threw for a completion record of 69. 1 percent, 4,282 yards, and 30 touchdowns. Their productions got a three-year, $75 million, contract from Seattle, but in 2023 he had come down a bit. The Seahawks decided to play him once again for a few more games as part of the new season but he will need to step it up for him to make it to the 2025 team.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Baker Mayfield went from that one-year deal last year — to put it in perspective, Sam Darnold got a one-year, $10 million contract this offseason and Jacoby Brissett signed for $8 million over one year — to a three-year, $100 million contract with $50 million guaranteed.

Mayfield and the Buccaneers had a pretty good season, and it was quite definitely out of the blue.

Some preseason projections had the Buccaneers to battle as they entered a new age from the Brady era and were endowed with Brady’s dead cap hit but finished with a 9-8 record, tops in the NFC South, and demolished the Philadelphia Eagles 32-9 in the wild-card round. Mayfield passed for 4044 yards in season and 30 TDs. He should have been awarded more votes for the NFL Comeback Player of the Year that was bestowed to Joe Flacco, but nobody knows the standard of that award. Well, that was all undoubtedly close fun for the Buccaneers, more so than anyone remembers them coming close to ousting the Detroit Lions from the playoffs. The Buccaneers and Lions were evenly matched during the third quarter of of the divisional round before Detroit opened up a gap. That I can say was performing well, especially towards the end of the last season, in this case Tampa Bay.

It’s just difficult to determine the extent of that and how much of it is replicable. And the Buccaneers cannot rely the competition in the NFC South to always be as weak as it has been.

Jacksonville Jaguars

This is evidenced whenever someone amplifies some vices they see in Trevor Lawrence, get ready to defend yourself. Of course there are still numerous Lawrence guardians on social media who will sit up and take notice when the up and down NFL career of the team’s quarterback is discussed.

But has Lawrence played the way a $55 million-per-year quarterback is expected to do it until now? Any of his staunch supporters would have to take a moment to consider an answer.

If Lawrence did not get injured and miss a game against Cincinnati Bengals where he got a high ankle sprain, maybe Jacksonville would not fall for the fifth time in their last six games. Perhaps they would have captured the AFC South Division and some of the hoopla over C. J. Stroud would be deflected onto Lawrence and who would help the Jacksonville Jaguars win the 2022 AFC South Divisional title. It may not have been that stagfer shocking to hear that they would have to pay that amount for the contract extension.

It is not impossible to reason anyone into thinking that Lawrence is all that he was supposed to be after assimilating out of Clemson. The Jaguars seem convinced. Thus, the time is ripe for Lawrence to prove the worth of the amount they paid for him.

Atlanta Falcons

Every introductory selection in the NFL Draft is in some way or another noteworthy. Some make you sit up in your chair a bit, but only a few are sure to be discussed 5, 10, or 15 years from now.

Since the Atlanta Falcons took the shot into quarterback Michael Penix Jr. in the NFL Draft with eighth overall pick, it became a talking point that would linger on for the next one or two decades. Good or bad.

Probably, no other team’s off season was talked more than the Falcons. They began it with a coaching change for the overmatched Arthur Smith and a re-promotion of Raheem Morris. Then, they spent one of the few large quarterback free agency on Kirk Cousins signing him for $180 million. Consequently, weeks of excitement were set, reinventing the Falcons with a staff that comprehends it has to utilize the top talent on offense, with a quarterback capable of distributing the pigskin. If that is how the off-season concludes it would have only been grin from ear to ear moment for the Falcons.

Of course, the Penix pick could still be the win. Consider how people for three years doubted Jordan Love from the Green Bay Packers. I called the Packers stupid; do they look smart now? Of course. But the Penix pick was also different than the Packers going for Love, or most ‘quarterback in waiting’ first round picks that have been made throughout the years.

Well, the Falcons have provided something to think about in the off-season.

<|human|>At least the Falcons were entertaining and provided some interesting topic of conversation for the off season.

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