• Kareem Hunt a potential fit in Baltimore: Both J.K. Dobbins and Kareem Hunt are entering contract years in 2023 and sustained significant injuries in 2022.
• Melvin Ingram III would be a valued veteran for the Jaguars: While Jacksonville has two young top-10 picks in Travon Walker and Josh Allen, a veteran presence could be just what the defensive line needs.
• Tennessee still needs to bolster its WR corps: The Titans' wide receiver room needs help, to put it lightly, and Landry's resume speaks for itself.
Estimated Reading Time: 11 mins
NFL rosters are taking shape as teams welcome aboard draft classes of up to 14 new faces and undrafted free agent groups in the 20s. Over the course of the next few months, with organized team activities followed by training camp and preseason games, front offices get a clearer picture of the remaining weaknesses on their rosters heading into the 2023 regular season.
At that point, veterans who have been patiently waiting for the phone to ring — and, perhaps, skipping some grueling training in the summer heat by design — will get signed across the league. We take a look at the one final offseason move each team in the AFC could make before Week 1 kicks off on September 7.
JUMP TO A TEAM:
BLT | BUF | CIN | CHI | CLE | DEN | HOU | IND | JAX
KC | LVR | LAC | MIA | NE | NYJ | PIT | TEN
Baltimore Ravens: RB Kareem Hunt
2020 second-round pick J.K. Dobbins looked explosive upon returning full-time from injury in Week 14, leading the league over the final month of the season at seven yards per carry with 13 explosive rushes. Gus Edwards was also his usual bruising self once healthy, with his 3.6 yards after contact per attempt the sixth-best mark among running backs with at least 50 rushing attempts. Nevertheless, both are entering contract years in 2023 and sustained significant injuries in 2022.
Hunt had a poor 2022 season after requesting a trade, earning a career-low 67.0 grade, but provides a reliable check-down outlet for Lamar Jackson after securing 35 receptions last season compared to 43 total for Dobbins and Edwards over their collective careers. Hunt has stayed fresh with Nick Chubb handling the lion’s share of early-down work in Cleveland over the past several years, and his 3.5 yards after contact per attempt in 2021 ranked tied for 11th among running backs. He’d add another dimension to this significantly upgraded Ravens offense.
Buffalo Bills: CB Shaquill Griffin
Buffalo added outside cornerback help in the 2022 NFL Draft with first-round pick Kaiir Elam and sixth-rounder Christian Benford, but another veteran in the room wouldn’t hurt. The Bills did well during the 2023 NFL Draft to add a pass catcher in Dalton Kincaid, a starting-caliber guard in O’Cyrus Torrence and an off-ball linebacker in Dorian Williams. There is certainly an argument to be made for adding another offensive tackle, as well.
The Jacksonville Jaguars cut Griffin two years into a three-year deal after an injury ended his season in Week 5, but he was solid in his first campaign en route to a 71.1 coverage grade along with a career-high 19 defensive stops.
Cincinnati Bengals: OT Brandon Shell
The Bengals did well to eliminate roster holes during the 2023 NFL Draft, with first-rounder Myles Murphy another edge defender with three-down ability, second-rounder DJ Turner a speedy outside cornerback and third-rounder Jordan Battle an important depth piece at safety. There are not many obvious areas of need on this team.
Another interior defender wouldn’t hurt, but tackle still remains an area of potential concern with La’el Collins coming off an injury and 2019 first-rounder Jonah Williams requesting a trade after the team signed Orlando Brown Jr. in free agency. Williams may ultimately have no choice but to acquiesce and make the move back to right tackle, but it would nevertheless make sense to add a veteran in Shell who has seven straight seasons earning a 60.0-plus overall grade.
Cleveland Browns: EDGE Frank Clark
The Browns added free agent edge defender Ogbonnia Okoronkwo and drafted Missouri edge defender Isaiah McGuire in the fourth round but could still stand to add one more piece to the unit. Clark is durable, having played at least 650 snaps in each of the past seven seasons, and offers a high floor even if his ceiling is limited at this stage of his career.
Clark wasn’t particularly productive as the top edge rusher in Kansas City the past few seasons, but if opposing offenses are shifting toward Myles Garrett, it could free him up to get after the quarterback without many chip blocks. Clark’s 90 total pressures over the past two regular seasons ranked tied for 24th among edge defenders.
Denver Broncos: RB Leonard Fournette
While Denver will eventually get 2021 second-round pick Javonte Williams back from a knee injury and signed free agent Samaje Perine, who brings pass-catching and blocking ability, an early-down runner could be needed here to start the season.
Fournette wasn’t at his best in 2022, but the injury-decimated Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive line struggled to create rushing lanes for him. In 2021, Fournette’s 3.2 yards after contact per attempt ranked 15th among running backs, with his 12.2% stuff rate a bottom-10 rate among running backs with at least 50 carries. While the two never crossed paths with the New Orleans Saints, Fournette and Broncos head coach Sean Payton have the Louisiana connection, and this could be one of the better landing spots available to him, at least in the first half of the season.
Former Los Angeles Rams third-round pick Darrell Henderson, who was waived last season and landed in Jacksonville, would also make some sense here.
Houston Texans: OG Gabe Jackson
Houston traded for veteran right guard Shaq Mason before the draft and traded up for Penn State center Juice Scruggs to ideally take the starting reins from Scott Quessenberry, but guard depth remains an area of need.
Jackson is coming off the two lowest-graded seasons of his NFL tenure but was a model of consistency through the first seven years of his career in Las Vegas. An above-average 69.9 pass-blocking grade in 2020 was the worst mark of his run. Perhaps he can play some better football in a reserve capacity as opposed to preparing each week to be a starter.
Indianapolis Colts: OG A.J. Cann
The Houston Texans released Cann after just one season, with his prior seven years spent with another division rival in the Jacksonville Jaguars. An MCL injury limited Cann to just 198 snaps in 2021, but he logged at least 775 in every other year of his eight-year career.
Over 2020 and 2022, Cann earned a 70.1 pass-blocking grade. And while he may be better suited as a depth option than a starter at this phase in his career, Indianapolis started Will Fries down the stretch, and he earned a 44.4 pass-blocking grade with 15 quarterback hurries allowed. It can never be a bad idea to add some offensive line depth for new franchise quarterback Anthony Richardson.
Jacksonville Jaguars: EDGE Melvin Ingram III
Ingram has been a pillar of consistency throughout his NFL career, recording nine straight seasons with a 70.0-plus pass-rush grade. A year after Ingram was traded to the Kansas City Chiefs and immediately became their best edge defender for the stretch run, he signed a steal of a one-year deal with the Dolphins and once again played at a very high level, far outpacing his compensation.
Jacksonville has two young top-10 picks in Travon Walker and Josh Allen, but after the team lost some talent in free agency, a veteran rotational piece to get after opposing quarterbacks could go a long way for a Jaguars squad that should finally be playing with a lead a lot of the time.
Kansas City Chiefs: CB Anthony Brown
Kansas City was smart to sign left tackle Donovan Smith and keep big-ticket free agent addition Jawaan Taylor on his natural right side, and they traded up in the second round for SMU wide receiver Rashee Rice to add needed depth to the receiver room.
The Chiefs' young collection of cornerbacks played quite well en route to a Lombardi Trophy in 2022, but a veteran depth option with experience as a man cover cornerback could make a lot of sense to round out the offseason. Brown had a down year in 2022 yet earned a career-high 69.0 coverage grade in 2021 on more than 1,000 snaps, posting 12 pass breakups and three interceptions. He could be great insurance on the back end for Kansas City.
Las Vegas Raiders: OG Dalton Risner
The Raiders added more receiving and blocking talent in the draft with tight end Michael Mayer but otherwise invested fairly heavily in defense, which is understandable. Risner has been a consistently above-average blocker who excels in pass blocking, posting four straight years with a 69.5-plus pass-blocking grade.
Las Vegas needs to keep quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo clean, so adding Risner to the interior of the offensive line would go a long way. Plus, they could sell him on the chance to play his former team, the Denver Broncos, twice a year.
Los Angeles Chargers: EDGE Kyle Van Noy
The New England Patriots released Van Noy heading into the second season of a two-year, $12 million contract, and he greatly outperformed his one-year, $2.25 million pact with the Los Angeles Chargers in 2022. The savvy veteran has played both as a true off-ball linebacker and more near the line of scrimmage in the past two seasons, offering a unique and valuable skill set to potentially interested teams while earning 60.0-plus grades in every facet in 2022.
The Chargers added edge defender Tuli Tuipulotu in the second round of the 2023 NFL Draft and off-ball linebacker Daiyan Henley in the third round, but bringing back Van Noy to serve as veteran depth and a jack-of-all-trades makes a lot of sense in a pivotal year.
Miami Dolphins: OT Cameron Fleming
Fleming earned a career-high 72.6 grade on a career-high 976 snaps in 2022 with the Denver Broncos, and this signing would place him in a similar wide-zone rushing attack in Miami. He would have a legitimate opportunity to start at right tackle or serve as the swing tackle in case of injuries. The 30-year-old displayed his versatility on either end of the line last season, with nine starts at right tackle and six at left tackle, earning grades right around 70.0 on each side.
Miami has stalwart Terron Armstead on the left side, but he tends to miss a game or two a season at this stage in his career, and the right tackle spot is still a question mark. Fleming would provide some stability and security.
New England Patriots: DI Matt Ioannidis
While New England drafted Georgia Tech defensive lineman Keion White in the second round, a player who figures to kick inside for a handful of opportunities, adding a tried-and-true interior pass rusher alongside a hopefully healthier Christian Barmore would make sense for the Patriots in 2023.
Ioannidis was one of the more surprising cap casualties heading into 2022, ultimately landing with the Carolina Panthers on a one-year, $5.9 million flier. He paired well with nose tackle Derrick Brown as a lighter pass rusher up the middle. Ioannidis has missed time here and there in recent seasons with injuries, but he's been a consistently strong pass rusher from the interior, earning pass-rush grades of 69.1 or better in each of the past six seasons with a pressure rate of around 10% in each of the past two. He would help a lot of teams make things tough on opposing quarterbacks.
New York Jets: S John Johnson III
The Jets made a strong value trade with the Baltimore Ravens for safety Chuck Clark and have some solid depth options, but if they want to add a true deep-third free safety with range, the ability to occasionally cover the slot and versatility in three-safety personnel packages, Johnson could add another dimension on the back end.
Pittsburgh Steelers: LB Rashaan Evans
The Steelers have rotated through a handful of former highly drafted off-ball linebackers over the past few seasons and follow a similar idea here with the 2018 first-rounder. Evans is coming off career highs with 1,104 snaps, 46 defensive stops and 110 tackles while missing only 7.3% of opportunities in 2022.
Free agency addition Cole Holcomb is primarily a Mike linebacker but has experience at the Will spot, which is also the situation with Evans, who was taken in the first round in 2018 after a stellar Alabama career generally lining up on the weak side.
Tennessee Titans: WR Jarvis Landry
Landry is an underneath slot receiver who could be a safety valve over the middle for Ryan Tannehill — and, eventually, Will Levis — and the Titans desperately need to add pass catchers. After missing most of the 2022 season with an injury, Landry is likely looking at one-year flier contract offers once again in 2023.
He is also known to be a good veteran leader, which could be a nice addition to a team with a lot of young offensive weapons. He's coming off the two worst seasons of his career, but he was arguably the best slot receiver in the NFL from 2015 to 2020. His 3,938 receiving yards, 1,748 yards after the catch, 1,166 yards after contact and 91 explosive receptions of 15 or more yards all ranked first among qualifying slot receivers over that span. Buying low on a potential bounce-back player could age nicely in the right setting.