<
>

Offseason predictions for all 32 NFL teams

play
Panthers top Way-Too-Early Power Rankings (1:10)

ESPN's John Clayton looks at the top teams heading into 2016. (1:10)

From Kirk Cousins signing a long-term deal in Washington to Colin Kaepernick making amends in San Francisco, NFL Nation reporters give one prediction for every team in the league.

AFC EAST

Buffalo Bills: The Bills will re-sign left tackle Cordy Glenn and guard Richie Incognito, but then they'll need to keep their fingers crossed that a legal situation involving LeSean McCoy doesn't result in their star running back missing time next season. The Bills' hope was to keep most of their roster and schemes in place from last season with the expectation that a second year with the system yields better results, but McCoy's status could disrupt that plan. -- Mike Rodak

Miami Dolphins: The Dolphins will lose their biggest in-house free agents this offseason: defensive end Olivier Vernon and running back Lamar Miller. The team must trim salaries and won't be major players in free agency. Vernon, who led the Dolphins with 7.5 sacks, likely will price himself out of Miami on the open market, while Miller will find a better fit elsewhere. -- James Walker

New England Patriots: The Patriots will sign linebacker Dont'a Hightower to a multi-year extension as a critical piece of their long-range planning. Hightower, defensive end Chandler Jones, cornerback Malcolm Butler and linebacker Jamie Collins all have contracts that expire after the 2016 season, and their statuses trump those of the team's free agents this offseason. Hightower is at the top of the list because of his body of work, the potential cap relief it could provide and the fact he's still an ascending player. -- Mike Reiss

New York Jets: The Jets will have a different look in the backfield. Chris Ivory and Bilal Powell will be free agents, and there's a good chance New York will lose both. The team would like to keep both players, but cap issues will get in the way. Ivory will end up in Dallas, his hometown team. Powell will sign with Buffalo, reuniting with his former coaches. For the Jets, running back will be a top priority in the draft. -- Rich Cimini

AFC NORTH

Baltimore Ravens: The Ravens will go for defense at the No. 6 overall pick. The trendy selection for Baltimore in the mock drafts is Notre Dame offensive tackle Ronnie Stanley, but the Ravens need a starting cornerback opposite Jimmy Smith, and owner Steve Bisciotti made it clear that the team has to get another pass-rusher. The Ravens have a history of getting picks to slide to them. Could Florida State defensive back Jalen Ramsey or Ohio State defensive end Joey Bosa unexpectedly fall to Baltimore? -- Jamison Hensley

Cincinnati Bengals: When it comes to free agency, the Bengals' philosophy has long revolved around the notion of working hard to retain their own. Don't expect that approach to work quite as smoothly next month. With 15 players eligible for free agency, the Bengals will lose more of their homegrown talent than they are accustomed. Some of the 15 will be too expensive to re-sign, believing bigger deals from elsewhere are more justifiable than taking a potential discount with their perennial playoff-contending Bengals. Cincinnati has been knocked by its fans in past years for bringing back too many of their in-house free agents. This year, the complaints will be about the volume of veteran players they end up losing. -- Coley Harvey

Cleveland Browns: The Browns again will spend much of their offseason finding a quarterback. Josh McCown will stay, the Browns will draft one, and Paul DePodesta and Sashi Brown will rely on analytics to give a chance to a free agent without a big name. -- Pat McManamon

Pittsburgh Steelers: All-Pro guard David DeCastro will sign a blockbuster contract sometime before training camp, and the Steelers will extend DeCastro before running back Le'Veon Bell, who also has one year left on his contract. That's not a knock on Bell, one of the league's best backs whom the Steelers will want to re-sign. But Pittsburgh will prioritize offensive line over running back, and the money will reflect that line of thinking. DeCastro will enter camp as one of the league's highest-paid guards. -- Jeremy Fowler

AFC SOUTH

Houston Texans: The Texans will hand the keys to a young player they intend to develop and turn into the franchise quarterback, 14 years after the last time they truly did it. They know it's time. The uncertainty at their most important position has to end. -- Tania Ganguli

Indianapolis Colts: This will be the offseason that the Colts finally address the offensive line. The guys up front have routinely struggled under general manager Ryan Grigson, but the Colts truly found out what a bad line does to a team when quarterbacks Andrew Luck, Matt Hasselbeck and Charlie Whitehurst all sustained season-ending injuries. Luck's injury -- for obvious reasons -- was the most severe because he's the Colts' franchise player. -- Mike Wells

Jacksonville Jaguars: General manager David Caldwell will spend big on defense in free agency. That side of the ball is holding the franchise back from being a factor in the AFC South. The Jaguars need a pass-rusher and a free safety, and Caldwell will pay up to get players at each spot. -- Mike DiRocco

Tennessee Titans: The Titans will have a new lead running back. Coach Mike Mularkey's best work came when he coordinated the Falcons with Michael Turner. Tennessee needs a rebuilt run game with a better line -- and a better back. -- Paul Kuharsky

AFC WEST

Denver Broncos: The Broncos have been a big player in free agency the past four years, with Peyton Manning's signing in 2012 and the splurge in 2014 that netted Aqib Talib, DeMarcus Ware, T.J. Ward and Emmanuel Sanders. This time, the Broncos have many players from this year's Super Bowl team who are scheduled to be unrestricted free agents -- linebacker Von Miller, defensive end Malik Jackson, linebacker Danny Trevathan, safety David Bruton Jr. and running back Ronnie Hillman -- they will spend their time and available cash looking inward. They'll start with Miller, who will probably get the franchise tag as they try to work something out in a deal that even John Elway has said would be in the $100 million range. -- Jeff Legwold

Kansas City Chiefs: The Chiefs won't be major players in free agency, not with 15 free agents of their own, including 10 players who were regulars last season. The Chiefs will have enough trouble keeping the free agents they want to retain. -- Adam Teicher

Oakland Raiders: At about $41 million under the league's spending minimum, which is 89 percent of the salary cap, the Raiders will have to become relative big spenders this offseason. Taking care of their own by extending quarterback Derek Carr and Khalil Mack, who was All Pro at two positions, as well as re-upping looming unrestricted free-agent punter Marquette King, would be a start. -- Paul Gutierrez

San Diego Chargers: TE Antonio Gates will be an unrestricted free agent in March, but expect the Chargers to keep the future Hall of Famer in the fold for the 2016 season. Gates said at the end of the season he wants to play another year. Chargers general manager Tom Telesco indicated that the 35-year-old tight end is still playing at a high level, and San Diego would be interested in retaining his services. -- Eric D. Williams

NFC EAST

Dallas Cowboys: The Cowboys will not re-sign Greg Hardy. The defensive end had six sacks in 12 games after serving a four-game suspension and did not produce on the field the way the Cowboys expected. Off the field, he also angered coaches and the front office. A second year of Hardy in a Cowboys uniform just isn't worth it. -- Todd Archer

New York Giants: The Giants will be major players in free agency. Or at least they'll try to be. They may not be as appealing a destination as they used to be, but they will try to spend their nearly $60 million in cap room to upgrade their defense by playing at the top of the safety and pass-rusher market. Expect to hear them associated with safety Eric Berry if he makes it to the market, along with defensive end Olivier Vernon. It'll be interesting to see if the Giants re-sign Jason Pierre-Paul. They may not be able to get their top targets, but the Giants know they need at least a half-dozen new starters on defense. -- Dan Graziano

Philadelphia Eagles: The Eagles will find a way to bring back quarterback Sam Bradford in 2016. They may kick the tires on a draft choice or Nick Foles or Chase Daniel, but Bradford will prove to be more promising than any of the options. He may not be the most glamorous choice, but he is their most realistic chance for stability at quarterback. -- Phil Sheridan

Washington Redskins: The Redskins will work out a multi-year deal with quarterback Kirk Cousins, saving them from using the franchise tag. Both sides want a long-term contract, and even though they're not close to anything now, by free agency they will have it worked out. The best guess for how much it'll be worth per year: around $18 million-$20 million. -- John Keim

NFC NORTH

Chicago Bears: The Bears will not re-sign Matt Forte. The running back is on record saying the Bears have not approached him about a new deal since the end of the 2015 season. This development comes on the heels of the club rebuffing Forte's request for an extension last offseason when general manager Ryan Pace replaced Phil Emery. Forte has said repeatedly he wants to finish his career in Chicago, but with second-year tailback Jeremy Langford poised to permanently crack the starting lineup in 2016, the Bears are not interested in overpaying to keep Forte, who turns 31 next December. Forte's best bet is to probably sign someplace else. The Bears are unlikely to stand in his way. -- Jeff Dickerson

Detroit Lions: This isn't that bold, but the Lions will have more personnel changeover than you think, including the retirement of wide receiver Calvin Johnson and bringing in at least two new starters in the secondary. Detroit will still have some of the same familiar offensive pieces going into minicamp and OTAs this spring, but it'll force the offense to work differently without Johnson commanding double teams. And that will take some getting used to. -- Michael Rothstein

Green Bay Packers: Whether or not there's actual friction between coach Mike McCarthy and Ted Thompson over the general manager's conservative approach to building the roster through the draft, Thompson won't change his attitude toward free agency. He may add a role player here or there, but there won't be a blockbuster signing like Julius Peppers or Charles Woodson -- his two most significant moves in veteran free agency in the past decade. -- Rob Demovsky

Minnesota Vikings: The Vikings will get a contract extension done with safety Harrison Smith, who's entering his fifth season and went to his first Pro Bowl in 2015. The Vikings already picked up Smith's fifth-year option, and the franchise tag would be affordable for Smith in 2017, but their modus operandi has been to lock up their top draft picks before they hit free agency, and they'll want to draft a deal that gives them cost certainty for the next several seasons. The Vikings have been planning for a Smith extension, and they'll have him locked up before they start the 2016 season. -- Ben Goessling

NFC SOUTH

Atlanta Falcons: There has been a lot of chatter about what the Falcons plan to do with veteran receiver Roddy White, who is signed through 2017 but saw his role diminish in Kyle Shanahan's offense. Although White's cap number is more than $6 million in 2016, I predict that the Falcons will keep him for at least one more season. Coach Dan Quinn values White's leadership. -- Vaughn McClure

Carolina Panthers: The Panthers will find a way to sign cornerback Josh Norman and defensive tackle Kawann Short to long-term contracts by restructuring defensive end Charles Johnson's deal or parting ways with the player who is second on the team's all-time sack list. Johnson is set to count more than $15 million against the 2016 salary cap. -- David Newton

New Orleans Saints: The Saints will sign quarterback Drew Brees to a three-year extension that keeps him in New Orleans past his 40th birthday. Brees, 37, is heading into the final year of his contract with an eye-popping salary-cap hit of $30 million in 2016. The Saints need an extension for salary-cap relief -- but also because they're in no hurry to move on from Brees, who is still playing at a high level. The tough part will be deciding his proper market value, especially since Tom Brady gave New England a hometown discount. Brees' current average of $20 million per year currently ranks ninth among NFL QBs. -- Mike Triplett

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Running back Doug Martin isn't going anywhere. He resurrected his career in 2015 by finishing second in rushing (1,402 yards) and is scheduled to become a free agent. Both sides expressed interest in him returning, and the Bucs will work out a deal (likely in the $20 million-$25 million range) to keep him. -- Mike DiRocco

NFC WEST

Arizona Cardinals: In some ways, this might be a stretch, but I think the Cardinals will add a quarterback to the roster this offseason who'll be a part of the team's plans for the future. Carson Palmer is 36 and backup Drew Stanton is an unrestricted free agent who's preparing to not return. With how complex Arizona's scheme is, finding a replacement for Palmer soon makes sense. -- Josh Weinfuss

Los Angeles Rams: The Rams have a lot of tough decisions to make this offseason when it comes to free agency, particularly in the secondary. Although they'd like to keep both starting cornerbacks Janoris Jenkins and Trumaine Johnson, the bet here is that they can retain only one. They likely prefer Jenkins, but his price will be higher, which makes Johnson the more likely of the two to remain a Ram. -- Nick Wagoner

San Francisco 49ers: Let's make a splash here and predict that quarterback Colin Kaepernick will take Steve Young's advice by going to new coach Chip Kelly and basically owning all of his failures over the past two years. Young wants Kaepernick to ask for Kelly's guidance and coaching in his high-paced offense to get himself, and the team, back on the right track. It all starts with Kaepernick looking at himself in the mirror and recovering from his three surgeries -- left shoulder, right thumb, left knee -- and swallowing some pride. -- Paul Gutierrez

Seattle Seahawks: The team and strong safety Kam Chancellor will find a middle ground that works for both sides on a contract extension. Chancellor held out last summer and missed the first two games of the season because he was unhappy with his contract. Pete Carroll does not want to deal with that for the second straight year, but to this point, no adjustments have been made to Chancellor's deal. The Seahawks know their Super Bowl window is open, and they need Chancellor. They'll find a way to make him happy so that Chancellor is fully invested going into 2016. -- Sheil Kapadia