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NFL Power Rankings: Chiefs cement dynasty in Super Bowl LVIII; what's next for 49ers?

The confetti has been cleared. The planes have all left Las Vegas. Another NFL season has been put to bed.

And with it comes the end of my first year running the Power Rankings, at least as far as the 2023 NFL season is concerned. From here on out, all eyes are pointed forward, toward the healing dawn of another offseason.

It's an anodyne time for any NFL fan, where hope is doled out like candy at most passing turns. Free agency looms. The draft is not too far off in the distance. Anything is possible!

There aren't too many fan bases right now that can't somehow talk themselves into a deep playoff run in 11 months. You might have scoffed at overly rosy Texans, Rams or Packers fans a year ago, but look at them now. Of course, we could also talk in the same vein about the Jets, Chargers and Bengals, and it would elicit far different responses. Such is the ephemeral nature of the NFL.

Instead, I'd prefer to use the rest of this intro space to thank you, dear readers, for sticking with me while I figured Power Ranking things out on the fly this season. My predecessor, Dan Hanzus, set the bar high, and he was a tremendous resource for me; I constantly found myself looking back at his previous work to see how he handled things. I received plenty of additional internal and external support along the way, too.

And honestly, thank you for chewing me out for my rankings. If you didn't, I'd worry you didn't care. But you do. And you know what? Oftentimes, you were right, and I was wrong. Sometimes it was the inverse. Yet most of you were fair in your criticism, and I hope we all keep it up in 2024.

Time's a-tickin' before my preseason rankings are due. We must be ready.

Kansas City Chiefs

The Chiefs are this generation's dynasty after a third Super Bowl victory (and fourth appearance) in a five-season span. They also just did what they did amid their toughest season in the Andy Reid-Patrick Mahomes era, flagging noticeably as late as Christmas Day. It's a testament to the indomitable force this team has become, one that strikes fear in opponents even when things are not at their best, much like the late Tom Brady-era Patriots. Those teams figured out how to exploit opponents' weaknesses and let them outthink (and sometimes foil) themselves in crunch time. That's not taking away from the Chiefs' legacy, either. If anything, that attribute should make them more venerable over time. Who knows how long the Super Bowl window stays open, with Travis Kelce heading toward his age-35 season, but as long as Mahomes and Reid are there -- and Reid confirmed he's coming back in 2024 -- anyone closing it prematurely should have their football credentials revoked immediately.

San Francisco 49ers

The dust has settled on yet another gutting Super Bowl loss, one where things were going well ... until they weren't. Losing Dre Greenlaw to injury was a shocking bit of bad luck, as was the Chiefs' recovery of a punt that bounced off the leg of Darrell Luter Jr. Things like that can't be prevented. But taking the ball first in overtime was a choice, and it's one Kyle Shanahan has to live with. There are pros and cons to each approach with the new overtime playoff rules, and Shanahan was the guinea pig, given that this was the first OT playoff game since the new rules kicked in. Shanahan had plenty of high notes in the game, such as his trick-play call on Jauan Jennings' TD pass and his out-of-character move to eschew a field goal in the fourth quarter to score a touchdown. But once more, Shanahan's team failed to finish off a Super Bowl in the fourth quarter, and the 49ers once again came up just short. They might be your Super Bowl LIX favorites now, but there will be no shortage of soul searching this offseason after another championship run faltered at the end.

Baltimore Ravens

Last offseason loomed as one of the most important in franchise history, given what was at stake: the fate of Lamar Jackson. But even now that that's been settled, the Ravens still have a lot of work ahead. They'll be breaking in a first-time defensive coordinator, have 25 free agents to concern themselves with and must decide which offensive pieces they can still count on going forward. They can't afford to keep all their pending free agents; even just re-signing DT Justin Madubuike and RG Kevin Zeitler could cost them quite a bit. The offensive line has to be a priority, with fellow guard John Simpson set to join Zeitler in free agency and the future at offensive tackle in question. Running back and wide receiver offer depth but also questions about injury, age and fit. The Ravens always seem to be in decent or better shape by August, and having Jackson will keep them at or near the top of the league, but don't expect a sleepy offseason in Baltimore.

Detroit Lions

Even allowing for the transient nature of the NFL, the Lions have established enough of a young core over the past year and a half to suggest they'll be here to stay -- at least while Jared Goff remains upright and effective. These are the questions I have for them now:

  1. How will they rebound from their crushing playoff loss?
  2. How will they maintain their us-vs.-the-world mentality now that they're prohibitive favorites?

This is where Dan Campbell ultimately will be judged for his coaching. We've seen him, with major help from general manager Brad Holmes, build this locker room up from the ashes. But the leap from contenders to champs is a major one, and making it might require different skills and a new mentality. It also will require a continued refurbishing of the defense, without nearly the kind of draft-pick ammunition the team had a year ago. The Lions will continue to spend smartly to add veteran help, with the pass rush and secondary figuring to be major target areas. But the stakes have been raised across the board.

Buffalo Bills

Josh Allen turns 28 this offseason. It's Year 7. He's been frustrating at some times, but absolutely brilliant at others. The Bills' late-season magic kept hope alive that they might be able to capitalize on the window where Allen's contract didn't eat up a sizable chunk of the salary cap, but that window appeared to close with the playoff loss to the Chiefs. Watching their longtime tormentors go on to win Super Bowl LVIII had to twist the knife in just a little deeper. And with those cap issues coming to roost -- Buffalo is currently projected to be $50 million-plus in the red in 2024, per Over the Cap -- it's hard to envision easy avenues for giving Allen the kind of surrounding cast he likely needs to thrive, especially when the future of Stefon Diggs remains so opaque. If anything, the questions about the Bills have gotten harder to answer over the past few weeks. With Allen, they have a chance, and GM Brandon Beane has found savvy ways to address needs. But this coming offseason will bring their biggest challenge yet.

Dallas Cowboys

It feels like 2024 will be the most make-or-break season the Cowboys have faced in some time. Mike McCarthy is back for the final year of his deal. Dak Prescott might be facing a similar timeline, although in their recent look at QB situations around the league, NFL Network Insiders Ian Rapoport, Tom Pelissero and Mike Garafolo suggested an extension would be imminent for Prescott. The Cowboys crashed in the playoffs following a mostly successful regular season, but that success also comes with major caveats: They faced one of the league's easiest schedules and didn't amass many impressive wins along the way. Next season's slate of opponents appears stronger on the surface, including home games against the Ravens, Bengals, Lions and Texans and road games against the Browns, Steelers and 49ers, not to mention Dallas' annual pair of games against the Eagles, who can bounce back. Will Jerry Jones regret not making a change at head coach? Or can the Cowboys prove their doubters wrong with an even bigger season? Once more, they'll be one of the major NFL storylines.

Houston Texans

The biggest surprise of the 2023 season now will enter 2024 as one of the league's darling teams, armed with a budding star at quarterback (C.J. Stroud), an emerging pass-rush force (Will Anderson Jr.) and a head coach with confidence, belief and support in spades (DeMeco Ryans). The Texans should have plenty of options to help upgrade the run game this offseason. Adding more pass-catching threats couldn't hurt, either, nor could acquiring more reinforcements for an offensive line that improved on the whole but also endured injury issues along the way. Defensively, there are several key free agents to retain, and more talent must be added. But after nailing the Stroud and Anderson picks last year (plus a few others), and with ample cash to go out and spend, it's hard not to see the light here. Houston has embarked on a new era, and it looks like a fruitful one.

Cleveland Browns

Kevin Stefanski is now a two-time Coach of the Year winner, having navigated the Browns to two impressive playoff appearances in a four-season span. The first one broke a long-closed seal, but it was followed by two disappointing campaigns. The second postseason showing was maybe more impressive, considering the hurdles the Browns had to overcome along the way, but the Super Wild Card Weekend loss also put a lid on the excitement generated by the 2023 club. There's no way Cleveland's injury luck can be as bad as it was this past season, but that doesn't mean the status quo will automatically produce better results. The pressure already has been on Deshaun Watson, but it's now cranked up even more after Joe Flacco's stirring late-season performance, and the Browns have to know that the Super Bowl window won't stay open for very long. They need to strike while the iron is hot, and Watson must deliver a major step up in terms of performance.

Green Bay Packers

The future appears bright for the Packers, who worked ahead of schedule in 2023, with Jordan Love turning around what began as a disappointing first year for him as a starter, forging a 32-TD performance and a stirring upset at Dallas in the playoffs. Love wasn't perfect, of course, and his two-INT second half at San Francisco will linger throughout the offseason, but how can you not be excited about his potential, with the impossibly young and talented group of pass catchers at his disposal? The Packers still need to figure out how to keep Christian Watson healthy, but the offense appears to largely be in decent shape right now, even possibly at left tackle, despite the likelihood that David Bakhtiari (who missed all but one game in 2023) departs this offseason. If they can patch some defensive holes, this might be a Super Bowl-caliber team again before we know it.

Philadelphia Eagles

The late-season collapse led to major changes on Nick Sirianni's staff, and yet some drama still simmers, as Haason Reddick has been granted the freedom to explore trade scenarios, and A.J. Brown ended the season with some hard, awkward feelings. Time will heal some of those wounds, and there absolutely is a path to Jalen Hurts re-emerging as an MVP candidate. The first order of business is figuring out how to revive a defense that was a pass-rushing machine in 2022 but regressed in a major way in 2023. Was it all play-calling? Or do the Eagles need major reinforcements for that unit, especially in the secondary? I suspect the latter is the case, and GM Howie Roseman is entering his favorite part of the calendar. The Eagles have never shied away from bold moves, and it won't shock me one bit if they have a few major tricks up their sleeves to deploy in the next few months.

Miami Dolphins

Whether or not they'll extend Tua Tagovailoa will be a major offseason talking point, but the Dolphins can't afford to let the likes of DT Christian Wilkins and RG Robert Hunt walk in free agency as a result. Losing Hunt and LT Terron Armstead -- currently pondering his future -- would be a huge blow to the offense. And keeping Wilkins feels just as vital after he cemented his spot as one of the centerpieces of the Dolphins' defense with another strong campaign as a homegrown talent. But how to keep all these players in place and give Tagovailoa the best chance to succeed in a critical season? Right now, this offense feels too Tyreek Hill-dependent. When he was out of the lineup, it was a vastly different group. 

Los Angeles Rams

The Rams' semi-youth movement around grizzled vets such as Aaron Donald and Matthew Stafford paid off last season, as they overcame a 3-6 start to transform into a dangerous playoff team. Now that young core is back in place as we enter the twilight of those veteran stars' careers, and it could set up an even deeper postseason run if Sean McVay and Les Snead play their cards right this offseason. They have a first-round pick (for now) for the first time since taking Jared Goff first overall in 2016 -- that sentence requires a second look to believe. Considering their draft success, it's hard not to think they'll find more immediate contributors there. One of the hotter teams down the stretch should be a contender once again in 2024. 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Buccaneers overachieved in 2023, fueled by a bounce-back season from Baker Mayfield, an opportunistic defense and, let's be honest, their presence in a less-than-tough division. I don't mean to negate what they did -- Tampa almost knocked off the Lions at Detroit in the Divisional Round. But the Bucs scraped just to get in the postseason. And now they have to restart a bit, with OC Dave Canales off to Carolina, and his replacement, Liam Coen, lying in wait until the Mayfield decision is figured out. Mayfield is set to be a free agent, and though it would be hard to imagine any other team wanting him more than Tampa Bay, the two sides must figure out the money part and leave enough left over for Mike Evans and others. The NFC South remains in flux, we suspect, but the Bucs once again could have to be a team that grinds its gears hard to find success.

Pittsburgh Steelers

The Mike Tomlin drama ended quickly, and once it was known he'd be back in 2024, the longtime Steelers coach resumed his usual place, front and center at the Senior Bowl, scouting potential additions for next season. But how will Tomlin and new offensive coordinator Arthur Smith handle quarterback this offseason? "As we sit here in early February, we're not closing the door on anything," team owner Art Rooney II said recently about the position, quite tellingly. Kenny Pickett will be back, and I suspect he'll have every chance to win back his job. But could a rookie be in play to compete with Pickett? Will free-agent-to-be Mason Rudolph be dueling him for that spot? Or could the Steelers hedge a bit and go the veteran route with a different option? (One QB who won't be in play: Mitchell Trubisky, who was released Monday.) Feels like there's no clean, easy path to take here. 

New Orleans Saints

The team's annual salary-cap surgery must begin soon, given that the Saints open the offseason with the most work left to do. They're projected to be more than $80 million over the cap as things stand now, and even with some obvious sources for savings, this major hurdle threatens to weaken the team at several key positions: on both lines of scrimmage, at cornerback and at wide receiver. New Orleans also must figure out the future of important but expensive specialists in Alvin Kamara and Taysom Hill. With Derek Carr locked in this offseason at QB, there's a worry that the Saints might not be able to do enough to surround him with the kind of talent he needs. This offense was out of sorts throughout 2023, prone to wild swings in effectiveness on a week-to-week basis, and there's no clear path to adding major talent this offseason. Oh, and Dennis Allen is back for a third season with a lot to prove. How are you feeling about this team right now, Saints fans?

Jacksonville Jaguars

There's a pick-up-the-pieces kind of theme for this offseason, as a December crash forced the organization to ask some tough questions, ones that were unimaginable not that long ago. Trevor Lawrence shouldn't be above reproach, either, following his tumble of a Year 3 campaign, even if it wasn't all his fault. His turnover rate has been among the highest in the NFL over the past three seasons. If you go back and look, Lawrence and Carson Wentz were on similar trajectories as young pros under Doug Pederson, and that has to be a scary thought for Pederson entering his third season in Jacksonville. This is the first offseason in some time where the Jags don't have money to burn, and it might compel them to wait to give Lawrence an extension, hoping for a stronger Year 4, even if that approach could ultimately be more expensive down the line.

Indianapolis Colts

The Colts should have no problem keeping WR Michael Pittman Jr. and continuing to build a strong offensive foundation in which QB Anthony Richardson can thrive. I'd make keeping Gardner Minshew a priority, even if he might want to explore any potential starting opportunities elsewhere. In terms of the big picture, this is go time. The Colts have to leverage what they have left of their rookie-QB-contract window, and Year 1 was basically a wash, with Richardson landing on injured reserve so early in his first season. The Colts haven't always spent money in the offseason, but they can this year, and they might have to to keep pace with the Jaguars and Texans, who appear closer to contention.

Cincinnati Bengals

Joe Burrow will be back. But the offensive line likely will look different. Joe Mixon might not be in the backfield any longer. Tee Higgins is set to be a marquee free agent, and though the Bengals are projected to have the salary-cap space to keep him, that's apparently not a given. The Bengals should be considered Super Bowl contenders in spite of their 9-8 record while dealing with a Burrow injury and a historically strong year in the AFC North, with the division's other three teams all finding their way into the playoffs. But as the Chiefs and 49ers showed, defense also matters, and that's a unit that will be under the microscope in Cincinnati this offseason. That group struggled last season with a young secondary and injuries up front, and right now, it ranks fourth-best in the division until further notice. 

Seattle Seahawks

The Seahawks swapped the oldest head coach in the NFL (Pete Carroll) for the youngest (Mike Macdonald). And with Carroll out, QB Geno Smith loses one of his biggest supporters over the past few years. The same line of thinking could apply to players like WR Tyler Lockett, plus key defenders the Seahawks traded for in recent years, such as S Jamal Adams and DT Leonard Williams. But the Smith situation is the most interesting and potentially impactful, given the nature of the position and where the Seahawks currently stand, roster-wise. With him, they were a borderline playoff team the past two years (making it in 2022, missing in 2023) -- and they still appear to be a clear step behind the 49ers in the division. That said, Smith could provide Macdonald with stability in Year 1, perhaps more than might be expected from pending free agent Drew Lock or a 2024 draft pick. The Seahawks might not be in a full-scale rebuild, but they're also in something like no man's land when it comes to contending, unless Macdonald can whip this defense into shape immediately.

Las Vegas Raiders

The Raiders might be in a position to hedge somewhat in terms of how they address quarterback, given the presence of Aidan O'Connell. It would be hard to see them giving O'Connell the starting job without some level of competition, and there's a deep enough draft pool of quarterbacks that the Raiders might not have to use the 13th overall pick (or acquire a higher one) to land a quality option. There might be three quarterbacks who are drafted between that spot and where the Raiders choose in Round 2. There's also the pending free agency of running back Josh Jacobs, which could present a fascinating early test for new GM Tom Telesco and head coach Antonio Pierce, and for their vision of team-building. On top of that, the Raiders must address both lines of scrimmage and the secondary. Can they stay afloat in the no-holds-barred AFC West, which only seemed to get stronger in recent weeks?

Chicago Bears

We all know what looms. The Justin Fields decision will be the most important one to date of the Ryan Poles era in Chicago, with the regime standing at a significant crossroads that could continue Chicago's ascent or turn the franchise in the wrong direction. If the Bears feel Fields can continue improving and grow into a championship-level quarterback, then the solution is simple: keep him and sign him to a long-term extension. If the Bears don't believe Fields possesses that potential, they can afford to trade him to a QB-needy team and use one of their blue-chip picks (Nos. 1 and 9 overall) to ensure they get their man from what could be a strong quarterback crop in the 2024 NFL Draft. If draft selections and available assets are poker chips, Poles might have the biggest stack at the final table. But that doesn't guarantee he'll end up with the biggest one at the end.

Minnesota Vikings

The Vikings find themselves in an interesting spot this offseason. They have to deal with the Kirk Cousins situation first, then figure out where to go from there. While I lean toward Cousins returning to Minnesota, it won't be stunning at all if he departs in free agency. But then who will be at quarterback for the Vikes? Also, the defensive front and secondary have big holes that must be addressed, and Minnesota still might want to bolster its run game on offense, too. So there are quite a few items on the offseason to-do list, and the NFC North could be pretty tough in 2024. This is a critical offseason for the coach-GM combo of Kevin O'Connell and Kwesi Adofo-Mensah one way or another, and the direction they take with Cousins should tell us a lot about how they view the Vikings' talent. If the veteran QB's back, it likely means they think they can compete sooner rather than later. If not ...

Denver Broncos

Who will be Sean Payton's pet project at QB? He's never really had a true rookie playing extensively for him in his time as a head coach, outside of a one-game cameo from Ian Book in 2021. And yet, if the Broncos swallow hard on the cap hit and cut Russell Wilson, drafting a rookie quarterback would theoretically be the easiest way to fill the void -- at least partially. The Broncos own the 12th overall pick in the draft, and that neighborhood can land you Patrick Mahomes, Deshaun Watson or Justin Fields. It also can land you Josh Rosen or Mac Jones. It's a strong QB draft on paper, though, so it feels like there is a decent chance they could go that way. Interestingly, a veteran such as Jones, whom Payton has said he liked coming out of Alabama, could also be another partial solution, depending on how Denver views Jarrett Stidham. It's impossible to know what to think of Denver until the decision is made at quarterback.

New York Jets

At the end of the season, it felt like something had to change, and yet, the Jets are rolling it back, pretty much just as they wanted to at the start of last season. It's beyond obvious what the risks are here. Like in 2023, the Jets will be hoping for a healthy Aaron Rodgers to hold up. The big difference in 2024 is that he'll turn 41 years old and is coming off a torn Achilles. The fact that Rodgers' injury happened so early in '23 clearly works in the favor of the quarterback and team, but with Zach Wilson likely on his way out, the Jets are going to have to draft someone and probably add a veteran QB to the mix, just in case. Everyone saw how unprepared Gang Green looked for such a disastrous development at the start of last season, so that obviously can't happen again. It feels like a make-or-break year for Robert Saleh, Rodgers and a lot of other key Jets. 

Los Angeles Chargers

We've bumped the Chargers up from where they stood at the end of the regular season (No. 29) because of the genuine hope and enthusiasm sparked by the hiring of Jim Harbaugh. Snagging him isn't a guaranteed panacea, but it's tough to imagine Harbaugh completely flopping there, especially with Justin Herbert under contract through 2029. Some elective surgery will have to be performed on this once-talented roster to clean up the books a bit. The Chargers are currently projected to be more than $45 million over the salary cap and will have to make some hard cuts this offseason to shave things down. And the AFC West is no joke; the other three head coaches have won Super Bowls, either as a coach or as a player. But I have a feeling the Chargers will be serious contenders with Harbaugh in town. This is arguably the best move Dean Spanos has made in several years. Harbaugh took over a 49ers team that had averaged fewer than six wins over the previous eight seasons and got them to 13-3 and the NFC Championship Game in Year 1. This rebuild might not be quite as swift, but Harbaugh's going to win early.

Tennessee Titans

The hiring of Brian Callahan felt like a vote of support for Will Levis to have a shot at locking down the starting quarterback job and building something in Nashville. The Titans will have plenty of money to spend and own the seventh overall pick in the draft, and the bulk of those resources should be spent on offense. This is a big offseason for GM Ran Carthon, who received roster control after the firing of Mike Vrabel as head coach. The Titans need at least two new starters on the offensive line. Wide receiver could use some sprucing up. And if Derrick Henry's time in Tennessee is at an end, the team will need RB help to complement Tyjae Spears. This isn't a complete teardown, but the Titans also must improve the surrounding cast quite a bit for Callahan to compete right away. 

Atlanta Falcons

It's hard to believe that new Falcons head coach Raheem Morris got his first head-coaching opportunity (with Tampa) 15 years ago, and it's hard not to think he'll be better prepared for this chance, with a fairly talented roster. The Falcons were underachievers in 2023, no matter how anyone spins it. But there's also no doubt that quarterback improvements are needed, one way or another. I'd personally love to see Justin Fields land in Atlanta. Beyond the fact that he grew up there (which is a cool aspect of it), Fields could be the perfect fit for a ground-heavy attack mixed with big-play shots to Drake London and Kyle Pitts. Fields has been a more efficient thrower indoors, too, and the cost to acquire him from the Bears likely wouldn't be too prohibitive -- if Fields is available, that is. Morris should be able to have this defense ready to be a good unit again. If all of that is really in the cards, I'll be more willing to back the Falcons as division contenders in 2024.

New York Giants

How will GM Joe Schoen address the quarterback position this offseason? Daniel Jones was beat up last season before suffering a torn ACL and, outside of a wild comeback at Arizona in Week 2, he looked completely out of sorts. Jones signed an extension last March, but based on the dead money that would remain (per Over the Cap) if the team moved on after 2024, there's a potential out next offseason. So drafting a quarterback this year might make a lot of sense. But how high? The Giants have the No. 6 overall pick in the draft, the same slot where Jones was taken in 2019 -- wouldn't it be something if they took another QB there? The G-Men also have two second-rounders (one from the Leonard Williams trade), and this is a draft where there might be a potential quarterback candidate to be drafted after Day 1. I just have a feeling right now the latter option is the more likely route for the Giants to add a QB, but we're a long, long way from any of that being certain. Sneaky-big offseason for Big Blue.

Arizona Cardinals

The 4-13 record in Jonathan Gannon's first year might not look all that pretty on paper, but the Cardinals were a better team than I imagined they'd be. They pulled off stirring upsets over the Cowboys, Steelers and Eagles, the last two coming on the road against teams that badly needed wins to boost their playoff pushes. Kyler Murray just seemed to be happy by season's end, which is a good thing. The team was 3-5 with him starting, with a minus-36 point differential; they were 1-8 with a minus-89 point differential while waiting for him to return from a torn ACL. The Cardinals aren't one or two players away from toppling the 49ers, but there's suddenly something interesting here. They're in great shape, cap-wise, to make some targeted additions, and then they'll have six picks in the first three rounds with which to hoover in more talent. Keep adding to both lines of scrimmage, address the secondary in a big way and find another offensive threat, and Arizona might be able to get cooking. 

New England Patriots

As Jerod Mayo continues filling out his staff in New England, something really interesting apparently has happened in the front office. Eliot Wolf, who quietly has been moving up the pecking order there, will have control over personnel matters, as NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported. The coaching element of Bill Belichick's departure drew all the headlines, but to me, there has long been a more compelling argument about the player-selection process and how Belichick's personnel decisions -- beyond letting Tom Brady go -- helped lead to the franchise's worst seasons over the past two-plus decades. Now the Patriots are armed to the hilt with salary-cap space and money to "burn," as Mayo put it, along with the third overall pick in the draft, which could be used on a quarterback. The Texans proved how a new QB (and a former linebacker-turned-head coach) can quickly breathe life into a franchise, but getting that pick right is absolutely critical.

Washington Commanders

It's been a pretty busy few weeks, with the Commanders being turned away by Ben Johnson, choosing Dan Quinn as head coach and swapping out Eric Bieniemy for Kliff Kingsbury at offensive coordinator. Oh, and new GM Adam Peters arrived from the 49ers, a team that never hesitated to pull off bold moves during his time there, and now he's armed with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft. Does Kingsbury's hiring signal a move to draft USC QB Caleb Williams, a D.C. native? Not necessarily. Kingsbury coached Williams with the Trojans last season, which would give him a unique perspective on Williams' potential. But Kingsbury is an Air Raid guy, which means he could also mentor UNC QB Drake Maye -- or Commanders QB Sam Howell, Maye's former teammate. Meaning, the addition of Kingsbury covers a lot of ground; I'm not going to make more of it than that for now. But it does suggest that drafting a quarterback very much could be in play, one way or another.

Carolina Panthers

Keeping defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero for 2024 was a big win for new GM Dan Morgan and head coach Dave Canales, as the Panthers' defense was one of the team's few saving graces in 2023. Canales has to find ways this offseason to unlock Bryce Young's potential, but it's going to take major upgrades on the offensive line and at pretty much every skill-position spot, too. Morgan laid out exactly the kind of tough, passionate players the Panthers need -- especially on offense, I'd add -- by succinctly saying, "We need some dogs." The problem is, Carolina doesn't have a first-round pick in 2024 (traded for the chance to draft Young last year) and have some work to do to clear up more salary-cap space. There are games to be won in the NFC South, but the Panthers have to roll up their sleeves this offseason. 

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