For the past few weeks, there have been loads of speculation and rumors on what is going to happen once the league year starts March 18. The media has discussed how the Cardinals will help out Kyler Murray, how will the 49ers and Seahawks ensure that they will be back at the top of the NFC next year and how will the Rams become Super Bowl contender again. But no one has talked about what teams shouldn’t do this offseason. It is important to note what teams shouldn’t do this offseason if they want to fulfill their mission of either becoming a playoff team/Super Bowl contender or start their rebuild correctly. This is a list of what NFC West teams shouldn’t do this offseason.
Arizona Cardinals: Not address the offensive line early in the draft
Their record might not show it but, the Arizona Cardinals had a successful season and are one of the more attractive teams for free agents and draft prospects to be apart of in 2020. This is because of the potential of OROY Kyler Murray. He showed real promise and that he has the potential to be one of the better quarterbacks in the league.
The Cardinals need more playmakers on their defense, but their focus during the draft will be to bring in players to help develop Kyler Murray. It was speculated that the Cardinals should add a receiver at the top of the draft at eighth overall, but then the Cardinals traded for DeAndre Hopkins. So offensive line should be the Cardinals’ first priority.
After locking up DJ Humphries long term, many thought that the Cardinals fixed their offensive line. However, the Cardinals still need help and depth along it. AQ Shipley and Marcus Gilbert are free agents and are likely not going to return. With all the elite tackle talent that is supposed to go at the top of the draft, it would be ill-advised for the Cardinals to not take a Tristan Wirfs or Andrew Thomas at eighth overall to play right tackle next year. After addressing wide receiver there is no reason to not take a lineman in the first round. But if a top defensive player like Isaiah Simmons or Jeffery Okudah starts to fall down the draft board they will be tempted to take them.
Los Angeles Rams: Stay quiet this offseason
The Rams have taken a monumental step back as a team from a year ago. Jared Goff has been exposed for who he really is and the uncertainty of Todd Guley’s health and role in this offense has been shown throughout the season. The Rams failed to retain starting offensive linemen Roger Safford and John Sulivan which dropped the Rams line to one of the most inexperienced and worst in the league. Now with Austin Blythe hitting the market, the Rams should be in panic mode on offense.
The Rams also showed how much they missed Ndamukong Suh this past season, as they regressed in sack totals without him eating space. The Rams signed veterans Eric Weddle and Clay Matthews onto this defensive unit, and learned sometimes adding age and veterans to a defense doesn’t make it better.
After trading for Jalen Ramsey, the Rams are going to keep shooting their shot and trading their way to a Super Bowl. The Rams need to keep that trend going, if not they are going to fall into mediocracy and will have to deal with the giant cap hits of Jared Goff and Todd Gurley until they can let them go and retool the franchise. The Rams don’t have a lot of draft capital but should trade what they have for veterans who play for teams that are looking to unload contracts. Though the Rams did a solid job drafting last year to fill the holes on their roster, if they want to win now they’re going to have to keep trading and potentially sign some veterans at a discount. Though the Rams are yet to make any moves, the fact that Todd Gurley and Brandin Cooks’ names are on the trade market means the Rams are trying to fix the mess they are in.
San Fransisco 49ers: Keep both of their first-round picks
The San Fransisco 49ers were a pleasant surprise to most going from second overall pick to second place of the entire league. The 49ers won the NFC West, were the first seed in the NFC and won the NFC Championship. Their team was built on its defensive star power and Kyle Shanahan’s ability to get high production on offense from younger unproven players. Rather than franchise tag and move Arik Amstead, the 49ers let him hit the open market and re-signed him to a long term deal. Then in surprising fashion, traded star defensive tackle DeForest Buckner to the Indianapolis Colts for the 13th overall pick. This gives the 49ers their second pick in the first four rounds. Luckily for them, they are both in the first round.
The 49ers’ first-round picks are at no. 13 and no. 31. Then they do not pick again until the fifth round. As complete as the 49ers are, they thrive off their depth and will lack in that category if they only have two picks in the first four rounds. The 49ers need to trade down one if not both of those first-round picks. The 49ers will have options at no. 13 and at no. 31, but if they don’t love the players on the board they should trade one of those picks back for depth. Kyle Shanahan knows how to get the most out of a player he believes in. His starting running back was an undrafted free agent and on his seventh team. Their tight end that is about to reset the market for the position, was a 5th round draft pick. The 49ers don’t need top end talent as much as they need depth. If they trade down one or both of their first-round picks, they should be able to acquire a lot more draft picks and players get the depth they need.
Seattle Seahawks: Not trade their first-round pick for a pass rusher on a franchise tag
The Seattle Seahawks have been one of the most consistent teams in the NFL since Russell Wilson was drafted in 2013. They have always been in the playoff and at time the Super Bowl discussion. The Seahawks are on the way up and if not for the 49ers could be considered the best team in the NFC. Russell Wilson was a realistic MVP candidate for a majority of the season. They seem to be close to a championship. If the Seahawks nail this offseason, Wilson can reach elite company and could be hoisting his second Lombardi trophy. The Seahawks have an extra second and fourth-round pick so it is possible to see some movement by the Seahawks on draft day, which they are no stranger to. But the Seahawks could possibly ship off their first-round pick for an established veteran to complete their defense.
The Seahawks built their roster with lower drafted players. Bobby Wagner and DK Metcalf were late second-round picks. Russell Wilson, Tyler Lockett and Shaquill Griffin were third-round picks. Tedric Thompson and Tre Flowers were fourth and fifth-round picks respectively. So the Seahawks really know how to draft beyond the first round.
The Seahawks should explore trading for a Yannick Ngakoue, Matthew Judon or Chris Jones because they have $44 million in cap space to extend these guys and they can help out immediately. The Seahawks thought Jadeveon Clowney was the final piece to their defense, but he didn’t have a great season statistically and will get paid elsewhere. One of those pass rushers could replace what Clowney could have been.
An interesting note about the Seahawks that isn’t talked about often is that as good as they are at drafting in the later rounds. The Seahawks have struggled to draft in the first round for a couple of years now. Since 2013 the Seahawks have taken three first-round picks. Those first-round picks are Germain Ifedi, Rashaad Penny, and LJ Collier. Ifedi became the team’s starter at right tackle, but has struggled to live up to a first-round pick and was always looked as a player who could be upgraded. Penny was a surprise to everybody and was a reach. Most had him in the third round as a sleeper and the Seahawks panicked and selected him in the first. He has not been able to take job from former seventh-round pick Chris Carson. Finally, LJ Collier barely played this year and was buried behind Jadeveon Clowney, Ziggy Ansah and Rasheem Green all year. Collier finished the year with three tackles and zero sacks. So if the Seahawks want to get the most out of their first-round pick, they might have to trade it.