Although some did better than others, no NFL team had the perfect offseason.
So, what is the biggest remaining concern for your team heading into training camp? The Athletic’s NFL writers have the answers below.
You might have heard the Cardinals quarterback isn’t happy with his contract. Kyler Murray showed up for mandatory minicamp in June and participated in some of the voluntary work before that, but his contract situation remains unsettled. Murray, who has a base salary below $1 million and will make about $5.5 million including bonus payments this season, is clearly underpaid relative to his peers. The ice between Murray and the Cardinals has thawed substantially since earlier this offseason, but if the situation is unresolved during training camp, it has the potential to linger for the duration of the 2022 season, when the Cardinals need Murray to be their MVP.
The Falcons have addressed a lot of needs so far, but issues remain in the middle of both lines. Atlanta added veteran center Jonotthan Harrison after minicamp, so the move to watch for this summer is at defensive tackle. Banking on young DTs Marlon Davidson and Ta’Quon Graham to step up alongside Grady Jarrett feels like a risky strategy. Despite carrying more than $63 million in dead money, Atlanta could find some money for a veteran DT.
The Ravens didn’t do anything significant to immediately upgrade their pass rush off the edge. Second-round pick David Ojabo could be a factor eventually, but not early in the season as he’s recovering from a mid-March Achilles tear. Tyus Bowser, who led the Ravens in sacks last year, also is questionable for the start of the season after he tore his Achilles in January. The Ravens will likely sign a veteran like Justin Houston or Jason Pierre-Paul before training camp, and they expect a big second-year jump from Odafe Oweh. However, it still feels like they didn’t do enough to add an impact pass rusher after Za’Darius Smith backed out of a free-agent deal with them. That was the case even before Jaylon Ferguson’s tragic death.
They don’t have many holes in their starting lineup, but offensive line depth could become a significant problem if they sustain any injuries this year. Their top reserve is guard Cody Ford, whom the Bills benched for poor play after only three games last season. Their top reserve tackle is David Quessenberry, who signed a one-year prove-it deal, or Tommy Doyle, an inexperienced second-year player. There is also some slight concern about starting right tackle Spencer Brown, who struggled as his rookie year went on, and projected starting guard Ryan Bates, who started only six games in 2021.
The Panthers’ seemingly endless pursuit of a quarterback stretched into the summer after trade talks with Cleveland for Baker Mayfield stalled in mid-June when the teams couldn’t agree on how much each would pay toward Mayfield’s $18.8 million salary. Expect the talks to resume as training camp approaches. Matt Rhule, on the hot seat after consecutive five-win seasons, seems ready to move on from Sam Darnold. So it likely will come down to finding a salary number that owner David Tepper will be comfortable paying Mayfield. Jimmy Garoppolo also could be an option in the event he’s released.
The Bears allowed the most sacks per pass in 2021, and they wrapped up minicamp with fifth-round rookie Braxton Jones at left tackle, Larry Borom at right tackle and Sam Mustipher at right guard. Last year’s second-round pick and presumed starter at left tackle, Teven Jenkins, was the second-team right tackle. The Bears feel great about center Lucas Patrick and left guard Cody Whitehair, but those two have combined for one Pro Bowl — Whitehair in 2018 as an alternate. Justin Fields enters Year 2 behind one of the NFL’s most unproven offensive lines.
The Bengals’ starting receivers are arguably the best in the NFL, but if injuries happened with any of Ja’Marr Chase, Tyler Boyd and Tee Higgins, there is not much experienced, reliable depth. Mike Thomas played sporadically as the fourth receiver the past two seasons and remains on the team, but the front office will be keeping an eye on the waiver wire or any potential trades that could be made as the season draws closer. If a significant injury happened in camp with any of the starting receivers, it would turn up the aggressiveness for an offense otherwise fully stocked to be among the best in the NFL.