NFL Power Rankings: 1-32 poll, plus where each team stands after free agency


Millions have been spent and the landscape of the NFL has been significantly altered due to the initial free-agency blitz. But while there are obvious storylines (Tom Brady) that have been written and a few more to go (Jadeveon Clowney), now is a good time to take the temperature of each NFL team.

Therefore, we’ve asked our NFL Nation writers to describe in three words where the team they cover currently stands this offseason.

How we rank in our Power Rankings: Our power panel — a group of more than 80 writers, editors and TV personalities — evaluated how teams stack up throughout the season.

Jump to:
NE | NO | NYG | NYJ | PHI | PIT | SF

Way-too-early ranking: 1

Three words: Keeping it together. The Chiefs named defensive tackle Chris Jones their franchise player at a cost of about $16.1 million and are keeping wide receiver Sammy Watkins at a cost of $21 million rather than releasing him and taking a $7 million charge. Those moves mostly wiped out their salary-cap room and signaled that the Chiefs will keep the band together as much as possible for another Super Bowl run rather than replenish through free agency. The Chiefs re-signed backup quarterback Chad Henne and added two probable reserves in offensive lineman Mike Remmers and cornerback Antonio Hamilton. — Adam Teicher

Way-too-early ranking: 3

Three words: Lamar awaits draft. The Ravens used what little cap room they had on defense in free agency. Baltimore placed the franchise tag on outside linebacker Matthew Judon, traded for defensive end Calais Campbell and re-signed cornerback Jimmy Smith. The focus now shifts to the draft, where the Ravens will look to improve the supporting cast around quarterback Lamar Jackson. Baltimore will add a wide receiver (or two), an interior offensive lineman and perhaps another running back to help the reigning NFL Most Valuable Player. — Jamison Hensley

Way-too-early ranking: 2

Three words: Run it back. The 49ers were clear about their offseason intentions: They wanted to keep their NFC championship team together as much as possible. While cap constraints meant saying goodbye to one of their best players (DT DeForest Buckner), his departure created flexibility to bring back key contributors from last season such as Arik Armstead and Jimmie Ward. It also gave them much-needed draft capital (the No. 13 overall pick), so they can be major players in the NFL draft and continue adding valuable, cost-effective pieces to a deep, talented roster. Their hope is that those moves will keep their championship window open longer. — Nick Wagoner

Way-too-early ranking: 4

Three words: Quite the catch. I probably shouldn’t overstate the importance of signing 33-year-old free-agent wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders, but he sure feels like the perfect fit to fill the Saints’ most glaring need. They already had one of the NFL’s most talented rosters, so they didn’t need an overhaul. And they have kept most of their core together. But their lack of options in the passing game was evident in each of their past two playoff losses. Michael Thomas had 119 more catches than any other WR on the team last season. — Mike Triplett

Way-too-early ranking: 5

Three words: Pass-catchers still needed. The Packers made a run at tight end Austin Hooper but it got too rich for them. There’s still plenty of opportunity for them to get Aaron Rodgers more weapons in what is a receiver-rich draft. They could take a receiver in the first round for the first time since 2002, but even if they decided to go with a tackle or defensive player at No. 30, they can still find immediate help on Day 2 of the draft. — Rob Demovsky

Way-too-early ranking: 6

Three words: Waiting on Clowney. The Seahawks want him back, but they’re exercising patience. Jadeveon Clowney wants at least $20 million, more money than anyone has been willing to offer. The Seahawks have been active elsewhere, starting with four under-the-radar offensive line additions. They’ve added two pass-catchers in Greg Olsen and Phillip Dorsett and found a potential upgrade at right cornerback by trading for Quinton Dunbar. Re-signing Jarran Reed and bringing back Bruce Irvin will help their pass rush, but they still need a primary threat like Clowney, and Seattle might be able to get him back at a bargain rate. — Brady Henderson

Way-too-early ranking: 8

Three words: Must keep building. The Titans started free agency on a good note by making sure quarterback Ryan Tannehill and running back Derrick Henry were back for another season. They made another move in the right direction when they signed Vic Beasley Jr. However, the loss of Jurrell Casey and possibly Logan Ryan leaves questions about the defense. The Titans need to find ways to help improve the defense and overall team speed. Most of the premier free agents have been plucked from the market. That places emphasis on a productive draft to add impact players to help build off of last season’s momentum. — Turron Davenport

Way-too-early ranking: 9

Three words: Defense deeply depleted. The Vikings unloading expensive veterans while not re-signing a handful of their own free agents was inevitable given their salary-cap situation, but losing Everson Griffen, Linval Joseph, Trae Waynes, Mackensie Alexander, Xavier Rhodes, Andrew Sendejo and Jayron Kearse leaves a lot of production to replace. The defense is in the midst of a reboot, and Minnesota will need to hit on its draft picks this year in hopes that a first- or second-round cornerback can aid a group that lost all of its starters and find a defensive end to begin to replace what Griffen brought over 10 years in Minnesota. — Courtney Cronin

Way-too-early ranking: 11

Three words: AFC East front-runner. While the Jets focused on building their offensive line, the Dolphins spent big money on marquee free agents and the Patriots coped with the loss of quarterback Tom Brady, the Bills made one of their splashiest moves of the new league year, trading for wide receiver Stefon Diggs. The additions Buffalo made on defense should, on paper, make an already-stout group even better — vaulting the Bills to the top of the preseason AFC East totem pole. — Marcel Louis-Jacques

Way-too-early ranking: 19

Three words: Must protect Brady. The Bucs are over-the-moon excited right now after landing six-time Super Bowl winner Tom Brady. But they still need a starting right tackle to replace Demar Dotson and to possibly groom into a replacement on the left side if Donovan Smith doesn’t work out. They’ll also need to address the ground game, getting a running back who can help Brady in the screen game, which in turn helps slow down an opposing pass rush. — Jenna Laine

Way-too-early ranking: 12

Three words: Hold that line. The Cowboys’ top goal was to keep quarterback Dak Prescott and wide receiver Amari Cooper, and they did that with the exclusive franchise tag and a five-year contract, respectively. They have suffered some losses, such as Byron Jones, Randall Cobb, Robert Quinn and the retired Travis Frederick, but they knew they could not pay big money to everyone. They added Gerald McCoy and kept Sean Lee, Anthony Brown and Joe Looney — which takes on added significance after Frederick’s retirement — but are they better now than last season’s 8-8 finish? It’s difficult to say yes, but there is the draft to consider. — Todd Archer

Way-too-early ranking: 14

Three words: Send receivers, STAT! The Eagles did not address wide receiver during the main wave of free agency, even with Nelson Agholor departing for the Raiders and Alshon Jeffery still recovering from Lisfranc surgery. The plan is clear: to address the need in the draft by drawing early and often from what has been dubbed a historic wide receiver class. That approach leaves little room for error. The pressure is on to get it right come April. — Tim McManus

Way-too-early ranking: 7

Three words: Life after Brady. Everything that has unfolded with the Patriots is consistent with how they have generally operated under coach Bill Belichick — more notable defections than additions — except for one major piece: quarterback Tom Brady. With Brady leaving to sign with the Buccaneers, it takes away a security blanket the Patriots have always had in points of transition. So therein lies the intrigue for what’s ahead. The Patriots have always preached that every season is a blank slate, even when Brady was there to lead the way. Now the question becomes if Jarrett Stidham can step in at quarterback. — Mike Reiss

Way-too-early ranking: 17

Three words: Bridging the gap. Signing Philip Rivers signaled that the Colts organization doesn’t believe Jacoby Brissett is its next franchise quarterback after he struggled last season, and that Rivers is more of a short-term starter because the Colts signed the 38-year-old to only a one-year contract. The Colts currently do not have a first-round pick in this year’s draft after giving it to San Francisco for defensive lineman DeForest Buckner, but they do have two picks in the second round, and it wouldn’t be surprising if they used one of those picks on a quarterback who can sit behind Rivers and learn next season. — Mike Wells

Way-too-early ranking: 15

Three words: Checked the boxes. The Steelers filled their most pressing roster needs through free agency, allowing them the luxury of drafting the best available playmaker when they make their first selection at No. 49 overall in the second round. Guard Stefen Wisniewski and tight end Eric Ebron fill the most immediate needs, giving the Steelers a two-time Super Bowl champion to compete for the starting left guard spot and a tight end to be a big-bodied target in the red zone for Ben Roethlisberger. Quieter than most teams, the Steelers restructured the most expensive contracts and were efficient in the first wave of free agency, setting them up for more freedom when the draft rolls around. — Brooke Pryor

Way-too-early ranking: 10

Three words: Life without Hopkins. How do you replace an All-Pro receiver who has led your franchise in receiving since 2014? And someone who bonded immediately with your franchise quarterback on and off the field? The Texans are about to find out after trading away DeAndre Hopkins on Day 1 of free agency. Houston has Will Fuller and Kenny Stills on the roster who, if healthy, will be able to take over some of Hopkins’ production. New signing Randall Cobb, a slot receiver, should be a reliable target. But Houston still needs another outside receiver and could target one in the draft, perhaps with the second-round pick (No. 40 overall) it received in the Hopkins trade. — Sarah Barshop

Way-too-early ranking: 13

Three words: To be determined. The list of starters who are gone is staggering, headlined by star running back Todd Gurley, who was cut after the Rams could not find a trade partner. On defense, the Rams watched two key playmakers — outside linebacker Dante Fowler Jr. and linebacker Cory Littleton — sign elsewhere. Plus, the Rams released cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman and Clay Matthews to create salary-cap space. Their plan moving forward remains unclear, though it’s nearly certain that several of these holes will need to be filled by young and inexperienced players already on the roster. — Lindsey Thiry

Way-too-early ranking: 16

Three words: Something to prove. The Falcons added four former first-round draft picks in Todd Gurley, Dante Fowler Jr., Hayden Hurst and Laquon Treadwell, and all four have to show they can play up to their first-round talent. Gurley is the one fans are excited about the most, and he certainly wants to answer questions about his left knee and his ability to be a productive back. The Falcons, as a whole, have to prove they can compete in a revamped NFC South now featuring Tom Brady. — Vaughn McClure

Way-too-early ranking: 18

Three words: Still offensively challenged. The Bears likely upgraded at quarterback when they sent their fourth-round compensatory pick to Jacksonville for Nick Foles, who has a good opportunity to unseat starter Mitchell Trubisky. But quarterback is far from the only issue. The Bears have yet to upgrade their offensive line. Chicago needs additional help at wide receiver after the club released Taylor Gabriel. Plus, former second-round wideout Anthony Miller is rehabbing from yet another shoulder procedure. And no one really understands why the Bears signed veteran tight end Jimmy Graham to a deal that included $9 million guaranteed and a no-trade clause. — Jeff Dickerson

Way-too-early ranking: 20

Three words: Ready to draft. The Raiders hit on some real and specific defensive needs in the first wave of free agency, particularly at linebacker (Cory Littleton, Nick Kwiatkoski and Carl Nassib), cornerback (Eli Apple) and safety (Jeff Heath). And they got a pass-rushing defensive tackle (Maliek Collins). General manager Mike Mayock said at the combine that with so many needs on defense, he did not have to be so “surgical” on that side of the ball. It all leaves open the possibility of the Raiders using one of their first two draft picks (Nos. 12 and 19) on a receiver (CeeDee Lamb? Jerry Jeudy/ Henry Ruggs III?) — Paul Gutierrez

Way-too-early ranking: 23

Three words: Wild-card bound. The Cardinals filled almost every major need during the first week of free agency, whether through signings or trades. By adding All-Pro wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins and signing defensive tackle Jordan Phillips, outside linebacker Devon Kennard and inside linebacker De’Vondre Campbell, Arizona went from a five-win team to a playoff contender, especially with the Rams dismantling their defense and the confidence gained from winning in Seattle last season. — Josh Weinfuss

Way-too-early ranking: 22

Three words: Help for Baker. Everything about the first day of free agency was about helping Baker Mayfield, and the new regime demonstrated by its moves that it still believes he is the Browns’ long-term franchise quarterback. Cleveland signed the best tight end on the market in Austin Hooper to give Mayfield a reliable pass-catcher out of play-action and in the red zone. The Browns also signed the top right tackle in free agency in Jack Conklin, who is one of the top frontside pass-protectors in the league. And to top it off, Cleveland brought in veteran QB Case Keenum to serve as a mentor for Mayfield. — Jake Trotter

Way-too-early ranking: 21

Three words: Still need help. The Broncos made trades to bolster their defense, acquiring defensive tackle Jurrell Casey and cornerback A.J. Bouye, and used the franchise tag on safety Justin Simmons. They chose to use the bulk of their free-agency dollars on the offense, signing guard Graham Glasgow, running back Melvin Gordon, tight end Nick Vannett and backup quarterback Jeff Driskel. It leaves them searching for additional team speed in the draft and that should have them taking a long look at the cornerback options, as well as wide receiver, with the No. 15 pick. — Jeff Legwold

Way-too-early ranking: 24

Three words: On the rise. The Chargers missed on free-agent quarterback Tom Brady but otherwise made several moves in free agency that should help them contend for a division title. They addressed issues on their offensive line by signing right tackle Bryan Bulaga and trading for guard Trai Turner. By re-signing running back Austin Ekeler and applying the franchise tag to tight end Hunter Henry, the Bolts ensured that — whether it’s Tyrod Taylor or a rookie selected in the draft — their new starting quarterback will have sure-handed targets. And on defense, signing cornerback Chris Harris Jr. immediately puts their secondary among the best in the NFL. — Lindsey Thiry



Also, will the Dolphins trade up for Joe Burrow?

Way-too-early ranking: 26

Three words: Brian Flores Way. After a largely idle 2019 offseason, the Dolphins backed up the Brinks truck by making an aggressive push toward competing in a post-Tom Brady AFC East. That means investing heavily in man-to-man cornerbacks such as Byron Jones, versatile front-seven, two-way players such as Kyle Van Noy and Shaq Lawson and special-teams standouts such as Clayton Fejedelem and Elandon Roberts. The Dolphins have a promising future because players have bought into the Brian Flores Way, and there’s hope that with 14 picks in the draft (including three first-rounders), Miami will find its quarterback of the future and become a perennial contender. — Cameron Wolfe

Way-too-early ranking: 25

Three words: Better draft well. General manager Joe Douglas, in his first offseason with the Jets, is patching holes with short-term fixes. Only three of their eight new players received multiyear contracts. Of the three, only one (center Connor McGovern) has security beyond 2020. This puts the pressure on Douglas to draft well. Patching is OK, but the team still needs long-term solutions at wide receiver, offensive tackle, cornerback and outside linebacker. The Jets always seem to be in a perpetual state of rebuilding. It’s painful for the fan base, but Douglas deserves a fair chance to do it his way.– Rich Cimini

Way-too-early ranking: 27

Three words: Life after Cam. Yes, the Panthers are in the midst of a complete rebuild under new coach Matt Rhule. If there was any doubt, it ended when they decided to move forward without franchise quarterback Cam Newton and with free-agent pickup Teddy Bridgewater. It’s all about getting young and cheap to be in position to make a playoff run in a few years. Their first nine free agents were 27 or younger and all had deals of one to three years. None were established stars. But nothing spoke louder than moving on from Newton, the first pick of the 2011 draft. — David Newton

Way-too-early ranking: 29

Three words: Work still remains. Yes, the Giants signed two significant free agents in cornerback James Bradberry and linebacker Blake Martinez — and they will help. The Giants then started to fill in around them, but there are still holes all over this roster, with no imposing edge rusher or difference-maker on defense and the offensive line still in need of upgrades at tackle and center. The Giants, under coach Joe Judge and general manager Dave Gettleman, still have a lot of work left to do after the first wave of free agency. More additions are needed, in free agency and the draft. — Jordan Raanan

Way-too-early ranking: 30

Three words: The Midwestern Patriots. It might not be the phrase some in Allen Park, Michigan, like hearing, but that’s been the direction throughout this offseason. The Lions brought in an ex-Pat on every level of their defense — defensive tackle Danny Shelton, linebacker Jamie Collins and safety Duron Harmon. It’s possible that five defensive starters will have New England ties. Then there’s the coaching staff, where all but two defensive staffers have some Patriots past. It makes sense, in a crucial year, that general manager Bob Quinn and coach Matt Patricia would want to bring in people who know the scheme and understand the culture they are trying to build. — Michael Rothstein

Way-too-early ranking: 28

Three words: Clearing cap space. GM Dave Caldwell traded Calais Campbell, A.J. Bouye and Nick Foles and cut Marcell Dareus to save nearly $40 million against the cap this year. Plus, with those contracts off the books, the Jaguars will have more than $100 million in cap space in 2021. Of the six players Caldwell has added, only two (LB Joe Schobert and TE Tyler Eifert) are front-line guys. The rest help with depth and improve the middle and back thirds of the roster. Caldwell might not be around in 2021 (owner Shad Khan said “the time to win is now”), but he’s getting the franchise in financial shape. — Mike DiRocco

Way-too-early ranking: 31

Three words: Will take time. The Redskins knew they couldn’t rebuild in one year under new coach Ron Rivera, so they weren’t going to chase every big name. They did pursue wide receiver Amari Cooper and missed, but the rest of their signings were more about value and low-risk contracts. They added versatile cornerback Kendall Fuller — their most expensive pickup — and veteran linebacker Thomas Davis. Third-down back J.D. McKissic excites them. But most of the signings were about building depth. Whether it works remains to be seen, but it is the approach. They are focused on the draft, where they own the No. 2 pick (hello, Chase Young). — John Keim

Way-too-early ranking: 32

Three words: Shifting spending patterns. Cincinnati’s conservative approach to free agency went out of the window this year after the Bengals spent more than $112 million on three players — defensive tackle D.J. Reader, cornerbacker Trae Waynes and wide receiver A.J. Green. The aggressiveness is needed for a franchise in the middle of a rebuild. It also prepares for the arrival of quarterback Joe Burrow, the projected No. 1 overall pick in the upcoming draft. The spending spree is imperative for a roster that needs a slew of upgrades. — Ben Baby

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