Offseason is a misnomer in today's NFL. The 2015 season just ended, but teams already are busy preparing for the 2016 campaign. This week, all 32 franchises storm Indianapolis for the NFL Scouting Combine. Next month is free agency. And the month after that brings the 2016 NFL Draft.
Bottom line: We're in prime roster (re)construction season. And while everyone has moves to make, big and small, some organizations have more pressing work to do than others. With that in mind, which team is facing the highest stakes this offseason?
The Rams already play in a division where two of the NFL's best teams reside (Arizona and Seattle). They don't want to start their next chapter in Los Angeles with a mediocre product.
The Pats have to find new pieces to get that fifth championship because the Brady-Belichick days are dwindling. They have to make certain that they get what they need on the offensive line and give Brady more weapons. They need more receivers that can do some things outside of the numbers.
**Denver Broncos:** They need to keep Von Miller -- but with Brock Osweiler as their QB, too. You can't count on Peyton Manning's health anymore. So, yeah, the Broncos must open the checkbook and pay whatever it takes to retain Miller and Osweiler. They also have a number of other key free agents, though, and might have to let some go in order to keep Miller and Osweiler -- guys like Malik Jackson, Danny Trevathan and Ronnie Hillman.
**Oakland Raiders:** Oakland's clearly a team on the rise, and the Raiders have a great deal of money to spend this offseason. They have their QB ( Derek Carr) and some good offensive weapons, but must improve the defense to take the next step.
**Indianapolis Colts:** Chuck Pagano eventually received an extension despite a highly disappointing season, but I don't see Jimmy Irsay functioning in a patient mood -- and why should he? He has Andrew Luck, one of the best QBs in the game, a guy Irsay's going to break the bank for when he signs him to an extension. The Colts need to upgrade their OL and pass rush.
**Los Angeles Rams:** Still gonna take some getting used to writing that full team name again ... The Rams have a playoff-caliber defense and a Pro Bowl RB, but they desperately need a QB. Season-ticket applications are flying in right now, but that will not last if they don't win. Mediocrity will not sell in L.A. They need to get a QB, perhaps in a bold, aggressive move like trading two No. 1s for Kirk Cousins if the Redskins franchise him.
Dallas will be provided with an opportunity to improve because Jerry Jones tries to make everything available for that team to win with financial support. Making it difficult, however, is that the New York Giants and Washington Redskins likely will have gotten better by the time the 2016 season kicks off.