NFC West 2021 offseason wants: Playoff-caliber groups battle to win free company in NFL’s hardest division


The NFC West lived as much as its status as the perfect division in soccer final season, with all 4 groups beating one another up all through the common season. The defending NFC champions, the San Francisco 49ers, missed the playoffs on account of the loaded NFC West — whereas the Arizona Cardinals had been eradicated from the postseason race on the ultimate day of the common season (with Kyler Murray getting injured). 

Two groups ended up making the playoffs within the NFC West, the Seattle Seahawks and Los Angeles Rams. The Seahawks received the division, however had been bounced out of the playoffs by the Rams within the wild-card spherical. Los Angeles ended up getting eradicated by the Inexperienced Bay Packers the subsequent week, a product of going by way of the gauntlet of the NFC West. 

The Rams already made the largest offseason splash by buying Matthew Stafford and buying and selling Jared Goff, which might immediately make them a Tremendous Bowl contender. Russell Wilson has pressured the Seahawks’ hand by asking them to enhance their roster or else he might want out. The 49ers can be significantly better after being ravaged by accidents in 2002, and the Cardinals are nonetheless one of many rising younger groups within the league with Kyler Murray as their quarterback. 

With the offseason in full swing, let’s break down every crew within the NFC West and what they should do to enhance their rosters in 2021 — and make a run on the postseason. Let’s face it, all these groups are playoff caliber. 

Seattle Seahawks

Wants: CB, OL, LB, RB

The Seahawks have some work to do as a way to retain some key gamers this offseason, particularly at operating again. Whereas former first-round decide Rashaad Penny deserves an opportunity at a beginning job, it is going to be arduous for Seattle to not re-sign Chris Carson or Carlos Hyde. Carson is tenth within the NFL in dashing yards (3,270) with 1,000-yard dashing seasons in 2018 and 2019 — so a pay increase is coming. 

Permitting Shaquill Griffin to stroll can be robust for the Seahawks to recuperate from, so re-signing him needs to be a prime precedence. A Professional Bowler in 2019, opposing quarterbacks had a 93.3 passer ranking when focusing on Griffin, who had three interceptions and 12 passes defensed final season. Conserving Griffin within the fold is significant for a Seahawks protection that allowed simply 19.1 factors per sport and an 87.4 passer ranking to opposing quarterbacks over the ultimate 9 video games of the yr. 

Russell Wilson is uninterested in getting sacked, so the Seahawks have to verify to maintain him joyful. Utilizing that out there cap house to signal a free agent offensive lineman and prioritizing the road within the draft might be sufficient to maintain the quarterback glad. The Seahawks had 46 sacks final season (seventh within the NFL), and 182 pressures (third within the NFL) — however the move rush was aided by the presence of Okay.J. Wright (who can be a free agent). Not re-signing Wright might be devastating for the Seahawks. 

CBS draft projections: No first-round decide. Seattle traded its first-round decide to the New York Jets within the Jamal Adams commerce. Ryan Wilson, Josh Edwards, and Chris Trapasso do not have the Seahawks buying and selling up and making a first-round decide. 

Projected cap house (by way of Over The Cap): $4,391,354 underneath the cap (No. 17 within the NFL)

Los Angeles Rams

Wants: OLB, DE, C, T

The Rams already stuffed their greatest want by buying Matthew Stafford from the Detroit Lions, giving up two first-round picks to Detroit to take Jared Goff off their fingers. Los Angeles is paying $22.2 million in lifeless cap for Goff to not be on the roster, however acquired a major improve in Stafford. 

Now comes filling out the remainder of the roster. John Johnson III is a free agent and Los Angeles goes to have a troublesome time re-signing him. The Rams may even need to resolve if Leonard Floyd is value bringing again, however he is one of many premier move rushers available on the market after a profession yr with the Rams. Los Angeles has confirmed move dashing linebackers have immense success in its protection — with Floyd and Dante Fowler Jr. There can be cheaper choices if the Rams resolve to not go together with Floyd. 

The Rams tied for 14th within the NFL in pressures (147) final season, however completed second within the league with 53 sacks. These numbers can be arduous for the Rams to prime once more, regardless of how properly their line of defense performed in 2020 (particularly with the departure of defensive coordinator Brandon Staley). Including one other move rusher can be helpful towards the protection in 2021. 

Austin Blythe is a free agent, however middle is a place the Rams can improve in the event that they select to. The Rams do not precisely downgrade if they carry Blythe again, even with higher choices out there. Andrew Whitworth can be 40 in December, so the Rams should take a look at choosing his potential alternative at sort out. 

CBS draft projections: No first-round decide. The Rams have not had a first-round decide since 2016 and will not have one till 2024 on account of a number of trades. This one is a results of the Jalen Ramsey deal because the Jacksonville Jaguars maintain the Rams’ decide. Ryan Wilson, Josh Edwards, and Chris Trapasso do not have the Rams buying and selling up and making a first-round decide. 

Projected cap house (by way of Over The Cap): $33,986,331 over the cap (No. 30 within the NFL)

Arizona Cardinals

Wants: WR, CB, TE, RB

The Cardinals have their franchise quarterback in Kyler Murray. Now they should put some extra gamers round him. Larry Fitzgerald could resolve to retire, which is able to give Arizona a necessity at large receiver to interchange him within the slot — although head coach Kliff Kingsbury mixes and matches gamers there. Having extra depth on the place would not damage both, particularly since former second-round decide Andy Isabella hasn’t developed in addition to the group thought over the previous yr.

Kenyan Drake rushed for 955 yards and 10 touchdowns, however solely completed with 4.0 yards per carry. The Cardinals should resolve if giving Drake a long-term deal is well worth the worth or permit Chase Edmonds to turn out to be the No. 1 again. There are many free agent choices out there for no matter Arizona decides to do, because the Cardinals will want depth at operating again regardless. 

Defensive coordinator Vance Joseph prefers man cowl cornerbacks, so the Cardinals might want to improve at cornerback if their protection needs to get to the subsequent stage. Patrick Peterson can nonetheless play at excessive stage, however he isn’t the All-Professional cornerback he as soon as was. The Cardinals might want to discover higher man-cover corners to assist Peterson out in the event that they select to re-sign him. 

The Cardinals have not had an excellent tight finish within the Kingsbury period, so an improve is required there. Dan Arnold is an ideal move catcher within the purple zone, however Arizona might use an all-around tight finish in its offense as a safety blanket for Murray. Signing a beginning tight finish is paramount for the Cardinals. 

CBS draft projections: Ryan Wilson and Chris Trapasso have the Cardinals taking South Carolina cornerback Jaycee Horn. Josh Edwards has Arizona taking USC offensive lineman Alijah Vera-Tucker.

Projected cap house (by way of Over The Cap): $11,833,440 underneath the cap (No. 16 within the NFL)

San Francisco 49ers

Wants: DE, CB, QB, RB

The 49ers do not have a single cornerback underneath contract for 2021, so revamping the cornerback place needs to be a prime precedence in free company and the draft. Re-signing Ahkello Witherspoon can be a smart resolution, nevertheless it’s arduous to see Richard Sherman returning after the previous All-Professional cornerback stated a cut up was coming

San Francisco has Nick Bosa returning at defensive finish, however Solomon Thomas and Kerry Hyder are set to hit free company. The 49ers are caught with Dee Ford and his contract (although he has been a backup since signing that five-year deal) and Ford is mainly set to overlook the beginning of the 2021 season. San Francisco wants some move dashing assist as a way to make one other run on the Tremendous Bowl, particularly with former defensive coordinator Robert Saleh now with the New York Jets. 

The 49ers can save $23.6 million by slicing Jimmy Garoppolo, however is it the worst factor for head coach Kyle Shanahan to maintain him round one other season? If there is not an enchancment available at quarterback, there is no sense revamping the place in 2021. Possibly Deshaun Watson enters the image. 

Raheem Mostert is the one 49ers operating again within the rotation underneath contract, as Jerick McKinnon, Tevin Coleman, and Jeff Wilson can be free brokers. The 49ers have not drafted a operating again since 2017, so this yr could also be an excellent one to interrupt that development. Re-signing Wilson can be a sensible transfer by common supervisor John Lynch and the entrance workplace. 

CBS draft projections: Ryan Wilson has the 49ers taking Alabama cornerback Patrick Surtain II. Chris Trapasso has San Francisco taking North Dakota State quarterback Trey Lance. Josh Edwards has the 49ers taking Northwestern offensive lineman Rashawn Slater.

Projected cap house (by way of Over The Cap): $13,359,654 underneath the cap (No. 15 within the NFL)


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