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NFC Roster Reset: Biggest signings/losses, burning question for each team ahead of the 2024 NFL Draft

Our Roster Reset series takes a look at where things stand across the league in the wake of the free agency frenzy and ahead of the 2024 NFL Draft. Nick Shook examines the current makeup of the NFC below, addressing each team's biggest additions, losses and one burning question. Check back next week for the AFC rundown.


Dallas Cowboys
2023 record: 12-5

BURNING QUESTION: With pressure mounting, will Mike McCarthy and Dak Prescott deliver?

Look, it’s rare that the winners of free agency end up turning their offseasons into actual wins. But after pledging to be “all in” in 2024, the Cowboys certainly disappointed with one of the quietest Marches in the NFL. They have seven picks at their disposal in the upcoming draft, but none are remarkably high on the value chart, and there are legit depth-chart questions (running back and center, for example). Dallas needs to find at least one immediate contributor in this draft, or swing a deal to land one in order to feel better entering a pivotal campaign. McCarthy needs to push the Cowboys to at least the Divisional Round to feel even somewhat comfortable with his job security, and it’s not a coincidence management let Prescott’s contract stand as is entering 2024. Everything is on the line, and it feels like the 'Boys are still a move or two away from feeling properly prepared for this massive campaign ahead.

New York Giants
2023 record: 6-11

BURNING QUESTION: Is the clock ticking on Daniel Jones -- and Brian Daboll, too?

It’s the time of year for smokescreens and vague answers, and Giants general manager Joe Schoen has done a good job of checking both boxes. But the dust has settled on the pivotal 2023 offseason, and right now, the results don’t look good. Jones still has three years left on his four-year, $160 million deal, while Saquon Barkley -- the player Schoen chose to franchise tag a year ago -- is now an Eagle. Jones did nothing to inspire confidence in his long-term viability in 2023, and while Schoen isn’t giving any hints about what the Giants might do with the sixth overall pick in this year's draft, it’s not unrealistic to see him pulling the plug on the No. 6 selection from 2019, drafting a quarterback and hitting reset on the position. 

Philadelphia Eagles
2023 record: 11-6

BURNING QUESTION: Can the Eagles get back on track after a nightmarish finish to 2023?

The weight of expectation -- and perhaps a bit too much complacency -- buried the Eagles in the final two months of the 2023 season, and it appears as if longtime general manager Howie Roseman isn’t interested in allowing a repeat performance in 2024. He traded away Haason Reddick, effectively swapping him out for Bryce Huff. He let D’Andre Swift and Kevin Byard walk, replacing them with equal -- if not better -- talents in Saquon Barkley and C.J. Gardner-Johnson. Adding DeVante Parker gives the team veteran depth at receiver, while Roseman pulled a move that very much fit his style when he snagged the disgruntled former first-round QB Kenny Pickett from the team residing on the other side of the state. Will all of this amount to an improvement, or will results still come down to the coaching staff and the most important contributors? And are the Eagles prepared to replace Jason Kelce with either Cam Jurgens or a draft pick? It all remains to be seen, but if we’ve learned one thing thus far in 2024, it’s that Roseman doesn’t believe in much of a vacation -- especially after disaster descended upon his team at the end of last season.

Washington Commanders
2023 record: 4-13

BURNING QUESTION: Are the Commanders prepared to successfully relaunch with a rookie QB?

Holding the No. 2 overall pick in the draft, the Commanders are in a prime spot to take the kind of franchise quarterback they’ve sought since the end of the Kirk Cousins era. They’ll have their pick of a litter that will presumably include everyone but likely No. 1 selection Caleb Williams, and will have to trust their scouting chops when choosing between Jayden Daniels, Drake Maye and J.J. McCarthy. But are they prepared to ease their new signal-caller into the starting lineup? C.J. Stroud thrived in Houston as a rookie because the Texans made significant additions in the preceding offseason and paired him with an offensive coordinator who wasn’t afraid to scheme around the rookie's strengths. After a very busy offseason, is Washington properly equipped to do the same? Or is the franchise walking a high-value pick into a tough situation?


Chicago Bears
2023 record: 7-10

BURNING QUESTION: Can the Bears build on their promising 2023 finish with a rookie QB leading the way?

Chicago's issues have been documented quite well in the last few years, and for a while last season, it seemed as if Matt Eberflus' days were numbered. A surprisingly strong finish to 2023 couldn't save Justin Fields' job, but it kept Eberflus employed for another year, prompting general manager Ryan Poles to get aggressive in the offseason. The five veterans he added above should provide Chicago with upgrades on both sides of the ball, plus the kind of leadership they lacked in the last two seasons. But is that enough to create an ideal situation for Chicago's anticipated No. 1 overall pick, USC QB Caleb Williams? He'll arrive with an intensely bright spotlight trained on him and will be expected to produce immediately. Have the Bears done enough to make that an easier task -- like the Texans did last year with C.J. Stroud -- or is this all too much to ask of a franchise that hasn't seen the postseason since 2020?

Detroit Lions
2023 record: 12-5

BURNING QUESTION: Can the Lions keep their spot atop the NFC North?

2023 was a dream for Lions fans who'd spent the majority of their lives wishing their football team would join the ranks of the contenders. After all, Detroit was essentially one half away from its first Super Bowl appearance in franchise history. But can this long-downtrodden organization run it back and earn another chance to finish the job? Ben Johnson's decision to stick around as offensive coordinator was a huge win for the Lions, and on paper, they haven't lost enough to cause concern. I'm not yet worried, but interested to see how Kevin Zeitler replaces Jonah Jackson along Detroit's elite offensive line, and feel encouraged by the additions made to the Lions' defense. That said, the sudden, unexpected loss of Cameron Sutton re-introduces a need at cornerback. Detroit has three top-75 picks to use to further supplement the roster. This is a draft that includes a ton of receiving talent, which could dampen the loss of Josh Reynolds, a 40-reception, five-touchdown wideout in 2023. All signs point to the Lions sticking right in the thick of the NFC North, but they should expect stronger resistance from the rest of the division. Do it again, Detroit.

Green Bay Packers
2023 record: 9-8

BURNING QUESTION: Can the young Packers deliver on heightened expectations in 2024?

2023 was a thrill ride of highs, lows and a surprising twist of a finish. Jordan Love blossomed along with Green Bay's cast of green wideouts, which was once seen as a weakness but is now considered a frightening strength. Free agency was productive, too, providing the Packers with upgrades at running back and safety, as well as some much-needed competition for inconsistent kicker Anders Carlson. What's not to like about these Packers? They have three of the first 58 picks to use to add more talent and are on an upward trajectory that should excite the folks in Titletown. All that's left to do -- and this is the most difficult part -- is deliver on these expectations. There will be no surprising the NFL again in 2024. Expect every team's best shot, Packers.

Minnesota Vikings
2023 record: 7-10

BURNING QUESTION: Are the Vikings really going to proceed with Sam Darnold as QB1?

This feels like one of the easiest questions to answer at this point, because after a year spent mostly on the bench in San Francisco, Darnold hasn't provided much reason to believe in him as a full-season starter. But until the Vikings add another quarterback, we must ask it. Minnesota telegraphed an intent to move up in the draft to snag a quarterback when it acquired a second first-round pick ahead of the draft, yet, to this point, no such deal has materialized. The 11th and 23rd picks should be enough to jump into the top 10, but the Vikings can't get caught out in the cold in a draft that could see three quarterbacks come off the board in the first three picks. And if they're left empty-handed, will the Vikes truly be satisfied with proceeding with Darnold as their guy? When asked recently about their first-round outlook, head coach Kevin O'Connell properly walked the line between wanting to move up to take a QB, and sticking at Nos. 11 and 23 and taking a pair of top talents at other positions. It would seem to be a less-than-ideal situation, though, if Minnesota doesn't end up with a quarterback and is forced to start Darnold, a former top-three pick who has yet to prove his viability as a franchise quarterback. This means we must watch the Vikings closely in the lead-up to Round 1 -- the first big moment for the club following the departure of Kirk Cousins.


Atlanta Falcons
2023 record: 7-10

BURNING QUESTION: Can Kirk Cousins steady this ship under its new captain, Raheem Morris?

The Falcons kicked off 2024 by jettisoning Arthur Smith (and his pet project, QB Desmond Ridder), officially sealing the lid on a time capsule they'll likely never want to dig up. It was, frankly, overdue, and Atlanta deserves credit for responding to such change by taking a huge swing and connecting on Cousins, a massive signing for a franchise that has lacked stability under center since the final months of the Matt Ryan era. Now we all sit and wait to see if it was worth it. Cousins turns 36 years old in August, and although he was playing some of the best football of his career before he went down with a torn Achilles in late October, he isn't exactly a spring chicken attempting to return from such an injury. The four-time Pro Bowler will have plenty of weapons at his disposal, though, and if Atlanta can create a system that highlights his strengths, Cousins should deliver. Until that happens, though, it's all projection.

Carolina Panthers
2023 record: 2-15

BURNING QUESTION: Will the new additions help get QB Bryce Young back on track?

Young was doomed from the start of his rookie campaign in Carolina, where his team lacked weapons, failed to protect him and didn't do nearly enough to ease the No. 1 overall pick into the massive role that is being the starting quarterback of an NFL team. The results were ugly enough to lead some to worry whether the Panthers may have broken Young, but Carolina has responded aggressively, hiring Dave Canales -- the same coach who just guided Baker Mayfield to a career year in Tampa -- and attacking free agency by first acknowledging its personnel weaknesses, then immediately addressing them. In steps a much-needed pass catcher in Diontae Johnson, two starting guards (Robert Hunt and Damien Lewis) and some defensive additions to replace Brian Burns, Yetur Gross-Matos, Frankie Luvu and Jeremy Chinn. There's no telling whether the defensive makeover will work at this point, but Panthers fans should be encouraged by how new general manager Dan Morgan tried to upgrade the offense. The moves will need to pay off, though, because the Panthers are still paying the bill for Young, entering this draft without a first-round pick after finishing as the NFL's worst team in 2023.

New Orleans Saints
2023 record: 9-8

BURNING QUESTION: Can the Saints find consistency after a tumultuous 2023 season?

New Orleans was one of the most frequently frustrating operations in the entire NFL in 2023, and it was because the Saints were only reliable when it came to inconsistency. They seemed to find their stride late, though, and there's reason to believe it still might work out with Derek Carr after all. A quiet March won't help boost optimism -- even the signing of Chase Young came with a catch in the form of a neck operation -- but the Saints didn't need to have a transformative offseason to inspire hope. They just need to produce consistently -- and return to form defensively, a goal that could be helped by landing a blue-chip talent with the No. 14 pick. Such an improvement will largely fall on the shoulders of head coach/defensive play-caller Dennis Allen, who staved off a firing and will be on the hot seat entering 2024.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers
2023 record: 9-8

BURNING QUESTION: Will Baker Mayfield find the same success without play-caller Dave Canales?

Love him or hate him, you have to admit: Mayfield was excellent in 2023. He put up career numbers and essentially willed the Buccaneers to the playoffs. Sure, sometimes that required him to target Mike Evans roughly 20 times per game, but it worked. Now, though, Canales is in Carolina, and Mayfield is working with former Sean McVay lieutenant Liam Coen, which means we can't quite count on the same return at this point. That's not the only issue, though; Tampa quietly lost a few noteworthy names on both sides of the ball. Fortunately, they were prepared for Shaq Barrett's departure (hello, YaYa Diaby), while Devin White was already losing snaps to K.J. Britt last season. But this kind of change makes it harder to project how a team might finish, so we'll have to wait for results. And ultimately, it all starts and ends with Mayfield.


Arizona Cardinals
2023 record: 4-13

BURNING QUESTION: Can the Cardinals take the important next step with a healthy Kyler Murray?

The Cardinals' 2023 season was declared a wash from the moment it became clear they wouldn't have Murray for a big chunk of the campaign. That trial period is over, though, and Jonathan Gannon's crew is officially on the hook in 2024. The good news: Arizona was more competitive than most expected last year, and actually became a fun team to watch once Murray returned. The Cards have made a few significant additions at key spots, but still need to use their two first-rounders to supplement a roster that isn't yet at contender status. I'd imagine one of those picks ends up being spent on a receiver -- Ohio State's Marvin Harrison Jr. would be a boon at fourth overall -- and both need to be hits in order to take this team to the next rung on the ladder toward success.

Los Angeles Rams
2023 record: 10-7

BURNING QUESTION: Can the secondary additions lift the Rams' defense into the upper half of the NFL in 2024?

The Rams were a feel-good story in 2023, especially after the front office had sent a letter to fans explaining their lack of movement in the offseason with a tone that suggested it might be a long campaign. Instead, a healthy Matthew Stafford and a breakout star in receiver Puka Nacua powered Los Angeles to a surprising playoff berth. During that time, though, L.A.'s defense -- a no-name unit once you moved past Aaron Donald -- scrapped to stay competitive, but ultimately finished 20th in the NFL in total defense. General manager Les Snead approached free agency with the defensive backfield clearly atop his checklist, spending to add two veteran corners (with Darious Williams returning to the franchise after a couple years in Jacksonville) and an underrated safety in Kamren Curl. Will those additions be enough to turn this unit into a playoff-caliber group? If so, the Rams should be taken seriously entering 2024, even if CB Tre'Davious White can't return until later in the year due to injury. Oh, and Jimmy Garoppolo is now a Ram, which is a fun footnote that hopefully will only be just that this season.

San Francisco 49ers
2023 record: 12-5

BURNING QUESTION: Can Leonard Floyd and Yetur Gross-Matos combine to fill the need opposite Nick Bosa?

As defending NFC champions, the 49ers didn't enter the offseason with many glaring needs. Their rental of Chase Young proved to be just that, and it was no surprise they let him walk to New Orleans after he failed to produce at a high rate in half a season with the team. General manager John Lynch did his best to replace Young and Arik Armstead -- the bigger loss, by the way -- with Floyd, Gross-Matos and Maliek Collins, which is pretty solid work, but this still feels as if another defensive lineman (likely an interior defender) could be on the way. San Francisco owned an elite defense in 2023, has a quarterback on the cheapest rookie deal possible for a drafted player and has three top-100 picks at its disposal, plus three fourth-round selections that could be packaged to move up. Lynch will need this draft more than others to add depth, but there isn't much reason to fret. It's more about building competitive depth suited for the grind of a deep playoff run than unearthing gems in later rounds (though that'd be a bonus).

Seattle Seahawks
2023 record: 9-8

BURNING QUESTION: Will Seattle's defense improve despite losing two starting linebackers?

The Jordyn Brooks experiment ended with the Seahawks deciding to let the former first-round pick walk under the direction of new head coach Mike Macdonald. Fellow linebacker Bobby Wagner followed Brooks out the door to reunite with his former defensive coordinator, Dan Quinn, in Washington. That leaves two pretty big holes in the second level of the defense, which Seattle attempted to address by signing Jerome Baker and Tyrel Dodson. Will that be enough, or do the 'Hawks need more additions via the draft? The signing of safety Rayshawn Jenkins was sneaky good, in my opinion, but that doesn't address the defense's biggest issue: Seattle couldn't stop a nosebleed on the ground last year. Johnathan Hankins should help, but the Seahawks need more there, too. As for quarterback, well, Sam Howell can learn behind Geno Smith for now, but I feel we'll be addressing that situation in a future offseason -- sooner than later.

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