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Offseason overhaul

Panthers, Texans and Commanders have been busy

Looking at the league-wide offseason transactions, three teams have been especially busy in terms of loading up on free agents and/or making trades. One was one of the better teams last year, hoping these moves put them over the top. The other two were among the worst.

The Texans are the notable team that's going for it. Joe Mixon (pictured) and Stefon Diggs were two of the potential offensive difference-makers available (although both have probably played their best football already), and they'll join Rookie of the Year C.J. Stroud in what should be one of the better offenses. But look also on the defensive side of the ball. They should have at least six new starters this season, with a couple of other free agent additions (Del'Shawn Phillips, Mike Ford) candidates, plus the NFL Draft is yet to come.

TEXANS DEFENSIVE STARTERS
Pos20232024
DEWill AndersonWill Anderson
DTMaliek CollinsFoley Fatukasi
DTSheldon RankinsDenico Autry
DE Jonathan GreenardDanielle Hunter
OLBBlake CashmanHenry To'oTo'o
OLBChristian HarrisChristian Harris
MLBDenzel PerrymanAzeez Al-Shaair
CBSteven NelsonJeff Okudah
CBDerek StingleyDerek Stingley
FSJimmie WardJimmie Ward
SSJalen PitreJalen Pitre

The other two teams will also be starting young quarterbacks, but unlike the Texans their ceiling seems to be a lot lower. The Panthers, most notably, are hoping that Bryce Young can take a big step up in year two, because they've overhauled pretty much everything else on the roster, on both sides of the ball. Including both free agent additions and guys who were backups much of last year, they could have six new offensive and seven new defensive starters. And Carolina has a pair of early second-round picks, and might reasonably select another starter or two in the draft (I think both wide receiver and tight end are good possibilities). The contract they gave former Packers tackle Yosh Nijman (2 year, $8M) suggests he could push to start at some point, as well.

PANTHERS OFFENSIVE/DEFENSIVE STARTERS
Pos20232024
QBBryce YoungBryce Young
RBMiles SandersChuba Hubbard
WRAdam ThielenAdam Thielen
WRDJ CharkDiontae Johnson
WRJonathan MingoJonathan Mingo
TEHayden HurstTommy Tremble
LTIkem EkwonuIkem Ekwonu
LGCade MaysDamien Lewis
CBradkey BosemanAustin Corbett
RGGabe JacksonRobert Hunt
RTTaylor MotonTaylor Moton
DTShy TuttleShy Tuttle
DEDeShawn WilliamsA'Shawn Robinson
DE Derrick BrownDerrick Brown
OLBBrian BurnsJadeveon Clowney
OLBYetur Gross-MatosD.J. Wonnum
ILBDeion JonesShaq Thompson
ILBFrankie LuvuJosey Jewell
CBDonte JacksonDane Jackson
CBJaycee HornJaycee Horn
FSJeremy ChinnJordan Fuller
SSXavier WoodsXavier Woods

Washington, we've discussed (criticized) some of their moves previously. Whatever quarterback they draft will be throwing to a couple of new skill guys who have definitely played their best ball (Austin Ekeler, Zach Ertz), working behind a line with potentially three new starters, and a dramatically different defense (I count at least seven and up to nine newcomers who will either start or could play key roles: Bobby Wagner, Frankie Luvu, Dorance Armstrong, Dante Fowler, Clelin Ferrell, Jeremy Chinn, Michael Davis and a couple other guys).

In general, there's something to be said for making moves to improve rosters. Some teams are either cap-strapped, or maybe their owners don't care too much about the on-field product as long as the dollars keep rolling in.

But while Houston looks like a team that's going for it, adding some talent to support a quarterback on his rookie contract, both Carolina and Washington look like mildly desperate teams with new owners hoping to make a splash with a lot of new faces, some of whom have played their best football. In both cases, it looks like a lot of potential for things to go south, and they'll be blowing things up again a year or two from now.

--Andy Richardson

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