In the NFL, while there’s not really a hierarchy of perennial top-performing teams and bottom-dwelling under-performing teams, certain lines are drawn each season depicting which teams look best and worst for a prosperous run in the upcoming season. With the 2021 season almost coming to an end, and with NFL stats experts already rounding up the final numbers of what this season offered us, what better time to start talking about teams that will surely be giving plenty to talk about next season than right now to Improve In 2022?
Be it because of their cap space potential, draft stock, or the general status of their organization, we’ve come up with a list of the three NFL teams with the most upward potential to show definite signs of improvement in the upcoming season and Improve In 2022, especially after having 2021 be a year that was not necessarily one worth remembering for them. Let’s take a look.
New York Jets- Improve In 2022
New York Jets fans have been waiting and waiting, and then waiting some more for a winning season to finally make its way into their lives, but yet, that still hasn’t happened, but hey, if 2021 serves as anything, it should be as a sign of clear hope that things are starting to be done in a much better fashion around Jets land. First of all, let’s talk about QB Zach Wilson. Yes, he didn’t necessarily show much to be riding with hope for, but his upside and potential for having a very strong and positive second-year leap into stardom is definitely there. He just needs to be surrounded by two things, an offensive line that can truly block and play in his favor, which believe it or not is starting to form up in New York, and a couple more heavy-hitting weapons in the receiver core to work with.
On defense, the team needs help in the secondary, but with two first-round draft picks in the top ten plus a slew of other picks in the draft, as well as a respectable $51,2 million in cap space to work around with in the free agency market, New York is looking even better and better as time goes by. Coach Robert Saleh has the full support from his roster and general manager and if he and Joe Douglas can commit to bringing in some top-tier talent to spike up certain units in the team, we could be looking at a team that will be giving Buffalo and New England a run for their money in the AFC next season.
The Denver Broncos needed a new head coach after seeing Vic Fangio get fired. Well, they went and got former Packers OC Nathaniel Hackett to fill that spot. Now, what else do the Denver Broncos need to make a true overhaul and start looking like a dominant force in the AFC West once again? Oh yeah, they need a new quarterback. I’m sorry for Teddy Bridgewater and Drew Lock, I have nothing against them, but that doesn’t mean whatsoever that they have what it takes to be Denver’s franchise QB for the future. Yes, they played some decent football and their ratings were not so bad, but no, they are not the answer nor will they ever be, so it’s time to move on.
So where do they go from here? Preferably they can find their answers through the free agency market. If the Broncos for example were to be able to snag Aaron Rodgers away from the Packers, reuniting him with his former OC Hackett, that would automatically make the Broncos a true threat in the whole AFC conference. This team is already stacked to the brim with explosive offensive talents such as Jerry Jeudy, Noah Fant, and Courtland Sutton, so why not give them a QB that can help them move up to the next level of quality in the league. Defensively Denver is looking pretty good as usual, and with almost $49 million in cap space to work with over the offseason, they will have ample room between that and the draft to continue building a strong team on all sides of the field, but they must address the QB conundrum as soon as possible.
Cleveland Browns- Improve In 2022
How a team who entered the season with clear Super Bowl aspirations ended up being the laughing stock of the league is something that baffles me, but hey, that’s the Cleveland Browns in a nutshell. It’s not like the Browns don’t have the talent, on both sides of the ball. Offensively Baker Mayfield still has a higher upside at QB than many others and has shown that if he’s given the right tools to work with he can excel at his position. In the receiver and running back cores the Browns have plenty of available top-tier targets to run a high-caliber offense with. And on defense, just by having Myles Garrett running the line, you know that the potential for that unit to be a very good one is very high.
So what do the Browns need to do? Simply put, they need to get over themselves and start working on rebuilding a stronger and soberer personality as a team, but without allowing opposing teams to see that as a sign of weakness because the Browns might be many things but weak is not one of them. If head coach Kevin Stefanski can get this team to play how they were when they were deemed as potential Super Bowl contenders, then who knows, we could be looking at a team that could put Baltimore and Cincinnati on notice in their division next season.