2023 NFL offseason: Sean Payton’s Broncos among five teams poised to make a major leap next season – CBSSports.com

The 2022 NFL season is in the books after the Chiefs won their second Lombardi Trophy in four years Sunday night. Now, it’s time to look ahead to the 2023 offseason. We don’t yet know which big names will be relocating via trade or free agency, and we don’t yet know which teams will swipe the hottest prospects in April’s draft. But we can still make educated guesses as to which clubs are best positioned to take real steps forward next season.

Here are five early picks to make a major leap in 2023:


We’re a little hesitant to hurl flowers at a regime that willfully ignored Justin Fields‘ dire supporting cast going into 2022, but this time around, with so much cap space at his disposal, general manager Ryan Poles would have to try to avoid improving the young quarterback’s lineup. Fields was MVP-level electric as a second-year player, even while coach Matt Eberflus continued to risk injury to the QB in the name of late-season pride. As long as Fields’ protection and weapons improve in the slightest, there’s no reason to think Chicago can’t play spoiler out of the NFC North. Eberflus’ young defense also can’t be much worse.


You don’t get much more uninspired than the “offense” produced by Nathaniel Hackett and Russell Wilson in 2022. The latter remains, but if anyone’s going to force the ex-Seahawks star back into form, it’ll be Sean Payton, whose public conviction as their new head coach is backed by a been-there, done-that resume. Wilson, by the way, can’t be anymore sluggish than he was under Hackett; assuming he’s rightly re-saddled to more run-heavy, play-action scripts featuring a healthier Javonte Williams, Denver’s still got the foundational pieces on defense to keep pace with the Chargers and Raiders in the AFC West.


This team’s QB carousel finally spun itself into pieces, so GM Chris Ballard is primed to focus on a longer-term investment under center, especially with the No. 4 overall draft pick in tow. Regardless of which prospect ends up on their radar — Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud and Kentucky’s Will Levis look like logical targets, assuming Alabama’s Bryce Young is gone — they’re also set to return to the comfy tradition of trading offensive coordinators with the Eagles. The chief play-caller for a flexible Philly offense that saw Jalen Hurts emerge as an MVP threat, new coach Shane Steichen should have enough Pro Bowl-caliber playmakers across the board (i.e. Jonathan Taylor, Michael Pittman Jr., DeForest Buckner) to restore hope in an open AFC South.


The narrative surrounding New York — just a QB away! — has been repeated so often that we’re growing a little wary of its truth. Their O-line, for example, remains a question mark. And the new offensive coaching pairing of Nathaniel Hackett and Todd Downing only sounds intriguing if the inevitable QB addition is a whopper, like Aaron Rodgers or Lamar Jackson. Then again, even a lesser name like Derek Carr or Jimmy Garoppolo is probably capable of getting this club over .500. In a division where the Patriots are still retooling and the Dolphins are banking on Tua Tagovailoa’s availability, their young talent at so many spots — running back, wide receiver, pass rusher, cornerback — suggests they really can be a contender with a top-15 signal-caller.


You might call this a copout considering they were Super Bowl champions just a year ago, but then again … was it only a year ago?! So much went wrong for L.A. in 2022 that GM Les Snead could actually be in seller’s mode (!) to recoup much-needed assets for whatever time they have left with Sean McVay at the helm. With the McVay-Matthew Stafford combo back, however, and the O-line presumably in better health along with No. 1 wideout Cooper Kupp, it’s hard to think they won’t be back in the mix in the NFC West, where the Cardinals, 49ers and Seahawks all have different but major question marks at QB.

This content was originally published here.

Share this story