NFL Offseason: 5 Looming Questions About the NFL Post Super Bowl LVIII


Early in the Christmas movie Elf, the jolly workshop toy builders are celebrating the satisfaction of having constructed—and seen delivered—all of the presents for that year, only for Santa to congratulate them and then say it’s time to start looking forward to the next holiday season. That’s basically the stage the NFL finds itself in now.
The Kansas City Chiefs are the Super Bowl LVIII champions after downing the San Francisco 49ers, 25-22, in overtime on Sunday. Andy Reid, Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce and company are surely going to take a moment—well, maybe more than that—to bask in their third Lombardi Trophy earned over the past five seasons. But what about the rest of the league, and most of its fans, during a Monday Super Bowl hangover that should practically be a holiday?
It’s already on to the 2024 season. Well, offseason at least.
There are already mock drafts aplenty, and in the coming weeks and months the scouting combine, free agency, NFL draft, training camp and more will fill in the football gap during an offseason that never sleeps. Soon enough, the Chiefs will be hosting the season opener.
Before then, though, there are plenty of questions about the NFL to be answered over the next few months. Here’s a look at five of them.
The Super Bowl LVIII logo is seen on the field before Sunday’s game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Kansas City Chiefs at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas. Now that the Super Bowl is… The Super Bowl LVIII logo is seen on the field before Sunday’s game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Kansas City Chiefs at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas. Now that the Super Bowl is wrapped up and the NFL season is over, the league heads into the offseason with plenty of questions awaiting answers. More Michael Reaves/Getty Images/Getty Images
What Will the Bears Do With No. 1?
The Chicago Bears are officially on the clock. But the question is really whether they will opt to keep things that way. Last year, the Bears earned a haul of draft picks, plus star wide receiver D.J. Moore, by dealing the No. 1 overall pick to the Carolina Panthers. Fast-forward a year, and Chicago—thanks to that trade—has the top selection again. And this latest prize may be even greater.
If the Bears decide to stay at the top of the draft this year, they will almost certainly select USC’s Heisman Trophy–winning quarterback Caleb Williams. The 22-year-old-phenom, as described by ESPN’s Matt Bowen, is a “prospect with traits to produce in any system.”
That’s hard to say no to. And the Bears, lackluster QB history and all, can ill afford to mess up a signal-caller decision again without long-lasting consequences.
Of course, the alternative in Chicago is to keep its current quarterback Justin Fields, whom the jury is still out on as far as his franchise potential goes, and deal the rights to pick Williams for what the NFL Network reported as a “historic haul.”
Fields, entering the fourth year of his rookie deal and soon to be in need of a new deal, would likely hit the trade market if the Bears stay up top, and Chicago could recoup some picks that way (hello, second-rounder?). Either way, General Manager Ryan Poles controls the offseason with a lingering decision to make.
And while it is made, the rest of the league will be waiting.
What Happens on the Veteran QB Market?
Where Williams and other top QB prospects wind up will surely dominate the offseason news cycle and for good reason. But there are also plenty of questions out there concerning teams and their established signal-callers.
Kirk Cousins, fresh off a torn Achilles tendon, heads into free agency as the top quarterback available. Is the 35-year-old’s time with the Minnesota Vikings up? And what about Baker Mayfield? The former No. 1 overall pick seems to have found a home with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but the next few weeks will confirm whether that’s the case. Then there’s Russell Wilson’s probable departure from the Denver Broncos, plus the ongoing talks with Tua Tagovailoa and the Miami Dolphins on a long-term extension.
Oh, and the New York Jets should probably bring in a decent backup at some point.
There are, as always, plenty of QB-needy teams this offseason—the New England Patriots, Las Vegas Raiders and seemingly about a third (or more) of the league. Safe to say, expect a few shake-ups and big moves under center in 2024, and not just on draft day.
How Do Chiefs Best Set Up Another Super Bowl Run?
The Chiefs officially have their dynasty. Now, attention turns to keeping it going.
With Mahomes, Kansas City will—or at least it seems—always be in the Super Bowl hunt. Take this season, the worst of the Reid-Mahomes era, though a campaign that will still end with a championship parade. But there are some questions that have been nagging in KC for some time and, with adequate answers, could make a run at a three-peat that much simpler.
Chris Jones—again a Super Bowl hero for pressuring Brock Purdy into an incompletion in overtime—and his impending new contract towered over the start of last season, and now the defensive tackle heads into the offseason as probably the top free agent available leaguewide. Chiefs shutdown cornerback L’Jarius Sneed isn’t far behind.
And beyond free agency, how will Kansas City approach resculpting a receiving corps that was largely disappointing in 2023 and could have cost any Mahomes-less team a title? Then there’s the question of how Kelce will perform heading into his age 35 season.
In simpler terms, some retooling may be in order for the Chiefs to reload in 2024.
What Will Commanders, Saints Do With Cap Situations?
Speaking of free agency, a quick look at each team’s 2024 salary cap position showcases the franchises with room to spend this offseason (the Washington Commanders) and those that may need a new accountant (looking at you, New Orleans Saints).
Washington has more than $73 million available to spend this spring and summer, according to Over the Cap. That’s the most in the NFL, and along with the No. 2 overall pick it could be used by new General Manager Adam Peters and head coach Dan Quinn to start the gridiron turnaround in the nation’s capital.
As for the Saints, well, they aren’t passing around a collection hat. But maybe they’ve thought about it? New Orleans is more than $83 million into the salary cap negative for 2024. Eighty. Three. Million.
The Saints have an expensive roster that has missed the playoffs for three seasons in a row and couldn’t even capture the weak NFC South last season. Could they restructure contracts? Sure. Could they part with veterans? Absolutely. But there doesn’t seem to be a financial path toward substantially improving the roster for 2024.
Time will tell if the Commanders can live up to their offseason potential and if the Saints can overcome what may be insurmountable salary cap hurdles.
Can the Panthers Help Bryce Young?
Comedian Keegan-Michael Key joked during the NFL Honors ceremony last week that the only people further away from the Super Bowl than Taylor Swift—in Tokyo at the time—was anyone with the Carolina Panthers.
New Panthers head coach Dave Canales took notice. But the only way to turn the Panthers into a serious franchise, rather than a joke (and a pretty good one at that) is to get Bryce Young some help—fast.
Last year’s No. 1 pick’s rookie season was about as bad as it could get. Not that that’s entirely his fault. Young finished last in passer rating among qualified QBs, and his touchdown rate, completion percentage and various other statistics were among the league’s worst.
That happened while being sacked 62 times—62!—throwing to a receiving corps that may have been worse than what he had at Alabama and having to adjust to his coach being fired midway through the season. Not exactly an ideal start. Carolina has a new coach in place but plenty of holes to fill up front and just about everywhere else on offense.
The Panthers will have to do that without the luxury of a first-round pick and middle-of-the-pack cap space (about $28 million). And if they can’t, Carolina risks impeding Young’s NFL career further before it ever really got a chance to begin.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here