NFL Rumors: How the Titans, Colts, Texans, and Jaguars Can Improve Over the 2022 Offseason

On the heels of a league-worst 3-14 season, the Jaguars possess the number one overall pick and tons of cap space heading into 2022. What can they do to take advantage and turn the page as an organization?
| 5 min read
Share to Facebook
Share to Twitter
Copy Link

NFL Rumors: How the Titans, Colts, Texans, and Jaguars Can Improve Over the 2022 Offseason

Tennessee Titans

This season, the Titans were the only true good to come out of the AFC South. They outpaced the Colts by three games and would go on to be the one seed in the playoffs, where they lost in a close game to the eventual conference champion Bengals. How did they get it done exactly? It's hard to explain. According to Football Outsiders' DVOA, Tennessee was 20th overall, made up of the league's 20th-ranked offense and 12th-ranked defense, having improved by 17 spots defensively but struggling offensively due to injuries to key playmakers like Derrick Henry and A.J. Brown.

Heading into the offseason, the Titans are fairly limited due to paying big money to Ryan Tannehill and those playmakers. Spotrac has their cap projection at roughly $7 million over the cap so it's unlikely they get active in free agency unless they do some serious frontloading of current player funds. Primarily, Tennessee's improvement will need to be made in the draft. And based on last year's issues and which Titans are heading into free agency, there are two areas to concentrate on: the offensive line and the pass rush.

Veteran Ben Jones will be a free agent and likely command a price that Tennessee can't afford to match. That leaves a big hole in the middle for Derrick Henry and the Titans' rushing efforts, and though you might not find that center to replace Jones, there is more of a need to add depth up front, especially for a team that saw Tannehill get sacked at the NFL's seventh-highest rate (8.4%). They could add someone like Texas A&M's Kenyon Green, but the more likely scenario is for them to improve a pass rush that will be without leading sack man Harold Landry -- also a free agent. A&M's DeMarvin Leal or Florida State's Jermaine Johnson II are prime candidates at pick 26.

Click here for the best offers in your state

Error fetching data.

Indianapolis Colts

The Colts are in a very tricky spot as a franchise. On one hand, they won nine games and narrowly missed out on the playoffs with new quarterback Carson Wentz at the helm this past year. But now, the front office is questioning whether Wentz can get them to the next level. This is after Wentz threw for 27 scores to 7 interceptions while he played all 17 contests. However, the offense rated out 13th and the defense 8th, by way of Football Outsiders' efficiency metrics.

Assuming the Colts part ways with Wentz, they will need a new leader on offense, but whether that is the move or not, they require help in the passing game, where they ended the year 20th in DVOA. That should come in the form of talent on the outside opposite Michael Pittman. While the 24-year-old receiver turned 88 catches into more than 1,000 yards and 6 touchdowns in 2021, the next most productive pass-catchers were Jonathan Taylor and Nyheim Hines. Among wideouts, Zach Pascal and his 38 catches were next, but he and his 52.7 player grade call for a drastic upgrade if the Colts are going to balance their run-first offense with passes over the top when needed.

Thanks to the Wentz trade, the Eagles lay claim to the Colts' 16th overall pick in the draft, which means their first pick isn't until 47th. They'll need to do what they can in free agency, and they have the resources to make it happen. Their cap space is set to be at least $34 million and depending on what they do with Wentz it could be closer to $60 million when all is said and done. That opens things up to the top receivers on the market, including Chris Godwin, Allen Robinson, and Mike Williams -- even Davante Adams (who could be franchise tagged). Any of the three would make a great fit beside Pittman.

Click Here to Get a Risk-Free $1000 Be from FanDuel

Houston Texans

It's hard to tell where Houston starts with their return to relevance. Outside of whatever happens with Deshaun Watson, new coach Lovie Smith and company have a lot to do to improve on their 4-13 record under David Culley. Per DVOA, they 30th offensively and 23rd defensively, as well as dead last in rushing offense.

The issues in the run game can't just be boiled down to the second-tier veteran rushers that formed their committee throughout the year. Instead, they have to look at the offensive line first. Houston's 3.33 adjusted line yards positioned them at the very bottom of the league, while their 7.6% adjusted sack rate was better than only 10 teams. The line is the main problem across the board, and if they want to help sophomore quarterback Davis Mills, they'll need to address it. But how?

Shockingly enough, Houston is just above average in terms of their 2022 cap space. Thanks to Watson's $40 million and Laremy Tunsil's $26 million cap hit, they project to have just under $18 million with which to work. That could handcuff them in bidding on free agents. Still, that shouldn't stop them from looking at veterans who could help round things out, that is after using a first or second-round pick to help bolster the line. Houston could go a number of ways with the third pick, but if Evan Neal is there, they need to take him. The Alabama product is the top-rated lineman and could very well be looked over by the Jaguars and Lions in favor of other needs. Even if they decide to go in a different direction with pick three, they could utilize the 37th pick on someone like Kentucky's Darian Kinnard or Central Michigan's Bernhard Raimann.

If you're in need of the best sportsbook promos available, you've come to the right place

Error fetching data.

Jacksonville Jaguars

By record, the Jaguars were the NFL's worst team in 2021. They notched just three wins in what turned out to be Urban Meyer's first and only season as the head coach in Jacksonville. They'll now look to Doug Pederson to right the ship and make them more competitive in the South. But, to say the Jaguars are in the same position as the Texans would not be entirely accurate. Although they too seek to be much better, they have a talented quarterback heading into his second year -- in Trevor Lawrence -- and the top overall pick in the draft.

The few positives don't end with Lawrence and whoever the top pick becomes, though. Unlike Houston, Jacksonville possesses the third-most cap space going into the offseason, coming in at roughly $56 million. Where do they spend, and what area should be their top focus in free agency or the draft? For me, it starts along the defensive line, and in particular with the pass rush. In 2021, the Jags finished in a tie for 26th in adjusted sack rate, 23rd in adjusted line yards, and 31st in pass DVOA.

The most likely solution to Jacksonville's pass-rush problem is their first overall pick. They'll have their pick of the two elite ends in this class -- Michigan's Aidan Hutchinson and Oregon's Kayvon Thibodeaux. Though others mock Evan Neal at that spot, the metrics point to one of Hutchinson or Thibodeaux to shore things up and serve as a franchise cornerstone on the defensive end. It all starts there.


Brett Oswalt has been writing about sports for five years, has covered everything from the NBA to College Football DFS, and previously served as an editor at numberFire. He is a Senior Workforce Planning Analyst at Highmark by day, and an avid sports fan and girl-dad by night. He resides in Pittsburgh, PA with his wife, Marley, daughter, Aria, and goldendoodle, Braun.

Expert Handicappers

View all Handicappers

Almost there!

We are loading your bets, and they will be here in a second.