A few days ago we asked you which AFC West team had the best offseason. Perhaps the only division which had a busier offseason than the AFC West was the NFC West. The NFC West is quickly becoming one of the most exciting divisions in football, with a pair of young innovative coaches and several franchise quarterbacks. Each team made moves this spring with lofty ambitions in mind, but only one will reign supreme this time next year.
The Cardinals probably had the most eventful offseason of all NFC West teams. They have a new head coach and totally remade their quarterback room from last year after the retirement of Carson Palmer and free agency departures of Drew Stanton and Blaine Gabbert left them without any quarterbacks under contract. First they signed Sam Bradford, and weeks later made a splash in the draft, trading up to take Josh Rosen with the 10th overall pick. They also added Mike Glennon after he was cut by the Bears. Bradford will likely begin the season as the starter, but with his lengthy injury history, it’s very possible Rosen sees the field early. They cut longtime staple of their defense Tyrann Mathieu and hired Steve Wilks to replace the retiring Bruce Arians as head coach. They brought in Andre Smith and Justin Pugh to help improve last year’s dreadful offensive line, and signed Brice Butler away from the Cowboys as an extra pass-catcher behind Larry Fitzgerald. They’re being cast as the underdogs of the division, but have enough talent on paper to make some noise.
The Seahawks officially dismantled the once vaunted ‘Legion of Boom’, cutting one former staple in Richard Sherman and trading another in Michael Bennett. In a bid to get younger, the Seahawks have moved on from several longtime veterans this offseason. They made what many called the surprise move of the draft by taking running back Rashaad Penny in the first round. The Seahawks’ running game has been abysmal since Marshawn Lynch left, so it makes sense they reached for a running back early. They signed wide receiver Jaron Brown away from the Cardinals, but overall weren’t too active in free agency. The story of the Seahawks’ offseason was definitely more about what they subtracted rather than what they added. Last year snapped a streak of five consecutive seasons of reaching the playoffs, and the Seahawks will face a much tougher path back to the postseason than they have in recent years. With the NFC West set to be the best it’s been in a long time, the Seahawks will need some heroics from Russell Wilson to regain their dominance division.
The Rams made the biggest acquisitions of any team in the NFC West. After coach Sean McVay led the team to an 11-5 record and division title in his first year, he’ll have even more pieces to work with in year two. General manager Les Snead was aggressive in the trade market, acquiring wide receiver Brandin Cooks and All-Pro cornerbacks Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib in exchange for draft picks. The Rams also signed Ndamukong Suh after he was let go by the Dolphins. Due to all the trades, the Rams didn’t have many draft picks, but they still added a ton of talent to the team. They did lose cornerback Trumaine Johnson, who signed with the Jets, but the additions of Peters and Talib should more than make up for that. If quarterback Jared Goff can take a leap next year with a full offseason to digest McVay’s complicated playbook, the Rams should be able to repeat as division champs.
The 49ers were maybe the most quiet NFC West team this offseason. After winning five straight games to end the season once Jimmy Garoppolo became the team’s starting quarterback, the 49ers opted to mostly stay put. They did sign center Weston Richburg and Sherman after he was cut by the Seahawks, but didn’t do all that much in terms of adding pieces. They drafted offensive tackle Mike McGlinchey with the ninth overall pick to help keep Garoppolo upright for years to come. 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan is confident that he’s found his guy in Garoppolo, and the 49ers should be able to build on last season’s late success and turn it into a playoff birth in 2018.
Which team do you think had the best offseason in the NFC West? Vote in PFR’s poll below and weigh in with your thoughts in the comments section!