AS OF MONDAY MORNING, THE BRONCOS WERE NO CLOSER TO LIFTING NEXT SEASON'S LOMBARDI TROPHY THAN ANY OF THE OTHER 31 CONTENDERS. IN OTHER WORDS: REBOOT! TO HELP YOU ENVISION YOUR TEAM'S PATH TO FUTURE GLORY, SI MAPPED OUT THE OFF-SEASON—STARTING WITH (ENTIRELY PLAUSIBLE) PREDICTIONS OF WHO'S GOING WHERE. IN THE COMING PAGES, YOU'LL ALSO FIND ANDY BENOIT'S TEAM-BY-TEAM UPGRADE BLUEPRINTS AND HIS LIST OF THE 40 MUST-SIGN FREE AGENTS. THE NFL'S SILLY SEASON STARTS ... NOW!
This is an article from the Feb. 15, 2016 issue
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Legion lagging? Seahawks sign free-agent shut-down CB Josh Norman. Boom.
Chip Kelly's housecleaning: Bye-bye, FA tackle Alex Boone (to Dolphins) and LB NaVorro Bowman (trade to Bears). Meanwhile, Riley Cooper predictably swoops in from Philly for free.
Hey, Los Angelenos! Say hello to your new starting quarterback ... Brock Osweiler. The 6'8" passing giant gets sick of waiting for that other Broncos passing giant to retire, leaves in free agency.
Bolts break the bank to lure FA Bears WR Alshon Jeffery, giving Philip Rivers a much-needed target opposite Keenan Allen.
Broncos re-sign DE Von Miller for six years, $115 million, making him highest-paid defensive player in NFL history.
Cards GM Steve Keim has recurring off-season nightmare about a QB with six turnovers in the big game. Totally unrelated: He snags Penn State passer Christian Hackenberg in round 2 of draft.
Jerry Jones brings the RG3 circus to Dallas and re-signs Greg Hardy. (A certain ex-Cleveland QB? He won't go that far.) Cowboys end up on Hard Knocks—surprise!
With their Alshon Plan up in smoke, Bears trade with Browns for newly reinstated WR Josh Gordon.
Team with league's No. 27 rushing average since Andrew Luck arrived spends big on RB Doug Martin. Muscle Hamster spins wheels behind poor line, nothing changes.
Safety Eric Berry, the feel-good story of 2015, spurns more lucrative offers in free agency, stays with Chiefs.
After breaking bank for Miller, Broncos can't afford DT Malik Jackson, who signs with Texans, replacing 34-year-old Vince Wilfork (who retires, heads straight for buffet table).
Titans fortify QB Marcus Mariota's protection through draft. First building block: 6'5", 305-pound Ole Miss tackle Laremy Tunsil, at No. 1.
One year after losing DT Ndamukong Suh to Miami, Lions steal one back, snag DE Olivier Vernon from Dolphins with a splashy contract.
Redskins sign QB Kirk Cousins to $80 million contract. Cousins likes that.
After cleansing themselves of the Manziel stink (released), Browns draft Cal QB Jared Goff at No. 2.
The most Patriots signing ever: New England nabs "over the hill" pass-catching back Matt Forte, who goes on to redefine "the hill," shattering single-season RB receiving record.
In desperate need of a franchise back, Giants draft Ohio State's Ezekiel Elliott with No. 10 pick.
Megatron plays to villainous nickname, forces trade out of cap-space-hungry Detroit (which would have gotten nothing had he actually retired). Complicit Panthers provide the WR a shot at a ring.
Vic Beasley's new bookend: New York FA evacuee Jason Pierre-Paul.
Jags overpay (shocker) for Rams CB Janoris Jenkins, filling their biggest need.
Tom Coughlin: Stone-cold chillin'.