No NFL team is perfect. Even the league’s best front offices can’t assemble foolproof rosters. Luckily, every club will have the opportunity to add talent in advance of the NFL’s trade deadline. Let’s walk through the league’s contenders and identify the biggest weakness on every roster, zeroing in on areas where teams could improve before Nov. 1.
Biggest Pre-NFL Trade Deadline Weakness for Every Contender
In order to filter down to the NFL’s contenders, we’ll look at teams with at least a 20% chance to make the playoffs per FiveThirtyEight’s projection model.
Clubs like the Seahawks and the Raiders could conceivably make moves before the deadline, but it’s more likely that they’ll sell or hold.
Philadelphia Eagles | Secondary Depth
Playoff odds: 97%
The Eagles have the best roster in football, so there are only so many areas where they can improve. Philadelphia could target the secondary, where depth is still an issue even after general manager Howie Roseman added cornerback James Bradberry and safety Chauncey Gardner-Johnson over the offseason.
Bench options Josiah Scott, Zech McPherson, and K’Von Wallace are all relatively inexperienced players. The Eagles would do well to find a veteran capable of handling both corner and safety responsibilities.
Buffalo Bills | Safety
Playoff odds: 97%
Although the Bills have injury issues at a few spots on their roster, the looming returns of cornerback Tre’Davious White and tight end Dawson Knox should shore up those position groups. Instead, Buffalo could look at safety, where Micah Hyde is already lost for the season.
Jordan Poyer resumed practicing this week, and the Bills like backups Jaquan Johnson and Damar Hamlin. Still, it wouldn’t be the worst idea for Buffalo to add another piece in the back end. On Thursday, I suggested Panthers safety Xavier Woods as a possible solution for the Bills.
Kansas City Chiefs | Cornerback
Playoff odds: 93%
The Chiefs are set in a lot of areas, but you can never have too many cornerbacks. L’Jarius Sneed is a solid starter, and first-round pick Trent McDuffie looks set to return against the Bills in Week 6.
Still, seventh-round rookie Jaylen Watson has been stretched thin over the last few weeks, so Kansas City could look for a veteran as insurance. The Chiefs don’t need to take a big swing at the deadline, but more depth couldn’t hurt.
Dallas Cowboys | Defensive Tackle
Playoff odds: 91%
The Cowboys’ defense has kept them afloat since Dak Prescott’s Week 1 injury, and at 4-1, Dallas is now in a position to buy at the deadline. Dak’s pending return should raise the team’s offensive upside, so let’s reinforce a strength and add bodies to the Cowboys’ defensive line, pushing Trysten Hill and Quinton Bohanna down the depth chart.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers | Offensive Line Depth
Playoff odds: 90%
Tampa Bay is getting healthy again, but reinforcing Tom Brady’s offensive line should still be their top priority. Left tackle Donovan Smith has dealt with injuries this year, and backup Josh Wells is already on injured reserve.
Plus, the Buccaneers are starting a rookie (Luke Goedeke) at left guard and a de facto rookie (Robert Hainsey) at center. I wonder if Tampa Bay would be interested in someone like the Bears’ Riley Reiff, a utility lineman who can play both tackle and guard.
Minnesota Vikings | Cornerback Depth
Playoff odds: 85%
While the Vikings could use an upgrade at swing tackle, their starting offensive line has played so well that OL probably isn’t a massive concern for Minnesota. Instead, they could search for corner depth.
The Vikings’ starting nickel package (Patrick Peterson, Cameron Dantzler, and Chandon Sullivan) is acceptable. But second-round rookie Andrew Booth Jr. has only played on special teams and is just now returning from injury. Minnesota would be wise to improve over Akayleb Evans and special teamer Kris Boyd.
Baltimore Ravens | Wide Receiver
Playoff odds: 82%
You might think the Ravens are primarily a running team, but they’re fifth in pass rate over expectation, meaning they’re throwing the ball even when a situation might call for a rush attempt.
Mark Andrews will always be Lamar Jackson’s favorite target, and Devin Duvernay has made great strides this year. Still, a lingering foot injury has kept Rashod Bateman off the field, so Baltimore could use help at wideout.
San Francisco 49ers | Cornerback
Playoff odds: 82%
After starting CB Emmanuel Moseley tore his ACL in Week 6, 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan said Jason Verrett — who’s been designated to return from injured reserve — would take over in the lineup.
Verrett is an outstanding player when he’s on the field, but he’s had one healthy season in the last six. It’s hard to count on him, and San Francisco’s other cornerback options aren’t all that inspiring.
Green Bay Packers | Wide Receiver
Playoff odds: 66%
The Packers have taken the wide-receiver-by-committee approach after trading Davante Adams over the offseason. Allen Lazard, Randall Cobb, Romeo Doubs, and Sammy Watkins have all posted productive games here and there, but this depth chart needs another option. Aaron Rodgers doesn’t necessarily need another Adams-level receiver, but a Robbie Anderson type could do the trick.
Tennessee Titans | Wide Receiver
Playoff odds: 64%
Although the Titans could afford to upgrade at offensive line, edge rusher, or corner, wide receiver stands out as their most critical area of need. Robert Woods leads Tennessee with a 23% target share, but the Titans don’t have any other reliable options, especially with first-round rookie Treylon Burks on IR.
Los Angeles Chargers | Pass Rusher
Playoff odds: 59%
Joey Bosa isn’t expected to return from injury until December. While the Chargers could get by with Kyle Van Noy and Chris Rumph as replacements, they could look to add more depth in this area.
Elsewhere on the roster, Los Angeles needs to inject more speed into its receiving corps. And while rookie left tackle Jamaree Salyer performed well against the Texans in Week 4, he struggled against the Browns in Week 5. It’s difficult to find offensive tackles at this point in the season, but this is a situation to monitor.
New York Giants | Cornerback
Playoff odds: 58%
The Giants are improbably in the playoff race after starting the season 4-1. Instead of selling off assets at the deadline, New York could make modest improvements — at least, as much as their dire salary cap situation will allow.
Offensive line and linebacker are issues for Big Blue, but they should probably add another corner if they’re truly trying to compete this year. Adoree’ Jackson is a good start, but the Giants can improve over Darnay Holmes and Fabian Moreau.
Miami Dolphins | Offensive Line
Playoff odds: 57%
Cornerback is currently a problem for the Dolphins, but you can squint and see help coming. Xavien Howard is on track to play on Sunday after missing Week 5, and Byron Jones will hopefully be designated to return from IR soon.
Up front, Austin Jackson is set to return and take back his starting right tackle job, but it’s unclear how much of an improvement he represents over Greg Little. The real problem is at LG, with Liam Eichenberg allowing too much pressure. Miami shouldn’t have any trouble finding a replacement on the trade market.
Cincinnati Bengals | Defensive Tackle
Playoff odds: 46%
Cincinnati’s offensive line has obviously been an issue through five games, but they’re essentially committed to this version of their front five. However, they could upgrade the trenches on the other side of the ball, where DJ Reader is expected to be sidelined for another month. The Bengals’ subpar run defense was exposed against the Ravens on Sunday Night Football.
Indianapolis Colts | Wide Receiver
Playoff odds: 45%
Indy’s offensive line has obviously struggled, but their recent reshuffle (and subsequent boost in the power rankings) might help matters up front. Even if it doesn’t, I’m not sure the Colts want to bring in a progress-stopper to block rookie left tackle Bernhard Raimann.
General manager Chris Ballard could stand to add another offensive weapon, though. Michael Pittman Jr. and ascending rookie Alec Pierce are a fine start, but Parris Campbell always seems to be injured or ineffective. Darius Slayton could fit in with the Colts if the Giants decide to move the pending free agent wideout.
New England Patriots | Wide Receiver
Playoff odds: 32%
For a team on the fringes of playoff contention, the Patriots don’t have a ton of obvious need areas. They’re set along the offensive line, their front seven is playing well, and while they could potentially use another corner, the Jonathan Jones-Jack Jones-Myles Bryant trifecta isn’t having any trouble.
New England needs to see the healthy returns of Mac Jones and Damien Haris, and they could benefit from adding a speed threat at receiver. Rookie Tyquan Thornton could add that dimension to the Patriots’ offense, but they could look at a veteran, too.
Los Angeles Rams | Interior Offensive Line
Playoff odds: 32%
No team has been hit as hard by offensive line injuries as the Rams, who are starting backups all along their interior. Center Brian Allen’s pending return should help, but Los Angeles desperately needs aid at guard. Even a low-cost free agent like Xavier Su’a-Filo would represent a marked improvement.
Cleveland Browns | Defensive Tackle
Playoff odds: 26%
Defensive tackle was an obvious weakness for the Browns heading into the season, and it’s been exposed over the past two games. Cleveland allowed 202 rushing yards to the Falcons in Week 4 before giving up 238 to the Chargers in Week 5.
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If the Browns want to take a big swing, they could go after the Panthers’ Derrick Brown. Otherwise, they could see if the Raiders are willing to ship Andrew Billings back to Cleveland.
Jacksonville Jaguars | Left Guard
Playoff odds: 26%
The Jaguars just lost Ben Bartch to a season-ending knee injury. While Tyler Shatley is an acceptable fill-in, Jacksonville should probably add at least one more interior lineman. It would take a rare intradivisional trade, but I wonder if the Jaguars would be interested in bringing now-Texans guard A.J. Cann back into the fold.
Arizona Cardinals | Cornerback
Playoff odds: 26%
Vance Joseph is doing it again, ladies and gentlemen. The Cardinals ranked dead last in defensive EPA per dropback after getting thrashed by Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs in Week 1, but they’re up to 13th from Weeks 2-6. Wouldn’t it be nice to give Arizona’s defensive coordinator a reliable cornerback opposite Byron Murphy?
Denver Broncos | Offensive Tackle
Playoff odds: 25%
Cameron Fleming has entrenched himself as Denver’s right tackle, but the Broncos just lost blindside protector Garett Bolles for the rest of the year. Calvin Anderson is the next man up, and Billy Turner could also get some looks.
Denver could try to swing a trade for a left tackle, but options are limited, and they already gave up a lot of draft capital to acquire Russell Wilson. The Broncos’ best route is likely a free agent signing, and Eric Fisher makes the most sense.
New Orleans Saints | Wide Receiver
Playoff odds: 23%
The Saints made a concerted effort to overhaul their wide receiver corps over the offseason. New Orleans traded up to draft Chris Olave, signed free agent Jarvis Landry, and hoped for the healthy return of Michael Thomas, who hadn’t played since Dec. 2020.
Olave is near the front of the Offensive Rookie of the Year race, but he’s dealing with a concussion. Landry (ankle) missed Week 5 and hasn’t practiced this week, while Thomas (toe) hasn’t played since Week 3. Reserve Deonte Harty is expected to miss several months with a turf toe injury.
New York Jets | Offensive Line Depth
Playoff odds: 21%
The Jets’ starters are largely set in stone, except for at offensive line, where injuries have forced a reconfiguration. Once George Fant returns from IR, New York will have a relatively solid line.
But adding some more depth will better fortify the trenches if injuries strike again. Perhaps the Steelers are ready to part with Jesse Davis, whom they acquired from the Vikings during the preseason.