ESPN gathered a panel of its so-called experts and put to them the question about which NFL team is sitting in the best position for the next 3 years.
Four bright NFL minds were asked to look at the future of each team, using among other criteria, the quarterback situation for the next 3 years, remaining roster, drafting ability, front-office acumen and coaching ability. It wasn’t posted, but I’m sure the team’s salary cap situation heading into this season had to be taken into consideration, but that probably fell under the front office category.
Not surprising to those of us around here, but the experts believe the Kansas City Chiefs are in the best position, just ahead of Tampa Bay – the two teams that just played in the Super Bowl.
The quarterback situation certainly boosted the Chiefs. Patrick Mahomes is basically going to be a Chief for life and it doesn’t hurt that Andy Reid is still young enough to certainly coach for the 3-year window.
Also, Tyreek Hill is just hitting his peak, while Travis Kelce certainly will be among the best tight ends in football for the foreseeable future. You have youth at running back in Clyde Edwards-Helaire and the Chiefs have rebuilt their offensive line in the offseason, a unit that has to be considered at least on par with the lines of the last 2 Super Bowl teams.
On defense, the Chiefs have a mix and match of young and old. Chris Jones is in his prime in the defensive line, though Frank Clark’s off-the-field problems have to be watched.
The Chiefs certainly have the pieces to be very good for the next 3 years – especially with Mahomes at the helm.
Tampa Bay is counting on ageless wonder Tom Brady to continue at his Hall of Fame level, but the core is in its prime.
Rounding out the order were:
3. Baltimore – Lamar Jackson has many big years left at quarterback and the Ravens have a shrewd front office that never allows this team to fall back.
4. Buffalo – Again, the young stud at quarterback propels the ranking as Josh Allen has improved light-years. Four, though, might be a bit high.
5. Cleveland – Can Baker Mayfield be a game-changing quarterback? The jury is still out. But a lot of good, young players on this roster.
6. San Francisco – Maybe a little high. The 49ers made the Super Bowl 2 years ago, but have had losing seasons 3 of the last 4 years. They’re pinning their hopes on Trey Lance, who is a boom-or-bust project. I probably would not have had them in my Top 10.
7. Los Angeles Rams – This was done before star running back Cam Akers ruptured his Achilles tendon. The Rams took a big gamble in the offseason by acquiring Matthew Stafford at quarterback and he’s no spring chicken. Sean McVay, though, has proven to be a wizard of a head coach.
8. New England – How can the Patriots not be in the Top 10? They have been the gold standard for 20 years and have the template that every team has tried to follow. They must get their quarterback situation remedied though. Cam Newton is no longer the answer because of his injuries.
9. Indianapolis – Carson Wentz’s play will be the barometer of this team moving forward. If he’s the Wentz of his early career, the Colts might be too low. If he’s truly shot, there may not be enough quality players to keep this team in the Top 10.
10. Seattle – Another franchise that’s had long-term success. Russell Wilson has a lot of good football left in him and the Seahawks have some good young pieces.
Maybe the most notable omission is Pittsburgh. The Steelers have one of the best coaches in football in Mike Tomlin, but the quarterback situation is tenuous. Two other glaring omissions are Minnesota and Green Bay, though the Packers’ bungling of the Aaron Rodgers situation had the experts wondering if this team is about crumble. I’d also have to put the Tennessee Titans in there as well as a team that perhaps should have made the list. And the Dallas Cowboys? They haven’t been relevant for a long time.