NFL free agency is less than two weeks away, which means roster overhauls are about to begin. The salary cap prevents unlimited spending, but teams with little to no cap room have proven time and again that they can make big splashes regardless of what the cap might tell us.
As we head into free agency, we’ll start to see changes in odds for teams to have success in 2021. Recently, DraftKings Sportsbook released odds for each of the eight NFL divisions. We’ve had Super Bowl and conference champion odds since the close of Super Bowl 55, but divisional odds help us take a deeper dive into how teams are preparing for what should be a busy period of free agency and the draft over the course of the spring.
Today we look at the NFC West. The Seahawks won it last season with a 12-4 record while the Rams finished 10-6 and claimed a wild card berth. The Cardinals finished 8-8 and the 49ers brought up the rear with a 6-10 record.
Los Angeles Rams: +180
In late January, the Rams were facing significant questions about their short- and long-term future with Jared Goff’s own future uncertain. Before Super Bowl 55 was even a wrap, they had resolved their short-term questions. The team traded Goff and draft picks to the Detroit Lions for Matthew Stafford, and while Stafford is not the long-term answer, he is an immediate upgrade from Goff. The Rams face a host of questions as they are currently projected at nearly $34 million over the salary cap, but it’s no surprise they open as the team to beat in the NFC West.
San Francisco 49ers: +200
The 49ers have been mentioned in connection with most every quarterback name on the market, but barring an unlikely trade for Deshaun Watson, they are likely to open the 2021 season with Jimmy Garoppolo as their starting QB. More than half of the 49ers roster is due to hit free agency, and these odds could move the most among the four teams in the NFC West depending on how they handle Trent Williams contract among others.
Seattle Seahawks: +300
Russell Wilson may or may not be happy in Seattle, but a trade seems even less likely than a Deshaun Watson trade out of Houston. As long as Wilson is lining up under center, the Seahawks have a puncher’s chance. They have some significant players hitting free agency, including linebacker KJ Wright, cornerback Shaquill Griffin, and guard Ethan Pocic.
Arizona Cardinals: +500
After the Stafford trade, Arizona made the next big splash in the division by signing pass rusher J.J. Watt. He’s not the guy he was in his prime, but Watt is still a strong presence and a boost to what was already a capable pass rush. They have several defensive free agents of note, including linebacker De’Vondre Campbell, edge rusher Haason Reddick, and cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick, but the biggest question heading into 2021 could be whether or not Kliff Kingsbury is the right guy to lead this team as head coach.
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