Not all of these listed moves will happen, but they all have reasonable odds of happening early in the 2023 NFL offseason. If they happen, I'll be updating my 2023 fantasy football rankings. If you want to play best ball for money right now, go to Underdog Fantasy and use promo code 'UNDERBLOG' for a $100 deposit match bonus.
Update: Ravens placed the non-exclusive franchise tag and most NFL teams don't appear interested in making an offer that Baltimore would likely match. This could drag out while the two sides negotiate a long-term deal. Lamar Jackson likely won't play on a one-year, $32M deal.
Lamar has wanted to go year-by-year in hopes of eventually seeing complete free agency where he'd sign a completely guaranteed contract like Deshaun Watson. If his plan continues, the Ravens will have to place the roughly $45.4M exclusive franchise tag this offseason (and the $54.4M exclusive franchise tag in 2024). The non-exclusive tag is also available. Perhaps a knee injury in 2022 influences Lamar to sign a long-term deal. Perhaps other teams make offers the Ravens can't deny if they're unwilling to come close to Deshaun Watson's $230M guaranteed.
Update: We're waiting.....
This is from OverTheCap's Jason Fitzgerald: "Rodgers does not have a no trade clause in his contract so he could be traded to a team as well. The timing of the option should give the Packers all the way until the end of training camp to move him. The cap charge here would depend on when he was traded. If Rodgers were to be traded prior to June 1st the Packers would take on a $40.3M cap hit in 2023. If he was traded after June 1st it would be a $15.8M cap hit in 2023 with $24.5M due in 2024. This assumes that the Packers did not exercise the option before the trade. If the option is exercised then the trade number spikes to nearly $100 million. There should be no need to exercise the option until the last possible day." In other words, Rodgers is tradable, especially after June 1st. Potential suitors include: Jets, Colts, Titans, Giants, Panthers, and basically half of the league. This would give Jordan Love a chance to start in the final year of his rookie contract.
Update: He retired.
There's a chance he retires, but if he returns, it won't be in Tampa Bay most likely because of coaching woes and a very tight cap with an aging roster. Brady has signed cap-friendly deals, a trend that could continue if he's just looking for a storybook ending to his GOAT career. He has connections to the 49ers (hometown), Raiders (McDaniels), and Titans (Vrabel), all of whom could be in the QB market this offseason. I'll take one of those three teams vs. the field.
Update: Sam Darnold was signed to a $4M deal. Jimmy G is in Las Vegas. I think San Francisco is done with QBs.
Brock Purdy played well enough in 2022 relief to be the 49ers' 2023 backup at the very worst, so unless the plan is to move Trey Lance this season (something that'd be hard given his injury and would add $1.7M against the cap), the 49ers plan could be what's already under contract. Re-signing Jimmy Garoppolo would be as expensive as ever (about $20M-$35M annually) after finishing top 5 in EPA per dropback in 2022 (hello Jets), and fitting Tom Brady under the cap could be an issue with Nick Bosa and other stars up for new deals. Most importantly, don't the 49ers have to see what they have in Lance after spending three 1st-round picks on him?
The Bucs roster is one of the oldest, and they're tight against the cap. The front office was telling interviewing OCs that Kyle Trask is in the mix to start, a sign that the 2023 season is more or less meaningless (#CapitulateForCaleb). Trading Godwin or Evans in a weak free agency and NFL Draft class makes sense. A Godwin trade saves $8.7M against the cap this year, while Evans saves just $2.3M. But Evans is older and only has one year left on his deal, while Godwin would haul a bigger return. It's possible that both are gone for top-100 picks. I think the Bucs will be one of the worst teams in the NFL after we re-set rosters.
The Cardinals won't have Kyler Murray (ACL/meniscus) until about November next year and the entire roster is aging fast. In other words, they're rebuilding with little hopes in 2023. Hopkins, 31 years old, can be moved. Arizona would save $8.2M against the cap with $22.6M in dead money, while the absorbing team would be on the hook for $19.5M in 2023 and $15.0M in 2025, both non-guaranteed. Potential suitors: Patriots, Ravens, Bears, Giants, Titans, Chiefs. These offenses will struggle finding X-receivers like Nuk in free agency. While we're here, Greg Dortch is an exclusive rights free agent and A.J. Green is likely retirement bound.
Update: The Chargers restructured his contract to push money into 2024, but that's created a new issue... Austin Ekeler may get traded because the Chargers aren't willing (or don't have the cap space) to extend Ekeler to his market value.
This is not a must-do move, but the Chargers will have some tough decisions this offseason, as they enter 2023 free agency $7.9M over the cap despite not signing Justin Herbert to a long-term deal. One cap-relieving move would be to trade (or release) 31-year-old Keenan Allen, a transaction that would save $14.8M against the cap with $6.9M in dead money and they could use a post-June 1 cut to make those numbers even better. Are the Chargers better off with Mike Williams, a late first-round, fast downfield threat, and Josh Palmer in a Keenan-like role? Or do they run it back without the speed we've been asking for?
Update: He took a paycut to avoid being cut.
The 29-year-old has a $20.0M cap hit in 2023, a number that no longer exists at RB. If released, the Packers save $10.4M against the cap (with $9.2M in dead money) in an offseason that they could be swallowing a ton of dead cap if Rodgers is traded. Plus, Green Bay is backed up in cap space. Because Jones battled injuries in 2022 and A.J. Dillon is a fine starter, a Jones departure feels somewhat realistic.
With the Jaguars suddenly being the class of the division, the GM-less Titans are at a natural turning point with the organization. Trading (or releasing if they have to) Tannehill would save $17.8M against the cap with $18.8M in dead money (with potentially more 2023 cap savings if done post-June 1). Does coach Mike Vrabel make a run at personal friend Tom Brady or another veteran? Do they chase a rookie QB? Or does Tannehill go into the last year of his deal as a 35-year-old? A potential suitor for Tannehill is the Falcons in a Tannehill/Arthur Smith reunion.
Derrick Henry is also in an interesting spot, mostly if Tannehill gets traded, as that would signal a rebuild while Henry goes into the final year of his contract as a 29-year-old. The Titans would save $5.6M against the cap with a pre-June 1st trade or release, and $10.5M with a post-June 1st trade or release (the latter of which they could do before June 1st and designate for after). Any of these transactions would come with a waving white flag for the 2023 season but would be best for Tennessee's long term with the emerging Jaguars taking control of the AFC South. If he stays, Henry will have a $15.9M cap hit.
While we're here, the Titans offensive line is in a tough spot with RG Nate Davis hitting free agency and 32-year-old injured LT Taylor Lewan being a cut candidate ($14.8M cap savings with $0 in dead money). The entire offense looks rough in 2023. Malik Willis could also be one of the few Day 2 picks to not make the roster in year two.
Update: Zeke is expected to be released after Pollard received the tag.
Both RBs were top-12 fantasy RBs with Dak Prescott in one of the NFL's elite, balanced offenses, but cap constraints will make keeping both difficult. Pollard is a free agent, but the Cowboys can place the franchise tag on him for $10.1M in 2023, which would put him ahead of second-tier bellcows James Conner ($7.0M) and Leonard Fourntte ($7.0M) and behind first-tier bellcows in Aaron Jones ($12.0M), Joe Mixon ($12.0M), and Nick Chubb ($12.2M). In a vacuum, Pollard deserves to be in this $10M range, but the Cowboys already have Zeke on a somewhat movable contract...
If the Cowboys keep Zeke on his already-signed contract, he'll make $16.7M in 2023, which would be the highest RB cap hit in the NFL if Aaron Jones is released as expected. That wouldn't make sense to any non-Jerry Jones evaluator. So what are the other options? The Cowboys could restructure his non-guaranteed contract (read: paycut to stay on the team), release him for $4.8M in cap savings with $11.6M in dead money, or release him with a post-June 1 designation for $10.9M cap savings this offseason.
Update: Kamara restructured his contract and is awaiting trial/suspension. Those will come later in the offseason.
After pushing the court case (and thus the suspension) out of 2022, Kamara will likely face his suspension in 2023 for his battery charge. He could miss somewhere around 4 games, voiding the $1M guaranteed in 2023. On top of this, the Saints have a decision to make on Kamara's contract. Based on where the team is at cap/roster wise and the oddities around his 2022 season, I could see both the organization and Kamara wanting out, especially with Michael Thomas very likely released. To do so, the Saints would have to make Kamara their second and final post-June 1st release assigned before June 1st, find a trade partner after June 1st, or find a creative way to reduce his cap hit this year (see: Michael Thomas). In general, the Saints' odds of being without Kamara seem reasonable for Week 1 (suspension) and now potentially beyond (release or trade). A post-June 1st designation would save $10M against the cap with roughly $6M in dead money this year and roughly $6M the following year.
This is not a requirement by any means, but the Vikings are $6.6M over the cap entering the offseason and releasing Cook with a post-June 1 designation would save $11.0M this year with $6.2M dead money spread over the next two years. The 28-year-old wasn't as productive under a new head coach and analytics-based GM in 2022. Alexander Mattison is a free agent, so multiple moves would be required to address the position if Cook is out.
He was in the news for an alleged threat that has since been resolved, but it's a reminder of his past and the Bengals' option of releasing him to save $7.4M against the cap. Samaje Perine is a free agent, so they'd be re-setting the position entirely here, but Mixon didn't play much in their playoff loss because Perine is more trusted in pass protection. This is a passing league, and the Bengals are getting ready to pay big bucks to their star players.
Update: He was tagged.
At cost, Jacobs was the 2022 fantasy football MVP, but he's a free agent in 2023 with the Raiders offense completely influx. The Raiders could apply the roughly $10.1M franchise tag on him (slightly less than Aaron Jones, Joe Mixon, and Dalvin Cook money) even if Jacobs wants out. We'll get this one settled early, and the tag makes the most sense on the Raiders' side. Second-year RB Zamir White will jump in ADP if things go unexpectedly sideways.
Update: He was tagged.
The 26-year-old is a free agent, but Barkley is eligible for the franchise tag. The Giants and Barkley negotiated a new contract during the season (something they didn't do with tag candidate Daniel Jones), a signal that Barkley is the more likely franchise tag candidate. That would cost the Giants roughly $10.1M against the cap on a one-year deal, putting him in the Dalvin Cook, Joe Mixon, Derrick Henry, Nick Chubb, and Aaron Jones tier.
Update: He signed an $82M guaranteed contract.
Jones is a free agent, but the Giants can first slap the roughly $31.5M franchise tag on him (Ryan Tannehill, Matt Ryan, Carson Wentz, or Jared Goff money) if they want to go one year at a time. The caveat is they only have one franchise tag per year and Saquon Barkley is also eligible (see above). If the tag is too rich for Jones (most likely), the Giants would have to compete with the open market for a likely sub-$31.5M contract. If they don't want Jones at all despite making the playoffs while playing his best football of his career with the worst weapons of his career (or if they get out-bid), the Giants have all of their 2023 NFL Draft picks plus a healthy cap situation to make a big move.
Update: Geno Smith signed a roughly $40M guaranteed contract.
Seattle's QB decision will have massive NFL Draft implications. The first Geno Smith deadline will come with the roughly $31.5M franchise tag (Ryan Tannehill, Matt Ryan, Carson Wentz, or Jared Goff money), followed by the leverage deadline of unrestricted free agency. If they let Smith walk, the Seahawks would likely pivot to the rookie QB market via the Broncos' old pick.
Update: Aaron Rodgers trade feels inevitable.
Simply put, Wilson was benched too many times in year two to be on the roster in 2023. The Jets should be able to get a Day 3 pick or two for Wilson, after Josh Rosen and Sam Darnold types have been moved in recent years. With some obvious non-QB roster moves, the Jets will have over $50M in cap space to attract a veteran QB (Jimmy G reunion? Derek Carr or Ryan Tannehill trade?) for this win-now roster. Of course, this assumes that free agent Mike White isn't viewed as a long-term answer.
The Lions will have a top-10 pick courtesy of the Rams, plus their own mid first-round pick. Do they like Bryce Young, C.J. Stroud, or Will Levis enough to make a splash? Are they available? Or did Jared Goff play up to the talent around him enough in 2022 to be kept on his $30.6M non-guaranteed contract? If he's traded (possible) or released (unlikely), the Lions would save $20.6M against the cap while eating his $10.0M in prorated bonuses. For reference, other QBs in the $30M/year range from last year were Ryan Tannehill, Carson Wentz, Matt Ryan, and Kirk Cousins.
Update: He was released.
With no guaranteed money left, Carr is both a trade and cut candidate. Each move would save the Raiders $29.3M against the cap. After busting in 2022 and getting benched to prevent an injury guarantee hitting, can the Raiders run coach Josh McDaniels and Carr back together? Can the Raiders attract Tom Brady or Jimmy Garoppolo? Are they upgrades? Or does a team like the Jets send picks over? There are a lot of options here with more decisions looming surrounding Darren Waller (trade candidate) and Josh Jacobs (franchise tag candidate). For now, it seems more likely than not that he is gone.
And while we're here, trading Davante Adams is very difficult to do. It'd cost the Raiders cap space to do it before June 1, and even afterwards, the Raiders would've essentially traded a 1st- and 2nd-round pick for the right to pay him $42.5M for one year, plus whatever they'd be getting for him back in a trade. In other words, this would be absolutely shocking even if Adams is mad when Carr gets moved.
Update: He's back.
The most likely outcome is Wilson returns as the Broncos starting QB in 2023 on a $22M cap hit but with a new offensive coaching staff. That's because his contract is hard to move on from this offseason. If things don't go well in 2023, the Broncos have a very painful but doable out in the 2024 offseason when they can use a post-June 1 release ($35.4M dead cap in 2024 and $49.6M dead cap in 2025, both of which would be top-3 NFL dead cap hits all time). If they did a post-June 1 cut this offseason, the Broncos would be adding $17M to their salary cap to not play him. That would be an unprecedented move of the biggest proportions. If you're a desperate Broncos fan, the magic move would be finding a trade partner willing to absorb Wilson's contract, but that most likely would require the Broncos sending picks at this point. In other words, the Broncos are in a very tough spot.
Update: He was released.
Marcus Mariota will be released to save $12.0M against the cap with just $2.5M in dead money, which would send Atlanta's 2023 cap space to over $82.7M. That's plenty of wiggle room to find a Ryan Tannehill (hello Arthur Smith reunion) or Derek Carr type QB to run this balanced offense. Either option would be great news for Kyle Pitts and Drake London.
Update: He was released, while Anthony Richardson and Will Levis are squarely in the mix at 4th overall.
Matt Ryan will be released (and likely retired), saving $17.0M against the cap with $18.0M in dead money. At that point, Indy will have over $52M in cap space, enough to make a power play at QB (again). It seems like owner Jim Irsay is losing patience, so I'm not ruling out Aaron Rodgers or a major coaching change like Sean Payton, though they are in striking distance of a rookie QB given their top-8 draft slot.
Update: He was released. Sam Howell will compete with Jacoby Brissett.
After getting benched (and unbenched) for Taylor Heinicke, Wentz is a lock to be released, which would save the Commanders $26.1M against the cap with $0 in dead money. Heinicke will be a free agent himself, so it's possible the Commanders QB room is a new starter with 2022 5th-rounder Sam Howell as the backup. Washington's ownership is brutal, but the supporting cast is decent with Terry McLaurin, Jahan Dotson, and a strong defense.
Update: They traded up to 1st overall, possibly for C.J. Stroud in particular. Darnold is in San Francisco.
The Panthers don't have a ton of cap space, and also won't have a QB under contract going into the offseason. Is this the year owner David Tepper goes all in on a rookie QB? It would make sense to me, but Darnold played decent football during interim coach Steve Wilks' run late in 2022.
Update: Big surprise here! After the Derek Carr signing, Thomas signed an incentive-laden $10M deal. I got this one wrong!!!!
The Saints are in cap trouble, but they found a solution for Thomas, who also had to agree to this. The long story short: he'll be released as free agency starts. The long story long: Thomas' base salary was dropped from $15.1M to $1.5M in a restructured deal, which gives the Saints cap flexibility in 2023. They'll declare him as a post-June 1st release, splitting his dead cap charge over the next two seasons. Thomas, meanwhile, received a $1M bonus (and a guaranteed contract if he somehow remains on the team three days into free agency). We'll see if the Saints do something similar with Alvin Kamara (currently $720k cap savings with $15.3M in dead cap if released), who also seems frustrated with the organization. Andy Dalton, Jarvis Landry, and Mark Ingram are free agents, by the way.
Update: JuJu signed with the Patriots.
The Chiefs will be re-vamping their WR group again this offseason most likely, with these three hitting free agency and Marquez Valdes-Scantling being a cut candidate ($7.0M cap savings with $4.0M dead). If all three are gone, the Chiefs only have Kadarius Toney and Skyy Moore at WR at the beginning of the offseason. Keep in mind, Travis Kelce will 34 years old.
The Chiefs still have Clyde Edwards-Helaire ($3.4M cap hit) and Isiah Pacheco ($899k) under contract, but most wouldn't view them as legit starters. It's entirely possible a new face enters the mix as the Chiefs lead back. At the very least, they need a capable passing down RB with Pacheco/CEH being viewed as an early-down option primarily. After a good playoff run, Pacheco likely remains the lead guy.
Update: He signed with the Saints.
After humping end zones en route to best ball league wins, Williams will hit free agency along with Lions No. 3 RB Justin Jackson, whomsth partially prevented D'Andre Swift from hitting his fantasy football ceiling. Williams, 28, is a locker room hero and was a vocal leader for Dan Campbell, so a re-signing is entirely possible. That would be an indictment on the Lions' trust in Swift, who has flashed but struggled with every-down consistency.
Update: They traded Jonnu Smith, let Jakobi Meyers walk, and signed JuJu.
Damien Harris, Jakobi Meyers, and Nelson Agholor are all free agents, but there's more. DeVante Parker ($6.3M cap savings), Kendrick Bourne ($5.5M cap savings), and Hunter Henry ($10.5M cap savings) are all cut candidates, while Jonnu Smith ($4.5M cap savings) could be a trade candidate. Hopefully Bill Belichick recruits a legit offensive coaching staff and find a legit No. 1 receiver (DeAndre Hopkins?) to pair with Tyquan Thornton and Rhamondre Stevenson. Mac Jones will mostly rise and fall with the talent around him, and the Patriots are basically starting from scratch again.
Update: He was traded for the 100th overall pick to the Giants.
There were mid-season reports that the Raiders weren't happy with Waller's rehab and ability to play through injury, and Waller's contract is movable. If traded, the Raiders would save $12.0M against the cap with $660k in dead money. Waller, 31, would need to prove that he's healthy and ready to compete for a team tot take on his $11.0M base contract, but there are few tight ends with his receiving skill set when he's on the field. While we are here, TE Foster Moreau and WR Mack Hollins are also free agents. Perhaps Hunter Renfrow rebounds in 2023 after not playing in 2-WR sets with Josh McDaniels.
Update: He was tagged.
A late-season run that set Engram drafters to best ball championships, Engram is the hottest receiving tight end on the market. Jaguars coach Doug Pederson has gotten the most out of his TEs dating back to Philadelphia, so a re-signing is the most likely scenario if Jacksonville can fit him under the cap. For some reason, the Jaguars cap situation isn't the cleanest, but if they view Engram as a priority, they can get it done. Calvin Ridley, Christian Kirk, Engram, Zay Jones, and Travis Etienne is quite the skill group for Trevor Lawrence. Marvin Jones is a free agent.
Update: He signed with the Patriots.
He wasn't a scheme fit with coach Mike McDaniel, but in the two previous seasons as a psuedo slot WR, Gesicki had 1.45 and 1.60 yards per route run. Engram, Gesicki, and Dalton Schultz will compete for top dollars in the TE market.
Update: He signed with the Texans.
The Cowboys will debate using the $13.1M second franchise tag on Schultz, but the Cowboys are tight against the cap with Dak Prescott's contract kicking in. Dallas found two potential starters in 2022 rookies Jake Ferguson and Peyton Hendershot, and there's serious debate if Schultz's production is a product of his environment rather than an elite personal skillset. That $13.1M tag would make him the TE7 in annual value, putting him well ahead of the money Zach Ertz ($10.5M/year), Evan Engram ($9.0M), and Gerald Everett ($6.0M/year) signed for in the 2022 offseason. While we're hear, Noah Brown is a free agent.
Update: He was traded to the Cowboys.
The Texans listened to trade offers at the 2022 NFL trade deadline but teams weren't willing to budge on Cooks' $18M guaranteed contract this upcoming season. That remains the case now, but maybe a) Cooks is willing to take a partial paycut, 2) the Texan absorb some of the money to trade him, or c) teams get desperate enough in a tough year for free agent WRs. There's no reason a 30-year-old Cooks belongs on the rebuilding and young Texans. If a trade goes through, Nico Collins and John Metchie would be boosted, though the Texans have 5 top-75 picks to find more WR weapons.
The Broncos have Sutton, Jerry Jeudy, Tim Patrick, and K.J. Hamler under contract for 2023 while arguably being in rebuild mode due to the Wilson contract and their lack of draft picks. Sutton's contract is tradable ($6.9M cap savings, $11.5M dead money with $18M guaranteed for the new team). With few WR options available in free agency, Sutton could be in demand as a legit X receiver. Patrick is also tradable ($5.5M cap savings, $6.1M dead money with $5.5M guaranteed in 2023).
Update: Golladay was released, Slayton and Shepard were re-signed, and Parris Campbell and Darren Waller were added.
Kenny Golladay still has $10.4M in prorated bonuses and $4.4M guaranteed on his contract, but the Giants won't have him in the locker room this next offseason. The only debate here is pre- or post-June 1 release. Sterling Shepard, Darius Slayton, and Richie James are also free agents, leaving the Giants WR room with ERFA Isaiah Hodgins and ACL-recovering slot Wan'Dale Robinson. The entire room is being refreshed.
Rashod Bateman has been slowed by injuries in each of his two seasons but will have an outside WR spot locked up in 2023 still. He can't be the only notable WR for Lamar Jackson, however. DeMarcus Robinson, Devin Duvernay, Sammy Watkins, and DeSean Jackson weren't cutting it. The Ravens used D-Rob in 1-WR sets (they use those with some frequency) over Bateman last year, likely because of blocking purposes. They probably value size as Bateman's counterpart. Corey Davis would be a classic Ravens signee.
Update: He was released.
The Bucs will be in rebuild mode with Tom Brady hitting free agency, so moving on from a 28-year-old RB makes some sense. Releasing Fournette would save $3.5M against the cap with $5.0M in dead money and would allow the Bucs to see if Rachaad White could be their long-term feature back after splitting reps as a rookie.
Update: He signed with the Panthers, while Rashaad Penny signed with the Eagles.
So will Boston Scott. The Eagles clearly don't view Kenneth Gainwell as nothing more than an undersized committee back, so Philadelphia will be looking for a new early-down back if they don't re-sign Sanders. This analytics-based front office is unlikely to spend heavily on the position. A Day 2 or Day 3 rookie could be in order, while Sanders competes for home run duties elsewhere.
Update: The Panthers signed Miles Sanders.
PFF's RB23 out of 59 qualifiers, Foreman ran very well (RB13 in yards after contact per carry) following the Christian McCaffrey trade, achieving 100+ rushing yards five times. In two different offenses, Foreman is averaging 4.6 YPC over his last 350 carries. The 27-year-old is talented enough to compete for early-down touches somewhere, possibly in Carolina with year-three Chuba Hubbard.
Update: He signed a $11M guaranteed deal with the Lions.
He isn't good enough to be worthy of the franchise tag, so Montgomery will at least explore free agency, likely as a committee-level signee capable of playing in all situations. The Bears have 2021 6th-rounder Khalil Herbert (5'9/212) and 2022 6th-rounder Trestan Ebner under contract, with 9 draft picks to add competition. Out of 56 qualifiers, Montgomery was the RB42 in PFF grade. Herbert was the RB33, while being the RB3 in yards after contact per carry and the RB8 in elusiveness rating.
Update: He signed with the Texans.
The Bills have James Cook waiting for a bigger workload, while Nyheim Hines ($0 dead money, $4.8M cap savings) is a cut candidate. After moving on from Zack Moss, the Bills are in major need of a powerful RB this offseason. Singletary, 26, will get committee-level money in free agency.
The 27-year-old is coming off his worst season in terms of yards per carry (3.9), PFF grade (69.7), and PFF elusiveness rating (60.4), and Nick Chubb is still under a relatively affordable contract. Hunt will likely compete for committee duties this offseason. Niche best ball freak superstar D'Ernest Johnson is also a free agent. Expect the Browns to find a new (cheap) Chubb backup.
Update: He signed with the Commanders.
By all reports, Brissett is a standup dude and leader. More importantly for his free agency case, Brissett played starting-level football. He was 10th in EPA/play, 16th in success rate, and 5th in completion percentage over expected out of 33 qualifying QBs. That should be enough to make him a favorite to be a 2023 Week 1 starter somewhere. Possibly with the Commanders, Panthers, Titans, Bucs, or Saints. It's hard not to root for him.
Update: He was released.
The Vikings enter the offseason $6.6M over the cap, so tough decisions will be made. Thielen is under contract for two more years with cap hits of $19.9M and $21.6M, but the Vikings can get out from some of it. If released with a post-June 1 designation, the Vikings would save $13.4M against the 2023 salary cap when they need cap space the most, though Thielen's release would include $13.5M in net dead money. This isn't a necessary move, but Minnesota will be paying Kirk Cousins, Dalvin Cook, and T.J. Hockenson big money on offense already, with Justin Jefferson eligible for a record-breaking extension at any time.
His contract is manageable if they want to hold onto him, but the Bengals would save $8.9M against the cap with $1.4M in dead money in an offseason where they could look to sign Joe Burrow, Jessie Bates, and others long term. While we're here, TEs Hayden Hurst, Drew Sample, and Mitchell Wilcox are free agents.
Update: He will be released/traded following the Allen Lazard signing.
The Jets are in an okay (not great) cap situation, so Davis' $10.5M and Braxton Berrios' $5.0M in cap savings when released will come in handy and thus send Garrett Wilson and Elijah Moore upwards in rankings. Davis will be valued in free agency as a 28-year-old X receiver.
In a down year for free agent WRs, expect Chark to get quietly good money to be an outside WR starter for 2023. Chark averaged a solid 1.56 YPRR as the Lions top downfield threat (16.7 aDOT). He can play X or Z, and for us, is definitely better in best ball. With Chark leaving, (DeSean Jackson clone) Jameson Williams will join Amon-Ra St. Brown in the Lions' 2-WR sets next year. I'm excited.
This isn't a lock to happen, but the Commanders could find a trade partner or find the $5.8M in cap savings via release worthwhile after seeing what the Terry McLaurin and Jahan Dotson combo is capable in 2022. Samuel, 27, is a gadget-based slot receiver who could be a trade asset in a weak free agent WR class. While we're on the team, 32-year-old TE Logan Thomas will be released to save $5.3M against the cap.
Update: He signed a $22M guaranteed contract with the Jets.
The Packers have Christian Watson as a locked-in starter with fellow rookie Romeo Doubs also in the mix. Lazard is well-liked by Rodgers (a trade candidate), offers versatility (career 41% slot player), and is coming off a works-man like 1.62 yards per route run campaign. He'll likely get low-end starter money. While we're here, TE Robert Tonyan also is a free agent.
Update: He signed a $2M incentive-laden contract with the Eagles.
It's been short-lived (176 carries), but Penny is averaging 6.2 yards per carry on an elite 4.42 yards after contact since returning from injury in 2021. No team can view him as a 200-touch player due to his past, but Penny deserves change-of-pace work in 2023. At no cost, Penny is worth a dart throw. There's a lot of overlap in Ken Walker and Penny's game, so I'm hoping Penny goes elsewhere.
The 33-year-old was splitting reps with then-rookie Tyler Allgeier down the stretch of 2022, and Atlanta could save $1.8M against the cap if released. That's not a ton of savings and CPatt seems like a good dude, so perhaps he enters the year as the No. 2 or No. 3 in Atlanta as the veteran and change of pace option.
Update: He signed a $6M guaranteed deal with the Broncos.
The Bengals still have Joe Mixon and Chris Evans under contract, but Mixon could be released to save $7.3M against the cap with $5.5M in dead money if they don't view him as a fringe top-5 RB. I believe Mixon remains on the team, with Perine having reasonable re-sign odds.
Update: Both were re-signed on cheap deals.
28 and 31 years old respectively, the Dolphins hand-picked RBs from last offseason are eligible free agents this offseason.
The Rams are in cap trouble still, so Higbee's $3.4M in cap savings could be handy after another up-and-down season. He'll be 30 years old next year. This is a close call.
This may prove too difficult, but an Ertz trade saves $6.8M against the cap with $6.0M in dead money if another team is willing to take on his his roughly $10M contract for 2023, his age-33 season. The Cardinals, meanwhile, would have to feel good about 2022 2nd-rounder Trey McBride, who did next to nothing following Ertz's knee injury.
This is a Chigoziem Okonkwo blurb. He primarily played in 2-TE sets only, as the natural receiving option. It's unclear if coach Mike Vrabel believes Chig has the blocking skills to be an every-down TE, but if so, Chig will be best ball relevant. As a rookie, he had an outrageous 2.53 yards per route run. That number is impressive but won't be sustainable if his role changes.
Update: He was released.
The 31-year-old wasn't productive in Tennessee and his release saves $12.0M against the cap with only $2.6M in dead money. He'll compete for a No. 3 starting job elsewhere but may be a depth option only at this point. While we're here, Nick Westbrook-Ikhine is a restricted free agent but shouldn't be viewed as an NFL starter. The Titans need Treylon Burks to develop and find a more reliable veteran for their power offense.
Update: He signed with the Giants.
He stayed healthy and had some moments in 2022, but Campbell will compete for slot-only snaps at low-end money following this offseason. The Colts still have Michael Pittman and Alec Pierce on rookie deals as their primary outside options.
Update: The Bears received D.J. Moore in part of their trade out of 1st overall.
Darnell Mooney (slot/Z), Chase Claypool (slot/Z), and Velus Jones (slot/Z) are under their rookie contracts, but Dante Pettis, Equanimeous St. Brown, Byron Pringle and N'Keal Harry are free agents. They're in the WR free agency market for a true No. 1 X receiver. If none are available, expect one of the Bears top-100 picks (2nd, 57th, or 66th overall) to go to the position.
Update: He signed with the Bucs.
An up-and-down Rams tenure puts Mayfield on the "please let me compete for a job" tier, but no other team aside from the Rams put in a waiver claim for Mayfield. His best bet could be to return as Matthew Stafford's backup on backup money. Stafford is coming off serious neck surgery but plans to play in 2023.
34-year-old Hall Of Famer made the occasional big play but ended up on the injury report for most of the season and won't be viewed as a starter in 2023. Does he latch onto a contender again? Or does he head to the beaches in a gold jacket for the rest of his life?
He's more liked by dynasty and Week 17 correlation virgin twitter than the NFL, but Albert O was a healthy scratch for most of the 2022 season with Greg Dulcich emerging and reports mentioning he didn't get along with the coaching staff. He has a career 1.59 yards per route run, however. That's solid.